Saturday, January 3, 2015

The hiddeness of God problem

21By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Exodus 13:21-22

As an atheist one of the second biggest problems I have with belief in the Judaeo-Christian deity is the fact that his existence lies beyond the realm of objective or empirical proofs. The first problem for me is the problem of evil. In this post I would like to address the issue of the hiddeness of God and why outside of faith one cannot otherwise "know him."

Right out of the gate I would like to state that I personally do not consider faith in any form as a reliable source of information or evidence. Religious faith in and of itself is an entirely subjective matter accompanied by so called experiences that are equally irrelevant when it comes to providing evidence for the existence of the biblical god.

I also do not consider the Bible the word of God. In my opinion it is neither authored, inspired, or even a work of said invisible guy in the sky. Therefore, the Bible itself is not a reliable source of information nor a valid proof for God's existence. But since it is the foundational document of belief for Christians the world over we will use it here for illustrative purposes only.

First as you can see from the biblical text I used to open this post with God apparently had no problems with revealing himself to mankind. In this case in particular to the ancient Hebrews as he liberated them from 400 years of slavery in the land of Egypt. Wow! Talk about the wheels turning slowly! But according to this text God led them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Both physical proofs of his existence.

16And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled. 17And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. Exodus 19:16-17

Apparently not only did God give visual evidences of his existence and presence amongst the ancient Hebrews, but he also gave them audible proofs as well. Unfortunately today the good Lord doesn't like to speak anymore. That is unless you count hearing either your own voice or other voices in your head the voice of God. Most likely it is the product of a very deluded individual or the symptoms of schizophrenia.

In the O.T. the Lord even took challenges from other competing religions and gods and true to his form came through with flying colors.

36At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” 1 Kings 18:36-39

After challenging the prophets of the god Baal Elijah received a proof of God to his people and all present that he alone was god. Of course Baal did not respond to the prayers and supplications of the prophets and thus lost the challenge altogether. 

Anyone who reads the Old Testament in its entirety gets to see a God who was not only a tyrant but a moral monster in my view. He instilled fear in his people and demanded their worship and respect. According to many of the mythological tall tales found within its pages God often took a personal interest in disciplining and even executing his people who challenged or disobeyed his laws. The funny thing about it all is that even with all these proofs of his existence we constantly read that the Hebrews would often stray from his laws and at times even worship other gods from some of the foreign cultures they encountered.

This brings us to my current views on the demand for faith which is really believing without evidence. I see the idea of faith as a  rationalization for God as to why he doesn't personally deal with people anymore. The world is filled with evil people committing evil acts and the Lord remains silent to the suffering of a humanity that he allegedly created and loves! Children are raped, kidnapped, and murdered on a daily basis in this world and God does nothing to save or protect them. I often refer to man as the most brutal animal to walk the earth. We do things to each other that makes even the wildest carnivores in nature look tame and moral from a human perspective. 

People call out to God all the time from the most dire circumstances or even when in peril of death and he does nothing to save them. The biblical deity has become nothing more than a useless and abstract idea. There is no credible evidence for his existence today nor do I think in my opinion that there ever was. I see the stories in the bible as nothing more than a collection of ancient myths and superstitions with no basis in historical fact whatsoever. The world without gods makes so much more sense and requires no justification when bad things happen to otherwise good people. 

You would think that if this message of God's were so vital and important that he would go out of his way to make his presence and existence known to all those that request it. He would make it so that everyone who did request it all had accounts of their experiences that can be proven and are consistent with those of others. He would make it so that his existence could be proven both objectively and empirically by showing himself in times of need as he allegedly did in the Old Testament. For instance when the ancient Hebrews were fleeing from Pharaohs army and found themselves trapped between the army and the see he opened the see and led them across on dry land! He then drowned Pharaoh and his army when they attempted pursuit. Where my dear Christian, Jew, or Muslim is this god? 

The biblical deity has taken his place in my view in the make believe realm of mythology from whence all of mans imaginations have run wild creating and believing all sorts of insane and irrational beliefs without evidence. Fear has been and continues to be the driving force of all religions that bow down and pledge allegiance to some imaginary being or beings. As a nonbeliever in fairy tales and myths I refuse to bow down. Instead, I pledge my loyalty to logical reasoning and critical thinking. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.

