Another Attempt to Explain God’s Hiddenness (or Nonexistence) Fails (3 of 3)

Another Attempt to Explain God’s Hiddenness (or Nonexistence) Fails (3 of 3) September 30, 2019

Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious? This concludes my response to the answer to this question from Christian apologist Tom Gilson. (Part 1 here.)

We’re in the middle of Gilson’s analysis of the speculation of atheist Lawrence Krauss* about the evidence he’d need to justify Christianity’s supernatural claims.

Who’s ready for an irrelevant puzzle??

We’re nearing the end of the article, still waiting for a direct, relevant answer to the question Gilson raised. What we get instead is yet another tangential puzzle:

So if God proved to Dr. Krauss that He exists, the famed physicist would still have to decide whether he wants God to exist.

No—go back. If God proved to Dr. Krauss that he exists, that would be huge. That would’ve actually addressed the question you set out to answer!

Let me say that again: Gilson imagines answering the question he introduced in the title of his article but, instead of considering the consequences of that remarkable result (or showing how it could happen), he tosses it aside to pick up a new argument, something by which to misdirect his audience. Again.

Gilson clearly can’t answer the question—if he had an answer, he would have given it.

He’s scuttled his own ship at this point, but let’s play along. Gilson challenges us: if we knew God exists, we’d “still have to decide whether [we want] God to exist.”

My answer: no, I don’t want God to exist if he’s the Bronze Age barbarian plainly described in the Old Testament, and yes, I do want God to exist if he’s actually a benevolent and wise god who wants the best for us and would make that happen. But why ask? How is our desire relevant? God either exists or he doesn’t. Gilson says he can resolve that issue, but he comes up empty. He wants to invent human shortcomings and focus on them when we’re simply asking a question that any Christian would find reasonable in any other context.

Once more, with feeling

Adding a final flourish to this turd of an argument, Gilson scolds his readers for not misunderstanding the problem as he does.

Getting the right answer to the question, “Does God exist?” isn’t the point. God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer.

Remember that Gilson’s article was written to answer the question, “Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious?” and, here again, he admits he can’t. He knows that’s embarrassing, so he uses tangents and bravado to pretend that the actual issue is elsewhere. He wants us to imagine that it’s demeaning to God (whom we’re assuming into existence for the purposes of this argument) when we demand evidence that he exists.

Huh? Let’s explore this ploy by asking, “Does Tom Gilson exist?” With this question, have I now reduced the significance of Gilson’s existence to “a mere true/false quiz answer” (whatever that means)? Have I demeaned or insulted him at all by asking and answering the question? If not, what does God have to whine about?

Gilson needs to rethink who his enemies are. Skeptics who ask reasonable questions are giving him and his claims the most respect they can. They assume that we’re all adults and that we agree that remarkable claims must be supported by excellent evidence. This is much better treatment than Gilson gets from those who dismiss Christianity with a laugh, giving him no chance to even make his case.

Gilson’s protecting God from demands for evidence is especially ridiculous when, according to the tales in his own book, God has no problem providing evidence. According to the stories, he supported Elijah in his public contest against the hundreds of priests of Baal, dramatically proving who actually existed. And Jesus did his healing miracles in part to provide evidence of his claims.

Not only do God and Jesus have no problem being tested, Christians delight in making evidence claims where possible—that the Shroud of Turin is tangible evidence of the resurrection, that the thousands of Bible manuscripts add to the Bible’s reliability, and so on. Evidence is apparently acceptable currency for God, making his hiddenness today unexplainable.

Conclusion

To call Gilson’s argument an argument is to call a rusty pile of spare parts a race car, but I don’t mean to single him out. This might be the best that he can do given the worthless hand he’s been dealt.

His argument does nothing to argue for God because he assumes God’s existence at the start. Either God’s absence is justified by his super-secret Plan, or it’s our fault for not perceiving it (our hard hearts blind us to the evidence, or something). But drop the God presupposition and follow the evidence, and the clues fit together easily. Natural explanations are sufficient, and God becomes unnecessary, just a solution looking for a problem.

