A story this time! First part is a famous piece written by others, but I made an extended version about the brick wall that I hit in conversations with many believers.
The Fire Breathing Dragon – a Short Story
“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage” Suppose I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!
“Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle–but no dragon.
“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.
“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.
“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”
Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”
You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
“Good idea, but she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.” And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.
You start to get a bit annoyed by my claims about the dragon. It is does not feel like a dragon at all, more like a slippery eel that you can’t get your hands on.
But then you find out that I believe that dragons hold back laser beams. So you setup yet another experiment: fill the garage walls completely with laser beams, just 5 centimeters apart.
“So are we going to see the dragon now?”
“We should not unleash the anger of the dragon by testing him”, I stummer, “but I have good faith that you will finally see the dragon reality now and your eyes will be opened”.
You switch on all the laser beams and what happens? They fill the whole garage, no dragon to be found.
I am silent for a minute. I place my hand on your shoulders and say: “You know what your problem is? You are using logic. You should not use logic with a dragon. You are putting yourself as the dragon of all dragons, judging whether this dragon exists or not. Just have faith. This dragon is way smarter than any of us combined. If I would use logic, I may not believe in dragons anymore. But that is not the way of the dragon. You don’t believe in the dragon, so don’t be surprised that you don’t get to see the dragon”.
You are dumbfounded. I just claimed to you that dragons hold back laser beams, but despite seeing the evidence that they don’t, I am questioning the use of evidence and logic itself.
In a final attempt you ask me: “So what is more important to you, truth or dragons?”
“Oh,”, I say, “that is simple. Dragons are the truth, so your question is unnecessary”.
You sigh, and walk out the door. There is nothing left to discuss. We are both a bit sad and frustrated. What a shame, because we used to be such good friends.
In the discussion I have, on this blog and in real life, I hope this story conveys some of the bewilderment from my side about the arguments thrown at me. I have used a lot of the same arguments – but it really breaks down at the logic. God can’t create a rock that He can’t lift Himself; because God can’t create nonsense. God – if He exists – necessarily has to be logical. Not on our level of logic, but at the end of the day there can only be one consistent reality. Either the dragon is there, or it isn’t. If the dragon says it can hold back laser beams, then the laser beam can be proof of the dragon’s existence.
I really don’t know what to say anymore when the very use of logic is being questioned. It has been, repeatedly now, by many different Christians I know and meet. Okay, God (if He is there at all) is a lot smarter than any of us. I get that. But how can we know anything at all about God, if we can’t even test the claims that others made about God? There have been thousands of religions, thousands of different dragon stories. But even when the contradictions stare us point blank in the face about my or your particular dragon story, then questioning the very use of logic itself is surely not the way forward, is it?