As atheists, we are sometimes posed the question; If the positive existence of God was proven to your satisfaction, would you worship him? My answer to that question is; No.
Now, before you assume that my reason for rejecting God is personal, rather than epistemological, let me assure you that I believe wholeheartedly that the God of the Bible does not exist. My reason for believing so is quite simply that I do not find that the evidence warrants a belief in the existence of such a God.
When I first began questioning the existence of God, I was racked with guilt. I believed that my questions were blasphemous and that blasphemy was an unforgivable sin but I could not quell them.
As time went on and the questions became more pronounced, I began to wonder how a being intelligent enough to create this universe, could torture someone like me for all eternity. According to the Bible, I was headed straight for hell. I didn’t feel evil. All I ever wanted was to know the truth. How could an all-powerful being, torture me for following the truth? Was it really my fault if circumstances conspired to make me question his existence? How could he hide from me and then punish me for not believing in him? If he was God, could he not easily convince me beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he exists?
At the time, I still wanted God to exist. I feared an existence devoid of such a protector. I concluded that if God really did exist, then he must be nothing like he is portrayed in the Bible. I could not believe in a benevolent God and in hell at the same time. I could not believe that an omniscient being would resort to eternal torture.
As time went on, my definition of God shrinked until it vanished into nothingness. I no longer believe in the existence of God, benevolent or otherwise. I do not believe that the God of the Bible exists. I do not even believe that anything remotely god-like exists. If something god-like actually does exist, I would find it hard to believe that it would be like the God of the Bible. However, I can look at the hypothetical, ‘What if the God of the Bible really exists’ and develop an opinion of such a God.
The God of the Bible can be blamed for the mass murders of hundreds of thousands of people. He can be blamed for rapes, pillage, plunder, slavery, child abuse, and rampant destruction. He tells us that happiness can be achieved by smashing children against rocks, and he tells us that homosexuality is evil. Since he takes credit for it, we might as well blame God for all the natural disasters, evil, and suffering that humanity and the animal kingdom have ever endured. It doesn’t stop there. God claims that he’s really a nice guy and we have to worship him or else he will torture us for eternity.
After I stopped believing in God and my case of Stockholm Syndrome faded away, I stopped seeing the God of the Bible as a benevolent being, and started seeing the things that are really written therein. Any person or being that engages in the things that are attributed to God, is unimaginably evil in my opinion. As a matter of moral principle, I would never worship such a being. At this point, I believe I would rather be a martyr and be tortured for eternity, than to worship a narcissistic terrorist like God. Oh, and by the way… if I was God, I would be way nicer!
I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the bible, the koran, the book of mormon, dianetics, and the rest of the so-called holy books, were written by power hungry men in order to control weaker, less intelligent people. The more I see self-described men and women of god, especially televangelists, scamming people out of their hard earned cash with the promise of the keys to heaven while they live an extravagant lifestyle, the more I am convinced of this.
Too many questions, not enough answers, no proof.
I am evolving into the same conclusions regarding the bible, but I can not shake the intuitive feeling that something beyond myself is leading me through the challenges of my life. I have become just at peace with not having the answers but knowing it simply can not be the god of the bible.
That being said there are snippets of wisdom I still hold dear that I have found in the Bible. I suppose I just take the apostle Paul’s advise, “hold onto that which is good.”
The God of Abraham is a contemptible being who would hurt many of the people I love. He won’t be getting any love from me any tie soon.
Though there will never be any physical evidence of a God. There is no physical evidence that there is no God. Just as there is no proof that your girl friend loves you or that she isn’t having multiple affairs. You trust her so you think she loves you but there is really no physical evidence (though you have other non physical evidence that she loves you). The same with God though I can’t physically prove that he exists there is overwhelming evidence that he exists, if you are willing to study history and theology with an open mind. The majority of Christians currently consider God a loving benevolt God which is a recent concept.Until about 100 years ago the prevalant Christian Preachers preached the concept of the fear of God now most Christians preach about the love of God and what good things God will do for them if they worship him, rather than the wrath of God that will befall them if they don’t worship him. I believe that is the reason that Athesim is rising as most Christians are promoting a teaching of God that doesn’t bear out in scripture. Rather than have your conception of the bible manipulated by other people you need to read the bible with an open mind and also with the knowledge of the known knowledge of when it was written.