We understand what good and bad relationships look like. Christians claim that a relationship with God is the best of all, but God’s role is unlike that in any healthy human relationship. When something goes wrong, it’s always your fault; you’re obliged to love God, but God has no obligation to earn that love; and God never stoops to show that he even exists. This is much like battered-woman syndrome, where the victim takes responsibility for any failings in the relationship, falls into learned helplessness, and fears for their safety if they do the wrong thing.

Gilson’s handwaving and subject changing make clear that he can’t answer his own question. “Where is the evidence for God?” is the question, and the answers suck. All this handwaving is just a “look—something shiny!” attempt to change the conversation away from the original one: why isn’t there good evidence for God? Why is God so hidden?

And to that, we’re given nothing.

More posts on the problem of divine hiddenness:

*Gilson made a mistake—it’s actually not Lawrence Krauss. I explain the error at the top of part 2.

.

If they can get you asking the wrong questions,
they don’t have to worry about the answers.
— Thomas Pynchon

.

Image from Alexander Krivitskiy, CC license
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • steve baughman

    It really is depressing how much sleight of hand Christian apologists use to keep their membership up. Pathetic!

    • Jim Jones

      Quantum mechanics makes more sense.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    ” He wants us to imagine that it’s demeaning to God (whom we’re assuming into existence for the purposes of this argument) when we demand evidence that he exists.”

    Hmmm, Jesus himself doesn’t hesitate to give evidence to Thomas. God repeatedly gave evidence to Gideon.

    So, per Gilson, the bible is wrong and he’s right. Typical for a Christian who is ignorant about what his bible says or who is desperate to hide what it says.

  • eric

    God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer.

    Hey God – pride goeth before the fall…

  • Lex Lata

    “My answer: no, I don’t want God to exist if he’s the Bronze Age barbarian plainly described in the Old Testament, and yes, I do want God to exist if he’s actually a benevolent and wise god who wants the best for us and would make that happen. But why ask? How is our desire relevant? God either exists or he doesn’t.”

    This. (As the kids say.)

    Gilson’s question really is absurd when you stop to consider the ontology and epistemology it implies. We necessarily reject the existence of demonstrated beings or objects we don’t like? Nonsense. The Venn diagram overlap of “Things that I don’t want to exist” with “Things that I acknowledge exist” is enormous. The Zika virus. Human trafficking. Ground hornets. Tobacco products. Whole-wheat tortillas. Alex Jones. Etc., etc., etc.

    Gilson’s entire piece boils down to, God doesn’t make himself known because–Gilson simply asserts–Krauss/Ubi Dubium and presumably we fellow atheists would still somehow resist or reject the knowledge. It’s an exercise in apologetic hand-wavery, excuse-making, and ultimately copping out.

    • MR

      …we’re simply asking a question that any Christian would find reasonable in any other context.

      And this.

      • Lex Lata

        Apologist casts SPECIAL PLEADING.

        Atheist rolls . . . a 19. Saving throw successful!

        SPECIAL PLEADING has no effect.

        • MR

          =D

    • TheNuszAbides

      This.

      Thirded!

      (As the kids say.)

      TOTES this!

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Christians delight in making evidence claims where possible:
    “I found my car keys!” “My high school team won the big game!” “Some urban thug got shot by the cops!”
    PRAISE JESUS.

    • Michael Neville

      About 20 million people died in the Holocaust. “Sorry, Jesus doesn’t work that way.”

      • TheNuszAbides

        Yahwehjesus’s unequivocally direct effects on the only world we can come close to confirming exists:

        1) [alleged] gospel tales; ministry of fairly unclear duration

        2) what we are so confidently assured will happen when he “comes back” (even though he’s been here all along, in our fevered dreams)

  • Ficino

    I don’t want Donald Trump to exist. So I deny, deny, deny that Trump exists. But all the time, I am really mad at Donald Trump. So do I admit in my heart of hearts that, yes, the cheetohed one exists?

    Well, yeah. Cuz evidence an’ stuff.

    • Don’t like Trump? With faith, my friend, you can make anything possible!

      Or something.

    • rationalobservations?

      There is much evidence of the existence of “the Donald” but no evidence of the existence of any of the several millions of fictional, undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men dreamed up by men to enslave and delude other men.

