Do You Have
Any Evidence That
God Doesn't Exist?
Emporia Bullock

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule

 

This is the second of two that we received back-to-back. Not wanting to tamper with the text, we will treat them as separate works.

 

Quote Graphic Rule
Transparent Spacer

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "EMPORIA BULLOCK"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: October 4, 2002 3:54 AM

Very few atheists even claim that God does not exist. This is a lie that has been popularized by the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics in order to make atheism appear stupid. They cannot make us look stupid by telling the truth about us, so these Christians must resort to lying about us. Then their lies look stupid, and they call their lies "atheism."

Here is how this definition -- this description (this declaration) of our values, of our very thoughts -- makes us appear stupid: Almost everybody knows that you cannot disprove an existential claim -- well, they may not know it in these exact terms, but almost everybody can see this law of logic that is so plain as to be rightly considered as self-evident.

An existential claim is a claim that a specific thing exists.

Suppose I tell you that I have seen the much-celebrated knife in the O. J. Simpson trial. I explain that it and its bill of sale were purchased for a very high price from a corrupt detective and are making the rounds in certain underground and very elite post-Punk artistic circles, occasionally making a surprise appearance in a back room at certain exclusive openings, the number of which I could probably count on both hands.

This is a wild story, to be sure, and as complex as stories come, one would think! It is complex in that it contains numerous elements, each of which would need to be addressed if we were to try to assess the truthfulness of this story -- or, indeed, any particular element of the story (such as the description of post-Punk, post-Metal, post-Hip-Hop art openings or the claim that the knife still exists). But as claims go, this is a very specific type of claim and such claims have a specific name: existential claims. An existential claim has nothing to do with Jean-Paul Sartre; rather, it is simply a claim that a thing exists.

In the story above, one of the elements that contains an existential claim is the part about the knife: Does the knife exist?

And the existential claim is what makes this story (and stories like it) so intriguing; such stories have the power to linger for years and to gnaw on certain people's minds like one of the great koans or riddles. This is because we cannot prove that the knife does not exist! You could, for example, disprove the part about it being possessed by a post-fringe music art gallery owner, for example, by coming up with the knife and demonstrating that it is mounted on the wall in the inner study of the mafioso who bought numerous aspects of the Simpson case. But it is basically impossible to prove that the knife does not exist.

(Note that this means, technically, that you cannot empirically disprove an existential claim: I will discuss the "empirical exception" below. Meanwhile, I will help you get accustomed to this word and the concept of exception by tossing the word, in parentheses, into my explanation.)

Since the claim "God exists" is an existential claim, atheist cannot (empirically) disprove it.

This is why the Christian retort,

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 2

"Well, now: Have you scoured every corner of the Universe?"

Quote Graphic Rule 2
Transparent Spacer

is so popular: it makes sense because the logic behind the atheist's inability to disprove the claim "God exists" makes so much sense as to be almost intuitive. They can bring proofs (if any exist) to back up their claim, but our response is limited either to logic (not as strong) or simily to say, "That is not sufficient to warrant the drastic move on my part to grant my assent to your wild, wild claim!"

Ironically, though, the Christians who tend to who use this particular retort tend also to be the ones who'd say things like, "God is spirit," and "God is not part of the Universe. He most certainly is not in any specific locale." Or so the story goes.

Because the atheist's hands are tied, literally, when it comes to (empirically) arguing the God-question, the theist is the only one who can bring forth evidence showing the god-claim to be truthful. The atheist cannot demonstrate that the claim "God does not exist" is truthful. This is why very few atheists will go so far as to say, "No gods exist," or "God does not exist," "God is make-believe."

Here's what I mean by "empirical evidence": Technically, it is impossible to disprove an existential claim using empirical evidence, that is, based upon observation and experiment. "Empirical evidence" is, in certain contexts, rightly seen as the equivalent of "physical evidence." For our purposes (as long as we both understand that neither of us is involved in developing a sophisticated, highly detailed argument), using the two synonymously is fine. Limited proof and disprove can be obtained "in theory," that is, through equations, logical argument (induction, deduction), and the like. Keep in mind that no claims for the existence of the monotheistic deity of Western civilization are based upon empirical evidence, but are argued inductively and deductively. Were this not the caseWe can argue logically that the claim "God exists" is false. We can even go so far as to argue logically that the claim "God does not exist" is truthful. However, we cannot argue empirically that this is the case. But when the argument is limited to empirical evidence, we must "step aside and let the 'big boys' play," as it were.

Why do you let people get away with lying to you?
 

I have no reason to think that anybody has experiences with demons. Nobody has ever given me a compelling reason to believe that "demons" are anything more than the product of vivid imaginations bragging to one another about what great Christians they are because they faced down this or that "demon."

It's all just bragging, though, as far as I can tell.

I have asked people to give me a compelling reason to believe all this, but they just change the subject.

Why do you let people get away with lying to you?
 

People don't turn atheist, they start out that way. An atheist is anybody who is not a theist. We all start out as atheists. Unfortunately for some of us, our parents lie to us and brainwash us into believing that gods and demons exist. This is among the most horrible forms of child abuse I have ever seen, because they brainwash the kids long before their minds have matured enough to critically examine the claims that gods exist.

So the children just do what children are supposed to do: they trust their parents. Why? Well, what would happen if they didn't do what they were supposed to do? Some parents spank, but almost all parents will look disapproving at the child until the child does what the parent wants.

