I welcome the presence of The Secular Coalition of EKU on campus. A university is supposed to be a place of dialogue, discussion, and diversity of thought.
As someone who has thought a lot about the evidence for and against God’s existence and is committed to Christian theism, my hope is that the religious organizations on campus will engage in a civil and fruitful dialogue with the Coalition, and I encourage them to do so.
As a Christian, I also find it very troubling that the non-religious feel as if they have to hide this fact from others.
If followers of Christ take the words of Christ seriously, then we should seek to live out the biblical ethic of loving our neighbor.
We aren’t told to love our neighbor if they are also Christians, if they go to the same church as us or if they hold the same political and moral views as us.
We are simply told to love our neighbor.
And those who are non-religious are our neighbors.
As we discuss these issues, we should be tolerant in the classical sense of the term.
Tolerance as it is classically understood includes the idea that even though I might disagree with someone and reject their ideas, I should also recognize their right to hold a differing view and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve just because they are human.
In that spirit, I would like to point out a couple of issues worth thinking about that were alluded to in the article.
First, there is an assumption that faith and reason are opposed to each other.
There are certainly people who believe this, but the biblical definition of faith is not belief without or apart from the evidence, but rather trust in what you have reason to believe is true.
Second, there is an assumption in much of what is stated in the article that scientific knowledge is either the best kind of knowledge, or perhaps the only kind of knowledge.
This is scientism, and it is a self-refuting view. The claim that scientific knowledge is the best or only kind of knowledge is not a scientific claim, but rather it is a philosophical claim about science.
As such, it is open to philosophical discussion and debate, as are the arguments for and against the existence of God.
I hope the Coalition is able to help foster this sort of dialogue on campus.
In closing, I’d like to emphasize two things that Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and many other religious believers ought to have in common with members of The Secular Coalition of EKU.
First, we all should exhibit a passionate pursuit of the truth, wherever that takes us.
Second, we should all be dedicated to helping humanity and securing basic human rights for all.
Even as we disagree about these other important questions, we can unite in our pursuit of the common good.
Dr. Mike Austin
Associate Professor of Philosophy