WHERE WE ARE
Should we view homosexual sex as morally wrong because it is (allegedly) condemned in the book of Leviticus? In Part 1 of this series I outlined a dozen reasons to doubt this viewpoint. Here is the first reason:
1. God does NOT exist, so no prophet and no book contains truth or wisdom from God.
My doubts about the existence of God are related to skepticism in general, and to three specific areas of skepticism:
- Skepticism about Supernatural Claims
- Skepticism about Religion
- Skepticism about the Existence of God
In Part 2 of this series I explained my reason for skepticism in general (i.e. CYNICISM), and I explained my reasons for skepticism about supernatural claims.
In this Part 3 of this series I explained my reasons for skepticism about religion.
In this post I will cover my reasons for skepticism about the existence of God, the first two being based directly on my skepticism about supernatural claims and skepticism about religion.
SKEPTICISM ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
A. Skepticism about supernatural powers and supernatural beings supports skepticism about the existence of God.
Over many centuries billions of people have mistakenly believed that there are ghosts and demons, invisible bodiless supernatural beings. Over many centuries billions of people have mistakenly believed that there are people with amazing supernatural powers, what we now call psychics. But there are no people who can actually move or bend physical objects with just their minds. There are no people who can actually “see” future events. There are no people who can actually “read” the thoughts of other people. There are no people who can actually instantly heal physical injuries or organic diseases with just their minds. There are no actual psychics.
Suppose someone claims that there is a person who has ALL of these supernatural psychic abilities. Such a claim would be ridiculous on its face. I remember as a young boy listening to Pastor Jim Jones of the “People’s Temple” on the radio in San Francisco, claiming that he had ALL of “the gifts of the spirit”, which include speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles, and supernatural knowledge. He, of course, turned out to be a mentally ill drug addict, who was followed by many naive, clueless, gullible, superstitious fools, many of whom followed him to Jonestown, a commune built in the jungle in Guyana, and then later ended their own lives by drinking poisoned cool-aid at the direction of Pastor Jim Jones.
Now suppose that the “person” who allegedly has ALL of these amazing supernatural powers is not an ordinary person with a physical body, but is (allegedly) a ghost or spirit who is invisible and has no physical body. Now we are getting into crazyville territory. But belief in the existence of God is very similar to belief in the existence of a ghost who has many amazing psychic powers.
God, if God exists, is an invisible and immaterial supernatural being who has no physical body, like ghosts and demons. God also has many supernatural powers. God, if God exists, can “see” the future, just like a psychic. God can make physical objects move (or bend) just by willing them to move (or bend), just like a psychic. God can “read” minds, just like a psychic. God can instantly heal people of injuries or diseases, just like a psychic. So, belief in the existence of God is a lot like believing in the existence of a ghost who has many different psychic powers.
Although billions of people have for many centuries believed in supernatural beings (like ghosts or demons) and in supernatural powers (like those allegedly possessed by psychics), there is no good reason to believe that ghosts actually exist, or that psychics actually exist. In fact, we have good reason to disbelieve in supernatural beings (like ghosts and demons) and to disbelieve in supernatural powers (like those allegedly possessed by psychics), because such alleged phenomena have been carefully and scientifically investigated for about 150 years, but no solid empirical evidence has ever been discovered that shows any such supernatural beliefs to be true.
So, we have good reason to be skeptical about God, and good reason to doubt that God exists, unless and until powerful empirical evidence confirming the existence of God becomes available. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that evidence!
B. Skepticism about religions supports skepticism about the existence of God.
In Part 3 of this series I presented a number of reasons for being skeptical about religions. Given those reasons for skepticism about religions, it might well be the case that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all FALSE.
That is, the worldviews promoted by these religions might well be FALSE, meaning that a large portion of the beliefs and assumptions that constitute each of these worldviews are FALSE. Since a worldview contains several beliefs and assumptions, it is not necessary that EVERY belief and assumption in a worldview be FALSE in order for the worldview as a whole to be FALSE. So long as a large portion of the beliefs and assumptions of a worldview are FALSE, that would provide sufficient grounds for evaluating the worldview as being FALSE.