      But as you are already 99+% atheist yourself and you dismiss almost all the same gods, goddesses and god-men as I do – and for very similar reasons – you already KNOW that human invented deities are imaginary..?

      https://pics.me.me/atheist-logie-107-venus-vishnu-xipe-yam-ymir-or-zeus-8705872.png

      • Ficino

        Sorry, I keep forgetting to write /s when I am mouthing off. I am 100% atheist.

        • rationalobservations?

          Congratulations!

  • Carstonio

    “God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer.” Neither Gilson or anyone else has any way knowing whether deities exist, and if they exist, what properties they have. It would be hilarious if it turned out that a deity existed and Gilson was completely wrong about the being.

    • Right! If the popular deist arguments (Design Arg., Moral Arg., Teleological Arg., etc., etc.) are right, the actual god(s) behind them could be anyone. Why would Yahweh be likelier than any other?

    • RichardSRussell

      “God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer.”

      Why not? Just because Tom Gilson said so? What’s he trying to cover up?

      • The “mere” in “mere true/false quiz answer” suggests some sort of denigration, but I can’t find it.

        “God exists” is insulting to God? WTF?

        • Otto

          And if God did prove his existence it would no longer be a question because no one would question it.

          No teacher would put a question like “The Sun exists” (T/F)

          It would be absurd.

          Gilson and his ilk are the ones making God into a T/F question.

  • Even if those arguments held water, why said entity had to be the one they’re thinking and not, say, the Greek deities or any other totally unrelated to any other that maybe has not even been worshipped in both the entire history and world?

  • MR

    God has no problem providing evidence.

    Related: Since you’ve been in discussions elsewhere regarding Isaiah 7, I’d just like to point out that in that passage Isaiah actually chastises King Ahaz for not wanting evidence. God wants Ahaz to ask for a sign and he refuses, so Isaiah gives him a dressing down and provides a sign anyway, the infamous “a virgin shall conceive,” which–added bonus–has nothing to do with Jesus or a future messiah, rather that the kings of Israel and Aram will not overthrow Judah (basically he’s supposedly prophecying the demise of the northern tribes of Israel).

    • Yes, excellent point. And Ahaz gives what you’d think would be a reasonable, noble defense: I don’t want to impose on God, I’m unworthy, etc.

      But apparently, at least at that moment, that was the wrong answer.

    • The sad part is how preachers present this as proof of Isaiah predicting… well you know. Up to with claims of Egypt there being this world, etc.

      • MR

        Ad-hoc rationalizations, but mostly they take verses 13 and 14 out of context and lead you to believe the rest says more than it does.

        • Just like when they claim Immanuel there = Jesus, without questioning too much the difference of names, the famous verse about Lucifer, and when the Jewish Satan (the “Accuser”) is conflated with the Devil for example as a sort of district attorney upon God so he’ll get your soul.

        • MR

          The verse is actually quite interesting and important in that it foretells the downfall of the northern tribes and the Assyrian Exile (written after the fact, of course), and paves the way for the ascendancy of Judah. This is hugely important in the history of Israel. Christianity co-opted the one verse for their own nefarious purpose and robbed the real meaning and importance of the original text.

        • epicurus

          Here is a screen cap of me asking Ehrman about Immanuel name vs Jesus name, if anyone is interested: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5387c8428750b0fa2da26d10dbf4546b0a5c3e5d130a57c1d5abcae5983db957.jpg

        • MR

          Ri-ight…

        • The only reasons why some Fundies love Israel is because of Jesus and the Second Coming. I think I’m not going to forget how one of those claimed Jesus would come back over Jerusalem (not Rome or New York) and Jews would basically (be forced to) accept him as the Messiah.

  • Jim Jones

    God is hidden because it doesn’t exist.

    It doesn’t exist because it can’t exist.

    See how simple that is?

  • rationalobservations?

    Your opening line made me smile, Bob.
    “Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious?”

    For new readers unfamiliar with our past exchanges of ideas on the nonsensical nature of religion and religionists: This appears to be a little unnecessarily exclusive since there are many millions of entirely similarly “shy” gods, goddesses and god-men that have all been invented by delusional and/or power crazed men to gain personal power and wealth from the ignorant and the gullible.

