Keeping it Small and Simple

2008.04.05

Why do I doubt God’s existence?

Filed under: Religion — Tags: , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 20:12

*sigh* Here we go again. I am responding to this.

Part 1

We know God exists through the things He has made. “Since the creation of the world, invisible realities, God’s eternal power and divinity have become visible, recognized through the things He has made.” (Rom. 1:20)

Hermeneutics. This just establishes the claimed existence of a god by reference to a book. Give us a method for testing the claimed facts.

Often the reason people reject God’s existence is not based on logic, but on emotion.

Care to back this claim up? I, as I have mentioned in several posts, neither deny nor accept the existence of any god. I do not believe in gods, but I am aware of the impossibility of conclusively proving God’s “non-existence”.

Imagine if we turn the statement around: often people claim that God exists based not on logic, but on emotion. That sounds at least as reasonable as the original statement. I am sure that there are a lot of people on both sides that make a lot of emotional claims.

They do not want to believe in God because this would mean they have to keep His commandments.

Another claim without any support whatsoever. There are many non-religious reasons to follow at least some of those commandments. Laws against killing and stealing, for instance, seem to be pretty universal, even in societies that are not Christian. And of course, the Christian church has historically killed people who have questioned its authority.

St. Augustine says: “He who denies the existence of God, has some reason for wishing that God did not exist.”

This is just a quote from one author, who happens to have been a Christian. The quote confuses the words deny and wish. Asking people who don’t believe what their reasons are would quickly refute this claim.

If there was a Big Bang, who caused it? Every cause has an effect, and there cannot be a limitless number of limited causes. Ultimately there must be an uncaused cause. If we have a line of dominoes and they fall down, something must have moved the first one. God is the uncaused cause, the unmoved mover.

Now here is a really interesting question. Now of course, it is fully possible to be an atheist and not believe in the Big Bang theory, but let’s for a moment pretend that every non-believer also is a believer in Big Bang.

It is an unanswered question what was the original energy that caused everything to happen. That could point to a god, but not necessarily. There could be other explanations, including ones that we haven’t even thought of. And if a god was the original source of energy, does that mean that Christians then accept the Big Bang theory? Because if they don’t there is no need to put this argument forward, since a Big Bang initiated by God is still in opposition to biblical claims.

I could go further and ask why this should point to the existence of the Christian god. Why couldn’t the original energy be Thor? Or Jupiter? Or any other god.

Part II

Here the author lists a few “arguments” for the existence of god.

Argument from Design
This is so stupid I don’t even know where to begin. I can’t speak for all atheists, but I have never met an atheist that claims that everything happens “by accident”. The creation of the universe is normally explained as having happened through a series of physical processes. Hardly an accident, in other words. I’m an agnostic, so I’ll be a bit more careful about proclaiming what actually happened, at least I can see conclusive evidence.

Moreover, this has absolutely no bearing on the very determined building of a car in a factory. The car is built because there is a factory there, there are materials and workers, there is a company that has set up operations in order to produce units of car for a purpose (normally sales).

Argument from Dependency
Even if we accept this it in no way establishes the existence of a god. And even if we choose to use this as an argument, in what way does it establish the existence of the Christian god as opposed to any other god?

Argument from Conscience
Many people deny the existence of absolute moral law. And there are many moral absolutists who deny the existence of god. Utilitarians, for instance, believe in an absolute moral law, but are not necessarily religious (although individual utilitarians could be religious).

Pascal’s Wager
This is pretty the argument that C.S. Lewis’ put forward for believing in God. The problem is that what if you genuinely do not believe? Should you still pretend to believe “just in case”? That doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Of course, the Christian church would still want you to, because they are interested in your money.

The Purpose of Life Argument
This whole argument presupposes that there is a purpose of life. Of course, the author does not present any support for that claim. It may well be that it is valuable for people to think that there is a purpose of life. That does not mean that there actually is one.

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