A video and some reflections thereupon

 

One of the sweetest girls on the Internet* posted this video on her blog, and it overturned my resolve to avoid religion for awhile.

I have two main reasons for being an atheist. One is that I find absolutely no evidence for the existence of a deity. The second is that belief in an all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good friend in the sky contains numerous internal contradictions. The most obvious of these contradictions concerns the question of how a perfect deity could create an imperfect world and then abandon the residents of that world.

The supposed answers to these problems imply that God is limited. For example, it is claimed that God wants us to be virtuous and worshipful, but that he would find it unrewarding to simply make us virtuous and worshipful (the way he made the angels), so he is forced to endow us with the freedom to choose evil and withhold worship. It is also said that God wants us to appreciate love, happiness, and beauty, but that to do this, he must expose us to hatred, misery and ugliness.

God is therefore extolled on the one hand as having unlimited power, but on the other as being limited in ways that are disastrous to his creation. He is also said to be whole within himself, yet he so wants our worship that he punishes us when he doesn’t get it. Like us at our worst, God only cares about himself. He could have spared us hatred, misery, and ugliness, but to satisfy his own needs, he made a world in which not only children suffer, but in which squirrels, dolphins, wildebeests, and every other creature that ever lived or ever will live suffers. God might tally dying sparrows, but they still suffer, and they still die.

As for God’s absence from the world, I’m told that he isn’t absent at all, but there
’s little agreement about what this means. Some say he came to earth as Christ; others that he spoke through Mohammed; and still others that he commanded Joseph Smith to transcribe some mysteriously absent gold plates, etc. Nearly all believers say that he answers prayers, yet none pray for the dead to rise, amputated limbs to be restored, or for anything else that might not happen anyway. 

I am told that it is my job to figure out which of God’s self-proclaimed representatives is the right one, and all will be well, but I’m given no basis for my decision. If God wants me to know him, why doesn’t God speak to me directly? Better still, why doesn’t God speak to all of us directly? 

It is also claimed that God isn’t responsible for our problems because he simply gave us free will and we chose evil. The fact that our choices cause innocent children and animals suffer is not seen as an objection to this view, nor is the fact that if we really had free will, a great many of us could be expected to choose good, yet the amount of time that even the best of us can maintain virtue can probably be measured in hours. It is also the case that much of our suffering doesn’t come through us. Earthquakes, tornadoes, and many other problems afflict us without regard for our goodness.

In the Hebrew Bible, God allowed Satan to take away everything the righteous Job had including his health and family, only to later restore them all, as if that constituted justice. This solution bothered me even as a child because justice is only served when the innocent don’t suffer. For example, if a drunk driver kills a child, there can be no justice for anyone involved except, perhaps, the drunk driver. But even if the drunk driver is punished in exactly the right way and to exactly the right extent, this would not bring justice to the child, or to the family and friends of the child or the drunk driver. Even if all of these people were rewarded in heaven for their suffering on earth, it wouldn’t constitute justice because it wouldnt erase the fact that a supposedly just God had allowed an injustice to occur.
 
Believers demand that nonbelievers respect their religion, but they give us no reason to regard their religion as other than absurd. If I doubted gravity, global warming, or the existence of the three-toed sloth, they could present me with evidence, but when it comes to religion, they can but say that I must have faith in whichever god they think is the right one. I would ask how they know which one is the right one when all they did was to take the word of their parents and neighbors. But even if they had searched the world over for the right religion, how could they prove that their choice was correct, and how would they explain the fact that other searchers make other choices?


While I can respect those rare believers who use religion in a salutary way, I know from personal experience and the daily news that cruelty and bigotry are far and away the most common fruits of religion. I would not object nearly so much to the groundlessness of religion if I could but see that the good it does outweighs the bad, but unfortunately, the good is minuscule compared to the bad. I’ve heard it said that we create God in our image, and I would add that we nearly always instill him with our deepest flaws. God is but a way to proclaim the evil that is within us as having its source in divine authority. This makes it chief among our depravities.

*http://thesmallgodsshallbemyjudge.blogspot.com/2015/01/stephen-fry-explains-what-he-would-say.html

55 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

When I was a kid I remember asking my Catechism teacher why it was that God created us to love and worship him, and why we'd go to hell if we didn't. I wanted to know why an all-powerful God was so needy. So far no one has been able to answer my question. My questions about the fallacy of free-will have also never been answered to my satisfaction.

Snowbrush said...

Stephen, I used to imagine—I was convinced, really—that if I looked hard enough, I could find the answers, but I have presented most of the ones I’ve found. The others portray a feckless god who simply can’t do any better and desperately needs our help. I don’t think that any of the answers I’ve given even pass the straight-face test. The odd thing is that those who believe them are somehow unable to see that if God is as they present him, he is limited, yet they don’t acknowledge that he is limited. No doubt some of these people are smarter than I, but they’re blinded by need when it comes to religion, and this allows them to take seriously that which the rest of us would find laughable if it were no so sad. Of course, they would point to what Christ said about God having “hidden these things from the wise.” How odd that such a view should, in their minds, represent a recommendation for religion.

Paula Kaye said...

I think it is simply a matter of belief. Some believe. Some don't. Some try to convince us to believe. Others try to convince us not to believe. I disagree with you that bad outweighs good. But I will not try to convince you otherwise. I only wish the best for you in your continued struggles to come to terms with religion.

Snowbrush said...

“I think it is simply a matter of belief. Some believe. Some don't. Some try to convince us to believe. Others try to convince us not to believe.”

