I posted this as a reply over at Liberty’s Torch, but it bears reposting here as well.
“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
Human beings cannot detach themselves from the universe and know it objectively. They view from within, attempting to extrapolate what it looks like from without.
We once believed all things to be due to the agency of the supernatural. There was a God for rivers, a God for war, a God for farming and a God for sex. Whatever the activity, there was an agency behind it. Ancient philosophers gradually came to explain the existence of these things in non-supernatural ways and so, over time, less and less was ascribed to the divine.
Christianity merged Greek philosophy with Jewish monotheism and outsourced this, as it were, to one distant and all-powerful creative agency. St. Thomas called this agency the “First Mover.” Now, St. Thomas failed in his proof of God, for such proof would require one, again, to be detached from the universe. This is impossible for a human. Nonetheless, St. Thomas may have been more correct than he knew. His notions are entirely consistent with physics as we understand it today.
Science, today, has just become another buzzword. To most people the workings of the natural world are just as mystical and difficult to understand as they were for the wogs who prayed to river Gods. Your average man cannot explain Newtonian Mechanics much less Quantum Mechanics. He could not follow the intricacies of Climate Change data. But he trusts the priests, which we call “scientists” today, to interpret the signs and tell him these things. For the proles, you might as well be a sorcerer throwing runes in the air. As in history, the priests are tempted by corruption. They might, for instance, interpret the signs in their own financial and political interests.
Pop Culture tells us that Atheism is good and rational. All the scientists are doing it now, they say. And so people follow them into folly.
Disbelief in God is actually highly irrational. One could defend Agnosticism through rational argument. “I don’t know” is a valid answer to metaphysical questions. You could also defend personal knowledge of God rationally, i.e. you believe that God spoke to you or did a thing for you. You can’t prove this to another, of course, but for you the argument is still rational. Many come to faith feeling as if God touched them in some way.
To say God most definitely does not exist is claiming knowledge that is impossible for any human to possess. You cannot exit the universe and see it objectively. It is the height of folly, the celebration of ignorance.
But this is par for the course for the modern scientific priesthood. Science, remember, is not coextensive with rationality or logic. It is merely a method of experimentation and observation (one among many). It can explain a great many things within our universe, but it cannot comment on existence itself.
For that only philosophy, metaphysics, and religion will do. Even then, the answer will not be known for certainty until such time as you meet your maker.
In simpler terms, there will never be a time in human history in which an outside agency will not be necessary to explain existence. As Voltaire tells us, even assuming God did not exist, it would be intellectually necessary for us to invent him in order to comprehend our own existence.