It Doesn’t Matter If God Exists
Atheists are continually fighting with theists on the topic of whether god exists or not. Theists often point at the world and say “Look around you, all this exists because God made it.” atheists counter this with “We have conclusive proof that the way the universe is now is caused by billions of years of cosmic evolution, still there’s no proof of God.” And this is where the debate ends, for a it’s very difficult for a theist to see how the universe couldn’t have been created another way than by the guiding hand of a god, and atheists have concluded that god is not necessary in order for the universe to exist.
In the mind of a theist, the question of God’s existence is of paramount importance, for if there is no God, then their whole universe-view crumbles into a heap. They therefore barricade themselves behind their beliefs, leaving no room for a shift in view. In the mind of an atheist, the constant demand for proof that there is no God is as futile as trying to prove there are no unicorns, or elves, or pixies.
So we are left with a standoff between the claims of theists and their demand that we disprove their theories of god. I’ve not seen it move much beyond that standoff, though there are some exceptions, and theists continually claim that the evidence offered up by atheists as to the absence of a god actually reinforce their viewpoint.
The only problem here is, we’re talking about the unprovable; it is impossible to prove a god exists, just as it is impossible to disprove its existence. And yet we all live our lives in such a way that it does not. Whatever the case, whether god exists or not, there has been no sign of intervention from him or it, an continual advances in science’s understanding of the universe actually fills in the gaps where god once inhabited. The god of the gaps is retreating into the only place that a god could live, and that’s within the minds of humankind.
So what importance does the question of the existence of god hold?
If the God of the bible or Allah exist, then his main interest in humanity is that we worship him, and follow his rules which are more concerned with how and where we “spill our seed” than that we be kind to each other. This version of God must be so petty, and so jealous, that even the thought of not worshiping him is enough to earn a person his wrath for all eternity. It also seems that this god has shown little or no interest in humanity, his prized creation, for the past 2000 years. All those years of prayer, all those lives lost from inaction, the years of wars and famine, and the continual degradation of the planet’s finite resources. Where is god in times of dire need for the entire species? If this is the case, why would we choose to worship him?
In the words of Epicurus:
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
If the deistic god exists, the god who set in motion the big bang and the evolution of the universe, but then left it to its own devices without interfering in any way, god becomes irrelevant except as a “first cause”, and doesn’t not require belief in him or it for humanity and the universe to exist. This version of god, though incredibly important to the creation of the universe, has little or no relevance to the way we live our lives. If in fact this god did exist, things would be very much the same way they are now, and dwelling on this idea is little more than mental navel-gazing.
Which brings me to my point. It matters little if any gods exist; either way we find ourselves in our current situations. Humans have made the technologies we now depend upon, and god seems to be neither here nor there, save a scant promise of the afterlife if we follow his rules, or as the shadow left behind by an uninterested creator. We still live as though there were no god. So what difference does it make either way?
So what difference does it make either way?
God is not the problem here. Religion is the problem. The thousands of years of people saying they know god, they know what he wants, what he demands from humans, and how we should live their lives, all comes from the brains of men. Would the creator of the universe be concerned whether two men want to marry? Would the creator of the universe be concerned about whether you mix polyester and cotton, or gather sticks on a Sunday? I’d say no, but men would be. It doesn’t take a genius to see the words in the holy books for what they really are; political propaganda from a time long past.
We could do wonders if we could set this question aside, and agree that whether I believe, or whether you believe is not important, but that we live this life with as much respect for ourselves and others so as to create societies built on equality, fairness and harmony.