The surface truth of your statement is so obvious as to be uninteresting, but the implication makes it very interesting. By contrasting belief and non-belief as if they were lemon pie versus pumpkin pie, you imply that the only difference between the two is one of preference, and this makes arguments in either direction effectively meaningless. Whether it was your intent or not, it provides you with a rationale to avoid any consideration of the arguments. I’m reminded of a reader who wrote that he had read several of my posts about religion and was glad to report that they had had no impact upon his faith. Indeed, if people are determined to avoid rationality, they can’t be reached through rationality. They can dismiss it as deftly as if it were a kind of pie that they didn’t favor.

Elephant's Child said...

You will be unsurprised to hear (again) how much I like this video. I like it for the elegant and persuasive re-inforcement of what I accept as truth, and I thoroughly enjoy the expressions on the face of the interviewer.

Paula Kaye said...

Snow I simply think that your main goal in your blog is to argue with people!! It's that simple. I used to find your questions about religion to be 'interesting'. I now find that you are just really interested in provoking others. If we don't believe what you believe then you start an argument. I will not be returning to read your blog as I find the way that you treat others to not be acceptable in my world. Obviously you don't have all the answers. Goodbye

Snowbrush said...

“I thoroughly enjoy the expressions on the face of the interviewer.”

I very much wondered what he was thinking. All Consuming said he was a Catholic, and I wondered if that was how Catholics looked before burning someone at the stake. The failure of the interview in my mind lay in the fact that the interviewer didn’t challenge what was said. Of course, it wasn’t his place to do so, but when someone contains his facial expressions so poorly, I had just as soon that he voice them as well.

“I will not be returning to read your blog as I find the way that you treat others to not be acceptable in my world.”

I’m not surprised. You have an anti-intellectual bent whereby you think that asserting something is the equal of proving it, and that for others to ask you for proof constitutes bad manners and a desire to engage you in hurtful argument. I spend a great deal of time trying to write intelligent posts, and you dismiss them by implying that your point of view is as good as mine, but you bristle if asked for your reasoning. I recall you saying that you have a “right” to your opinion as if you consider the legal right to believe something to equal with the rational and ethical right to believe something when the truth is that they couldn’t be further apart. I’ve never said this to another reader, but I’m content to see you go.

Charles Gramlich said...

Not sure why he suggests that the Greek Gods deserve better from him but irrationality doesn't need to be consistent.

Snowbrush said...

“Not sure why he suggests that the Greek Gods deserve better from him but irrationality doesn't need to be consistent.”

I think he had reference to their lack of hypocrisy. The Biblical god demands of us that which he doesn’t have within himself, e.g. compassion, justice, patience, morality, and any and all other virtues. He makes much of his perfection, but his behavior shows him to be worse than the worst of us. The Greek gods were a moral mess, but they didn’t pretend to be otherwise.
Of course, it’s also true that the Bible doesn’t portray just one god. There are two in the Hebrew Bible, and then there is Christ in the New Testament, as well as the versions of god in the writings that were left out of the New Testament. Some of these gods were far superior to any that are in the canonized Bible. For example, they recognized the equality of women, didn’t threaten anyone with hellfire, and emphasized knowledge rather than blind faith.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. In some of the gospels that weren’t canonized, there is a female deity who is older and more powerful than the male god of the canonized Bible. This deity chides the Jehovah god for being way too full of himself. She speaks to him as if he were a bad child, a viewpoint that I would share. From the time I was eleven, I realized that the Biblical god wasn’t worthy of being god, and it’s still very much to my surprise that he is taken seriously.

Snowbrush said...

Paula, in case you’re still around, I want you to know that I’m sorry that I lost my appreciation of you as someone who tells me what she thinks. Obviously, you and I are people who tend to exasperate one another, but I don’t recall ever letting my frustration become so prominent as it did with you, and for that I apologize. I like to think of myself as someone who welcomes all points of view, including the ones that I disagree with, and I think I usually do a good job of relaying that appreciation. Unfortunately, comments are unlike posts in that I don’t spend days going over them before I let them appear, and this means that I sometimes write things that I wouldn’t have written had I put more thought into them.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello, greetings and good wishes.

I am a Catholic and a firm believer in Christianity. My three children are Catholics, my father was a Catholic, my grand father was a Catholic. Originally my forefathers would have been Hindus. But I don’t try to impose my views on any one.

Since I am living in India, I know there are many religions in the world and the vast majority of the people are God believers and Atheists are just 2percent. I am aware Atheists are increasing all over the world but religion like Hinduism and Buddhism are also making inroads into the western world. In Islamic countries, I assure you there will be no Atheists because Islam deals very brutally with Atheists and non believers.

INDIA has been the cradle for many religions such as Hinduism, Budhism,Sikhism, Jainism and many other sub religions similar to Hinduism. Indians have also embraced many other religions such as Islam and Christianity. There are also a few Jews living here and there. Perhaps there are also some Atheists.

There is religious harmony here although once in a way we read that a nun was raped or a Church was vandalized. We accept each others beliefs and we don’t interfere in their beliefs. No one tries to convince others about their beliefs. In India Christians are only three percent and Muslims are also three percent. The vast majority are Hindus.

Since you have seen mostly Christianity in your life, you are talking mostly about Christian beliefs. Christianity is a way of life and an excellent one. We believe in so many things because we want to believe. Not because we are less intelligent than the Atheists but we just want to believe. No amount of rationalism will convince us because human beings, however great or brilliant they may be, cannot unravel all the mysteries of the world. They are only picking up pebbles on the sea shore where as the vast ocean lies before them to be discovered.

When do you think Atheists will become more than the God believers? Not in my life time. At present Christianity has the largest following in the world followed by Islam. I am aware there is some decline in Christianity in the west but in India it is growing leaps and bounds. So also in many South American countries.