    All deities are equally undetected and undetectable and therefore logically equally impossible and every single member of the current generation of the recently evolved species of ape we call “human” dismiss nearly all of them as nonexistent and imaginary and the third largest and fastest growing human cohort of the godless nonreligious merely dismiss all of them as nonexistent and imaginary for very similar reasons religionists dismiss the deities of other religions.

    Pandering to the sensibilities of those enslaved by any of the many diverse and different minority brands and cults of monotheism appears to ignore the majority of all currently living humans who do not believe in those gods.

    With regard to religion it is claimed that christianity contains the largest minority group with Islam followed by the non-religious coming second and third in that league of belief and non-belief.

    Regardless of the (possibly) last ditch offensive of religionists against the groundswell of non religious nations and individuals and the suspect figures of retained membership put forward by many fraudulent businesses of religion, it is becoming very clear that education and communication had caused an ever more rapid decline in superstitions of any kind and brand?

    Fewer than 18% of Americans are actively involved in religion according to the American Church Leaders organisation and the rise of American “nones” follows that of predominantly godless, better educated free democratic and secular Europe in which fewer than 6% of population remain active within religion..

    If religion “poisons everything”, education and free secular democracy appears to have already been established as the antidote to that vile poison all across the developed world.

    https://pics.me.me/atheist-logie-107-venus-vishnu-xipe-yam-ymir-or-zeus-8705872.png
    https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/sites/563/2016/03/The-Atheist-Pig.jpeg
    https://georgiacoast.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/tarboro-ga-church-for-sale-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2017.jpg
    https://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/resources/images/6331520.jpg?display=1&htype=0&type=responsive-gallery

    • Lord Backwater

      All deities are equally undetected and undetectable…

      That is arguable. Some deities are detectable in principle, such as any deity who caused a global flood, or created whales before land mammals. The failure of science to agree puts these deities in a tough spot. Other deities are more nebulous and untestable, and science has nothing direct to say about them.

    • epeeist
      • rationalobservations?

        There are so very many of them I expect most people will live near at least one redundant church.
        Enter “churches for sale” into Google for over one billion results!
        https://www.google.com/search?q=churches+for+sale&oq=churches+for+&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j35i39l2j0l2.6559j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      • It’s a magnificent building, but what would you do with an unwanted church, even if it were free? The vast open space is great for church services but impractical for most other uses–museum, store, community center.

        • MR

          I stopped by my old church this weekend and the attendance is down so much that they have taken out all the pews and have a small cluster of chairs up by the altar. It’s just a big, sad empty room.

        • That reminds me of the recent news story where an independent church congregation (of a dozen or so remaining people) decided to liquidate their church for millions of dollars and then decided, as a group, what good causes to give that money to.

        • I know of one, from the XVIII century, that was converted into a public library.

        • Michael Murray

          There is a nice pub in Glasgow. There are lots online converted into climbing gyms.

        • NS Alito

          You can build a multi-story loft inside the church shell to increase floor space. That, of course, does not address the problem that many churches are structurally costly to maintain.

        • rationalobservations?

          Many in the UK have been redeveloped into private homes. Quite a few are antique stores or other retail outlets and one quite famous ex London church has a concert stage in place of the altar and retains the pews and is a very popular music venue hosting concerts by famous British and American artists and bands.

          There are so many of them that they are inexpensive and only human imagination limits the redevelopment options while still quite a few simply are abandoned to rot.

        • epeeist

          The problem is that it isn’t a particularly magnificent building, it’s just another piece of Victorian Gothic and there are loads of CofE churches like it. On top of that it is on the outskirts of a small village (Crawshawbooth) that has little to recommend it.

          I am not even sure that you would make your money back if you demolished it and sold the stone.

        • it isn’t a particularly magnificent building, it’s just another piece of Victorian Gothic and there are loads of CofE churches like it

          … in the UK. From an American standpoint, it’s magnificent. When I’m vacationing in Europe, I wander around every one that I see.

          This crazy problem of a glut of unwanted churches is delightful from an atheist point of view and perplexing from a land use point of view. There’s just gotta be a way to repurpose them (I’ve mentioned before a cube-ish church in Seattle that was turned into high-end condos), but I guess that’s not happening.

        • epeeist

          From an American standpoint, it’s magnificent.

          OK, I can accept that. My elder daughter did an exchange to Japan while she was in school. The girl who came back with her was entranced by places like York Minster in that they don’t have buildings that old in Japan. She was equally ecstatic about Betty’s Team Rooms though.

