(If you are offended by having your theology questioned, by all means read this, but don’t complain to me later that should keep my opinion to myself, because it makes you mad.)
So I’ve been having some frustrations with creationism and religion lately. Understand that, honestly, I’m not the sort of stubborn atheist that just wants to not believe, in the way most stubborn Christians just want to believe. People often forget that I was once a Christian myself, and through a few uneasy years of curiosity and deduction, I eventually came to the conclusion that Christianity was almost certainly… well, the politically correct phrase escapes me. So I’ll use an honest one. A load of clown-shit insanity.
I’m also not the sort that enjoys attacking people who aren’t being aggressive, hurtful, or tyrannical with what they believe. But it seems difficult to have a discussion about something so horrendously nonsensical as the belief in God without coming off as harsh, or needlessly pushing off you own beliefs. How many polite ways can you possibly say “you are wrong, and your theology is destructive to yourself and humanity?” And yet I personally feel as if we are all practically obligated to play Devil’s advocate with each other sometimes, if only for the sake of demonstrating to others the strength (or lack thereof) of their beliefs and ideologies. And considering that it is extremely possible- though sadly, not common- to maintain spirituality without religion or God, I see no reason to not actively instigate. You’re not sacrificing spiritual peace… you’re just trimming off the fat.
Despite the title, this is less about disproving God, and more of a minor demonstration in the fact that there really is no logic present on the side of creationism. To argue in favor of God is to walk into a gunfight shooting blanks.
Here are some of the more common arguments I hear in favor of the existence of God… also, you’ll find a detailed explanation for why every single one of them is certifiably broken logic.
1-There is evidence of a singular, albeit broad moral code in all of the civilizations of history, therefore proving the existence of a moral God.
I first heard of this statement as being attributed to C.S. Lewis, which is a shame, because I think very highly of his intelligence, and the logic itself is extremely short-sighted. Assuming there is an inherent moral code for mankind, this still does not imply there was a sentient creator of the code, only that there is a code. If anything, the idea of a singular moral code coexists rather well within what we already know about the universe- generally, that there are unseen positive and negative forces, operating in logical, consistent patterns. The idea of “God” is completely unnecessary to the equation.
2-The universe contains cosmic forces in constant motion. According to Newton’s Law, something must have set these forces in motion, therefore proving the universe and its motion must have had a beginning, which could only have been formed by an outside, sentient being.
Similar to the last “proof,” this falls victim to the assumption that there could have only been a sentient creator. Just because there are toys under your tree at Christmas, doesn’t mean Santa Clause put them there. A possibility yes, but one only as likely as any other randomized nonsense. The conclusion that Santa Clause must have brought the presents is about as justified as assuming they grew from the tree and fell off like oranges. Jesus oranges.
Even the very proof cited here, Newton’s Laws, works against this. The Law of Conservation of Mass states that matter cannot be destroyed, only displaced and reformed. When coupled with the fact that every reaction must have had an equal but opposite original action to be the result of, it is only logical to conclude that because matter cannot be destroyed, it cannot be created. Logically then, all matter has always, and will always exist.
So what about forces? Well, it’s the same thing, really. Motion was never started, because motion is in the eternal process of displacing itself between bodies of mass. And even if there was a beginning to motion, with God being the action to all reactions, the argument trips over its own hypocrisy by overlooking the fact that, by their own logic, the forces behind the creator himself would have to be the result of something else, too. Turtles all the way down.
If you’re simply desperate to assume there was a beginning to the universe, then look back to Christmas, again. Santa Clause is a bit of a leap, so using what you already know to be true, you could deduce other, more warranted explanations- and there are plenty available, let me assure you.
My personal explanation: The forces of the universe were set into motion by the collapse of a previous universe, in with an endless cycle of rebirth and destruction, causing an equal but opposite reaction… sound familiar?
3-Charles Darwin admitted that his theory of evolution could not explain the eyeball, because without every single one of its functioning parts, the eye is rendered completely useless. It could not have been the cause of gradual adaptation, as there is no advantage to an incomplete eyeball. Therefore, the eyeball could have only been created deliberately, as a whole, by a creator.
Alright… so, so, so many things wrong with this. Let me start this one with a quote by someone a lot more admired than me: “Nonexistence of evidence is not evidence of nonexistence.”
(Yes, I can hear it already people screaming that “the same could be applied to God!” Don’t worry; I’ll get to that in a minute.)
The battle between religion and modern science is not what it should be. People have grown accustomed to assuming that if science fails to explain something, religion gains a point by default. We’re not playing backyard sports, people. We’re trying to solve the mysteries of the universe. Just because a scientist can’t claim to know up and down what the hell is going on, doesn’t mean that the only explanation is automatically “God must have made it happen.”
Many religious people take solace in the notion that science is flawed. That it changes with the generations, each time looking back on its past foolishness without irony, and is therefore easily dismissed if it conflicts with their religious views and teachings.
But science is not a computer, people. It doesn’t get outdated and replaced with newer, better science every few years. Science is a method. If science cannot explain something, it’s because humanity fails to understand it, or to use the scientific method properly.