You would have read in the newspapers that more than six million people attended the Pope’s mass during his recent visit. Do you think all the six million people have no brains to think? Is it possible for Atheists to gather six million people in one place at a given time. This clearly shows the need for human beings to believe in an all powerful supernatural being called God or Allah or Shiva to whom we can look up in distress and trouble and pray for consolation, help and peace. Yes, every one needs peace and hope. No human being wants to believe that death is the end of life. They love to believe in an ever lasting life after death. If Atheists don’t want to believe, good luck to them. No problem at all. No one is trying to convince Atheists. It is their life and they have to live according to their beliefs. If you want to call God beleivers irrational, you can do so. We have no problem.

I am stopping now because it is too late in the night. Before sleeping I will pray the rosary. I have to get up early in the morning and go to work. I will continue with this tomorrow.

Best wishes.

Snowbrush said...

Joseph, my father died in 1994, and he left a box of love letters that were between him and my mother. They were written in 1947 and ’48. I didn’t read them when he died, thinking that I would put it off until the time seemed right. This year, it did, so I removed them from the box and organized them by date. In the bottom of the box was a rosary that was of sterling silver and made in Rome. My mother’s mother became a Catholic after my mother grew up, so I think it possible that the rosary was one that she gave to my mother, although I would be surprised if my mother knew how to use it or would have used it had she known how because my mother wasn’t religious, although she was deeply shocked by my atheism. I’m sure a lot of religions use rosaries, and I am attracted to them myself as meditational aids, although I don’t use one, and the only one I would know how to use is the Catholic one.

Yes, my posts are often focused upon Christianity because it’s the only religion that is relevant here in terms of influence and because it was the religion that I grew up in. I also write mostly about the charismatic form of Christianity because, again, it’s the only one that is relevant here in terms of influence. As for my knowledge, I know quite a lot about Christianity, but little about other religions.

I was surprised by your claim that there is religious harmony in India. Take the following news item, for example: 

“When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.

“So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/23/india-blasphemy-jesus-tears)

A tolerant people do not behave in such a way, and a tolerant government doesn’t sentence people to prison for proving that a supposed miracle was caused by a leaky sewer pipe. I think it obvious that things in India are like things here in that however much the different religions and sects of religions might hate one another, they are united in their hatred of atheists. (continued)

Snowbrush said...

“We believe in so many things because we want to believe. Not because we are less intelligent than the Atheists but we just want to believe. No amount of rationalism will convince us…”

I agree with everything you say here except I would point out that there is an inverse relationship between education and religious belief in that, the more educated a person is, the less likely he or she is to be religious, and when it comes to the hard sciences, atheism is the norm. Certainly, many educated people are religious, but I’m talking about trends rather than individuals.

“This clearly shows the need for human beings to believe in an all powerful supernatural being…to whom we can look up in distress and trouble and pray for consolation, help and peace… If Atheists don’t want to believe, good luck to them. ”

I can well understand that need, but I would disagree with your assertion that atheism is a choice. Think of it this way. If I were told that I had a dread disease that would lead to a slow and painful death, I would very much like to believe that there was a cure for my disease, but if I researched the matter and found that there was no cure, I couldn’t very well choose to believe that there was one simply because I wanted it to be true. Such is my position in regard to theism. I can’t believe that which I have investigated thoroughly and found to be groundless. I even wonder how many theists, in their heart of hearts, truly believe. If they did, I should think they would live differently. If they were Christians, they would take to heart Jesus’ command to love other people as they love themselves to its logical conclusion, and they would give away all of their surplus property rather than to live in luxury while others were starving. I think that most believers are simply motivated by a desire to believe because of the reasons you stated. At bottom, it is a purely selfish desire.

“If you want to call God believers irrational, you can do so. We have no problem.”

I think that religious faith is indeed irrational, but I don’t claim that believers are irrational in other ways. I think that it is instead a compartmentalized irrationality. My friend, I have no trouble believing that you might very well be more intelligent and better educated than I, but this changes nothing about my claim that your religious belief is irrational in terms of there being a factual personage (i.e. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit) behind it. As for the fact that it gives you comfort, I’m sure this is true, so it might be said to be rational from that perspective, but it is not rational in terms of content.

“No human being wants to believe that death is the end of life.”

I certainly don’t, but many people say that they wouldn’t want to live forever, so I can but take them at their word.

“When do you think Atheists will become more than the God believers?”

I suspect that theism is based upon an evolutionarily produced proclivity, so atheists might never be in a majority in the world as a whole, althoug I think it likely that they already are in Scandinavia.

“ I will continue with this tomorrow.”

Good, I will look forward to it. Best wishes to you too, Joseph.

PhilipH said...

The Sound of Music: How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Or Religion
Or Belief
Or Faith

You cannot solve a problem that has no logical answer.

Live and let live is a good idea, but some religions do not seem to go along with that. Hard core Islamists for example. It's all a bit pointless in the end.

Many Catholic nuns have committed unspeakable crimes against young women who became pregnant 'out of wedlock' by effectively selling the newly born children to virtual human traffickers who sold them to anybody who could pay the price.

There are probably millions of examples of 'Christian' fanatics who roamed countries seeking out 'Witches' and then tortured these poor women before murdering them in despicable ways, often burning them alive. All in the name of some GOD!

And even today we read of examples of 'Christians' killing children who are deemed to be 'possessed by the Devil' and the list could go on.

Stephen Fry is a highly intelligent man; extremely well-read and in great demand in London society. He is unflinchingly honest; I support him in the above video.

However Snowy, I think it is pointless in responding to comments made by those who are stuck in the mud and mire of a religious order, other than a brief "Thanks for your comment ..." type of reply. But you will not agree of course ;-)

Winifred said...

