After taking weeks to get around to replying to
‘s first posting and it taking me over two hours to do I see he’s responded already with another long essay. 🙂
Before I find time to reply properly to that I think it’s only proper that I should state my own point of view rather than just rely on rebuttal of someone else’s arguments. So, here goes – I will attempt to be brief and work in bullet points. If you’d like to reply (and I’d be very interested if people would care to do so) then please do so in-line rather than by a new composition (unless you feel you have to).
Before we start please note that I don’t think it’s up to the atheist to explain why s/he does not believe, it is up to the theist to provide some evidence for why someone should believe.
Why I don’t believe in God
- I’m a Materialist.
- I’m a Skeptic.
- Modern refutations of the Cosmological Argument.
- Problems with any God(s) being perfect. Specifically issues with immutability and how any such being can change their mind.
- Problems with ideal goodness. Examples being the Epicurean Paradox or Leibniz’s‘s Best of All Possible Worlds.
- Problems with omnipresence.
- Problems with omnipotence.
- The existence of multiple contradicting religions.
- The lack of any modern equivalence of historical miracles.
- The lack of any scientific examples of the proof of the effectiveness of prayer.
- The incredible success of science in explaining a number of phenomenon previously explained by religion leading to a drastic reduction in examples of proposed Irreducible Complexity and therefore to the God of the Gaps issue.
- Studies on the origin and evolution of religion.
- The fact that the vast majority of religions, including many of the largest in existence in their time, have died out. No-one worships Osiris any more (as far as I know).
- Comparison to other suggested systems with equal lack of evidence – e.g. Pastafarianism.
- I do not need an external source to be a moral person.
- I do not need an external source to give my life purpose.
- I accept that this is no afterlife (however much I might wish that was not the case).
Three last points:
As repeatedly quoted by Richard Dawkins et al studying the fine details of a religion is not a good way to assess the likelihood of anything contained within being true. To give an alternate example studying the patterns of movement of the stars and the complex theories of astrology will not enable you to assess the truthfulness of astrology. The only way to assess the veracity of any given religion is to look purely at the statements and predictions it makes and then rationally assessing the likelihood of each one being true.
While a significant number of people I know state that “we cannot know whether God exists so why discuss it” they do not make the same argument regarding astrology, phrenology or other similar previously popular views. These have been discarded by either refutation of predictions or lack of evidence. It is the taboo on questioning religion that is the only reason why similar issues are not held up to scrutiny. While metaphysics shows, rather annoyingly, that it is almost never the case that we can say that something is definitively impossible my view is that on the currently presented evidence the probability of the existence of God is so small that I can, with some confidence, act as if no such thing exists. More simply put – Occam’s Razor.
Lastly, simply wishing (or assuming) God to exist will not make it so. Faith, as defined as “mental acceptance of and confidence in a claim as truth without proof supporting the claim” is, by definition, not a premise that can be argued with using rational discourse.