15 comments:

  1. Unfortunately today the good Lord doesn't like to speak anymore.

    All he does now is appear on the occasional piece of toast. Dude's just not even trying any more.

    Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

    I've heard that the Marquis de Sade once publicly insulted and defied God and bluntly challenged God to destroy him if He really existed. Of course, nothing happened. The Old Testament God would have smitten him with aplomb, but such things no longer happen since we've entered the age of documentable history.

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    1. It seems to me like faith is nothing more than a justification for the lack of evidence in confirming fictional history and fairytales as facts.

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  2. Faith stems from the billion dollar question what created the big bang.Theres two sides the scientific one or the faith one.I am of the latter.Life is all energy and when we live our lives doing good we tap into this.Our lives will flourish more often than not and this is the life Jesus essentially preached all them years ago.The quote that best sums up my belief in God is "nature is Gods greatest evangelist" as we are here to essentially flourish as individuals.

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    1. Your position faces several problems. First, you have to prove that god exists and not just any god but the Judaeo-Christian deity exists. Second, you must prove that he/she/ or it was behind the big bang. Third, If nature is gods evangelist than you are not speaking of the Christian deity it seems that you are closer to describing the deistic conception of god.

      Though we may not know how the initial state of the universe came into being or whether it was eternal and always potentially a possiblity that the universe as we know it would come into existence positing the supernatural poses more questions than answers.

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    2. b) Theist: God is the source of energy (all powerful - Psalms 62:11, etc.). Einstein and many other nuclear physicists and nuclear chemists have observed "mass-energy equivalence," given by Einstein's simplified equation, E=mc2, where E = energy, m = mass, c = speed of light squared. That states that mass can be converted to energy (example being a nuclear bomb), and energy can be converted to mass (example being chemical bonds; sigma, pi, and or correlative chemical bonds add a small amount of mass to the molecule which can be calculated using the above equation. That's the scientific explanation provided for statement below. Since the Bible states that God is all powerful, source of energy, He hypothetically has the ability to make matter from His energy. What bolsters this hypothesis even more is the fact that God's the first spoken words stated in Genesis 1:3 were, "Let there be light," which is the primary variable in E=mc2. Furthermore, God's words, "let the be light," shows that all of the means for matter creation were met, according to the equation E=mc2, and several others. Therefore, demonstrating in this view, that the universe was not created from nothing, contrary to what atheists hold; giving an explanation that does not contradict the laws of thermodynamics on how the universe was created.

      Conclusion: it was demonstrated that there is at least strong "feasibility" for the explanation that God created the universe, which implies such a being exists. The comment from Ricky above holds a lot more weight than your argument below since there is a strong correlation between the orderliness of nature and the orderliness of God that is stated in the Bible ("God is not a God of disorder..." 1 Cor. 14:33) and how it does not contradict scientific laws in this regard. Conversely, atheist point of view has implications that are highly contrary to the scientific method, especially in a way here that disgusts me – starting with your title. I am currently in a phD program for Inorganic Chemistry and things stated here are disgusting in how they are highly fallible in logic and lacking large amounts of observable evidence while being directed towards tearing down beliefs in many people's lives without justification. Just because you had "bad experiences in performing exorcisms" and 'witnessing' to people on the streets does not give justification for tearing down Christians, let alone God.

      So, which takes more faith? Clearly the view that the universe created itself from nothing. It is definitely not "science" because it hasn't been observed, and the theist definitely has more ground in terms of scientific explanation than the atheist; the theist goes as far as using physics and equations along with words from the Bible that correlate with those equations to support its thesis.

      There is no ground at all in this blog. If anything, the most ground you have at all is a Schrodinger's Cat, 50-50% probability God exists or not. The scientific method is not used in this blog AT ALL! Since you can't OBSERVE (let alone PROVE) that God doesn't exist (can't prove a negative, especially using the scientific method), how much less can you prove heaven or hell existence. In such a case of Schrodinger's Cat probability experiment, you are "playing" with huge consequences and impacts here; a mere gamble, really. In such a case as this, the correct logical default would be to believe in God to go to heaven and avoid hell, based on your 50-50 probability ground.

