5 Questions From 2 Christians 4 Atheists

This one seems to be making the rounds on the Intertubes. It may not be particularly philosophically deep, but it is seemingly popular. I’m not about to make a video response as the authors solicit, although this guy’s video response ends on a charming note. So I’ll do a written response instead.

1.  What kind of evidence would it take for you to believe in God?  Not what would be a good start, but what evidence would actually convince you?  And when we say “God,” we’re talking about a mind which is all-loving, all-powerful (meaning he can do everything but what is logically contradictory), all-knowing, and eternal.

Notice the rhetorical twist in the question: “We Christians can’t seem to convince you atheists of the existence of God. So instead, please try to convince yourselves.” Sorry; it doesn’t work that way; this isn’t Moot Court. As proponents of the claim that God exists, you bear the burden of proof. What that proof might be, I haven’t a clue. Maybe such evidence exists; I haven’t seen any after forty years of life but then again, I don’t know what you’ve got to offer. So hit me with your best shot.

2.  Is there anything I can do that would convince you that God exists?  Like, could any argument we could make have the potential to sway you?

See my answer to question #1, above. One thing I’d suggest you do before trying is to see if your new, wonderful argument is really new and wonderful. And sorry, chances are that it isn’t. In fact, chances are good that your argument is some variant of either the ontological argument or the cosmological argument, and I find neither to be convincing.

3.  If you realized that an all-loving God existed, would you desire to have a relationship with Him?  If you said “yes” to that question, would you want to have a relationship with Him just to get into heaven or for some other reason?

An all-loving God would be a nice friend to have for all sorts of reasons, the best reason being to enjoy and reciprocate the love and friendship offered. Now, note that according to your definition, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. As such, an all-loving, omnibenevolent God would put everyone into eternal paradise and bliss in the afterlife, regardless of whether they were sinners, apostates, or whatnot. So if an all-loving God existed (as you’ve defined Him), I wouldn’t be worried about getting in to heaven at all; that God would put me in Heaven no matter what because He loves me the same way He loves you.

4.  Have you ever met a Christian that lives their life in such a way that it is clear that they believe in an all-loving God?  (Onscreen disclaimer: “I am not insinuating that only Christians can be moral”)  Meaning they live a life that is impressively kind, loving, and selfless.

Yes, I have met and known and in some cases formed warm friendships with many Christians whose kindness, capacity for love, and selflessness have impressed me and touched me deeply on an emotional level. Those friendships have deeply enriched my life. Similarly, I’ve met and been morally impressed by people who identify as Jewish, atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or in the case of my favorite roommate from college, Zoroastrian. I do not think one’s religiosity has any more relationship with one’s moral worth than does one’s shoe size.

5.  Has the presence or lack of presence of such a person had any impact on your atheism?

None whatsoever. My love for my friends, and their love for me, does not change the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever to justify or even inspire belief in the supernatural, any more than such love (or the lack of such love) would change the speed of light or the force of gravity. The universe is utterly and absolutely indifferent to your feelings about it. God either exists or does not exist, regardless of whether Christians are good people or bad people.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.