Proof for God’s Existence? Part 1

I often hear apologists use very illogical arguments to try to prove god’s existence. Here are a few of the top ones I hear all the time and what I think about them.

1. “The Bible is a historical document, Jesus was a real person according to secular writings, etc.”

Rebuttal: Just because Jesus may have been a real person and the Bible talks about some places and events that actually happened, does not mean that the supernatural claims are thus verified. Many religious texts from other religions and cults also reference history; Joseph Smith was a real person and so was Mohammed, but that doesn’t mean their supernatural claims were true.

There has to be specific proof to verify the supernatural claims, otherwise all that has been proven is that the authors of the book added in events and people they knew in real life.


2. “Intelligent Design proves God exists.”

Rebuttal: No it doesn’t. Even if you could prove that Intelligent Design was the way the universe came into being, who can prove what intelligence created everything? It could be an alien life form, a form of life we don’t know about yet, etc. If it IS a god, who can say whether it’s yours, or whether he is a personal god at all?

Proving intelligent Design does not prove your religion to be true.

This includes such arguments as “The un-caused cause”, “The universe is fine-tuned”, etc.

3. “You can’t prove he doesn’t exist.”

Rebuttal: The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim, in this case the religious person claiming god exists. YOU have to prove that he EXISTS- not the other way around!

Hermione sums it up very well:

“But that’s – I’m sorry but that’s completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn’t exist? Do you expect me to get hold of – of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody proved it doesn’t exist!”

4. “We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.”

Rebuttal: If he’s actually doing this, then he’s doing a terrible job- everyone thinks they have communicated with the “right” god and yet no one can agree on anything, while others have felt no drawing from god at all. If you believe that humans created god, then this makes perfect sense- “god seeking us” is really us trying to connect with ourselves. We all have a sense of longing at times- sometimes we attribute this to god, sometimes to our emotions, etc. In the end, it all results from our own inner feelings and outside influences, such as our culture that teaches us that god exists and is talking to us. That’s why he takes so many forms for people- he IS them.

If a single god was truly seeking us, then there should be no question of which god is real- everyone would know because he would have spoken to them. There would be no other religions, no different denominations- just a unified understanding of god.

Ask yourself this: When a Muslim or someone from a different religion tells you that their god spoke to them and thus their religion is verified, how do you respond? Keep in mind that your own religion is held to the same proof standards as theirs; you can’t discount their personal experiences without discrediting your own. If you do acknowledge theirs, then what does that say about whose god is the right one? Either way, there’s a serious problem.

See Proof of God: Part 2 for the rest!

15 thoughts on “Proof for God’s Existence? Part 1

  1. “The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim…”

    That is an interesting claim. Do you have any proof for it? 😉

    Bottom line: talking about burdens of proof is not getting anyone anywhere.

    • Why does it get us nowhere? It seems to be a very important matter for us to address. Otherwise anyone could make any claim they want and no one could challenge it.

      Atheism is the denial of the claim that there is a god. Therefore, the only group that actually needs to do any proving are theists. So unless you have proof for your claims that a god exists, you cannot say that it is true.

      You’re trying to brush off the fact that you actually have to back up your claims as though it’s not worth addressing. I’m not claiming anything- I’m saying that your claims are unfounded. So why not just prove your claims? It should be easy enough if he’s real.

  2. Ok, if you think its an important matter to address then lets address it.

    You made a claim. You claimed this:

    “The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim…”

    The words I quoted from you is indeed itself a claim that you made.

    Please provide the proof for this claim. Do you have some evidence that this claim is true?

    • I made a statement, not a claim. My statement is that I think the person who makes a claim should provide evidence for it. Do I really need to prove to you that I think what I said? Your claim is that god exists- not that you think he exists, but that he does indeed exist. Unless I’m wrong and you’re just guessing after all.

      So stop avoiding the issue with pointless arguing and answer the real question:


      Either answer it, or admit that you have none or don’t wish to share it with us.

  3. If you make a statement its understood that you mean to claim you think the statement is true. Its the same thing.

    If i say “Barack Obama is the President of the United States.” That is a statement but my making that statement is equivalent to claiming that it is true. If I were to say “Barack Obama is the President of the United States.”, and then deny I ever claimed Barack Obama was the President of the United States, you would be within your rights to be suspicious of me.

    You also made a claim. I quoted it in my last response.

    Do you really need to prove it to me? No, I am not saying you do – you are. I am not the one claiming that a person who makes a claim has any sort of burden to anyone else. I don’t think they do.

    Your claim about the burden of proof is a self defeating claim, unless, of course, you can prove it is true.

    As far as your demand that I prove God exists to you – well I haven’t tried to do that. I am just questioning some of the assumptions you are making.

    Believe it or not Atheists will often state high standards for rational belief that are self defeating. The Burden of proof is one. Another is Clifford’s principle of rationality:

    There used to be theory of rational belief called foundationalism. Alvin Plantinga pointed out it is also self defeating.

