25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 10)

25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 10) May 7, 2018

Do we live in a world with a god? It doesn’t look like it (read part 1 of this series here).

Let’s continue our survey with the next clue that we live in a godless world.

19. Because the “best” Christian arguments are deist arguments

A Christian appeal for the existence of God typically brings up arguments such as the ones below.

  • The Moral argument: How can there be objective moral truth without God?
  • The Cosmological argument: The universe had a beginning, which requires a cause, and that cause was God.
  • The Fine-Tuning argument: The constants in the universe are fine-tuned for life; that must’ve been done by God.

There are lots more arguments like these—the Ontological Argument, the Design Argument, the Transcendental Argument, and even the Argument from Mathematics. These are all deist arguments, which means that the god behind them might have been nothing more than a clockmaker who created and wound up the universe and then walked away. And if the creator god actually does interact with our world, nothing in these arguments points to the Christian god any more than to Marduk, Allah, Brahma, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

If we lived in God World, the go-to arguments would unambiguously identify this god, not be one-size-fits-all arguments that point to no god in particular—not Yahweh any more than the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

And just so no one is confused, the arguments in the list above fail.

  • The Moral argument needs to first establish that objective truth exists. More here, here, and here.
  • The Cosmological argument as Craig defines it fails in many ways. More here and here.
  • The Fine-Tuning argument also fails. A universe made by God wouldn’t need fine tuning since God can make life anywhere (he’s God, remember). And the multiverse. More here, here, and here.

20. Because the Bible story keeps rebooting

God has a perfect plan, and he’s stickin’ to it. He created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but those pesky kids messed things up. The resulting society became irredeemable, so God drowned them all. All, that is, except the brave little troupe that was Noah’s family. (I’m imagining Gilligan’s Island except with a cruise ship full of manure.)

Society had been set right, God put his bow in the heavens (that is, the rainbow) and promised never to fly off the handle again, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Or not. The story next lurches forward with Abraham, and God makes a perpetual covenant with Abraham—five times, in fact. And once again we think we’re done.

Nope. Abraham begat Isaac, who begat Jacob, who begat the twelve patriarchs of the (soon to be) twelve tribes of Israel. Then slavery in Egypt, then Moses frees his people, then the Exodus through the desert, and then entry into the Promised land. God ties a bow on the story with the perpetual Mosaic Covenant that is still in force today. The End.

Wrong again. No, it turns out that it was Jesus who was the key to the whole thing. Who saw that coming? What a twist! The entire New Testament (plus a couple dozen church councils) are required to figure out what this new religion actually is and to rationalize some sort of harmony with the Old Testament, which is (oddly) still in force.

But don’t think that that’s the last reboot. Islam was a reboot. Mormonism was a reboot. And there you go—that incompatible mess is God’s perfect plan(s). (More detail on these reboots here.)

If a perfect god actually existed, he would get his story straight from the beginning, and it wouldn’t look like what it is—a collection of loosely connected ancient mythology and legend.

Continued in part 11.

(How big an impact did Jesus have on civilization?)
If you’re just going to go with “well, his ideas lived on,”
I’ll put Jesus behind Archimedes, Socrates,
Euclid, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Einstein,
Fleming, and Bohr in that regard.
All of their ideas are current today
and of great value in modern society,
whereas Jesus espoused monarchy, slavery,
and second-class status for women.
Richard S. Russell

.

Image via Alejandro Forero Cuervo, CC license

 

"How do they explain the Sun and the moon visibly going below the horizon? They're ..."

The Backfire Effect: When Accurate Information ..."
"But somehow the fact that he doesn't engage in any of the required Islamic worship ..."

The Backfire Effect: When Accurate Information ..."
"Have you seen the FB flat-earthers group?"

The Backfire Effect: When Accurate Information ..."
"I like the sound of that strategy and should probably use it myself more. Of ..."

