This is an interesting New York Times blog containing an interesting argument by Stanley Fish. The atheist’s claim that God does not exist - because actual religions are a bundle of contradictions that could not possibly be constructed by an omniscient God - does not undermine the case for the existence of God. Nor, of course, does recognising that it does not undermine the argument establish that God does exist.
‘It is God (if there is one) who is perfect and infinite; men are finite and confined within historical perspectives. And any effort to apprehend him – including the efforts of the compilers of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran – will necessarily fall short of a transparency that will be achieved (if it is achieved) only at a future moment of beatific vision. Now – any now, whether it be 2007 or 6,000 years ago – we see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians, 13:12); one day, it is hoped, we shall see face to face.
In short, it is the unfathomable and unbridgeable distance between deity and creature that assures the failure of the latter to comprehend or prove in the sense of validating the former.
If divinity, by definition, exceeds human measure, the demand that the existence of God be proven makes no sense because the machinery of proof, whatever it was, could not extend itself far enough to apprehend him.
Proving the existence of God would be possible only if God were an item in his own field; that is, if he were the kind of object that could be brought into view by a very large telescope or an incredibly powerful microscope. God, however – again if there is a God – is not in the world; the world is in him; and therefore there is no perspective, however technologically sophisticated, from which he could be spied. As that which encompasses everything, he cannot be discerned by anything or anyone because there is no possibility of achieving the requisite distance from his presence that discerning him would require.
The criticism made by atheists that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated is no criticism at all; for a God whose existence could be demonstrated wouldn’t be a God; he would just be another object in the field of human vision.
This does not mean that my arguments constitute a proof of the truth of religion; for if I were to claim that I would be making the atheists’ mistake from the other direction. Nor are they arguments in which I have a personal investment. Their purpose and function is simply to show how the atheists’ arguments miss their mark and, indeed, could not possibly hit it.
At various points Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens all testify to their admiration for Shakespeare, who, they seem to think, is more godly than God. They would do well to remember one of the bard’s most famous lines, uttered by Hamlet: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”’