Saturday, March 21, 2009

The God of Ignorance

In this past correspondance with a local pastor, I was reminded of the God of the Gaps argument. Often apollogists will claim that to reject the belief in God, one must know everything to be sure that there isn't any proof hiding in our ignorance.
"At the same time, it takes just as much faith to believe in atheism. To make the absolute statement “God does not exist” is to make a claim of knowing absolutely everything there is to know about everything and of having been everywhere in the universe and having witnessed everything there is to be seen." --- GotQuestions.org
Also, I hear all the time that since I can't prove that God exists that I should just believe on the off chance that he might exist (see Pascal's Wager).
"We both have faith systems, Robert, because neither you nor I can prove scientifically God's existence or lack thereof. Science means knowledge and nobody was there to scientifically observe creation to "prove" anything, you must take it by faith." --- Pastor Heath
What nobody can tell me is me how to make myself believe. I get all kinds of advice, but no actual solutions. I base my beliefs on what I know and what I percieve. It's counter-intuitive for me to base beliefs on what I don't know. There's no switch that I can flip that'll make me believe something that I have no proof of.

If I base my beliefs on something that I don't know, then I am worshiping a God of Ignorance. That's not the kind of God that I want to believe in.

6 comments:

Lorena said...

Exactly.

Christians want us to willingly sweep under the rug our doubts and continue believing, but that's impossible.

We should ask the same people to continue buying a brand of car that caused them lots of trouble, or to keep shopping at a grocery store where they've been wrongly charged more than once.

Furthermore, the car manufacturer and the grocery store don't have signs that say "inerrant."

How can we continue to believe when we have found faults, many, in the inerrant, literal, infallible word of God?

GCT said...

I love the "Were you there?" argument, because it is pretty lame. There are lots of things that we weren't there for that we accept.

And, for those that say that we choose not to believe in god, ask them if they can choose to believe in Zeus for a day.

John Evo said...

Here is the most agreed on dictionary definition of an atheist:

a person who denies OR disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Based on that, your pastor friend is quite wrong. I don't claim to know for a fact there isn't a god. I simply don't believe it. Does that make his position and mine equal? Of course not. I don't believe; because there is no evidence for god. He does believe, DESPITE there being no evidence for god. Now - which of us is making "a claim of knowing absolutely everything"?

The Rambling Taoist said...

I simply detest the argument that "since I can't [dis]prove that God exists that I should just believe on the off chance that he might exist". This one gets thrown at me all the time!

Here's how I respond to this little gem: If there is a God, don't you think she'd see through this little ruse? Don't you think she'd know that I was merely trying to cover my bases and not giving myself totally to the concept?

I would think she'd be much happier if I simply didn't believe rather than believing under false pretenses. If this is not true, then that provides me with one more reason not to believe in her!

GCT said...

"I simply detest the argument that "since I can't [dis]prove that God exists that I should just believe on the off chance that he might exist". This one gets thrown at me all the time!"

You can also point out that one can't disprove Allah, Baal, Thor, FSM, leprechauns, IPU, or any of a number of other beliefs. Shouldn't the person using that argument believe in all those things "on the off chance" that they might exist?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the person using that argument believe in all those things "on the off chance" that they might exist?

Like the guy in the movie "The Mummy" (1999), who keeps a whole necklace full of holy symbols around his neck. :)