On The Existence of God

Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Quick Note | 10 comments

You say you don’t believe in magic right? You think that elves and trolls and unicorns are all fairytales? You don’t believe in monsters, vampires, werewolves, yetis or trolls? Well neither do I!

But wait, you believe in God? That’s a bit odd, don’t you think?

Most people are quite rational about the nature of the real world, at least here in Australia, and look to history and science for facts about people, the world and the universe. And yet when it comes to the idea of faith, there’s plenty of room for magic, miracles, and God. The thing is, they are the same thing. Once upon a time people used to explain away the unknown by giving them a human face. The lightning was caused by gods who were angry, volcanoes erupted because they were upset, storms happened because of fighting seamonsters, witches caused illness, and the sun was a chariot driven by a god across the sky every day. If I told you that I believed all these things to be fact, you would think I was delusional. God is the same as these explanations. I don not believe in any of the historical gods, and I don not believe in the god that is currently popular.

“We are all atheists about most of the gods humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” – Richard Dawkins

Objectors to the above quote will say “But you trivialise the one true God by comparing him to the god of stone-age fancy.” The problem with this argument is that in order for a person to claim that the god they follow is the one true God they too are refuting all the other gods, and thereby live by exactly the same premise, excepting of course their own God. I’ve also read in refutations of this quote that this trivialisation of God is not a fair comparison, because the God they are talking about is not simply a personification of aspects of being like Zeus, or Thor, but being itself. As Edward Feser explains it “Neither does (God) “have” power, knowledge, goodness, and the like; rather, He is power, knowledge, and goodness,” as if this makes the worship of God any more logical, or the existence of God any more plausible. (He also claims that one can’t make a serious criticism of religion without knowing everything about religious tradition, a straw-man claim if ever I saw one. The traditions of a people makes NO difference to the argument of the existence of God, and to say that I have no grounds to stand on because I haven’t studied every historical religious writing is just blurring the argument by hoping to whitewash it with too many trivialities.)

Regardless of how you describe your God and how you decide to define your God, the fact remains that there is no evidence that this God-creator exists. If you tell me, like Feser would have you believe, that god “…is power, knowledge and goodness,” you’d better be able to back that up with observable facts. There is no evidence, not one shred, that this definition of God is any more plausible than the idea of a God sitting on a cloud playing a harp or whatever your fancy may be.

The more we know about the workings of the universe, the less room there is for God. Any god. Yours included.

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10 Comments

  1. Academia is strict about what counts as evidence.

    Evidence and experience of the divinity of Jesus is considered to be dubious by non-Christians.

    Arguments that claim Jesus was God aren’t persuasive – even to confident monotheists (be they of another religion or none). Those arguments are defensive positions, at best.

    Theology itself is without a way to reconcile what is and isn’t divine. Note the historic trend of religious schisming, rather than unification. Each sect of theologians expertly defends their own particular God of Abraham. Yet they have no way to convince even their closest neighbour to accept their theological answers to earthly questions.

    Non-Christians find it revealing when Christian debaters retreat even further to defending the God of the Theologians, instead of defending YHVH of the Old Testament who Jesus claimed to be.

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  2. What it boils down to, in my opinion, is that nobody knows anything whatsoever about the supernatural . . . and that includes God. Anybody who makes any claims whatsoever about anything supernatural is simply making stuff up.

    Adherents of the Abrahamic religions will object, claiming they know God because he revealed himself in their divinely inspired scripture. That’s circular logic, recursive reasoning. One must presume God exists in order to divinely inspire scripture in the first place. It asserts nothing because it’s conclusion merely paraphrases its premise.

    The final defense — and ultimate retreat — is to claim knowledge of God through personal communion with him. This is, of course, meaningless . . . especially since the discovery of the “God Module”. The God Module is neurological circuitry that produces feelings of grandeur, transcendence or out-of-body experiences. The God Module is all that needed to explain away spiritual experiences such as personal conversations with God.

    As Friedrich Nietzsche pointed out, “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”

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  3. I wonder which “god” people will be worshiping a few hundred years from now? Hopefully, none. If they are, I hope at least they come to realize that if there ever was a god that is would be a female one. How about calling her, “Mother Nature” and we could all try to look after her the way she looks after us. What say you?

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  4. For me this is very simple. If you want to have a shot at convincing me something as unlikely and outside the bounds of natural science as a god exists, you need strong evidence. Strong, peer reviewed evidence accepted for publication in a reputable scientific journal. The rest is immaterial as far as the question of any god’s existence goes.

    Also, side-lights like the claim we can’t have objective morality without a god or gods are immaterial. It could very well by that there are no gods and we are stuck with relative morality. It might also be that Sam Harris’ hypothesis that there are ways we can formulate an objective morality. (And in any event, regardless of whether one religion might be true, all evidence points religious affiliation and content of religions is subject and/or cultural, so regardless of what is happening in principle, in practice since religions are subjective things, obviously their moralities are as well.)

    Anyhow, in short, just apply the Sagan quotation regarding extraordinary claims.

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  5. You are confusing the new atheism way of arguing against the existence, or even principal provability of supernatural beings, with the way most believers justify their claim of having knowledge of the existence of the god that is the prevailing one in their local society, which is mostly by some kind of personal and subjective experience, that can not be measured or examined by using the scientific method.

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  6. Rorschach is not wrong. New Atheism says that things that exist involve matter, that science let’s us understand matter, which includes our own grey matter, and that every mystery ever solved has turned out to be… not magic.

    The only thing “new” about New Atheism is its audience. The devout don’t understand what it means to say that their God is invisible to science. He doesn’t interact with matter, which includes our own grey matter.

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  7. I think that the problem with religious extremists is that they refuse to believe that it is all about location. Take http://twitter.com/#!/JoeCienkowski for example. He refuses to believe that the only reason he was brought up as a christian is because he was born in a part of the world that is mainly christian. A lot of religious people refuse to believe this. I’ve even met some who state that if they were born in Iraq or India, they would still be christian instead of Muslim or Hindu. How is this possible when christians are frowned upon in those parts of the world?
    Though I wonder one thing: if I, an atheist, had grown up in India instead of Belgium, would I still be an atheist? Would I still see the fallacies or is my atheism just a series of fortunate events, inspired by the internet, books and school?

    Would you, Martin S. Pribble, still be the atheist you are today if you were born and raised in Afghanistan instead of Australia? Or would you be a part of the Muslim herd, like the rest? I would really like your opinion on this. :)

    Sorry if I said something dumb or illogical, but I’m here to learn, not to lecture. :)

    Greets, Atheist Timothy.

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  8. Invariably when a believer makes an attempted argument we see assertion and question begging. We might also sometimes see circular reasoning, speculation, hearsay or wishful thinking. The believer will never agree that the exact same method he/she is using can be used to prove that all of the many hundreds (thousands) of versions of supernaturalism are equally true and correct. Exclusivism reigns supreme.

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  9. “He is power, knowledge, and goodness,”

    Ok, I will grant the power and knowledge, but why does goodness follow?
    Since most get their idea of god from the 3 main religions, it is my view, this god is evil to the core. As are most of the rulers that have ever lived that had extreme power.

    “He is power, knowledge and evilness”
    Prove me wrong.

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  10. I have linked to you from my blog :) just thought i’d let you know

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