The Complaint Department Is Closed #11

Continuing in my endeavor to respond to GII’s 50 proofs, we arrive at number 11, which seems to be misnamed since the proofs (read: complaints) really are not scientific in nature.  There are references to GII’s other proofs which act as the evidence for number 11 whereby making this really a compilation of some of their other proofs, some of which have already been dealt with, others will follow.  So without jumping too far ahead, I will provide a brief general summary of my future rejoinder.

Proof number 11: Notice That There Is No Scientific Evidence

I will address individually each of GII’s bullet-pointed examples of what in their opinion, qualify as granted examples of evidence God does not exist.

God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth

This issue shares at least one quality with a good number of GII’s other complaints.  A stark vagueness which does not fully define the nature of the complaint, leaving it just ambiguous enough to dismiss answers to the objection. ” God has never left any physical evidence” could be taken to imply they believe God has visited earth, do they mean Jesus, or just that Earth lacks certain “fingerprints” of God’s existence?  First, since GII and most atheists when arguing against the existence of God do so in reference to the God of the Bible, I will assume this is what they mean, which leaves their objection defeated by itself.  The Bible reports Jesus as the incarnation of the one true and living God.  We do in fact have evidence of Jesus’ life, both from biblical and extra-biblical sources.  No credible historian believes Jesus never lived.  In this respect, the fact that Jesus lived, and it is through reliable written accounts that we know this.  Therefore Jesus’ mere existence refutes this claim on its face.  Otherwise I would have to ask, “what would GII consider physical evidence?”.

None of Jesus’ “miracles” left any physical evidence either

GII refers the reader to proof # 14 examining Jesus’ miracles, which they list as “faith healing”, turning water into wine, and continuing to offer lack of literal moved mountains (in this case moving Mt. Sinai to Newark New Jersey) and prophesies of science and mathematics (i.e., declaring the “millionth trillionth” place of Pi).  All nonsense aside, the miracles Jesus did perform were known to many, if not most people in the area.  People came from all over to both witness and be healed.  He did not simply cure the sniffles, or make an ankle sprain go away.  He is reported to have made men blind from birth, who were known to have been blind from birth, to see.  Heal a leprous hand, and even raise the three-days-dead Lazarus.  It is worthy of noting that even enemies of Jesus did not dismiss the miraculous healings, but rather questioned where He derived the ability.  As much as we in the 21st century like to think of those in the 1st century as completely gullible, it is not unreasonable to think they know the difference between a parlor trick and a man who was known to have been dead and buried being raised and made alive once more.  In common with the previous objection, we do not know what GII would like to see as physical evidence, I imagine the mountain being “moved” would be likely dismissed by continental drift and the smooth remaining surface would be a man-made plateau.

God has never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone

Another liability with the objections offered I see here and elsewhere is that even if the particular challenge were fulfilled, it would be dismissed very quickly.  Let us imagine for a minute that all our televisions were taken over by God.  Maybe there would be a figure depicted or simply static.  But what would constitute a rational message?  An audible voice claiming “God is real”?  Would that suffice?  I have no confidence whatsoever this would be satisfactory and skeptics everywhere would have a myriad of reasons to scoff at the “evidence”.  A malfunction, some zealous theist pulling off a massive deception, are among the reasons given they reject the cameo appearance.

The resurrected Jesus has never appeared to anyone

Offered in support for this claim is proof #15 which essentially concludes Jesus never resurrected because He does not continue to make appearances today; coupled with their continued argument that Jesus has promised to answer each and every prayer every time (see: The Complaint Dept. is Closed #1); that we could pray for Jesus to physically appear and He would not.  Since evidence for the resurrection of Jesus will surface when that proof is addressed I will not go into great detail here.  However, the fact that Jesus does not continue to walk the Earth today is not evidence He was not resurrected in the 1st century, it simply does not follow.

The Bible we have is provably incorrect and is obviously the work of primitive men rather than God

What is suspicious about this is that even their reference, proof #5, is not an argument for the Bible being incorrect, or containing errors, but rather cites a few distasteful passages.  Passages that GII would consider archaic and no longer relevant are not incorrect by virtue of the events or commands they contain, and speak nothing about the truth or falsity of the Bible.  I would disagree that the Bible is “incorrect”, obviously, but not much can be said about this objection since no actual argument is offered.

When we analyze prayer with statistics, we find no evidence that God is “answering prayers”

This objection was answered in The Complaint Dept. is Closed #2.  GII’s contention that since focus groups and the absence of every prayer being answered is evidence God does not exist.  What I find particularly disingenuous is GII is only able to claim prayers are never answered bydefining away answers to prayer as coincidence.  That if you pray for X, and X actually obtains, it is not an answer to prayer, but rather by random chance.  It would seem that even in the case where a focus group was conducted, and the result positively confirmed the answer of the prayer, the results would be dismissed, as admitted by GII.  GII has instituted a self-fulfilling objection.

Huge, amazing atrocities like the Holocaust and AIDS occur without any response from God

This seems to be an appeal to objective morality, an argument an atheist cannot make.  If there is no transcendent standard by which all men are held, an “atrocity” such as the holocaust is no more an atrocity than stubbing your toe.  On the atheist worldview, the objectivity of morality is an illusion.  Morality can only be relative to the individual or the culture, neither of which are binding, but merely indicate the preferences of the individual or a group of individuals.  Moreover, what kind of response by God GII desires is left to the imagination of the reader.  It is just vague enough to agree with, but does not contain any real idea to embrace.

If you think about it as a rational person, this lack of evidence is startling. There is not one bit of empirical evidence indicating that today’s “God”, nor any other contemporary god, nor any god of the past, exists. In addition we know that:

  1. If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, we would talk about the “science of God” rather than “faith in God”.
  2. If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, the study of God would be a scientific endeavor rather than a theological one. 
  3. If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, all religious people would be aligning on the God that had been scientifically proven to exist. Instead there are thousands of gods and religions.

GII was entirely too vague to know what kinds of empirical evidence they would have liked to see for God’s existence, or what they would accept.  I am not sure what kind of physical evidence they would expect from a non-physical God.  The evidences they claim they would accept, communication via television, leaves open the ability for GII to disregard the fulfillment.  GII also assumes in their final conclusion that if only people were given scientific proof, then every idol would be rejected and the one “proven” God would be worshipped.  I do not find any reason to believe this to be true.  First off, evidence requires interpretation.  Not everyone examining the same evidence would reach the same conclusion.  GII is a case in point.  Their own complaint that God does not answer is precisely the situation we would encounter with “scientific” evidence.  Instances of answered prayer is summarily dismissed as coincidence by GII while the one whose prayer was answered may conclude no such thing.  Evidence is not the problem, motivation and presupposition is the hinderance, as identified in Consensus Schmensus.  GII’s presupposition of scientific naturalism prevents an objective examination of the evidence.  This particular proof does not really seem to offer any substance.  It is far too vague to be of any value, perhaps it was designed that way.

Any Thoughts?

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