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Why I Probably Don’t Believe In Your God

January 29, 2009

I lack belief in any sort of god or universe creating sentient being. That’s why I feel that I am best defined by the word atheist. Coincidentally I also believe that every god I’ve heard about so far is more likely to not exist than exist (which can also define an atheist).

Deities, in my opinion, are defined by what they do. Adherents to their respective faiths are the ones who make the claims for what their gods have done. If we can prove these claims to be false then their gods can be dismissed. For instance: Yahweh is defined by his actions and the claims of his adherents in the Bible. If you use the Bible as a reference you can conclude that Yahweh created the entire universe, to include every animal alive today, in six days approximately 10,000 to 6,000 years ago. 

We now know through the use of science that the Earth is much, much older than that; somewhere around 4.55 billion years. We also know that life on Earth originated about 2 billion years ago, and through the process of evolution, became the life we know see around us, to include ourselves. That, to me, is enough to discount Yahweh as a legitimate god. If you know anything about the origins of the Bible itself, and how it has been edited over the centuries, further degrades any claims about Yahweh actually existing. There are many sites devoted to discrediting claims made about Yahweh in the Bible and a quick search can show you just how much of the Bible is scientifically inaccurate.

Most, if not all, other gods can be refuted by similar methods. Like I said, I’ve not seen a proposal for a god yet that stands on its own legs. Please note that I am not saying with 100% certainty that any gods do not exist. However, I don’t think the certainty level has to be 100% dismiss a deity. More against than for is enough for me to regard it as likely to be fantasy. When you don’t have evidence for something you assume it doesn’t exist until you can prove it to be true.

We currently have no evidence that a god exists. If one does exist I think it is safe to assume it does not want to be found; whether it’s a trickster god or some complacent creator, it clearly has no interest in interacting with us on a level we can actually understand. My point is, whether there is some non-interventionist god out there or not, we’re better off acting as though it did not exist and just go on about our lives and progressing society.

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27 Comments
  1. January 29, 2009 4:09 pm

    “My point is, whether there is some non-interventionist god out there or not, we’re better off acting as though it did not exist and just go on about our lives and progressing society.”

    As I’ve mentioned to you before, many people are drawn to religion (not necessarily fervent belief in a god) because they are weak (for lack of a better term) and need an external force to give them “purpose” in their lives.

    Many people want something “more,” which is probably just a byproduct of their unhappiness and what they choose to do with their lives. Rather than improving themselves, their surroundings, and the world at large many choose a cop out solution and cling to the belief that a god will make everything work out.

    – Schev

  2. January 29, 2009 4:19 pm

    I understand what you’re saying, and I agree with you. I can’t help by try anyway. I feel like I have to do something.

    This post’s intention is not to actually disprove any gods, but rather to help the theist understand the views of an atheist, as are many of the topics I’ve written about. I know I may not be able to change the theological views of my theists, but I can help them understand why atheists are who they are, and maybe I can help dispel some preconceived notions about us.

  3. Cameron permalink
    January 29, 2009 4:55 pm

    If you’re interested in this topic dude, I’d highly recommend reading some ideas on the notion of Subjective Reality.

    Check out http://www.stevepavlina.com

    Enjoy! =D

  4. January 29, 2009 5:12 pm

    The good thing, Sisyphus, is that it seems that the majority of people in this country do live as if a god doesn’t exist. It’s just that the ones who don’t are so darn loud.

  5. January 29, 2009 7:58 pm

    I have a plausible god.

    On the first six days, he created all the fundamental constants of our universe and divided by zero.

    On the seventh day he decided to wait 13.5 billion years, and then tell a bunch of desert nomads some crazy shit and see if they would go for it.

