4 Reasons Why I Don’t Believe in God

Over the past week, I’ve gotten a few comments from readers asking me to explain/defend my atheist position. While I’m no expert in science or theology, I’m still an atheist, and my disbelief is the result of a lot of thought on the various arguments for an against the existence of a god. As I learn more, these reasons can change and hopefully solidify further, but for now, here are my most basic reasons why I don’t believe in God. (My reasons for disbelieving in the Abrahamic god and my reasons for disbelieving in a deist god differ, but I will try to tie them together.)

1. Lack of evidence

The lack-of-evidence argument for atheism is possibly the most famous, and although it is possibly overused by atheists and possibly over-attacked by theists, it is a substantial reason for not believing in God.

I believe that what you consider to be evidence depends on your own nature; it depends on your faith and your skepticism. The reason that some theists are so bothered by us saying “there is no evidence for the existence of a god” is because many of them consider everyday things to be evidence of god. What counts as evidence of a god varies for everyone; love, beauty, existence itself, for some, even the bible is good enough evidence.

As a skeptic though, the evidence that would convince me would be more substantial. If the Christian god were real, then I would expect to see God interfering in our lives in the same way that he did in the Old Testament, or I would expect answered prayers or direct interference. If this god existed, I would expect such clear evidence that it would be ridiculous for me not to believe. Of course, many Christians reading this will think “he’s right in front of your eyes, and it is ridiculous of you not to believe.” Consider this, my friend: what is clear evidence to you is not clear evidence to me. I need more.

Although belief in the Christian god would take more substantial evidence like in my examples above, the existence of a vague, unknown “deist god” or deity is harder to pinpoint. Such an ambiguous entity cannot be entirely proven or disproven, but to this end I will say this: a silent deity sure looks a whole lot like a deity that isn’t there at all. As a skeptic, I have no reason to believe that it is there, even if it is and cannot or does not show itself.

2. Lack of necessity

There are plenty of arguments for the existence of a god, some of the most prevalent among them being the arguments from morality, from design, and from beauty. Among these and the other theistic arguments that I’ve seen, I have yet to come across one that convinces me. One might say that I’m biased towards naturalism, but keep in mind that I was raised with a bias towards Christianity, and I came across atheism on my own with no one prompting me in its favor.

One of the most popular stances taken by apologists is “as an atheist, how do you account for (insert phenomenon here)?” A lot of what I have read and what I plan to read focuses on just this: how atheists can explain phenomena and why God isn’t the necessary explanation he once was thought to be. Although I have yet to extensively read about them, there are naturalistic explanations for things like the beginning of the universe, morality, and the illusion of an intelligently designed world. These explanations deem an all-powerful entity unnecessary.

3. Inherent contradictions

One of my greatest qualms with Christianity is the idea of a god that is all-present, all-perfect, and all-powerful. Inherently following these statements about their deity comes the problem of evil (or problem from amount of evil), the problem of unanswered prayer, and the problem of God’s inability to make people believe in him. To see more of my thoughts on this paradox, see my post Playing with Fire.

It’s worth noting that this reason deals only with my disbelief in the God of the Old Testament, but I’ve already mentioned my reason for not believing in a general deity who doesn’t claim to be all-present, all-perfect, and all-powerful. In any case, it’s rare to see atheists and deists arguing over a belief in an ambiguous entity, so it was worth including this argument that is specific towards the Abrahamic god.

4. My own skeptical nature

If you happen to be reading this post in order to be persuaded that there is no god, I’m afraid that this final reason will be least convincing. A big part of why I don’t believe is because to me, I personally find the existence of a god to be outrageous and impossible. One may call it a gut feeling; however, before you think “atheists always tell Christians that a gut feeling isn’t a good enough reason to believe, so why is it good enough for you?” keep in mind that it’s in combination with my other three reasons.

When I see something beautiful in nature, there is nothing in me at all that is inclined to attribute that beauty to a god. When I look up in the sky, I get no sense of a presence “out there” or that there’s Someone watching over me. When I think of some super-powerful detached mind snapping his fingers and setting the Big Bang into motion, I snicker. I see reason in reductionism, and the idea that there’s some incredible conscious being who can speak without a mouth or know without a brain or see without eyes merely strikes me as ludacris. I know that this isn’t much of an argument, but I was asked to explain why I’m an atheist, and at the end of the day, my gut instinct and my skeptical nature play a big part.

What are your reasons for belief or disbelief? Let me know in the comments!


Read next:

I Am an Atheist (34)

139 Replies to “4 Reasons Why I Don’t Believe in God”

  1. The first point is true to an extent. The augment of no evidence can be used by both sides of the issue, but it is actually a logical fallacy called argument from ignorance so neither side can prove anything by saying it.
    Your second point is also valid. There are atheistic explanations for natural, emotional, and moral phenomena, but there are also Christian explanations for these events that make just as much (in my mind more) sense as atheistic ones.
    As for the contradictions, I have yet to find one that I have no explanation for. Many of the ones you pointed out here aren’t actual contradictions. God’s love, power, and goodwill have always remained true, but God has also always given humans free will. Those humans led to the existence of death in the world and are the cause of many appearantly contradicting actions.
    Your fourth point is one that you, me, and all humans suffer with. We all have bias, and the smart ones among us try to avoid it as much as possible. I believe in God partially because it makes the most sense to me as an individual.

    P.S. As for the evidence for God, many people have seen miracles where God healed incurable conditions, and talked to them on a very real, very personal level.

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    1. You’re misusing the argument from ignorance. The lack of evidence is saying that there are claims for a god, but those claims are not adequately evidenced, therefore they should be rejected. That’s not an ignorance argument, it is valid sceptical process.

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      1. The argument from ignorance is saying that since there is no evidence against you (no evidence for God) you must be right. It is a fallacy because when taken alone it gives me no reason to believe what you’re saying. In order to prove that there is no God you have to show some evidence against Him, not just a lack of evidence for Him.

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        1. That’s not the argument that’s being made though.

          But to follow your line of argument, do you believe there is a god-eating monster out there? I bet you don’t! Why don’t you though? Can you show me evidence that there isn’t one? Of course you can’t, so don’t go telling me such a thing doesn’t exist!

          See how ridiculously silly your argument from ignorance defence is!

          Claims for the existence of your god will continue to be rejected until you bring some positive and convincing evidence for its existence.

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          1. You’re right, I can’t disprove, or prove a God-eating monster. This just illustrates my point, I can’t be sure that it doesn’t exist until I’ve looked at the evidence. In order to prove the existence of God I need to do just what you said, bring some positive and convincing evidence.
            The same can be said of atheism I have no reason to believe you until you bring some evidence that convinces me.

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            1. The god claim is rejected because all investigated evidence has so far has been found wanting. Do not assume that the god claim is rejected by those who haven’t looked. If you think you have something new that’s not been previously looked at and is convincing, then by all means bring it and let it be examined.

              You appear to be under the illusion that atheism brings claims. Atheism is what is left when all god claims have been rejected. When that is done, the resuilt is that there is nothing supernatural to believe and so the result is non belief, that’s atheism. Do no muddy the waters by reducing atheism to the level of unsubstantiated belief, that is where religion resides.

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            2. Atheism does bring claims. It claims that other claims are wrong. Atheists at least believe that there is evidence behind that belief. If there are no claims behind your belief then you are the one guilty of unsubstantiated belief.

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            3. Then you’re using the wrong words. That only serves to muddle the conversation.

              You may need to go back and rephrase your statement about atheists and beliefs.

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            4. Oh boy. It’s not me being confused. It’s about you being unclear in your phrases.

              So, let’s rewind. You made a claim about atheists believing stuff.

              Please restate that claim using words that you will not tweek the meaning of when I ask a follow up question.

              Thank you.

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            5. Thank you for telling me where I was unclear. Let me try to explain it clearly. You had said “you appear to be under the illusion that atheism brings claims. Atheism is what is left when all god claims have been rejected. When that is done, the result is that there is nothing supernatural to believe and so the result is non belief, that’s atheism.”
              I think that atheism does bring claims (first sentence of the quote). The main claim is that other religions are not logical, or rational. I also think that atheists believe in certain things, not necessarily a belief that relies on faith, they believe that other religions are, again, not logical, or rational.
              My last point was that if you have no claims to back up your belief then you are not supporting your belief resulting in what you called unsubstantiated belief.

              I hope I was clearer this time, thank you again for taking the time to let me clarify.

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            6. I think you’ll have difficulty getting atheists to accept that definition. The word ‘another’ is a problem because it looks like you’re trying to say atheism is a religion. The word ‘logical’ is also a problem because logical and reality don’t always match up.

              Replace the phrase ‘in another’ with the phrase “the claims of’ and you’ll likely get more agreement.