The Backfire Effect: When Accurate Information ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • epicurus

    I hope a trend to more specific debate titles on the existence of a god will start – “Does the Judeo Christian God Exist,” “Is Belief in a Deistic God Rational” etc. While there are some of those now, usually what you get is a generic “Does God exist” with a Christain arguing for Deism, which he would reject if forced to say that a deistic god is the kind of god that exists.

    • Kevin K

      Someone around these parts opined that, although you can’t disprove the existence of certain types of gods (ie, deist or trickster gods), you can disprove any god with a book deal.

      • RichardSRussell

        The difference between a cult and a religion: In a cult there is a person at the top who knows it’s a scam, and in a religion that person is dead.

        • Lerk!

          So the Branch Davidians converted from a cult to a religion in our lifetime!

        • RichardSRussell

          Also the Scientologists.

      • epicurus

        Good point

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        Very well put, the number of theists that fail to understand that as soon as they start making testable truth claims their god is proved to be false is amazing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s not really that amazing that most people aren’t competent/familiar with anything resembling rigorous logic. getting good at it doesn’t exactly appeal to the standard ‘base urges’. (not without a particularly crafty set-up, anyway.)

      • Lerk!

        I usually say that I can’t prove there are no such things as gods, but I’m 100% certain that all of the ones people believe in are mere assertions. But “you can disprove any god with a book deal” is a great way to put it!

    • Halbe

      “Debates” with deists are absolutely pointless. There is no real difference between the deist worldview and the atheist worldview. Putting forth a deist god that does not interact with the natural world is just a silly, harmless fantasy. My answer to deist claims is therefore: Who cares? The world looks exactly the same with or without your deity.

      • epicurus

        Yes. I’ve found some Christian apologists seem to think that demonstrating a divine being of some sort from the traditional arguments then entails the Judeo Christian God. Unmoved mover or divine watchmaker and Voila- Omnigod, then Jesus as the cherry on top.

        • Halbe

          A genuine deist is just a silly atheist. As soon as a “deist” claims to know what god’s goals / moral rules / thoughts etc. are, (s)he is actually a theist, since there is no way to know anything about a god if it does not interact with the natural universe. True deism is therefore a useless, boring and lazy position imo.

        • epicurus

          Yeah, I don’t really think there are debates with non christian deists occurring with any regularity. I was trying to show that some Christian apologists feel they are accomplishing something by arguing for what is essentially deism, when we all know that they identify as Christian and I think the Christian God is so far from deism that they and their fellow Christians would find deism pointless if that’s all there is. They would probably reply that you have to show there is some deity before you can argue for Christianity, but as you say there is no real difference between the (common) deist worldview and atheist, so I want debates that force the discussion to be specifically titled and oriented to the case for the Christian God. Otherwise we spin our wheels listening to a Christian argue for a deistic god that he doesn’t really believe exists anyway.

        • Halbe

          I see your point: we should skip the deistic nonsense and go straight to their actual claim, i.e. an interventionist god with an unhealthy obsession for what humans do with their genitals.

      • Michael Neville

        You’re right. A god that doesn’t manifest itself in any way is equivalent of no god.

        Yesterday upon the stair
        I met a man who wasn’t there
        He wasn’t there again today
        I wish, I wish he’d go away
        –William Hughes Mearns

      • Yes–often they’ll put God out of harm’s way by saying that he stays in his supernatural Fortress of Solitude, but then they can’t say that he interacts with the real world. Can’t have it both ways.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          funny now they always think they can though

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          You are more right than you might realize. Here is an incomplete list:

          * God is demonstrated via miracles and is required to maintain natural order. So both stuff behaving normally and abnormally testify to his existence.

          * Complexity requires a designer! Yet, irreducible complexity (i.e. maximal simplicity) also indicates design.

          * As Bob said, god somehow leaves no testible trace of influence, yet is constantly answering prayers and meddling in other knowable ways

          * Ostensibly bad events indicate god’s unknowability, yet ostensibly good events remain indicators of goodness.

