Guy emails us today:
If we cant trust our senses, how can we know for sure whats real or not? How can we justify saying we are sure that something exists and that we arent minds in a vat? This is obviously solipsism, but I was told by a christian that unless I believe in God, I cant trust my senses. I cant trust my senses to tell me when someone else confirms my senses either.
Tell him to prove that assertion. Or just mock him by saying, “All right, if that’s the case, then my senses, which are telling me that I’m standing here talking to a human being, are lying to me, and I am in fact watching a rabbit in a pink tutu dancing Gangnam style. Which suddenly makes you far more entertaining than you have been up to now.”
More seriously, you could simply point out that he’s created a dilemma in his argument. How else are we supposed to believe in God, other than through the use of our senses, by making a choice to adopt that belief? But if we cannot trust our senses before we’ve chosen to believe in God, how can we trust them, when making that choice, to help us know we’re making the right one? Or is there one special moment when we say to ourselves, “I now choose to believe in God,” and our senses obligingly click into place so that they are completely trustworthy for me to employ in making that one choice? How do I know my senses are not being deceived into believing in Gus the Magic Cosmic Hippo, thinking it’s actually the Biblical God?
There’s more! If a Christian tells me I can’t trust my senses if I don’t believe in God, I can’t trust him. I can’t trust anything he’s telling me about God in any way! Because the only way I can hear his message of God’s salvation is by using my senses, which I can’t trust! So I have no choice but to remain atheist. Thanks, Christian! That was easy.