I will start with a quote that represent the mutually exclusive side:
“Christian theism must be rejected by any person with even a shred of respect for reason”. George Smith
Here is one quote from those who think rational thought and theism are a logical conclusion:
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Isaac Newton
I think that the most basic question that we can ask is “Which view-point is the most logical one to hold, that there can or cannot be a god?” God is defined as an immortal being that has infinite existence in the past and in the future. I am attempting to prove the existence of a particular god or the attributes of any god other than the nature of its existence and its power to create all of the stuff we see and can’t see.
If there isn’t a god that created the universe then how did it get here? We must believe that matter is immortal and acted upon itself to form complexity, design, and purpose. Or, at some point on the space-time continuum, matter did not exist and then at another point it came into being. What could have caused this “creation”? Some extant force would have had to act to cause this effect, but where did the force come from?
Okay, so let’s assume that matter got here somehow without a god. Where does that leave us? We have a bunch of matter that doesn’t have complexity or design like evolution purports. Over eons of time some of the matter becomes complex and becomes a life form. This begs the question, is it prey or predator? Either way, what does it eat? This line of reasoning requires simultaneous spontaneous creation of complex life in the right proportions so that there is predator and prey. However, experts in ecosystems know that if you remove portions of it the entire ecosystem can fail. Why is this true? The ecosystem is very intricate and needs many life forms to ensure that it continues to thrive and exist. So, we couldn’t simply have two life forms develop in tandem, a viable ecosystem requires that many life forms would have to emerge at the same time and location in order for it to work. The same line of reasoning would have to hold true as life became more complex, both predator and prey would have to evolve at the same rate, because if they didn’t then the predator would have no source of food.
In general, this belief system seems very complicated and requires many steps of faith along the way. You really have to believe in unprovable circumstances occurring countless times throughout eons of time. This really seems highly fanciful, illogical, and devoid of reason. What would the rational argument be that can convince someone that formless matter underwent a transformation from simple to complex? What example can we point to that shows that anything makes this transformation? I do not believe that one exists.
Theism and creation: If we can’t make a logical argument as to how matter came into existence, went from a very basic form to very complex on its own, then we really are left with one argument. There must have been a force that is not constrained by the limits of time, space and form and that has creative powers that we cannot understand or quantify. We can call this force anything we want, but to say that it is a god is a good start. This force must have been able to not simply create all that we know but to make it complex and interdependent upon the whole.
I will address the question of “If there is a god, how can we know anything about it”.