Crumbs Snowbrush for an atheist you spend an awful lot of time thinking & writing about God. Do you feel the need to justify why you don't believe in God? You certainly have some very articulate arguments.

Hope you're feeling better healthwise I haven't been blogging much recently so am out of touch.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello greetings and good wishes.

It looks like I have created too much heat. So today I have decided to cool the atmosphere with a joke which I found on the internet.

Read and enjoy.

If you don't know God watch what you say ...... A United States Marine was taking some college courses between assignments. He had completed 20 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform... I'll give you exactly 15 min."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when a Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and hit him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "GOD was too busy today protecting soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me."

The classroom erupted in cheers,

Tomorrow I will surely come back and raise the temperature.

Best wishes



Snowbrush said...

“for an atheist you spend an awful lot of time thinking & writing about God.”

I have a wealth of experience, a tremendous interest, and a unique vantage point. To leave it to theists to write about the justification and effects of religion, would be like leaving it to Big Business to write about labor unions, to oil companies to write about fracking, or to Monsanto to write about organic agriculture.

“Do you feel the need to justify why you don't believe in God?”

I’m more akin to a missionary, I suppose, although I don’t seriously expect to reach anyone who isn’t on the road away from religion anyway (it’s also true that I have a very small readership), but most importantly, I just write about what pops into my head to write about, and religion is often it.

“There are probably millions of examples of 'Christian' fanatics who roamed countries seeking out 'Witches' and then tortured these poor women before murdering them in despicable ways…”

Not to mention cats. Now that I have a cat, I read about cats, and I came across this article about some pope who declared that black cats in particular were possessed by Satan, and this inspired all of Western Christendom to rush out and kill black cats and gray ones too (gray was too close to black to be left alone, I suppose). When I hear today’s pope solemningly sharing his wisdom, I remember past popes.

“I think it is pointless in responding to comments made by those who are stuck in the mud and mire of a religious order”

But I enjoy it, and i’m not commenting to them alone, but to anyone who comes along. I’m also refining my own views. You will note, however, that while I respond to their points directly, they refuse to meet mine directly. Like boats that are driven by fans, their “faith” protects them from having to touch the depths. What I like about Joseph is that he admits that it’s need alone that drives people to religion. By contrast, Paula would argue that she was being rational but would become angry when asked to present anything in the way of rational thought or evidence. If a person is completely unwilling to back up anything they say, then what’s the point in saying it?

Snowbrush said...

“It looks like I have created too much heat.”

No, no, no, a thousand times no. I read your comments with great interest, and responded to them with affection and enthusiasm. Perhaps, it is different for you, but fervent disagreement doesn’t equate with anger for me as long as I believe the person is communicating honestly.

“GOD was too busy today protecting soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me.”

Nothing you have written offended me until I came to this. First and most obviously, God doesn’t protect soldiers. Second, it assumes that America’s wars are just wars and that God is on our side. Third, the cheering suggests that everyone present either agreed with the man who assaulted the teacher, or that they were too frightened to voice their disagreement. Fourth, it implies that God is limited, which isn’t a problem for me, but I should think it would be for you. Fifth, it suggests that God needs protection, and that he “sends” his faithful to protect him through violent means regardless of their legality. Sixth, in presenting it, you apparently imagined that I would find humor in hearing about an assault upon someone who thinks as I do. Seventh, religious oppression is a significant problem in America’s military. Eighth, this joke could just as well have replaced the Marine with a member of the Islamic State because both believe that the faithful have a responsibility to use violence to silence those who holds views that they don’t agree with. Ninth, the fiction behind every war that America ever fights is that we’re protecting freedom, yet this Marine and the multitude that supports him places no apparent value upon freedom. I think that this much, at least, is true, because no group praises freedom more highly or attempts to restrict it more severely than conservatives, and while all Marines aren’t conservatives, most are. Tenth, humor is often used to present knife-edged thoughts that one wants to disavow responsibility for, and I can but cut you a lot of slack about this because of our cultural differences. Eleventh, the Marine contradicts himself when he says: “GOD was too busy today protecting soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me.” Specifically, he’s admitting that he’s acting against the very values that other are out fighting for.

lotta joy said...

Reading one of the comments I'm reminded of an animation series that you probably are not aware of. SOUTHPARK. Whenever anyone disrespects the lead characters "authority" he says: "Screw you guys. I'm going home."

When an argument is too much for an individual, and said individual never has the proof he/she is correct, they always huff off vowing never to return.

On the other hand, there is a simple explanation for all the horrors, pain, torture, and diseases in the world.

Once upon a time, this naked lady pulled an apple....(some will actually argue it was a pomegranate or apricot), off a tree...

Job was rewarded for his faith by being given new stock, and new wives.

As for the old stock and old wives - who did nothing to deserve either death or reincarnation.......Once upon a time, this naked lady.... *repeat*

Snowbrush said...

"I'm reminded of an animation series that you probably are not aware of. SOUTHPARK."

I take that as a compliment. Actually, I'm vaguely aware of Southpark (it'ss the one with Beevis and Butthead, I think), but I never watch commercial TV (except for the network news and an oldies station), and I don't get cable, so I don't know much about it.

"Once upon a time, this naked lady pulled an apple...."

Please, we don't use words like naked on this blog even when writing about adultery, fornication, and beatiality (sex with beatniks). Words like naked tend to arouse...and arouse...and arouse, and things get awfully hard (no pun intended...then again, maybe it was), after four hours of arousal. Words like naked (shudder--maybe I'll just call it the n-word) therefore keep honest, god-fearing people (like Joseph and moi) from getting a good night's sleep, which is especially tough on Joseph because he has to get up to go to work). They also make it difficult for us to concentrate on praying for people like yourself who appear to have a strained relationship with the Almighty.

