Atheistism #4: The God Diversions
1 Aug 2011
When it comes to atheism, you can find a lot of arguments against the existence of God. But have you ever really thought about those arguments? Probably not, because the number of statements can be overwhelming. I’ve seen Christians bombarded with statements supposedly “proving” that God doesn’t exist, and then the Christian is left “defenseless,” because responding would require too much effort. But I’ve thought about a lot of those arguments, and I’ve found that most aren’t really arguments against God’s existence at all. Most are arguments regarding His character or attributes, but those are theological arguments that have absolutely nothing to do with His existence. They are simply diversions from the real debate, because the reality is that atheism doesn’t have a strong argument.
Please note that this post is not meant to be an in-depth look at these arguments. It’s just a short summary of a few of the more popular arguments against God, and what makes them a diversion.
Lack of Necessity: A popular argument today is that God isn’t necessary. Science claims that evolution, on its own, allows for organisms to evolve in an ever increasingly complex manner, and has no need for input and direction from the outside, making God unnecessary. Unfortunately, lack of necessity doesn’t preclude existence. I could claim that Glee is unnecessary, but if I check my television listing, it will still be there. Necessity has nothing to do with existence.
Poor Design: Continuing along the evolution path, we have another argument: that of poor designer. It is claimed that God is perfect, therefore we shouldn’t find “bad” design in nature. We find “bad” design in nature, therefore, God must not exist. But, for the sake of argument, it is possible that God could be a bad designer. But, like the Lack of Necessity argument, bad design doesn’t preclude existence. We can debate the good points and the bad points of His design, and we can even debate our definition of perfect, but this argument has no bearing on whether He exists or not. “Bad designer” is irrelevant to existence.
Ridiculous Contradictions: Can God make a rock so big that even He can’t lift it? If God knows what you’re going to have for breakfast tomorrow, can you choose something else? These questions are thrown around like they prove that God can’t be omnipotent or omniscient. And the “natural” extension is that God must not exist because He doesn’t fulfill the definition. But it only disproves omnipotence or omniscience when unrealistic definitions are used. Omnipotence does not mean God can create logical contradictions. Omniscience does not mean He has scripted what your going to have for breakfast tomorrow (foreknowledge vs. predetermined). These are simply clever word games, and prove nothing except humanities cleverness.
Where Did God Come From?: This circular argument stems from the “Who created God?” question, which stems from the claim that the universe had to be created. My personal opinion is that while it is helpful when describing the origins of the universe, it is useless as a proof. Christians should stop using as if it were proof, because I don’t think that that is what it was intended for. It seems obvious to me, that something was eternal in existence. Whether it was the natural world (although possibly in different forms) or the supernatural world is a question that we cannot prove. Either existence has always existed, or God has always existed. It makes for interesting debate, but neither side can “prove” their argument, which leads to a faith statement for both sides. You have faith in the evidence provided by science, or you have faith in the evidence provided by God.
Bible Contradictions: The Bible is written by a perfect God, but the Bible contains contradictions, therefore He is not perfect, and must not be real. This is simply a variation on the Poor Design argument. We can debate the existence of so-called contradictions, but a poor “writer” doesn’t preclude God from existence. Christians are often accused of not reading their own books, and while that is a sad truth for many, it is not true for all. And those who read the whole thing in context, find a much different picture than those who cherry pick the problem passages, without really thinking about them. So, the contradiction myth continues to propagate. The bottom line is that the these so-called contradictions are a subject completely unrelated to existence.
The Moral Monster: Often when debating God’s existence, God’s moral character comes up. Unfortunately for atheism, moral character has nothing to do with existence. Once it’s determined that God exists, His moral character can be debated, but saying He doesn’t exist because He’s a moral monster is like saying Hitler or Stalin didn’t exist because they were moral monsters. Maybe God is a moral monster, but stop bringing it up when we are talking about his existence. It’s off-topic and irrelevant.
Religion Is Dangerous: Yes, religion can be dangerous, but so can atheism. Atrocities committed by Christians of the past do not align very well with the teachings of Christianity. So, Christianity can be abused, but that doesn’t make Christianity bad. Atheism makes the same kinds of claims regarding atheist dictators, but then will add that they really aren’t atheist because these leaders have set themselves up as gods. Nice try. Lenin and Stalin tried to eradicate religion and instill atheism. While they didn’t recognize their own “godhood,” trying to dismiss their atheistic beliefs is foolish. But bad people don’t prove or disprove God’s existence. It’s another diversion.
Too Many Gods: Throughout history, there have been a number of gods. So, for atheism, this must mean there aren’t any. It’s the classic throwing the baby out with the bath water. But, it’s easier to just throw them all out, that way, they don’t have to involve themselves in any theological discussion. But an over abundance of gods, doesn’t mean none of them exist, you just need to figure out which one corresponds the best with reality, and the existing evidence.
There are other diversions, of course, but I think that this is reflective of some of the more common ones. The thing to keep in mind is that when engaged in points presented by atheism, you need to think about what is really being said. You will find that most arguments against the existence of God, have absolutely nothing to do with His existence, and while they are legitimate theological arguments, their use when arguing existence only serve to divert your attention away from the empty argument.
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