    • I didn’t claim a verifiable fact, such as who is president. I claimed something I thought, a statement based in logic as I see it. Since logic is subjective, it’s not really provable. You’ve made a good point though, every statement could be held to the same argument. So let me ask you this: Do you think it is reasonable for someone making an incredible claim to be asked to prove their claim, especially when those claims affect others?

      Perhaps this doesn’t describe you, but here’s how it works for most Christians I know: They claim there is a God. They ALSO claim that I must serve this God, and if I don’t I will burn forever. They also want our government to reflect this claim as though it is valid, and people treated me differently when I stopped believing in this god. So yes, when your claim starts to directly affect me, I want you to prove that it’s valid. If Christians simply believed in God, and it didn’t matter if I also believed in God or not, then I wouldn’t care if they proved it or not.

  4. “So let me ask you this: Do you think it is reasonable for someone making an incredible claim to be asked to prove their claim,…..”

    Fair question. First I would of course not say Christianity is incredible. 🙂 But that aside I guess I would phrase it differently. I would say its reasonable to be asked why they believe it. Should they be asked to prove it? Prove it to whom? Let me explain.

    I think you are on to something when you say logic is subjective. I happen to believe the opposite, that logic is objective, but I think you are on to something because “proofs” are subjective.

    A “sound” argument in logic is an argument that has all true premises and the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. A “valid” argument is one where **if** the premises are true the conclusion must be true. So a sound argument is a valid argument with true premises.

    So let me give you an example of what many atheists would think is a sound argument.

    Premise 1) If the Christian God (that is a God who is all powerful, all knowing, creator of all, good through and through etc) existed then there would be no evil in the world.

    Premise 2) There is evil in the world

    Conclusion: The Christian God does not exist.

    Now I will concede that is a valid argument. But I will say it is not a sound argument. Specifically I do not believe the first premise is true. But its important to remember my believing the first premise is false does not make it false. (see my first blog about something being true if and only if it corresponds with reality) So the Atheist can very well claim this is a sound argument. Lets just for the sake of argument assume he is correct. That will still not mean it is a proof *for me.* Why? Because I do not believe the premises.

    The other thing that can happen is might have believed both premises but then when i see how it leads to the conclusion I dislike I might change my beliefs about the premises. Maybe I will start to say well maybe the Christian God doesn’t have all those traits or whatever. That will also mean it is not a proof *to me*. Sometimes this might be legitimate but sometimes this might very well mean I am not being honest with my self.

    The Atheist might then try to argue for the questioned premise by finding other true premises which yield a sound argument showing the question premise is true. But this can go on and on based on, my openness to changing my beliefs and based on the beliefs we both hold in common.

    So asking someone to “prove” this to me might indeed be asking too much of the person.

    Of course I can give you sound arguments that God exists. But I am not sure it will prove anything to you.

    p1) Something can be sacred if and only if God exists.
    p2) Human life is sacred
    Conclusion: God exists

    This is a valid argument. I also believe it is a sound argument because I think all the premises are true. You might believe one or both of the premises are false. But your belief of them being false doesn’t make them false. It still might be a sound argument but it might not prove anything to you. Also its possible you might have believed these premises but now see it leads to a conclusion you don’t like and therefore reject them. Its the same deal as above.

    I do have other arguments but they are more in depth and will require multiple blogs. Whether they will prove anything to anyone will depend on the readers. I can only say the line of thinking I will right about was a “proof to me.”

    As for your other views I can only hope you do not think I am like most Christians you know but I will leave that for you to decide.

    You ask whether we can ask for proof … “especially when those claims affect others?”

    I think our beliefs effect how we act. (I did a blog on that as well) So I think all of our beliefs effect others. I think it effects other people if you believe that human life is like other animal life and not a sacred gift from God. But that is not primarily because of how you would view others’ lives. It is because it’s important that you understand your own life is a sacred gift from God.

    • I appreciate you clarifying your views, and I’m glad to see that you’re not like many of the other Christians I have encountered.

      I personally have never understood the argument that God cannot exist because evil exists; after all, the Bible says that he created evil. Rather, I would say that if God exists, he is the source of evil and is therefore unjust, or at the very least his character is very questionable and contradicts what many people claim he is. But that’s a whole separate argument.

      I don’t see any reason to believe in a god; it seems unnecessary to me. Although science does not yet have all the answers, history has clearly shown that the more we progress scientifically, the more things that were once attributed to god/gods are now demystified. Early humans believed the weather to be supernatural, not long ago epilepsy was considered demonic, science itself was once considered witchcraft, and so on. The realm of things that science cannot fully explain is shrinking at a rapid rate. I would rather seek out logical explanations for our world and to admit when I just don’t know than to resort to a supernatural explanation that has no scientific basis at all.

