If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
Miracles and The God of the Gaps
The need to wait
The way the God of the Gaps works is as follows. Imagine a scientist who can explain most things in physics and biology without bringing in the supernatural. He might say that God accounts for all the things that his science cannot explain. When something happens that seems to be beyond the capacity of nature it is put down to the supernatural. The supernatural is hauled in to deal with the vacuum. No scientist does that. But Christians wish they all went unprofessional and did it! It is best that if something can be explained by God to wait for a scientific and natural explanation. What if one is sought for countless centuries and nothing comes? It means that the tools have not been found yet. So it is reasonable to wait.
By bringing in God you are refusing to wait. And if no scientist waited science would never have progressed.
Believers say they do not think they need God to explain everything. They say that evil is an example of something that came about without God. But they say that God makes good and evil is misplaced good so in a sense even evil is from God. They still say they need to explain why God let evil happen. To use the argument from evil as evidence that they don't use a God of the Gaps is bizarre. The argument is not scientific. The God of the Gaps is about science.
It would be dangerous if God were used to explain even some of the mysteries of the universe. A God used to plug some but not all gaps is still a God of the Gaps. The danger is that nobody will agree on what Gaps to fill with God and it is too easy to fill a gap with God out of laziness. It leads to too much guessing.
Limits of science
Science does not have the tools to test some things such as love or consciousness. It cannot test God but it can test if something must have come from a person with the power to make things. It can test God's activity. The way science lacks tools for some things does not make it right to use God to explain anything. Not having a scientific calculator to do some incredible computation does not mean you can use God to give you the answer.
If God exists and God cares about giving evidence then you should assume a gap is not there for God explains it. You will find yourself wrong but God can argue that evidence is about searching and revising the evidence. Remember how religion says God comes first not science. You see now an undeniable proof that God is against science in principle and why believers can be so hostile to science. Religion plots to make any hole in the explanatory data is innocent of being non-evidence of God until found guilty.
Natural or supernatural?
Sometimes what is in fact natural is mistaken for supernatural and if the supernatural happens then it can sometimes be mistaken for being natural. It would be better then to hold that what seems to be supernatural is in fact natural. You can say, "Evidence or something can or might turn up that shows this is natural."
And once you say nature did not do something you must admit you can only guess that God may have done it or that magic did it.
As the gaps get smaller so there is less room for God.
And being unable to explain something does not mean that the supernatural is involved. It doesn't mean the supernatural is even an option. We can't explain how Jack the Ripper could kill under the noses of the police but that does not mean we need to decide the explanation is supernatural. We will be confident that there is a natural explanation that we cannot find or just have not found yet.
To say, "It's supernatural," is to say, "Stop looking for a natural explanation." That is unfair if there is a natural explanation. It is also lazy. If the scientist really believes it then he should stop searching for natural explanations.
It's not very respectful to God to ascribe what may be natural to him for it is neither sane or rational or honest. I mean you cannot ascribe something that God has not directly done to his direct agency. If your egg is boiled it does not follow that God boiled it.
Argument from Ignorance
When people don't know how something happened, they may attribute it to God. That would be saying, "I don't know how it happened so God did it". That would be arrogant. If you don't know then you cannot say it was God. That would be a God of the Gaps way of thinking.
Religion says that there are some events such as the creation of the universe that are not arguments from ignorance. They say there are some unexplained things that can only be explained by God for they cannot be explained naturally. So in cases like this, the God of the Gaps wouldn't be a problem. It wouldn't be an argument from ignorance.
But if you can prove that an intelligence made all things that does not mean it was the Christian God. Even proving a creator would not amount to proving a personal God.
The believers say that the mind cannot comprehend the power that made all things so they have no right to say that God is the only explanation.
Miracles and the God of the Gaps
A miracle is an event that is not naturally possible. That does not mean it is necessarily impossible. There could be a power greater than nature such a god that can do it.
Miracles authorise and demand the "God of the Gaps" kind of thinking. This is just invoking the supernatural to explain things we cannot explain.
How do miracles support the God of the Gaps malpractice?
Religion investigates miracles. If its satisfied there is insufficient evidence of fraud or no evidence, and if the testimonies to the miracles seem to hold up it may recognise the miracle as authentic or permit people to believe in it if they wish. Roman Catholicism teaches for example that the Catholic is not bound to believe in any apparitions of Mary and not even in Fatima or Lourdes. The Church merely says there is no evidence of error or fraud and permits belief on that basis. It does not command belief. This is pure God-of-the-Gaps-ism.
