FAQ #4: What Would it Take for You to Believe Again?

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WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO BELIEVE AGAIN?  OR ARE YOU SO SURE OF YOURSELF THAT NO EVIDENCE WOULD CONVICE YOU OF GOD’S EXISTENCE?

Great question!  I would consider myself as an Agnostic Atheist.  Let me explain.

I’m agnostic by position, meaning I don’t think it’s possible to know for sure whether a god exists or not.  By definition, divine beings are supernatural and we are natural.  Our investigative methods confine us to the natural world.  We can only truly know what we can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.  God (or the gods) are outside this realm, therefore we cannot know if they exist.

But I’m atheist by opinion, meaning I believe there probably isn’t a divine being outside of our universe.  I’ve seen no conclusive evidence that would lead me to think a divine being not only exists, but it is also a personal god who listens to prayers and intervenes in the affairs of mankind.

Now what would it take to change my mind?

Simple, provide positive evidence that a god exists.  Specifically you’ll also need to provide evidence that YOUR god exists.  And by evidence I don’t mean logical assumptions!  Don’t come to me with the Cosmological Argument.  Don’t come to me with “Well if God did exist then would we expect the world to…”  Don’t come to me with arguments about morality.  Don’t come to me with unverified stories about how you went to a conference and that one song made you cry and that’s proof that God exists.  Come to me with evidence that I can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell.  Come to me with evidence that is demonstrable and reproducible.

And don’t pull this on me:

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Because I WOULD believe it.  I would become a Christian again.  Do you have any idea how much easier my life would be if I believed?  Do you have any idea how much my wife and in-laws would scream for joy if I believed in again? I wouldn’t have to quit my job!  I could pray, sing, and preach again!  I could wake up every morning knowing that my heavenly father was looking after me.  I would know that no matter what happens to me that “in all things God works for the good for those who love him and are called to his purpose”.  YES PLEASE PRESENT THIS EVIDENCE SO THAT I MAY REGAIN MY FAITH!!!!!!

I have gained nothing of benefit by becoming an atheist, it has made my life harder.  I spent many nights in tears and prayers asking God to show himself to me.  He did not, but if you’ve got a way to prove that God exists, not just any god but YHWH himself, then please by all means, show me this evidence!

WELL HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO APOLOGETICS?

Yes I have.  I have read Lee Strobel, Josh MacDowell, William Lane Craig, Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, N.T. Wright, the Discovery Institute, Reasons To Believe, the 1 Minute Apologist, Ray Comfort, and a list of other authors that I don’t even remember their names.  I find none of their arguments convincing.  Mostly because they don’t provide any real proof.  It’s all logical arguments heavily based on unsubstantiated assumptions.

Don’t come to me with logical arguments based on unsubstantiated assumptions, I want hard evidence.

WHAT ABOUT CREATION? YOU CAN’T REALLY BELIEVE THIS WORLD WAS CREATED BY ACCIDENT? ISN’T CREATION EVIDENCE OF GOD’S EXISTENCE?

Ok, I’ll play along.  Lets assume, for the sake of argument, that you provided solid evidence that it was impossible for life to be created by natural forces but that it must have been created by supernatural forces.  And by solid evidence, I don’t mean pointing out that there are still gaps in our scientific knowledge, rather evidence that proves that our current scientific knowledge is completely wrong about the origins of life.  Let’s say you do that and then I agree with you that the world must have been engineered/created.  That’s still wouldn’t convince me to be a Christian!

Why not? Just because you prove that supernatural forces exist, doesn’t mean you’ve proven that YOUR god is the/a real god.  How do we know that Thor or Ra didn’t create the world?  How do we know that there is only one god or many gods?  How do we know that “god” isn’t “the Force”?  How do we know that Deism isn’t the correct supernatural explanation to creation?

If you convinced me that the world must have been created, I’ll probably become a deist because I still see no evidence of an interventionist God.

Want to convince me to abandon atheism and join your religion.  It’s easy, just follow these 2 steps:

  1. Provide substantial, demonstrable, reproducible evidence that a god exist.
  2. Provide substantial, demonstrable, reproducible evidence that YOUR god exists.
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19 thoughts on “FAQ #4: What Would it Take for You to Believe Again?

