Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The God hypothesis untestable and beyond reason to decide?

Big bad bob said in a comment on The God Delusion chpt 1 post (in my Book Club): "What Dawkins defines as god are the parts of theology which can not be tested by traditional scientific method."

It's often claimed the God hypothesis is not empirically or scientifically testable. The idea seems to be that God necessarily transcends the empirical realm, and so his existence cannot be conclusively verified or falsified by reference to it. The most we can have are clues (such as those that prompt the question: "Well, why is the universe so fine-tuned for life, if it wasn't designed that way - by God?" - but even theists admit this is no "proof" of God's existence).

Indeed, God's existence is often said to be beyond the ability of reason to decide. For example:

“Let us say: 'Either God is or he is not.' But to which view shall we be inclined? Reason cannot decide this question." Blaise Pascal.

I don't accept that whether or not God exists is something it is in principle beyond reason, empirical observation, or science to establish, at least not beyond reasonable doubt.

Especially if we conceive of God as the all-powerful and maximally good being of traditional monotheism. Seems to me that hypothesis is straightforwardly empirically falsified.

To see why: take the hypothesis that there's an all-powerful maximally-evil being. That's straightforwardly empirically falsified, surely. There's just way too much good in the world for this to be the creation of such a being. Call that the problem of good. The problem of good surely decisively rules out the evil God hypothesis (notwithstanding all the tricksy moves that might be made to try to salvage it - see my The God of Eth). Which is why everyone dismisses it as silly.

But if the evil God hypothesis is not in principle untestable (and is, in fact, straightforwardly empirically falsified) why should we suppose the all-powerful, maximally good God hypothesis is in principle empirically untestable?

Indeed, seems to me that not only is it testable, it is also straightforwardly empirically falsified - by the problem of evil. Just as the problem of good is decisively rules out an evil God, so the problem of evil decisively rules out the good God.

Or so I argue. See The God of Eth.

44 comments:

big bad bob said...

Stephen why shouldn't there be an all evil god. ? A little teasing of us with god would only enhance his demented pleasure - like a cat playing with a mouse - surely it would be more satisfying for a psychopathic mind to draw out the kill...

What about a good god ? A little testing us with "bad" might contra wise draw out our own goodness - make us a bit more like him - or whatever arguments the theists use.

Or we could say there is no god - that is another solution. How do these hypothesis actually bear out - that is a more complicated question.

But a soon as we begin speculating on these things we have left real empiricism - the scientific method or objectification and verification long behind - we are onto that vaguer philosophical empricism which in some ways is really closer to journalism than science.

This shadow methodology seems to me to mirror the rigorous scientific approach. It seems to have A hypothesis and observable phenomenon But just because an atheist like dawkins answer is simpler doesn't mean it is somehow more scientific - this soft empiricism is really it about matching theories to the observable "facts".

Im drawn to this blog because Im really curious about what the type of god dawkins attacks and the methods he uses. Its only an impression but isnt he choosing a narrow definition of god and then dismantling it with methods which are actually no longer scientific but rather philosophical empricism.

Im not a specialist but it seems a bit like a fudge to me.

Anonymous said...

"It's often claimed the God hypothesis is not empirically or scientifically testable."

The God hypothesis is really a whole family of such theories - a bit like string theory. A great many of the original string theories have been discarded because they have been shown to be flawed in some purely theoretical way e.g giving rise to mathematical inconsistency, singularities etc. Others have fallen into disuse because they have been overtaken by other theories which are better by virtue of simplicity or greater explanatory power. Like string theory there are certainly flavours of the "God Hypothesis" which can and should be rejected on similar grounds.

As with theories of physics, empirical observations may set limits on aspects of God hypotheses e.g. the evil God variant. Some God-theorists accept this and say things like "God can do anything logically possible".This is perfectly acceptable as far as it goes. A bit like the immensely useful but non-headline making results that for example announce "Our work shows that, if such a article exists it must weigh more than X".
Theology, however, is full of instances where some aspect of a God-theory is limited in this way to allow the theory to survive and this limitation is subsequently set aside later (without justification) so that the theory may be used to explain something else.