  6. January 29, 2009 11:25 pm

    If there is a god, I highly doubt it is within our comprehension. The god of the Bible has been put into a rather tight box by Christians (especially evangelicals). I doubt such a magnificent being, if it exists, would simply exist as how religions have defined it. No amount of discussion can make me see otherwise, especially since there is still debate within the Christian community (among the others) on their own “universal” truth. When they can settle their own differences in their beliefs, then maybe I can take their arguments into consideration.

  7. January 30, 2009 8:17 am

    Another good post from one of my favorite atheists. Obviously, as a polytheist I’m as far from being an atheist as can be, but I don’t find atheism offensive.

    Have you ever read Steven Erikson’s books? In his ongoing Malazan Book of the Fallen, ancient gods are worn down by the beliefs and needs of their worshipers. I picture YHWH like this, a trouble old man trying to hide, just wishing they would all go away and leave him alone.

  8. January 30, 2009 10:17 am

    Hrafnkell, Thanks for coming by. You’re likely my favorite polytheist. I don’t have any issues with people of faith that use reason and logic, and I feel that you do so. Same for my friend Mythos, who is a theist. I primarily speak out against those who use ancient texts to mandate modern law, which affects people of many faiths and the faithless.

    Most polytheists I know exercise reason fairly well, aside from the 15 year old girls who want to be fairies.. but I’ll leave that topic alone.

    I haven’t read that, but I take a look now that you’ve peeked my interest.

  9. January 30, 2009 2:49 pm

    I have a three way tie for my favorite theist, but I greatly enjoy my pagan friends, mostly because they’re not threatening me with eternal torment, and they’re not trying to legislate me into fearing giant world ending wolves.

    I can’t imagine that an omnipotent, omniscient being would be terribly concerned with what i’m doing, or endlessly angry that i’m not worshipping it correctly. Although I could certainly understand fucking with a bunch of bronze age nomads- I personally wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation.

    My personal explanation for yhwh? Aliens.

  10. January 30, 2009 3:07 pm

    YHWH is an alien? Are you a Raëlian? lol
    I have a close friend who is a Discordian, which is his equivalent of the FSM. Other than that most of my other friends are agnostics and atheists.

  11. smilingtim permalink
    February 2, 2009 12:25 pm

    I noticed your comment on another blog and just wanted to say that my experience has been that anyone that authentically looks at all of the facts, comes away believing in Christianity. On the other hand, I’ve had a number of experiences with people who choose to disbelieve because they will not look at the facts. It’s a tough decision. It’ll take some honest research and objectivity.

    Tim

  12. February 2, 2009 12:29 pm

    Funny, Tim. My experience is the exact opposite.

    Of course, if by ‘authentically looks at all the facts’ means ‘listens only to apologists’, we may be speaking about different things.

  13. February 2, 2009 12:43 pm

    Tim, I agree with morsec0de here. I’ve looked at the facts and I don’t see any worth in stock for Christianity. Judaism is more likely than Christianity itself. At least we have no real idea for how their book was formed. We know about what books were looked at and kept out of the Bible.

    Personally (people I know in real life), I don’t know of anyone who looked at the facts and decided that Christianity is more likely than any other faith, and less likely than no god existing. I’ve seen people go that way for wishful thinking and fuzzy logic (Pascal’s Wager – Emotional appeals by family).

    What do you think I am not looking at that I should?

  14. smilingtim permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:44 pm

    Hey. Thanks for your dialogue. I consider myself to be a very open-minded person, but the last time I talked with an atheist about this, I got completely shut out and personally attacked . . . I thought being open-minded was what we were all about – right? I mean, I guess we all know that ideas have consequences so we hold our ideas preciously, but I was just like . . . whoa – what’s this guy’s agenda? Anyway.

    I would say that the main historical facts that my faith rests on is the life and resurrection of Jesus. That particular gentleman refused to *consider* the idea of Jesus being resurrected . . . but the truth is that if you look at the facts, Jesus really existed and He was really resurrected. . . something like that has to make a person wonder – what is that Jesus all about?

    Peace,

    Tim

    What are your names?

