You are currently viewing Q&A: The Multiverse As An Argument For Religious Pluralism?

Q&A: The Multiverse As An Argument For Religious Pluralism?

Thank you very much Mr.Minton for your response to my previous question. I agree apologetics is breaking through into church culture, and how this isn’t the first time Christianity has been threatened. I also agree on how counter apologetics is a bit of an unnecessary term. Finally, I am glad you are already engaged in a sort of counter counter-apologetics. I can’t wait to see how your channel and your ministry as a whole grows****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** So I have a friend, peculiar man but a beloved friend, who I speak to often about religion and such. He’s a self-described Christian Pluralist, he believes all religions are true simultaneously but practices Christianity which he deems most moral. He is in addition a believer in an infinite multiverse like many atheists. The reason I am telling you this is he recently concocted an argument for his beliefs. It is as follows:
First, an infinite multiverse exists. Presently, I don’t believe any sort of multiverse exists due to the lack of evidence and unnecessary complexity of the claim. However, because this is a friend of mine I decided to humour him and say one does indeed exist. Second, in any single universe (such as one like ours) any single religion contains the possibility to be true. Thirdly, in an infinite multiverse, there are infinite universes and thus there are infinite “rolls of the dice” for every religion. Conclusively, He argues that because there are infinite “rolls of the dice”/universes and a chance that any one religion is true than probability states that each religion must be true in at least one universe. If I had to frame it in premises (which I am not skilled with) I would do it as follows.

1. An infinite multiverse exists 

2. Within an infinite multiverse, there are an infinite amount of universes.

3. In any single universe there is a possibility that any one religion is true.  

4. Probability states that each religion must be true in at least one 

5. Thus, each religion is true in at least one universe.

My friend then argued that everyone should practice Christianity because it is the only religion that clearly states that whoever believes in it is saved. He also said it is the only religion where God does not make a difference between people, just if they believe or not. Thus, God will still accept you into heaven if you believe even if you are in another universe.
I think he articulates a convincing argument. I disagree with premise one, obviously.Premise two seems true by the definition of an infinite multiverse. Three also seems true by definition. Since if a religion isn’t logically contradictory (married bachelor) then there is at least a slight possibility it is true. Premise four also seems true, because with infinite universes/rolls of dice then it must be true that every religion is true within at least one universe.

Hence, my question is as follows: Is this argument logically valid? Do the premises lead to the conclusion? Are the premises true? Could this potentially be an argument for Christianity, specifically when dealing with atheists who are believers in the infinite multiverse?

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I would deny premises 1 and 4. Premise 4 is false because, at best, in an infinite Multiverse, you might have some beings develop in evolution with god-like powers. Think of Thor and Loki in the Marvel Universe. But you’re not going to have the Eternal and uncreated Allah of Islam spawn into being. He’s Eternal and created by definition. Not to mention, that this would run into the two omnipotent beings paradox that theistic philosophers of pointed out and I’ve argued that this is why there cannot be more than one omnipotent God. But Muslims believe Allah is omnipotent. They also believe that he’s not a trinity. So y’all way and all are not the same Being. So even if lesser polytheistic religions could sort of be true because the events of the myths took place, at least among the monotheistic religions only one can be true. 

Secondly, as someone who affirms the Deuteronomy 32 worldview (and if you’re not familiar with this, go see my articles on divine council stuff like “What Is The Divine Council and Is It Biblical?” and “Genesis 10-11: The Tower Of Babel, The Fall Of The gods, and The Divine Council Worldview”), he would be just as opposed to the Norse people worshipping super powerful god-like aliens like Thor as he would people worshipping the gods of the nations who were allotted to the nations at the Babel event. So even granted this crazy speculative infinite universe theory, it still would not follow that the one true God wouldn’t demand exclusive worship, that He would allow people to cling to other faith systems. He would. The first commandment would not be void because, in the infinite array of universes Yahweh created, some stuff happened that you would expect to happen if other religions were true in a lot of them. The first commandment would still be in place. Yahweh would still say “Don’t worship the gods of these pantheons and follow their systems of worship, their practices, etc. Believe in me and my Son.”
 
Thirdly, I want to talk about the first premise. I think you really need to push your friend to give some good evidence for the Multiverse. Don’t just concede it. If you’re going to buy into the argument at all, the premise upon which the rest of the argument follows needs to be established. If he can’t do that, then I think we can safely reject it. Why would I disbelieve what the Bible says on the basis of some speculative metaphysical science fiction scenario that has not a scintilla of evidence for it? I tend to want to be a rational individual and it is my philosophy that rational people don’t believe in things in the absence of any evidence or good reasons (properly basic beliefs excluded of course). Ask him to prove to you that there really are an actually infinite number of universes. Any sound argument must have all of its premises true in order for the conclusion to be reached. If even one premise is false, then the whole argument collapses. Now, that doesn’t mean that the conclusion isn’t true (to say so would be to commit The Fallacy Fallacy), it just means that the argument used to reach said conclusion is no good. One has to use another argument. 
 