Hello Duane and thanks for your comment! You make several points that I would like to look at one at a time.
You are right that I can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. I also can’t prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t exist or that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist. Sure those are just made up things but I think the same of God. Nobody can prove universal negatives like that and it’s why the burden of proof rests on the positive assertion (that God does exist).
You give proof of love as an analogy to proof of God’s existence. For a word to have meaning, it must be properly defined. Love is defined as a deep romantic or sexual attraction to someone. Once it is defined, we can search for evidence such as 1) Is the person’s behavior indicative of love? If it is, and we are unaware of other reasons for such behavior, then for most of us, that is enough evidence that someone loves us. It’s not “proof” but it’s good enough for most of us. If we wanted to prove it we could do any number of 2) brain scans or even 3) lie detector tests to prove it. The point is, insofar as the word “love” has meaning, it’s existence is provable. If nothing could prove that the love did or did not exist then the word “love” isn’t properly defined (i.e. it is meaningless in an epistemological sense).
A lot of Christians seem to be fine with thinking of God as being unprovable. However, I think that is them deluding themselves, because if God is by definition unprovable, then “God” is ill-defined–the word is meaningless. Here is a post I wrote a while back about this very subject; https://xamishatheist.com/2012/06/01/the-nonexistence-of-undetectable-things/
Not everything that I believe in has been proven. But, and this is a big “but”, those beliefs are provable in principle. If I have reason to question those beliefs then I must either drop the belief or prove it.
You have a fairly narrow definition of the word “love,” and I wonder if that doesn’t muddy your belief, or lack thereof. If you believe that love is only either “romantic” or “sexual,” it’s not surprising that the idea of God is so offensive.
You’re right, the definition of “love” that I gave in my comment is indeed a very narrow definition. However, that’s because of the comment I was responding to.
As an empathic human and humanist, there is a much wider definition of love that I ascribe to in general (i.e. when I’m not replying to comments about the fidelity of my romantic interest).
I have read all of your posts since I found your blog. I find you to be intelligent and gifted in rhetoric. I respect your beliefs and opinions, as I believe it to be your God given right of free will to believe as you choose. Your stance on atheism and the logical arguments you make have made me pause and think about where I am in my own faith.
I am grateful I found your blog and for more than the entertainment value of exposing TLC’s hideous TV show. First of all, since I don’t personally know any atheists, at least none I am aware of, I admittedly had some preconceived notions of what an atheist must be. Your blogs have corrected my idea of atheism. It really is nothing more than you don’t believe in God. That simple. You are a good person, with morals and values and I am slightly embarrassed of the label I had put on atheists. For that, I thank you.
As for my faith, of course I have had doubts and my own crisis of faith over the years. I have questions that go unanswered. I, too, was raised in a very Christian home. I went through my first struggle with my faith when my parents marriage ended over an affair my mother had with our preacher. Without giving you my biography, I will say there have been other events in my life that caused me to question God. But, at the end of the day, I choose to believe He is real and that something awaits me when my earthly life is over.
I digress. The reason I chose to comment on your blog today is because I believe you are making assertions that really you cannot make. You pose the question “If God’s existence was proven, would you worship him”?. Your answer “No.”. I liken that to the hypotheticals my kids used to drive me crazy with. I would explain to them, we can never guarantee how we would respond to a situation until we are faced with that situation. You may like to think you would not worship Him, if you knew him to be real, but this is an assumption you make based on your current belief that He does not exist. If God showed Himself to you, you would not be in awe? You would not fall to your knees? I don’t know. And neither do you. If you had hardcore indisputable proof of God’s existence, everything you believe now would be null and void.
I think the extremist beliefs you were raised on have skewed your image of God. I am a much more liberal Christian than the Amish to say the least.
I will close with this; my God loves you, even if you don’t believe in Him. I wont try to convert you, and as I said earlier, I respect your opinions. Keep the blogs coming and I will continue to pray for you.
