Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You were sent by a god and the best you can do is THAT?!

There's a post that I really like on The Atheist Experience blog today.  It does a good job of pointing out the obvious flaw in the reasoning of anybody who claims they have been sent by an all-knowing and all-powerful god to demonstrate its existence to me, or just to convert me to their faith.  They inevitably fail with some horribly flawed argument.  They need to really consider why that is.  It means that either they're wrong, or their god is incompetent.  The fact that they can't see this is another reason why I often look down on their intellects.  I have had the same thoughts myself, but here it is, well-written and already complete.

"I get e-mails from Christians on a regular basis. Many of them are convinced that the Holy Spirit has instructed them to contact me and give me valuable evidence that will change my mind. These people believe that their god is real, that he wants me to know that he's real and that he's charged them with providing me with the evidence.

We can, via reducto ad absurdum, demonstrate that these people are simply wrong:

If their god exists, then it knows precisely what information they'll need to convey to convince me and it would communicate this information to a person who is capable of accurately presenting it in a way that achieves the stated goal. (I'm not going to draw out a syllogism for's all from the definition of the god that they believe is real.)

Why then do these people consistently present the most obviously flawed arguments and absurd anecdotal evidence? Why then do these people often say the very thing that *confirms* that they have no clue what they're talking about?

Are they just inept at communicating the needed information? Then their god has made a terribly stupid mistake, inconsistent with the character of the god they believe in.

Is their god incapable of accurate communication? Not according to their beliefs. Their god is perfectly (or nearly) wise, intelligent, capable, powerful, etc...and clearly directed them to present the information.

No matter how you break this down, the god they believe in simply doesn't exist. There may be a god, and it might even be the one that they're trying to represent, but they're clearly wrong about its desire and ability to demonstrate its existence. At best we're left with something that is, to a third party, indistinguishable from delusion."


Feki said...

Well, this guy softens at the end conceding that a god might exist, even though it doesn't seem to give a crap about communicating with mankind.

But even if a god (any) existed, then why wouldn't it just show up and clearly say what it expects out of its followers and non-followers alike.

Theists may claim it is because god only reveals itself to the pure of heart, because it only goes out on special occasions or because it is "always displaying its awesomeness" all around us and we are supposed to sense it.

To me there is no valid explanation other than gods just don't exist.

Admin said...

Nobody who has seen Matt Dillahunty in action would say that he softened on the issue. His point is that A god might exist, but THE PARTICULAR god that these people describe CANNOT exist. The fact that their arguments are not compelling is pretty good evidence that a god as they describe it does not exist.

"But even if a god (any) existed, then why wouldn't it just show up and clearly say what it expects out of its followers and non-followers alike."

None of this excludes a god which created stuff but has no interest in us worshiping it or believing in its existence, which is the stance of deism (what you're describing is a 'personal god', but not all gods need to be personal). So if you argue that gods don't exist based on the points you made previously, I don't think it makes sense. But it certainly suggests that the gods the vast majority of humans describe do not exist.

Feki said...

Touche, Admin. I stand corrected.

I guess there's always that slim possibility for something that created the universe yet somehow cannot bring itself to speak or make an actual appearance to exist.

To be honest I only had in mind these "personal gods" since I really don't know much about deism. Then again, I suppose deists don't usually go around claiming that the "creator of the universe" wants them to convey an important message of salvation/damnation.

In any case, I find it absurd that people choose to believe in something omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and mute...

Jim said...

The real question is, if their (Christians, that is) god does exist, and our whole purpose is to worship said god, then why didn't the god create everything with the absolute knowledge of this god's existence? Seems like an awfully large gap in it's creation of mankind.

Sort of like, "Well, I created the world and all these people to worship me. Seems like I forgot something... Oh shit! I forgot to let them all know I exist! Shit, I better let only a few know, and entrust them to convince everyone else with no proof at all. Yeah, that'll work out great."

Admin said...

"Then again, I suppose deists don't usually go around claiming that the "creator of the universe" wants them to convey an important message of salvation/damnation."

No Feki, they most definitely do not.

Funny stuff, Jim!