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Why does God not exist?

October 8, 2013

Following from my quick one minute video yesterday on ‘Does God exist?‘ – which stimulated some great discussion. I want to pose another question – why does God not exist?

This post is partly a genuine question and partly a reflection on some of the arguments for the existence of God. I am presently a Christian believer, but I have entertained atheism seriously at a couple of points in my life. Hence this is a question for all the atheists to outline why God does not exist.

I’m particularly after reasons and arguments. I realise that some atheists claim that there is no evidence or arguments for God’s existence and then leave it there without actually defending their position. Yet I find this deeply unsatisfying, for there are arguments and attempts at describing the existence of God. There are twenty such arguments here (even though what I think is the strongest argument (the argument from revelation in Christ) is absent.

Hence I’d be really keen to hear atheist reasons why they are unconvinced there is a god or gods. I’m not going to try to engage or argue with any reasons put in this post (I will engage on other posts, but not this one). I thank you for sharing.

From my own personal experience and reflections I think some of the more powerful arguments against the existence of God would be the sheer size and seeming randomness of the universe. There are most stars in the universe than there are grains of sand in every beach. This coupled with seemingly with the random suffering and pain which we seem to observe in the universe seems to indicate emptyness and purposelessness in the universe and would point away from a God. Further, I also wonder about the existence and survival of the ‘soul’ and I find a ‘spiritual’ dimension generally inaccessible. Hence I wonder if there really is a great spiritual being overseeing us.

These are some of my own reflections, yet I’m really keen to hear atheist perspectives. So please share, I’m keen to hear…

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From → Comment, Philosophy

18 Comments
  1. Jason permalink

    It is as simple as you originally posted. There is no evidence that a god exists. The burden of proof (scientifically measurable) is on the proposer of the hypothesis. Until the evidence is presented and accepted the hypothesis is presumed false. In this case the hypothesis is: a god exists. Until there is observable, measurable, actions, by a god. The only place a god exists is in one’s imagination.

  2. I am unconvinced by the claims for god because they are always 1: Fallacious or 2: Personal revelation (which can’t be proved or disproved)

    I speak to many theists on a daily basis and by FAR the number one argument for god is personal incredulity. Usually in the form of not understand Big Bang cosmology, evolution, or abiogenesis. These people will almost always argue in questions – ‘Where did we/life/the universe come from then’. (if there’s no god). It’s what known in the discussion as ‘God of the gaps’. Put simply someone doesn’t understand how something naturally happened, therefore ‘God’ must have done it. However, every time ‘god’ has been postulated as being directly responsible for something (eclipses, rainbows, lightning, thunder, tides etc.) and the ‘mystery’ has been solved, it has *always* been solved to a natural explanation. Without exception. For me then to say ‘I don’t know how the universe started, therefore a god must have done it’ requires too much of a stretch, too much ‘faith’.

    The other issue I have is that tall gods that humans have invented have been prior to what we might call the golden age of understanding. Once we found out how to actually investigate things and find out what was really going on, people stopped inventing new gods. Of course the ones we already had (Abrahamics, Hindus for example) have survived because of the hold they already had on society, but the cycle of creating new gods? I think that’s done now. We have investigative tools now, we no longer need to provide ‘god’ as the answer.

    Every time we’ve found an answer to some previous mystery, it’s been natural. I see no reason to discard this possibility for the questions we’ve yet to answer – including the two big ones of life, and the universe.

    As for the resurrection of Jesus – I simply don’t think it happened. I can’t reconcile the omnipotent creator of the universe sending himself to earth to sacrifice himself to himself for the ‘sin’ (which never happened once we accept evolution) of people. I cannot accept that if this was to happen this ‘god’ would choose to do it in a largely illiterate corner of the desert in a time where people were extremely superstitious and willing to believe almost anything. I can’t accept that an omniscient ‘god’ would come up with a plan to ‘save’ humanity which, just 2000 years later, only 2 in 7 people on the planet would find convincing. Nor can I accept that such a being would value faith over evidence. I can’t accept that a god would allow people to be born *knowing* that their ultimate destiny lies in hell, burning for eternity. I can’t accept that kind, intelligent, caring, good people will be doomed simply because they lack whatever it is that’s required to believe in god.

    And for morality and god being the ultimate law giver – there’s morality present in non-human animals. Is murder wrong? Yes. Do we need a god to tell us that? No. And if he did, is it wrong just because he says so? Of course not. If god came to an average believer and said murder was no longer wrong, would they go on a killing spree? I would certainly hope not.

    Why does god not exist? Because the god concept seems like exactly what it is – a made up explanation by people who didn’t know better. We know better now.