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            7. I usually do not reply to comments made by others, and I have not comment on this post yet.

              Your are correct; atheism is a belief. I as an atheist I belief there is no god.

              However, atheism is a justified belief for a number of reasons. (1) There is no evidence or coherent reason (needs for a belief to be justified) for god. (2) There is contradictory evidence against an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god. The main one is with this type of god there is evil in the world. In non-religious words bad things happen. (Please do not try to bring the old ineffective attempts to explain evil. Another one is the contradictory nature of such a being. (3) A Christian god is evil in himself. Any being that would damn someone to eternal fire in trash heap (hell) for a non-infinite wrong is acting infinitely badly.

              Another factor about atheism is that it is unlike religious belief; there is no other dogma to accept. The only requirement for one to call themselves an atheist is they belief god does not exist in whatever form, not just the Christian varieties (yes, not all Christianities are the same or even that similar, except claiming something about Jesus). For a Christian there are plenty more to dos on the list.

              Do not expect any reply if you respond to my reply unless you have some original argument or evidence. I have stated three points. And, I do not care to have to repeat myself.

              When I have made my comment to the post you might respond to it. I am backed up at the moment so do not hold your breath waiting—it could be months.

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            8. Thank you for replying to me.
              The first reason you provide is the reason me an limey have been debating. The argument that there is no evidence for God is not a good argument by itself. You have brought other points though.
              There is actually lots of evidence for God that I have seen. Most of the evidence comes in the form is miracles. Good had miraculously healed many people that I know of. Most of these miracles were naturally impossible, God healing cancer, broken bones, down’s syndrome babies, and many similar things.
              As for the contradictory evidence about God, much of it revolves around human free will. Me and most Christians believe that God wants us to be able to choose, unfortunately we often choose sin over God resulting in evil, human caused evil.
              The same argument applies to the idea that God is evil. Good doesn’t condemn people to hell, hell is the place that God is sending the devil, people disturb God and course hell. By the way this third point is not an argument against God’s existence, but an argument that God is evil.
              Christians, at the most basic level, only have to believe in one piece of information, that they were sinners and Jesus’ death paid the price for sin. I’m talking about what I consider to be mainstream Christianity. There is very little dogma here just one simple belief in order to call oneself a Christian.
              Thank you for the thoughtful response to my comment.

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            9. teenchristian2017: I assume most people are atheists because they see no logical (reasonable) reason to accept another belief system.

              I am not religious, because I see no reason to accept any of the common religions. I’ll note that I omitted “logical” because I don’t think it belongs there.

              At an earlier time of my life, I was a Christian because, at that time, I did see reasons to accept that belief system. Again, “logical” does not belong there.

              You are still Christian. I am not. I do not suggest that you are illogical or irrational because of that. You have made a choice for your life. I have made a different choice for my life. I hope we can still respect one another, in spite of our different choices.

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            10. “Your are correct; atheism is a belief. I as an atheist I belief there is no god.”

              I take issue with the first sentence. I am atheist but I do not hold the belief that there is no god. I simply reject the assertion due to lack of evidence, I think it is very likely that there is no god and I behave as though there is no god but I do not state there is no god as a belief. This is identical to my position on fairies and invisible pink unicorns.

              yes, someone who is atheist can hold there is no god as a belief, this is commonly called strong atheism. Atheism itself does not require the belief that there is no god.

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            11. Fair enough. I am a strong atheist, but I am aware of the nuances of the term from one of our host’s previous post. I could still claim that atheism in the weaker form could still be considered a belief. It could be construed in your case you belief there is no evidence for god. And, psychologically, if you are willing to act on the that basis then you hold that belief.

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            12. “It could be construed in your case you belief there is no evidence for god. And, psychologically, if you are willing to act on the that basis then you hold that belief.”

              I see your point. However I don’t like belief is the right word to in the context and I also don’t think that the meaning of belief in this context matches the meaning of belief in the context of religion.

              I’ll try to explain as succinctly as I can. Religious belief is the belief in a deity that absolutely must exist and all evidence is interpreted in light of that belief and arguments are manufactured to justify that belief. The belief is assumed true, regardless. Meanwhile, the statement (or belief if you will) that there isn’t enough evidence to justify belief in any god, is a conclusion that is based on the state of evidence presented and implicit in that is the acceptance that the evidence could change and therefore the conclusion.

              Personally, I prefer to reserve the use of the word belief for opinions that are firmly held and statements with respect to available evidence, which could therefore change, don’t count as belief because of that.

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            13. I would say in the case of religious belief it should be used only in the psychological sense. However, many of these beliefs seem disingenuous; I do not see many rich Christians giving all (not some) of their money to the poor.

              In the philosophic sense belief is as you indicate. I usually say that a belief to be justified needs evidence and coherent reasons. What counts as evidence depends on your presuppositions. My own presupposition as far as evidence is concern is the metaphysical naturalism position (i.e. there are no supernatural entities); this implies that evidence must be empirical.

              However, most Christians hold different presuppositions in regards to evidence. For their beliefs to be justified under these conditions their evidence, which still has to be empirical in part, unless they do not belief in a material world (some Christians did and may still do) along with others and needs to be supported along with coherent reasons (they cannot escape this). Even under these conditions I still do not think their beliefs can be justified. There is an exception for needing reasons, and that is direct perception. Although, even then one needs to be able to trust their perceptions, which when thought about needs reasons to accept. Granted, we usually do not so reason.

              I will say that the general conditions (there are objections) for knowledge is true justified belief. This has three components. This implies that each could be held sequentially going backwards. You can have beliefs that are not justified, and you can have justified beliefs that are not true. You can have non-justified beliefs that are true, but under these conditions you cannot claim to have knowledge. I believe the truth of any knowledge claim is either what aligns with the world or is proven in mathematics and logic. Sorry if you already know of this epistemological position. I did feel it was necessary to state where I stand.

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            14. “The argument that there is no evidence for God is not a good argument by itself.”

              I disagree, very strongly!

              Though I would not phrase it like that, I would say the evidence is not good enough to accept the proposition.

              If someone makes a claim (there is a god) and when pushed the evidence is not convincing, then it is perfectly valid to reject the claim on that point alone. If you think the evidence is good enough to accept the claim, then it is up to you to bring that evidence for assessment and scrutiny.

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            15. “I suppose I could say this:
              I assume most people are atheists because they see no logical (reasonable) reason to accept another belief system.

              I hope that’s clearer.

              Marginally. You’re still talking like atheism is a belief system on an equal plain to religion. This is not the case and I will continue to push back very strongly against that phrasing. it is no accurate.

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            16. “The other beliefs that I hold contradict the idea of a God-eating monster. I believe that God is all powerful, and can’t be eaten by some monster.”

              To avoid me making any unfortunate assumptions, can you confirm the reason why you do not accept the idea of a god-eating monster please. Is it because you hold an existing belief that does not allow for a god-eating monster? Is there any other reason which would lead you to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a god-eating monster? Do you actively hold the belief that there is no god-eating monster?

              Sorry for the barrage of questions, I want to be clear on your position.

              One last question, what do you think my position is on the god-eating monster and why do you think that is my position?

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            17. I haven’t really given it much thought, but I would have to not believe in a god eating monster for a few reasons. The first is that it is contrary to the nature of God to be eaten. He is supposed to be all powerful and never-ending. Second I have never seen anything about a god eating monster anywhere.

              I would assume that you don’t believe in a god eating monster because you don’t believe in a god, and you probably reject the idea of a god eating monster itself.

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            18. So your existing belief precludes the existence of a god-eating monster, therefore you don’t accept one exists? That being the case, on what basis is your belief a valid representation of reality?

              I believe the god-eating monster exists and has eaten your god, the reason is that there is nothing new written that is from your god, it’s all old. This means that your god has been eaten by the god-eating monster and it has now left the galaxy in search of other gods. *

              okay, that’s not true. But see how I can create a ‘belief’ that fits the environment as I imagine it?

              In reality, I reject the idea of a god and the idea of a god-eating monster, not because of any belief system, but because no convincing evidence for either has been presented.

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            19. Obviously I believe that my belief is a valid representation of reality otherwise I would be silly to believe it.
              Your argument for the god eating monster, while made up, presumes that God doesn’t move in the world today which He does. I reject the idea that there isn’t a God because I haven’t seen any convincing evidence against Him, and I’ve seen plenty of evidence for Him.

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            20. Aha, now we’re getting to the real meat of a challenging discussion, evidence 🙂

              Evidence against existence is a fun one. Have you ever seen any evidence against the existence of an invisible pink unicorn? No? Then why don’t you believe one exists?

              Discussing the lack of evidence against is generally fruitless and claiming that you have not seen any convincing evidence against existence doesn’t really get anyone very far. One should examine the evidence as a whole and ask the question, what is the most appropriate answer for this evidence and how can I test if my preferred answer is the correct one?

