On Ray Comfort’s latest post, user Prestor John posted some really great gems that I sincerely hope he doesn’t mind if I re-post:
Believer: I can give you irrefutable scientific proof for the existence of God!
Skeptic: I’m listening.
Believer: First, if you will indulge me, a small preamble (Trust me, this argument is going to knock your socks off).
Skeptic: Go on.
Believer: Your house… do you believe that someone built it?
Skeptic: Well, I met the contractor, observed some of the construction process -
Believer: So you do believe there was a builder?
Skeptic: I don’t think “believe” is the right word…
Believer: Excellent! On to my next question; Your car… do you believe someone built that?
Skeptic: Ah, judging from the manufacturer’s information… Okay, I think I can see where this is going. With your ham-fisted Socratic Method you seem to be reaffirming Paley’s “watchmaker” design argument. I’m sure this was much more convincing two hundred years ago, but it hasn’t aged well.
Believer: Paley? No no no, you don’t understand. You see, in the same way that houses and cars have builders…
Skeptic: I understand perfectly. Homes have builders, paintings have painters, blogs have bloggers. All this succeeds to prove is that human artifacts are made by humans. I knew this already. If you wish to conclude that things that appear designed were designed by some other intelligence (namely God), then that is purely conjecture and does not constitute proof.
Believer: But a creation must have a creator! That is scientific proof of God’s existence!
Skeptic: Now you are just playing word games. The universe was only called a “creation” on the presupposition that God created it. You can’t use that fact as proof of God’s existence. You may as well rename the universe “God’s House”, and conclude that God must live there. It’s just semantics.
Believer: [pause] Why do you love sin so much?
This is exactly how I perceive every single “creation proves a creator”-type argument. “Creation” is a word of one of the many human languages, not an objective property of the universe. Without the human mind existing, no one would be calling it a “creation” to begin with, and thus it wouldn’t be one. Therefore, “creation” only “proves a creator” under the circumstance that you’ve first proved that there is, in fact, a “creation”, to begin with. Since no one has ever managed to do that, this particular argument is immediately rendered moot.
This second one is just as good, hitting at exactly what I feel every time I speak with a True Christian™:
For your amusement, I have distilled a typical dialogue between opposing viewpoints:
Believer: Why do you doubt God?
Skeptic: I have no good reason to believe such a being exists.
Believer: But God is the creator of all that is good, he is the source of all righteousness!
Skeptic: That’s funny, because the way you have previously described him, he seems like kind of a jerk.
Believer: Well, it only seems that way to you because you have no concept of divine justice. God’s wrath is necessary punishment for our sins.
Skeptic: Justice? Your God creates a moral code so rigorous that no human can possibly follow it, then awards eternal condemnation for the slightest infractions. Sounds more like despotism to me.
Believer: Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. For you see, God will commute your sentence if you only believe and follow Him.
Skeptic: So God disregards justice in favor of the abject devotion of his subjects? I would call that corrupt.
Believer: What? No, well… Hey, if you don’t believe God exists, why should you care about what kind of God he is? Aha! Now I’ve gotcha!
Skeptic: I could make the same observations about Emperor Palpatine, but I don’t see millions of people devoted to worshipping him. There’s nothing inconsistent about a hypothetical judgement of a fictional character.
Believer: Right… Well look man, you better cast aside your pride and put your trust in Jesus. Otherwise death and unending torture await you!
Sigh, indeed. Circular and/or fallacious reasoning won’t work with us, no matter how many times you repeat it. If Christians understood this, that would be a great first step towards further enlightenment and understanding. Unfortunately for us, True Christians™ aren’t interested in enlightenment, nor understanding. They are blissfully ignorant by choice.
On that note, I’ll end this post with another quote, but not from Prestor John this time…
You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.
- Author Unknown