This topic is one I look forward to covering because stupidity is something I have always confronted head on (not quite the bad personality trait I may have once thought I was, stupidity requires confrontation). Being atheist all my life and not ashamed to say I don’t believe has often led to people trying to convert me with some simplistic and incorrect breakdown in their own beliefs. The title mentions the two most prominent, from my experience, of the gods that have no value (well less than the other nonexistent gods).

We atheists love to ask for evidence of god and with sound justification. We humans learned not to guess answers like god into existence some time ago, we leaned to study or environment building layers of evidence on which to further our knowledge. Evidence is important in improving our knowledge of the world if possible, of gods. I doubt very much that without evidence many theists would believe in the orange invincible invisible tide directing monkey god, the one who rides on my back (should I claim one). They would demand evidence of the monkey, they would demand proof it made the tides, they may even cite scientific knowledge to dispelled my tides claim. Why then do their gods not require the same level of scrutiny? What we ask is nothing they themselves wouldn’t ask of a great many irrational claims. Denial of other peoples gods is a favourite of many religions, few if any blindly accept every god as being possible.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Denial by the religious often goes one further extending to a denial of science. Selected science, not the ones that make computers and social media possible. Science, which in modern times has in place a complete system for reporting and retesting its own findings, is popularly refuted by some theists. These theists demand evidence but are generally unwilling to accept evidence when it’s given or in failing to understand it cite their ignorance as the case against it. Denial of scientific evidence is not the same as denial of some guy who owns an old dog bone he says disproves evolutions without ever allowing it to be examined (but wheels it out for religious congregations). Science asks to be refuted because people failing to disprove finding is far more powerful than a million people simply accepting findings. In denying science you are denying the work of people who were on your side, those trying to find fault in the work. The untested dog bone is very different and stands only as unsubstantiated nonsense and hearsay, it can be denied without further consideration.

In asking for evidence of god we atheists do have to be willing to consider or study any that is presented. This is not the same as requiring us to simply accept anyone’s word that a dog bone disproves one of the most powerful scientific theories of all time. Of course we can’t test everything for ourselves, the beauty of science is that it offers us a way to read the work done by others and find discrepancies should they exist. We can even repeat the work if we have the resources or have someone else do it for us. If you want to deny science at least read a review of the research, people review papers for a living to save us all reading all the unimportant detail. A good way to get a feel for a scientific paper is to read the reviews and peer comments. There are many ways to learn something of science and it’s workings. If you want your dog bone accepted as evidence against science, submit it for testing. If you have evidence you should be proud of it, what harm is there in our asking to see it?

I’m all for demanding evidence of god, we should do it more and argue pointless theism less. We shouldn’t stop at evidence though, we can take this whole argument back one step and demand a definition for “god”. What is it? What is it you want us to believe? What are you trying to prove? Present evidence, of what? Even if theists presented evidence it may prove useless if we don’t know what it’s evidence of. If someone presented a tea cup and you had no knowledge of tea or access to tea, proving tea from the existence of the cup may prove impossible.

395303_10151287858150527_247700905526_23081195_467410619_nThis is where the god of love, hunger, the need to pee and other synaptic impulses finally comes in. When pushed for definition my experience is that love is now the most common one given. “God is love”, it seems is the best definition of god we have in this modern era, an era in which we have the ability to measure and study the bodies most intimate processes. What we know of love shows it to be a completely natural process, explainable through evolutionary terms and completely free from supernatural influences. It’s not just we humans that have positive reactions in response to others of our kind, it is a well known process in many if not most living organisms. In ourselves we know full well the electrochemical reactions that take place when we interact with others of our species and we understand it. We react in some way to most people but when we bond to others that reaction becomes the more powerful positive reaction we call love. We know what love is and we have a name for it, we call it “love”. Why do we need another meaningless term to describe a known and named reaction? Why do we need god, we have love? Why is god never “the need to pee”?

Only this week I had this argument extended to me personally. “Who am I? I am god, god is me”. No I am a human animal from Earth and my mother gave me a perfectly good name. These thing describe something about me but calling me god is useless and adds nothing to our knowledge of who I am. This is nothing more than a rebuild of the love argument. For some reason theists love to change the subject of their argument, keep the core of the argument intact and treat it as a new revelation. If you call god “toenail growth” it has no more meaning than “god is love”.

