The Visit of Mr. Smooth
On the contrary I say that God is real and offers us constant guidance and advice, which followed lead us step by step into the kingdom of heaven. Why do so many well-educated people think that new evidence makes this wildly implausible? It is because so many of our society's intellectuals have adopted naturalism as their personal philosophy. Everyone who goes to a good university is exposed to this viewpoint, which is typically presented as if it were as scientifically solid as evolution or the theory of relativity. In philosophy classes they will also be exposed to some of the arguments for naturalism and, despite the fact that it was only in Philosophy 101, come away with the impression that these arguments are perfectly solid.
I've personally been obsessed with philosophy for forty years and have made my living teaching it for about thirty of those. I say this not to "pull rank" and suggest that my readers take my philosophical opinions on authority. What I suggest is that you not let any philosophers "pull rank" on you. To this end I tell the story of the Visit of Mr. Smooth.
Mr. Smooth is one of the few public philosophers who you will see on PBS once in a while and whose books you might find while browsing in Barnes and Noble. He is not a "pop" philosopher however, he holds the rank of full professor at a very prestigious university and is the author of many serious philosophical works. He visited our campus a few years back to talk about his most recent book defending naturalism. At the conclusion of his talk, one of my colleagues (how I wish it had been me!) asked him about some material that appeared in the appendix. "The argument there is quite curious," my colleague exclaimed, "it appears to be an admission that a crucial premise of the argument of your book is based on the assumption of XXX. Is that true, or am I misunderstanding you?" "Indeed, it is true," Mr. Smooth explained. "My argument does entirely depend on the assumption of XXX. The reason I put that in the appendix is that I know that almost no philosophers these days think that XXX is true. They are aware of the objections to XXX and think it completely untenable. That is why I stuck it in the appendix. If I had put this in the body of my book then people would not have taken my book seriously."
In my forty years of doing philosophy I have found that all the arguments for naturalism are similarly tissue and straw. They get by in my field because at present the discipline is overwhelmingly full of naturalists who view each other's arguments with a certain amount of professional jealousy but from the standpoint of basic sympathy.
Don't take my word for it that naturalism is supported by smoke and mirrors, but don't take the naturalists word for it either. Before deciding to believe that science has proven that God could not possibly exist take a good, hard, critical look at the arguments.