Nobody can ever prove that the witnesses to miracles are right. Nobody can ever prove that they are telling the truth. At best you can have strong indicators that they are right or telling the truth or both.
What is so bad about the God of the Gaps?
The God of the Gaps idea suffers from the following problem.
Suppose a gap can only be solved by positing the supernatural. Does this mean miracle or magic? You can only guess that it was a miracle. You cannot exclude the possibility that it was magical. It follows that miracle believers though they don't believe in magic are still giving magic more credence for they have to make it an option. They only believe it was a miracle and belief can be wrong meaning it might have been magic. In a sense they promote the occult and magic.
And the distinction between miracle and magic is arbitrary. When God raises a man to life its a miracle. When a witch does it is magic. It is no answer to say that miracles promote virtues and magic doesn't. Magic is simply using supernatural forces for good and bad ends so it can be used to encourage virtue. And if it is about virtue, the problem is that the humble person is careful not to be seen as virtuous. So how do you know? Its only guessing.
Religion considers its own magic to be miracle and dismisses the magic of other religions as magic. Its just sectarian propaganda.
Science of the Gaps?
If we don’t know things about reality and have holes in our scientific knowledge, will God do as an explanation to fill those voids? Should we have a god of the gaps? And what happens if we say no! Some say we then have a science of the gaps. In other words, science has the answers even if we don’t have it yet. Religion states that the scientist cannot repudiate a God of the gaps and then put a science of the gaps in his place. Why not be neutral or let people choose one or the other instead of trying to promote science? But the two are not the same thing. If you need a hole filler choose science. If you choose God, then what God? You don't want to be filling the crack up with man's imagined versions of God. That is anti-science. If science is not perfect for the crack then use it anyway - it is all that is there.
Religion says, "God makes all things and is the primary cause. But he has set it up so that the universe he causes can cause things itself. We call that secondary causes. For that reason, it is right to say the primary cause of an apple is God but the cause of its fall to the ground is gravity. Gravity is the secondary cause. There are tools for discovering and understanding secondary causes. Science is one tool. We do not assume that because science has no explanation for something that it must be an act of God. We do not think that there is a God just because science cannot explain some things and God does. God is not a gap filler."
The answer is that if there is a God there is no such thing as a secondary cause in the sense of a cause that God is not fully responsible for. God is as responsible for gravity pulling the apple down as he is for making gravity and apples in the first place. Thus science is not the study of secondary causes but of primary causes that at first appearance look like them. God has more to do with everything than it has to do with itself.
The imaginary secondary causes argument is just an excuse for pretending that science is not about religion and religion is not about science and both can agree and avoid contradicting each other. It fails. Science is as religious for examining God's "secondary" causes as it would be for examining primary. It is in fact more religious for an apple just being there is neither here or there. Religious questions about its purpose are questions about what God made it to do - ie the so-called secondary causes.
And if science is the study of secondary causes then why does it not define itself as such? Because secondary causes presume primary causes and the primary cause would have to be God or might be God. Religion is utterly deceptive or confused when it says science and religion are different fields.
The doctrine that God made the universe not out of anything at all is popular because people misunderstand it. They think God used his power on nothing to turn it into something. But he cannot for there is nothing there. The doctrine says that strictly speaking God does not make the universe from nothing - he merely tells it to come into existence and it does. This is pure magic. Commanding is not making or creating.
Thus the notion of God bringing all things out of non-existence is intrinsically a God of the Gaps notion. It even tries to solve a mystery with an absurdity.
Some theologians reject the God of the Gaps
Theologians argue that God causes being, being means all that exists. To them God is wholly unlike anything we can imagine and creates the universe and the universe is in no way part of him or his body. They say this is the real idea of God and thus God cannot be understood as a God of the Gaps. To them, a God of the Gaps means a creature in the universe with magic powers. The logic is that God cannot be detected by science so he cannot be a God of the Gaps. The Gaps argument is based on the assumption that he is detectable. The assumption is that science is about what God brought into being and is not about God.
The God of the Gaps idea is technically the Supernatural of the Gaps. The idea is that if science cannot explain something then magic does. What kind of being doing the supernatural things is not relevant. Their attempt to avoid the God of the Gaps idea fails.
Religion sometimes says that the answer to, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" is God. They deny that this is a God of the Gaps. But it is. They make a gap that they think science cannot get into with its tests and experiments and fill it with God. Science does have a reply, "It says what is just is." Psychology has an answer, "Just be mindful. Savour the moment and don't ask why you have the moment." For psychology, the answer to why is there something rather than nothing is, "So that you may not ask why and just live in the present and relish it."