  1. One thing I don’t think most people realize is that, if you can find solid, substantial evidence that a scientific theory is wrong, science has no problem changing or abandoning the theory accordingly. Science isn’t this big story that a bunch of dudes in lab coats sat around and wrote up to start arguments with the religious. Science is nothing but a thorough, methodical, objective way of studying the natural world. If you can show new evidence that challenges what we thought was right before, bring it on. It’ll be scrutinized, of course, but if it holds up to that scrutiny, then the theory will change.

    I think it’s the same way for personal faith and beliefs. And I think the real difference between people is in how much they scrutinize the evidence – how thorough, methodical, and objectively they look at it, if at all. Due to that difference, I think it’s difficult to get many people to understand what it means to actually have evidence that is solid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When it comes to the Abrahamic god, I’m a gnostic atheist. I not only refuse to believe in it, but I have observed scientific evidence that contradicts descriptions in the judeo christian bible and islamic quran. For example, (and this is just one example there are others but this is already too long) genetics proves the proto X chromosome predates the Y chromosome, and that the Y is a truncated X. This means there was never a point in time when a god created a human male out of mud and then made a human female out of a human male’s rib. What happened was the male gender as we know it evolved over time from life forms that preceded the modern human being. “Eve” existed before “Adam,” and she existed long before there were even primates, much less homo sapiens sapien. The book of Genesis never happened as described in the bible, even on some allegorical level. And because that story never took place, there was no covenant with a god to his chosen people, and there was no need for a carpenter from Nazareth to be born in Bethlehem as a god made flesh to sacrifice himself to himself to appease said covenant he made with his own creation. Not only is it illogical, but the entire biblical story fails scientific inquiry. There’s MANY other examples that show other places in the bible where science is like “wait a minute that’s not right either,” but I really only need one.

    Nothing will make me believe in anything again. I stopped using the concept of faith. It’s antiquated and redundant. If I know something, I don’t have to believe in it. I already know it’s there. If I can’t know something, I really shouldn’t believe in it even if I wanted to believe in it, cuz that’s foolish and dangerous. With that said, when it comes to vague non-Abrahamic gods, I’m a little more open minded. We can’t possibly know, but I still seriously doubt it. In this area, I’m an agnostic atheist.

    if we could find evidence that supports the god concept, I could reconsider my stance on it. In the entire history of mankind, no one has ever been able to prove empirically that there was a benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient creator deity. If we ever find what instigated this universe, I’m certain it will not echo the description in Abrahamic texts, and I doubt it will be anything humanity can conjure up in our accumulated imaginations. It’s most probably something so crazy we can’t even fathom it right now, but after we uncover the real truth, the answer will probably be so obvious in hindsight we’ll be kicking ourselves that we hadn’t thought of it sooner.

    IF we ever found something that some human beings would refer to as a god, I still won’t blindly bow to it. I rather imagine science will find a better way to name it and quantify it than use the word “god.” I’m more inclined to accept the possibility that there are alien life forms out in space somewhere which are far more powerful in some ways than we ever can be, but I still doubt that too, and I still am not gonna blindly bow to such things if and when they show up. Some people are way too easily inclined to devote fealty to stuff. I’d rather we approach other sentient life forms as if we are equals and not as if we are slaves… or masters, for that matter.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “By definition, divine beings are supernatural and we are natural. Our investigative methods confine us to the natural world. We can only truly know what we can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. God (or the gods) are outside this realm, therefore we cannot know if they exist.”

    There’s a really interesting talk by Scott Cliffton regarding this particular subject. It’s a little long, but worth it in my not very humble opinion.

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  4. My answer to that question has always been, “I don’t know what it would take to convince me to believe again. But if there’s an all-powerful, all-knowing god out there who is aware of me personally and wants me to believe in him, then I assume *he* knows exactly what it would take to get me to believe. Since I still don’t believe, I’m going to continue with the provisional conclusion that he’s not there.”

    If the questioner responds with the “free will” argument, I’d reply that simply knowing that someone exists doesn’t encroach on my free will; being aware of a god’s existence and choosing to follow, love, and worship that god are two different things. Compelling the latter would be an infringement on free will. Compelling the former is nothing more than giving me a piece of knowledge. Knowledge provides the ability to make informed decisions, which actually *supports* my free will, rather than hinders it. If God were to provide me with whatever evidence is necessary to convince me he exists, that would in no way damage my free will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • —–“I’d reply that simply knowing that someone exists doesn’t encroach on my free will; being aware of a god’s existence and choosing to follow, love, and worship that god are two different things.”—–

      Correct! That’s why that cartoon in the above post is such a crock.