  5. “I don’t see any reason to believe in a god; it seems unnecessary to me. Although science does not yet have all the answers, history has clearly shown that the more we progress scientifically, the more things that were once attributed to god/gods are now demystified. Early humans believed the weather to be supernatural, not long ago epilepsy was considered demonic, science itself was once considered witchcraft, and so on. The realm of things that science cannot fully explain is shrinking at a rapid rate. I would rather seek out logical explanations for our world and to admit when I just don’t know than to resort to a supernatural explanation that has no scientific basis at all.”

    I hear this allot from people who defend atheism but I think it places religion completely out of context. I have read ancient Christians and they generally did not become christian due to the way it explained the natural world. Science is almost completely irrelevant to Christianity. Christ did not come to teach us how to build ipads. Science does that, and its wonderful. But the two are completely different pursuits. Science is about what is, Religion is about what should be. You can’t use science to help you decide what should be. There are no ethics labs where people in white lab coars are busily mixing beakers to find out what is right and wrong and what they should do with their lives.

    Sadly I think many recent Christians do try to fight science but that is not at all required and they are not necessarily siding with the ancient church.

    Consider one of the earliest Christians whose writings we still have St. Augustine who lived from 354 -430.

    I will quote him from his work “The Literal Meaning of Genesis”

    “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]”

    Do you think the comments of this ancient Christian can apply to any Christians you know? Do you think Atheists are correct when they say the ancients probably believed in Christianity primarily because of the scientific explanations offered in the Bible?

    I’m sorry people shouldn’t be Christian because they think Christ came to teach science. This is a huge misdirection that many atheists and Christians are eager to take.

    • I very much enjoyed that quote. If only all Christians could agree with those sentiments. I don’t think religion’s purpose is to teach science, but when it contradicts science there’s a problem- hence that quote.

      If religion was only aimed at making us better and it truly worked that way, then I wouldn’t have any problem with it. In fact, I’d probably promote it myself. I thoroughly enjoy the philosophical teachings of Buddhism because it teaches how to better ourselves, what our purpose is, etc without deity worship. If religion was like that, this blog wouldn’t exist because I probably would never have questioned my beliefs in the first place. But it’s not, unfortunately- at least for most people today. I firmly believe in the importance of spiritual reflection and self betterment, but I don’t think we have to believe in a deity to achieve that.

      You don’t sound like a fundamentalist to me at all. My blog is primary directed to fundamentalists, not progressive believers that break the mold of general Christianity. I mentioned this in my “About Lilly” page.

  6. God created everything so yes to some extent he created evil. Just like Christopher Columbus caused a Car accident yesterday at 3 pm in Boston. If he didn’t let Europeans know about this country then the parents of the Boston Driver would have never met and he wouldn’t be born let alone be born and driving poorly in Boston.

    But that doesn’t mean God is unjust any more than it means Christopher Columbus is at fault for the car accident. Bottom line is something can be a cause in fact for an occurrence but still not culpable for that occurrence.

    • But the difference is that God will punish people for being evil- a thing he created. He is also very inconsistent with how he interferes with evil- sometimes he stops it, sometimes he doesn’t, he is apparently very selective with which prayers he answers in regards to stopping evil, etc. Christopher Columbus is not punishing people for having car crashes in the city he is responsible for. 😉

  7. I’m glad you liked that quote. There is allot of irony here. I quote an ancient Christian and you think I’m progressive. I’m a Catholic but maybe I am a progressive Catholic?? That might be like saying i am a progressive Neanderthal.

    I have noticed allot of atheists are former Fundamentalists and it seems allot of the dialogue is between atheists and fundamentalists. I admit I often do not understand either side very well. Both sides often seem to be talking about something foreign to my understandings of Christianity. I am trying to learn.

    On the Christopher Columbus bit. I don’t think there would be any reason Christopher Columbus couldn’t sit as a judge in the case involving the car accident. He wasn’t at fault for the evil. Just like I don’t see a reason why God couldn’t judge us. He didn’t force us to do evil either.

    But I will agree that God seems very arbitrary in what prayers are answered here on earth. We can look to the beatitudes and understand that God will make it right. Well Christians can do that at least. :p

    • it’s true, the debate is often between atheists and fundamentalists. However, many atheists were not fundamentalists- atheists are as varied as religious people are. These days, more and more people are growing up atheists or agnostic.

      I’m glad we can agree on the arbitrary nature of prayer. Most Christians I know would never concede that; they’d rather do gymnastics to make their idea of prayer stick. 🙂

      • Sadly I know prayers aren’t always answered the way those praying would like. I also know first hand that people who are very good, have horrible things happen to them. I know lots of Christians question that but I don’t deny reality. At least I try not to.

        I see several former Catholics as well. But there are allot of Catholics so it seems the like the percentages seem a bit skewed. Plus Catholics don;t accept divorce so naturally that in itself will lead to many angry ex catholics.

No trolling, please! Genuine dialogue for the purpose of mutual understanding is appreciated; debates are not. General comments are welcome.

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