8
Would God makes his existence obvious to all?

Several atheists assert that God, if he existed, would show himself openly. Why must this be so?

Can you think of any reason a postulated god might make your intention to follow him a precondition for revealing himself to you?

Posted: August 17th 2011

Eshu www

How about a god who wanted nothing to do with humanity and so hid itself from detection? Such a god is at least not a logical impossibility.

On the other hand, a god who wishes to communicate with everyone but manifestly fails to do so, is inconsistent. Note that the truth is always consistent with itself.

Posted: August 27th 2011

See all questions answered by Eshu

SmartLX www

There’s no reason why it must be so, but God as envisioned by subscribers to the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) wants everyone to believe in and worship Him. The easiest and most straightforward way to do this would be to show Himself openly, and regularly. That this doesn’t happen suggests one of three things: there’s no such god, the real god is not so interested in widespread belief or there’s some reason for God to want people to believe without evidence. Theology has presented many possibilities for this third option (the idea of a test of faith is very popular) but they must all be stacked up against the fact that if the Abrahamic God exists, this omnipotent being is nevertheless not getting what He wants – and that’s ridiculous.

Posted: August 23rd 2011

See all questions answered by SmartLX

Blaise www

I can certainly think of reasons why 'a postulated god might make your intention to follow him a precondition for revealing himself to you’. It could be incredibly stupid. It could have a twisted sense of humor. It could be a vindictive asshole. Or, it could be made up by people too unskilled at reason to realize that they have defined it in such a way as to be a logical impossibility.

Posted: August 21st 2011

See all questions answered by Blaise

Eric_PK

It depends on the god.

The Christian god is said to be omnibenovolent and only allows believers into heaven.

A being that did not give everybody a chance to believe would not be omnibenevolent.

Posted: August 18th 2011

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

donsevers www

God doesn’t have to reveal himself but his position on this issue says a lot about his character, and thus about whether we should follow him.

Divine hiddenness can be used to argue against the existence of a loving god. It would be unfair to punish reasonable people for unbelief. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_nonbelief

If believers say that God doesn’t reveal himself, then they need to give up their many claims that he does: via personal revelation, scripture, tingly feelings during sunsets, etc. At least be consistent.

And Galen made this point: we can’t sensibly commit to a god we don’t know. The problem of human suffering figures in this area: since God allows unnecessary suffering of innocents, at minimum, we aren’t sure that he is equally loving to everyone. How can we follow a god with such a severe indictment hanging over him? We should resolve this issue decisively before we submit, or we might end up following a monster.

My favorite angle from apologists is this: “If God showed himself, we would have no choice but to believe in him. He gives us free will, so he has to limit the evidence for his existence.” The problem here is that this reasoning can be used to support any god. If lacking evidence is evidence for a free-will-granting god, then it is evidence for thousands of possible gods, not just Yahweh or Allah.

Finally, please notice that we never talk this way about all the other things which lack evidence. If believers really believe that lacking evidence doesn’t work against the existence of God, then they have to grant that it doesn’t work against Yeti, Bigfoot, UFOs, ESP, fairies or flying pigs.

Dropping the requirement for evidence isn’t a win for a particular god. It merely grants him a place at the starting line with orbiting teapots, elephants in Yellowstone and leprechauns under my bed.

Posted: August 18th 2011

See all questions answered by donsevers

Galen Rose www

I think that makes no sense at all, actually. Why would one have an “intention” to follow a god before he had good evidence that that god actually existed?

This involves what I call the prophet problem. We humans always hear about gods from various prophets, we never see that god for ourselves. The problem, of course, is that there have been thousands of prophets, shamans, witch doctors, and such, down through the ages, all claiming to represent the one true god. The fact that all those gods have been successfully marketed to hundreds, thousands, or millions of people, with varying success, proves that we humans are lousy at telling the “real’ prophets (if there are any) from the phonies.

These prophets, none of them, ever give us a test or experiment which will prove theirs is that one true god. We must therefor take their word for it, or not. Given this state of affairs, I think any sensible god would expect to provide some solid evidence for his existence, if he wants people to “follow” him. Otherwise, we will almost certainly be following a false god, since only one (at most) can be the real god, and there are thousands of gods to choose from. On this basis, there is no more evidence today that bible-god is the “one true god” than the Hindu god Ganesh, or Thor.

The prophets and “holy” books urge people to “seek” their god because they are all powerless to show or demonstrate that god, to prove that their god exists. They may have convinced themselves by some feelings or alleged signs, and they hope to convince others to buy in based on their promises. To me, that’s a lot like buying a piece of property in Florida (for 10% of what you’ll earn the rest of your life) when you have never seen that property, or a video or photo of it, and you’re pretty sure the salesman has never seen it either. If I wouldn’t buy that property without first being certain it existed, why would I “follow” a god without first being certain it existed? What a setup for a scam! Perfect!

Posted: August 18th 2011

See all questions answered by Galen Rose

Mike the Infidel www

From your second question, I’ll assume you’re a Christian, because this is the sort of question Christians ask.

Christians believe that God loves everyone and doesn’t want anyone to suffer for eternity. Problem is, many people don’t believe in the Christian god because he doesn’t make himself obvious. The only conclusion I can reach from this is that the Christian god thinks it’s more important to remain obscure than it is to keep people from going to hell.

So no, for that specific kind of god – one that loves people and controls their eternal fate – I can think of no reason such a god wouldn’t reveal himself to everyone.

If the god doesn’t control your eternal fate, worshiping it becomes pointless. If the god doesn’t love everyone, there’s no reason to think worshiping it would do you any good.

Posted: August 18th 2011

See all questions answered by Mike the Infidel

brian thomson www

I don’t think it must be so – but if the god isn’t going to do anything, then what is the point of postulating its existence? We are told that the god does more than merely exist: it wants our worship too. Its existence (or otherwise) is not really the problem for me as an atheist: it’s all the other stuff that people demand we do as a consequence of said existence.

So, the ball is in the god’s court. I don’t care whether it exists or not, but if it does and it wants something from me, it can come and ask me. I don’t trust any of the people who claim to know what it is and what it wants.

Posted: August 18th 2011

See all questions answered by brian thomson

 

Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum