Thursday, September 22, 2005

Squaring the Circle
My thanks to the people who have carried on the existence-of-God debate below. For what it's worth, here's one more take from me.

It's easy to disprove/disbelieve the existence of a god who is big and powerful enough to create the entire universe but who also capriciously answers prayer, granting (for example) an athlete's wish to perform well while (for example) refusing to spare Texas from the most destructive hurricane in American history. If these are typical demonstrations of that god's priorities, then he's not worthy of belief. Further, the argument from evil is powerful evidence to me that a personal god of this sort can't exist. Never mind that God must permit rape, murder, disease, and other evils to exist for purposes only he can understand, or that (to his supposed credit) he suffers along with the hurricane victims. If he were the god his believers make him out to be, his nature wouldn't permit him to stand idly by and let such things happen. I have heard plenty of arguments why I'm wrong about this, and none of them are persuasive. (Recommended reading: Mark Vuletic, "The Tale of the Twelve Officers.")

But even if we're not talking about a personal god, and we perceive God instead as something like the fundamental life force of the universe--why should that being's existence be any more likely than that of the easily-disprovable personal god? If there is a fundamental life force whose existence is open to the perception of human beings, shouldn't it be reasonably easy for humans to perceive it? Clearly it's not, because some people perceive it and others don't, and even those who perceive it will describe their perceptions differently from others who do.

(This problem is powerful evidence for the likely non-existence of a personal, Christian-type god, too. If the single most important fact of human existence is that humans were created by God and owe allegiance to him and to his laws, why aren't his existence, his laws, and their meaning crystal-clear to every human being? An omnipotent, omniscient being could certainly make it so. An omnibenevolent being would want to.)

I have been trying unsuccessfully to find an article I read online somewhere that gets at the ultimate problem: if we can't define what we mean by "god"--and from the discussion on this blog alone, it's pretty clear that we can't--then that failure of definition is persuasive proof for his non-existence. If we can't define a concept--like a squared circle, for example--we can't talk meaningfully about it. And we sure as hell can't order our lives in some way based upon it. And if each one of us is left to define god for ourselves, even talking about god, beyond talking to ourselves, is meaningless.

And anyway, even if God existed at one point, he's dead now, and here's the proof:
God is love.
Love is blind.
Ray Charles is blind.
Therefore, Ray Charles is God.
Find over 300 similarly humorous proofs here.

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