"The idea seems to be that God necessarily transcends the empirical realm, and so his existence cannot be conclusively verified or falsified by reference to it."

It is easy to lose sight of the fact that it would be relatively straightforward to show the existence of God. Observing (reliably, repeatedly) massive shows of miracles would provide some evidence at least.
Verification could be easier.
Unfortunately the subject appears uncooperative. Falsification is the problem.

Sam Norton said...

"Especially if we conceive of God as the all-powerful and maximally good being of traditional monotheism. Seems to me that hypothesis is straightforwardly empirically falsified."

Actually, I'd agree that a conventionally understood 'maximally-good' deity can be "straightforwardly empirically falsified". I'd just vigorously disagree that such a God was the God of the Christian tradition.

Nick said...

Sam said: "Actually, I'd agree that a conventionally understood 'maximally-good' deity can be "straightforwardly empirically falsified". I'd just vigorously disagree that such a God was the God of the Christian tradition."

Do you think it is therefore possible for us to conceive of a being of greater benevolence than your God?

anticant said...

Sam, of course, is doing his usual smoke-and-mirrors stuff. He obviously has his own personal - and seemingly idiosyncratic - concept of God, which he coyly declines to flesh out for us here. Yet when I pointed out that this is just the "no true Scotsman" fallacy", he denied it.

I still can't make out how orthodox Sam's Christian beliefs are. Or, indeed, what orthodox Christian beliefs are supposed to be these days.

Big bad bob said...

Interesting comments - like the idea that the idea of god is an evolving hypothesis. How can our ideas of god at least be reasonable rather than ridiculous ?

I suggest dawkins and all are attempting to disprove what to me would appear as" the supernatural". Which would be an intersting book if someone was collecting data from e.s.p experiments etc and then saying it could not be verified.

But dawkins isnt writing that book he is isolating a supernatural god from among the large pool of god theories discounting it using soft reasoned arguments and people seem to think that science disproves all gods.

This might not be the emperors new clothes - but it appears to me a pretty neat magic trick.

Criticisms appreciated

B.B.B

Big bad bob said...

Interesting comments - like the idea that the idea of god is an evolving hypothesis. How can our ideas of god at least be reasonable rather than ridiculous ?

I suggest dawkins and all are attempting to disprove what to me would appear as" the supernatural". Which would be an intersting book if someone was collecting data from e.s.p experiments etc and then saying it could not be verified.

But dawkins isnt writing that book he is isolating a supernatural god from among the large pool of god theories discounting it using soft reasoned arguments and people seem to think that science disproves all gods.

This might not be the emperors new clothes - but it appears to me a pretty neat magic trick.

Criticisms appreciated

B.B.B

Nick said...

In fact Sam, so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet (so to speak), I wonder if you would mind please defining exactly what God you do believe in (properties, characteristics etc).

Theologians often retort to atheists' arguments against the existence of God that 'that's not the God that we actually believe in', so it would be very helpful to get your exact definition on the table. Otherwise we will often be arguing at crossed purposes.

david said...

Ah, but Nick - that would put god in the set of "things which have been defined". And god doesn't fit into any set. By definition.

Sam Norton said...

What's the sort of God I believe in?

Well I could just recite the creed, or the prologue to John's gospel, or the Anglican declaration of assent which I had to vow when taking up my present ministry - or even point to the post on my blog which people here find so unsatisfactory - but I suspect it wouldn't help, because I understand religious language differently to most people, possibly including most religious believers, but NOT differently to the mainstream intellectual tradition of Christianity through which I have been formed.

I have always found it odd that people accuse me of not understanding Christianity. Does that not seem prima facie implausible to anyone else?

Andrew Louis said...

It’s man that differentiates things as being good and bad, or evil if you like. This differentiation is made relative to himself, what’s good and bad for him.

