Godisimaginary.com – (“Proofs” 1-5)

Proof 1: Try Praying

The argument is that when you pray, nothing happens any differently than if you don’t pray. This seems to be true.

The argument makes a show of biblical promises about the efficacy of prayer, however. Since the Bible seems to promise that God will answer prayer in ways that he doesn’t, the Bible is supposed to be false. There is just one problem with this: all demonstrations of the Bible being false must rely on information that has been discovered since its writing. We know that Noah’s Ark is a myth because of scientific discoveries. We know that Jesus did not come back because we are still here. But we did not discover that prayer doesn’t move mountains–this was evident from the very moment that Jesus’ followers believed in him.

So what did the early Christians think about these ideas? It does not matter what specifically they thought: the point is that they could not have been thinking what this author is thinking, or else they would have immediately noticed a contradiction in their beliefs. Therefore, this argument is vulnerable to theological ripostes on the grounds that these words are to be “interpreted” otherwise, because we know that they must have been interpreted otherwise from the very beginning.

Proof 2: Statistically Analyze Prayer

The argument is that since prayer produces no statistical significant effect, prayer does not work and God does not answer prayers. Indeed the studies seem to suggest this is the case.

The Christian objection, however, is that God will not truckle to scientific investigations of his intervention (though this is an unfortunate fact for bedridden patients). Based on his responses to this defence, I think the author misunderstands the Christian view of a hidden God. He first writes:

“If God must remain hidden, then he cannot answer any prayers. Any ‘answered prayer’ would expose God.”

This is not true. The Christian view is that God hides himself enough to allow skeptics to disbelieve in him, which would be no problem at the level of individual prayers. In fact, I just spoke to an old friend yesterday who believed God had healed her through a priest’s prayers and instructions, even though the methods of the priest were particularly bizarre and she is not charismatic. Her terrible sickness went away. The story could be explained through placebo effects–but nonetheless, this story could have been an “answer” to prayer, and yet it has not caused anyone else to believe in God at all.

“We have scientifically proven that God does not answer any prayers on earth.”

This is a false statement, and the overstepping of such boundaries weakens the overall argument. The use of the word “scientifically” in making a false statement further reinforces perception that all invocations of science are skeptical jargon.

“God obviously cannot ‘remain hidden’ and ‘incarnate himself.’ These two items are mutually exclusive.”

The author is right to point out the absurd tension between God’s revealing himself, and God’s hiding himself. However, the Christian view of a hidden God is that people have the opportunity to believe (in which case it will be plain to them) or the opportunity to disbelieve (in which case there is enough evidence to deny God). I doubt that a Christian will find the point compelling, since it does precisely address the meaning of “hidden,” in the sense that Christians believe God is hidden. However, a better framing of the problem follows immediately afterwards.

Proof 3: Look at Historical Gods

The argument is that since all previous gods have turned out to be false, the Christian God is also false. This is a good argument.

Unfortunately, the author completely wrecks his argument and demonstrates incompetence by raising Christ-Myth ideas. He suggests that Jesus was imaginary, which may imply that he disbelieves in the historicity of Jesus. At this point I’m not sure I take this author seriously enough to continue reading, but I will provide readers with one source (though it is written by a Christian) straightforwardly responding to the claims about Jesus being ripped off from Mithra.

It’s important for readers to understand the implications of this. No good thinker should promulgate unsubstantiated claims the way that this author has. Since his website is popular and well-known, he has likely received numerous rebuttals to this information. The fact that he leaves it up there is a significant blow to his credibility. This gives tremendous fuel to anyone who is looking to dismiss his arguments.

While you’re free to research the lack of evidence for the Christ-Myth theories on your own (all you have to do is notice that you can never find the original sources for most of the claims), I will make a side note here: the claim that a mythical god was “Born on December 25th” is supposed to be a shock to Christians because gee, that’s Christmas. However, nobody knows when Jesus was born, and Christmas was quite possibly chosen to line up with the festival surrounding the Roman winter solstice. Therefore it would be of absolutely no significance if a mythical god’s birthday were on December 25th (and in this case, there is no clear evidence that this is even true). The parallels are grossly distorted to serve the author’s greedy debunking.

This argument is a case study in what is wrong with Internet Atheists.

Proof 4: Think about Science

The argument points out that science must assume there is a “natural” explanation for a phenomenon in order to progress. This is a good argument.

The argument ends by saying that science “must assume that God is imaginary.” This is not necessarily true. Science need only assume that God does not interfere in nature in any frequent or repeatable manner. Yes, this naturally leads to some awkward questions for Christians–but they should be permitted to think about these questions.

Proof 5: Read the Bible

The argument is that if you actually read the Bible, you will see that it is rubbish. Personally I think this is a very good argument.

Except:

“If you are a scientist it is even worse, and it starts with the very first line: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…’ That’s not true. In the beginning a natural event created the universe as we know it, and the earth did not form until billions of years later.”

Considering how much about Christianity and Christian thinking the author appears to know from his arguments, it is shocking how completely he fails on some of these counts. I am not even going to critique this statement, but suffice to say he would do a lot better if he omitted it entirely.

*

So far, I think we can see that the biggest problem is this unwarranted overstepping of boundaries. You can’t just say that Jesus was a man, you have to say that he didn’t exist and that his story was ripped off of a pagan god (in ways that it actually was not). You can’t just say that there’s no evidence of prayers being answered, you have to say that we’ve “scientifically disproven” answers to prayer (which we simply cannot). You can’t just say that the Bible contains information that is contrary to scientific discoveries, you have to lead in with “the Bible is incorrect because God did not start the universe–a natural event did” (which is precisely what you’re trying to prove). This is beyond a tautology: one of the premises IS the conclusion. The only reason to write like this is to pleasure oneself. It is thoroughly unhelpful.

Stay tuned for 6-10.

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4 Responses to “Godisimaginary.com – (“Proofs” 1-5)”

  1. Yes tell me everything you know about José Antonio Fortea Cucurull…… exorcism, please…..I need good trust referenced webb or some I can look a it..as most info..the best it is best……………..

    • I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • I’m talking about..fr. Jose Antonio Fortea ..but don’t worry…I think….
        exorcism….may be this is out of your….knowledged…..love you..

  2. Yes, but I’m afraid I don’t know why you’re talking about him, or why you aren’t writing in complete sentences.

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