Proof #3: Look at Historical Gods

December 13, 2007 at 4:40 am 16 comments

The belief in “god” seems to be ubiquitous through the ages.

So asserts Marshall Brain. Brain considers this point to argue against God, but the problem is that many apologists turn this argument around and use it the other way: “Ubiquitous belief in gods throughout history indicate that a supreme being does, in fact, exist.” This called the ontological argument for God’s existence. The very notion that humans can conceive of God means that God must exist.

The nonexistence of the gods of the various world cultures is irrelevant to whether or not the God of the Bible exists. Again, according to the ontological argument, our very ability to conceive of beings greater than ourselves is itself an argument for the existence of God.

Then, Brain refers to the idea that various pagan religions of the Roman empire influenced Christianity. This is an old idea that has been refuted by many apologists, including J.P. Holding here and the good people at Christian Think-Tank here. Those articles should help the skeptical reader understand that these are false assertions.

Brain closes by saying that because pagan deities are imaginary, therefore so is God. Again, one does not follow the other. The nonexistence of one deity does not preclude the existence of all other deities.

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Proof #2: Statistically Analyze Prayer Proof #4: Think About Science

16 Comments

  • 1. Samuel Skinner  |  February 1, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Slavery is ubiquotous throughout history as is rape and a whole host of other evils. You are commiting a social darwinist error here- just because something is natural doesn’t make it good.

  • 2. Keith Brian Johnson  |  April 27, 2008 at 10:04 am

    “’Ubiquitous belief in gods throughout history indicate that a supreme being does, in fact, exist.’” That sentence is not a version of the ontological argument for God’s existence. “The very notion that humans can conceive of God means that God must exist.” That sentence is, as you note, a version of the ontological argument. (Of course, ontological arguments for God’s existence are bad arguments, anyway.)

    The ubiquitousnes of religious belief throughout history has little to do with the intrinsic conceivability of God; it’s just an anthropological argument. I’m inclined to think that that widespread belief is just a widespread mistake. (I don’t claim that there is no God; I claim that it is an epistemic mistake to believe in God based on no justification or on poor justification, and I’m unaware of any good justification for belief in God–and especially for belief in a personal God.)

    The nonexistence of the pagan gods is irrelevant to the existence of the Christian God *unless one thinks they share historical roots*. Then there might be some relevance.

    Of course, there are so many different uses of the word “God” that one must tie down which meaning the word is being used to denote before he can really argue for or against it, but I take it you have in mind some version of the Christian God.

    Keith Brian Johnson

  • 3. Luke  |  May 26, 2008 at 12:14 am

    The very notion that humans can conceive of God means that God must exist.

    —Then the very notion that humans can conceive of Evolution means that evolution must exist.

    The nonexistence of one deity does not preclude the existence of all other deities.

    —Why not? The very notion that humans can conceive that one God doesn’t exist means that no God exists.

  • 4. Cory Tucholski  |  May 27, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Then the very notion that humans can conceive of Evolution means that evolution must exist.

    Not necessarily. Humans have an innate need to worship something. It’s as if there is a hole in our hearts that is aching to be filled with something. Some fill it with drugs, money, sex, or power. Everyone fills it with something. The fact is that only God can fill that hole; which makes it a physical need. Like the physical need for food or water or oxygen, God must exist because only He can truly fill that void. Evolution need not necessarily exist because it doesn’t fill a need in quite the same way.

  • 5. Luke  |  June 13, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Not necessarily. Humans have an innate need to worship something.
    –I don’t have an innate need to worship anything, nor does any other atheist. Are atheists not human, then?

    It’s as if there is a hole in our hearts that is aching to be filled with something. Some fill it with drugs, money, sex, or power. Everyone fills it with something. The fact is that only God can fill that hole; which makes it a physical need. Like the physical need for food or water or oxygen, God must exist because only He can truly fill that void.
    –Umm.. I don’t even know what to think or say about this statement here other than what you’re saying is that people feel the need to fill a metaphorical “hole in their hearts” with feel-good delusional fantasy. (No offense)

    –I’ll leave you with this thought..
    When you understand why you dismiss all other Gods, you’ll understand why people dismiss yours.

  • 6. White  |  July 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Ever wondered why people are more interested in refute Christ then to refute Zeus? 😛

  • 7. Luke  |  July 7, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Ever wondered why people are more interested in refute Christ then to refute Zeus?
    –Who cares? Whenever you choose to believe one over the other, you’ve basically just refuted all other Gods without reason. Why is your God any better or more believable than any of the others?

  • 8. White  |  July 8, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Well you haven’t answered my question have you -.-

    Why don’t look at http://www.zeusisimginary.com then?

    That’s my question -.-

  • 9. luke  |  July 8, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Zeus isn’t the only God the Greeks had. If I don’t believe in one God, I sure as hell don’t believe in multiple Gods of a single religion who have powers over certain things like lightning, love, war, etc.. That’s just outright laughable.

  • 10. Mark  |  July 8, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Humans have a natural desire for God. All natural desires can be fulfilled, including this one.
    Before whining:
    1. Water is a natural desire
    2. Food is a natural desire
    3. Being superman is not.

  • 11. Luke  |  July 9, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Mark Says:
    Humans have a natural desire for God. All natural desires can be fulfilled, including this one.
    —I don’t have a “natural” desire for God, and neither does any other atheist. At best, I only have a minor interest in the subject. Am I not human, then?

