A friend of mine, who has a penchant for taking out poignant, atheistic ads to challenge believers, write this as an op-ed for the NYT. They didn’t take it – perhaps being incendiary in nature – and I would like to take this opportunity to post it here. What do you think of the argument? I think it is succinct, yet very powerful, and have written about it before (including in my ebook The Problem with “God”: Skeptical Theism Under the Spotlight).
CAN AN OLD ATHEIST WITH A NEW, SHORT
AND UNASSAILABLE CASE BE HEARD?
Julian W. Haydon
Old enough at eighty-seven to have thought a lot about it and close enough to the exit to understand the widely-feared consequences of non-belief.
I think this is a new case. At least, I have never heard it before. I also think it is unassailable, despite knowing the endless inventiveness of apologists. And I know It is short — but that should not disqualify it. So is E = mc2
I speak of the Christian God and His reputed plan for us.
Virtually all Protestants and Catholics agree. God is eternal, unchanging and perfect in all attributes. He created the universe, all living things, and endowed man with free will. He is all powerful and knows everything that has happened and, some say, could happen. He is a loving, just, merciful and forgiving Father who cares for us and considers our prayers. His Son, Jesus Christ, voluntarily took human form to die for us so that those who believe in Him will have eternal life in Heaven. Those who do not believe in Him will be condemned to suffer forever in Hell. Jesus called it ‘a lake of fire where there would be perpetual weeping and gnashing of teeth’.
However, this doctrine proves the Christian God is quite impossible — not just implausible but impossible.
Because, before the Creation there was only God. There was no sin and no suffering. By His creation of man, knowing beforehand exactly which of the ‘few’, as Jesus said, would be saved while the rest, the ‘many’ would be consigned to ‘a lake of fire’ to suffer forever. (Whatever the reason the loving and merciful God could have had for the suffering of the pain-feeling beasts, it was not sin.)
Thus, it was God who was the first cause of sin and suffering. His responsibility cannot be evaded by trying to shift the blame to mankind via a purported free will. For He had unbounded power and could as easily have created man so he would not have misused this ‘power’. Did he not?
Or, He could have left those He knew would be condemned forever, in their state of innocent nothingness. Could he not?
If words have any meaning, God’s omniscience and omnipotence guarantee that the Creation, by all moral standards, could not be the act of a Father who cares for us and is loving-just-merciful-forgiving.
A square cannot at the same time be a circle, not even for God. Thus, the God as defined by Christians is impossible.
Of course, a mean and evil God could . . .
There is much more to be said but why “put butter on bacon”, hasn’t the case been made?