"As for the old stock and old wives - who did nothing to deserve either death or reincarnation......."

When I lived in Mississippi, I took this woman named Michelle (just the name made me want to have sex with her) all the way to West Virginia for immoral purposes. While there, we visited a Christian friend of mine who informed me that she had been praying for a ride to Mississippi to visit her mother, and that God had sent Michelle and me to take her there. I said, but Katie (because that was her name), do you really think that Michelle and I are nothing more than a means for you to get to Mississippi, and she said that, no, God always ties everything together so that a lot of people get benefit from the same thing. So it was with Job, I suppose. God killed his wives, flocks, jackasses, children, and so on and so forth for their own good. For a Pentecostal preacher, you don't seem to know much about God, so I suppose it's just as well that you're not a Pentecostal preacher.

lotta joy said...

I won't say the word "naked", but since YOU mentioned the word "Pentecostal", can I say the words "tongues", and "laying on of hands"?

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello greetings and good wishes.

Here is an interesting article by by William Lane Craig

I will be delighted to know you point of view.

Most atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief. Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat the slogan, “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence.”
The atheist who merely repeats this slogan after having been presented with arguments for God’s existence makes an empty assertion.
Here are five reasons why God exists:

1. God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe. Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.

2. God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe. Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life. That is to say, in order for intelligent, interactive life to exist, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature must fall into an incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range. There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design. The first two are highly implausible, given the independence of the fundamental constants and quantities from nature’s laws and the desperate maneuvers needed to save the hypothesis of chance. That leaves design as the best explanation.

3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.

A continuation follows

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Continuation from the previous post

4. God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact. Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary. I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave: God raised Jesus from the dead.

5. God can be personally known and experienced. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.
The good thing is that atheists tend to be very passionate people and want to believe in something. If they would only put aside the slogans for a moment and reexamine their worldview in light of the best philosophical, scientific, and historical evidence we have today, then they, too, would find Christmas worth celebrating!

The atheist who merely repeats this slogan after having been presented with arguments for God’s existence makes an empty, meaningless assertion.
“There’s no good evidence for God’s existence.”

I am not trying to convince you. But it will be worthwhile to reorient your thoughts on the basis of the above mentioned points.

To is Sunday.I am going to attend the Holy Mass in our Church and pray,

I will come back tomorrow wirh more.

Best wishes

kj said...

i admit i haven't read your post and comments thoroughly--but i've read enough in my own mind to say that I view god as some energy force, not a person, and i believe we are all interconnected and as i'm older i admit to the existence of evil but i also know how much true kindness and love there is in the majority of earth's species.

and for the life of me, i will never understand your great interest in organized religion. i would think you've covered this subject so often that the dialogue and responses are almost predictable.

best wishes, snow
love
kj

Snowbrush said...

Joseph, thanks for your additions to the discussion. They have nothing to do with the subject of the post, however, which doesn’t argue per se the non-existence of God, but argues against the possibility that God is a moral being. You have completed ignored every point I made in this regard just as you have ignored every point I’ve made in the comment’s section. Perhaps, you feel weak in the areas I’ve brought up, so you would prefer to switch the discussion to areas in which you feel adequately bolstered by Craig.

“Most atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief.”

The burden of proof is upon the person who affirms God’s existence just as the burden of proof is upon the person who affirms the existence of any entity. For example, it is not my place to prove that space aliens never landed on earth, but the responsibility of those who believe in them to prove that they did.

“Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat the slogan, “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence.’”

Yet, my friend, your remarks read like a summary of a book I read by Craig. I’ll mention that atheists have attacked all of his views in case you’re interested in reading the other side of things. I read much of one of his books, and must confess that I came away heartily disliking him because I view him as one who falsely claims to represent science, particularly physics, yet physics doesn’t say such things, and, far from having thoughts of God, no science contains more atheists than does physics.

“Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence.”

If you claim that the universe couldn’t have merely “popped into being,” but had to have an explanation, by what logic do you exempt a far more complex being called God from having an explanation?

“Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life.”

A mainstay of arguments for God postulate that such-and-such couldn’t simply have happened. For example, if someone survives a disease that kills 999 out of every 1,000 people who get it, the claim is that God must have performed a miracle. No, physics has not proved that the universe has a fine-tuner. Physics makes no such assumption. Craig makes such an assumption.

Snowbrush said...

“God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust…”

Yes, “even atheists” do, but not all believers do. Members of the Taliban and the Islamic State among others only regret the Hitler didn’t finish the job. Are you aware of Occam’s Razor, whereby if you have two explanations for something, and one is complex and the other simple, then the simple explanation is more likely to be true? For example, a ghost might have hidden my eyeglasses, but it’s more likely that I simply misplaced them. So it is with morality. In numerous ways, it’s NOT absolute across cultures, and evolution is a far simpler explanation than God.

“God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.”


Only believers believe this. Others think that the largely contradictory stories were written, revised, and added to decades after the events supposedly occurred in order to fit the changing views of the developing church, that many of the resultant writings were eventually discarded by the church elite for political reasons, and that no one has a clue what really happened, but that there’s no reason whatever to imagine that any of it had anything to do with the supernatural.

“God can be personally known and experienced…Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.”

Why not mention that there are thousands of churches based upon the different things that God has supposedly told his faithful, and that most of the world’s peoples are in communication with other deities?

“I will come back tomorrow wirh more.”

I would prefer that you come back with responses to points that I’ve made rather than to steer the discussion in unrelated directions.