Hi Susan and thanks for your comment. Many people have the preconceived idea that atheists are amoral and I think it’s one of the primary reasons why a lot of the none-religiously-affiliated don’t want to identify publicly as atheists. Indirectly, it’s why I prefer to remain anonymous. I’m very glad that I have helped change your views of what atheists can be. I have never met another atheist in person, but those I’ve corresponded with online have been friendly and principled. To me it indicates that being a good person, is independent of your religious beliefs.
As for the hypotheticals… I do not believe that God exists and I maintain that if the God of the Bible really did exist, I would not consider him worthy of worship. The God of the Bible is an evil being, in my opinion. That being said, if God really did exist, I don’t think he would be evil as described in the Bible. How could a being intelligent enough to create the universe, act with such spite and pettiness? In other words, if God really does exist, I think he would be a good being, and so not at all as the Bible describes him. Contrary to what the Bible would have us believe, I think a being of such intelligence would not punish me for following truth. In short, I think if God really does exist, the views I expressed in the above post would be moot because I don’t think God would be the evil being described in the Bible.
How can you state in one breath that you respect someone’s beliefs and opinions, in this case a very concise, well reasoned non-belief in god, then in the next breath state that “my God loves you, even in you don’t believe in Him.” By that one statement you completely void your statement “I respect your beliefs and opinions.” You will “respect [X’s] opinions…. I will continue to pray for you.” Pray for what – conversion, eternal life in heaven or that his hair won’t fall out as he ages?
You say “my” god, as if only “your god” is the correct one to worship. You may as well have said “there’s a good little boy, you don’t believe because your mommy and daddy didn’t believe in the right god and didn’t worship in the right way, and only my god is the right god because I say so.” In fact, you even compare X to your children.
Could you possibly be more condescending?
Are you serious? Apparently you missed the entire point of my post.
First of all, what does respecting X’s beliefs have to do with my own? I believe in God, which by the way, I obviously believe that the God I worship is the correct God to worship. Isn’t that true of any religion? With that being said, I respect X’s American right to believe how he chooses, does that mean I cannot pray to the God I believe in, and include X in my prayers?
And go back and re-read my post. I did not compare X to my children. I compared THE QUESTION he posed in his post to the HYPOTHETICALS my kids used to ask me: questions that cannot be truly answered without that situation actually happening. There was nothing condescending about that. And I am confident that X did not interpret my words that way either.
If you actually come up with an intelligent argument to my NON-ARGUMENTATIVE comment, then go ahead and post it. In the mean time, try being a little less judgmental.
And by the way, have you read ALL of X’s blog entries? If you had, you would know that he has a Christian girlfriend. I’m just throwing this out there, but I would bet that she prays for him too, and I would bet that he finds that endearing, not disrespectful.
Susan, I did re-read your post, a couple of times before and after I posted my reply, and I stand by my observations. “I liken that to the hypotheticals my kids used to drive me crazy with.” No matter how you parse it, and whether you realize it or not, you ARE making a comparison. It may not have been your intention, but your statement is the same as “You sound just like my kids” or put another way, “your answer sounds just like my kids’.” X’s question/answer = your kids’ hypotheticals. And in my opinion that IS condescending.
You state your comment is not argumentative, but by its very nature it is. Any discourse on differing opinions has as its basis, an argument. You are arguing for the existence of god, X (and countless others) are arguing against the existence of god.
With respect to your question: yes, I have read X’s blog entries, and yes, I am well aware his girlfriend is a christian. Whether she prays for him or not is her business; I am not commenting on her or their relationship, neither is on the table here. However, if it had been her posting, my reply would have been exactly the same. But YOU did not answer MY question – what exactly are you praying for when you pray for X? Please do not think for a moment I am being flippant, this is a serious question.
To answer your question, I can pray (and do pray) without asking anything of God. I can and do pray for many people without asking for any specific thing for them.
I disagree with your synopsis of my original post. However, I have better ways to occupy my time then bantering back and forth with you. My post was intended for X and clearly, by his response no offense was taken.
