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Sense and Goodness Without God IV: What There Isn’t 2: Atheism: Seven Reasons to be Godles

11/24/2010

In the beginning was God. And He was alone. Lamenting that there were no others enjoy Being, no others to love and be loved, no others to think and create, He resolved to give His life so that beings like Him might be, and love, and enjoy life. So He exploded His body, and He was no more, but out of His body came the physical Universe, and out of His blood came the realm and possibility of mind. There was no other way, such were the limits even upon the all-powerful and all-knowing. And He so arranged His death that the embers would one day generate mindful beings such as us, who may be, and love, and know, and do (253).

Carrier points out how this God, which he just made up, can claim pretty much every ‘proof’ of God. The ontological, cosmological, argument from meaning, morality, qualia, etc. In fact, this God fits the evidence much better than the gods of common religions, and it still is not reasonable to believe in it.

These seven reasons consist of positive contrary evidence, which falls mainly into two categories: the lack of evidence that ought to be present if God exists, and the presence of evidence that shouldn’t exist if God exists. Attempts to explain away such evidence are all ad hoc, because they have no evidence whatever in support of them, except the sole fact that they “rescue” the theory that god exists. But sinceany god’s existence can be established by such a tactic, this leads either to hypocrisy or absurdity: the moment it is admitted as a valid argument, belief inevery god becomes equally valid, which is impossible (256).

Carrier’s 7 arguments against God- positive evidence against God:

Page 256: Metaphysical naturalism is true, therefore God doesn’t exist.

Page 257: The religious landscape is confused and mundane.

If a compassionate god exists, he would not allow people to damn or kill or deceive themselves in [the way they do considering the confused religious landscape], but would nurture and guide them and steer them to the truth.

Page 273: Teleological argument for atheism:

The nature of the world is manifestly dispassionate and blind, exhibiting no value-laden behavior or message of any kind. It is like an autistic idiot savant, a marvelous machine wholly incomprehending of itself or others. This is exactly what we should expect if it was not created and governed by a benevolent deity, while it is hardly explicable on the theory that there is such a being.

Page 274: Most god-concepts are illogical.

…it is obvious that a perfect being, by any definition, could not and would not create an imperfect universe, yet the universe is imperfect, therefore God cannot be perfect.

Page 277: Too much needless cruelty and misery.

Page 280: Not enough good from God

…not only should there be less pointless suffering if there is a God, there should be more benefits from such a God as well. Yet there are none. God is supposed to be your… shepherd, a father, a mother, a friend. Yet he does none of the things such people do… After all, it is only “by their fruits that ye may know them.” …And unless God is tied up and stuck in a box somewhere… he would surely make a regular appearance in our lives, well beyond the vague emotional illusions and contradictory revelations people claim to be from God.

2.7: Anything defended with such absurdities must be false.

Here’s a list of the common lame and ad hoc excuses for God.

Page 283- (2.7.1): 1. The Argument from Mystery

It is said… that God must have a reason to be completely silent, obscure, unfriendly, and unhelpful, and to have built a dangerous, painful, limited, and flawed world for the poorly-designed creatures he is supposed to love. We can’t know what this reason is because it must be so complicated or profound that human minds could never grasp it. It’s a “mystery.”

This is the ultimate example of ad hoc excuses: As Luke said: “Besides, if we allow ourselves the “It’s a mystery” response to every objection raised, we could use it to “justify” the existence of damn near anything.”

Page 284- (2.7.2): 2. The “Free Will Defense” #1

Some argue that God can’t be blamed for all the misery in the world because it is the result of human free choice. But this excuse requires another ad hoc excuse for why God doesn’t set right the mistakes of his children, another ad hoc excuse for why he is a silent no-show, and so on.

There is also the serious problem that libertarian free will does not exist.

Moreover, most misery is not caused by human actions but is inherent in the design of the universe: earthquakes, floods, plagues, genetic defects, and so on.

Page 285- (2.7.3.) The “Free Will Defense” #2

Others argue that God must not intervene to make the world a better place because doing so would leave too much evidence of his existence, which would “force” us to believe in him, a violation of our free choice to believe.

There can be no evil in telling a man what he needs to know to save himself and be happy… If you believe it is a good thing for a preacher, an apologist, a missionary to give me more evidence and better reasons to believe, then you cannot believe it wrong for a god to do so.

Page 286- (2.7.4) “The Arrogance Defense” #1

Another excuse is to say, “Who are you to question the Supreme Being? Carrier sees nothing arrogant in stating what we honestly see is the case, or in using reason on questions.

Page 287- (2.7.5) “The Arrogance Defense #2

Luke: Another common “defense” is the Schoolyard Copout: “I can’t be wrong, you are just sick or confused, and you’ll suffer for it!” No reply needed. I agree!

Page 287- (2.7.6) “The Great Deceiver Defense”

Others say that God put so much contrary evidence into the world to test your faith. This would undercut any trust we could have in God. It would make God the ultimate liar. Not worth calling God.

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