In this article, someone called Amanda Guy asks who has the burden of proof, atheists ot theists, and whether there is sufficient evidence for either position.
If you read my blog regularly, you can probably answer those questions with as much effort by now as Neo fends off the Smith clones at the end of the first Matrix movie.
The reason I am writing a reply to this tribe anyway is that these are the arguments a lot of “normal” religious people use everyday, and I think this is the front where we can lay the groundwork for a better understanding of not only the atheist position, by pointing out again and again and ad nauseam the mistakes and errors committed by religious apologists, but also for why we conclude that religion is wrong, outdated, and causing much more harm than good in our society today. I’m going to do this in parts in what I call the Owlmirror format, some of you will get the reference.
Atheist and Theist have always been at odds over the existence of God.
Translation : There have always been people who believe without evidence, and those who don’t.
Atheists believe that because theist cannot provide sufficient evidence of God’s existence then He must not exist.
That’s not correct. Theists can provide no scientific evidence for god, because they fail to even agree on what they mean by “god”, hence the inability to test or falsify. Atheists conclude from the absence of evidence for god(s) that it is reasonable to not believe in them, just as they don’t believe in fairies, leprechauns or celestial teapots. This is called the principle of parsimony. Some atheists(me included) think that no evidence for gods can possibly be provided, given the lack of definition for “god”, and considering Clarke’s third law. I summed this position up in my post thusly :
Could we be convinced that Thor, Allah, Jahweh or Vishnu exist?And my answer is no, we couldn’t.If all the amputees on Earth grew new limbs tomorrow, and had “sorry it took so long, but here you go- Jesus” tattooed into the new limb’s skin, the explanation “Jesus exists” is not more likely than “alien sociological experiment”, or “Allah trying to test the Muslims’ belief in him”.
Back to Guy’s article though.
Theists believe that atheist cannot disprove God’s existence because of the orderliness of the world around them and consider it as enough proof that God does exist.
Translation : We are entitled to make up our own facts, and if you question them, we feel threatened, close our eyes, stick our fingers in our ears and sing “LaLaLaLa”.
As I said above, “god”‘s existence can not be proven or disproven because there is no definition for it. What works for atheists is that we have no evidence for any supernatural force as of yet, 2000 years after the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the whole universe allegedly appeared to one middle eastern tribe in the desert region of a remote planet in some backwater corner of one of 400 billion galaxies he is said to have created.
Now it gets cute, but I will proceed, because again, this is an argument we hear often, and the more often we correct it, the better.
Some argue that our basic moral beliefs are proof of God’s existence because it is imbedded in our conscience that stealing, killing, raping, torturing, and other things are just wrong and unacceptable. A person who doubts whether or not these things are wrong is considered dangerous by the rest of society and in need of mental help
And some argue that not raping, stealing or killing is hardwired into our brains, because it makes evolutionary sense, or just because most people don’t need the threat of eternal hellfire to know right from wrong. Also, prison populations.
Many atheists think that they can have a sense of morals and right or wrong without there being a God to guide them but they cannot. The Bible says that we are made in God’s image and likeness and that means that we are also made with His ideas of what is right and what is wrong. If there were no God as the atheists believe then our evil nature would overrule us and we would not see things like murder as being wrong
I am saddened to learn that I can not have a sense of right or wrong without the threat of eternal damnation from a celestial dictator. And here I was thinking I had led a moral life, trying as best I can to be a good person.
This is of course the most stupid, but also one of the most frequently made theist arguments. Amanda, the countries with the most atheists on this planet are generally the ones with highest prosperity and social security, best education, and lowest crime rates. Google “Sweden”. The murder rate for the 80% Christian country USA is one of the highest in the world. Religion does not make someone a moral person.
Also, “His ideas of what is right or wrong” are the ideas of stone age goatherders from 3000 years ago, I’d rather not base my moral decisions on those in 2011, thank you very much.
Jeffrey Dahmer once said, “If it all happens naturalistically, what’s the need for a God? Can’t I set my own rules? Who owns me? I own myself.” Meaning: if we are all here as a result of evolution or the big bang then we do not have anyone to answer to and can determine for ourselves what we believe is right or wrong.
Catholic priests seem to have no problem with determining what is right or wrong for them, and the Christian god either likes to watch men fucking altarboys, or he doesn’t take offense at pedophilia. Or maybe he just doesn’t exist, and we are indeed responsible ourselves for knowing what is right and wrong, and for being the best human being we can be.
The atheist needs to give the same amount of evidence that God does not exist as the theist needs to give that He does exist. I have heard atheists who try to say that believing in God is like believing in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. The problem with this argument is that we know the origins of these make believe characters; we know that we have made these characters up so that little kids can have more fun at Christmas, Easter, and when they lose their teeth. No one can explain the origin of God because He as always been and that is the part of the argument that many atheists have a problem with.
Oh, but we also know the origin of the idea of gods. We made them up alright. As AC Grayling said, “religion and science have a common ancestor, ignorance”. Religion and gods were means to explain the unexplainable at mankind’s dawn, but science has replaced religion as a way of knowing for 2400 years, since Aristotle really, it’s just that religion threw a spanner in the works of the acquisition of knowledge for 1000 years, in what is called The Dark Ages.
Atheists believe that we have evolved and that matter was already in existence and never created.
No they don’t believe that, and we know that something can come from nothing, and matter can be created from energy. Science has given us that knowledge, why all religion can come up with is ” it can’t be” . Here, educate yourself.
The next one is trivial, but it is important, because religious people do argue this way :
Theists believe that an omnipotent God spoke the universe into existence and formed all living things from the dust of the ground. The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and said, ‘Let there be light and there was light.’”
This “It’s in the Bible, therefore it must be true” argument is a powerful one for Christians. Most atheists respond with some Harry Potter or Odyssey analogy, and they are correct, but we have to realise that for the indoctrinated believer, the umptieth translation of some third-hand report from some stone age priest is in fact evidence for their superstitions. How do we counter this ? I think ridicule is appropriate. I do not have to be kind or polite about the fact that those bozos take these texts for evidence.
Intuitive Design means that if you look around everything that happens works in an orderly manner; for example, the conception and birth of a baby is a complicated process and many things have to go just right for it to take place without a disaster happening.
Has she seen an anencephalic baby I wonder ? Or a shoulder dystocia ? 60% of pregnancies are aborted before 6 weeks, what’s orderly about that ?
We may not be able to prove God’s existence but we can look at nature and see that He is there.
Translation : We are entitled to our own facts, and are free to fill gaps with “god”. Whatever god means. And, we are not ashamed to make Paley’s arguments 200 years after they were refuted.
We may not know exactly how old the Earth is but does it really matter; does knowing this affect anything in our present or future life?
We know exactly how old the Earth is. 4.54 billion years.
Amanda Guy couldn’t possible end her almanach of refuted christian claims without this one :
While I cannot prove with 100% certainty that God does exist I would not want to risk denying His existence here on earth only to find at the end of my life that I was wrong.
Ah, yes. Pascal’s Wager. Refuted anno 1700. See here.
I may be considered as a fool for believing in a supernatural God, where is the harm in me believing it and later finding out in death I was wrong. I would have lost nothing at that point.
I would argue that you most likely wasted your chance to make a difference as a moral, good human being by clinging to the supernatural. Like so many theists.