It seems to me that (in one sense) to call God “Good” in a transcendental manner is to recognize that the essential character of everything does not have a duel nature as we experience it. To say there is a “problem of evil” is to speak only of ones self or group of people as if in the long run, this is all that matters. In the vastness of time, what significance is a volcano that kills thousands? Is that evil? Or just evil based on ones judgment of what is evil considering a certain selfishness and/or ethnocentricity?

Perhaps ones thought that there is a problem of evil is representative of an inability to cope with the “Good”? Where good is that which transcends duality.

Nick said...

David said: "Ah, but Nick - that would put god in the set of "things which have been defined". And god doesn't fit into any set. By definition."

Isn't god a member of the set of universe creators?

Nick said...

Sam,

Thanks for your answer. To clarify things a little, I wonder if you would mind answering these questions?

1) The Nicene Creed states that God is the "maker of heaven and earth". Do you believe that God created the universe?
2) Some Christians believe God to be omnipotent. Do you?
3) Some Christians believe God to be omniscient. Do you?
4) Some Christians believe God to be omnibenevolent. Do you?
5) Do you believe in the Trinity?
6) Do you believe in the incarnation?

Not strictly about God, but:

7) Do you believe that Jesus was born to a virgin?
8) Do you believe in the Resurrection?

And, just out of interest:

9) When you feel that you have received a message from God, how can you be sure that it is not just some more mundane mental event, and not any form of divine communication? You mention in your blog post the 'sense of seriousness and conviction'. Do you think that this is a sufficient condition to make this determination? If so, then why?

Nick said...

Sorry Sam, if you don't mind I have a few more questions for you:

- There are many different conceptions of God (Christian and otherwise). How do you know that yours is correct, and all the others wrong?
- You clearly believe in your particular conception of God, but how would you justify to others that your belief is true?
- What evidence or reason would ever convince you that your Christian beliefs are mistaken?

Stephen Law said...

Hi Sam

You say:

[quoting me] "Especially if we conceive of God as the all-powerful and maximally good being of traditional monotheism. Seems to me that hypothesis is straightforwardly empirically falsified."

Actually, I'd agree that a conventionally understood 'maximally-good' deity can be "straightforwardly empirically falsified". I'd just vigorously disagree that such a God was the God of the Christian tradition.

MY REPLY: Well, I wish you sophisticated theologians would go and tell the vast (surely 90%+) majority of the faithful that it's actually just pretty obvious the universe has no maximally good and powerful creator. I wonder how that'd go down in your Sunday sermon!

However, my real problem with your response Sam , is just that we did this whole thing a few months ago. You suggested sophisticated theism of your variety might avoid the problem of evil. I asked how. We then spent weeks (may 21 to June 11) playing cat and mouse as I attempted to figure out what your sophisticated, possibly problem-of-evil defeating, version of theism amounted to.

And finally, after me asking "Do you mean this?" and "Do you mean that?" over several weeks, it became apparent that, well, you didn't have one.

My final post was "Sam's vanishing solution to the problem of evil". and is here:

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2008/06/sams-vanishing-solution-to-problem-of.html

Unless you now actually come up with a clear position and explain exactly how it's supposed to deal with the problem of evil, I'm afraid I'll have to assume you still haven't got one.

What you've got is, rather, a series of rhetorical moves with which you try to tie opponents up in knots (very much in the style of "sophisticated" theism, in fact.) I'm not going through all that again!

Stephen Law said...

sorry the link is to long. just search "Sam's vanishing solution" and you'll find it.

Cassanders said...

Another point WRT to Sam's "sophisticated theology":

If my memory serves me, I think Jesus voiced a lot, and indeed made very explicit statements about the advantages of "becoming like a child" when struggeling with regligious questions.
In fact he contrasted this attitude to the phariseans and learned.

You are not afraid that your "sophisticated theology" in fact is what Jesus considered phariseanism, Sam?

And in the spirit of the gospel: perhasp you could reprhase the sophisticated theology in a more
puerile language?

Cassanders
In Cod we trust

Sam Norton said...

Actually Stephen, I gave a long response to you about the problem of suffering here which you acknowledged and said you were going to reply to (here) but you haven't done so. I'm sure you've got good reasons for that.

