(https://twitter.com/hankgreen/status/898380333686468608?lang=en)

In a vlog titled Do you believe in God?, the vlogbrothers’ Hank Green answers this all-important question. His answer paraphrased is that belief in God doesn’t make sense because the word “God” cannot be defined. Hank claims that no-one who has an idea of God has the same idea. Whereas, everyone may have the same idea of a glass of water or some other material object, God (if He exists) is not material, cannot be observed, and so, cannot be defined correctly. In other words, Hank argues that because the word “God” does not make sense, belief in God also does not make sense (see tweet above).[1]

He says:

So for example, interesting question about the phrase “belief in God.” There are more words that are hard to define in that sentence than words are easy to define. For example, “God”? Even people who go to the same church, ostensibly believe in the same god, all have different visions of what God is in their head. Everyone is always going to have a slightly different perception of what that thing– he, she, it, is. But at the same time, it’s a very particular thing to each particular person.[2]

Notice Hank’s simple logic: 1. We should only believe in things we can define; 2. We cannot define God; therefore, 3. We should not believe in God.

Is Hank really right about this?

For the sake of argument, let’s grant Hank’s flawed first premise.[3] Let’s assume we should only believe in things we can define. Does this mean we can’t believe in God? The answer is a confident “No!” Why? Because for millennia we have had the ability to define God. Anselm said it best in 1078 AD: “God is that than which a greater cannot be conceived.”[4] That’s it. God is a maximally great being. He alone possesses perfect power, perfect knowledge, and perfect goodness.[5],[6] How do we know this about God? Reason demands it and the Bible declares it. Clever vloggers notwithstanding, we can define God. Consequently, we can assert that God makes sense and that we are sensible to believe in God.

Hank Green is a nice guy. I like him and so does everyone else. He is well-spoken, extremely entertaining, and enviably talented and successful. I really enjoy his vlogs and I wish him all the best. But, Hank Green is wrong about God.

 

[1] This is Verificationism. For a deeper look, see https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logical-empiricism/, section 4.1.

[2] https://nerdfighteria.info/v/EfKolpFOZLk/

[3] A person may not be able to define beauty for example, but he would still be right to believe in it. Etc.

[4] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anselm/#DivNat

[5] From these qualities, many other divine attributes may be inferred.

[6] https://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/#H4

 

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