  3. Ian permalink

    Hi
    I’m a fairly new atheist, I was never a devout Christian but never really thought to challenge my beliefs. That changed when my mum got cancer and eventually died. Whilst my mum was not particularly religious, it made me think why a god would want to inflict such pain and humiliation on anyone. Whilst some people might become angry with god, it just drove me to conclude there isn’t a god.
    I have friends who are devout Catholics but were rewarded with stillbirths, this makes no sense, even if god did exist, why would you worship something that decided such misery was a rest if your faith?
    I went to a funeral last week, a catholic friend of mine’s father had died. He was a decent bloke, he went in an annual pilgrimage to Lourdes with disabled people. His reward? Cancer. It took him a couple of years to die in pain and I sat in church listening to priest tell everyone that god doesn’t control diseases or illnesses because bodies are just vessels for the soul that goes to heaven. I wanted to laugh at the sheer audacity of it all.
    Apologies for rambling on, you asked why people don’t believe in god, it’s partly because if the above but also because I’ve read more in recent years and educated myself (so I like to think, anyway) and the scientific evidence relating to the origins of the universe and evolution just make more sense than “god did it”.
    My youngest daughter has just turned 8 and I’m worried how much longer I can get her to behave by threatening her with Santa’s naughty list, maybe I should go down the easy route of threatening her with eternal damnation, or maybe I should just work harder at being a decent human being and hope she sees that we should be good for goodness sake.
    Peace out

  4. This is a great question to pose, Rob, and I appreciate your openness and sincerity in posing it.
    The responses above have pretty much nailed it.
    The only thing I would add would be to draw out Jason’s point about evidence and burden of proof.
    We tend to think of the God problem in terms of a binary outcome – God exists, or He doesn’t exist. It’s important to keep in mind that atheists (or at least, most I know) do not argue vehemently and dogmatically against the existence of God.

    Sure – none of us (atheists) believe he’s real. You theist guys have obviously just made him up. However, in the same way that you and I are not on a dogmatic mission to show the world that leprechauns and homeopathy are made-up, we’re also not on a mission to prove that your god is made-up. Let the homeopathists and leprechaunists prove their case to us, if it’s so important. There is no burden of proof to demonstrate a null hypothesis.

    You’ve said that you find this type of response ‘deeply unsatisfying’, and you’ve pointed to the so-called “Twenty Arguments” to contrast with this, as if these are convincing attempts to demonstrate philosophical “evidence” in favour of god. However, every single one of these arguments is made from human pre-supposition – a believer’s retro-fitting of philosophical observations to their pre-existing belief. None of them – not a single one – has been left unchallenged by science, philosophy, or common sense. I’ve already made the point elsewhere that revelation in Christ is not at all convincing, and this list adds nothing new or compelling to support the notion of god being real.

    Why then, do we have so many people believing in god, if it’s a false, human made-up concept? History, culture and flawed human reasoning. Please, re-read MrOzAtheist’s response above. Sleep on it, then come back to it tomorrow and read it again.

  5. Why do I know that no gods exist? I know that if there was an all knowing, all powerful being; he’d be logical & protect innocent children from torture, rape, & murder; since there is no supernatural intervention, I must ask, “Does he not know? Is he powerless to intervene? Does he just like to watch & not intervene?

  6. Dan permalink

    1. Lack of good evidence. This makes it extremely unlikely there is a god as we should expect to see abundant evidence.
    2. Lack of sound logical argument for god. Again, extremely unlikely there is one.

    I find the ‘revelation in Christ’ to actually be an argument against there being a god, at least, the god of the bible. If god is all loving and all powerful, why have I not been provided with this revelation? If you say it violates my free will, I say only if I am forced to worship. Belief is a different thing. Also, this revelation has, apparently, been provided to others, what about their free will? As I have not been provided with this revelation, god doesn’t love me and therefore, an all loving god doesn’t exist.

  7. Lee permalink

    Everything that looks designed… Isn’t. This pattern proves true when we get to the bottom of things. Evolution, earths orbit, solar system, galaxy etc…Ultimate designers aren’t necessary and this pattern, I predict will continue holding. Infinite regress or not.

  8. “Hence I’d be really keen to hear atheist reasons why they are unconvinced there is a god or gods.”

    Per Dawkins or A.C. Grayling, for similar reasons to how I adjusted to the notion of fairies; per Sagan the invisible, incorporeal, undetectable, dragon in his garage; per me: for the same reason I have no attitude towards, or belief in, anything else language is capable of creating; i.e. I’m unconvinced there’s a glorb, a molarb, jurtiks, lopuds, ad inifinitum, no matter what inexorable concepts are attached to the words.