By the time the children grow older, they have forgotten much of what it was like to be a small child, and they forget what it was like to have been told to believe that gods and demons exist.

Some of these theists revert back to atheism when they are teenagers. They look at religion and see that it is a bunch of lies and that most religious leaders are just political extortionists and that most religion is just a big political con game. The handful of religious leaders who are good people would have been good people without religion, but many decided that they only way they could spend their days doing good for other people would be to pastor a church. My pastor is that way: he would be a good man without his religion, but he pastors so that he can have more and more opportunities to do good. He does not pastor because he is religious.

The rest of them are liars. They teach people to hate anybody who is not like themselves.

Why do you let people get away with lying to you?
 

The vast majority of atheists never ever even think about Christians.

We don't care what Christians do, think, or say.

We don't care why they do what they do.

We only care when what they do interferes with our right to live peaceful lives. We also find ourselves spending a lot of time correcting all the lies that Christians tell about us: that's part of what this web page is about: Christian lie and lie and lie and lie and lie about atheists, and what we have done is document each of those lies and demonstrated the truth of the matter.

Why do you let people get away with lying to you?
 

If it is physically impossible, in the system in which we live, for information to go from the future to the past, and if it is only possible for information to go from the past to the future (as it were), then what is a prophet?

When Isaiah supposedly said, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," do you know what he was doing?

First, do you know that "virgin," here, is a mistranslation? The New Testament bases the entire story of the virgin birth of Christ upon a mistranslation!

Why do you let people get away with lying to you?

Isaiah said, then, "Behold, a young maiden shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

What was he doing, here?
Who was the young woman?

Later in Isaiah, the text tells how this son was conceived: Isaiah himself "went in unto her"! What a guy!

Here's what Isaiah was doing: he was predicting to Ahaz, King of Judah, that he would win the war against Rezin, King of Syria, and Pekah, King of Israel.

Read Isaiah and see for yourself: this son was born while Isaiah was still alive, because this son was Isaiah's own son! He predicted that a maiden would get pregnant and then to make sure that his prophesy came true, he impregnated her! As I said, what a guy!

Well, does Isaiah ever tell us what happened in this war?

No, he does not.

Why do you think Isaiah is so silent about this war, in which he, Isaiah, Prophet of Ahaz, declared that Ahaz, son of Jotham, would win?

Well, Second Chronicles, 28:3 tells us what a wonderful guy this favorite of Isaiah, this King Ahaz was: "he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel." Mmm, mmmm! He burnt incense and he burnt his children! What a guy this friend of Isaiah was!

But what about the war? Who won the war that Isaiah prophesied -- twice -- would be won by Ahaz the child-burner?

Second Chronicles 28:

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 2

Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers.

Quote Graphic Rule 2
Transparent Spacer

Get this: Isaiah prophesies through the "miracle" of the young woman bearing a son (that he himself sired) and through the alleged story of the sundial going backwards (smoke and mirrors) that Ahaz would win the war.

But Chronicles here tells us that he did not win the war, but lost it. Chronicles even names the kings, and they are the same names in the Isaiah passage: the King of Syria and Pekah, son of Remaliah, King of Judah.

So then, if it is physically impossible, in the system in which we live, for information to go from the future to the past, and if it is only possible for information to go from the past to the future (as it were), then what is a prophet?

Why do you let people get away with lying to you?
 

I prophesy that you will see the truth, deconvert, and return to being an atheist in time for you to enjoy your nineteenth birthday.

What is your explanation for that?
 

real miracle is that I bothered to read any further than your second sentence before highlighting your letters with the mouse so that I could delete them both with a single keystroke.

However, I've been struggling to build an ergonomic desk so that I can spend more than three hours a day working (my doctor wants me in bed 90 percent of the time). Besides that, I'm very tired right now. So I decided I deserved to have a little fun. Even though discussions like this do not conform to our mission, many of our readers like it when I throw one in now and then, so I'll oblige and keep them happy. They've been good to me.
 

If something like the "rapture" occurred, then I would believe that something like the "rapture" occurred. If anybody predicted it, I would say that someone had a lucky guess about predicting it.

This would have nothing to do with the Bible, though, because the Bible says nothing about a "pre-tribulation rapture" at all. At all! The pre-tribulation rapture and all these things are all a bunch of sectarian squabbling. Nobody heard of a pre-tribulation rapture before the early 1900s. If you divorce two or three passages from their real context, then it is possible to make it appear as if the Bible teaches a pre-tribulation rapture -- but you'll only fool just a tiny fringe, just the most gullible among the most gullible. You'll never fool anybody with a lick of sense, certainly nobody who has systematically studied what the Bible teaches.
 

What Bible codes? What predictions?

Tell me!

What detailed prediction was made in the past, so detailed that it could refer to one thing and one thing only, and couldn't possibly refer to any other thing, that can be verified to have come from the era claimed of it, that predicted an event in the future, and was a direct fulfillment of this prophesy? I want to know! I'm not interested in any Nostradamus jingles about the village idiot being acclaimed the leader, I want to hear only about those things that were predicted with such accuracy that they could mean nothing else.

We've already seen the amazing powers of prophesy of the Mighty Isaiah! Let's see what the Ever-Excellent Emporia can do to top the bungling of the father of the "virgin's son"!

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Seven years of service to people
    with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.