          “Heads in win, tails you lose” is a time honored apologetic tradition.
          Feel free to add your own!

  • Bob Bruce Anderson

    Since it is clear that every religion is man made (could be a woman!) why not select a religion or disbelief system that is fun and hurts no one. Seriously, tour the duomos of Europe. Yikes.
    I am not aware of any deaths (or torture!) committed in the name of the FSM. Being nice is a central tenant.
    Ramen.

    • I like it. If it were up to ordinary citizens, that might make sense. Problem is, the leadership (political or religious) can benefit from the traits of society’s religion, and they can impose one that’s not so benign. Like Christianity.

      • Bob Bruce Anderson

        I hear you. “Christian leaders” have ruined it for Christians everywhere. Pastafarians have dodged this problem. We have no leaders. We have no physical churches. No hierarchy!

        There are a few ordained ministers who “marry people”. They often wear pirate regalia. We do have a “prophet”. But he works hard at staying out of public view.

        I guess you could say we are the fastest growing pasta based religion. Remember, he boiled for our sins.

      • RichardSRussell

        “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

        —Lucius Annaeus Seneca (5 BCE – 65 CE), Roman statesman

    • TheNuszAbides

      *tenet

      #petpeeve

      • Greg G.

        Fake religions have tenets. Real religions have tenants.

        • Bob Jase

          Where do the idle roomers stay?

        • Greg G.

          With the dogma boarders.

  • skl

    “20. Because the Bible story keeps rebooting”

    They would never say it’s because their god is a serial screw-up.
    Probably that the people are, and it keeps giving them another chance.

    • Halbe

      But… Who created the people? And the devil? So, no, serial screw-up it is.

      • Otto

        This exemplifies the Christian inconsistency. They like to say that the pottery is in no position to judge the potter…but that line of reasoning would also conclude that the potter would not blame the pottery. Funny how they leave that part out.

        • skl

          Pottery are a lot different than people.

        • Otto

          I agree…but it is not my analogy it is theirs…tell them

    • Joe

      They would say that their god isn’t omniscient?

  • epicurus

    Any dendrologists here (I had to look that up)? How long would it take for the tree in Bob’s headine photo to wrap around itself like that?

    • Kevin K

      I am not a dentrologist, but it’s likely that wasn’t natural. In my neck of the woods (national forest), there are still quite a few Native American trail markers that are trees that have been bent or otherwise forced to grow in a particular direction. Start with a small-enough sapling and it works out. Judging by the bark, that looks like a river birch. So, I’d guess by the thickness the tree is in the 50- to 75-year range, maybe a bit older? So, back in the 1950s or so, some kid tied a sapling around itself, and this is the result.

      • epicurus

        Thanks!

        • Kevin K

          I am planning my retirement, and since I live right in the middle of a national forest, nature photography and such is becoming something of a “go to”. So, I’m learning about such things. Fascinating stuff all around us.

        • epicurus

          That sounds like a great retirement, or even before- being able to go for walks everyday in a forest. I’ve read the Japanese call it forest bathing.

        • Kevin K

          Since the average elevation change on even a moderate hike around these parts is equivalent to a 40-story building (500 feet is pretty much the norm, unless you go to one of the kiddie-friendly places), “bathing in sweat” is more like it.

          And as I look at my watch, it’s time to do just that…peace-out…

        • Greg G.

          When I was in my twenties and thirties, I liked to hike at Old Man’s Cave area, even Ash Falls to Old Man’s Cave and back. Then I didn’t for a decade or so. When I went back, I was amazed how erosion had made the trails and paths so much steeper!

        • Kevin K

          This was yesterday’s hike. The first three-quarters of a mile were basically straight up.

          Probably gonna do something milder today; partly because thunderstorms are coming through and I don’t want to get soaked/struck by lightning.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c6beefecd60f79bc8bc0563ad33baf724f1bc117a36385dc5df8d9cba28f935.png