          This crazy problem of a glut of unwanted churches is delightful from an atheist point of view and perplexing from a land use point of view.

          I have a small amount of sympathy for the CofE, many of their older churches are listed buildings and are correspondingly expensive to maintain. This becomes more difficult as congregations age and shrink. Given how much they CofE is worth though, my concern is small.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Homeless shelter?

        • Not a bad idea! Conservatives today are eager to put words in Jesus’s mouth, but one thing he did say often was the importance of helping the poor.

    • The challenge we have is that religion satisfies some human need. If we imagine a post-religion world, what does that look like? Do we already have those institutions/customs in place from which ex-religionists can satisfy those needs? Or is their personality different enough from ours that we need to think about new institutions?

      • MR

        Interesting parallel in the news about the NASA chief saying the world might not be ready if we discover life on Mars.

        • Even bacteria or equivalent?. I doubt things would change very much if we found them, same if there were more advanced lifeforms (the equivalent of multi-celled organisms). Now intelligent life would be a far more different animal.

        • MR

          It would be interesting to see him elaborate on this.

      • rationalobservations?

        No need to imagine a post religion society, Bob.
        Vast areas of Europe and the majority of citizens in several of the best educated free secular democracies of Europe are contemporary examples.

        The “human need” exists only within a rapidly declining minority of ignorant and gullible religiots while the rest of us can identify no such infantile “need” within us.

        Do you find you own and are merely suppressing such a “need”, Bob?

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    This is much better treatment than Gilson gets from those who dismiss Christianity with a laugh, giving him no chance to even make his case.

    I think, to be fair, you have to realize that many (if not most) of those who “dismiss Christianity with a laugh” are doing so now because they are long past the point of having given them a chance to make a case. I know that’s my view.

    I’ve related this previously: I used to be really, really interested in those “I used to be an atheist but now I am a Christian” stories. I wondered, wow, I wonder what it was that convinced an atheist? Having spent time interacting with a lot of atheists (I was a regular back in the days of alt.atheism, for example), I knew the discussions and the standard silly apologetics that never got anywhere with the atheist crowd. So, I figured, we could really learn something from these former atheists.

    So I started asking. Know what I found out? The things that convinced these former atheists to convert to Christianity? Such profound things as….Pascal’s wager and “Who created the universe” nonsense. Seriously, it never got any more sophisticated than the same old lame topics that we always discussed in alt.atheism. A lot of people would insist that “they weren’t really atheists.” I don’t say that. I just say, if they were atheists, they were pretty shallow atheists, and if this is the kind of lunacy that they consider to be sufficient, then I’d prefer they were theists, because it’s an embarrassment to atheism.

    I gave it a fair chance, and it completed failed. Forgive me if I don’t waste my time these days in a rational engagement. Call me when there is something new.

    • Kev Green

      It’s worth noting that the guy who hasn’t spent a day in his life thinking about religion is as much an atheist as we are. There are lots of reasons for not believing in God, they aren’t all based on critical thinking. I’m not even the least bit impressed by someone who claims to have converted from atheism.

      • Michael Neville

        There are many reasons to be an atheist. I know several atheists who weren’t raised in a religion and haven’t seen any reason to belong to one.

        I’m not even the least bit impressed by someone who claims to have converted from atheism.

        We’ve all seen “ex-atheist” Christians who, when asked about why they became Christians make it obvious that they weren’t what we consider to be atheists. A period of not going to church regularly does not make one an atheist. Plus the reasons they give for converting to Christianity are either emotional or, least often, based on logical fallacies.

        It’s my belief that many of these “ex-atheists” are hoping that we’ll think “this Christian used to be just like me but then they found Jesus, maybe there’s something in what they say.” Plus Lying For Jesus™ is almost a sacrament with many Christians.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘Almost’ a sacrament?

          You’re very generous 🙂

        • Michael Neville

          Okay, not an official sacrament.

    • Yes, I agree that many/most of those dismissing Christianity are those who do so for good reasons, having put the time into researching the issue.

      The things that convinced these former atheists to convert to Christianity? Such profound things as….Pascal’s wager and “Who created the universe” nonsense.

