I don’t know many religious people. Of those, I know fewer who are willing to challenge their religious point of view. Of those, none are close enough to me to be able to carry on a friendly discussion on the matter. So what happens?
I have conversations about religion in my head while I walk the dog, drive, wait at the train station. Do you do this? Man, I hope I’m not the only one. Its kind of funny, because atheist tech doesn’t always ‘win’. Sometimes I come up with something that I don’t know how to defend to explain.
I’m not writing this post to give ammo to one side or another, I just write what I am thinking about at the time. So here is my conversation as I had it (I had a stenographer present at all times).
Atheist TS: You can’t know that there is a god, because there is no evidence, nothing that can’t be explained, and as time goes on, the things we can’t explain at some point, through the scientific method, eventually gets explained. the Gaps continue to shrink.
Religious TS: There isn’t a God-O-Meter that you can wave around to find god. He lives outside of our universe.
ATS: How convenient, if he lives outside of our universe, that's the same thing as not being there.
RTS: No, it isn’t. He may live outside of the universe, but he certainly has strong influence on our universe and humans as a whole.
ATS: If he had physical influence on our universe then we would be able to measure him.
RTS: Yeah I hear that assumption a lot. Let me give you an example. Do you think I am real?
ATS (sniggers a little, since this is in his head): no, but for the purposes of this conversation, I’ll bite. Yes you are real.
RTS: OK, lemme use someone else. Do you think Alex Rodriguez, the baseball player is real?
RTS: So presumably he has a father right?
RTS: So we definitely know this person I am talking about is real, but he is also someone that most people do not know.
ATS: OK (with a look of “where the hell are you going with this?”)
RTS: OK, lets say A-Rods father, Daddy-Rod, goes to Mumbai and kills someone without being caught on video. Do you think that is possible, leaving aside his morals?
RTS: Then Daddy-Rod does to Rhode Island and drops 1000 dollars in a mailbox in a suburb of Providence. Is that Possible?
ATS: I guess
RTS: Then he does 100 other acts of kindness, creation, destruction, and pain, all over the world in a completely random fashion. All while not being detected. Do you think that is possible?
ATS: Well I guess.
RTS: Is it possible that this string of actions looks random to you and everyone else, but in actuality there is a method to his madness?
ATS: I guess.
RTS: Is Daddy-Rod no longer real? Hasn’t he performed significant acts that affect people in a significant way? But still, presuming that all the acts appear to be random, he would not be detected. Further, it may appear completely random to you, but he may have his own formula about who gets good things and who gets bad, and you would never know it.
OK, I’ve let this drama go on long enough. Yeah, I knew where RTS was going in a second when I really had this conversation. Some of the folks I have brought this to, have asked “If you can’t detect Daddy-Rod, how is that different than him not being there?”. But clearly he is there. Clearly for many people there is a difference because he is there. Further, if we knew his reasoning, we would be in a better position to avoid pain and be granted something good.
The best I can think of is that, we have been trying to find concrete evidence of Daddy-Rod for millennia, surely he would have slipped up by now. Been caught on camera, or done something that would not have been able to be done without his presence. But presuming omnipotence, that may not apply to a god.
I’m not going all Raving Atheist. There are many reasons to ignore the god hypothesis. And tons of unconvincing arguments for God. But I was just thinking about this. If someone brought this to me, I am not sure of how I would respond. So, I am bringing it to you.