I have to admit you confuse me. I first found your blog because I thought Breaking Amish was so fake. You were defending the Amish although not practicing the religion or lifestyle, and correcting the falsehoods. Although it was no longer your belief, it did appear that you respected others belief and didn’t want it distorted. That was admirable.
But now it looks like you are belittling anyone that doesn’t share your beliefs. That’s not cool. We each have our own path and road to the middle, mine is not yours and yours is not mine. Each has to follow our hearts and what feels right to get there.
I personally don’t believe in one entity, going by the Christian name of God or one of the many other names of many other religions. I do believe in an entity of sorts, a collective goodness. I personally think all books, bible, koran, torah or any other book is written by man. Both as a way to worship and originally as a form of control. But I think each book is also interruptive. I know some people that describe a vengeful god because that’s the way it’s taught, and others that use the same exact book yet talk about a very loving god. Neither are right for me, but both are right for them and that’s all that matters.
You say that you are now an atheist after a long journey of discovery, that’s right for you. My confusion comes when you appear at times to say you are all accepting, yet you are so judgemental.
Beliefs are personal and should be if they are to mean anything at all. You can and should have your own without what appears trying to make others feel bad of theirs.
Peaceout, I’m sorry if my posts are confusing. Let me clarify where I stand on some of those things.
I came out against Breaking Amish so hard because I (at least I try to) defend the truth. If someone lies (especially in the pursuit of money) I will berate them whether or not I agree with their or the opposing belief system.
As for respecting other belief systems, I do and I don’t. I respect religious belief in the sense that I’ve been there and I understand where they’re coming from. I do not respect belief systems or portions thereof which promote activities (violence, racism, homophobia, etc.) that I consider to be immoral. I will go as far as seeking legislation against that sort of belief.
The majority of religious beliefs do not promote those activities. If they’re not hurting anyone, I say let them have their happiness. However, I believe that we can help each other find truth by sustaining a dialogue about our differing beliefs. I see nothing wrong with pointing out inconsistencies in other belief systems. In fact, I consider myself morally obligated to do so. I would hope that everyone else respects my intellectual integrity enough to do the same for me.
Almost all of my friends are fervently religious. Do I think they’re stupid? No, but I do think they’re wrong. If I have to remain silent in order to be “respectful” then I choose to give up respect. I don’t think that’s the case though. I believe I can be respectful of their beliefs while at the same time pointing out why I believe them to be wrong.
My intent with this post was not to belittle your or anyone else’s beliefs but to answer a question that came up a few weeks ago–would I worship the God of the Bible if I became convinced that he existed? Belittling or insulting the other side doesn’t work. I actually posted about that the other day.
Do I think people should discard their notion of God because of this post? Not necessarily. But I do think they need to realize that A)God’s behavior matches our definition of “evil”, or B)The Bible is not a good description of God.
That’s where you confuse me I guess. I know this is your blog and you can say whatever you want and have whatever followers. Like I said for me personally I don’t blieve in an entity by name, and I think each book/ religion is interruptive. It’s not for me, but it is for others. I agree there are bad people,very bad, that claim religion as a defenfense. They are bad period. Do they seize on whatever is man written? Absolutely! But they aren’t mentally balanced. Do you through out the baby with the bath water?
You say you are atheist now, I admit I don’t really now what atheism is, however it sounds like another organized no tolerant belief system. You say you have to prove others wrong that don’t believe what you do, or friends that have different beliefs but you admit you won’t be respectful of their beliefs.
I don’t understand this. All roads lead to the middle, each of us has our own path to get there. There are good and bad people everywhere, some use religion to justify their evil. They are vile, does it mean everyone of that faith is? No.
I do understand you saying atrocious things shouldn’t be committed and allowed and said, our religion…… However you do come across as angry and hateful toward anyone that doesn’t agree with you. Really you do seem no better than what you preach against.
It’s not one size fits all. There are good and bad in all walks of life. It’s not our job to say its my way or the highway.
For epistemological reasons, I would consider myself an agnostic but because most people would define my belief system (that the available evidence does not justify a belief in a God) as atheism, I decided to make it easier on everyone and just call myself an atheist.
