Saturday, December 19, 2015 9:15 pm
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.