  9. This idea of ‘god’ has been passed down from generation to generation, from religion to religion, from civilization to civilization. But lets not forget where it all came from – a very personal psychedelic/religious/spiritual experience brought on by age old psychedelic substances that were given to the tribe by the shaman. These substances were meant to broaden your perspective and connect with the universe, instead the meaning was lost and now we hate one another based on ideas that were written down thousands of years ago instead of thinking and feeling for ourselves. This planet will die, you will die and at the end of the day this life is all you have, using it for hate is just a waste. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suBqqpez_-I

    The truth is there for anyone to experience

  10. I’m sure I will mostly be echoing what the other atheists have said above me, but it really does come down to a lack of evidence. This isn’t quite a glib as it sounds at first though. It’s not like some Christians came up to me and explained what God was and I just said “meh, not enough evidence for me” and walked away. I looked for evidence, a lot.

    I grew up Christian, and the first thing that really got me thinking was the problem of evil, If God exists, and he is all powerful and all loving, where is he when horrible things happen? This isn’t the whole story of course, this is just what got my thinking started. Everything I learned about God in church really didn’t seem to stand up to scrutiny. Places where there should be evidence there just isn’t any. I realized that the only reason I believed was that I was brought up in the church and was told since I was a baby. I looked for a better reason to believe and found none.

  11. Here is Practical Explanation about Next Life, Purpose of Human Life, philosophical/religious facts, theories etc.
    ___________________________
    ***********
    Practical Explanation ( For Example ) :- `1st of all can you tell me every single seconds detail from that time when you born ?? ( i need every seconds detail ?? that what- what you have thought and done on every single second )

    can you tell me every single detail of your `1 cheapest Minute Or your whole hour, day, week, month, year or your whole life ??

    if you are not able to tell me about this life then what proof do you have that you didn’t forget your past ? and that you will not forget this present life in the future ?

    that is Fact that Supreme Lord Krishna exists but we posses no such intelligence to understand him.
    there is also next life. and i already proved you that no scientist, no politician, no so-called intelligent man in this world is able to understand this Truth. cuz they are imagining. and you cannot imagine what is god, who is god, what is after life etc.
    _______
    for example :Your father existed before your birth. you cannot say that before your birth your father don,t exists.

    So you have to ask from mother, “Who is my father?” And if she says, “This gentleman is your father,” then it is all right. It is easy.
    Otherwise, if you makes research, “Who is my father?” go on searching for life; you’ll never find your father.

    ( now maybe…maybe you will say that i will search my father from D.N.A, or i will prove it by photo’s, or many other thing’s which i will get from my mother and prove it that who is my Real father.{ So you have to believe the authority. who is that authority ? she is your mother. you cannot claim of any photo’s, D.N.A or many other things without authority ( or ur mother ).

    if you will show D.N.A, photo’s, and many other proofs from other women then your mother. then what is use of those proofs ??} )

    same you have to follow real authority. “Whatever You have spoken, I accept it,” Then there is no difficulty. And You are accepted by Devala, Narada, Vyasa, and You are speaking Yourself, and later on, all the acaryas have accepted. Then I’ll follow.
    I’ll have to follow great personalities. The same reason mother says, this gentleman is my father. That’s all. Finish business. Where is the necessity of making research? All authorities accept Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You accept it; then your searching after God is finished.

    Why should you waste your time?
    _______
    all that is you need is to hear from authority ( same like mother ). and i heard this truth from authority ” Srila Prabhupada ” he is my spiritual master.
    im not talking these all things from my own.
    ___________

    in this world no `1 can be Peace full. this is all along Fact.

    cuz we all are suffering in this world 4 Problems which are Disease, Old age, Death, and Birth after Birth.

    tell me are you really happy ?? you can,t be happy if you will ignore these 4 main problem. then still you will be Forced by Nature.
    ___________________

    if you really want to be happy then follow these 6 Things which are No illicit sex, No gambling, No drugs ( No tea & coffee ), No meat-eating ( No onion & garlic’s )

    5th thing is whatever you eat `1st offer it to Supreme Lord Krishna. ( if you know it what is Guru parama-para then offer them food not direct Supreme Lord Krishna )

    and 6th ” Main Thing ” is you have to Chant ” hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare “.
    _______________________________
    If your not able to follow these 4 things no illicit sex, no gambling, no drugs, no meat-eating then don,t worry but chanting of this holy name ( Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra ) is very-very and very important.

