My case against God

Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of religion, that we shall discover truth, reason, and morality. Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from the remedies which nature prescribes; far from curing, it only aggravates, multiplies, and perpetuates them.

 – Baron d’Holbach

Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man’s?

 – Friedrich Nietzsche

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.

 – Bertrand Russell

This argument is meant to be challenged, because it takes on a topic which is poignant and contentious for many people, and amidst the clamorous disagreement I can only prove its merit by passing it through prolonged criticism. It’s my view on why even the concept of God, as opposed to one particular god, is logically impossible; just a notion conjured out of humankind’s primitive and profoundly ignorant attempts, from early in our history, to explain the stupefying mysteries with which the world surrounded us before we happened upon science and gradually began to genuinely learn about the nature of reality. I of course think it’s sound, but the proper test is how it withstands opposition. Thus, what now follows is, in my view, a satisfying denunciation of God, but only time can tell for sure.

To begin, for God to be God they would need to be perfect, otherwise they may be a powerful being worth respecting, and probably also fearing, but not a deity we ought to worship. Further, for God to be perfect, they would need to be capable of everything, since a perfect God cannot be constrained by limited abilities or insuperable obstacles, since a limited being would be imperfect. Therefore, if we can find just one thing which God can’t do, we can then dismiss the concept of God as logically impossible. In my opinion, there are many candidates for this task, but for the sake of simplicity and concision I’ll restrict this post to only one: miracles. It’s long been claimed and widely believed that miracles truly occur and that they have some divine origin, most often, and perhaps always, a god of one sort or another. When you look closely, however, miracles are actually logically impossible. If this is true, which I’ll now try to prove, God can’t perform miracles, which, according to our reasoning so far, means that God has limited abilities and that God therefore can’t logically exist. This is how my argument will disprove the concept of God, the reasoning behind which appears correct, as best I can tell. So, then, with the groundwork laid, I’ll now explain why I think miracles are logically impossible and educe that God therefore can’t be real.

Fortunately for everyone, unlike the trend in some of my other blogs, my argument against miracles is fairly short. I define miracles as when the impossible becomes possible. Anything less than this, i.e. anything that is possible according to the laws of the universe, known or unknown, is just an ordinary event and thus can’t be a miracle, even if it may seem miraculous or statistically unlikely to a given observer. My definition doesn’t subsume a deity, but, if you press the question, if miracles are beyond the purview of the laws of the universe, something would clearly have to be producing them, which would most likely be something you might call a god. Thus, even though I don’t include God in my definition of miracles, they’re tacitly present within the logical consequences of the argument. Hence, if miracles did in fact exist, it would seem that a god, or at least something possibly transcendent, might therefore have to exist as well, meaning that if miracles exist, they would probably, I think, prove the existence of a being which could at least potentially be God.

However, there’s a fatal impasse with the concept of miracles: only what can happen will happen. Though unassuming, this statement contains a truism that denounces the notion of miracles and thus, by extension, of God as well, which I’ll now try to demonstrate. If you consider it carefully, the statement points out that anything which occurs must obviously have been able to occur, no matter how unlikely it seems or how surprising it was, since everything that does happen clearly can happen. To put it another way, since only what can happen will happen, it’s also true that whatever does happen can happen, which means that, by definition, no event can be a miracle, since if it does happen it can happen, and if it can happen it isn’t a miracle because it must be obeying the laws of nature. Thus, miracles are logically impossible, which means that God can’t perform them and that, incidentally, they mustn’t exist.

From what I can tell, this reasoning’s sound and the conclusion it draws is unimpeachable, but it’s also so simple that I’m somewhat inclined to think that it mightn’t be correct purely because if it’s truly correct someone else would surely have already thought of it before now. However, when you think about it, without going deeply into the matter, that kind of logic rests on assumptions which have obvious problems and are also flatly contradicted by many simple scientific discoveries in just recent history alone. Hence, my concern needn’t be a serious issue as we continue. Though, all the same, it still doesn’t hurt to bear it in mind.

In sum, that is my case against God, and though I’ve used miracles as the present means by which to reject the very concept of God, not just one particular god, there are still many other such means that I thought were unnecessary for now, but which I can use later if need be. Plainly, then, if my reasoning’s correct, every conceivable religion that believes in a god of any kind must be false, which I think we have good reason to believe is true.

To finish, I’d like to say one last thing that may help to save some time if we consider it carefully. Human beings are deeply fallible, prone to a host of biases, prejudices, fallacies, and so on. As a result, no conclusions drawn by a person can ever be certain, no matter how or by whom they’re reached. Therefore, the only decent approach at our disposal is to think in terms of probability and improbability based on the best evidence available. Hence, when we discuss the concept of God, we aren’t trying to be certain whether or not they exist, but rather to ascertain how likely or unlikely their existence is and comport our beliefs and actions accordingly. In these terms, my argument suggests that God’s existence isn’t very likely, as do the facts that there’s no good evidence for any gods, and that science has explained many of the events which were once ascribed to gods. These all question whether gods were ever real or just fantastical inventions of people from the past who tried to explain features of the world which, at the time, were too perplexing to even begin to sincerely comprehend.

Therefore, just like with many other possibilities which people happily dismiss from their minds, I think that God’s existence is so amazingly unlikely that to dwell on it because it’s technically possible is a complete waste of time, akin, I think, to obsessing over the idea that you are the only real human on Earth and everyone else is a cyborg. Since humans are fallible, it’s definitely technically possible, but without supporting evidence and with evidence to the contrary, only people with paranoia would seriously entertain the thought. Thus, in an obviously similar way, I think the existence of God is so stupendously unlikely that no one should even pay attention to it as a possibility, since, for all intents and purposes, it’s a complete waste of time. I have my reasons why I think people still believe in God despite the case I’ve just made, which, to one degree or another, I think many people already know intuitively. However, that’s a related, but different, matter that I’ve dealt with in another post on the nature and history of religion, so I won’t bother to reiterate it now. In conclusion, this is how I see, and my case against, God, which is yours to judge and proceed accordingly.

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