The Rational Explanation

“There must be a Rational Explanation for this!” says the skeptic.

The believer chides the skeptic for calling anything surprising, new, or unsettling a “non-rational” explanation. It might just be the case that God, or angels, (or ghosts?) are a rational reality, and a rational explanation.

The skeptic replies that we must choose the most likely explanation: a non-supernatural explanation.

The believer replies that there is no way of telling how likely it is that God did a miracle, since that is not something you can calculate. If God exists, then the probability is 100%. If he doesn’t, it’s 0%. But that’s exactly what we’re trying to find out.

The skeptic says that with no proof of God doing miracles, but with plenty of examples of conventional explanations, we should believe the conventional explanation. It’s more likely in our experience.

The believer says that God is real in his experience, so…


It is true, believer, that if something mighty unusual is reported, witnessed or described, then it is worth looking into it instead of doing backflips in an attempt to explain it using “conventional” means. If we did backflips all the time, we’d never discover new things, because we’d always be stuck in the old framework.

But it is not true, believer, that we should believe in something invisible, divine or unconventional if there is a perfectly good, normal, everyday explanation for it. And this is the real problem: almost all of the believer’s claims fall into this category. There is nothing remarkable, nothing unusual, nothing that can’t be explained in ordinary terms.

So we explain those things in ordinary terms. There is nothing willfully blind, nothing sinful, nothing rebellious about that.


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