What is the smartest or trickiest argument you've heard for the existence of God that you've heard?

What is the smartest or trickiest argument you’ve encountered for believing in the existence of God, and what are your counter arguments in response to it?

Thank you very much for your time!

Posted: July 13th 2010

flagellant www

I don’t think that there are any smart arguments for the existence of God; some of them are tricky to deal with because those posing the 'argument’ don’t rely on normal, rational argument. Such people are therefore impervious to persuasion. Here are two common examples.

Firstly, there’s the argument from design: 'There must be a God because someone must have designed the Universe’. That argument is susceptible to the dismissive reply 'Well, who designed God, then?’ [I have sometimes received the replies: 'God designed himself’ or 'God is eternal’. Both of these are easily dealt with, to my satisfaction, but the religiosi never concede.]

Then there’s the argument from feeling: 'I know there’s a God because I feel it in my bones/guts/water.’ This is simply a version of hoping that there’s a god, unsupported by the slightest reliable evidence. I am not privy to that feeling of hopefulness, so I do not accept the argument. I sometimes respond with statements about the unreliability of feelings with examples of how what we feel isn’t necessarily true/real: our senses deceive us and we need additional evidence to support them. For example, I often feel that I’m going to win the lottery but I never do.

So, as I said at the outset, the religiosi believe in God for reasons that I consider invalid. Their arguments are not smart and they are only tricky because they adduce 'evidence’ that I consider invalid. Hoping or wanting there to be a god doesn’t prove a thing, except that the proponent is guilty of wishful thinking.

Posted: July 21st 2010

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There are no smart or clever (I think that is what you mean by trickiest) arguments presented by religious believers. They are all mundane, banal, and predictable. However, religious believers for some odd reason, present these tedious arguments as if they are heavily evidential, vigorously thought-out, and fresh material. They are stuck in this space where they repeat the same stale stuff over and over, again and again, presenting a bunch of logical fallacies as if they count as evidence.

The contributors here have heard it all, and all existing arguments have been thoroughly dismantled. There is no debate to whether or not it is rational to believe in the supernatural as true or that religious beliefs count as valid knowledge. It is irrational.

Just be honest, it is a faith thing. If you want to believe in this crazy stuff, be my guest. But don’t pretend it is anything but faith. And in this world where evidence rules supreme (try presenting faith as evidence in a court of law), faith is less and less being respected or cleaved to anymore.

Posted: July 20th 2010

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SmartLX www

The smart arguments aren’t tricky, and the tricky ones aren’t smart.

The plain old argument from design is a smart one because it appeals to people on an emotional level. Many want to be designed, and have the world designed for them, because they want to be special. The counter is firstly to show ways in which the natural objects of this world, including us, could plausibly have come about without design, breaking the argument from ignorance with an alternative, and secondly to find another source of self-wonder, such as that we’re all the more unique and amazing to have come up from the same muck as everything else and achieved what we have.

The ontological and transcendental arguments are the really tricky ones, because they’re designed specifically to tie people up in logical knots until they give up. There’s little substance to either one, and they’ve both been addressed several times on this site.

Posted: July 19th 2010

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Mike the Infidel www

'Trickiest’ is definitely the right word to describe apologetics. I don’t find any of them to be particularly smart. Most of them just rely on tricks of language or logic to fool you into thinking they’re valid.

For example, the argument that “everything that began to exist had a cause -> the universe began to exist -> the universe had a cause” is based on the fallacious equation of things within the universe to the universe itself. We know that things in the universe that begin to exist have a cause; we have no such knowledge about the universe itself. We can’t even realistically begin to describe what it would mean for the universe to “begin” to exist, since “begin” is a temporal concept and time is only an aspect of an existing universe.

Posted: July 17th 2010

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