GUEST ROOM | Stay Godless

I am responding to a recent opinion piece in the Sun, “CHANCELLOR | The Godless University”.  I found it disturbing and a little chilling. I have no connection with Cornell University, other than bordering some of its property.  I have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, with an M.S. in Systems Science.  Although raised in a Catholic family, I have been an atheist since I can first remember thinking about the topic, around the age of 12. I have maintained a lifelong interest in the nature of consciousness and what constitutes belief.

The reason that God is not discussed as a possibility in academia is because the subject simply doesn’t merit serious attention. Decent evidence for Its existence has never been presented.  Moreover, the philosophical arguments, such as Aquinas’ five proofs and their descendant interpretations by William Lane Craig, have been debunked repeatedly. They are silly word games that try to define a God into existence, glossing over important epistemological distinctions.  Take Craig’s version of the Kalam Cosmological argument. The first premise is sloppy.  If the wording were to be clear, it would change from “everything that comes into existence has a cause” to “every observable natural thing that comes into existence has a natural cause.”  That doesn’t smuggle in an opening for a supernatural cause through equivocation.  If theologians had in fact established proof of any sort of God, then Nobel Prizes would have been awarded and the notion would be accepted by the academic community.

Gods and beliefs are in fact discussed in a number of disciplines, particularly in the humanities, where the ideas have influenced art, music and literature. I had an undergraduate minor in Religious Studies, where I studied the New Testament as literature, the effects of religious thinkers on Philosophy, Art and Literature in history. This is the proper treatment of the subject.  If this is what the author is referring to as missing, all well and good.  But I believe this is not his goal; the apologetics he broaches indicate that he thinks that God concepts should be elevated beyond that.