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Introduction: How to reason

Section 10: Know or believe?

Because God is impossible, we know he / she / it doesn't exist.

"I know God doesn't exist" or "I believe God doesn't exist"?

We say "I know" when we can prove something and "I believe" when we can't prove it. Can we prove that God doesn't exist?

This section, like Instant Atheism!!!, is a shortcut to rationality. If you want a more detailed argument, click Does God Exist?

In Section 7 we saw that some things are impossible; we can prove they do not exist, so we can say we know they do not exist. We know, for example, that a lion is not performing brain surgery on an ant on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

Can we say the same of God? If God transcends the laws of nature and can do anything, does that mean we can't prove he doesn't exist?

0.10a Yahweh / God / Allah

Start with the Jewish-Christian-Muslim God. He can do anything. He created the universe and humanity. He's interested in humanity. He's all-powerful, all-knowing and all-compassionate.

An all-knowing and all-powerful can prevent natural disaster and suffering. And because he is all-compassionate he must prevent them. But natural disasters still occur and people still suffer.

That means that if God does exist, he is either not all-powerful or he isn't all-compassionate. But that is impossible. the J-C-M God is only God because he is all-powerful and all-compassionate. In short, the fact that people suffer and die in natural disasters is the first proof that Yahweh-God-Allah cannot exist.

There is another proof that the Abrahamic God cannot exist: the contradiction between free will and his omniscience - the fact that God knows everything.

If God existed and knew everything, he would know how we behave in every situation throughout our lives, even before we were born. He would know whether we ultimately went to Heaven or Hell. Our lives


How good is your reasoning?

Can you distinguish lies from truth? Or a good argument from a false one? Can you when tell someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes?

We keep physically fit by exercising regularly and eating healthy
food. The same is true of our minds - we need regular mental exercise and a good diet of solid facts and logic.

This chapter offers basic reasoning skills to help you understand the contradictions that lie at the heart of all religion.

0.1: Basic principles
Start at the beginning

0.2: What do we know?
Separate fact from fiction

0.3: Start with the question ...
... not with the answer

0.4: All the evidence ...
... not just some of it

0.5: Cause, correlation and no connection
What's the difference?

0.6: Don't jump to conclusions ...
... or you could land in the ...

0.7: No way
Proving a negative

0.8: Occam's Razor
The simplest solution

0.9: Facts, knowledge and science
What we know and how we know it

0.10: Know or believe?
The impossibility of God

0.11: Reason and faith
Understanding the difference

0.12: Summary




Finished the introduction? Move on to

Chapter 1
Defining God


Does God exist? Before we try to answer that question we need to have a clear idea of who or what God is. How do we describe God? What versions of God are on offer?



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would be meaningless, because God had already seen - already determined - our future.

In short: if we have free will, Yahweh / God / Allah cannot be omniscient. But God has to be omniscient. Free will means that God does not exist.

It is arguable that even without God we do not have free will, because our actions are determined by genes and chemistry etc. Whether or not that is true, the free will argument is used here only as additional proof that the Jewish-Christian-Muslim God is an impossibility.


0.10b Lesser gods

How about less powerful gods, who do not know everything and who are not renowned for their compassion - such as the Greek, Norse or Hindu Gods? Could there be such beings?

Assume for moment that Gods like this exist. The fact that they are less powerful means that they do not transcend the universe but are subject to the same laws of nature that we are. Their abilities may appear supernatural - in the same way that our ability to fly, transmit images long-distance and cure diseases would appear supernatural to our ancestors - but they are as confined by physics as we are.

In short, such beings might theoretically exist, but we have no evidence that they do and no reason to call them gods.

0.10c The distant God

There is one more possibilty - a supernatural intelligent force that created the universe but has no interest in it or in the human race. This god - the the Deist god - has never communicated with us and offers us no punishment or reward; there is no afterlife and we die as untroubled by him as if he did not exist.

The primary argument against such a god is that if we need a god to explain our existence, then we need a superior god to create him, then a higher god to create that one and so on ad infinitum. If the universe without god is impossible, then a single creator god is impossible; we must have an infinity of gods, which in itself is impossible.

The second argument is that God is defined by his existence to his creation. Because the Deist god would have no interest in humanity, he would be irrelevant to us - and a God that does not interact with us is a God that cannot exist.

0.10d We know there is no God

We have seen that the Jewish-Christian-God is impossible. We know that lesser versions of God do not transcend the universe. We recognise that the Deist creator is irrelevant to humanity. These statements all point to the inevitable conclusion: because God is impossible, we know that he / she / it doesn't exist.



Next: Introduction: Section 11
Reason and faith







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If God existed, he would...

admire the beauty of a universe that he did not create

recognize that eternity is meaningless

deny both heaven and hell

disown all men and women who speak in his name

denounce the harm caused by religious "morality"

help the human race to thrive without him

If God existed, he would be an atheist.



What is the difference between science and faith?

science is certain of nothing and requires proof of everything

faith is certain of everything and requires proof of nothing

Which do you trust?


"I know there is no God"
or
"I believe there is no God"
???


Check the answer







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