The second claim is the inevitable next step in the “god is love” argument. Deism is as strange as theists argue nihilism when they most certainly believe in their own existence as creations of a fictional god. Deism describes everything as god. My keyboard is god, a rock is god, I am god, our every action is god . We can give a name for everything deists call god, a keyboard is a keyboard, a rock is a rock, I have a name… Like love why do we need to give everything a meaningless additional definition. Calling my keyboard god does nothing to explain god or make my keyboard anything more than a keyboard.

a realityBefore god had to start sliding back in to the gaps in our knowledge god was defined. God was very like us. Buddha was a well to do wealthy fat man who became a supergod by contemplating his navel and telling people it was okay not to be wealthy and well to do. The Abrahamic god was the mould we were drawn from, he was a man who made things and wrote rules but immortal and living in the sky. If you go to the many other religions of humanity there are numerous images and models of gods to be found, even tree spirits at some point had human or semi human form. The point is that we used to know god, we didn’t have to give god wishy washy meaningless definitions. As our knowledge of the world grows and the places to hide god diminish, our knowledge of god seemingly vanishes and now even the believers can’t describe what it is they believe in.

As I have previously pointed out, if we had a definition for god we could start working to prove or disprove god. Calling god everything still leaves us with no foundation for working out what god is. Using the tea cup analogy, trying to fit an elephant, a peach and three pairs of underwear (or everything) into a tea cup will not bring forth tea. Even if you stumbled across tea you would only have one possible use for the cup, not evidence of intended purpose. The cup could as easily be evidence of whiskey unless you were to find the words “this cup is for tea” inscribed on the cup. “God is everything” means nothing and has no value.

I will cover one more angle of deism because deism is often cited as the religion of some of the worlds great thinkers. The call to authority argument. It is just as likely in many cases that the god of deism was a way to shake off the god question without needless social reprisals for not believing. Would Albert Einstein have suffered any form of reprisal if he said he was atheist in the era that saw the words “in god we trust” added to the US currency? Would it have caused some difficulty coming up against his jewish upbringing? Maybe and maybe he really was deist but reading some of his notes on theism it would be very easy to consider him an atheist. His supposed deism reads as a fascination of the universe more than a spiritual journey. Many supposed deists before him were it seems of a similar mind set and finding spiritualistic beliefs in their writings is not the task of a historical and literary layman like myself. The way I see it is that if a nobody like me can break down deism, surely the great minds of the past could. Deism and the god of love are equally useless concepts and easily tossed aside.

Getting back to the lack of definition for god, it does have one drawback for atheists. Atheism is a lack of belief in god/s, whatever gods are. If however we remember that gods are only hypothetical it doesn’t matter that they lack definition, the lack of definition only makes it easier to deny such a poorly constructed philosophical argument. The problem then is not so much about god/s but that atheism should maybe be redefined as “denial of the philosophy of god”.

I often use this philosophy argument though it often goes over the head of theists or they want to avoid facing the truth of their beliefs. Sometimes you have to resort to other methods to get past the barriers. It doesn’t hurt however to remind atheists that god is pure philosophy. Some atheists argue god as if it were something based on evidence or existence. Philosophy doesn’t come to life just because someone wishes it so and we should remember that in our own arguments.

The lack of definition may be a negative but it can be a positive in our favour. In creating their arguments theists do use some common terms to describe their gods and the most commonly used and meaningless word used is supernatural. Supernatural is everything outside the natural, no more definable than god itself but common to other irrational claims, claims sometimes based on theistic concepts but not automatically considered theism. The final result of this line of thought is that god is supernatural and all claims of a supernatural nature are god or god like. This is that it allows me to deny the entire collected range of crap called spiritualism which can only be described as supernatural or god like. With no definition of god coming from believers I can’t but think it justifiable that I define their belief for them based on the limited information available. At least I know what I deny (sort of, everything not natural, whatever that is). On this basis my atheism may be better defined as denial of supernaturalism, which as pointed out, includes gods.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

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