The Religious A priori
Critiques of Materialism
1)Materialism's view of the universe is too small
Materialism is the antithesis of belief in God, it rules out any such belife on the grounds that a deterministic, reductionist, or mechanistic understanding of the natural world is all that is needed to explain the natrual world.
Materialism is wrong on all these counts; it is not based upon scientfic objective or "ultimate" proof, but is culturally constructed.
Nature doesn't come with little labels on it saying "mateiralist universe." We assume there is nothing beyond the mateial and we invent philosophies about it based upon inductive arguments, but our sample of reality is very very limited.
2) Materialism is simply inadequate--from the standpoint of modern physics.
There is too much going on, too many theories, and many of them contradict what was standard materialist assumption (such as QM theory).
3) Paraigm shifts in many different field have led to the includion of concepts that once would have been anti-materialist.
Therefore, materialism is inadequate and Reductionism is misguided (at best).
4) "Bigger" views of the universe have emerged, and are being accepted/developed by the academic community.
These "bigger universes" include fundamental mechanisms (non-mystical ones!) for mind to 'exist' and to interact with 'matter'.
materialism is wrong, therefore, the door is open to the possibility of God and the supernatural.
Now this argument doesn't prove the Christian God, it could open the possibility to a supernatural without God, or a Buddhistic concept of reality, but the step away form total materialism brins us closer to some sort of belief in God.
5) Materialist double standard.
Theists have a vast array of knowledge and argumentation built up over 2000 years, which basically amounts to a ton evidence for the existence of God. It's not absolute proof, because true, sure enough, actual absolute proof is just damn hard to come by on anything--even most scientific things; which is why they invented inductive reasoning. Science accepts correlation's as signs of caudal relationships, it doesn't ever actually observe causality at work. But that kind of indicative relationship is not good for atheists when a God argument is involved. Then it must be absolute demonstration and direct observation.
This double standard always works in favor of the atheist and never in favor of the theist. I suspect that's because Theists are trying to persuade atheists that a certain state of affairs is the case, and at the same time we are apt to be less critical of our own reasons for believing that. Atheists make a habit of denial and pride themselves on it.
Why is it a double standard? Because when it works to establish a unified system of naturalistic observation the atheist is only too happy to appeal to "we never see" "we always see" and "there is a strong correlation." We never see a man raised from the dead. We never see a severed limb restored. The correlation's between naturalistic cause and effect are rock solid and always work, so science gives us truth, and religion doesn't. But when those same kinds of correlation's are used to support a God argument, they are just no darn good. to wit: we never see anything pop out of absolute noting, we never even see absolute nothing, even QM particles seem to emerge from prior conditions such as Vacuum flux, so they are not really proof of something form nothing. But O tish tosh, that doesn't prove anything and certainly QM proves that the universe could just pop up out of nothing!
(6) Circular Reasoning
"laws of physics" are not real laws, they are only descriptions, aggregates of our observations. So they can't be used to argue for God in any way. But, when it comes to miraculous claims, the observations of such must always be discounted because they violate our standard norm for observation, and we must always assume they are wrong no matter how well documented or how inexplicable. We must always assume that only naturalistic events can happen, even though the whole concept of a naturalism can only be nothing more than an aggregate of our observations about the world; and surely they are anything but exhaustive. Thus one wood think that since our observations are not enough to establish immutable laws of the universe, they would not be enough to establish a metaphysics which says that only material realms exist and only materially caused events can happen! But guess again...!
(7) Materilist Philosophy assumes philosophical hejemony
The Theistic panoply of argumentation is a going concern. Quentin Smith, the top atheist philosopher says that 80% of philosophers today are theists. But when one uses philosophy in a God argument, it's just some left over junk from the middle ages; even though my God arguments are based upon S 5 modal logic which didn't exist even before the 1960s and most of the major God arguers are still living.
Skeptics/materialists pooh pooh philosophy because it doesn't' produce objective concrete results. But they can't produce any scientific evidence to answer the most basic philosophical questions, and the more adept atheists will admit that it isn't the job of science to answer those questions anyway. Scientific evidence cannot give us answers on the most basic philosophical questions, rather than seeing this as a failing in science (or better yet, evidence of differing magister) they rather just chalice it up to the failing of the question! The question is no good because our methods dot' answer it!
What it appears to me is the case is this; some methods are better tailed for philosophy. Those methods are more likely to yield a God argument and even a rational warrant for belief, because God is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. God is a matter of faint, after all, and in matters of faith a rational warrant is the best one should even hope for. But that's not good enough for atheists, they disparage the whole idea of a philosophical question (at least the scientistic ones do--that's not all of them, but some) yet they want an open ended universe with no hard and fast truth and no hard and fast morality!
So it seems that if one accepts certain methods one can prove God within the nature of that language game. now of course one can reject those language games and choose others that are not quite as cozy with the divine and that's OK too. Niether approach is indicative of one's intelligence or one's morality. But, it does mean that since it may be just as rational given the choice of axioms and methodologies, then what that taps out to is belief in God is rationally warrented--it may not be only rational conclusion but it is one ratinal conclusion Now i know all these guys like Barron and HRG will say "hey I'm fine with that." But then when push comes to shove they will be back again insisting that the lack of absolute proof leaves the method that yields God arguments in doubt, rather than the other way around. I don't see why either should be privileged. Why can't we just say that one method is better suited for one kind of question, the other for the other?
(8) Materialism competes at the wrong level with SNism
I can understand a materialist appproach to social issues. I agree wtih Marx's eassay on German Philosophy. We cannot use religious doctrine to settle empirical issues of the felt practical needs of people in the concrete world. But, by the same token, we cannot use emprical scinece to asnswer great oceanic questions or questions on ephemerial matters that require an "ought" rather than an "is." As Hume said, we cannot dervie an "ought" from an "is." Materialism, in so far as it tries appeal to scinece for it's spizerinctum, cannot then claim to prsent the answers to these great questions; who am I? Why am I here? what is life about? How should we then live? These questions are philosphical and cannot be answered through the empirical. For that we must reach beyond the empirical to the realm of values, and then we are treading on the sacred ground of SN, for values are rooted not in solid fact, but in our understanding of what life is about.
The Religious A priori