              Two main areas that Christians go to on this are the existence of nature, which is satisfactorily explained without a god and adding in a god as the source adds nothing to the explanations so that claim really is a dead end for god. Or they go to miracles, which are very poorly evidenced to be utterly frank. There are piles of second hand claims and when you consider that unexplained things happen in nature anyway, the god explanation is weak and in need of a method of confirmation. Tests carried out on the efficacy of prayer don’t show a statistically significant result.

              If you wish to go on about evidence for god, I am very happy to, but it will generate a very long comment thread and this isn’t my blog so TCA may need to make a call on how welcome that would be.

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            21. I’ve been following these conversations, mostly because I get notifications from each comment 😛 but I’m not opposed to lengthy discussions/debates as long as they’re somewhat productive and not going in circles or deteriorating into a name calling match. I feel like this is a fruitful discussion though and I don’t mind if it ends up going on for a bit.

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  2. I have the following remarks on your 4 reasons:

    Reason 1:

    I am not clear on what you mean by “depends on your nature.” I think you may mean to say it depends on your presuppositions, such as mine, which is metaphysical naturalism, which is stronger than methodological naturalism, which is what science practice demands. Or, do you mean (and I cannot imagine that you do) it is in our genes, or possibly personality, which is slightly better.

    If there is no evidence for a biblical god, then there is no evidence for a deist god. By evidence I mean positive evidence. I am not referring to contradictory evidence for a biblical god. However, the fact that our universe is not perfect in the sense that nothing goes wrong (e.g. choking to death on food or dying of cancer from a genetic defect) is contradictory evidence against a deist god. A bumbling deist god could still exist, but there is still no positive evidence for any such existence.

    Reason 2:

    I am not aware of any positive evidence for any necessary god. God’s necessity has yet to be proved. There is the ontological argument, but this has been found to be wanting by many, including Immanuel Kant, who was a believer. One reason that crops up as an argument against the argument is that existence is not a proper predicate. But, there are others.

    Reason 3:

    The Old Testament god, hence the New Testament god which is based on it, does not come across as perfect to me. If he was all knowing why did he ask Adam where he was. And, how could a perfect god created an imperfect world, which later he had to wipe out the majority of the living (I always wanted to know if fish were killed too, and did Noah build fish bowls in the ark).

    Reason 4:

    My skeptical position tells me that there is no empirical evidence (the benchmark for the existence of anything) or valid argument for god’s existence. It has nothing to do with a gut feeling. This is not to deny that there is plenty of feeling going on when I argue against god’s existence (argue about anything really). It is just that I do not base my beliefs on them (this does not apply to my actions)*. I do think that beliefs based on feelings are what people call intuitions.

                                       - - - - - - - - - - -
    

    I have a whole lot more evidence and arguments against any type of god’s existence. I am planning on writing a blog post about why I am an atheist. I hope it would be alright if I post a link for it in a comment here to this post. It maybe awhile. I just started a blog post on what I think spirituality might be and why I am not a spiritual person, even though I know some atheists that claim to be.

    And, finally, great post.

    Deliberate actions would be impossible without feelings.

    PS – What do you call your individual pieces? I call them “posts” as I have above. Do people just use a “blog” for these?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I really like your idea of positive and negative evidence! I feel like I alluded to it but not in so many words. I look forward to your post on why you’re an atheist!

      I always just call individual pieces “posts”, and the entire website/collection of all of them a blog. I think of it as a blog being the whole TV show and a post being an episode within that TV show.

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      1. I actually never heard of these terms in the philosophy of religion. Maybe I need to read an introductory text and see if they are used. And, this is the first time I have ever used them. You could just say “it just came to me.”

        Thank you for your input on the blog question.

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  3. I am sorry I am coming a little late into this, but I think I have something to add to this conversation. Since this only a comment section I will have to be excusably short in some of my statements and allow any replies to iron out any questions. Even though they may be short, I think they will be adequate if thought about instead of quickly replying.

    Lack of Evidence
    a. You want God to interfere more as He did in the OT. There are two problems with this. First, we are no longer in the Old Covenant (another word for testament), so one should not expect God to “interfere” according to Old Covenant standards. Second, when one considers the scope of the entire OT, God only “interfered” (i.e., performed miraculous actions) for a very short time during the close to 4,000 years of the OT period. The only miraculous time frames were: the Creation (a 6 day event), the Flood (a 1 day event), the Tower of Babel (a 1 day event), scattered parts of the ministry of Moses and Joshua (a little over 40 years), the life spans of Elijah and Elisha (60 years), a handful of moments during the life of Daniel (5 years?). So as you can see, over 4,000 years and at best miracles were scattered through only 65 total years. So miracles were not happening very much even in the OT.
    b. If you are looking for scientifically measured natural evidence for a supernatural being, you will fail. That is kind of like looking for American Eagle clothes in an Abercrombie and Fitch store. However, there is very good historical, experiential, and philosophical evidence for the existence of God. Just ask (or read) Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel (who both came to faith after trying to disprove the existence of God).
    Lack of Necessity
    a. There actually is not a single Naturalistic explanation for the existence of life. There are what we call theories, but there is no scientific natural explanation. There are theories for the existence of God, but no scientific natural explanation.
    b. While there are theories as to how morality came to be, there is absolutely no explanation as to what morality SHOULD be (please excuse the caps, I am not yelling). While there are theories about morality’s emergence, Naturalism cannot measure one’s morality against another because morality is simply preference, there is no inherent end goal to morality. Some people may say morality’s end goal is survival. But even with that, what constitutes good surviving differs from person to person. Naturalistic morality is based on PREFERENCE, not RIGHT VS. WRONG.
    Inherent Contradictions
    This is way too long to address. To sum up what I want to say here though: incorrect theology leads to unbelief. For example: you bring up the problem of the existence of evil even though God is omni-present, perfect, and powerful. These two things items you bring up are not inherently contradictory. There is nothing contradictory about a perfect being creating beings with a free will to reject him and for the created beings to learn the consequences of rejecting Him (evil). God did not create evil; evil is what we walk into when we walk off the path God marked for us.
    You also say God is unable to make people believe in Him. God is not unable, He is unwilling to do so. If He made people believe in Him, belief would not be based on love, the greatest thing God wants from us (see: Christ’s answer to what the greatest commandment is), but coercion. As I said, wrong theology leads to unbelief. It is wrong theology to think that mankind does not play a role in his salvation (in reply to your “A Look at Lutheran Doctrine” post).
    My Own Skeptical Nature
    I too am naturally skeptical. But my skepticism has led me to read the authors I already mentioned and other authors like Ravi Zacharias, Sean McDowell, and C. S. Lewis and I have found their arguments (as well as many other evidences) to be much more coherent, consistent, and thereby convincing than Naturalist explanations.
    But I cannot argue against your experience. I can just say you can widen your experience.

    Please forgive me for the long short comment. Thank you for your openness.

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    1. “However, there is very good historical, experiential, and philosophical evidence for the existence of God.”

      You may need to define what you mean by historical evidence. If you mean stuff that can be measured, then no it’s not good evidence for god because no god has been found in the remains of the past.

      Experience is a highly subjective and biased position and not at all a good measure of evidence. Do you want to argue that people really have experienced being abducted by aliens?

      Philosophy is not evidence.

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      1. Limey,

        Thank you for your reply.

        The history of the life of Christ is very well documented. I would recommend reading Josh McDowell (More Than a Carpenter) and Richard Bauckham (God Crucified or Jesus and the Eyewitnesses).

        Experience may not always be reliable, but that does not mean that it is not ever reliable or even mostly reliable. If you throw out experience, they you throw out every witness testimony in every court case. Sometimes experiential evidence is the best evidence we have. How does someone know they love their child? Through brain scans or experience? Of course one can test the experiential claim of people to see its validity.

        Ironically, the claim that “Philosophy is not evidence” is itself a philosophical and biased claim.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, experience might be reliable, it is also known to be unreliable. It is known that the act of recalling a memory changes that memory. It is known that people can be implanted with false memories. Courts now know this and a case that brings only testimony is weaker than a case which backs up that testimony with corroborative evidence.

          How does a third party know I love my child? By the words I say or by how I talk to and treat my child?

          “Ironically, the claim that “Philosophy is not evidence” is itself a philosophical and biased claim.” That it may be, but what evidence is there to support it? The definitions of evidence of philosophy would be a good place to start. Try prosecuting someone in court with philosophy and see how far you get.

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          1. We agree that experience is not the best evidence. But that does not mean it should be totally discounted.

            The words you say and how you talk to your child are all experientially received and verified. If we were to ask a child how they know their parent loves them, they would give experiential evidence. If we were to ask a parent how they know they love their child, they would (most likely) give experiential evidence.

