Where is the evidence for God?
The theists assert: "There's a good, merciful and loving god, and if you don't believe in him, praise him and worship him he will punish you endlessly." As any alert observer would see, the first problem we run into with this claim is attempting to square up this god's attributes as "good, merciful and loving" but at the same time having no qualms to punish you in the most terrifying imaginable ways until the end of time for not kissing his divine ass. But let's move on. We atheists then ask them to provide evidence, and that is not an unreasonable request given the extravagance of such a proposition and the inherent implication for not believing in this god and not displaying a subservient behaviour toward said god. In response to our request they then point to a collection of ancient writings; the earliest being written, presumably, some 3500 years ago—a broth paper and ink highly praised as the "word of God" which they say testify to the existence of a god….their god, who happens to be the judeo-christian god, to the complete exclusion of thousand of other previously conceived gods. But when we, freethinkers, looked earnestly into the "holy writings" we found too many holes, too many flaws, too many problems inherent in the concept and thus impossible for us to accept it as evidence. Appealing to our faculty of reason, we present arguments that pose objection to what has been offered to us as "evidence." We ask the theists for empirical, testable evidence, but what we get instead is an array of perplexing specious arguments that is expected to account for what they cannot provide. The "evidence" is embedded somewhere in those arguments--"you just have to believe." The package of religious belief contains lots of things except evidence. When we show them that their fallacious proposition does not withstand rigorous rational scrutiny, then they reach inside their religious package and pull out dazzling rhetoric jargon, circular reasoning and special pleading in an attempt to harmonize away every awkward detail that has been found in their proposition.
When we, freethinkers, read, search, research and apply critical thinking, we then begin to peel away the mythological layers that embellish the pious claim; and when we get to the core of it, there is empirical evidence to support the claim nowhere to be found. But there has never been any lack of apologists with unrelenting attempts to validate their claim—in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary and no matter how many times they insult reason. Here is an excerpt from a much large comment posted by a theist on John W. Loftus' Debunking Christianity:
"Sometimes the only barrier to accepting evidence is the self."
That is pure nonsense! Something that is [evident] is plain and obvious. It is the available body of facts that need no wrangling to vouch for it. Alas evidence will compel the individual to give in. When or if the evidence to support the "god" proposition is introduced to the atheist or agnostic individual, that would be the end of his or her arguments against it. It forces the individual to change his or her previous default held position. It is wholly a matter of evidence; thus if the thinking world is to accept and hold to the position that there is a "creator-deity," then there must be obvious evidence to warrant such a belief. Moreover, if anyone could present compelling evidence, which has been verified and tested, we would not need to "believe"--we would 'know' with absolute certainty that there is a god, gods or goddess. "Belief," "faith," "God is a mystery," "God is transcendental" and all that theological hodgepodge crystal clear illustrates that they do not have [any] evidence to support their assertion. Sophisticated jargon, theological lollygagging, god-experience anecdotes and logical fallacies will not suffice as substitution for evidence. Apologetic presuppositions and concocted arguments to defend them are evidence of nothing! They argue, and this is my favorite one, that we, atheists, [believe] in "God" but for convenient reason (to commit "sins" is the implication) we simply choose to "reject Him." This is not even a straw-man argument, this is not an argument at all, this amounts to nothing more than a gross absurdity. First, what exactly is it that we are rejecting? An idea? A concept? A speculation? A proposition? A ghost? What? If they claim that a "God" exists, and by that claim they mean a single supernatural being that they imagine created our universe, then, yes, I do reject such a claim as unresolvable because no procedure available to us could reliably establish the existence or non-existence of such an entity that is impervious to scientific inquiry. Besides, there's no need to "reject" God to commit sins. There are preachers "spreading the word of God" then spreading little boys' ass to fuck them. And even if I wish to believe that such an entity exists, I cannot will myself to do it because believing is not subject to the will. Believing in something is not an arbitrary choice one makes. Moreover, if this "God" exists and [He] castigates sinners, I could not avoid the consequences by simply choosing to reject [Him] anymore than I could avoid the consequences if I choose to reject the fact that the law of gravity exists, and decide to jump off a 64-story building's top. But they have not even provided a clear-cut ontology of that which they call "God" to begin with. Other than a pile of adjectives used to define the deity, exhausting circular reasoning attempting to harmonize away theological conundrums that the concept of a creator entails, and plenty of laughable convoluted horse-shit, there is nothing else left to "reject." Clearly the use of the term "rejection" here is nonsensical. The same old definitions of the god-concept that have been redefined many times over by apologists that simply describe functions but not a coherent ontology of this supposed celestial tyrant to whom we must unquestionably submit and obey or else.
A great deal of time, efforts and resources have been invested by fundamentalist Christians and their scholars to validate their inordinate pious claim. And in their monumental task they have produced a wide variety of detailed feasibility studies, lengthy speculations, and developed arguments which have helped them to draw presumptuous conclusions to vouch for what it has never been empirically obvious:
"God is transcendental, so His action cannot be examined or evaluated by any human standard."
"God does not need a creator because He is eternal and infinite."
"God is not bound by the law of physics.
"God allows evil in order to achieve the greater good of free will."
"God operates outside space-time."
"Morality exists, therefore, God exists."
"Atheists cannot have morals,"
"Creation needs a creator."
"A building necessitates a builder."
"The universe testifies to the presence of a god."
