Rebuttal: The Nature of Atheistic Doubt

In my interweb travels, I ran across The Muslim Skeptic who takes a shot at explaining why atheists doubt, and why their God doesn’t just show itself and remove all of our pesky doubts as to its existence.

Why did Allah create humans in such a way as to be liable to doubt? This is something that atheists ask in an aggressive way: If God is real, why did He make Himself hidden? If there is a God, why doesn’t He reveal Himself and remove all doubt?

Okay. Fair question. Let’s hear your answer.

And Allah addresses this charge directly in the Quran in multiple places. He says, If we sent down angels, if the dead spoke to them, if all kinds of miracles were shown to them, if literally every single sign was shown to them, they would still disbelieve.

There are a number of reasons why I don’t think this statement flies.

  1. It implies that your God does not know what will or will not convince me of its existence.
  2. It implies your God is incapable of proving its existence.
  3. These implications mean your God has limited power and resources.

Also, I believe in things such as gravity because the evidence supports it. The evidence was surely less spectacular than a miracle or angels or dead people talking to me. Yet I believe gravity exists.

So is your God incapable of providing even the same level of evidence for existence that most people would need to believe in things such as gravity?

I don’t buy it.

Also, are you saying that all atheists wouldn’t believe no matter what Allah did? Not even one would rethink his or her position?

That doesn’t sound reasonable. I’m fairly certain that if this Allah got dead people to talk to them, at least a few would definitely rethink their position.

We have drilled miles into the earth and we have gone miles up into the heavens and using telescopes we can see all these amazing, awe inspiring things in this universe, things that past people had never seen: galaxies, nebulae, pulsars, quasars, superclusters of galaxies. These are all ayat of Allah and they are so grand that they are literally beyond human conceptualization. We literally cannot fathom how large a galaxy is, how old the universe is, how powerful a black hole is and so forth. But we now see all these sublime things with our very own eyes, and none of that serves as evidence for the disbelievers.

We have done these things and found no more evidence for Allah than we have for Jesus or Odin.

Why would the existence of a black hole mean there is a supernatural deity around?

However, a black hole or star or supercluster is evidence for the existence of those things.

Why do believers point at everything around them and just pronounce it evidence of their God?

Even if it were (and it’s not) you’re literally making the same argument I’ve heard time and again from other God believers, such as Christians. Why is your God more credible than theirs?

Memo to The Muslim Skeptic: These things aren’t ‘literally beyond human conceptualization’ either since I can form a picture or idea in my mind of what those things are when you mention them.

Point being that even if disbelievers were suddenly presented with a whole other aspect of existence, no matter how unearthly, no matter how spectacular, they would always have a way to dismiss it or subsume it into their definition of “normal” and “unremarkable.”

That just isn’t true.

Not even the part about thinking of the universe as ‘unremarkable’ is true. I think the universe is incredibly remarkable and I don’t need a God to make that so.

It seems to me that a lot of theists need something to be magical or have magical origins to be remarkable. I find nature remarkable. I find life remarkable. I find history, planets, solar systems and so many other things remarkable.

Hell, I find the fact that I can type these words on my keyboard and someone half a planet away can read them instantly damn remarkable.

These things are far more remarkable than magic. The fact that you don’t need magic to explain takes nothing away from how amazing they are.

 

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32 Comments

  1. What if God pleased the Cranium so spectacularly that he was no longer Godless?

    And he was thus, the Godawefull Cranium until the day he died.

    What of future generations?

    Since the Cranium is but a man, like all others, God would have to constantly be pleasing generation after generation of Cranium Juniors, just to be fair.

    Is it not obvious, even to the Cranium, that his demand of God is totally ridiculous?

    So one man might ask another…

    Why doesn’t the Cranium get a brain of his own, train it think rationally so that even to him, the existence of God would be totally obvious.

    In fact, the existence of God is obvious.

    That being the case, miracles would be a waste of time.

