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Frederick Buechner: “It is as impossible for us to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle”

7 December 2013

Frederick Buechner

‘It is as impossible for us to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle. All-wise. All-powerful. All-loving. All-knowing. … God cannot be expressed but only experienced. In the last analysis, you cannot pontificate but can only point. A Christian is one who points at Christ and says, “I can’t prove a thing, but there’s something about his eyes and his voice. There’s something about the way he carries his head, his hands. The way he carries his cross. The way he carries me.”‘
– Frederick Buechner

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 December 2013 3:52 pm

    But Thomas Aquinas has five proofs that God exists…[http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/aquinasfiveways_argumentanalysis.htm]. Sherlock could probably figure out that there was a first mover…or a natural design of his life. I mean, Sherlock is pretty smart, and reason can and does support faith.

    • 10 December 2013 4:55 pm

      Aquinas’ quinquae viae are brilliant, but they can reveal nothing about God except, through an intellectual exercise, to show that he is likely to exist. If you have gotten the impression that Buechner is denying the existence of God here, then I encourage you to read the quote again, carefully.

      • 11 December 2013 12:45 am

        I don’t think he is denying the existence of God, simply that his phrasing is confusing, and that God’s existence can be proved both by reason and by experiences. I had the impression that he disagreed with the use of reason to prove God. Aquinas reveals God’s existence and includes further demonstration of what God is, first mover, first causer, etc.

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