If you’re reading this blog, there’s a decent chance that I never met you. I know nothing of you. I don’t know where you live, how you grew up, what you do, what you believe, and certainly not why you believe it. But if you believe in God, and believe you’re rationally justified in doing so, you’re not. You may have heard this before, and didn’t understand. But luckily I’m here to explain it to you.
I’m staking a claim here that you don’t have good reasons to believe in your god. Considering how much I don’t know about you, that seems pretty smug of me, right? Do I sound elitist or narcissistic? Many would say yes. But I’m not, and I’ll tell you why. Even though I don’t know you at all, I can say with a very high degree of confidence that you are of the species homo sapien. Further, I’m going to stand on the claim that you are made of cells. Now, if I’m wrong on that, please provide documentation, and I’ll go ahead and publicly admit I was wrong. But in the meantime, I’m gonna go ahead and stand on that pretty solid. Do I sound smug if I tell you that you are a human made up of cells? Elitist?
Of course I don’t. We all know that humans developed writing for communication, and we’re the only animals that have the capacity to do so. We also know about cell theory. Chances that you’re not made of cells hovers between zero and more zero.
You’re not special
So, even from the comfort of my sofa, I can already draw some pretty basic, universal conclusions about religious belief, yours included. There are a half-dozen major world religions. There are hundreds of sub-groups of those religions. And there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of denominations of those religions. Just Christianity alone has over 30,000 denominations, which is more denominations than there are SENTENCES in the bible. Just based on sheer numbers alone, a one-in-a-million chance is probably a very generous chance to give that you, the theist reading this, are right.
But let’s just pretend for just a second that it just so happens that you just happen to be the person that has the right answer. Or your church, I’m fine with that. That means that if you walk out of your church, go down a few blocks, and walk into the next church, all of those people inside are using faulty logic to believe what they believe. This has to be true! If your religious belief is correct, then billions of other people are believing with faulty logic, because they aren’t coming up with your answer. If you are right, they are all wrong.
Well, you ask, what kind of faulty logic does everyone else use? If someone is right, and other people are wrong, we could expect as many bad arguments as there are denominations. But what we actually see is a nauseating loop of the same or slightly repackaged arguments, long ago debunked.
These bad arguments are used so repetitively and tiresomely that I found a handy bingo card over at The Friendly Atheist, he attributed it to his friend Bob Seidensticker.
The humor is that we’ve heard them all before. This isn’t a complete list, but if your neighbor church says it, I’ve probably heard it.
Their bad logic is your bad logic
Good arguments result in sound conclusions. On the other hand, a single bad argument can result in any number of wrong conclusions. What this means is your conclusion is equally invalid as the church down the street.
But wait, how do I know you have a completely different argument? Because you’re not famous, that’s why. If you crafted an evidenced, logically sound argument for God, your specific denomination would take over the world. It would actually make sense, and other believers and atheists alike would join in your ranks. Instead of being published in self-serving religious publications, it would make the science journals, and we would be astonished.
But this has not happened. Instead, apologists put out stupid books that pretend they are scientific. Spoiler alert, they aren’t. They’re actually just propaganda for believers, using misleading and dishonest arguments to help believers stay faithful. As intellectual arguments, they are completely useless.
They use junk science, with junk evidence, used in junk logic to hint at something that might have happened that “we don’t know for sure, but we’re just gonna call it god, and since nobody is checking to make sure I am not making shit up, I’ll just go ahead and say that god just also happens to be the particular religion and particular denomination that I’m comfortable with.” They are cringeworthy, dishonest, and painfully the same.
So, I’m honestly not judging your character or your intellect or your capacity to evaluate things. Honestly. But if you have tried to rationalize a belief in God, you are in fact using a fallacious argument. Don’t be mad at me, I’m the messenger. Take your best argument off the shelf, and examine it critically. It will fail.
The Spartan Atheist