“I view god as some energy force, not a person, and i believe we are all interconnected”

Yes, I know. You and Joseph are at opposite ends of the theism field. He thinks that many specific statements can be made whereas you portray a deity that is so vaguely defined as to be meaningless to him and to me. The benefit of your view over his (as I see it, of course) is that your’s doesn’t lead you to support an organization that goes about the world hurting people by being a safe haven for child molestors, ignoring environmental issues, banning birth control and abortion, viewing women as inferior, and oftentimes supporting war. Moreover, people with your view didn’t go on Crusades, or burn cats, atheists, witches, Protestants, and Jews, among others. While I’ve every confidence that many Catholics are fine people, it’s far from being a fine institution.

PhilipH said...

Oh! My eyes have been opened and I can see clearly now that God is real.

All the evidence is there. So many scholars have formed an irrefutable case, especially that Jesus rose from the dead. It's all there; clear as a bell.

Mine eyes have seen the glory ... etc. I'm reborn.

Excuse me, I'm wanted by two men, both wearing white coats. Byeee

Snowbrush said...

Now, wouldn’t that be a hell of a note? Here I am trying to run a respectable atheist blog and destroy souls for Satan, and then Joseph comes along and wins my chief apostle to Christ! It would be enough to make me get saved too.

Seriously, Joseph, don’t take any of this to heart. You’re welcome here, but you’re dealing with at least a few hardcore people (although some of my most valued readers are Christians) in the sense that they’re well into the second half of life, and, where arguments in support of theism are concerned, have long since heard it all and rejected it all. After I responded to your comments, I must confess to feeling a great sadness because there are never any new arguments for God, but rather revisions of centuries old arguments, and also because I have no thought whatever that it would possible for me to “convert” you to atheism, and I know that you have no chance of converting me to Christianity, and this makes our argument pointless in that way. You can share your arguments if it interests you, but I’m a 65-year-old fellow who has been an atheist for most of my life, and have already considered and rejected anything you might say. This is why I would hope that you would address the arguments I made in this post regarding theodicy, them being arguments that Christians invariably ignore. (Perhaps, they too too consider them unanswerable.) It was the overwhelming sense that God was unjust that set me on the road to atheism, and that happened nearly 55 years ago. Unlike you, people like KJ simply sidestep the problem by making no assertions that one can argue against. They say that there’s an all-embracing energy in the universe and leave it at that. Well, okay, so what? As I see it, their God is irrelevant. He knows nothing, and he does nothing to help us, he’s just kinda floating around, eternally oblivious.

P.S. to Joesph. If you don't want to discuss my post, maybe you would like to talk about the video.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I believe because it brings me comfort. But I often really think it's more of God being within all of us. It's up to us to create the better world...to fix the injustices and right the wrongs. I have some of your same questions and to me, it's an imperfect world. If God created us in his image and we're so flawed, how can he not be??

Linda said...

Joseph,
"[M]ost historical scholars...]" ??? You must mean "historical Biblical" scholars. Of course they will uphold all you sy

All your proof comes from scriptures. You cannot use God's writing (Bible) to prove there is a God.

Snowbrush said...

“I believe because it brings me comfort."

I can easily understand how a desire for comfort can lead a person to want to believe, but I can't understand how it can enable a person to believe. I’m embarrassed to say that I tried, and I couldn’t begin to do it, but even if you can, I can’t imagine that it would be the kind of belief that a person would be willing to give everything for.

“You must mean "historical Biblical" scholars.”

I don’t know what percentage of academically respected Biblical scholars are conservative Christians (none I would suspect), but the scholars I’ve read taught at mainstream universities and were not in every case theists, although even the ones who were theists would be embarrassed to be associated with William Lane Craig. My own completely jaundiced opinion of him is that he likes to build a name for himself by selling books, and integrity be damned.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello greetings and good wishes.

I have come back with more.

Here is my blog post which I wrote a few years back. Please read and let me know what you feel.

Democratic countries all over the world give freedom to their citizens to speak their mind, write what they want and paint what they desire.
Christianity is a tolerant, understanding, forgiving, compassionate religion based on sacrifice and service and not on aggression and retribution . As a result, atheists including scientists with half baked knowledge based on false premises, find it easy to attack Christianity and in the process gain some cheap publicity and make some quick money.

If these atheists were living in Islamic countries, they will not dare open their mouths because Islam deals brutally with atheist and those who don’t believe in God. These blasphemers will be beheaded in public without even a trial. Atheists take undue advantage of freedom in democratic countries and hurl baseless accusations against Christianity.

Christianity is the beacon light for the world. Atheist who constitute a negligible percentage of world population, are jealous and try to gain some cheap publicity by writing against it.

I can think of Marx and Engels who wrote Das Capital. Communism succeed to some extent.But ultimately it gave way to capitalism because there is no survival in this world for Godless communists.

Another instance I can cite is Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. He created a sensation against Christianity, made money and became notorious at the expense of irrational atheists who lapped up all the nonsense that he wrote.

There are innumerable authors who write against Jesus in an attempt to gain worlds attention and in the process make some quick money.

will be continued.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

CONTINUED.

The motive behind all these atheist authors and scientists is to make money and gain some attention. Money is all that they want and how they get it is immaterial. Like instant tea and instant coffee, they want instant fame and money. And the best way to do it is to attack Christianity which is being followed by the vast majority of people in the world today. These atheists lack morality and ethics, which is a pity.

Atheists are living in the past which again is highly irrational. Like broken records they keep repeating that in the past the Christians did this, in the past Christians did this etc.etc. which is meaningless because we are living in the present and not in the past. Past is gone, we are living in the present and atheists don’t know the meaning of present. They are once again irrational. The funny part is that they claim to be rational which is a laughing matter.