      And I’ll bet it wasn’t even that. They said that that’s what convinced them, but I think that pretty much all conversions to Christianity are for emotional reasons, and the arguments they give are post-facto rationalizations.

      • Richard Dennis

        I tend to think you are spot on. I also believe most conversions are emotional with “post-facto rationalizations”. While there are the rare exceptions, I have a hard time imagining any kind of adoption of faith – even if you grow up in faith household – if you are not lead by emotion/bought in emotionally first (provided it is a free conversion). I am familiar with an atheist turned Muslim that claims he initially started to take on religiosity because he was identifying with them as a kind of underdog where he lived (showing solidarity). In this process, he began to pray and he began to notice that his prayer requests were coming to pass. I guess this seems plausible….

        • Michael Murray

          When I was a kid my prayers nearly always got answered. Problem was I was anxious about all kinds of things that had a really low probability of occurrence. It would have been harder if I’d prayed for my asthma to go away.

        • I’ll bet that plenty of people pray for things that are fairly likely to happen–get a parking space, do well on the test, get that promotion–to make it easy on God. But, of course, that’s not reading the Bible honestly. “Easy” and “hard” are only concepts for us, not God. God could just as easily restore your amputated limb or hearing or vision as get you a parking space.

      • Lark62

        I remember the days of listening to testimonies in church.

        “I was a sinner, lost in my depravity, selfish, living for myself when my kindergarten sunday school teacher told me about Jesus.” They forget to mention researching multiple religions at age 5 before concluding Christianity is the true religion.

        • Ah, yes … you bring to mind my juvenile delinquent days when, as a 6-year-old, I’d be smoking cigarettes on the street corner, getting wasted on the weeknights, and passing out in school in story corner.

          Good times. I have Jeebus to thank for saving me.

        • Jim Jones

          Ricky Gervais @rickygervais

          “There have been nearly 3000 Gods so far but only yours actually exists.The others are silly made up nonsense. But not yours. Yours is real.”

      • epicurus

        Years ago on the Debunking Christianity blog there was a person who said he used to be an atheist but after several dreams that went along the lines of an open book and Jesus pointing to it he decided that he needed to become a Christian. I asked how he knewit was Jesus but no response.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          In the old days of alt.atheism, there was a poster by the name of Wen King Su who responded to all the claims about personal revelation with, “How do you know it was God and not a powerful deceiver?” Over all the years, I only saw one person even attempt to respond to it (something about how they felt “agape love” and nodeceiver could create that feeling). It always stuck with me.

          One thing I have always said is, if I were Satan, the first thing I would do would be to convince everyone that I was God and that God was the evil one. The bible almost makes more sense when viewed that way – it’s not the word of God, it’s the word of Satan trying to lure you into worshipping him as God.

          I figure, if the strategy is that obvious to even someone like me, how can you trust anyone who claims to be God?

        • epicurus

          Hah, no deceiver could create agape love. Like they know that. ‘Cause it’s a law of the universe or something. LSD trip could probably recreate that feeling.

        • MR

          I love you, ma-an.

        • Jim Jones

          So could Sofia Vergara.

        • epicurus

          I think she would fall the Eros love rather than Agape love category

        • Jim Jones

          She certainly can fall into my category!

        • epicurus

          haha, yes indeed.

        • TheNuszAbides

          LSD trip could probably recreate that feeling.

          LSD trip can definitely recreate that feeling.

        • Jim Jones

          In the Bible, Satan is the good guy, honest, trustworthy and at no time a homicidal maniac.

          Even the killings he is blamed for were probably Yaweh.

        • Satan is the Bible’s Prometheus. We have wisdom thanks to Satan, just like we have fire thanks to Prometheus in Greek literature.

        • And many books later, in Revelation, compare the frag counts.

        • I asked how he knewit was Jesus

          Was he a tall, tanned, Caucasian, gorgeous Beach Boy that you could have a man crush on? Then it was Jesus!

        • epicurus

          The Mormon Jesus! Maybe it was the BOM and not the Bible in the guy’s dream. He joined the wrong religion! DOH!

  • Gord O’Mitey

    “Why doesn’t Gord make himself more obvious?” ‘Cos My ways are feckin’ mysterious, eh.