The Multiverse Theory just has problems with it in general. You have this whole invasion of the boltzmann brains, which early destroys any basis for rationality. There’s no evidence for it. And it violates Ockam’s Razor (i.e the scientific principle that says you shouldn’t postulate explanations beyond what is necessary to explain what you’re trying to explain).  
 
If he wants us to embrace pluralism on the basis of the Multiverse, I just don’t see any reason why we should do that anymore than we should conclude that intelligent design is not the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the laws of physics because of this speculative alternative Multiverse proposal. At the end of the day, it’s very easy for people to just make stuff up. Making assertions is easy. All you have to do is just put some English words together. It is not your place to refute just anything that falls out of a Skeptics mouth. I recommend that you check out my video on YouTube about The Fine-Tuning Argument. I talk about why the Multiverse is just bunk at about 32 minutes in. It’s just total utter bunk. It makes for good storytelling and science fiction, but science fiction is where it needs to stay. You know, it allows you to tell contradictory stories about the same character because all you have to do is just say “Well this movie/cartoon/comic series takes place in another universe”, but to appeal to it to avoid concluding that theism is true (in the context of The Fine Tuning Argument For God’s existence) or that Christian Particularism is true (in the context of your friend’s argument) is just fallacious. Frankly, it takes a greater faith commitment to affirm the infinite multiverse than it does to believe that a Supreme Being brought the universe into being at The Big Bang, finely-tuned it’s constants and quantities, and is the explanation for why the historical Jesus disappeared from his grave and started appearing to his disciples, Paul, and everyone he knew, and that we have to believe in him to have eternal life and not perish. Because at least I have alternative arguments to support each of these. The Minimal Facts Argument for The Resurrection, which I have whole series on, for example, establishes the truth of Christianity. And that’s independent of The Kalam and Fine-Tuning Arguments.
 
But what reasons are there to believe there’s an infinite number of universes with an infinite copies of myself, you, my cats, universes where Pokemon are real, and one man wins the lottery every time he plays? Really, the only reason one would prefer the multiverse hypothesis (it’s not credible enough to be called a theory tbh) is because they want to avoid God. It’s their escape hatch from coming face to face with their Creator. And they want to avoid Him because they don’t want Him interfering with their sexual mores, or for some other emotional reason (e.g if Christianity is true, my unbelieving mother is going to Hell, so I’d prefer it not be true). They do as they did in Paul’s day, “Suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) despite God making Himself evident in His creation to the point of no excuse (Romans 1:20). Or as Jesus said, “This is the verdict; that light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness instead of the light for their deeds are evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will come nowhere near the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20). 
 
Now, this is NOT, I repeat, NOT to downplay people who struggle with real doubts and real skepticism. Anyone who’s read my story knows that I nearly became an agnostic when I was a teenager and that I’ve gone through several big spells of doubt. The first regarded the question “Why should I believe Christianity is true?”, the second surrounded objections to Hell, the third involved the divine hiddenness objection. And I still have momentary lapses into uncertainty from time to time. I have OCD; doubting and being a second guesser is just wired into how my brain works. I’m a perpetual second guesser, which is why I’m extremely glad Christianity has such a powerful evidential case for it. 
 
But the fact that there are real, genuine skeptics and doubters does not negate the existence of people who just resist The Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) and whose unbelief is driven more by emotions than good arguments. You know, sometimes atheists will bring up the so-called Argument from unresisted unbelief. They argue that there are people who are atheists or agnostics not because they want to, but just because they were intellectually honest with themselves. And if there really was a Holy Spirit who was working to bring people to faith, there wouldn’t be any non-resistant unbelievers. Well, I usually give two answers to this argument (1) How do you know they’re not resisting. Maybe they are and they just pretend they’re not [because who honestly wants to tell people that their worldview is driven by their preferences]? (2) Maybe they are unresistant. But guess what? They’re not dead yet. I believe that skeptics who truly ARE just trying to find out what is true will eventually end up at the foot of the cross. I base this on what God Himself said in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and you will find me if you seek me with all your heart.” For the argument from unresisted unbelief to go through, you would have to prove that these people would continue to sincerely reject Christ until the moment they draw their final breath. This is something you can’t prove unless you’re God or a time traveler and you get to ask the non-Christian the second before they die. 
 