BTW I'd agree that there is a problem for Christians in that the leadership of the main churches believe different things to a significant number of the faithful.

Sam Norton said...

Nick, in brief answer to your questions:

1. Yes
2,3,4 Mu (but more no than yes)
5,6 Yes
7 Not in any literal sense
8 Yes
9 I can't
10 It's the tradition I've been formed in
11 I don't think it's possible
12 Evidence that Jesus' crucifixion was pretend; evidence that his character was radically different to that presented in the gospels

Sam Norton said...

PS Stephen I note that you also promised in that comment thread to post a review of the Lash book, that I believe you have read. Is that coming any time soon? As I said at the time, we might then get some agreement as to the nature of the faith I hold to. (This is coming up soon for the next few chapters of Dawkins, of course).

BTW 2 I finally managed to pick up a copy of your 'war for children's minds' today. I'll let you have some comments as I get through it - after the weekend!

Stephen Law said...

Hi Sa, sorry I did not respond to that post here. Will briefly do so.

BTW how do you put links into these comments?!

You start by saying only theism allows meaning and purpose. This is unsupported by argument and irrelevant.

Then you outline 3 academic theodicies that we dealt with already. You then say:

"the faithful not only cannot provide an intellectually satisfactory answer, but that they mustn't. "

Well they certainly can't. I agree about that. So, in other words, you have no solution, sophisticated or otherwise.

Then you say:

"In the face of the pain of this tragic event, if we can trust in God, if we can hold on to hope, we can trust that one day we will share in that resurrection when, finally, we will understand how and why it all makes sense."

Belief in God helps us to cope (irrelevant to the issue of whether or not its true). Plus it may all make sense somehow (the mystery card).

So there's not much here for me to respond to. Seems you are just admitting you have no solution to the problem of evil, but choose to believe anyway.

Stephen Law said...

Thanks for buying the book Sam. Yes I read Lash. I couldn't see how it helped with the problem of evil, really. It is hugely involved and simply takes for granted so much (because it is aimed at those who have already signed up) that it's hard for someone like me to say much about it, other than that pretty much every page made or presupposed (I think) unsubstantiated claims I reject. So I decided against a review. Also, Lash is a colleague, which makes it difficult to be completely frank!

But I got a feel for the kind of belief it is, sure. I already had that, though. When you say I don't understand where you are coming from, well, I think I do actually.

I will do a review of Lash and Turner on atheism, though. When I get time...

Stephen Law said...

Hi Andrew. you said: "When we say it's obvious or not obvious that there is a God, it assumes we know what we're talking about when we say God. When we say it is, "a being that created the universe", this seems completely inadequate. What does one mean by being? What does one mean by created? "

Well, ask the believers. It's their concept. They are the ones who say this stuff.

In fact, I don't think the idea of God creating the universe even makes sense. I think it's conceptual gibberish, really. So it's not so much I think the claim false, as nonsensical.

Of course, Sam would probably agree with me about that!

Check out my review of Bede Rundle's book "Why there is something rather than nothing."

Sam Norton said...

Stephen, to put a link into a comment you need to use a simple bit of HTML, however, in order to spell it out I'm going to use square brackets where in fact you should use angle brackets ( [ = < , ] = > ) because otherwise blogger will try and read it as a genuine link!

[a href="the url of the site you want to point to, without spaces"]your text here[/a]

The beginning 'a' and the ending '/a' mark out the distinct command, the href bit simply points to the site (and in fact you don't need the "" marks, it just makes it easier to describe).

All reassuringly logical, unlike theology ;-)

Sam Norton said...

On the question of evil, you say "You start by saying only theism allows meaning and purpose". No I don't. Not only do I not say that but I explicitly say that sophisticated atheism CAN do it, going on to say "It is not so much the word 'God' itself that matters, it is the acknowledgment of something higher." As for it being irrelevant I see it as being absolutely relevant, it's the heart of the discussion from my point of view.

At the end you say "Seems you are just admitting you have no solution to the problem of evil, but choose to believe anyway." Pretty much - but the crucial point I am making is that this not having an answer is insufficient to render the whole perspective null and void - in just the same way that difficulties in any other paradigm are insufficient to render them null and void on their own.