But if all three major Western religions are FALSE, then that means that a large portion of the beliefs and assumptions that constitute the worldviews associated with these religions are FALSE. One of the beliefs that is part of the worldviews of all three of these religions is the belief that God exists. But if a large portion of the beliefs and assumptions that constitute these worldviews are FALSE, then it might well be the case that belief in the existence of God was one of those FALSE worldview beliefs.
In any case, if the worldviews of all three major Western religions were FALSE, then these three religions would have no significant credibility. We could not, in that case, reasonably view any of these religions as a reliable source of knowledge or information about theology, metaphysics, or ethics. Thus, doubt about the existence of God would be justified, unless there were good reasons independent of these religions to believe in the existence of God.
Reasons for skepticism about religion don’t prove that all religions are FALSE, but they do make it somewhat likely that all three major Western theistic religions are FALSE, and if all three major Western theistic religions were in fact FALSE, then we would have good reason to doubt that God exists.
C. The silence of God supports skepticism about the existence of God.
In Part 2 of this series, I presented this argument for disbelief in the existence of God:
21. IF God exists, THEN it is very likely that God communicated truth or wisdom to human beings through prophets or holy books in the past four thousand years.
22. There have been no prophets or holy books in the past four thousand years that have provided truth or wisdom from God.
23. It is probably NOT the case that God exists.
It is clear and certain that the “holy books” of the main three western theistic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) were NOT inspired by God; they do not constitute messages from God.
Jehovah, the god of the Old Testament is clearly a morally flawed person, so that means that Jehovah was NOT God. But if Jehovah was NOT God, then Moses was a false prophet, and the Torah was NOT inspired by God. If Jehovah was a false god and Moses was a false prophet, then the other holy books of Judaism (which constitute the Old Testament in the Christian Bible) were also NOT inspired by God, since they assume Jehovah to be God and Moses to be a true prophet.
Jesus believed and taught that Moses was a true prophet, and Jesus practiced and promoted worship and obedience to Jehovah. Since Moses was in fact a false prophet, and since Jehovah is in fact a false god, it follows logically that Jesus was also NOT a true prophet and NOT the divine Son of God. If Jesus was NOT a true prophet and NOT the divine Son of God, then the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament were also NOT inspired by God. Thus both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Christian Bible were NOT inspired by God.
According to the Quran, both Moses and Jesus were true prophets of God, so since Moses was in fact a false prophet, and Jesus also was in fact a false prophet, we can logically conclude that the Quran was NOT inspired by God, and that Muhammad himself was a false prophet, just like Moses and Jesus. Therefore: NONE of the holy books of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam were inspired by God.
Furthermore, other supposedly “holy books” teach or assume that Jesus was a true prophet, or that Moses was a true prophet, or that Muhammad was a true prophet, so those “holy books” are also clearly NOT inspired by God, because Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were in fact false prophets. For example, The Book of Mormon, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures both teach or assume that the Bible was inspired by God and that Jesus was a true prophet. So, it is clear and certain that those two “holy books” are NOT inspired by God.
This means that either there have been NO prophets or holy books in the past four thousand years that have provided messages of truth and wisdom from God, or else that God attempted to communicate with mankind through a prophet and/or holy book in the past four thousand years, but God’s attempt was a failure, because that prophet and/or holy book are now unknown or known only to a small number of human beings.
But God, if God exists, is all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good. How could such a being fail so miserably at an attempt to communicate truth and wisdom to the human race? The hypothesis that God made such an attempt but failed miserably is very improbable. So, the most likely scenario is that it is NOT the case that there have been any prophets or holy books in the past four thousand years that provide messages of truth and wisdom from God.
Premise (22) is very likely true, and premise (21) is believed by most Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and it seems very plausible to me too. Therefore, the silence of God gives us a good reason to believe that there is no God.
D. The utter failure of Peter Kreeft’s case for God supports skepticism about the existence of God.
[Excerpts from some of my posts on Kreeft’s case for God:]
Given that 100% of the last ten arguments in Kreeft’s case FAIL to provide any good reason to believe that God exists, it might seem unlikely that there will be any strong and solid arguments for God among the remaining ten arguments. However, it seems to me that Kreeft was trying to put his best foot forward by presenting his strongest and best arguments up front, at the beginning of his case, and thus saved the weakest and worst arguments for the second half of his case.