  15. February 2, 2009 2:58 pm

    Tim,

    “I would say that the main historical facts that my faith rests on is the life and resurrection of Jesus.”

    I hate to be the one to break this to you, but neither of those are confirmed historical facts.

    The closest anyone can get is that there was probably an itinerant apocalyptic preacher by the name of Yeshua. But that’s as far as history can tell us. And even that’s a bit of a stretch.

  16. February 2, 2009 3:22 pm

    Tim, thanks for replying, a lot of Christians do drive-by preaching and you never see them again. I’ll try my best not to do personal attacks as long as you do the same. I think we both realize that not all Christians are alike much in the same way that atheists are not all alike, we even be much more diverse, but that’s not really important here.

    You see, I think that the information around the life and ressurection of Jesus is really where the whole story falls apart. Jesus’s mere existence is very debatable. There are less than a handful of texts that mention Jesus outside of the Bible, and all of those tests are written at least one generation after his death. By this I mean somewhere around 40 years, because the lifespan was somewhere around that at that time. The ressurection of Jesus, as far as I know, was only written about in the Bible itself. This makes it very subject because the creators of the Bible have an invested interest in convincing people that Jesus was divine. There is a lot of controversy over whether the non-Christian writings that mention Jesus have been edited or changed since their initial writing. A lot of information has been lost over the last 2000 years due to mistranslations and purposeful rewordings, this is something that most historians agree about.

    I don’t mean to say that I do not think a rabbi named Yeshua existed around 0 B.C. but instead that I am skeptical of this. There really isn’t enough evidence to go one way or the other about Jesus’s existence. I personally think that it is likely he existed but that he has been drawn way out of proportion by his followers. I don’t see any evidence for anything supernatural of any kind.

    Do you know about how the Bible was created and what issues where voted on?

    My real name is inconsequential to my ideas but you can call me Sisyphus or SF.

    When my blog moves over to my own domain my new Pseudonym will make it much easier to find out who I am, but I don’t feel the need to actually give out my name. You’re not being paranoid if people really are looking for you. :S

  17. February 2, 2009 9:22 pm

    You can be my favorite atheist if I can be your favorite theist. Atheism fascinates me, and I will neither attack you nor preach at you — esp on your own blog.

    I agree that if evolution is true, there is absolutely no reason to believe in any God whatsoever. And that Jesus (whom I would still believe existed) was obviously not Him and didn’t rise from the dead. That probably makes me stupid, irrational, and/or deluded in your eyes — that I believe in God based on the flood creating fossils, and so forth — but so be it.

    My point is, I fully understand why you and anyone else who believes in evolution is an atheist, and why that is the ONLY rational belief to have.

    DB said: “there is still debate within the Christian community…on their own “universal” truth. When they can settle their own differences in their beliefs, then maybe I can take their arguments into consideration.

    You are absolutely correct and it’s a shame and we will be judged for this.

    Personal Failure said: I can’t imagine that an omnipotent, omniscient being would be terribly concerned with what i’m doing, or endlessly angry that i’m not worshipping it correctly.

    I belive He is terribly concerend with what you’re doing, in that He likes you very much and wants a relationship with you. However, He’s not endlessly angry with you for not worshipping Him correctly; I certainly wouldn’t claim that I worship Him correctly. I fail him everyday, but I long to please Him and I seek after Him with all my heart and that’s what’s important to Him, not obeying a bunch of man-made rules.

    One last thing, Lee Strobel’s book, Case for Christ espouces on the historical evidence of Jesus that Tim was most likely referring too. He was an athiest whose wife became a Christian; as a journalist reporter, he set out to prove her wrong and ended up converting.

    I hope no one considers any of my comments preaching, I apolygize if they’re taken that way.

  18. February 2, 2009 10:16 pm

    Not to validate your beliefs, but you said “I agree that if evolution is true, there is absolutely no reason to believe in any God whatsoever. And that Jesus (whom I would still believe existed) was obviously not Him and didn’t rise from the dead.”