More than that, I think I perceive the problem of evil differently to you. You seem to see it as primarily a logical problem, ie an incompatibility between a definition of God and the observable facts on the ground (and I disagree both with the definition and the theological propriety of seeking to exercise judgement over God). But more than that I see the problem of evil as primarily a problem of living - how do we stitch our lives together in such a way that human life can flourish? I'd find your criticisms much more persuasive if you gave some positive answers to those aspects (which is what sophisticated atheisms do)

Stephen Law said...

Hi Sam

Good, so you have no solution to the problem of evil.

You say "What about the problem of how to cope with evil?". But that's a different problem. Believe in God if it helps you cope. But don't think that gives us any reson to suppose God is real.

You also say:

{{At the end you say "Seems you are just admitting you have no solution to the problem of evil, but choose to believe anyway." Pretty much - but the crucial point I am making is that this not having an answer is insufficient to render the whole perspective null and void - in just the same way that difficulties in any other paradigm are insufficient to render them null and void on their own.}}

Well, if the problem of good renders the evil god hypothesis obviously false, why doesn't the problem of evil render the good god hypothesis pretty obviously false? What's your answer?

anticant said...

"Why there is something rather than nothing" seems a meaningless question to me. Surely the only sensible answer is "because there is".

People ask far too many 'why' questions. These are often either unanswerable, or futile, because the answers don't get us any further forward.

Surely what we should be asking are more useful questions, such as "what is happening?" and "what should we do now?"

Sam Norton said...

Hi Stephen,

"Good, so you have no solution to the problem of evil."

Nope, just mitigating circumstances.

"You say "What about the problem of how to cope with evil?". But that's a different problem."

Different yes, but wholly unrelated?

"Believe in God if it helps you cope."

No, retain a belief that life is meaningful because it enables that life to flourish (not quite the same as coping). The particular way in which I understand life to be meaningful uses the language of God.

"But don't think that gives us any reason to suppose God is real."

Fine.

-snip-

"Well, if the problem of good renders the evil god hypothesis obviously false, why doesn't the problem of evil render the good god hypothesis pretty obviously false? What's your answer?"

My answer, as I said above, is that it does. To be explicit, if the "God hypothesis" is formulated in such a way as to imply any empirically establishable level of goodness in the world then, as you argue, I think it is demonstrably false. I just don't think this is the Christian claim.

Rev. Dr. Incitatus said...

Stephen,
As much as it is legitimate to settle on a particular definition of God and set about addressing its empirical validity, such a move is not going to satisfy all theists.

As Sam writes in his blog,
"i) it is a central claim of the tradition that God is ultimately mysterious and not finally knowable. We cannot attain to a position of oversight with respect to God, we are always in an inferior position - that's part of what the word 'God' means - something which is above and beyond our comprehension. Any analysis which seeks to render God's attributes definable is not engaging with a Christian analysis"

This is, of course, the view of St. Augustine among others.

Those goal post that you think you have successfully pinned to the turf are up and floating freely again.

Stephen Law said...

Hi Dr I

Well they cannot have it both ways. they cannot say God's unknowable, and then later on say he is, e.g. worthy of worship. Which Sam does say. And other things to. And that runs him straight back into the problem of evil again.

Anonymous said...

Sam - "We cannot attain to a position of oversight with respect to God, we are always in an inferior position - that's part of what the word 'God' means - something which is above and beyond our comprehension."

That does not mean we should not attempt to understand to the best of our ability does it? Or can I simply point and scream "heresy" when the next theist talks about "coming to understand God" or some such. Or preaches a sermon... Or claims authority from scripture..

You cannot justly maintain both that it is incorrect to try to understand anything at the same time as preaching/teaching about it.

Nor for that matter can you suspend your supposed God given moral sense from judging God. Or by implication, as many others do, from judging things done in God's name.

