A couple of weeks ago Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, invited author and atheist A.C. Grayling on his show. Though Stephen–a well known catholic–plays a parody of a political newsman on his show, he breaks character from time to time in this interview to defend his faith.
Watch the clip here:
I was actually pretty impressed with Colbert’s apologetics, both in his passion and logic. Let’s look at his argument:
1. On the existence of Objective Moral Standards/Laws
Grayling proposes that there is no need for the Bible or religion since, there really is no such thing as objective morality. Humanism has negated the need for the Bible and its laws.
Colbert counters this logic by reminding Grayling that Humanism is informed by the teaching of the Bible. We all need an objective standard to truly have fair laws. Society can lower its standards and make room for great injustices, the Bible does not.
2. On the history and legacy of Humanism
While humanism sounds great, Colbert points out that this was the basic belief system for Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. These men “racked up body counts far greater than any religion in the 20th century.”
Humanism rejects God, and in rejecting God it robs dignity and worth from mankind. Scripture elevates men and gives them worth greater than they deserve; we call this Grace.
3. Pascal’s argument
Stephen alludes to a very famous argument from philosopher Blaise Pascal. Also known as Pascal’s wager, the argument assumes that one can neither prove or disprove the existence of God; one can only make a wager based on sound logic. Here are the two options:
a) If God doesn’t exist, and you accept him, you die and you go nowhere (after all, there’s no heaven or hell)
b) If God does exist, and you expect him, you go to heaven.
In this wager, those who believe (opt. b) have everything to gain if they are right and nothing to lose if you are wrong. But those who don’t believe (opt. a) have everything to lose if you are wrong and nothing to gain if you are right.
While this might not make the best evangelistic presentation to an unbeliever, it is a sound argument for anyone challenging the existence of God. Effectively stating that believing in God is your best bet!