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How sure are you of God’s non-existence?

Are there any theistic arguments, or anything about our universe generally, that sometimes make you question your atheism?

Posted: July 26th 2010

Dave Hitt www

Very sure. 99.999999% sure. About as sure as I am of anything.

Every theistic argument I’ve heard for his existence is seriously flawed and easy to shoot down. Add the fact that there’s no proof, or even any faint evidence, that such a being exists.

I find “We don’t know” a more reasonable answer than “God did it.”

Posted: August 2nd 2010

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Blaise www

You can’t really question atheism, since its technically a lack of belief in something rather than a positive opinion. You can question the insistence that something exists, but not the opposite.

This is similar to the concepts of hot and cold. 'Heat’ is a measure of energy in something, but 'cold’ is a relative and subjective term that only means 'lacking heat’. You can make and measure heat, but you can’t make cold.

Likewise, theism and atheism are not equivalent statements. Atheism isn’t a statement of belief in something (although most atheists do have beliefs), but rather a lack of theism. Someone who believed in every god ever invented by man would be the 'hottest’ theist. Someone who only believed in a few of them would be atheistic with respect to the first person, but not compared to someone who only believed in one invented god. Someone who believes in no gods at all has a complete lack of theism. That person would be 'coldest’ on the theism scale.

The key to remember here is that the atheist is making no claim at all, so there is no belief to question or be sure of. Theists are the ones making claims, and those claims are the only thing that can be questioned.

Posted: August 1st 2010

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Paula Kirby www

Since you write 'God’ with a capital G, I assume you are thinking of the Christian god? If so, I am absolutely certain it does not exist.

How can I make such a definitive statement? It is because, unlike some deist god who doesn’t intervene in the universe and whose existence or non-existence would therefore be entirely untestable, the Christian god is pretty clearly defined.

It is all-powerful
It is all-loving
It is all-knowing
It is all-just
It is the source of absolute morality
It created our universe and everything in it, including everything that lives
It is omni-present
It longs to be known and for us to believe in it
It answers prayers
It occasionally performs miracles
It heals
It was incarnated by means of a virgin
It died and was resurrected 3 days later
In so doing, it absolved us of all guilt for our 'sins’, provided we believe it has
It will judge us all, and those who pass muster (i.e. who believe that their sins have been forgiven through the death and resurrection of Jesus) will spend eternity in heaven and those who don’t (i.e. who don’t believe …) will spend eternity in hell.

And probably more besides. This gives us a lot of claims that are testable, by empirical experiment and by logic. If such a god existed, it should be possible to demonstrate the fact, because there is plenty here to work with. But the fact is, such a god fails at every turn.

Prayers demonstrably do not get answered more than we would expect through sheer chance.

Faith healing demonstrably does not work more than we would expect through sheer chance and placebo effect.

Alleged miracles are always totally lacking in reliable evidence.

Even theologians have acknowledged that this god cannot be all-knowing AND all-powerful AND all-loving because otherwise there simply could not be so much suffering in the world.

Evidence shows that living forms were not created but evolved; any suggestion that God drove the process of evolution would again immediately categorically contradict the characteristics of omnipotence and omnibenevolence, since evolution proceeds through the application of cruelty (remember: evolution is a statement of reality, not of desirability).

It cannot both long to be known and be all powerful and all knowing and yet STILL remain hidden to us
It cannot be just and yet consign any living being to eternal hell (no one – LITERALLY no one) has ever been so bad as to make that a just and commensurate punishment; and a punishment that isn’t proportionate to the crime is by definition unjust).

For the same reason it cannot be all-loving.

It cannot be all-just and believe in the idea that guilt can be transferred to someone else. This is not justice, it is obscenity. As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out so eloquently, I can, if I am very generous, take your punishment on your behalf, but I can never assume your responsibility for the crime. To do so would be to undermine the very basis of morality, which assumes that we are responsible for our own actions.

Morality has been shown to be a) not absolute and b) not to be remotely dependent on any deity but to have evolved and been shaped through entirely natural processes.

And so I could go on. The Christian God is logically impossible. I cannot say with absolute confidence that there is nothing out there that we might conceivably call a god (though there is not the slightest evidence for one and therefore I don’t believe in one); but even if there were, it could not POSSIBLY be the Christian one. The Christian one is impossible, by its own definition.

Posted: July 28th 2010

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brian thomson www

Close enough for rock and roll, as the old saying goes. I think it was Malcolm X who said “I don’t want Knowledge, I want Certainty” – which is a concise description of the problem I have with religion: it offers Certainty when it is not justified in doing so.

In this Certainty it claims superiority over Science, where conclusions always appear to be tentative and subject to change in the future, but this has more to do with human weakness, in our inability to handle uncertainty. As we learn about the universe, we see that our existence here is uncertain, and not guaranteed in any universal sense. So some people grasp at the religious sense of Certainty, wishing that the uncertainty goes away, but wishing doesn’t make it so. We have Knowledge, but we have to live without Certainty.

Posted: July 28th 2010

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SmartLX www

I’m reasonably but not entirely sure. The general quality of the universe which stops me from being certain is its size and likely unknown qualities. There are just too many places a god might be hiding for anyone to say there definitely isn’t one.

What makes me as confident as I am that there isn’t a god, especially a god like the Christian capital-G God, is the simple fact that we don’t all worship Him. That is what He supposedly wants from us more than anything else. How is an omnipotent being, who is responsible for everything leading up to the present, failing to get what He wants most?

Posted: July 28th 2010

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logicel

I question everything. But I don’t change my mind, until I have evidence. If and when there is enough evidence for your god, then I will accept its existence. However, because I would not be accepting its existence out of faith, I would not be religious nor would I worship the creature.

Posted: July 28th 2010

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