Given that you accept that at least some versions of atheism can provide comfort, moral guidance etc. then why do you not embrace one of those theories? They avoid many of the problems and are simpler to the tune of one less (inconceivable/inscrutable/very big and complicated) God and should therefor be preferred.

P.S. Buddhism is OK if you want to keep the uniform and incense. You're already getting the hang of the "Mu" thing...

anticant said...

But they always do want to have it both ways! That is the characteristic of the whole Christian and theist caboodle, and why in the end it is a waste of time engaging in discussion with them.

Stephen Law said...

A further thought on that. The very same move can and no doubt would be made on Eth by those who believe in an evil God.

"There's too much good for this to be the creation of an evil God"
"Ah, but you must understand that 'evil' as applied to God means something other than what it means when applied to humans."
"What does it mean, then?"
"Well, Evil God, and his attributes, are indefinable. He is, ultimately, a mystery, something beyond our comprehension."

Notice how this is really a combination of two ploys ; playing the mystery card and what we might call "Now you see it, now you don't". Make a claim. If anyone looks like shooting it down, quickly pull it back, saying "Oh, you've misunderstood." But then sort of make the claim again. The, if any one takes aim, whip it back again."

Lash, clearly an influence on Sam, says, I seem to remember, something like "Whatever we say about God must then be unsaid."

Assert, but then deny! God is. And yet, he is not! God is everything, and nothing. He is good. But then, he's not!

This is a well-known bullshit artists device called pseudo-profundity. I actually did a thing on it ages ago - check "pseudoprofundity" on the sidebar, where I said:

TEXT BOX: Another secret of pseudo-profundity is to pick two words that have opposite or incompatible meanings, and combine them cryptically, like so:

Sanity is just another kind of madness
Life is a often a form of death
The ordinary is extraordinary

Try it for yourself. You’ll soon start sounding deep. In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen-Eighty Four, the three slogans of the Party are all examples of this sort of pseudo-profundity:

War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength

A particularly useful feature of these remarks is that they make your audience do all the work for you. “Freedom is a kind of slavery” for example, is interpretable in all sorts of ways that probably won’t even have occurred to you. Just sit back, adopt a sage-like expression, and let your audience figure out what you mean.

None of this is to say that such cryptic remarks can’t be profound, of course. But given the ease with which they are generated, it’s wise not to be too easily impressed.END OF TEXT BOX

I will put a main post up on this.

Anonymous said...

anticant - I'd have to disagree - I think Sam can be rescued. Unlike some others we've seen here.

Sam Norton said...

"Well they cannot have it both ways. they cannot say God's unknowable, and then later on say he is, e.g. worthy of worship."

Yes we can. The point of the first part is to say that our understandings of God are always partial and limited, open to correction, liable to be mistaken. (What's really at stake here is intellectual certainty, and it's my disavowal of intellectual certainty with regard to God that leads to me being called slippery and a bullshit artist etc.)

However, partial knowledge doesn't mean you can't act on it. You don't have total and utterly certain knowledge about the people that you love - but you love them nonetheless.

As for the pseudo-profundity point, you've made an excellent general claim, but you concede that there might be some occasions when it's valid. The issue is - are religious traditions which use this sort of language valid or not? You haven't made that argument.

anticant said...

I'm not in the business of "rescuing" Sam. He's welcome to his woozy beliefs so far as I'm concerned. But I do strongly object to the way he and other religious believers twist and abuse reason - which, in their eyes, is always the handmaiden of faith, to be trampled on whenever it suits them.

Anonymous said...

What is "evil," and why is it a "problem?" These terms must be clarified in the context of their connection with a god's existence. There are many contrsting conceptions of evil, each revealing contrasting perspectives on what is a human being. I propose a deeper interrogation of ethics and philosophical anthropology. "God" may or may not survive.

Tom said...