Christianity has gives us some fundamentally strong values, morals and ethics to live a decent dignified life in this world. It has brought about an orderly way of life.It has taught us to live a civilized life and get along with others in harmony and peace. It has ensured progress and development of this world.

If the miniscule percentage of Atheists have their way, then murderers, rapists, drug peddlers, smugglers and other evil doers will be accepted as normal people. Any one can do anything and their behavior will be accepted as normal. You can imagine what evil people can do if they have no fear of God!


Christianity has shown poor people a way to put up and endure their difficult situations and sufferings in life. It has given them immense solace and peace to cope up with their miserable situation.

In the rich people it has inculcated a sense of charity and compassion for the downtrodden and poor. It has shown them a way to achieve inner peace by doing something good for the poor. It has restrained the rich and powerful from misusing their power and position..

Let all those who want to write against Christianity do so and we get an opportunity to study their evil minds. They are frustrated with their meaning less life. They have no hope and they are frustrated with their God given life. So far what good have the Atheists done for the society at large. They have spread with their irrational thinking only despair and hopelessness and frustration and gloom.

Christianity has gone through several vituperative,vehement and vociferous attacks over a period of 2000 years. It has always come out more brighter, more vigorous, more resilient, more glittering and more shining in all its glory and splendor.

It has shown human beings a way to live a beautiful and an orderly life, realize one's full potential in this world and look forward to eternal bliss with the Creator in the next life.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Unquote. MORE WILL COME TOMORROW.

Best wishes

All Consuming said...

So...this is all my fault then *laughs*. Blimey. Also, I had no idea my name could have a such an effect on a man. Maybe I should set up a cult and the world a much better place by making up a huge amount of bollocks and raising a ton of money to keep for myself whilst being incredibly intolerant of anyone who does not believe the rules I decide upon.
I skipped into the last bit, but I'm still glad my name might have that effect in a way *laughs some more*.

All Consuming said...

Oh yes and - "One of the sweetest girls on the Internet" -" aw shucks, thanks sweetie. It's all true, I am magnificent.

Snowbrush said...

“Unquote. MORE WILL COME TOMORROW”

No, Joseph, I don’t think it will, not on my blog anyway.

“I had no idea my name could have a such an effect on a man.”

Some women drive men to drink, others to God, and still others to atheism, and as Joseph would most certainly tell you, that means you’ve driven me to immorality, selfishness, nihilism, hemorrhoids, and acne (everything but the clap, actually). I can but say that it was worth it.

“‘One of the sweetest girls on the Internet" -" aw shucks, thanks sweetie. It's all true, I am magnificent.”

I know, you’re downright bubbly. It’s lovely to see you this way.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello, greetings and good wishes.

I had a plan to carry on this discussion for the next one year. Since you are not keen on it, I am stopping.

Best wishes

Snowbrush said...

"I had a plan to carry on this discussion for the next one year."

I wasn't aware we were having a discussion, Joe.

Linda said...

Joseph, you say:

"Christianity has shown poor people a way to put up and endure their difficult situations and sufferings in life. It has given them immense solace and peace to cope up with their miserable situation." The opiate of people/masses? So, you agree with Karl Marx?

Why should people put up with and endure with sufferings, cope. Why not give them a system that helps them climb out of the abyss?

Many times each week, I hear poor, toothless people say God has a plan so they are not going to try anything.

I can honestly say I hate people like you.

Thank you, Snowbrush for not giving him a platform.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello greetings and good wishes.

Ha,ha,ha, we are on a different wave length. I call it a discussion and you call it something else. It doesn't matter.

Best wishes

PhilipH said...

Oh dearie, dearie me. We've lost Joe, the Jester.

Oh woe is me! He was such a tonic and he was so certain about all things on earth and in heaven.

A breath of Spring in the mid winter of Blogland.

It's all YOUR fault Snowy. Yes it is, and you know it. But I'll forgive you, just this once.

Snowbrush said...

“I call it a discussion and you call it something else. It doesn't matter.”

Joseph, whether it matters are not depends upon whether you care about the feelings of the people you are trying to reach or not. A discussion implies an exchange of ideas, and we weren’t having an exchange of ideas. You were instead using my blog as pulpit in ways that had nothing to do with me. In other words, you ignored the issues I raised in favor of what you wanted to say, and what you wanted to say disintegrated into an attack on the motives of atheists who seek to defend atheism and critique theism. You started out loving and ended up hateful, which is exactly what atheists expect from Christians. When you say you love us, we know it’s a lie.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello, greetings and good wishes.

I am a practical Christian. I don't believe Atheism is good for society. My temperament is moulded by the modern society where only the fittest will survive. It is not my job to please any one. I am not a movie star. I am an ordinary Christian man. In the present world, I am aware that if I have to survive I should go by the dictum - A SLAP FOR A SLAP, AN EYE FOR AN EYE OR A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. Otherwise people will crush me to death. However, I love some one who loves me, I am kind to some one who is kind, I good to some one who is good to me.

I can see some Atheists are rallying around you to defend you because they think you cannot defend you self. This is the weakness of Atheists.



You are a good man gone astray. That is all. You are like the Prodigal Son in the Bible. Hopefully you will come back one day to the fold. Then there will be great rejoicing. For this you have to get rid of the company of Atheists who are polluting your mind and dragging you to destruction along with them. You have only one life.Only one chance. Don't forget that.

Atheists have done nothing good for the society at large except spread gloom, depression,hopelessness,anxiety, frustration, helplessness,tension and every thing that destroys a person as a human being. Very, very sad. I pray for you and your fellow Atheists.

Being neck deep in Atheism, you will not be able to comprehend this. You have to open your eyes and see the innumerable good things Christianity has done for the society and for the world. We are living as human beings with human values because of Christianity. That includes you and me.

I am not listing down the good things that Christianity has done for human beings and the world. However, if you are not aware I will list them down in my next post.

Please let me know.

Best wishes

Snowbrush said...

Joseph, I rarely disallow a comment, but I want you to know that I won’t be approving, or even reading, anymore comments from you in regard to this post or in regard to any other post about religion or atheism because you have refused to stay on subject, that is on my subject, the subject of this post, it being my blog and all.

Furthermore, I won't approve comments from you in regard to posts about other subjects if your comments have nothing to do with those subjects. You can blog on your blog. You don't need to blog on my blog. I find that I’m spending way more time on you than your comments are worth, by which I mean that, in my view, they have no worth. I’ve gone my whole blogging career without ever saying good riddance to anyone, and now I find that I’m doing it twice in relation to this one post.

I tried my best to give you every benefit of the doubt when you shared a “joke” in which an atheist was assaulted. I then tried again and again to steer you back to the subject of my post, but you’ve made it clear that you don’t give a rip about my wishes. So, I give up, and to this end, I won’t even read your comments much less allow them. In my view, you’re simply a fanatic who has nothing intelligent to offer. It often seems to me that there are two PRIMARY kinds of Christians. The first kind are those who are relatively sane because they simply don’t take their religion seriously, and the second kind are the hate-filled crazies. Many of the latter group are violent, while others are simply obnoxious. I think you’re simply obnoxious, but I really don’t know. I just know that if you don’t come here again, I won’t view it as a loss because if you’re not the kind of person who would have lit the fires that once burned people like me, you would have certainly stood in the mob cheering.

Linda said...

I never post a comment to defend Snow. He needs no help in defending himself verbally. Christians are so cold and harsh that one day they may become the same type of hate-filled religion of the East. If the Christians of your ilk had their way, we would all obey their narrow definition of what it means to be a Christian. Women would not be allowed to wear pants, cut her hair or show cleavage because of the weakness of man. People would only be allowed a full voice in the US if they knuckled under to the "rules" found in the Bible. Destroying a Bible would be a death sentence.

Believe me, this is not a defense of Snow, but an indictment of you and yours.

possum said...

Well!
The most erudite thing I can think of is - WOW!
I am sure you know I LOVED that video... have used those same arguments myself... but in my old age, I don't bother to argue the point anymore very much.
I remember a fight I had with my sister (Episcopalian) years ago when she called me one of the best Christians she had ever known. I yelled at her to never call me a Christian again, EVER! I would not have been as upset had she called me a b----.

But I must say this... I have known some good and kind and dedicated Christians with whom I have had an agreement of acceptance and love. We agreed not to ever try to convert the other. I agree to answer any questions (that I can) on Buddhism, but we run into difficulties when I question the Bible and they use the Bible to answer the questions - or tell me I must not question God.
Buddhism, on the other hand, teaches us to question everything!

I really enjoyed this post.

BBC said...

Hum, my speakers aren't working.

If god was real I would hate him/her/it.

lotta joy said...

To say anyone has defended Snow would imply he needed defending: on what ground do you base the defense? Of a god that exists because you say so?

"I am not listing down the good things that Christianity has done for human beings and the world."

Spanish Inquisition? Wars to defend a god who is all powerful?

YOU find yourself in the unenviable position of defending a deity that would not lift one illustrious finger to defend or protect you, your children, or to answer one of your pleas. Nor can he do such a small thing as to allow you to continue to use this blog as your platform of hate.

That must suck.

Jenny Woolf said...

I do like this post because it cracks me up the idea of Fry standing there at the pearly gates and saying, "Now, listen God, this is JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH!"

Snowbrush said...

“I have known some good and kind and dedicated Christians with whom I have had an agreement of acceptance and love.”

I’ve only known one—in person—who remained that way after learning that I was an atheist. I do have a few Christian readers who have hung in there, and I give them credit for inspiring me to keep my words relatively moderate, which I think is a good thing.

“it cracks me up the idea of Fry standing there at the pearly gates and saying, ‘Now, listen God, this is JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH!’”

I too like cats. As for Fry, the question is not whether he would have the courage to “speak truth to power” when that power was doing its Wizard of Oz number, but whether what Fry would like to say would be the truth. During the days when the Catholic Church tortured and killed anyone who questioned its authority, few people had the courage to stand up to it, but that didn’t mean it was in the right. Like Fry, I spit on any deity that allows injustice or that inspires bloodshed. The only excuse I can give it would be that it is too weak to do otherwise, but the concept of a deity that could create a universe and then have its will frustrated by human beings is absurd.

possum said...

May I quote that last line in my Sunday Musings? With credit to Snowbrush, of course.

Snowbrush said...

"To say anyone has defended Snow would imply he needed defending..."

I was puzzled by that remark also because I am confident that I write well and am knowledgeable about my subject. In a verbal exchange, I would feel very differently because I don't regard myself as either quick witted or eloquent when it comes to speech.

"May I quote that last line in my Sunday Musings?"

I would be honored.

Kerry said...

A thought provoking post, Snow, as always. Prayer may serve the purpose of comforting oneself, or maybe another, in the face of bad fortune. But of course that's only if one buys into it to begin with. It's ridiculous to think that if a lot of people pray for something that God will treat it like a bunch of votes & simply do what the majority wishes. A democracy of prayers. I have more to say, but theres a cat onthe keyboard rigth nwo....

Ginny said...

This post sums up so well how I feel about religion. Very well said.

"If I doubted gravity, global warming, or the existence of the three-toed sloth, they could present me with evidence, but when it comes to religion, they can but say that I must have faith in whichever god they think is the right one."