To be honest, you confuse me a little too. I believe my worldview to be closer to the truth than any other I have encountered. I place a high value on truth and so I would like to help other people see the inconsistencies and contradictions in their own belief systems, much like I would hope that they also point out those things in mine if they exist. Since none of us are omniscient, I think together we can come closer to the truth only through argumentation (in the philosophical sense), and that involves creating and maintaining a dialogue about our differing views. However, it sounds to me like you are discouraging this. It seems to me that you consider worldviews to be subjective rather than axiomatically based on reality (and falsifiable).
I intended this post to be blunt. I guess I came across as angry, instead.
I’m glad I confuse you, confusion leads to discussion, but only concussion openly. We can all learn from each other.
Maybe I need to explain. I wasn’t raised amish but old school stritck catholic. Vilonce against other religions wasn’t promoted, or violence at all. But what was what taught was all non believers were wrong and would go to hell. Also it basically didn’t matter what you did as long as you went to confession on Saturday. If you told the priest what a vile human being you were and said whatever prayers he gave you, all was forgiven. I agree that religion does not and should not absolve you and give you license to be an atrocity. Religion should never be a defense.
But xamishatheist, you appear to be so angry. And everyone has to see things your way. Like I said,it’s your blog, you can say whatever you want. You can have it open and accepting for discussion for all to come together or your way, just another form of control.
That is one fallicy of many scientists, mathmeticians, and engineers etc. they can’t grasp the thought of another dimension. They have to have physical prove of everything however in the world of faith/spirit there is no physical proof . Our knowledge is built upon the knowledge of others over thousands of years and most of those were men of faith. By deciding there is no God and that over 90% of the people are fools by believing in a supreme being that can’t be proved you come in danger of becoming narrow minded. Your thought of God if he exists as being evil is because you try to think of God as a person of human intelligence. I encourage you to read the Bible from cover to cover with an open mind rather than have your thoughts polluted by other’s theories. No historical reference in the Bible has ever been disproven.
Respectfully, I must disagree with your last statement. I’m reading a book called The Bible Unearthed which, long story short, makes a compelling argument that the Old Testament was written primarily as a political instrument and that a lot of the references therein aren’t historically accurate.
A lot of the stuff brought up in the book has been accepted by the archaeological community and some of it has been known for decades. For some reason the general public remains largely unaware of them.
An archaeologist reader of my blog actually recommended the book, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.
I have ordered the book and will let you know what I think of it after I get it. I also want to clarify that I don’t necessarily believe that every book in the bible is cannonical. Catholic bible scholars in the first 1600 years after Christ would add and subtract books from the bible as they saw fit. The case could be made that in light of recent scientific finds that more books in the bible should possibly not be included in the bible.
I agree with you there. It is one of the reasons that I became skeptical that the Bible is the literal word of God long before I became skeptical of God’s existence.
there are very few people that believe the bible is the literal word of God.
Duane, from my research you are correct. There are very few people of any faith that believe the bible is the literal word of god. Most believe although a God, the bible is akin to fables, a way to be.
What I meant was that most people believe the bible as the true word of God but that God didn’t literally dictate every word.
“No historical reference in the Bible has ever been disproven.” That may very well be true (I am not a biblical scholar), but that is not evidence of god. There are countless novels set in 1906 San Francisco which have the earthquake as a central part of the story but the characters and their actions are all fictional; the same could be said of the bible – the natural disasters are real, but the vast majority of the characters are fictional.
Hm. I would disagree with your statement that I am unimaginably evil because I believe in God. I would more so say I’m imaginably evil because I’m human.
Stop trying to fashion a straw-man argument. Nowhere did I state that believers are unimaginably evil.
I don’t really know what a straw man argument is haha. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying here, “Any person or being that engages in the things that are attributed to God, is unimaginably evil in my opinion.” I assumed that you were talking about believers, since we do engage in the things that are attributed to God. But we all know what assuming does haha
I was referring to the God behavior mentioned in the previous paragraph; rape, pillage, plunder, slavery, child abuse, rampant destruction, murder, homophobia, natural disasters, etc. I wasn’t accusing believers of this kind of behavior–only gods.