I am not commited to any particular theological position myself---I'm an agnostic....but I cannot fully agree with your analysis here (if you are serious, and I suspect you may just bein "playfully clever"). For many reasons: suppose there is a largely good creator or creators, and that the existence of evil and pain is possibly, for some reason hidden to us, necessary. The late Robert Nozick, in his last book "The Examined Life" points out that maybe a Deity can create a great many worlds, and the decision to create a particular one hinges on whether good outweighs evil in that particular one. Then, there is a spectrum of "gnostic" positions in which the god (or gods) that have created the universe are to varying degrees imperfect, or even partly evil. I can't buy that as a serious possibility myself, but perhaps it is worth a mention.
Me, I love speculating along metaphysical lines--I am an applied physicist and amateur philosopher, and have a blog about some of this at
http://bigthickglasses.blogspot.com/
Maybe if the music of Bach did not exist I'd be more inclined to be an atheist....but then even Richard Dawkins is a major Bach lover, so not all will find this consideration very telling....

neftali12 said...

There is a god of evil already, and he exists too. His name is Satan. While you guys are having a laugh at your fallacious reasoning. He's having a chuckle too! Cheers!

neftali12 said...

There is a god of evil already, and his name is Satan. While you guys are having a good laugh at your fallacious logic constructed on a scaffold of misguided belief. Satan's having a good ol' chuckle too. Remember well Baudelaire's words, "the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!"

Stephen Law said...

No the devil is not an evil god, and also no use at all in explaining the horror that exists (why does God LET the devil torture children?)

Yes, and you will be getting coal on Christmas Day if you don't believe in Sanata. And a fairy dies every time you say you don't believe. And of course aliens were behind 9/11 - the only reason you can't see it is that they are CONTROLLING YOUR MIND WITH THEIR ALIEN TECHNOLOGY!

For goodness sake grow up.

neftali12 said...

Bringing up Santa, the tooth fairy, tortellini monster etc.. is a red herring. I'm not defending the belief in mythological manifestations of childhood imaginations. But since you seem to want to get into it I'll reveal where the fallacy in your blog entry truly lies.
All your really doing is reversing the situation of a theistic belief system. For example, what if ying were yang and yang were ying. You would still be in the same predicament, be it in reverse. There are plenty of faiths that exist within this framework already. I would refer you to Islam: if you want to know whether a belief system would implode or cease to exist using an evil god as its center of worship. Study the Koran. Here you have an evil god who prescribes murder, theft, rape, pedophilia, hatred, war etc. And it has survived for over a millennia with thriving numbers of adherents world wide. Now herein lies truly empirical evidence that your clever notion is simply fallacious.

According to 2nd Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world...

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Furthermore, 1st Peter 5:8 declares, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
In other words, there you have it. Your god of evil very much exists, and he's preying on your soul!

Cheerios!

PS If you are planning on a rebuttal...before you waste both of our times on such banter as whether the Bible has violence in it etc. Learn to distinguish between DESCRIPTIVE history of the Jewish people and PRESCRIPTIVE history as recorded in the Koran.

Stephen Law said...

Satan is not an evil god. He is not even a god. He is certainly not all-powerful, like God. God can restrain Satan any time God chooses. Suppose a teacher has an assistant that tortures pupils with a red hot poker. The teacher could prevent it, but sits back and does nothing. What conclusion should we draw about the teacher?

The "Satan did it" explanation is just terrible. Obviously so.

neftali12 said...

"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me" (Isaiah 1:2).
The pupil poking the other students is a direct result of disobedience and rebellion. A retribution principle exists simply put, ... violating God's commands brings punishments.
If non-believers truly took the time to understand the prescriptions for wholesome living in the Scriptures it would be quite easy to deduce that evil exists wherever discordance to God's laws prevail.
I'll give you one example, one man is only supposed to sleep with one woman, without committing adultery. Furthermore, a man or woman is supposed to save there virginity for marriage to that one person.
If the world practiced God's prescription for righteous living in the department of sexuality for just a moment... the evil of sexually transmitted diseases would be eliminated from the face of the planet.
In summary, playing the blame game on the God of all that is good, and or "the god of this world" Satan. Does nothing for alleviating evil in the natural world.
The primary step for solving the problem of evil in our world involves taking a good look in the mirror. Step#2, washing of sins by the blood of the Lamb of God that was shed for us on the cross of cavalry i.e. repentance.

Peace