Monday, 22 August 2011

Confusing Believers with Facts

Let me start by saying something which seems to often cause deep offence: SHOW ME YOUR EVIDENCE. I know this is a very shocking thing to ask anyone to do, especially if the evidence relates to such sensitive matters as the existence of a deity. I mean, frankly, believers often act as though they couldn't be more offended if I asked them to perform some deeply erotic act.

The simply truth is most believers have never seriously considered the question of evidence for God. They were taught about God in early childhood and regard his existence as a self evident truth. They are very shocked when told that there is no more evidence for God than for Santa Claus. Often this simply fact causes them to get very indignant.
"Don't be ridicules!" they tweet at me.
I calmly reply by asking them to provide any available evidence for God.
"Well the evidence is all around you. Everything in the world is evidence for God."
"Like the Ebola virus," I helpfully suggest.
That stumps them. First they have to google the the word "Ebola", just to check. Then they have to explain how God can be responsible for everything but somehow evade responsible for the Ebola virus. Many stop tweeting at that point. They remember all the other important things the need to do rather than tweet. But there are the determined ones.
The determined believers argue sin is the result of the "Fall of Man." They tweet this proud of the clever answer they have come up with and certain they have put me in my place.
Unfortunately, for them, that answer does not end the matter. I point out that if there was an all knowing God he would have known everything that would have in the world BEFORE HE MADE IT. I further point out that any human who intentionally does something, knowing the consequences will be harmful, will be held responsible for it. That is what the word "culpability" means. I It can hardly be reasonable to expect God to have lower standards than humans.
"But evil came about as the result of free will."
"Precisely how can free will create viruses?" I ask. The memory of my schooldays, when I'd wished I could have developed a virus to get me out of Latin class, comes to mind. I wonder if perhaps if I'd only used a bit more free will. Sadly they never come up with the formula that eluded me .In fact, at this point, they frequently seem to lose the train of their argument.
"What about Stalin and Hitler?" they tweet.
As you can imagine I struggle to see the connection between this and my last questiont but I try to be helpful. I point out that Hitler wasn't an Atheist and even provide a link to a very instructive Youtube video featuring Christopher Hitchens.
Do you know there are some believers who just can't get this video to play? Anyway, asking them to view it shows how hateful and closed minded I am. Well they have a point. How can it ever be fair to argue with Christians simply by using facts? After all they've managed to maintain their faith for years and years without ever examining any.