Friday, August 13

Atheists are afraid to believe in God

J Pelikan Sarcophage thinks atheists have it all wrong. We start from the premise that God doesn't exist. That's the only way we can explain the unfairness of the world. This he argues is all backward. Instead, we should assume that God does exist, and is an absolute bastard.
"Too often, intellectual communities today assume godlessness as a baseline. Allow me instead to suggest a new foundation for intellectualism. A thinking human’s initial position on the existence of God should be one or more of the following: (a) God exists, and He/She/It is hopping mad and/or malevolent; (b) God exists, and He/She/It is a myriad of spiritual personalities—that is, a pantheon or a split-personality singular being—many of which should be avoided like the plague or propitiated in order to avoid being turned into a shrubbery; or (c) God exists, but what the fuck was He/She/It thinking when He/She/It created a yummy vegetable like asparagus which, upon digestion, causes one’s urine to smell like rotting venison?!"
Here he has the upperhand on me, I have no idea what rotting venison smells like, but the rest of the argument leaves me unsatisfied as well.

Firstly, if God was an absolute bastard then what would be the point of him/her/it? A God who does not intervene because they are malevolent, schizophrenic or unfazed by the effects of asparagus serves no purpose. The world would be the same whether this God existed or not, and so it is impossible to take such an argument seriously.

But that isn't my main problem. Sarcophage's definition of an atheist, as someone who doesn't believe in God because there are bad things in the world, just doesn't ring true. " I think [atheists] believe in God but just don’t want to admit it", he writes. Atheists are afraid to believe in God, because if God exists then he must be a horrible person.

I completely disagree. I don't not believe in God because of greed, evil, or suffering: these would exist whether or not God was real. I don't believe in God because I don't believe in God.

Belief in anything requires evidence. For example, when I see a play, I believe in the existence of stagehands. But my belief is not blind. The curtains raise and fall, scenery changes, spotlights follow the actors. I may never see the stagehands themselves, but I have a very good reason to believe they exist. They leave evidence behind them.

I do not however believe in Rainbow coloured leprechauns. This is a shame, because rainbow coloured leprechauns would be the ultimate fashion accessory. But I have no reason to believe they exist. They are no leprechaun fossils, no genuine photographs, no rainbow coloured footprints left in the mud, or rainbow drop sweets left on my pillow in the morning. I have no reason to believe that Rainbow coloured leprechauns exist. And It's a pretty safe bet to say that they don't.

I don't believe in rainbow coloured leprechauns because I don't believe in rainbow coloured leprechauns. I wish I could, because that would be awesome, but I have no reason, and no evidence, to make me believe in them. I don't believe in God, because I don't beileve in God. I wish I could, who wouldn't want to know there is an omnipotent being looking after them? But I have no reason, and no evidence, to make me believe in him.

And so whether God is good, or bad, or mad, or just hates asparagus, is irrelevant. He/she/it has given me no reason to believe. And so therefore, I don't believe.

This is why we have 'God does not exist' as our baseline. There is no reason to believe anything other than this. And so the Sarcophage's argument's fall flat. I am not afraid to believe in God, I do not think God is a bastard. I just think God is a fictional character. And like all fictional characters, he exists only in the mind.

Do you agree? Or does Sarcophage have a point? I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments.

This blog is a baby. Help it to grow. If you like what you've read please share it!

No comments:

Post a Comment