I think, therefore I am. How about you? Do you think? If not, what makes you think you exist? Oh, I guess if you thought you existed, that would be you thinking.
It was a silly question anyway.
I guess what I’m getting at is the fact that you’ve probably heard this phrase before: “I think, Therefore I am” (Or, in the original French, “Cogito, Ergo Sum,” and in Pig Latin “Iway inkthay, ereforethay Iway amway.”). But have you ever wondered where it came from? Good thing you have a Friend like yours truly to clear up the vast mysteries.
Actually “Cogito, Ergo Sum” is Latin, but the guy who made this phrase popular was French. His name was Rene’ Descartes, and he was trying to find a way to reduce philosophy to the most basic of self-evident premises. It doesn’t get any more basic than realizing that you exist. If you need a lot of evidence to believe that you exist, just give up. You’re never going to be anything but a skeptic.
The idea goes back at least as far as Plato (the Greek philosopher, 428 B.C.- NOT the cartoon dog owned by Mickey Mouse), but Descartes was the guy who really made it popular- put it on t-shirts and bumper stickers, founded France’s most popular theme park, “Cogito Ergo Sum Land.” That sort of thing. In short, this is a basis for arguing toward the existence of God. Like many arguments for the existence of God, this one may be tremendously helpful to you, in which case I recommend you read it twice and share it with friends. However, it may not help at all, in which case I recommend you simply putting it your toolbox and remember it’s there in case you ever need to use it. Apologetics (Arguments for the Christian faith) are like tools in a toolbox- if they help you, use them. If not, then forget it. The defense is not the faith itself, and frankly, this one gets a little abstract. I’ll try and keep it simple.
1. I think about my rubber ducky, therefore I am. In fact, I’m looking at him right now.
2. I perceive my ducky, which supports the existence of an external universe (That is, the existence of things other than myself).
3. Even if my ducky is an illusion and does not exist, it still proves that I exist. There is no illusion if there is not a ME to perceive it. Therefore, whether my ducky is real or not, I have still proved that I exist.
4. If I exist, there must be some external universe for me to exist IN. This universe is either eternal and has always existed (impossible- see the Kalam Cosmological Argument) or the universe is finite and had a beginning. If it began to exist, it must have had a cause. That cause must be God (Again, see Kalam).
If there is no external universe, then I am the entirety of the universe. Frankly, I find this idea absurd and indefensible. I may have put on a little weight as of late, but I am NOT the entire universe. But even if I am the entire universe, I am either infinite in age (impossible) or I had a cause. My cause must be uncaused (Or my cause’s cause), and he must be God.
In conclusion, I think about my Ducky, therefore God exists.
This argument is not meant to prove the whole of Biblical theology. It’s more like saying, I can prove that rubber exists, and that is proof for the existence of my rubber duck. Sure, you will need more to believe in my own personal ducky, but if I could not prove that rubber existed, that would put a cramp in any other argument I had would it not?
See, our culture has developed a bit of philosophical insanity. We have actually managed to start believing that truth and reality are both illusions and merely personal experiences. Thus, people like me have to start convincing others that truth and reality exist before we can describe the truth and talk about real things. The average person doesn’t really need this kind of argument, because all of us know that the external universe exists. We have discovered this when we were children in a very early stage of development called
the “Scribble Stage.”
When a child is between the ages of two and four, he begins to learn through repeated experiments that his actions cause determined results in the external world.
He says to himself, “If I hold this crayon on a surface and drag it around like this… then a line the color of the crayon will appear which exactly mirrors the path which my crayon has taken while in contact with the surface. Thus there is a determinate correlation between my movement of the crayon and the appearance of the line.”
If you’ve seen the serious expression on the face of a two year old, you know they’re thinking these things. This is why children don’t talk much as toddlers. They babble a lot because they haven’t yet learned the big words they need to express these early discoveries, but they are TRYING to share them with you. Sometimes they come upon great discoveries, like the relationship between energy and matter, but can’t find the words to express it. The frustration will make them cry a lot, and adults who don’t understand babies will come up with some lame excuse like, “He’s teething.” Babies LOVE having teeth! Why would that make them cry? Honestly, some people will believe anything…
Every toddler is a scientist and philosopher
using repeated experiments to discover the rules of the external universe. Not only do they find that it exists, but they learn the ways in which their choices and actions can affect the external universe. In the Scribble Stage, we discover thousands of proofs for the existence of the external universe, so that, by the time we are in grade school, the idea is already so well established by experimental proofs that we would never question it- until our brains get damaged in college by drug abuse, alcohol, English professors, New Age Philosophy, and Post Modern Novels.
In summary, the three things you can take away from this lesson are:
1. If you can think about a rubber duck, you can be sure that God exists.
2. If you can hold a crayon and think as clearly as a two year old, then you can prove the existence of the external universe.
3. If you attend a liberal college, you may want to wear a helmet to class. Your brain needs all the protection it can get.