Nov 082011

This is prompted by Julian Baggini’s article “‘You just don’t understand my religion’ is not good enough” in the Guardian. That article was about typical objections that religious people have towards criticisms of their religion, and also their typical leaps of illogic.

Whether or not their intention is to obscure their god to protect their concept of him from scrutiny, arguing with obscure statements about a god is pretty futile. The goal-posts will keep shifting. Their god may start as “whatever was needed to cause the universe to exist”, and end up (without any logic whatsoever) as the God who had a son called Jesus, or Allah who originated the Koran.


I prefer to keep things simple. Here are my main themes that I try to bring the discussion back to:

  • I believe that the universe operates solely via unintelligent forces and processes
  • I believe that religions are man-made, without divine input
  • I believe that when you pray, you are talking to yourself
  • I believe that  miracles don’t happen
  • I believe that when our brains die, we will never experience anything again
  • In decades, I have not become aware of any reason to doubt these beliefs

This keeps any particular “god” out of the equation. I’m not saying there that I don’t believe in any god (although that is actually the case). I am arguing for the total irrelevance of any gods.

I can’t prove the truth of any of my beliefs. But obviously no-one has been able to prove that they are untrue. In theory it could be done – they are “falsifiable”. But they haven’t been falsified, even after all this time.

  One Response to “When people make their god obscure, simplify things”

  1. You don’t need to characterize those 5 items as beliefs. You have good reasons for adopting those positions. They are conclusions derivable from observation of the real world.

    When a religious person says “I believe that Jesus was the Son of God” and you ask why, their response will be some variant of “Because the bible said so.” It’s not satisfying and they can’t go beyond that because they have no evidence.

    On the other hand if somebody asks why you believe prayer is talking to yourself, you can refer to studies done on intercessory prayer which found it had no effect. You can point out that effective prayer requires some deity to listen to the prayer and subsequently act on it – and then bring in a host of arguments about why such a deity is unlikely – and how, even if a deity existed, the evidence shows that that deity does not act to prevent disasters large or small.

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