            We use philosophy all the time in court. It is a philosophical belief that lying is wrong. That is why it is illegal to purposefully lie when giving a testimony.

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            1. “We agree that experience is not the best evidence. But that does not mean it should be totally discounted.”

              And not should it be assumed to be true. When all you have is the word of someone that something apparently impossible happened, what is the most reasonable response?

              How a person behaves towards their child is something that can be recorded and measured and critically analysed. Experience is not required to confirm the results.

              How would you determine if someone lies in court?

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            2. “And not should it be assumed to be true. When all you have is the word of someone that something apparently impossible happened, what is the most reasonable response?”

              Their is a fallacy in your first sentence. It is the Straw Man fallacy. I never said experience (or testimony) should be assumed to be true. You are not arguing against my argument, but against a straw man.

              Secondly, there is more than just one person’s testimony that Christ rose from the dead (something you call “impossible”). There is also physical evidence.

              Thirdly, something is only impossible if it cannot be done. If Jesus was God, then it is not only possible but plausible that He rose from the dead. When arguing against a claim, you have to take into account all parameters within the claim, not just limit them to your own biased beliefs.

              “How a person behaves towards their child is something that can be recorded and measured and critically analysed. Experience is not required to confirm the results.”

              Right. I am sure you record, measure, and critically analyse your actions when trying to determine if you love your child. I get what you are saying, and of course you can measure experience, I am not denying that, but experience is the logical foundation of many of our conclusions – with or without measurements.

              “How would you determine if someone lies in court?”

              This reply indicates that you missed the point of my statement. My statement proved that philosophy is used in court all the time. It proves that philosophy is a valid form of argumentation.

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            3. “there is more than just one person’s testimony that Christ rose from the dead (something you call “impossible”). There is also physical evidence.”

              Rising from the dead is impossible because nature does not support that happening. It would require a genuine supernatural act.

              The testimony you refer to is what is in the bible I assume. It’s alleged that Jesus rose, his rising wasn’t witnessed, only his allegedly risen body. The context of the documents is suspect, written years late, not necessarily by those who were there and subject to unknown numbers of translation and editing and selection.

              I’m far more interested in your claim of physical evidence, I assume the shroud will come up, what else is there?

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            4. “Rising from the dead is impossible because nature does not support that happening. It would require a genuine supernatural act.”

              Correct. We agree on that. But if there is a supernatural God, then it is possible, not impossible.

              “The testimony you refer to is what is in the bible I assume. It’s alleged that Jesus rose, his rising wasn’t witnessed, only his allegedly risen body. The context of the documents is suspect, written years late, not necessarily by those who were there and subject to unknown numbers of translation and editing and selection.”

              I would say that your paragraph is suspect, not the veracity of Scripture. I suggest you read Josh McDowell’s “More Than a Carpenter”. It is a small book that demonstrates that the biblical text has not been corrupted and address you other claims.

              “I’m far more interested in your claim of physical evidence, I assume the shroud will come up, what else is there?”

              No, I would not bring up the shroud. The physical evidence is the empty tomb of Christ. This is powerful evidence because there has to be an explanation for an empty tomb. The only explanation that is strongly plausible given all the historical events surrounding the day is that Christ actually rose from the dead. Again, I suggest you read the short book, “More Than a Carpenter”. Remember if we are looking for physical evidence for Christ’s resurrection, the first thing we need to find is that there is no body of Christ.

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            5. “The physical evidence is the empty tomb of Christ. ”

              You can quote me a document that says it was empty a few days after Jesus was put into it.

              Can you demonstrate that any of that is true? Do you have physical evidence that any of it happened? No, all you have is a written claim. Claims are not evidence that the event happened as claimed, they are only evidence that someone is making the claim.

              You might be able to show me the tomb this allegedly happened in, but what would that actually demonstrate?

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            6. Actually pretty much every historical document we have says that his body was not in the tomb. Even Jewish authorities (who did not believe Jesus was the Messiah) recognized the tomb was empty. That is why the belief from people who did not believe Christ rose was that his body was stolen while the guards slept. But again, if you really are interested in investigating this further, I suggest you read “More Than a Carpenter”.

              A written claim is evidence, but not necessarily proof.

              I am going to have to let you have the last word as I must move on. Thank you for your time.

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            7. “A written claim is evidence, but not necessarily proof.”

              Evidence for what though? Evidence that the idea was about to be written down, yes. Evidence that it actually happened? not really.

              There are written records for all sorts of things that are known to be untrue. Written records with material support are really not a reliable method of determining the accuracy of events. Especially events that are said to be supernatural.

              If you take the road of accepting as fact the resurrection of Jesus based only on the documents you have, then you have to face the uncomfortable question of which other similarly claimed supernatural events you will also accept. Which other world religions with supernatural claims are you prepared to accept? What about other the plethora of ghosts and aliens and other strange stuff that is documented out there?

              If you only accept those that support your religion, then you open yourself up to accusations of extreme bias or blinkered closed mindedness. If you accept them all, then you risk exposing yourself as being credulous and gullible. Neither reflects well.

              recommending that I read a book doesn’t change any of the above.

              Sorry you have chose to announce your departure from the conversation just when we were getting detailed and technical.

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  4. Not believing in God does not mean He doesn’t exist. Facts, evidence, science, philosophy, experiments, research or notions are not the basic knowledge to ascertain His existence. You believe He doesn’t exist, so be it. But disapproving His existence still doesn’t change the truth.
    You can only know Him or experience Him when you connect to Him. God gave us the power to choose what to believe.
    I have encountered Him and still experiencing His presence, so how can it be that I won’t believe He exists.
    Connect to Him in your spirit and you will never regret it.

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    1. But disapproving His existence still doesn’t change the truth.

      I find that a rather interesting statement. Think about it. If it were >b>absolutely proven that your god did not exist, would that not be truth? Or would you continue to live in a fairy-land of belief similar to a child’s conception of Santa Claus?

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      1. My God talks to me, I hear Him, I feel His presence. The human brain can’t explain His existence. Mere looking for physical prove is living in a fairy tale.
        You know Him by revelation not by argument, not by physical studies, not by ignorance.
        Being an atheist is having one-sided knowledge.
        Have you asked yourself this question: How did you come to exist? Answer it before you can know if He exists.

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    2. ” God gave us the power to choose what to believe.”

      Could you chose to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of your garden?

      “I have encountered Him and still experiencing His presence”

      How do you differentiate between experience god and the physiological effects of bias and wishful thinking?

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  5. I read the article, but not the comments. Forgive me if I am rehearsing thoughts already shared. I just wanted to say thank you for your courage and honesty in expressing your reasons. As a Christian and a person who is passionate about thinking through/wrestling with doubts and questions like these, I long for more people to be open about these things. And, as a Southerner living in the Bible belt, I recognize the reason for staying “in the closet.”

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  6. I agree with all your points, but the main reason I don’t believe in God is a different, psychological and historical one. After being raised an agnostic, then having an experience that led to conversion into a conservative Christian church for a number of years, then leaving it under traumatic circumstances, I didn’t want to call myself a Christian because of so many terrible things done in the name of Christ. I still wanted a relationship with Jesus, though.

    After a while I noticed that the God I’d been taught to believe in (the God of the Bible) was a projection of many of the worst aspects of human nature. He was a narcissist, demanding utter allegiance and calling it love, being jealous of anything that might distract his followers, punishing the slightest infraction, punishing for no reason but to make a point that he could, blaming others for his own mistakes, savouring their humiliation, and simply having no respect for anyone. While the same fictional God also demonstrated good character qualities on many occasions, narcissists often do the same to manipulate those around them. I didn’t even know about narcissism as a personality disorder in those days (this happened many years ago), but I recognized that such behaviour in a person would be considered abusive. Much more recently I identified that one of my parents has the disorder. As a child I experienced this selfish, controlling person as an ally and protector. I suppose it set me up, when I left home, to need the same kind of god looking after me.

    From that insight, it made simple sense that people would invent such a religion to control others around them. One day I discovered (with terror, at first) that I didn’t believe in God any more.

    Deists rejected the kind of god I’ve described above. But they were used to believing in a god, and that was harder to let go. They held onto the aspects that provided a sense of meaning and order in the universe.

    The way I see it, our existence is inherently meaningless and tragic, though it can also be as meaningful, hopeful, and beautiful as we choose to make it under the circumstances. I am a writer, so I often say, “I believe in metaphor.” I respect people who believe in gods and use religion for their own sanity and progress, not at the expense of others. A metaphor can be as rich and powerful as we want it to be, and to the extent that our creativity and courage will allow.