You stop. You did attack people that believed in your Amish god. That poster didn’t read all of your anger, just just read they were evil for believing in God.
I get your point I really do, but you have to get your anger. Youre turning people off but say you are right because of no belief. How is that no belief and accepting? I don’t mean an argument I just don’t get it.
It’s still believe what I do.
Frankly, I don’t care if the so called “religion” believes in God or a three legged duck, whenever believers in that religion uses SCARE tactics to force people to believe, it is simply a fraud that has, as its followers, a bunch of insecure, frightened little halfwits who need someone to tell them how to think..
It is like anyone else that you meet, or any other idea that is presented to you…..OR EVEN LIKE BUYING A CAR……If the ministers, priests and/or believers have to resort to FEAR, beating people over the head with their bibles and GOSSIPING ABOUT THE “LORD” they are as evil as the people whom they profess to be saving.
Some priest who wants to intercede between you and GOD is an egomaniac and a fool. People who cannot see through that or the other PIMPS calling themselves, men of God is an absolute waste of space, air, toilet tissue and, last of all, skin, blood and bones. Why not take the chance that the brain that your creator (who, or whatever that may be) gave you a brain for a reason and you should do something different….use that brain….just to see if it works for anything more than simply blowing it out of your nose when you get the flu. YES….live a little….THINK….why….what a concept!!!.
I consider myself to be a SPIRITUALIST. I talk to the “all powerful” myself…just so my thoughts will not get lost in the translation between my self and some “holy man or woman, or bible, etc. I believe what I believe deeply. I really do not need to rely of “THE WORD”, MOHAMED, A SLEW FOOTED JACKASS OR JUST YOUR LOCAL, WHITE COLLAR PIMP.
It’s simple, I believe what I have been shown in my meditations. It’s okay with me if you believe what you were shown in the midst of a drug induced coma, while licking a slimy drug coated frog………after all if IT is so powerful, he just may have allowed each of us to find our own paths by seeking, understanding and “dealing with” the most frightening DEMON of all……….ourselves, you know….the dark dank places inside, our own foibles, laziness, impure beliefs, etc. I much prefer to deal with mine as they are much more formidable than some idiot dressed in a red suit and horns!
I really didn’t read the babbling long winged pot filled rabble.
You hate people that believe in anything because you think it’s cool and hiipy free.
You insist people believe exactly like you do because it’s cool and hippy free?
Wow, where did you get that? I think that you are the one smoking pot!
To repeat myself…I don’t care what you or anyone else believes… JUST USE YOUR OWN MIND and don’ swallow the puke spewed out by someone trying to scare you by threatening HELL, etc.
This is exactly the thought process I followed in moving from being a devout Christian to aetheistic agnostic (if that makes sense). It took me a long time to get here, but now it’s hard for me to understand how I could have ever read the Bible and been OK with what it says. Like you said, rape, murder, torture condoned or even advocated…if the God of the Bible exists, he is one nasty piece of work.
But azara, don’t you see how hate filled you are? Look at your post. Not everyone takes the bible or whatever that way, and not everyone teaches it that way.
My point has Always been, there is good bad, People, ,bad justify What they do and say their religion told them too, they’re mental.
There are many differnet religions that don’t blieve in a hate filled raping god, it’s what you are taught.
Unfortunately not all of us can wave our hands at the problem of nasty religious people and say “meh, if we ignore them they’ll just go away.” The problem is these people DON’T go away! They gain political power and clout and make other peoples’ lives miserable. They have a measurably negative effect on our culture.
Moderate religion and Fanatic religion stems from the same source: the idea that faith is a virtue. Faith is the excuse people give themselves to believe things without a good reason to. And that is the root of the problem. If you don’t apply any kind of standard of proof for your beliefs, but instead rely on wishy-washy, non-evidence bases like “well, it makes me feel good” or “it’s what I was taught,” then you have no standing to condemn those who read the same scripture you read and use it to harm others. You have already given in to not requiring evidence for your most important beliefs, so you have no standard to evaluate beliefs that have objective harm.