    The Cranium would simply whine, “We have no wine,” and God would have to send his Son to Cranium’s crib to perform a miracle.

  2. because they are terrified that he might not exist at all.

    we invented heaven to give us something to soothe us in the dark. we invented angels and saints and prayer to give us something to keep the dark realities away. make sure our heaven is light and bright and soothing.

    It’s scary out there in the dark, any human knows that. The idea of an eternity of that must have been horrifying, once humans learned about death.

    So we ‘grew’ a belief in a heavenly creator. Some cultures have several, some have only one. All are as valid as the others.

    When a child wakes at night in a dark room, or can’t sleep in one, we give them a light of some kind so they can take comfort from that. We don’t tell them God will protect them, and then shut the door in their face. We invented our own kind of light, a belief system, that gets us through the dark places, too.

    I have no problem with that, what someone wants to believe is their business, what is NOT their business is other peoples’ beliefs.

  3. Ah, yes, atheist doubt is a different kind of skepticism than any other because believers are instructed to frame it this way. And the idiots go along with it. That’s why all religious folk feel this need to re-catergorize the identical doubt they themselves have towards all other gods and other absurd superstitious nonsense as somehow and necessarily a different and superior kind than the disreputable and entrenched kind that atheists exercise.

    Ever wondered why we find this expressed so often by theists on the Intertubes?

    Because religions necessarily must vilify those who think outside of faith, those who exercise what would be responsible and reasonable skepticism towards any other consideration outside of faith. But this vilification has to be sold as doing something ‘nice’ IN faith, an outreach to the unfortunate, a dangling of the carrot to the unaffiliated. So the vilification comes wrapped in dripping false obsequiousness.

    Faith-based beliefs cannot withstand evidence-adduced and reasoned conclusions. Accepting evidence as a necessary element to justify a belief is fatal to religious belief. That’s why when people are framed by identity as either believers or non believers, the non believing identity must be vilified. Theists cannot ‘love’ atheists and accept the non belief; scripture makes this very clear. Non belief is the fatal disease to religious belief and so non believers are properly understood to be its ‘carriers’ and cannot be tolerated… except as a work in progress towards belief. Non believers can never, ever, be tolerated and respected and celebrated and accepted as the real people they really are… as long as they carry this virus of non belief and threaten the indoctrination process religions require for inter-generational continuity.

    That’s why theists refuse to accept atheism simply as a lack of belief… in spite of atheists saying this for a thousand years. They MUST make atheism into a thing, into a worldview, into a set of beliefs just like religious beliefs, but a religion of a different kind, the wrong kind the misguided kind. This is necessary to avoid the cognitive dissonance that believers suffer themselves as atheists towards all other ‘false’ gods. No, no, no, a believer cannot be an atheist; they must be a different kind of believer.

    So these linked authors are nothing more than religious mouthpieces who are doing the job that their religion demands they do – vilify non belief – and by doing so reveal themselves to us coherent non believers as the victims of religious thought police manipulation and the jackbooted puppets they are willing to be in its name.

    I sometimes wonder if believers have any ability to stand back at see the scope, depth, and utter inanity of their broken thinking processes when considering the product on display from exercising their own piety (without doubt, most believers themselves – outside of this religious framework – are otherwise normal, relatively intelligent, and perfectly functioning nice human beings like anyone else). Certainly we see this inability on the part of the linked authors. They aren’t thinking inside the framework. They are spouting inanity about ‘love’ and heartfelt concern towards non believers (love the sinner, hate the sin bullshit)… and so they put mindless sound to the emptiness of their own empty religious beliefs and spout.

    Why are religious beliefs empty? Because they contain no insight, no knowledge, no explanation about anything other than the vacuousness of their own belief sets! And they still don’t, won’t, or can’t ever admit it without the whole rotten belief structure collapsing on itself once the central support beam is revealed to be the faith-based belief the believer brings to a religion and not some hypothetical peek-a-boo god – the <i.right god, of course – as an exterior divine, creative, interactive casual agent. Doubt the belief, neuter (or spade) the god. Neuter (or spade) the god, the religion collapses.