    For myself — based on my understanding that people invented religion (either deliberately or unconsciously) out of fear of death and as a tool to build social order — it doesn’t make sense that there ever was a god. As a student of the sciences in general (and specifically biology) I don’t see any evidence for intelligent design. Yes, the universe is complex beyond understanding, but it’s also immensely tragic, and therefor flawed. Life itself occurs in a way that would offend any being with an ounce of compassion, but we find a way to make the best of it. This is what the journey is all about.

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  7. I agree. If you are to be objective and skeptical, there is simply no evidence to support the existence of a god. That is the reason why it is called faith; you are believing in something in which there is no proof of existence. This is something that theists should keep in mind. It also naturally follows that what a theist believes to be the nature of god is highly likely to be wrong and it would be foolish to think otherwise.

    There is a quote that sums up my belief in the word of god (Thomas Paine)…

    “The word of God is the creation we behold and it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man.”

    To me, science is also the study of Creation. If there is a contradiction between what I believe and what is scientifically known, my belief is clearly wrong and I need to reassess. A lot of theists don’t want to do this for various reasons.

    I don’t believe that the god in the old testament is the same god in the new testament of the Christian bible because of the contradictions that have been noted. Even the history of the bible is troublesome. I don’t know how well committees worked in the Middle Ages but I have a hard time believing that there were better than what we have today.

    Unfortunately, the contents of the bible were decided by a committee. Even if you give the benefit of the doubt and the bible was the word of god, it was penned by man and over the centuries the divinity has been diminished. Translating a work from one language even if there is no nefarious purpose unintentionally changes its meaning. We also know that the bible was rewritten and amended a few times with less than honorable intentions (for example tithes were not in early versions).

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    1. When you spoke about what faith is, I thought of how funny it is that atheists and Christians have such different definitions for faith. Christians say faith is something alone the lines of God having control over a situation even though you don’t know how it will turn out and you can’t change it. Atheists typically say instead that faith is believe without evidence. You would think that the religious might be more reluctant to use the word faith so much, since to the rest of us, we see it as silliness rather than a virtue.

      Out of curiosity, are you a deist? Although you reject the god of the bible, you mentioned Creation and quoted Thomas Paine, who is a famous deist. I checked your blog’s about page, but I didn’t see any clues to your religious identity. Your adoption and fostering of your kids is really cool, though! 🙂 It’s great that you have taken them in and made their lives better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know what I am. Rather than try to force myself into a certain set of beliefs, I spent several years discovering what I really believe. It is just that deism is the closest label to what I believe (and I use it as a reference). Not sure if I can call myself one because I am skeptical with the absolutist belief that the Creator has not interacted with Creation.

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  8. To give my thoughts on this great post you’ve written:

    “1. Lack of evidence…”

    Acknowledging that there is a lack of evidence for the Christian god? That’s good

    Why? Because: Christian faith is ultimately not built off of evidence: ultimately not built off of what can clearly be shown to exist:

    “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.”
    ~Hebrews 11:1

    My only qualm with your post would be this quote:

    “One of my greatest qualms with Christianity is the idea of a god that is all-present, all-perfect, and all-powerful.”

    Because you yourself are not “all-present, all-perfect, and all-powerful,” you will thus have a limited understanding of what it means to be all-present, all-perfect, and all-powerful.

    My point being: How can it be said, with certainty, that “God can’t be ___” when you yourself do not entirely understand what it means to be ___?

    For example: Have you tried to see the entire interior of a house through the peephole on the house’s front door? It’s impossible. There is so much more to the house’s interior than what your limited peephole-perspective can show you. i.e.: Through the peephole, you can see that the kitchen leads into a hallway, but because the hallway’s lights are off you can’t see where the hallway ends.

    I don’t say this to come across as high and mighty, like I myself have all the answers and am perfect in every way. (Like everyone else, I’m imperfect in more ways than one.)

    I say this to try and convey the reality that: Since we aren’t perfect, can we say, with certainty what “perfect” looks like? No.

    A reality that the Bible acknowledges:

    “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”
    ~Isaiah 55:8-9

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    1. Your idea that my limited understanding wouldn’t know what an infinitely more powerful, good, and intelligent being would do in any given situation, or even how it would manifest itself, is interesting. However, to me it sounds a lot like the old “God works in mysterious ways.” If we used the argument “I’m finite, he’s infinite, how would I know what he would be like?” I feel like that automatically stops us from critically thinking about it before we start. If we can’t say “what WOULD such a creature do?” then any claims about God’s morality would be moot and couldn’t even lead to a discussion on it.

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      1. Thank you for replying.

        To address the question on which your comment is based:

        “If we used the argument ‘I’m finite, he’s infinite,’ how would I know what he would be like?”

        I believe that we (i.e., humanity) can know what God is like to a limited extent.

        Which is why I use the example of looking through a peephole in a house’s front door: We can have some idea of what God is like — we can see parts of the house — but we can never comprehend God in His entirety — we can’t see the whole interior of the house just by looking through the peephole on the front door.

        The Bible — and, for me as a Catholic, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) — are the “peephole” that one looks through — resources that one uses — in order to understand God better and, thus, be able to ask questions like “What WOULD such a creature do?”

        When all is said and done, though, faith in God is just that: Faith. The assurance of things hoped for, not the assurance of things known with certainty. (Hebrews 11:1)

        I can give you evidence that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

        I can give you evidence that Earth is billions of years old.

        I can give you evidence that the closest star to Earth is 4 light years away

        But what I cannot do is give you evidence of God and what He is like in His entirety. I can’t point to something and say “Look, there’s God” because I’m seeing the world through a limited, keyhole perspective.

        And even if I could point to something and say “There is God,” there’s no guarantee that you would believe.

        Why?

        Because: The Gospels record more than one account of people seeing Jesus back up his words with actions, and not believing that he was who he said he was. Hence why he was put to death.

        Does that address the points you made in your reply, or would like me to go into more detail?

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        1. “But what I cannot do is give you evidence of God and what He is like in His entirety. I can’t point to something and say “Look, there’s God” because I’m seeing the world through a limited, keyhole perspective.

          Which means there is no way to know that what you say about your god is true. There is no way to test or check if the claims you make about your god.

          Which means, as I already said to Jim elsewhere on this post, there is no good reason to believe any of it.

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            1. “Hence the necessity of faith. (Hebrews 11:1)”

              or wishful thinking. When you can’t differentiate between what is actual and what is make believe and instead fall to faith, you are not making a rational argument and you should not be surprised when people refuse to take your claims seriously. It’s not because they are incapable of understanding or comprehending, it’s because they simply refuse to accept as truth something that can’t be demonstrated. This is an entirely reasonable response.

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            2. After giving my words more thought: To expand on my reply:

              “When you can’t differentiate between what is actual and what is make believe… … …they simply refuse to accept as truth something that can’t be demonstrated.”

              If you read my previous words “The Bible — and, for me as a Catholic, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) — are the “peephole” that one looks through — resources that one uses — in order to understand God better…” than you will know that I do have a basis, rooted in reality, for my belief in a god: The history of the Catholic Church.

              Specifically: The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

              If you want to claim that I have nothing to back up my “assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1) than in order to prove your claim, you’re going to have to do the following:

              Study the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church, providing irrefutable evidence that Catholicism has no basis in reality. To do that you’ll have to, for example, give me irrefutable evidence that Apostolic Succession is, in fact, not “uninterrupted.”*

              Prove that Catholicism is a sham. If you aren’t willing to, than you can’t say, with certainty, that I can’t “…differentiate between what is actual and what is make believe…”

              *Apostolic Succession: “…the uninterrupted transmission of spiritual authority from the Apostles through successive popes and bishops, taught by the Roman Catholic Church…”

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            3. To support the notion that there is no god reason to believe is your god, all i need to is ask you for the experiment that i can do to test that your god exists.

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            4. “…all i need to is ask you for the experiment that i can do to test that your god exists.”

              Since you bring up doing an experiment to prove the existence of god, you most likely already have an experiment in mind.

              So, I have a question: How do you know your experiment is the “right” experiment in the first place?

              What I mean when I ask that question is: In order to prove anything with an experiment, you need to be sure you have all the right variables in the first place.

              For example: You can’t do an experiment to see if water freezes at 32 degrees if the environment you’re working in is 72 degrees and the liquid you have at your disposal is root beer, not water.

              So: Since you want me to do an experiment, name the variables you’re looking for me to experiment on in order to come to believe in this being I call “god.” Then the experiment will be that much closer to being able to be conducted.

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            5. I don’t have an experiment in mind.

              You’re the one who claims there is a god so you get the pleasure of defining the experiment. I just want it detailed so i can replicate it.

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            6. To repeat what I said earlier: The notion of experimenting on God sounds egotistical to me. (For a reason that I made clear in a previous comment.)

              And so, I won’t be doing it.

              Why?

              Because: Pride is a vice that I detest.

              That is the reason I will not be conducting an experiment.

              You can believe my reason or not.

              The choice is yours.

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            7. One more thought regarding doing an experiment to prove the existence of God:

              The idea of doing an experiment to prove God’s existence sounds egotistical.

              When you say “…all i need to is ask you for the experiment that i can do to test that your god exists…” what are you implicitly saying is “If God doesn’t react how I expect Him to react in my experiment, that means He’s not real.”

              And that’s not how the universe works.

              It is scientifically provable that the world does not revolve around you.

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            8. It is scientifically provable that everything that we know exists can be shown in an experiment.

              If your god can’t be shown to exist then your god can’t be known to exist. So we’re right back at there is no good reason to believe that your god exists.

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            9. Actually, we’re not right back to “there is no good reason to believe that your god exists” because I gave you a reason already: The history of the Catholic Church.

              In order to discredit my belief in God, I challenged you to prove to me that Catholicism is not as firm a foundation as I currently have no reason to doubt it is.

              Which you refused to do.

              Which, ultimately, is no fault of mine: The choice to refuse was entirely yours.

              I am done with this conversation, and will no longer be replying to your comments.

              The reason why is:

              I have said everything that I can say as clearly, and as with much love, as I can.

              From our conversations, you should know 3 facts about me:

              What I believe.
              Where you can find my beliefs.

              And, as a result:

              Why I believe what I believe.

              What you do with these 3 facts is your choice.

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            10. “In order to discredit my belief in God, I challenged you to prove to me that Catholicism is not as firm a foundation as I currently have no reason to doubt it is.

              Which you refused to do.

              You can’t give me a set of instructions that I can follow that will demonstrate your god exists. In your own words, you god’s existence is held on faith.

              You can’t get a less firm foundation than that. It is the exact opposite of a firm foundation.

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            11. I’m going to play a bit of devil’s advocate here (and maybe a bit of quibbling). There are some things in science that is believed to exist but we do not have conclusive, if any, proof they exist (ie only theoretical). Until recently higgs boson would be such an example.

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            12. Yes, the Higgs Boson was hypothesised and some were confident it was a real thing. Did they stop there and start proclaiming it was real? Did they tell everyone who suggested there could be an alternative suggestion that they were wrong or ignorant or that they needed faith?

              No, they built a hunking great expensive experiment to test the idea, and then they tested it again and they they wrote a paper and submitted it for review and then they tested again and then and they are still testing it, even though it has been found.

              Ditto with gravitational waves.

              That is how knowledge progresses.

              Except when Christians talk about god. Apparently god is special and gets in a sulk when people are unconvinced by wishful thinking.

              Liked by 1 person

            13. Even while Higg boson was still theoretical (and even with vast parts of astrophysics), research continues and even builds upon the theoretical with assumption being it is true. IMHO, that is similar to faith. Now, where scientist and theist differ is in the reaction to disproving information (one accepts and moves on and the other resists).

              Should I bring up how rowdy things got with the topic of Pluto being a planet? How about warm-blooded dinosaurs? 🙂

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  9. To me ‘Lack of Evidence’ is definitely #1.
    ‘Lack of Necessity’ seems like the reverse side of ‘Lack of Evidence’. The absence of evidence for a God (#1) and the abundance of evidence for naturalistic explanations which suggest we don’t require a divine explanation (#2) are two ways of interpreting the same body of evidence.
    ‘Inherent Contradictions’ (#3) are a big one for me too, but without evidence it is a mostly philosophical argument. They are useful for at least showing that some believer’s ideas of God’s properties, though not necessarily the existence of some king of a ‘God’, can’t be true for their contradictions and paradoxes. But it can’t go much further without evidence. Quantum Mechanics also makes bizarre claims that defy a reasonable sense of logic, but the difference is that QM has been thoroughly tested and has produced startlingly accurate results. Again, evidence is needed to sift the good arguments from the bad.
    Skepticism (#4) is a good attribute to have. But the same skepticism that produces doubts about God, also produces flat-earthers, vaccination and climate change deniers and customers for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop! Skepticism can quickly get out of hand and you won’t know what to trust anymore. The solution is to come back to what the evidence says.
    You are right to say that people have different ideas about what ‘evidence’ is. The starting point for any debate with a believer is whether you can both agree as to what is ‘evidence’ and that such evidence should be the basis for testing arguments. Without an agreement, the argument can’t proceed. If ‘love’ or ‘beauty’ is evidence; then we open the door to complete subjectivity. If our own existence, consciousness, ability to comprehend or question is evidence; then at best we suffer the problems of the anthropic principle. At worst, we make evidence meaningless and can prove anything or more likely nothing.
    It may seem as if evidence can be overused, but all other arguments lead back to it. But in another respect, it is under-used. It is not as if there is the odd fossil, the odd rock, the light from some odd star that is causing doubt. And it is not as if there exists potential evidence for God but it is only slightly off the mark. Instead, there are millions of fossils and rocks, billions of stars and multitudes of other types of evidence supporting explanations with no need for the divine. Even in such abundance, it survives tests of reliability while counter arguments are hopelessly far off the mark. When you take the types of evidence available and then consider the magnitude of the quantity and quality of such evidence, it simply overwhelms alternatives. It is difficult to overstate or overuse.

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  10. This was a well written post. I am definitely NOT an atheist, but I think you made some great points. I have just a couple of thoughts that your post stimulated.

    On the lack of evidence. I think there is a lot of things in our world that point to something outside of human or nature itself as being the source of our world. But I concur with you “what is clear evidence to you is not clear evidence to me. I need more.” I think that is a fair demand and something we should all keep in mind when discussing these kind of things.

    On the lack of Necessity: you call it an illusion of intelligent design, which I think is a great phrase. Yet, I don’t think it IS an illusion. Things do appear to be ordered and almost designed to work the way they do. The DNA replication process is such an advanced process we can’t replicate it with the most powerful computers in existence today. Yet, it is the building block of life. I don’t think you need a god for this to happen, but I don’t think one can fairly say that this is an illusion of design either. Still, it is a far greater leap to say life MAY have had a designer, and therefore Christianity is true.

    On Contradictions: You have strong points there and I know that my apologist friends have all the answers figured out on these things. But I too am unconvinced. I have seen these contradictions play out over and over again. It has led me to consider that perhaps the modern Christian view of God is off. My own view has changed because of these very things you point out. I still think the evidence leans to intelligent design, but I have doubts that this being is as involved in our world as the modern church has proclaimed he is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Even though I see general “intelligent design” as more likely than a Christian take on origins, I still see no necessity for it. If nothing else were to entirely persuade me, I would still wonder how adding a complex being into the picture helps answer a question about the complex universe.

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      1. I think it only helps temporarily. If one concludes that life on earth is so vast and complex that it more than likely requires a complex intelligent designer, you then have to wrestle with the issue of “How did the far more complex designer get here?” and you are right back at the crux of the argument.

        Without a designer, you have to explain how something so vast and enormous could come into existence from nothing, when we know that nothing x nothing always = nothing.

        Removing the complex designer being doesn’t seem to help much either. Either conclusion one arrives at has its own new set of unanswerable issues. No matter what side you choose, it comes down to accepting as true something you can never know for sure.

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  11. While I can’t definitely prove it, I now see the idea of God as a man made concept, much like Santa Claus. Unknown and amazing events such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes were attributed to God’s in the past, but since we know how these things work now, a ‘God’ doesn’t need to fit into the equation.
    We can’t say for certain there is no God, but we can almost certainly say that the God’s of the major Abrahamic religions don’t exist, since their existence entirely depends on the truthfulness of their scriptures.
    I wrote an article covering in detail why I no longer believe. To sum it up I would say there’s no evidence supporting many of the Old Testament claims but also that I encountered a few moral dilemmas later on (The many problems with Hell, how can a loving God do X and Y???).

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  12. #3 is #1 for me.
    If I’m asked to believe something, I must understand what it is before I am capable of believing it or not.
    I await a coherent description. Pretty sure one is not forthcoming, based on what I’ve seen up to this point.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I’m curious, as I read this, to find out what “more” you need to prove that a God exists?

    In my experience, both sides of the argument often have preset answers waiting any question posed by the opposite side. It’s always a back and forth discussion that inevitably proves fruitless.

    So, I suppose a general conversation is in store, for I am genuinely curious!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Although…it would be hard to get scientific proof that the prayers were answered. Asking God to help you get a job and boom you got a job. Answered prayer or coincidence?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have to admit, it would be near impossible to get even one scientific study demonstrating any such thing. A person asks God for a job and “boom” she gets a job. Did God answer the prayer or did she get the job because she applied, interviewed and was the most qualified for the job? There would be know way to scientifically check to see if god did indeed answer the prayer. That is not the same thing as proving that god does not exist and that the prayer was not answered.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. While it may have a few challenges, I don’t think it would be too difficult to create a study with very specific outcomes that are prayed for which would be highly unlikely without divine intervention. There are plenty of ways to reduce the margin of error. So no, it wouldn’t be “near impossible.”

