A Confession: I can’t prove God does not existby Don Lacey on Apr. 14, 2012, under Atheism, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Faith, God & Bible, Logic, Reason, Religion, Sanity, Willful Ignorance
This is from Jim Wilson
“You can’t prove god doesn’t exist!” says the believer during what I presume is a nice friendly discussion over dinner. The theist has a point. Check mate! No one can prove that God or gods don’t exist or never existed.
However, I don’t need to prove that God or gods don’t exist and it is still the most intellectually honest position to take. I cannot prove a negative and it is impossible to prove that leprechauns, fairies, Santa Clause, Big Foot, dragons, unicorns, moon maidens, mermaids, griffins, centaurs and desert hippos don’t exist. There is a possibility, however small, that there is a distant planet teaming with these fantastic creatures or that they exist on earth but are extremely good at hiding.
One really cannot know to a level of absolute certainty that these things do not exist, but we can say we know that they do not exist for all practical purposes and that is what really matters. Everything I believe is my best approximation of reality. My understanding of the world undoubtedly has flaws, but it is the best I can do. Some things are more probable than others. As such I reject the concept that it is necessary to be absolutely certain that mermaids do not exist when being highly certain will do. There may be that .minute chance that they exist on some distant world. I have no reason to believe that is the case and as such the most intellectually honest position on mermaids is that they don’t exist.
I put gods in the same category as mermaids. Just because you cannot disprove something does not mean that it is intellectually honest to go about believing it does exists. Just because I cannot prove mermaids do not exist, doesn’t mean I should believe they do, in the same way that just because I can’t disprove the existence of Allah, Yahweh, Zeus, Thor, Odin. Krishna, Poseidon, and the Flying Spaghetti monster, it doesn’t mean I should believe all these beings exist.
However, the character and existence of some gods can be logically challenged. For example, if a god is said to be benevolent, all-powerful, and all-knowing, its existence is inconsistent with a world filled with pain misery and violence, like our own. If He is all-knowing and all-powerful, He could put an end to this misery and if He is benevolent, then he would choose to do so.
It is intellectually honest to believe in things when compelling evidence is presented. Beliefs are free to change with new evidence. For example it would have been insane for a European to have believed that an egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal existed, until the platypus was discovered by Europeans in 1798.
There is no good compelling evidence for God or gods. They require faith and faith is the permission you give yourself to believe in things for which there is no evidence. The evidence for the Jesus, for example, comes entirely form anonymous undated testimonies written years after the events they are supposed to depict and everything about it is completely at odds with logic. I would better evidence that that. I would need really strong, independently verifiable evidence to believe that God or gods exist and so far, the evidence has been insufficient.