    Don’t become an atheist just yet (not that you are considering it lol) as these two items have nothing to do with evolution and can coexist with evolutionary evidence. The only things evolution (and many, many other sciences) contradict are the literal events in the Bible, such as the creation, etc. Many Christians who see reason and are capable of fitting the evidence science has provided with their beliefs (my very religious parents taught me everything about evolution and closely related sciences). These people don’t take the creation story literally, but as a story that defines their heritage (kind of like how US mythology is held true, even though events didn’t happen as told, i.e. Paul Revere’s Ride).

    No science disproves god, just the literal interpretations of the religions. Most every atheist would admit this. Jesus is a separate issue altogether. If he existed or not has nothing to do with science. What he did is a matter of debate. The literal creation story has everything to do with science and can be disproven (as it has).

  19. Colloquy permalink
    February 3, 2009 1:24 pm

    @jclamont – you might be interested in this link to the ‘clergy letter project’.

    DB just took all of the words out of my mouth – but I think the link would be a good addition.

  20. Colloquy permalink
    February 3, 2009 1:24 pm

    Duh – link … :-)

    http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/rel_evol_sun.htm

  21. February 3, 2009 3:20 pm

    Another thing, smilingtim, since you’re an author over at http://disciplenations.wordpress.com, why don’t you approve my comment that has been sitting there? In all likelihood that comment is how you came across my blog.

  22. February 4, 2009 10:34 am

    Actually, I’ve already signed the Creation Letter project which is a response to the Clergy Letter project, but thanks.

    As for what DB said, hmm — am I atheist wannabe? Lol, I will have to ponder that some.

  23. February 5, 2009 7:30 pm

    agree with your sentiments about lack of any verifiable evidence that a god exists.

    find it interesting that Jews believe we need to live life fully here on earth ( and essentially lead a good life), yet still carry on with old testament/torah beliefs and traditions.

    also of interest is the secularism sweeping europe, and the vatican’s location. the holy see, or the lonely see?

    peace.

  24. February 6, 2009 11:36 am

    Thanks SF for the valuable dialogue you’ve put in – also jclamont30 for your input. I’ve been a little tied up and a little burnt from another discussion I had similar to this, so was having cold feet. :)

    In fact, I think that “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel may very well be the best place that you could start if you want to find out if Jesus really existed and the accounts about him are verifiable (I truly believe this). It should be available at your library, on half.com, or I can mail it to you. :) Thanks for your interest.

    I have approved all of the comments on my boss’ post. I may choose to edit some that seem intentionally offensive. He had a health issue that has kept him away from work for a couple of days, but is looking forward to replying to your comment. He’s an extremely thoughtful and wise person.

    Grace,

    Tim

  25. Colloquy permalink
    February 6, 2009 2:41 pm

    Hmmm… I would have signed the clergy letter but I am not a member of the christian clergy. What were the requirements for signing the creation letter?

  26. February 26, 2009 10:53 am

    Did you get the book? I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Pray that you’re well. I think you have my email address if you want to continue to pursue more conversation.

    Tim

  27. March 16, 2009 12:28 am

    “Deities, in my opinion, are defined by what they do.”
    This is something I tried to talk about with a Christian friend who is currently questioning her belief – I maintain that at this point in the debate between atheists and ‘believers’, I think it’s more important or more likely to be successful, getting people to think about WHO they say their God is according to their texts etc. than debating about God’s existence. In my experience it’s this that throws people off, because they don’t have the opportunity to argue about what they can’t prove – but rather explain how they live according to what they believe, when WHO their God is, is who their text says he is. Like I said to another Christian friend – it’s all fine and well to be ‘progressive’ and argue that things in the Bible are culturally based and that because the world is different now, some things are not applicable – but then who chooses what is and isn’t? And does it change the nature of God in that time? Always gets a stumped silence in response.

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