    Before whining:
    —Who’s whining?

    1. Water is a natural desire
    2. Food is a natural desire
    —Duh. It’s a natural desire to LIVE, and food and water is essential for that. Therefore, it is not a desire, but a NEED. There’s a difference.

    3. Being superman is not.
    —Who doesn’t desire to be superman? We just know it’s unrealistic as far as a possibility of achieving. What is your point with this one, anyway?

  • 12. JDSTATS  |  May 5, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    We’ve proven the the world is not flat, does that mean there is no world?
    Proof of the greek god not existing does not prove that God does not exist or that no god exists.
    The need of a higher calling or purpose is certainly a human need which I doubt even atheists deny. Many atheists (Dawkins for one) have claimed proclaiming science to fill this higher calling.
    The falacy lies in the fact that science can only explain the physical, not the emotional, intellectual, or spiritual. You have many of the how’s but none of the why’s.
    Without God, life becomes a purposeless exercise in trying not to die, but knowing its bound to happen.
    The answer, of course, is that life is purposeful, which is why it is so complex.

  • 13. Carlos  |  June 5, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Luke says:
    “—I don’t have a “natural” desire for God, and neither does any other atheist. At best, I only have a minor interest in the subject. Am I not human, then?”

    Are you claiming to know what others are feeling deep down? Truly to make such a bold statement in the face of your circumscribed knowledge seems extremely illogical and in fact absurd to me and it does not reflect the critical thinking that you are trying to adopt.

    While on the subject of critical thinking I would like to pose this question; is one being critical when he/she does not believes in the existence of God, and if so why is this the case, why can’t it be the reverse? I ask because I hear many evolutionist and atheist alluding to themselves as critical thinkers and religious folks as non thinkers.

    Coming back to the issue of why a form of God is recognized by almost all the inhabitants of earth. To this I ask, why, why do people recognize God if they didn’t have an instinctive urge to do so, you can journey into the heart of the most primitive society or into the metropolises of the USA and in all of these places you find that people are worshiping a form of god and start out believing in a form of god .

    But I guess that the only way to be completely sure that this is in fact the case that people start out as believers I guess we need to have someone born and raised in a neutral environment and see in which direction he eventually leans.

    The truth is, in my experience people do not start out as atheist or evolutionists, that is believing that we came from a concoction of chemicals, and then become believers later on in their lives, they start out as the latter and become the former even atheists will tell you that they started out as believers, this indeed is a curious happening and we should not dismiss it as mere coincidence.

    Secondly why do people furthermore have a tendency to worship their god(s). Why do they do this, in fact I can also ask why do people want to make their god(s) and integral part of their daily lives?

    In closing let me sum up my points, if something is not an urge then how can we have not two not three but billions of people separated by era and land doing it? And my second point is why is there a tendency for people to worship their god(s) and make them a part of their lives.

  • 14. blahsphemer  |  December 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    QUOTE
    Brain closes by saying that because pagan deities are imaginary, therefore so is God. Again, one does not follow the other. The nonexistence of one deity does not preclude the existence of all other deities.

    So the one true god is ALLAH, and not that pagan triun god of the christians, right?

  • 15. David  |  December 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    All religions have been fabricated by men. Why? For several reasons but mostly to explain the mysteries of life and to control people. Look no further than the Catholic Church for ample evidence of how they’ve tried to rule people throughout the ages (Inquistion!). The Catholic Church even has the audacity to proclaim itself the one “true religion”.

    The Christian God is certainly another fabrication in the long line of fairy tales that man has concoted throughout history. The bible was written by men and that’s why it contains so much rubbish and nonsense. Was the world created in seven days? Nope. Was there a flood that wipeout our entire civilazation thousands of years ago? Nope. The bible is a series of fairy tales and make believe.

    H. L. Mencken said it best:

    “The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theogoly, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts at rational thinking. Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of knowledge a serpent – slimy, sneaking and abominable. Since the earliest days the church, as an organization, has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of men. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitualand incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an aplogist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings”.

  • 16. sirian  |  January 11, 2010 at 12:48 am

    The truth is, in my experience people do not start out as atheist or evolutionists, that is believing that we came from a concoction of chemicals, and then become believers later on in their lives, they start out as the latter and become the former even atheists will tell you that they started out as believers, this indeed is a curious happening and we should not dismiss it as mere coincidence.

    Do you seriously think that? I mean seriously? Well let me just point out that I grew up on a small Island off the coast of Britain. Wasnt completely isolated but fairly. Now I can say, honestly, that I had never considered, pondered, desired or needed the Existance of God until I went to one of the bigger schools on the mainland at the age of 9 years. This is where I first heard him mentioned. You know what my response was. I laughed. I thought it was a joke. I had to get a teacher to explain it to me. She avised I get the bible out of the library and try to read it or get my parents to read it to me. (bear in mind I was only 9) And after having read the book I still didn’t beleive in God. I just thought “so thats how it was back then”. To this day (now aged 22) I still dont believe in God or any other deity. It just seems plain silly. I have however found buddhism the most appealing of religions. It seems to actually make sense and work in the real world. Still don’t follow it though. I just don’t get religion. Probably cos it wasn’t forced on me as a child


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