          Also, I said that it would be a great step forward, not that it would prove without any doubt the existence of a deity.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “A person asks God for a job and “boom” she gets a job. Did God answer the prayer or did she get the job because she applied, interviewed and was the most qualified for the job?”

          That’s a good and valid response. The answer is that you do several studies involving prayer and the prayed for response vs the otherwise expected response. The studies need to involve several groups with no prayer, Christian prayer and other deity prayer. Increase the number of studies and you increase the volume of data and the accuracy of the results.

          If there is a statistical difference between the results from Christian prayer and other results, then there is something that demands further study and there is scope for discussion on more detailed analysis. If there is no statistical benefit, then the idea of a Christian god should be considered dead.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Interestingly, there have been several studies on this topic. I didn’t read through this whole article, but enough to learn that this has been attempted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_intercessory_prayer

            Even though there appears to be some type of statistical benefit to prayer, one can’t rule out that the prayer itself made the difference and not the god prayed to. So all it proves is that prayer seems to make a difference in people’s lives, and that much I think we know.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I don’t think it says what you think it says.

              From that wiki link:

              “A 2003 levels of evidence review found “some” evidence for the hypothesis that “Being prayed for improves physical recovery from acute illness”.[45] It concluded that although “a number of studies” have tested this hypothesis, “only three have sufficient rigor for review here” (Byrd 1988, Harris et al. 1999, and Sicher et al. 1998). In all three, “the strongest findings were for the variables that were evaluated most subjectively. This raises concerns about the possible inadvertent unmasking of the outcomes assessors. Moreover, the absence of a clearly plausible biological mechanism by which such a treatment could influence hard medical outcome results in the inclination to be skeptical of results.” This 2003 review was performed before the 2005 MANTRA study and the 2006 STEP project, neither of which were conclusive in establishing the efficacy of prayer.”

              Liked by 3 people

            2. Limey, I didn’t read the whole thing. But the portion you shared comfirms my view. Even when there were some apparent advantage, however slight, the results were treated with skepticism since there is no real way to prove that the impact wasn’t caused by something other than the deity.

              I do think we can find studies that show prayer and meditation help people with their lives, but that doesn’t prove a god exists, and that is a different question.

              Liked by 2 people

            3. “Even when there were some apparent advantage, however slight, the results were treated with skepticism since there is no real way to prove that the impact wasn’t caused by something other than the deity.”

              Or even if there was an impact at all, that’s the point, the measures being criticized were so subjective, that it wasn’t possible to determine if there even was an advantage. The problems start way before you get to the question of what could have caused any apparent advantage.

              “but that doesn’t prove a god exists, and that is a different question.”

              Which leads to the obvious question, why would anyone believe such a thing does exist?

              Liked by 1 person

            4. There are a lot of reasons people believe in God. An atheist will not accept any of those reasons as compelling reasons for the existence of a godlike being, and I think that is fair. But there are reasons that others find compelling.

              But I agree with your point. There was no way to really measure the impact of prayer, so the studies carry little weight. I think they would carry more weight if there were a vast difference in results.

              Liked by 2 people

            5. My argument is that since there isn’t a study or experiment that can be done that conclusively indicates the Christian god exists, there is no reason whatsoever to believe there is one.

              it’s not so much a case of finding the reasons compelling or not compelling. There are no reasons at all.

              Liked by 1 person

            6. Limey,

              I guess that is where we differ. I can see both sides of the argument. I understand why atheists arrive at their conclusions. I also understand why people who believe in a creator God arrive at their conclusions. Even though each side of the argument might claim that the other side has no basis for their view, or no valid reasons, I think they exist on both sides.

              Liked by 2 people

  14. In my case my atheism resulted from my learning about the contradictions in the Biblical texts and then learning about copy error, translation error and editorializing by scribes.

    You see in my Catholic high school one year we studied the Bible. That was eye opening. And it gave me a knowledge of the texts much better than a lot of priests. But I knew that all of Christianity was horse shit and nothing more.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. My feeling now is that I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all that the Holy Bible says he is… because I want to believe.

    When I didn’t believe, before my turning, I might have been an agnostic… “show me, I don’t see it.”

    But now, I feel that anyone who doesn’t believe is holding some reason that causes them not to see, not to want to believe.

    I can’t make you see, I can’t make my own family see, it’s up to the individual to strike up the interest to seek God.

    Your list of reasons for disbelief, as lucid as they are, will move an unbeliever to agree wholeheartedly. But, I could refer you to a list of reasons to believe, as drawn out in a books such as Lee Strobel’ s “A Case for a Creator,” or even “A Case for Christ.” And these only further the belief of one who already believes.

    But then, you may already know, or at least have heard all that. I don’t believe you are uneducated or naive.

    We look at the same question, the same evidence, the same circumstances and get different answers.

    Back to what I said… There’s a reason you don’t want to beleive, and there’s a reason I do. Sometimes it’s lack of understanding, sometimes it’s different perspective, sometimes it’s occurrences or people in our lives, sometimes it’s feelings that drive us.

    Just my thoughts, not trying to disrespect or slam your views. In fact, thanks for sharing them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your respect towards others with differing beliefs.

      How is a feeling enough to base the foundation of your life on?

      In my experience I grew up in a Christian home and deeply wanted to believe and searched for god for years. I eventually became an atheist. How would you argue against the many cases like mine?

      Lastly, and slightly off topic, I feel that The Case for Christ was terribly written and seemed incredibly disingenuous.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for your reply, and for keeping a civil tone. I appreciate that.

        I do respect other worldviews, maybe because I’ve seen that there are so many influences in our lives that effect our thoughts and beliefs, but most likely because my own view has been changed. I remember where I came from, where I’ve been.

        I do regret my use of the word, “feeling” in my opening. In my haste, I admit, I picked a pretty ambiguous word.

        To re-address my point and attempt your question, I could have said that it was a change of heart that allowed all of that “God stuff” to start to make sense. It was not overnight at all, but, my thoughts and desires are so different now that I “want” to believe, I choose to take that leap of faith. And when I do, everything fits.

        So what’s changed, really, is my understanding of what the foundation of my life is. And that is, that it’s not about me at all. The foundation of my life is something that started long before I was conceived, does not exist solely in my experience on this earth, and will last on into eternity.

        My belief is that my story is only a tiny cameo appearance in the greatest story ever told, the story that contains all stories! I’m just a face in the crowd, a huge crowd.

        And… get ready for this… That’s the best news I’ve ever had! That’s the foundation of my life.

        And, my friend, I cannot argue against your story, it’s your story. It’s completely valid. I don’t mean to sound self-righteous or condescending, but I just may empathise with your experience. Mine was the opposite, the reverse. You said you were a Christian and you eventually became an atheist. In all honesty, does that mean your faith and perseverance died off, and you gave up on God?

        Interestingly, I was deeply engaged in some pretty dark parts of this world, I was leading an ungodly life, and my ambition and trust in this world died off.

        Some may give up on trusting God, some may give up on trusting in this world.

        Forgive me, this is not meant to be an attack. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers, I’m no scholar or theologian. I just have my beliefs, as you do yours.

        You said that you still have an open mind, that’s good. Keep seeking the truth… we should all keep seeking the truth. If we do so earnestly, whole heartedly, and tenaciously… we are sure to find it.

        About the book reference, I’m impressed you read it, but I didn’t expect you to give in at that. It was a reference to the idea that each side sees the others’ views as mere foolishness.

        I hope I didn’t say too much, I didn’t want to offend, just sharing “feelings.”

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I don’t feel attacked at all, as I’ve been a believer in the past.

          However, to answer your question, no my faith and perseverance did not “die off” and I did not “give up on god.” In fact, I started looking at nonchristian viewpoints while an incredibly active Christian who was heavily engaged in my church and was going to mission trips every year. I began looking at other viewpoints in order to understand people who didn’t believe like I did. As I delved deeper into the arguments, the atheistic arguments made more and more sense to me.

          And as far as the book reference goes, I see what you meant to do now. I read through your post a little too hastily I suppose. However I still feel that Strobel came across as somewhat anti-intellectual in his book when it suits him. He touts the credentials of those who agree with him but when someone disagrees he claims often that they are imprisoned in their ivory towers. I guess this is mostly irrelevant to our discussion now, though.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. “There’s a reason you don’t want to believe”

      It’s not about want. It’s about ability. I can not believe something that has not been demonstrated to be true. Desire has no place in that equation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Of course, you may believe what you want, as you desire. But, at the risk of sounding argumentative, I must stick to my choice of words here.