Although the existence of the eye is indeed (to my knowledge) a very unlikely event- that still somehow happened- that doesn’t mean Santa left eyeballs in our stockings. Realistically, the eyeball is a cosmic eventuality at the very least, as is every conceivable form of evolutionary trait. As they say, a thousand monkeys locked in a room with typewriters will eventually produce Shakespeare… and grow wings.
4-The question “Could God create a boulder so large that he himself could not lift it?” is invalid, because the question itself is a logical paradox. A rational God created a rational universe, and therefore anything irrational is nonexistent.
I think one who claims that question is invalid due to paradox does not understand the nature of the question. The fact that it is a paradox is the entire point. It is not a specific question about the limitations of God, but is instead points out the paradox already present in the concept of an all-powerful being.
For example: If God knows everything that will ever be and we were created by this God- who already knew by heart the totality of our existence, then how could we possibly have free will, and how could he justifiably punish or reward us for our actions? By all means, it might as well have already happened- and been thrust upon us, at that.
5-If you feel you understand the Holy Trinity, you have a poor understanding of it. The Holy Trinity defies earthly logic, and cannot be understood.
Again, defying its own rules. If it took a rational God to create a rational universe, then why is there no consistency with the limitations of God? The concept of an inconceivable Holy Trinity is laughable when introduced immediately after calming God is rational. To believe this, you basically resign your attempt at logical argument in favor of repeating “Don’t worry- it’s magic!” as an answer to every question introduced.
6-The human mind cannot imagine anything it has not experienced or witnessed. We are mortal, finite creatures, and it is therefore impossible for us to develop a concept of an eternal, omnipotent God without him already existing.
This is the most logical of all of these arguments, and the one that had me stumped for a short time a few years ago. However, it is rendered just as invalid as the rest of them because it seems to forget one important thing…
Though I cannot imagine something that is not just composed of shapes, objects, textures, and colors I have already encountered, this does not mean I can’t say I can. Hell, I’m doing it right now. If you were to say that the concept of infinity or omnipresence must exist because it is being discussed and understood, you would be forgetting that you really don’t understand the concepts at all. Can you imagine infinity? Or omnipresence? No matter your beliefs, you’d certainly be lying if you said yes.
Or would you? Honestly, I’m not too sure about that one, myself, so let’s take a look at both of those options…
Let’s assume we don’t understand infinity: We can still discuss it, even without full comprehension. We cannot imagine what it would be like to not exist, either, yet we use the concept of nothingness almost daily. Take the number zero, for instance. Because the human mind only perceives in measures of what does exist, zero is a mathematical concept designed only as a place-holder for what we cannot comprehend- a complete lack thereof. It’s mind-blowingly brilliant, really, that ancient man managed to wrap their heads around this in the first place. Though I cannot understand or communicate the concept of nothingness to you, I can still offer you this word, zero, and it still all works out the same in the end.
Now let’s assume we do understand infinity: That still doesn’t mean that there is an infinite God we must be pulling this knowledge from. Like almost every other “proof” this jumps to assumption that this one possibility is the only conclusion. Perhaps it is the universe that is infinite, and by being a part of it, we inherently understand the concept. Or perhaps it’s even us that are infinite, existing beyond our lives as human beings in some form or another. The latter is my personal belief.
7- God cannot be proven or disproven; therefore we must assume that he does exist.
Although all of these arguments are flawed, this is the only one of them that I simply detest. At its very core, the statement is outright immoral. To pledge total loyalty, conform your moral code, and basically bend the entire structure of your life to something for no other reason than because there could possibly- probably not, but maybe- be consequences to choosing the alternative is pure cowardice.
First off, let’s acknowledge that even if you believe God exists (the Christian God in specific), you at least should admit that the idea has potential to be one hell of a lie. In fact, it’s pretty much the perfect lie. Listen to this: “There is a deity, controlling all things, knowing all things, and he does absolutely whatever he wants with the universe, including that which is beyond our comprehension. He cannot be observed or recorded, he will not interact with the universe in any conclusive fashion.” It’s pretty damn hard to prove something like that wrong, when it is tactically designed to evade all means of investigation- and even easier to attribute every unexplained phenomenon to it. This is religion’s greatest weapon, and why it has survived for so long.
Okay. So now how about this: “I have a pet gremlin named Hoho. Hoho can move things with her mind and helps me with my homework by whispering in my ear. However, she is also invisible and can pass through matter. I’m the only one who can see Hoho, and she never, ever speaks to anybody else.” Now, you know I’m lying, of course. If I told you about Hoho like this, you’d undoubtedly demand that I provide evidence that she exists.
Remember way up there when I mentioned “nonexistence of evidence is not evidence of nonexistence?” This is where that comes back into play.
Yes, I admittedly cannot provide concrete evidence that this is no such thing as God- but then again, you sure as hell can’t prove that Hoho didn’t help me pass my algebra class. For someone to use this argument in favor of creationism- or anything- is to essentially admit that they believe what they do for absolutely no reason at all, and that there is absolutely no reason for anyone else to believe it, either. At which point, it’s really your responsibility to prove to us that God does exists, if you actual give a damn whether or not anyone else believes.