Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is one piece of proof really so much to ask?

Sometimes believers will ask why atheists ask for 'so much proof' to believe in God (the Christian one of course). But the simple truth is that we don't ask for the mass of proof that they claim we do. Actually, one knock-down piece of proof is all that it would take for most. However, no such proof exists. When I tell a believer this, the usual response is that the Bible is all the proof needed.

But when we say that the Bible is not proof that the Christian God is real, the believer will often be  confused as to why the Bible does not count as proof. The Bible is not proof for the same reasons that the holy books of other religions are not proof of those religions to a Christian. They presumably don't think that the existence of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is proof of Horus, Set or the the multitude of other gods within. Why not? They probably don't believe that the Norse myths aren't proof of Odin, Thor, or the paradise of Valhalla. Why not? They could do the same dance with every religion. When the believer understands why they don't recognize all the other religions (ofter even older than Christianity) with holy books of their own, they will begin to see why the Bible is not proof of the god of the Bible.

They may say that without God, we wouldn't have the Bible. But we could equally say that without the Bible, we wouldn't have that god on the table to begin with. Arguing that the Bible (which introduced God) is proof of God because it says it's the word of God is circular reasoning. By that 'logic' one is forced to accept every religion because 'it says it's true right here'. So anyone could theoretically write a book (the older the better ) that says that it is the word of Steve. Steve is a great guy that turns everything he touches into a book, and that the book you're reading used to be one of
his socks. Therefor, Steve, the magic book man is real!

But it's not that easy in reality now is it? It would be silly to believe in magic Steve because a book says he is real, and is itself proof of his power. What is needed is proof that the book's claims are true. That is where the Bible fails spectacularly. There is the odd historical reference present, but there is far more in there that is historically false. For the sake of streamlining the conversation, I won't even get in to the many absurdities present as well. The important fact is that the Bible is not actual first person historical accounts. Most (if not all) of the books authorship is unknown, and most were recorded so far removed from the events they describe, that the authors could never have witnessed these events themselves. Without external confirming evidence, this leaves the texts as hearsay at best. Read honestly, it is obvious that the Bible is not the word of some god, but the writings of primitive people that didn't understand the world around them.

On occasion, the believer will actually claim that the Bible's human authorship proves it's authenticity. But is that really so? The Egyptian Book of the Dead was written by men, so does that make it authentic? The Norse, Greek and Celtic beliefs were recorded by men, so does that make them authentic? Why the special pleading for the Bible above the others?

Because the Bible ends up with Jesus of course! However, this caveat does no more than reveal a huge error in their reasoning. One can only draw that as an important distinction if they already accept Christianity as true. If you don't already believe, then Jesus being the last big thing in the Bible is of no importance. The Norse would tell you that their beliefs all pointed toward Ragnarok, and the second life in Valhalla. Is that enough to leave the Christian now sold on the Norse traditions?

Additionally, Jesus is in the Qur'an as well. Islam is pretty much the new new testament, thought they say that Jesus was but a human prophet and not actually God on Earth. So the Qur'an has Jesus AND leads to Muhammad as well. So why not believe in Islam instead?

Before one puts too much emphasis on Jesus, perhaps they should consider the fact that he has never been confirmed to exist either. To do that we would need confirming contemporaneous accounts of his existance. Something that is oddly lacking for someone that was supposedly so special.

But to answer the original question... atheists don't ask for an unreasonable amount of proof to believe. One good piece will do it. Perhaps the real question isn't 'why do atheists ask for so much proof', but rather 'why do believers ask for so little'.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment