Category Archives: Arguments against God’s existence

A hole shaped God

We all heard the “God shaped hole in your soul” story. Well, most of us. The common Christian cry is that everyone has a God shaped hole they trying to fill, and only God can fill it.

This tickles me a little, if there’s any discontent in your life, then it must be because you’re lacking God, not because you’re overworked and underpaid, and haven’t had leave in five years. Just like, any gap in your knowledge can easily be filled with God.

An example, since deconverting, I frequently get asked (before the shocked expressions subside) why I don’t believe in God. The answer is always the same, despite me having good reasons not to. I simply explain that I don’t need a reason, I’d need a reason to believe in God. After chewing on this for a bit, I’d say, 90% of people then say, “so where did the universe come from.” Again, my answer is always the same. I could make some appeal to Big Bang, or a creator being logically unnecessary a priory (I will get to this in a future post). I don’t, I say, “me not knowing doesn’t make you correct.” Normally the debate subsides, and I’ve avoided what could have been a serious argument. Oh, I give reasons online.

That answer, can stop most arguments for God’s existence dead, simply put, humans not having found an explanation, doesn’t mean that goddidit. So while Christians claim we all have a “God shaped hole,” they also seem to believe in a hole shaped God, one who fits neatly into every gap in our knowledge. This is the god of the gaps argument.

From Wikipedia

Atheists contest that the more we learn, the less relevant gods become, because the less gaps in our knowledge they have to fill. Which really seems to be the case, from earthquakes being the wrath of God, to mere results of plate movement, and from bipolar being demon possession to being a chemical imbalance. This is, of course exactly what happens.

Christians do contest that while many of these things have natural explanations, God is involved, in some cases God can be blamed for hurricanes due to his intense dislike of homosexuality. What they’re saying is, explained stuff needs an extra explanation, which there is no reason to believe.

I think Tim Minchin explains the God of the Gaps argument best in Storm:

“Every mystery
Ever solved has turned out to be
Not Magic.

Me personally, if you keep appealing to stuff that is simply not known to back up your belief, you simply have a hole shaped god.

The great prophecy on Tyre

Many more literal Bible followers use the following text (Isaiah 46:9-10) to argue that the Bible is indeed testable and has proven to be true via this test.

“remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,'” (Emphasis mine)

Apparently this tells us that God can predict the future, and has done so in verifiably true Bible prophecy.

JohnH, forever keeping me on my toes and providing good debate, and I have been debating some of these prophecies at another post. Mainly Ezekiel’s prophecies on Tyre and Egypt. I will focus only on Tyre here, Egypt has so many prophecies, by more than just Ezekiel.

An image from the south side of modern Tyre, from Wikipedia

Tyre was both a mainland and Island city, both were called Tyre, even centuries after Alexander, the City was still standing and the Bible confirms this in Mark 7:24 and Matt 15:21. You could of course say this was a region, and the city had not been rebuilt, but, here’s the History from Alexander to Roman Tyre, from Wikipedia

“In 332 BC Alexander the Great laid siege to the city, conquered and razed it.

In 315 BC, Alexander’s former general Antigonus began his own siege of Tyre,[18] taking the city a year later.[19]

In 126 BC, Tyre regained its independence (from the Seleucids)[20] and was allowed to keep much of its independence, as a “civitas foederata”,[21] when the area became a Roman province in 64 BC.[22] Tyre continued to maintain much of its commercial importance until the Christian era.”

More recent history is also given there, and the city is there for the whole world to view on Google maps today.
The Prophecy comes from Ezekiel 26 & 27, so let’s see what it actually says. (From the ESV, emphasis mine)

“I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets. You shall never be rebuilt, for I am the Lord; I have spoken, declares the Lord God.” – 26:14

“I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more. Though you be sought for, you will never be found again, declares the Lord God.”” – 26:21

“The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.'”” 27:36

See my problem, it’s quite obvious that Tyre was rebuilt after Alexander, and this is confirmed by the same gospel writers who report the resurrection. By saying the prophecy was fulfilled by Alexander the Great is clearly false. Simply put, Tyre still stands today, even thought the Bible repeatedly said that it wouldn’t be rebuilt.

This leaves one more loophole, the Prophecy has not been fulfilled, yet. As soon as someone says that, they’re confirming that prophecy isn’t a test, as long as the world continues support intelligent life.

So, as much as apologists use this as a fulfilled prophecy, this isn’t a settled issue, or, if it is, it doesn’t favour the Bible.

The outsider test for faith

I decided to start the discussion on why people believe in god with an atheist argument, John Loftus’ outsider test for faith, simply because it is relevant to the entire discussion.

The test is simple, not really designed for use in a debate, but things don’t always turn out as they were intended. The outsider test is more of a reflective exercise for religious people to take, in order to test whether their beliefs are worthwhile.

The test would involve a believer asking themselves what they think the good reasons for their belief are, and would they accept the same arguments if they were presented for another deity. If the answer is no, then the believer has already rejected it as a good reason, and would either have to accept their reasoning as inconsistent, or would be compelled to acknowledge they don’t have any good reasons for believing it. This would normally result in disbelief, but people do cognitive dissonance quite well, so it wouldn’t always happen.

Obviously using someone’s own argument against them is a powerful debating tool. There are arguments out there designed around this idea, and they can be very strong. I plan on using a specially designed one later.

It is possible, of course that some people believe all gods to be the same, but revealed through different people, in which case I’m not sure if the test would work. But this idea is pretty absurd anyway.

Christianity teaches salvation by faith, with actions not being good enough, many other religions are based entirely on ones actions when it comes to whatever form of judgment they have. Both of these positions are strongly supported fundamentals of the belief systems, and thus a conflict here, would make the theory contradictory, since one of the basics people need to understand about god, purpose and salvation two different, and mutally exclusive things.

Of course, polytheism isn’t really compatible with montheism either, and the theory seems to disregard polytheistic claims. This is likely because the ecumenical idea is very western, which is traditionally monotheistic.

We can toss the idea around a bit in the comments if anyone needs clarity, feels they can better explain things, or disagrees.