"and blah, blah, blah, on and on"
Now, bear in mind that nowhere in the scripture one will find any such an explanation or conclusions. All of these arguments, all of these conclusions are manufactured by the defenders of the creed whenever faced with questions raised by freethinkers that point out the many contradictions and outright absurdities found in a compilation of books stitched together (believed to be infallible) that we are told account as evidence of the true and only god. But it is quite puzzling that they, on one hand, assert this god is "infinite" and "transcendental," yet, on the other hand, in contradictory fashion they then ascribe to this god attributes and characteristics that of ordinary humans—down to the pettiest things such as favoritism, preference, bias, specific gender, specific race, jealousy, anger, wants, likes, dislikes, thinking pattern, etc, and they don't see the problem with that. If they can ascribe human attributes and flaws to this "God," that invalidates his attribute as "transcendental." This is the god of human's imagination!
Religious scholars call their conclusions "logical deductions" or "deductive reasoning"--I call them bamboozling nonsense. Then, of course, one is compelled to pose the question: "How did you--a finite being--come to define and explain an "infinite" supernatural being that you presuppose exists [but] operates outside of time & space, defies human logic, and transcends the human cognitive range?" The arguments they offer are ontological arguments which make no reference whatever to empirical observation--only to logical deduction. Problem is, logical deduction tells us nothing that is not already embedded in its premises. It draws the conclusions that follow from said premises and then check for any inconsistencies. It's only by observation that we can demonstrate whether the premises accurately describe or reflect the real world. In a nutshell, ontological arguments are but confirmation bias embellished with rhetorical jargon. Another common argument they resort to defend their existential claim is the "logically possible" argument. But "logical possibility" does not settle the existence of any celestial entity nor its nature. The only matter settled by this argument is that its existence is not logically impossible--that's it!
I am not claiming that nothing else exists beyond the natural observable world, I simply don't know, but to the proposed god-concept we could grant only two possibilities--either the deity exists or it does not exist. If it does exist, it must be subjected to experimental validation. I'm not interested in "believing" this god exists, I'm interested in "knowing" if it does exist; that means, it must reveal Itself. If the proposed god-entity does not reveal Itself empirically, then all of the apologetic arguments put forth for Its existence amount--at best--to no more than vague conjectures. And vagueness is not a good reason--or a reason at all--to believe but indeed a good reason to remain, at the very least, skeptical. And as a rational person I will not spend one ounce of energy speculating on a third possibility which presupposes a timeless-spaceless state of existence whence this celestial magician operates. If something exists it means that that something manifests reality in some way or another, and if it is real then it does occupy space and time. It makes absolutely no sense to propose that there is a deity that exists but it operates outside time and space and does not manifest reality--as we humans know it--in any way, shape or form. Obviously that would be a deity we could not possibly know shit about--much less ascribe to It human attributes--because it is a deity that violates the law of physics and defies every law of logic; hence, his attribute as an "Omnipresent" being is then invalidated. Something simply cannot be true and false both at the same time. If I tell my friends and/or co-workers that I believe there is a big horse in my house but I cannot see it nor explain it, they would think I am either joking, that I am on drugs, or that I need to be on drugs. They have presented theological and philosophical fancy arguments which argues for the probabilities that there may exist a super natural being or something, beyond the natural world our human senses are capable to perceive, but that is an argument for which demonstrable evidence must be provided. Presenting arguments—no matter how logical and sophisticated they may sound—first, it does not prove that is true, and second, it always falls short of reaching the empirical demonstrative point. Getting a multitude of people to agree with them in what it may very well be strong logical argument vouching for the existence of [their] god is, still, not the same thing as presenting empirical evidence.
In so far, none of the arguments that have been presented by religious apologists and their supporters—regardless how brilliant they might sound—have produced anything that could be acknowledged by everyone as evidence. No doubt, the sophistry with which their arguments are set forth is euphoniously appealing to religious supporters—and even to some agnostics. But the fact remains that all of the scholarly bipartisan monumental work, all of the pretentious intellectual lexicon, and all of that biblical hodgepodge have never, ever, yielded any evidence that could be tested, counted and measured in order to support the categorical assertion of the existence of [their] god; otherwise we would be talking about "knowing" that there is a god instead of "believing" that there is a god. So when their most brilliant and sophisticated of their arguments failed to persuade me, then they switch to a different gear. They tell me: 'Well you've got to have "Faith." You've got to believe that all those things are true through faith'. In other words, they are asking me not to question those things that cannot be tested and thus validated. They are telling me that it is ok to be irrational. They are asking me to suspend reason because "faith" does not count as reason--it defies it. "Faith" is an abstract concept enthralled in mysticism, wishful thinking and a pile the size of Mount Everest of bullshit. They are telling me that if I, somehow, circumvent my intellect I could believe pretty much anything--no matter how absurd they may be. In order to have "faith" I must remove all doubts; that is, I have to deny the laws of nature, reality and ignore the rules of logic. In Psychology this is described as 'self-imposed delusion'; and 'delusion' is an idiosyncratic belief or perception that is firmly upheld even when it is contradicted by reason and reality. If unchecked this could become a mode of behavior leading up to mental disorder.
Those arguments—without testable evidence to back them up—might be good enough for the believers to defend their positions, but they amount to no more than presumptuous speculations, logical rhetoric, straw arguments, circular reasoning, special pleadings and unproven assumptions that so far have remained exactly what they are. If the existence of any proposed god(s) were evident I would have had no reason to write this blog. At the end of the day, the evidence we have for the Christian god is about the same we have for Attum, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Athena, Cronus, Rhea, Olodumare, Osiris, Horus, Ptah, etc—zero…….SO WHERE'S THE BEEF?!!!
Totus crusta quod haud morsus!