    So religions necessarily vilify those who think beliefs of any kind require evidence-adduced reasons, those who exercise what would be responsible and reasonable skepticism towards any other consideration for investing belief in real life. But it has to be sold as doing something ‘nice’, so that otherwise nice people will participate. That’s why the vilification comes wrapped in such obvious and dripping false obsequiousness.

    The scope and depth of the believer’s willingness to accept ‘therefore god’ as a justification for their belief is amazing to the non believer because the obviousness of the special exemption granted to the selected god…a ‘conclusion’ so clearly NOT connected to the ‘evidence’… becomes nothing more profound than that most ridiculous of ‘answers’: godidit.

    Utterly meaningless.

    This answer answers nothing. This is obvious. This, too, is indisputable. This answer doesn’t now, never has, and never shall produce any knowledge or insight about anything ever.

    If one is willing to set aside one’s inquisitive brain and natural curiosity to know and is capable of accepting ‘godidit’ as if a meaningful and insightful answer to anything about anything, then one has mistaken a willingness to embrace profound ignorance with piety. There’s the religious sleight-of-hand: up means down, black means white, godidit means something,

    Such a piety is deeply pernicious because it is used as a shield against reason, against reality, against evidence, against doubt, and for the making of victims of religious discrimination and bigotry out of real people. And the cost? Well, if some people who do not believe must be vilified, then it’s a small price to pay for gaining the exalted position of God’s special little friend, a divine yet undeserving ally who receives God’s whispered Word. Personally. Oh, the humbleness of it all. (I’m not worthy, Lord, Now, what was that you were telling me?)

    That this broken, self-deluding thinking creates real victims of real harm doesn’t matter to the believer because those other kind of people – the non believers – have earned their victimhood by rejecting what the believer him- or herself has ‘accepted’. That’s why non believers are cast as arrogant, as self-appointed gods, as selfish and immoral and untrustworthy. It’s the atheist’s fault, you see, full of self-important hubris, and so the believer will try to love them anyway but, hey… they’re such unpleasant people who are militant against God Himself and reject His love, who are therefore damned by their own sin of not believing, of not being credulous to the point of gullibility like the believer, of actually holding intellectual integrity above piety, and who dares to respect human rights – including those of the believer – above the scriptural dictates to vilify the Other on the basis of faith-based identity.

    So, believers like SoM, when you can exercise the basic human prophylactic called honest human reciprocity not poisoned by your religious framing of my identity, then we’ll talk. Until then, you have a lot of emotional and intellectual growing up to do before we can have a healthy adult relationship.

  4. I do not think of atheism as a belief system, it just is. I do, however, see what comes after as darkness, not light, as most Christians insist. When you close your eyes, thats what’s there.

    Christians are so damned narrow and bigoted it’s scary. The one true god and all that. No one else counts for anything, you sneer, from your Christian mandated religion. No Allah, no Indian gods, no Yahweh, no Oriental gods. Belief is belief, whatever the color of the believer and his god.

    What really amuses me is the belief you have in a Bible that was written by Jews, and your trust that Christ was somehow Christian, he just hadn’t converted yet.

    And we are not, as one wiccan insisted years ago, lost souls howling in the wilderness, We fine. We don’t really CARE what you believe, we just don’t want to be pilloried for it.

    Nice post, tildeb. Consider it ‘liked” since I dont have a like button.

  5. It is amusing to see Christians and Muslims using the exact same arguments as evidence for their particular version of religion.

    I must admit that Islamic terrorism and the general failure of muslims to condemn attacks on non muslims is enough for me to dismiss Islam as a religion.

    After the Nice attack much was made of the fact that 31 of the 84 people killed were muslims. Because of this fact some muslims were interviewed and argued the terrorist could not be a true muslim. What struck me was that their concern was that muslims had been killed, they did not seem concerned about the slaughter of non muslims.

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