Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Part of My Conversation With an Atheist

Religion and Philosophy ---


Ric, given your high level of intellect, how could you believe in God?

I am sorry to disappoint you regarding my lack of a high level of intellect, Atheo.

I did not say you lack a high level of intellect, Ric.

Of course you did not say it, Atheo, but you implied it.  Your statement suggests that a person who is in possession of a high level of intellect would not believe in God.  So that if Person A believes in God, Person A does not possess a high level of intellect.

What proof have you of God's existence anyway, Ric?

Honestly, Atheo, I have none.  I have no proof of God's existence, neither do I feel constrained to find or to offer any such proof.   All I know is that I have staked my very existence on the existence of God.  I have staked all.  You, on the other hand, Atheo, have staked nothing since for you God does not exist.  You have nothing to lose.  I have far more to lose if God does not exist, but I am willing to take the chance.  And I like my chances.  Even if there is a one percent chance that God exists that still gives me something to hope for.  If God does not exist we are both f_ _ked, but if God does exist then you are still f_ _ked.  Like I said, I like my chances.  Oh, and by the way, I have no problem asserting God's existence, so the burden of proof is on you, not on me.

Okay then, Ric, if God exists why is there so much evil in the world?

I hear this question all the time, Atheo.  It seems to be a favorite question/objection of atheists.  However, the question erroneously tries to establish a logical connection between God's "existence" and the presence of "evil".  It is like saying, if America exists why is there so much poverty.  The relation is just contiguous, not logical.  We must therefore reformat the question to ask the following instead:  If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world.  But then you would have a problem, Atheo, since you would be attributing a quality to that which you do not believe exists.  So then, you, my friend, must first establish God's existence before you can even ask that question.  And even if we do allow the question, my answer to you would be simply, I cannot answer you and that it is not my place to attempt to do so anyway.

Still, Ric, I cannot see how you can posit the idea of God in this day and age.  

I would say, Atheo, that it is precisely because of this day and age that we need God (and more than ever before).  If God does not exist, then principles of right and justice are determined by the strongest.  If there is no higher to whom or to which I can appeal, then right and justice are the mere whims of the powerful.  If God does not exist, there is no hope for the poor, the oppressed, the dispossessed, the disenfranchised, and the different.  If God does not exist, then Nagasaki and Hiroshima are right.  Torture is right.  Wars in the supposed pursuit of peace are right.  The invasion and occupation of a sovereign state is right.  Assassinations are right.  Trade agreements that benefit the wealthy one percent are right.  Awarding Nobel Peace prizes to warmongers is right.  Justifying some murders while decrying others is right.  The deaths of thousands of children from sanctions are right.  I would rather, Atheo, place my faith in the justice of God than in the justice of the International Criminal Court, the UN Security Council, International Law, or the world's current superpower.  It is the kind of justice that is unashamedly partial and that serves only the powerful.  And if, without the existence of God, that is the kind of justice we have available to us, then we are of all beings most miserable.