A Drunk and a Streetlight

I read this article a couple of weeks ago in the Times about an Oxford research project where

[Justin Barrett] and his colleague Roger Trigg will be investigating whether religion is a part of the selection process that has helped humans survive or merely a byproduct of evolution.

It struck me as bizarre – a classic case that illustrates the saying, To a man with a hammer every problem is a nail.

What is at issue here, if you are a bit baffled, is the underlying assumption of the research into the origin of religion that there is a naturalistic explanation. In other words, the idea that God has set eternity in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is excluded on the grounds that God is excluded from the naturalistic worldview. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga wrote about the folly of this position:

[Rejecting the idea of God acting in the world]… is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost car keys only under the streetlight on the grounds that the light was better there. In fact, it would go the drunk one better: it would insist that because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.

– quoted in The Reason for God, p. 86, by Tim Keller

A Drunk and a Streetlight

One thought on “A Drunk and a Streetlight

  1. ReformedChristian says:

    I just ordered Tim Kellers book yesterday and I am excited to read it. The drunk sounds like he has more logic than some Oxford Professors.

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