      Even the Bible agrees:

      James 2:19
      You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

      Being convinced something exists (if you could ever get that far) isn’t convincing evidence that it deserves worship. You’ve still got all your apologetic work ahead of you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You rock! I’d love to know what your message is for this Sunday. I’d love to see a break down of what you preach and then how you actually feel about it.

    I know that when I was worship leading and deconverting I would find it harder and harder to say they things I knew the congregation wanted/needed to hear. I knew if I played C major then move down to E minor, play in the lower register of the piano then do a bit of improvising over the E pedal they would definitely have an “encounter”. I was fully aware that my “free” worship would lead people to a place of openness and reception to God. I had to work really hard to do that by those last few months I was worship leading as an atheist. I, too, was providing a service. We only had two pianists and I was one of them.

    It seems to me like that all those of us who were once Christian and now atheist ended up following essentially the same path and our old Christian language is replaced with new atheist language. It has to, of course, but it seems like the internal struggle, the stages of grief, the intellectual revelation seems to be similar with all those I have seen go down the same road. We’re quite text book and that’s ok. I remember at the time thinking I was the only one going through this and it’s really comforting to know we’re not alone!

    Keep it up, John Jameson. You da man!

    Liked by 1 person

      • No, my situation is very different from yours in that regard. I had the security of a secular job but I was the favourite worship leader. The golden girl.

        I had to come out to the lady doing the roster. I had decided that my last act of service would be to do the Christmas Eve service (this was 2013). After much searching and discovering the fantastic guy Jim Mulholland, talking with him and reading his book “Leaving Your Religion”, I finally plucked up the courage to stop worship leading. I told her in January 2014 that I didn’t want to worship lead any more and the reason why. I was born in that church, I grew up in it, I was even their poster-girl missionary travelling the world ministering with a group called Vinesong.

        Her and her husband are like my second mum and dad and they were very kind about it. They think I’m going through a phase. I assured them I was not. Anyway, I decided I wouldn’t continue going to church either. For the first three months I just didn’t go. My brother is an elder. In March, I came out to him. He was very upset. He blames my atheist husband and his brother. Luckily, I was prepared for all the things he might (and did) say…you weren’t really a Christian, you are going to hell, where does your hope lie, you just want to sin, you’ve been hurt, you’re just angry at God…all the expected responses. Like I say, we’re all text book.

        I wrote a letter to the pastoral team explaining my decision. I never sent it. In the end, nobody contacted me. Nobody acknowledged my leaving. Everyone knew why, I gave my brother permission to tell people. No one reached out. I was simply allowed to drift away. That did sadden me. In some ways it made it easier but in other ways it hurt a lot. I’ve moved towns now to a new job and have the chance to forge a new identity. That’s a pretty exciting time. But it is really hard getting to know people when you don’t have the community machine of a church to help.

        Obviously, your situation is truly epic. You could do what our pastor did which was to resign because “God told him to”. You can’t argue with that! Lol.

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  6. On some days I would content with someone explaining to me how a omniscient, all powerful god that out of nature and out of time can give his subjects Free Will. If an entity by definition outside of time and space can see and take in the entirety of time at a glance, it can only mean that free will is hogwash.

    Of course, one could use the “many worlds” theory, but even in that case some poor schmuck double would be punished for pre-ordained sins anyway.

    All this aside, it is uncanny how your attitude and mine are so similar. In reading your post I could have been reading something I wrote.

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  7. “Because I WOULD believe it. I would become a Christian again. Do you have any idea how much easier my life would be if I believed? ” When you said that, it took me back 33 years to the night I was so upset over falling in love with a beautiful fundamentalist, and all I wanted to do was be a believer again so that I could…uh…you know. Whatever happened to her?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If we had actual evidence, then we wouldn’t have to believe, we would know. If I knew, with certainty, that a cruel and vengeful tyrant existed, who destroyed all life on Earth in a Great Flood, who intends to send billions of his children to a place of eternal punishment, then I still would not worship him. I would rather burn in Hell than serve such a monster.

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