Tract #19: Does God Exist?
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Does God Exist?
Does God Exist? There are a number of reasons you might conclude that God exists, and those reasons might be logical, philosophical, linguistic, scientific, social, historical, or faith-based.
Logical reasons include the “first cause” argument or the argument that infinite time spans cannot exist. Atheists have excellent counter arguments for all of these.
Philosophical reasons include the argument that moral laws require a lawgiver or that there can be no justice without divine justice. Atheists either disagree with these arguments or find that they include assumptions that atheists don’t share.
Linguistic reasons to believe that God exist include statements like, “nature is God.” To an atheist, this is just a word game — it makes “God” almost meaningless.
Scientific reasons include things like concluding that God must exist because the odds of the universe existing without divine planning are vanishingly small, or that God must exist because there is no possible scientific explanation for existence. Atheists either disagree with the science invoked, or believe that the argument is creating a “God of the gaps” by replacing ignorance with a deity instead of with research.
Social reasons include beliefs based on tradition or the assumption that a popular belief is likely true. Atheists don’t consider either of these sufficient reasons to believe in something as significant and disjoint from human experience as an all-powerful being.
Historical reasons include the belief that ancient texts contain proof that God exists. Atheists don’t believe these texts to be reliable on the subject.
Faith-based reasons include belief based on a strong, personal conviction or sense that God exists. Atheists do not have these convictions or sensations.
If you say that you have a compelling argument for the existence of God, what would you do if someone came up with a bulletproof refutation of the argument? Would you then change your mind about God’s existence or would you just look for another argument to support your belief in God? If you would not change your mind, then is your argument really your reason for belief, or is it a justification you use when in truth you would believe in God for other reasons? And if your belief is based on something other than your argument, then why use the argument in the first place?
This is one of the places where moral atheism diverges most from religion. Given a sufficiently powerful argument, the moral atheist would consider a change in position on the existence of God. Most religious people are not open to the possibility of such a significant change in their beliefs.