      Here is fun link for you:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ

      This blog proves nothing. Full of logical fallacies, circular logic, and loads of unobserved "facts."

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    3. Thanks for your comment. But it is not my goal to prove the nonexistence of God; as you have correctly stated "you can't prove a negative." Secondly, if you want to talk about logical fallacies why don't you mention that your entire comment is ad hoc and based on post hoc assertions of scientific facts and data. You basically have taken modern scientific evidence and theories and tried to make them fit into your faith based biblical beliefs.

      You have done nothing new. William Lane Craig is an expert at misinterpreting and misrepresenting science as you yourself have done in your feeble attempts to prove me wrong. Not only can you not prove a negative, as the one making the positive claim for the existence of God you have to prove that this god not just any god but the one you believe in exists. Good luck with that many have tried for centuries and all have failed.

      "This blog proves nothing."

      As I've stated above I have nothing to prove. The onus or burden of proof is entirely on you. Finally, If nothing can come from nothing or create itself as you say then where did your god come from. Surely, he is not exempt from this "rule."

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  3. Yes my position is more of the deistic variety and I believe Christianity doesnt necessarily hold all the answers.Jesus for me was just a very good man who preached a good moral message that if followed will allow us all to flourish as people eg in essence one of love.I still feel though that the whole universe that came into beginning at that one point in the big bang was a divine act in itself and we are a ongoing part of that.As for God always being there poses more questions than answers for me that is just a mystery of the universe that will probably never be answered.

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    1. I actually disagree with you there. I am convinced that the idea of gods come from man himself as evidenced by the "evolution" of these beliefs themselves. They are nothing more than the invention and the products of man during a time of ignorance as to how the universe or the world that we live in was understood to operate. Ancient religious believers attributed many of what we now know to be acts of nature such as erupting volcanoes, natural disasters etc. to the wrath of their invented deities.

      This hypothesis is much more explainable and plausible than that of an invisible being who always existed yet came from nothing nor had a beginning was behind it all. It's not a mystery, it's an ancient and primitive belief due to ignorance and the lack of objective scientific study and developments of said studies.

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  4. Yes but the fact remains the wonders of the universe are a beauty in itself and I personally believe something was behind it all.Its just my personal view and nothing will change that.This is due to the fact that I have witnessed physical things in my life (a one of event when I was a boy) which are beyond the realms of science that have touched the very core of my soul.I believe there is a good energy behind all of this which is stronger than the negative.As a priest once told me if there wasnt more good than bad in the world we would cease to function as a species and this is a concrete view that I wholeheartedly agree with.

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    1. That's all good and well I just don't see any evidence for it. What you are referring to is known as the argument from ignorance.

      Argument from ignorance (Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance stands for "lack of evidence to the contrary"), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false (or vice versa).

      In this case it amounts to "we don't know, therefore there must be a god."

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    2. Depends because with respect if you had seen what I had seen you would change your tune.Richard Dawkins even ascribes to a view that he cant be completely sure that there is no grand designer behind it all.

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    3. Not exactly. I was an evangelist and guess what was my specialty? I practiced what is known as a deliverance ministry. I have dealt with so called demon possessed people and have even believed to have seen shadow figures and had nightmarish experiences related to demons.

      When I left the faith the first thing I did was to research possible natural explanations to the many experiences I had in the ministry. I found many and in hindsight I have found that in those days my perceptions of reality were highly influenced by my nonsensical beliefs.

      I am happy to state that I do not know. But saying there must be a god is irrational because it is a statement based on the lack of credible evidence and knowledge on the matter.

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  5. Fair enough but at one point in time there was nothing and then came a sudden explosion out of nothing called the big bang.For me that's where theology and science intersect.

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    1. You are right about that! This is just speculation, but what if energy existed before the universe in some form or another? Of course this explains nothing because then we would have to try and find a plausible explanation for where this energy originated etc. I'm cool with not knowing or having all the answers, but when I look at religion as an answer I see in it nothing but the musings of man in a more ignorant and superstitious time and place.

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  6. god is a multi-billion dollar Industry

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