Argument #3 and Argument #5 FAIL for the same reasons that Argument #1 and Argument #2 FAILED: Kreeft does not bother to SUPPORT the most important premise in each of these arguments, namely the premise that links his stated conclusion to the conclusion that actually matters: “God exists.”
The middle inference or sub-argument [in Argument #4] FAILS to provide a good reason for its conclusion, just like the initial inference or sub-argument FAILS to provide a good reason for its conclusion. Thus, we may reasonably conclude that Argument #4 is a complete FAILURE. This argument has multiple serious problems, and so it provides us no good reason to believe that God exists.
Argument #4 fails, and thus ALL FIVE of the arguments that Kreeft apparently believes to be the best and strongest arguments for the existence of God FAIL, just like ALL TEN of the last arguments of his case FAIL. At this point, we have determined that at least 75% of the arguments (15 out of 20) in Kreeft’s case for God FAIL. Given the perfect consistency of FAILURE in Kreeft’s case so far, it is unlikely that any of the remaining five arguments will turn out to be a strong and solid argument for the existence of God.
E. The utter failure of Norman Geisler’s case for God supports skepticism about the existence of God.
[Excerpts from one of my posts on Geisler’s case for God:]
PHASE 1: GEISLER’s FIVE WAYS
PROBLEM 1: Geisler FAILS to provide a clear definition of the word “God”, thus making his whole argument unclear and confusing.
PROBLEM 2: Geisler has only ONE argument for the existence of God, but he mistakenly believes he has FIVE different and independent arguments for the existence of God.
PROBLEM 3: Geisler makes a confused and mistaken distinction between proving the existence of God and proving the existence of a being with various divine attributes.
PROBLEM 4: The conclusions of Geisler’s five basic arguments are UNCLEAR and AMBIGUOUS, leading to multiple fallacies of EQUIVOCATION by Geisler.
PROBLEM 5: Because Geisler consistently FAILS to show that there is EXACTLY ONE being of such-and-such kind, he cannot prove that “the cause of the beginning of the universe” is the same being as “the cause of the current existence of the universe” or as “the designer of the universe” or as “the moral lawgiver”.
PHASE 2: THE CREATOR’S PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES
PROBLEM 6: Geisler simply ASSUMES without providing any reason or argument that the (alleged) being that caused the beginning of the universe is the same being as the (alleged) being that designed the universe, and that the (alleged) being that caused the beginning of the universe is the same being as the (alleged) being that produced moral laws.
PHASE 3: THE EXISTENCE OF A NECESSARY BEING
PROBLEM 7: Geisler illogically shifts from the claim that a perfect being must be a necessary being to the assumption that a being that caused the universe to begin to exist must be a necessary being. This is an INVALID inference.
PHASE 4: THE IMPLICATIONS OF “A NECESSARY BEING”
PROBLEM 8: In his reasoning about the implications of the concept of a “necessary being”, Geisler confuses different senses of the verb “to be” leading to INVALID inferences about the implications of the concept of a “necessary being”.
PHASE 5: ONLY ONE INFINITE BEING
PROBLEM 9: Geisler’s assumption that two unlimited beings would be indistinguishable from each other is FALSE and it also contradicts a basic Christian dogma.
PHASE 6: GOD EXISTS
PROBLEM 10: Geisler has adopted a Thomistic concept of God, but this Thomistic concept of God is INCOHERENT, making it a necessary truth that “It is NOT the case that God exists.”
F. The fact that arguments for God often provide reasons against the existence of God supports skepticism about the existence of God.
There is a theme in Jeff Lowder’s case for Naturalism: the thinking of religious believers is often distorted by confirmation bias. They look for evidence that supports their belief in God, but ignore, or forget, or fail to notice, evidence that goes against their belief in God.
When believers offer some reason or evidence for the existence of God, it is often the case that if you look a little closer at that evidence, or take a step back and look at the general sort of evidence or phenomena that an argument for God relies upon, you find powerful evidence AGAINST the existence of God, evidence that was missed or ignored by religious believers.
To Be Continued…