Philosophy Professor: God’s existence can’t be proved by reason…

Philosophy Professor: God’s existence can’t be proved by reason…

Saturday, December 19, 2015 9:15 pm


Professor Segun Gbadegesin

Professor Segun Gbadegesin

Segun Gbadegesin, a Professor of Philosophy who was Head of Department of Philosophy and Deen, College of Arts and Sciences, Howard University, Washington DC has argued that the existence of God cannot be proved by reason.

He said: “The belief in God is just through faith, not through reasoning. You cannot go far enough with any attempt at proving God’s existence as philosophers like Descartes had to realize once confronted with serious objections to their purported proof because you just cannot prove it as you can prove 2 plus 2 equals 4. ”

Gbadegesin said this in Lagos when TheNEWS interviewed him. He returned to Nigeria recently to prepare for his 70th birthday coming up tomorrow and for which he is presenting his book , entitled All The Way: Serving With Conscience to the public on Monday at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos.

He argued: “I think it was Francis Bacon who gave a very sublime quote that the little science makes you an atheist but deep knowledge of science makes you a believer in God. We can probably say the same thing about philosophy and faith. It doesn’t mean that there are no occasions for skepticism; it comes with the philosophical territory because we are dealing with matters of mind and spirit.”

The mind, according to him, is the vehicle for reasoning, and reasoning “sometimes leads in the direction of atheism, simply because there are certain issues including religious and spiritual issues that you cannot deal with, within the purview of reasoning.”

However, he said that doesn’t mean that you cannot believe in the existence of God and find some justification for such a belief through your life experiences. “Because again we are subjects of mind and subjects of spirit. And it is the spirit that leads through faith in the existence of God. We are not just rational beings. If you invoke the spirituality of your being then it leads you directly to believe in the existence of God and that’s the way I have managed to relate to it.”

He revealed to this magazine that somethimes reason still intrudes. He narrated: “When I sit down in church and I listen to the sermon and I wonder how can one process this through reasoning. Take, for instance, the issue of Judas Iscariot. Judas apparently was destined to betray Christ. If Judas did not betray Christ, Christ would probably not die. But if Christ did not die then there would be no salvation.So why do we condemn Judas? Does it make sense to condemn Judas for betraying Jesus, if you follow reasoning? Of course, it doesn’t.”

When TheNEWS dragged the argument further that Judas should have confessed his sin, the Philosophy professor replied: “Yeah, repenting is different because that would come after the fact. But really, how else can someone be expected to repent? The poor man went and committed suicide because he knew what he did was wrong and to me that is the ultimate form of repentance. But the point is that as human beings, we continue to blame Judas. Christ also led us in that direction because he himself suggested that it is written that the son of man will die but woe unto him through whose hand this is accomplished, meaning that yes I must die but the one who betrays me, woe unto him. If you follow reasoning you cannot reconcile these pronouncements. It is not a matter of reasoning. It is a matter of faith and belief.”

Gbadegesin received his B.Sc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (First Class) from the University of Ife, Nigeria, M.A. and Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Expect the full interview.

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4 Comments

  • Ed00090 says:

    Reason cannot disprove the existence of God either. Our illustrious professor should explain the intricacies of Pascal’s Wager, so named after the French philosopher, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623-62). The wager goes like this: If we believe that God exists and it turns out in the end that God does not exists, we lose nothing. But if we do not believe that God exists, and it turns out in the end that God indeed exists, then we would lose everything including eternal damnation. It seems to me that the process of arriving at a conclusion whether to believe in the existence of God or not involves reasoning.

    Judas’s example indicating that his betrayal of Christ resulted in our salvation is plausible but not convincing. Judas like the rest of us has free will; he could have resisted the urge, temptation, desire, or lust for money and not betray his friend and master. Salvation would have still come to mankind by God perfect plan and by God’s perfect will. The week that culminated in the death of Christ was a terrible week by human standards: Jesus Christ was betrayed by a trusted friend, denied by another, Peter, and the other 10 just disappeared. In the hour when he needed his friends, his disciples, it was a Cyrenian, Simon, from North Africa, who was conscripted to help.

    Reason can help us prove the existence of God and find God through faith that is not colored by psychological egotism or relative thinking.

    • Giraffe-Junk says:

      Actually, reason CAN disprove the existence of God. But, first let’s make sure we are talking about the same God, the Christian God.
      Let’s take a look at His Book. Is man made of Dirt? No. Is woman made from the rib of a man? No. Is the moon a little light? No, it is a reflector. Is there enough water to flood the Earth to the top of the mountains on Earth? No. Can a Wooden Ark the size of Noah’s, when measured using the Ancient Egyptian cubit, float? No. Are skyscrapers currently taller than the tower of Babel could have been? Yes. Can donkeys and serpents talk? No.
      Maybe these are parables that I just don’t seem to understand. Let’s take a look at this Omnipotent Being’s Moral values, surely those must be superior that human morals. Is it moral to kill everyone, save eight, in the largest genocide ever known? No. Is it moral to kill the first born, even though they have nothing to do with your disagreement? No. Is it moral to kill your neighbor for working on the Sabbath? No. Is it moral to allow a rapist to marry his victim, if the rapist agrees to pay the victim’s father an amount of silver? No.
      If you want to talk about another God, I will need to see the reasoning that you believe It to exist.

      • Ed00090 says:

        Your questions and the responses you have given appear to be on sided and the questions are tailored to for the responses your have given. I am not compelled to accept either the questions or the answers in this discussion. You and I can agree to disagree on whether our reasoning can lead us to conclude that GOD exists. I know that the LORD exists because reason tells me that GOD’s aseity or self-existence cannot be denied by reason. The more modern science seeks to deny the existence of GOD, the more the conclusion confounds the most learned. We all become prisoners of our knowledge and say He does not exist; and those of us on the side say, He does indeed exist.

        Yes, I am talking about the Christian GOD; but understand, Christians did not create GOD. Ancient philosophers, Aristotle, for example, even though he was pagan in terms of religious affiliation, wrote as if he was a Christian apologist. We can go on and on; but the simple fact for me is that just as another great skeptic before his conversion could understand the nature and ideals of GOD until he encountered a little boy at the beach who wanted to drain the sea into a small hole, our reasoning, when it is not informed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, will not lead us to GOD. But when Augustine encountered GOD, he exclaimed, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in your, Oh! LORD.”

        Those examples of evil you have given, they are not the handiwork of GOD. The enemy of GOD uses those evil event to cause use to doubt GOD’s existence or his omnipotence. GOD does not allow or permit any of these things; but they occur because we have a free will – the ability to say “yes” or “no”, the ability to do good or evil. Most the time, man chooses evil.

        • Giraffe-Junk says:

          Someone should read his Bible more. My “one-sided” questions are what the Bible states, do you not believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God? There are many, many examples of evil that ARE God’s handiwork. Did God not kill every living being (save eight) in the largest genocide? Did God not kill the first born (even though they had nothing to do with the quarrel between God and Pharaoh)? You can excuse God’s atrocities, but would you excuse away a mass murderer because he “has his reasons”?

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