Monday, 17 August 2015

What evidence would I need in order to accept God exists?

It's a question that atheists get asked a lot: What evidence would I need in order to accept God exists? 

It's hard to answer, because I personally have no concept of gods or goddesses. I'm not sure I should be saying anything because I don't define what a god is nor what it's capable of - believers do that. 


To me, asking an atheist what evidence they'd need to accept the existence of a god or goddess is like me asking you what evidence you'd need to accept the existence of a Gnorleyark. Until I define a Gnorleyark for you, how could you know?


I have said before (thanks to Matt Dillahunty) that I don't know what evidence would prove to me that a god or goddess exists - but the god or goddess does. So pray to them, ask them what that evidence is, then, when you have the answer, get back to me. 


But I feel now that lets them off the hook too lightly, because they're likely to tell me that they think no evidence would convince me, no matter what they came back with. 


So when the evidence question comes up now, before I can answer, I need to clarify something with them. Something that (hopefully) makes them think a little, and makes them see the situation from my point of view. A sceptical, critically thinking point of view. 

I may refine the question in the future, but for now it's this:


What detectable, verifiable, testable, or measurable qualities, properties, or characteristics does a god or goddess possess which unambiguously and conclusively shows that it's not a product of human imagination?

If they can't answer this, then I can comfortably point out they can provide no evidence to convince me of their claim. 

Theists often tell me that their god is outside the physical, outside of space, and outside of time. What does that leave? What's remaining that qualifies as 'existence'? There may be a state of 'being' that is outside of what we know as reality, but if there is...how can we detect and verify it? Right now, as far as I know, we can't. To me, this shows that the properties of 'God' have nothing in common with reality. There's a reason for that. 

4 comments:

  1. But..., the bible is the only evidence needed to prove god because in it, he says he is real. Check & Mate!

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  2. This is exactly the question I have been pondering for some time, and it really all goes back to epistemology. What do we know and how do we know it.

    The fact is, what we consider "knowledge" has a lot to do with our sensory awareness, and that is already flawed. Light, sound, taste, smell - all are interpreted by our brains and all can be fooled, and fooled quite easily. So even if "God" suddenly appeared before me and those around me, "what" we are seeing is simply some kind of visual phenomena.

    If we studied this "being" close-up, and verified that it was just an image and not "real" in the corporeal sense, and if we couldn't determine it's origin, it would be just that - some kind of visual anomaly produced by a technology we don't completely understand.

    On the other hand, if it were corporeal, we could study it's nature. Is it biological? If so, does it have DNA? If it falls into a category of existing knowledge, then is it God at all? Perhaps God just created this entity to be better able to interact. If so, it's physical nature could be exactly human, and then we're back to square one in knowing if it is God and not just someone saying they are God.

    Okay, so this God is there, corporeal or not, and we can interact with it. So we can ask, "How do I know you are God?". And God does something to "prove" it. What could.that be?

    Well, it would have to be something unexplainable by our current knowledge of physics. Hmmm, He could make the Earth's orbit suddenly reverse course, and do it without global disaster. That would be hard to explain. He could make Mount Everest disappear. Also hard to explain. Really, any sudden and inexplicable change in reality that goes well beyond the current laws of physics would be a really good start.

    But is that enough?

    Some skeptical person, like me, might suggest he's just using a technology so advanced that it looks like "magic". Perhaps he hasn't even changed reality at all, just our perception of it - a form of mass mental control. It's possible, and in a way, easier to explain than actual "magic",

    Okay, so he's possibly corporeal for our benefit, and he's reversed the orbit of the Sun, nice trick, but is he really GOD. So maybe we ask him some questions.

    "Are you God?'
    "Yes"
    "Who created you?"
    "I have always been here"
    "Did you create the Universe?"
    "Yes"
    "So where exactly were you before the Universe?"

    What can he say at that point? That he exists in another dimension, another reality, some higher plane of being? If so, are there other's like him? Can he explain his own existence?

    Bottomline, can this God distinguish himself from just being another much older and far more advanced life form? After all, what might we look like in another BILLION years?

    Think about that. Universe (as we know it) is about 13.5 billion yrs old, and it's conceivable that advanced intelligent life could be at least several billions years more advanced than we are currently. Any technology or physics known and used by such a life form would look to us like pure magic. They would, for all practical purposes, be Gods to us.

    In fact, I don't think we could make that distinction. The only thing we'd know for sure is that there is an "entity" out there more advanced and knowledgeable than we are. We wouldn't even know if this being was honest or of ill-intent.

    If the being demanded worship or tribute, what then? Does the creature threaten us with destruction if we don't obey?

    So...no. I don't think we could ever conclude that the God in front of us is, in fact, GOD. Quite the contrary....

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