Monday, December 8, 2008

I don't exist

Apparently, I don't exist. At least, according to Dante Tremayne in this blog. The whole thing is a mess, but I'll point out a few of his more glaring errors.

For instance, the nonbeliever (I believe I will refer to our “atheist” friends by that term for the duration of this article) necessarily holds the belief that we are the result of time plus matter plus chance, merely evolving accidents, the product of random collisions of matter. Yet they wish to believe that these accidental collisions produce truth, fact, and a coherent understanding of the universe.

Dante has an odd understanding of truth and accident. To an atheist, the truth of a statement is simply a measure of how closely that statement matches reality. So, to say that the universe produces truth is nonsense. The universe IS truth. Our conception of truth is based on the raw data that we can draw from observation of the reality that surrounds us. And, frankly, even if this odd statement had any merit, it still would not be proof of anything. Suppose, for a moment, that truth can not be ascertained from a random reality. This does not imply anything about the existence of a deity.
The irrational behavior I am referring to is the nonbeliever’s inability to admit when they have been defeated. Many nonbelievers are well educated people. They have done well to keep Theists on the hot seat. But when a well educated man — especially one schooled in logic — has his entire belief system completely dismantled and displayed as inconsistent and false, everybody else knows that this smart person knows he has been defeated. But he refuses to concede. He will not admit defeat. Instead, he retreats to his study to continue his search for one — just one — argument or proof that God does not exist. And he will repeat this over and over.
This, of course, presupposes some absolute proof of God's existence. I'd like to see one. I used to think that St. Thomas Aquinas had a few, but I can see why those fail so miserably now. Of course, Dante did not see fit to include this proof, so I can not comment on it. I can comment on the idea that atheists are searching for proof that God does not exist. We are not. There are an infinite number of things I do not believe exist, as I have no proof of them. God is just one more. Of course, because Dante's world revolves around his concept of God, he probably can not imagine living without it.

This irrational behavior is indicative of the real issue, and that is, that God exists, they know it, and they don’t like Him. If they admit He exists, then they have to bow the knee. Their rules no longer apply, God’s law does. That law of God that is written on the heart of every man is eating them alive, and they want very badly to make Him go away so that hopefully the guilt will go away as well. And so despite the evidences to prove the existence of God and the inconsistency of their own worldview, they continue to irrationally hold on to these beliefs.

Again, atheists do not know that God exists. If we did, we would not be atheists. We might not be Christians, but we certainly would not be atheists. In addition, the existence of a god does not imply any particular relationship between us. Finally, Dante, I am not being "eaten alive" by some supposed law that I am rebelling against. I gave up irrational guilt with Christianity. I suspect that you are projecting your own anxieties upon atheists. Perhaps some therapy would help you.

To further my point, compare the debate over the existence of God to the debate over the existence of unicorns. I could just stop there, right? What debate? And who cares? What bearing does that have on my life? If an intelligent person were clearly shown that belief or non belief in unicorns were unfounded and false, and unicorns did or did not exist, then for them to continue to hold that belief would be an insult to their intelligence. If God were just some unicorn theory that had no real affect on a person’s life, as some nonbelievers claim, then why don’t they treat it as such? Why don’t they just shrug and go on?
Are Unicornians flying planes into buildings? Are Unicornians executing suicide bombings? Are Unicornians shooting women in the head for being the victims of rape? Are Unicornians trying to force Unicornian beliefs to be taught in schools? Are Unicornians trying to make my children guilty for crimes they did not commit?

No, they are not. And that is why there is no one debating Unicornianism. If theism was as harmless as Unicornianism, I would have no need to ever even dwell on it.

Here is how this works, and how I know I’m right. When the believer is discussing the existence of God with a nonbeliever, ask them why they don’t like God. Every one of them will present a list. That list will ultimately consist of areas of God’s law and His character that interfere with the self-law of the nonbeliever. They don’t want a God to tell them what to do and not to do: don’t fornicate, don’t steal, love your neighbor, go to church. They will also likely present a number of misunderstandings about God and the Church. They don’t understand grace. God to them is one big meanie and that if they don’t follow all of His rules perfectly, all the time, God will have no mercy and fry them like Uzza. And most of the time, the list usually begins and ends with Christians being such big jerks, which is, unfortunately, one thing the nonbeliever got right. They don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to end up like us.
You are not right, Dante. I can certainly dislike fictional characters without accepting their existence. You worship one of the most nasty blood gods to come out of the Middle East, and you wonder why atheists find your beliefs distasteful? You worship a god who has commanded murder, sexual slavery, genocide and human sacrifice(a short and very truncated list of the atrocities found in your "good book"). This god then tops off this lovely list by announcing that non-believers are punished forever. Your concept of a loving god is a depraved maniac. I do not have to believe in him to believe that and find it detestable.

Whatever the list of reasons, they are the subjective beliefs of the nonbeliever. Proofs for the existence of God don’t address a person’s subjective arguments, which is why most apologists don’t ever address them. For some reason it is beneath the apologist to talk to a nonbeliever like he is a human being and not a broken math equation. By all means, use truth, logic, evidences, and arguments. After all, we have truth on our side. But after you have handed their worldview back to them in a broken heap, and they break into irrational behavior, find out what their real problem is with God.
All beliefs are, by definition, subjective. Apologists who can not muster a proof for the existence of their god are useless. To sum, Dante, my problem with your god is really a problem with his followers. While your "god" is a particularly repellant fiction, it is the real life consequences of belief that compel me to argue with people like you.