I’ve been dialoguing with some people who are skeptical of Christianity who I feel really good about. I think they might end up becoming followers of Jesus at some point, but they just have intellectual stumbling blocks that have to be removed first. 
 
So, I don’t want any reader of this article to think that I’m painting non-Christians with a broad brush. Trust me, if I thought everyone was just explaining away things for the sake of their autonomy, I wouldn’t do apologetics at all. I believe that for all the Caiaphas’s out there, there’s a Saul of Tarsus. You have Lee Strobels in the world who are just wrestling with the data willing to follow it where it leads. Maybe it’ll take them a while, because maybe they have more hurdles to overcome before they’re ready to base their eternity on following Jesus. But for those who truly seek, they will find (Matthew 7:8). 

 

If you have any questions about Christian theology or apologetics, send Mr. Minton an E-mail at CerebralFaith@Gmail.com. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian or Non-Christian, whether your question is about doubts you’re having or about something you read in The Bible that confused you. Send your question in, whatever it may be, and Mr. Minton will respond in a blog post just like this one.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Andro Rizk

    Hello Mr.Minton, thank you for the effort and emotion you have put in your response. Could I trouble you to ask for a little more explanation for the objections against premise 4? I am having a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around the first paragraph in particulair.

    1. Evan Minton

      The multiverse proposes that there are infinite number of universes. With a literally infinite number of universes even the most improbable of improbable of improbable events will occur. So there will be untold numbers of universes where evolution produces creatures that just so happen to resemble and have the powers of polytheistic gods. These would not literally be divine beings. They would be more like the Marvel comics version of Thor and the other Asgaurdians. This is where your pluralist friend was arguing. However, that’s about all you could get. Not even a multiverse could produce uncreated, omnipotent, and omniscient beings. That’s not because it’s improbable, but because it’s logically impossible. It’s an incoherent concept to posit that an uncreated being was created. So religions that posit an uncreated being (e.g Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) cannot all be true. Not even the multiverse could make Jesus both God and not-God (as Jews and Muslims believe), nor could the multiverse make God both a Trinity and not a Trinity.

  2. Andro Rizk

    Alright, I get it now, thank you very much for your response. I see the problems with positing that a mulitverse would create beings that are, by definition, uncreated. But what if my pluralist friend posits something weaker? Like, instead of saying each religion is true perhaps he says the basic/core tenents of each religion is true. An argument for the basic tenents of each religion being true would prove less than the one he made above but *may* be more probable. I don’t know how that would exactly look but I’ll give it a go.
    1. The basic tenents of Christainity are: a miracle working god exists, Jesus ressurected from the dead, the gospels are true, there is some sort of afterlife
    2. there is a chance that the basic tenents of Christainity are true in a universe, however improbable
    3. With an infinite number of universes all propositions that have a chance to be true, must be true in at least one universe
    4. an infinite number of universes(multiverse) exist
    5. the basic tenents of Christainity are true in at least one universe
    Then this same argument is applied to every religion. This does not accomplish the same thing as the prior argument and it doesn’t bypass the problems with the multiverse. But *may* bypass the arguments against premise 4. So the question is, if you phrase the argument so it only promonts the very core tenents of a religion instead of every bit about the religion (including the properties of God e.g uncreated) does it bypass these objections?

    1. Evan Minton

      Well again, I think you ought to push him hard on the premise that the multiverse even exists. Why worry about all this if we’re not even sure there are any other universes? But premise 5 applied to all religions is problematic. Muslims are adamant about God not having a Son. They throw a hissy fit if you even suggest such a thing. It’s blasphemy to their ears. It’s as essential to Islam that God be a unitarian being as it is essential to Christianity that God be a Trinity with an eternally proceeding Son from the Father. Are we going to say that because of the multiverse God both has and does not have a Son?

      Regarding the afterlife, are we going to say that people are both destined to die once (Hebrew 9:27) and they’re reincarnated?

      But let’s grant the entire weight of the argument. What would follow? That it’s ok for everyone to follow their own religious traditions and that people will get to Heaven as long as they’re sincere? Certainly not. God still demands exclusive believing loyalty. The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3). As Michael Heiser sometimes likes to say “There are no Baal worshippers in Heaven.”

  3. Andro Rizk

    Alright, I get it now but I got to say, the way you explained this is excellent. Reading this was like having a vacumn suck in all the brain fog. Truly, Much thanks for taking the time to explain this to me, hopefully some others will benefit from this. I will be cooking up some more questions soon, Mr.Minton.

    1. Evan Minton

      You’re welcome. Glad to be of service.

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