Home > religion > Religion is Fake, QED

Religion is Fake, QED

September 7, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

OK, I’ve had a bit of fun over the last week ranting on about the evil of corporate criminals but now its time for a bit of a change. Now its time to continue the never ending task of attacking religion. I recently came across an interesting article at the Freedom from Religion Foundation web site which listed and refuted the major reasons that people believed in their religion. I thought I might list the major reasons and briefly say why I think they are invalid. Of course, in most cases this is similar to what the FFRF says because there are really fairly basic and simple ways of debunking all of these beliefs.

Design, or “Where did it all come from? How can you explain the complex order of the universe? I can’t believe the beauty of nature just happened by accident. Design requires a designer.”

This is really the common logical fallacy known as the “argument from personal incredulity”. Instead of looking at the facts and examining them in a logical or empirical way the believer simply relies on his instinctive thoughts on the subject. There are many things which don’t make a lot of sense until they are examined more thoroughly (some, like quantum physics, don’t make sense even when they are understood and proved) so we know this isn’t a reliable way to establish the truth.

Also, if we do allow that a god was the originator of the grandeur, complexity, and beauty we see around us how much grander, more complex, and more beautiful that god must be. So doesn’t that mean that the god must have had an even more impressive creator, and so on? If you use the excuse that God has always existed so didn’t need a creator then the same can easily apply to the universe. Invoking a god makes the whole question more complex and less credible rather than less.

Personal Experience, or “millions of people personally know God through an inner spiritual experience.”

As I said above, personal experience isn’t a good indicator of what’s true. Personal experience tells us the Sun orbits the Earth (do you feel the Earth moving through space?) and that’s what everyone thought until more careful observation showed it wasn’t true. Also, different personal experiences aren’t mutually compatible. Hindus are as certain as Christians that their religion is true but they both can’t be.

Morality, or “we all have a feeling of right and wrong, a conscience which puts us under a higher law. This universal moral urge points outside of humanity.”

Morality can be easily explained as a set of rules which have evolved through social evolutionary mechanisms to allow humans to live together in groups. We see similar behaviour in other social animals so we know this is not unique to humans. Religious rules are often relevant to the social context they originated in (making sacrifices, etc) so they clearly have no universal truth just as we would expect if they were of human rather than divine origin.

First Cause, or “everything had a cause, and every cause is the effect of a previous cause. Something must have started it all. God is the first cause, the unmoved mover, the creator and sustainer of the universe.”

This argument refutes itself. First it says that everything has a cause then goes on to say that god didn’t. If god didn’t have a cause then maybe the universe or metaverse or basic rules of physics didn’t have one either. So invoking god as the first cause of everything else just moves the debate back one step: what caused god, or if nothing did why would be think is he the only exception to the rule?

Pascal’s Wager, or “God can’t be proved. But if God exists, the believer gains everything (heaven) and the unbeliever loses everything (hell).”

If god is so stupid that he can’t tell that we believe in him just in case he happens to exist then he isn’t much of a god really, is he! I could (based on no real evidence – just like everything else related to this topic) conclude that god would be more impressed with someone who followed what they really believed instead of pretending God exists just to try to secure his own future. That’s really dishonest and something that most gods probably don’t like.

Ontological Argument, or “God is a being than which no greater being can be conceived. If god does not exist in actuality, then he can be conceived to be greater than he is. Therefore, God exists.”

This is a rather weak and easily refuted argument which really isn’t worthy of some of the great thinkers who have used it in the past. Existence isn’t a quality which can be judged in terms of good or bad, its a physical fact so the argument really falls apart, as has been proved many times by many philosophers. Its really a rather sad commentary on the state of theological debate that it was even used in the first place!

Revelation, or “the Bible is historically reliable. There is no reason to doubt the trustworthy testimonies that would hold up in court. God exists because He has revealed Himself through scriptures.”

I think Christians (and believers in other holy books) think that if they keep repeating this ridiculous assertion that we will start believing them. The truth is that the Bible is full of holes. Its internally inconsistent, its historically inaccurate and many of the events have absolutely no credible support in the historical and scientific record. As I have said many times in the past: even the existence of Jesus is doubtful. Any proof which starts with a false assertion can be immediately discarded.

Also, there are other “historically reliable” testimonies which are mutually exclusive with the Christian one. Which should we believe? Just because Christianity is the biggest religion doesn’t mean its right. And even if we believe Christianity which of the over 20,000 variants is the right one? They can’t be all right… but they can be all wrong!

Science, or “there are many scientists who believe in God. If many of the world’s most intelligent people are theists, then belief in God must be sensible.”

I have heard “intelligent” scientists defend their belief in god and they just seem to switch their skeptical faculties off and revert to the same sort of easily disproved stuff I have listed above. Also, if an intelligent scientist who believes in god proves God exists then does an intelligent scientist who doesn’t believe in god prove he doesn’t exist? So which one wins?

Faith, or “Belief in God is not intellectual. Reason is limited. The truth of God is only known by a leap of faith, which transcends but does not contradict reason.”

Why should we believe something where there is no real evidence? If we were going to accept this argument we might need to also believe in UFOs, ESP, reincarnation, and all sorts of other “spiritual” and “new age” beliefs. Again, many of these are mutually exclusive and they can’t all be right.

Also, if god created the whole universe and has ultimate control over it why would there be no evidence of this? If God is completely separate from this universe and cannot be detected at all then effectively he doesn’t exist so this argument goes nowhere.

As you can see, arguments proving God’s existence are ridiculously easy to refute but even though these types of refutation (and many I haven’t listed here) have been around for many years people still ignore them and continue to believe. Really there is only one reason to believe and that is that it suits the person to do so even though that belief isn’t actually true. Believers should be honest enough to admit that instead of dreaming up these silly justifications.

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