Thursday, July 29, 2010

how are you going to convince all the people whom God has proven himself real to that He's really not there? & how can you convince anyone of anything, God's own Son came here, died for our sins, and everyone's still trying to figure out if He exists!

That was an anonymous message left on the Ask Me Anything page.

We may have a difference of opinions and I'm not talking between the writer of the above message and me. There are fellow Atheists who may have ignored this question. That this person was asking a disingenuous question and only wanted a forum to talk the god talk.


I'm guessing the person who made question/statement read a portion of my blog and then went out of their way to contact me. They accepted my invitation (in that provocative way I have) to have a discussion. Many times I talk to Atheists about Atheism, but what I really like to discuss is Theism with Theists.  I like to believe that I have something to offer. Will this person suddenly suddenly stop being a Theist once they read my response? Probably not. But this is Purgatory and one's best efforts may come to nothing - I accept that premise. 

Here is my response to the author of the question.

I read what you left on the Ask Me Anything page and what strikes me is that you seem to be someone who wants to live a moral life. Me too. I have have a family, friends, and co-workers that deserve to have the best possible world to live in. You have people around you that deserve the best possible world to live in also.

What I think is that people in different places at different times faced similar problems and felt in similar ways as we do. They felt about their god(s) the same way as you do about your God. They felt the same rush at their gods' altar as you do in church. They looked at the night sky and saw the hands of their own gods. You look up at the same night sky and see Jesus. My point is - feeling isn't the way to understand the world. Taking a deep breath and hearing what alternative viewpoints say and critically thinking about them is, what I've found, a good way of navigating life. What you feel very strongly about now may not be the truth. Please entertain that idea.

Ultimately, I'm a guy who wants to make people laugh and for them do a bit of thinking along the way.

I hope you have found my reply useful.


  1. I think you did a great job of answering this question - it's a tricky one . . .

    Good post. I like laughing and thinking, and you do a good job of giving us reasons to do both here.

  2. I might be a mile off base here - no, I didn't ask the question but I am a Christ-folower - but we're talking about two different things. Andy, you answer the author's question by explaining, somewhat correctly, that they "feel" God. In essence this is quite true as those of us who believe in God would attest. I can't physically prove to you that God exists. God doesn't manifest Himself in a manner that registers with our senses - and this is just fine if you're arguing from a purely logical standpoint. What the discussion is missing is a discourse on faith. I am a Stage IV cancer survivor. One may say I got lucky and beat the odds while another might say God had a plan and a purpose for my life and intervened as such. Of course, I choose to believe in the latter. Some may think it is illogical and that's quite OK with me because the bottom line is there is no way someone can disprove my faith. I already stated I can't physically prove God exists but I choose to believe He does. By the same token I don't believe one can prove God doesn't exist. In a sense they are also expressing an element of faith by choosing not to believe, in my opinion. In my often times overly simplistic mind the atheist argues from logic while the "theist" argues from faith.

    Now, if I cared what other people really thought about my faith I could stomp my feet and huff and puff and get all offended because you're "insulting" my beliefs but that doesn't matter a lick. To me, God is plenty big enough to defend Himself. I imagine that 99% of your readers will think of me as a deluded nincompoop. And that's OK, too. All the reason in the world won't change that because it isn't about reason. It's about faith.


  3. @ Sarah - always good to here from you.

    @ Ed - respectfully (as always) I would say that if you can't prove that God exists and say it's all about faith then you are in the same boat as any other worshipper of other god(s) whose existence can't be proven but they (the worshipper)takes it on faith. That was my original point, other people in other circumstances have felt their faith just like you do.

    Does that make sense (not just to Ed but to other readers also)?

  4. Yes it makes good sense.

    Pious civilizations can be found all throughout history/the world.

    What most believers worship now has more to do with historical events and geopolitical circumstances than anything else.

  5. Great post - simply yet concise.

    When I bring up the topic of different religions (and all held just as highly as Christians to their particular God), I either get incoherent mumblings or that everyone feels some form of "spiritual dimension" and they just interpret it differently from there. And then ofcourse, they believe Christianity to be the true calling.

    That's the best response I've seen (bar the last part) for such a question. It still involves nonsense and unfalsifiable mush, but it passes for a lot of theists.

  6. @Ed: I am delighted that you have survived stage IV cancer. Congratulations! The problem I have with attributing that to some plan that some god may or may not have to you is, what about my mother and sister, both of whom were devout Christians? Neither one of them survived their cancers; should I conclude that there was no divine plan that included their survival? What should their children think? And what about me, the atheist who never got cancer, still going strong? I'm 9 years older than my mother was when she died, and 18 years older than my sister was at her death. I attribute this to genetics and unknown (but knowable) factors, not some divine plan that required their deaths but not mine. That makes no sense to me, sorry.

  7. @ed-- sorry, but if you're the one claiming that god exists, the burden of proof is on you to prove it. I don't have to do anything because there is no evidence for god's existence. My work is done.


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