  • Kev Green

    As an ex-Christian I understand where Gilson is coming from. Gilson, on the other hand, has no understanding of the atheist mindset. For him the two viewpoints are simply two sides of the same coin. He chooses to believe in God; we choose not to. But, the atheist viewpoint is qualitatively different. Personal choice doesn’t enter in to our belief system. But, like all apologists, his arguments are aimed at Christians equally clueless and they tend to resonate well with that audience.

    The question: ‘What would it take to believe in God?’ is a good example of Gilson failing to understand where atheists are coming from. It assumes that the only choices are his God exists or it doesn’t. The multitude of other choices don’t even enter into his thought process. It also ignores that most of us have no real doubt that his deity is just as man-made as all the rest. It’s hard to imagine what it take to convince me that an imaginary character is real. I wonder how Gilson would answer the question: ‘What would it take to convince you Harry Potter is a real person?’ Just because we don’t know the authors of the Bible makes it no less a work of fiction.

    • And yet Gilson agrees with us that humans have invented thousands of gods.

      I wish Christians were honest enough to start their pitch with, “OK, let me acknowledge that Christianity is, out of the gate, both hard to believe in and unlikely to be true.”

    • Michael Murray

      ‘What would it take to convince you Harry Potter is a real person?’

      You just need to look at the evidence. Suddenly a women with no previous writing experience writes a block buster which enchants all the worlds children and many adults. Do you really think this can be explained by your science ? The real explanation is staring the world in the face. There are wizards and witches but until now they have hidden themselves from the world for reasons made clear in the books themselves. But seeing how the muggles are destroying the world they realise they need to perform magic on a vast scale to reverse climate change and then they will no longer be secret. So the books are there to soften us up. To make us accept the inevitable take over. Why doesn’t the world realise this ? Some people do. But whenever someone does a wizard or witch arrives and sile

      • Greg G.

        Even the exorcists at the RCC confirmed that the spells in Harry Potter books are real.

      • The scales have fallen from my eyes!

        #MindBlown

        • Maltnothops

          Too late. He’s been silenced.

  • Pseudo-Krauss here, checking in, sorry to be late to the party.

    “So if God proved to Dr. Krauss that He exists, the famed physicist would still have to decide whether he wants God to exist.”

    That’s just insultingly condescending. If I see that something has been persuasively established to exist, then I would consider that it exists, and not waste any time on considering whether I wanted it to exist. The next thing to figure out is what the implications of its existence are. For instance, when I learned about the Dunning-Kruger effect, and that it was apparently real, I spent absolutely no time on considering whether I wanted it to be real. (I did spend some time considering whether to include it in a class about cognitive biases that I was teaching to young people, and decided against it as being too depressing to include in the few class sessions I had available.)

    “Getting the right answer to the question, “Does God exist?” isn’t the point. God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer.”

    Getting the right answer to the question “Does god exist?” is exactly the point! It’s exactly the point that apologists insist on dancing around to distract us from this being exactly the point. Bob, you’ve nailed it on this one, Gilson has no good answer to why god hides, and he’s written a whole article demonstrating how much he lacks an answer.

    • Pseudo-Krauss here, checking in

      Gilson’s ineptness caused your fame! God works in mysterious ways, or something.

      Getting the right answer to the question “Does god exist?” is exactly the point! It’s exactly the point that apologists insist on dancing around to distract us from this being exactly the point.

      And I can’t fathom what “God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer” means. I guess I have to admire his chutzpah for parading his silly answers out in public.

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    Getting the right answer to the question, “Does God exist?” isn’t the point. God won’t reduce Himself to being a mere true/false quiz answer.

    Huh? So god’s existence somehow precludes sentient beings on an obscure planet from forming propositions about him with yes/no responses? Why? How does that work?

    • Maybe God is thin-skinned and gets annoyed at things that wouldn’t bother most people? I’m just groping here. Since he’s make-believe, I guess we can apply whatever personality on him that we want.

  • Matt Brooker (Syncretocrat)

    I don’t want to believe that hard-working construction workers can fall to their deaths, or that old people have to risk injury from falling if their balance gets bad, or that a useful invention like stairs can also create a serious risk for users… oh, but look, the evidence for gravity is overwhelming, so I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and accept these horrible ideas.