Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have one very simple yet profound question to ask you, “how do you define truth?” Is “truth” that which corresponds to “reality”, or is truth kind of just floating in the distance because you can’t land the plane so to speak? Should truth be grounded in reality and corresponding to the facts or is it okay to just assume what we want?
Let’s look at it from another angle. Truth is like a car. It needs a healthy dose of TLC to stay running clean. If you put the wrong fuel in the gas tank, “good bye engine!” “Sir, your total comes to one thousand five hundred dollars and eighty eight cents, we’ve also thrown in this complimentary air freshener.” Here’s what I’m getting at my friends, we need high standards for knowledge and truth. We can’t let any water get mixed in because it will not only skew the facts, but it will destroy our ability to actually acquire true knowledge about reality and existence as we know it.
With that being said, it is this effort alone that has brought me to the Atheist’s corner. Once we get past all the false accusations that many religious folks wage about about morality being lost and satan being enthroned, we can start to shed light on who has the actual burden of proof in this debate. The burden of proof rightfully rests on the individual making a positive claim. Once we have this established it is then that we call for demonstrations and examples of the evidence.
Let us look at just one characteristic of Theism for a second. God is said to be present everywhere. There is not a corner anywhere, where this being is said not to exist or dwell. Now, let’s test that claim. If god is present everywhere what mechanism do you have to ground this being in reality? The response is often something like this, “well, that’s kind of an irrelevant question because god is immaterial by definition, you’re making a category mistake.”
Well, the problem we have here is that if Theist’s insist on keeping their god or gods in the realm of unaccounted for ideas then there is essentially no way of discerning which god or set of gods is correct. We have literally thousands upon thousands of miracle claims that are said to account for numerous faith based systems that are virtually incompatible. Many of these religions claim to be the one true representation of god in the world.
Mr. Charismatic man comes along and says, “yes, but I can’t deny the presence of Jesus, he’s always with me!” I don’t care if you’ve been basking in Holy Ghost soup all night long Mr. Charismatic man. I’m an Atheist and while I was meditating yesterday I felt an amazing sense of peace and warmth pulsate throughout my whole body. Wow, it’s amazing what the human body is capable of when we take the time to be acutely aware of ourselves.
Mr. Prophetic man then chimes in and says, “yes, but I can’t deny that God gave me a vision of a sea of lost souls plummeting into hell. I have been called to spread the good news and bring many into glory!” Really, Mr. Prophetic man? It wasn’t because you simply have read this disturbing material in your holy book and dozed off? “No, I was wide awake when I had this vision, it couldn’t have just been a dream!” Is that right, so you are seriously telling me you’ve never had a daydream? You’ve never been so fixated in thought that you’ve lost attention of your surroundings? “I heard an actual voice speak to me, clear as day!” Mr. Prophetic man, it sounds to me like you had a hallucination. It sounds to me like you’ve been fixating too much on hell. It sounds to me like you’re joining a losing battle because you would rather trust your faulty senses and not seek a consensus approach to gathering and confirming actual knowledge about your reality.
As we land this plane of discerning fact from fiction and considering whether a god is present in some unfalsifiable way, let us remind ourselves of that very notion itself. This is a system of beliefs that has set itself up to be Philosophically untouchable. Not empirically, mind you. It doesn’t play fair, it really doesn’t! If there does exist some kind of loving god that wants to be irresistibly known to the human race then changing this factor of undetectability alone would create a mass revival toward one view of god unlike this world has ever witnessed.
I’m not going to get my hopes up in that regard.