        I believe it IS about Want, it’s always about Want. We have free will, and we make choices based on what we Want. I nelieve we do have that ability.

        Faith is trusting in the unseen. Trusting in what has been proven, or what is seen, is just trusting in cold, hard fact. It’s static.

        I do agree with you that Desire has no place in an equation. Math, or Science is our discovery of the evidence of a Creator, when Faith is the desire to have a relationship with him.

        Seeing proof is relative… some look at all of creation and see evidence of no god, others look at the same creation and see a Master’s hand in it absolutely everywhere.

        Peace.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Of course, you may believe what you want, as you desire.”

          Telling those who don’t believe what it is that they do believe is a common trait among Christians. I see it often and it is arrogant and dismissive. Please don’t do that. If you truly wish to understand why atheists say what they do about Christianity, it will serve you well do make the effort to understand their motivations and not attribute your incorrectly assumed attitudes onto them.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t know if there’s a God nor care. I believe the Buddha was asked about heaven, hell and God and he refused to answer because it’s all just speculation, a mind game and we need to live in THIS world, NOW. We need to help each other through this life. That’s all that matters. The Quran, the Bible, are all dead words. Use live words, “How are you?” Answer that.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Number 1 stuck out the most to me. I’m a Muslim (you’ve probably already stopped reading lol), and we believe the Quran is the word of God. Hard to believe? Well the Christian bible has been rewritten countless times by man. The Quran has N E V E R been altered/omitted because we don’t believe ANY human can change the word of God. The Bible was not finished. Jesus himself says (not sure of the exact verse, I’ll have to get back to you on that) that someone is coming after him to spread the word of God. Thousands of years went by, and no one came (yet) so it appeared as if Christianity was “finished” . We as Muslims believe Jesus is the second to last prophet, the last being of course Muhammad. There are many similarities in the Quran and in the Bible, yet the Quran says clearly that Jesus wasn’t crucified but it “was made appeared that he was” . But anyways, there are MANY mathematical and scientific discoveries in the Quran that drove me to believe this was the truth. I’m obsessed with science and I follow a religion that actually goes with science. The Quran mentions a detailed description of a child forming in the womb, planets in orbit, the expansion of the universe, the two seas that meet but don’t mix… how was all of this known 1400+ years ago? These are very recent scientific discoveries. And since they are in the Quran, and the Quran has NEVER been changed, we believe that the Quran is the word of God. Also for mathematical evidences… the word “month” is mentioned 12 times in the Quran. The word “day” mentioned 365 times. The word “male” and “female” both mentioned equally 23 times (number of chromosomes from each, 46 combined). The center of the earth is made of iron , the Quran has 114 verses , the middle “center” of that is verse 57 al hadid “the iron”. Are all of the coincidences? Or are they really the word of God ? Despite the few facts I told you, there’s a lot more. I’m still finding out new discoveries myself. I would like to hear your response!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In order for you to prove the Quran is the word of God, you need to first prove a god exists – and not just any god. It has to be YOUR God. And just because the Quran has some items you have interpreted to be scientific fact, doesn’t mean the whole book is infallible. Start with proving the existence of your god, then prove he actually spoke to Mohammed and bestowed all this knowledge to him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 80% Out of everything that is in the Quran has been proven to be 100% true . Can I personally prove the existence of God ? No , I’m not a theology scholar . The only thing I can say is that there is one God. I know you’re going to say “which god” , and everyone else from other religions claim their god is the only god as well . But it’s hard to understand if you’re an atheist . Basically there is one god, and in the Quran it says why there is one god, how there’s one god, and why there can only be one god. Muhammad was illiterate , he could not read or write . How is he going to just come up with all of these scientific facts ? If God didn’t speak to him , how else would he have come up with the entire Quran ?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your questions are arguments from ignorance. I don’t claim to know how Muhammad wrote all that down or IF he did. I question your 80% claim and ask you to provide evidence. Which 20% is incorrect and does every Muslim agree with your assessment? Regardless, if you cannot prove your god exists, then you have no logical basis to believe that he inspired the Quran. Therefore, whatever the Quran says is totally irrelevant. You cannot prove god exists, so you cannot prove he inspired it. I remain a confident atheist. But thanks for your honesty.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. I didn’t necessarily mean that the remaining 20% was incorrect , I meant that is the remaining part that hasn’t been yet proven to be correct/incorrect . I will provide evidence from one of the claims. Quran 39:6 says “…He makes you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness…” three darknesses . These three darknesses are three zones within the mother’s womb that protect the fetus against all sorts of dangers. 1. Abdominal wall 2. Uterine wall 3. Amniotic sac . Now is this relatively recent scientific discovery. But at the time that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad, it was impossible to be that advanced at science. And if it’s in the Quran, which has never been changed in its entire 1400+ year existence, who could have possibly known that the fetus is formed within 3 darknesses ?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I think you are fitting contemporary knowledge into ancient verbiage. If god wanted to reveal the truth, why didn’t he just say those things outright? And still no proof of god, so still irrelevant.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. There’s literally instructions in our body to make another human being lol how is that not proof of a higher being ? Who gave us our DNA? Every single thing in our body from our brain/spinal cord/ heart/lungs/liver and everything else all has a function, so who gave it that function? You’re an atheist so I’m assuming you believe in the Big Bang, only because there was someone to cause it to “Bang” and the universe is still expanding, just like it says in the Quran. There’s so much evidence and proof of God, and I won’t tell you to “look at the trees, that’s enough proof” because there’s deeper shit than that lol.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Again, all arguments from ignorance. These are logical fallacies that provide no proof. I believe in the Big Bang because there is Science that shows it to be the best explanation of how the universe came to be. What happened before that is unexplained and I, unlike you, am ok with saying that I don’t know how it happened.

              Liked by 3 people

    2. The God of Islam was also supposed to be the sole Abrahamic deity or God of the Jews, Catholics,Christians and Muslims. Sonehow each of these Abrahamic religions oppose one another. Each claiming authoritative knowledge that their specific sect was their Gods chosen people.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I loved this. Very well done. My Atheism is very basic. I have looked at the evidence and it does not convince me there is a god. In fact, the evidence provided convinces me there is no god. For me it is really that simple and the discussion ends there. I have also been asked “If atheism is true then how do you explain (enter topic here)” For example, why is there something rather than nothing. My answer is I don’t know and your answer that god did it is unconvincing to me in the same way I am unconvinced by the explanation that we were seeded here by an alien race. I have always been open to listening to the evidence FOR god and so far it has always turned out to be evidence AGAINST god. Still listening.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s how I try to interpret evidence too. I think by now, my skeptical nature may get in the way and bias me towards an atheistic view, but I do my best to weigh all options equally.

      When people “I don’t know, therefore God” or use the God of the Gaps theory to explain things like how the big bang happened or why we are here, I just think “so neither of us know, but you made an answer just so you can say you have an answer.” I also think “if we need a God to explain why there is something rather than nothing, then why is there a God and something rather than no God and nothing?” To me, it just adds an extra step and muddles the entire equation.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. On your point #1 – if an all-knowing god existed, it would already know that “look at the trees” is insufficient evidence to convince me. An all-knowing god would already know better than I would exactly what evidence would convince me. An all-powerful god could send me what I needed. And a benevolent god would want me to know about its existence. So if a god exists, it must be missing at least one of the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence, which rules out the christian god right there. Or what’s more likely to me – there’s nobody up there.

    And as for # 4, a skeptical nature, if the christian creator god were really up there, he would not only already know about my skeptical nature, but would be responsible for it. How can a loving god create a being that isn’t gullible, and then command it to be gullible? What kind of a jerk is this god of theirs?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. “So if a god exists, it must be missing at least one of the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence…” Which is at least a possible answer. There could very well be a god-like being that exists, who doesn’t actually know every possible thing that is knowable.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That sort of a god would certainly be more consistent with how believers act. They spend large amounts of time telling their god what they want, and asking him to do stuff for them, as if their god doesn’t already supposedly know what they need and have plans for their future. That seems more like they are worshipping a limited god like Zeus. The OT also describes a limited god, that has to send messengers to go find out things, and is weak to iron chariots.

        (However, if you have a god that does not know everything that is knowable, then that god cannot be all-powerful either, because it would lack the power to know everything.)

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I think an all powerful being would have to have the power to “do” anything it wants, not necessarily “know” every possible thing. I do think there is a difference. But I also think that if there is a god like creator being, it would have more power to do things that any human. An ancient humans view of that might have been that this being is “all powerful” when the reality could be that the being is simply “really freaking powerful”

          Liked by 2 people

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