A good friend who’s also a Baptist preacher responded, and I began writing a “short and to the point” reply to his comment. But like the Energizer Bunny, it kept going and going… I finally decided to just post it here because it got way too large for a Facebook comment. The comment by my friend, who shall remain anonymous to respect his privacy, is included. He was actually commenting on another comment, in which I was responding to another Christian friend. You know how that stuff works on FB.
So he said…
And then I said…
Here’s the thing my friend – That which exists should by any reasonable standard have evidence of it’s existence. For example, some planets were discovered because astronomers and astrophysicists noted gravitational anomalies in other objects in space. They were being “pulled upon” by an object previously undiscovered. As such, scientists were able to make predictions based upon the evidence that there would be another body in space. And they used said evidence to hunt down and discover the new planet.
If a being such as a god exists, there should be evidence. An “argument from ignorance” is not evidence. Saying “well we don’t know what it is so it must be God” is not a pathway to truth. It is a baseless assumption. You said recently that the “…Bible is evidence.” It is not. It is a book (OK, a collection of smaller books) written by primitive people who had little knowledge of how nature works. And they used the argument from ignorance quite liberally. Everything they did not understand, they attributed to their god. And meanwhile the followers of other religions were doing the same thing. Perhaps that’s why so many of the stories from various religions are similar. Stories of martyrs, resurrections, demigods, floods, etc. And most of those stories predate Christianity / Judaism.
What’s more likely? That of all the thousands of religions in the world, yours is the only one that’s true? Or is it more likely that all of them are false?
Unlike many of the more dogmatic atheists out there, I’m willing to concede that unless / until something is proven to be impossible it should be considered possible, however unlikely it may be. But the lack of evidence for a god, combined with evidence that negates the need for one, makes the existence of any god highly unlikely. So unlikely that I’m comfortable with saying “there is no god.” Victor J. Stenger, author of “God: The Failed Hypothesis” said it best:
“Until recent times, absence of evidence for his [Jehovah’s] existence has not been sufficient to rule him out. However, we now have enough knowledge that we can identify many places where there should be evidence, but there is not. The absence of that evidence allows us to rule out the existence of this God beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Mostly obvious stuff science has discovered down thru the centuries. People suffering seizures were once thought to be demon-possessed. But science discovered epilepsy. And Ussher’s biblical timeline, which is the basis for all the “Young Earth” stuff has been thoroughly disproved. But even in the face of megatons of evidence for an old universe and old Earth, theists still insist upon using Ussher’s flawed methods because they are afraid to believe otherwise. They are afraid to question the Bible because if they admit even one verse being incorrect, then the whole house of cards may fall apart.
Look at how the Catholic Church treated Galileo. All Galileo (who was also a religious man) did was confirm the Copernican idea that Earth orbited the sun, not vice versa. But the Vatican saw this as heresy and punished him severely, even forcing him to recant. Even now, with science having amassed so much evidence on so many things, still many believers automatically discount anything that contradicts the Bible or the Qur’an. Consider this statement from the folks at creation.com:
“The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.”
First, they assert that the Bible is the written word of God. Did they offer proof? No they did not. And indeed how would they? This is the main (to me) problem with theism. It’s like, “the Bible is true because God said it’s true because the Bible said God said it.” Circular logic anyone?
And “supreme authority?” Gimme a break. Science moves forward because it is strictly not authoritarian. A college freshman can without any real consequence question Einstein’s theories. And if he should disprove Einstein, he becomes a rock star, not a heretic. Science continues to grow and advance while religion remains stuck in the past.
For me, the most telling evidence against the accuracy of the Bible is our knowledge of the age of the universe and evidence supporting the Big Bang. By observing the irrefutable fact that the universe is expanding, that the expansion is still accelerating, and by measuring the red / blue shift of light emanating from stars in relation to Earth, science can accurately measure how long it took the light to reach us based upon the known speed of light. This is practical, nuts-and-bolts logic that has survived every attempt to disprove it. How, given such evidence, do the young Earth people feel justified in contradicting it? It’s either a mindless rejection of the evidence, or fear of angering their deity. Either way, such dogmatic rejection of the facts does nothing but foster ignorance.
You and I both want the same thing: A better world. Where we disagree is how to go about achieving it. Given religion’s (all, not just yours) track record, I see no reason to think that religion has anything positive to offer. Religion had it’s chance, and the results are horrifying. Ignorance, homophobia, violence, poverty, disease etc. It’s time for a better way. Secular Humanism is the way forward. Something has to change.