    Chant ” hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ” and be happy.

    if you still don,t believe on me then chant any other name for 5 Min’s and chant this holy name for 5 Min’s and you will see effect. i promise you it works And chanting at least 16 rounds ( each round of 108 beads ) of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra daily.
    ____________
    Here is no Question of Holy Books quotes, Personal Experiences, Faith or Belief. i accept that Sometimes Faith is also Blind. Here is already Practical explanation which already proved that every`1 else in this world is nothing more then Busy Foolish and totally idiot.
    _________________________
    Source(s):
    every `1 is already Blind in this world and if you will follow another Blind then you both will fall in hole. so try to follow that person who have Spiritual Eyes who can Guide you on Actual Right Path. ( my Authority & Guide is my Spiritual Master ” Srila Prabhupada ” )
    _____________
    if you want to see Actual Purpose of human life then see this link : ( http://www.asitis.com {Bookmark it })
    read it complete. ( i promise only readers of this book that they { he/she } will get every single answer which they want to know about why im in this material world, who im, what will happen after this life, what is best thing which will make Human Life Perfect, and what is perfection of Human Life. ) purpose of human life is not to live like animal cuz every`1 at present time doing 4 thing which are sleeping, eating, sex & fear. purpose of human life is to become freed from Birth after birth, Old Age, Disease, and Death.

  12. Ian Henry permalink

    Jaya, are you feeling okay?
    Your whole argument can be summed up in one if your sentences…
    “Where is the necessity of making research? “

  13. Reading through these comments, several logical issues jumped out at me. First, most of these commentators are aligning atheism with disbelief in the Judeo-Christian worldview. Disbelief in the biblical God doesn’t preclude belief in God. Why would you attempt to justify your disbelief in god/gods by revealing your issues with Christianity? The two are related, but not similar in proof or disbelief. Also, most people here also focused purely on what they term “factual, scientific proof”. What about logical arguments, or even probability? As a math major in college, logic takes priority for me. I’ve looked into things like the Teleological argument for God, and Pascal’s wager; and both, though not flawless, have continued to persuade me that my beliefs are not too far off the mark. There are things which exist that cannot be proven scientifically. For example, if you look at Descartes, you could perhaps believe that the only thing that exists is you, because any possible proof for other existence could also not exist. (Perhaps you’ve heard of his famous argument for self-existence “I think, therefore I am.”) But as often proven/ assumed with Occam’s Razor, the simplest hypothesis is often the correct one. Therefore, it is logical to assume that not only you exist, but also the chair you are sitting on, and your boyfriend or your wife. And also, it is most logical to assume that there is something out of the universe that created it. For is that not the simplest hypothesis? (Instead of wading through theories about primordial soup and the Cambrian explosian, I mean.)

    • “Teleological argument for God, and Pascal’s wager; and both, though not flawless, have continued to persuade me that my beliefs are not too far off the mark.”

      Taking Pascal’s wager, for example, it fails at its first two propositions these days; let alone all the older literature that takes it apart at later stages.

      “For example, if you look at Descartes, you could perhaps believe that the only thing that exists is you, because any possible proof for other existence could also not exist. (Perhaps you’ve heard of his famous argument for self-existence “I think, therefore I am.”)”

      Much damage was done to Descartes’ work at the beginning of the 20th century as academics began to turn their attention to the language we use when making epistemological, ontological, etc., assertions. You inadvertently explored this in your following sentence.

      “And also, it is most logical to assume that there is something out of the universe that created it. For is that not the simplest hypothesis?”

      That’s a big leap. It’s a hypothesis like any other.

      • I guess my point was, that as far as my research has taken me, theism is as reasonable or more so than the other hypotheses construed these times to be “right”. In fact, I have seen several people discount theism as old-fashioned or out-dated as a hypothesis; but as far as I know, atheism and ancient Greek sophism (sorry- I don’t mean to be in any way offensive. I was referring to theological idealogy only) have a lot in common in the way of beliefs and teachings. The problem, as I see it, seems to be mainly that each group of people (theists/atheists) sees the evidence from their worldview. Because I am a Christian, and have studied my point of view, I see the evidence as supporting my worldview; whereas an atheist would view the same evidence and see the opposite conclusion. And as far as I know, there isn’t a way to counteract bias (though many people may want to).
        Another point I’d like to clarify, if I may, is that as far as other hypotheses, including evolution, primordial soup, etc. (I know I used those in my previous statement), creationism seems to me, the clearest and easiest to understand- basically my definition of “simplest”.

      • “The problem, as I see it, seems to be mainly that each group of people (theists/atheists) sees the evidence from their worldview. Because I am a Christian, and have studied my point of view, I see the evidence as supporting my worldview; whereas an atheist would view the same evidence and see the opposite conclusion.”

        This is a good and profound point.

        ‘as far as my research has taken me, theism is as reasonable or more so than the other hypotheses construed these times to be “right”.’

        I have to say, I am skeptical that this is a result of research. I’m not questioning your methods or whether you in fact done any; but, I would be interested to know: were you raised in a theistic household or perhaps a religious school? In which case, as you might have guessed, I would link this second quote of yours to the one I provide above and say: “undoubtedly”.

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