We can’t all be robots and be 100% logical and have proof of every belief all the time. That’s not what I’m suggesting. But what people of faith need to do is step back and realize what standing their faith should have in a rational society. I’m not asking religious people to give up their faith, just realize that it doesn’t make them right, nor does it justify imposing their rules on everyone else.
The Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally, in my opinion. You have to be aware of the times and interpret the message. For instance, Corinthians. These were letters written by Paul, to the church in Corinth. He tells the women to not wear make-up and jewelry. Now, I don’t believe that God doesn’t want me to skip my make-up. And jewelry. Prostitution was rampant in Corinth at this time, and the prostitutes were identified by the way they dresses and adorned themselves with jewelry and make-up, etc. The message was to be careful that what you do does not send the wrong message; something like guilty by association. I think the problem with organized religion is that when Scripture is read and discussed, they usually leave out the social settings at the time. It is all relative if you educate yourself as to where each book of the Bible is taking place and what was happening in those regions at the time the books were written, ad well as who wrote them and why.
If the Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally, how do you know which parts to take literally and which parts not to? If you’re reading this book and picking and choosing the parts you like and throwing away the parts you don’t, how can you say it’s of any value to you whatsoever? Obviously you already know what to believe based on your own sense of empathy, morality, and understanding. So why bother with a holy book at all?
I think the question is a bit more tricky than how you handled it. If someone were to ask me “what if God was proven to exist to your satisfaction?” My answer to this would be a question: “which God?”
It is inequivocably impossible for the God as described in the Bible to exist. Why? Two main reasons. First, the Bible describes God as omnipotent, which is a logical impossibility. Omnipotence is a self-contradictory presumption. The classic question: “can God create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it?” illustrates this perfectly. Because no matter how you answer the question, it will always end with God having a limitation, and thus he cannot be all-powerful. It also describes him as omnibenevolent, and thus Epicurus’ problem of evil comes to play. If you were to stand by and watch someone get murdered/raped/tortured and do nothing about it despite the fact that intervening would carry no personal risk to you, you cannot really call yourself good or benevolent.
The other reason is that many of the stories of the Bible have been completely and absolutely proven false. There was no world-wide deluge. There simply wasn’t. The entire field of geology and other sciences contradict it. Applying basic logic to the story contradicts it. You cannot simultaneously believe that representatives of every species on earth along with the food necessary to sustain them and only 8 caretakers for an entire year fit on a wooden box half the size of the Titanic and still deny evolution. Modern zoos require hundreds of staff to care for relatively few animals. Sure, you can invent all kinds of excuses you want (classifying animals under that ambiguous “kind” category), but it only creates more uncomfortable questions. What did the carnivores eat? How did the Dodo get back to Mauritus? How did the marsupials travel to Australia?
When you define God as “the God who has done X”, and you unequivocally disprove X, you haven’t disproven every possible concept of God, but you have disproven God as defined by “God who has done X.”
So my answer to this question as an atheist largely depends on the God and what effects you claim it has on this reality. If you come to me and say “I believe the Sun is God. I don’t believe it’s a conscious being or that it performs miracles, but it gives everything life and I worship it,” then I will say “okay, I agree your God exists, even though I disagree with how you’re applying that word.”
I think automatically assuming “God” to be The Christian God of the Bible is a mistake. That definition should hold no special power in a reasonable discussion.
I agree with you completely. I don’t believe in any gods; however, most of my posts are about/against the Christian God, and specifically, the God of the fundamentalist Christian. I limit my posts, in this way, simply because I can state my points and provide examples in a manner that is accessible to the fundamentalists that I have so much experience with.
Dee Yoder said:
Amazing to finally read a post from someone who knows everything there is to know in the world, and therefore, can say with honesty, that he knows there is no God.
It’s not amazing that you erect a straw man (i.e. you pretend my position is something it isn’t) and attack that with sarcasm. It’s not amazing because it’s dishonest, intellectually weak, and has no place in the search for truth.