Too often, in religious debates, we hear Theists and Atheists mention that science cannot prove or disprove the existence of god. I can only assume that this statement is usually made by someone who is being ignorant, generous or deliberately vague.
When someone says “You cannot disprove the existence of god”, they leave ‘god’ generally undefined, god is usually reduced to an intangible invisible being higher than ourselves. They should perhaps rather have said that ‘you cannot prove that there is no god’. Both these sentences say the same thing, both suggest that we cannot possibly prove that a generally undefined higher power does NOT exist. Both these sentences include the possibility of a deistic or otherwise non-active (synonymous to the universe type) god, the claim that both these sentences make is spot on.
The issue however arises when a conventional theist says you cannot disprove god but fails to make the distinction between a deistic/inactive (synonymous to the universe type) god and his own personal god (either through ignorance or deliberate dishonesty)
The Theistic, or more specifically Christian, claim is not that a generally undefined higher power could exist, its claim is much more specific than that, he/she specifically claims that a theistic god exists, now for those unfamiliar with the terminology, the theistic god is considered “a personal God as creator and active ruler of the universe.” but the Christian claim is even a more specific than that general definition, they claim the existence of a god that is all loving, cares about our dietary and sexual habits, watches us 24/7, forgives our sins, implanted each of us with an immortal soul and created two special realms where our souls will travel and continue to exist after death.
Many of these claims venture well into the territory of science and can be shown to be true, probable, improbable or false. So in the next couple of paragraphs, I will attempt to show you that ‘god’, as defined by Christianity, can be disproved.
First, god is claimed to be the creator of the universe and everything in it.
- Now we have quite extensive knowledge on how much of what we see around us, came to be, we know that the big bang explains the early development of the universe, we know that from the big bang onward, natural processes formed stars and galaxies, we know that the heavier elements that are found in the universe were synthesized either within stars or during supernovae.– as you might know, as soon as something can be explained naturally, there exists no reason or justification for positing supernatural influence, adding this influence would add nothing to the existing explanation, the hand of a god was clearly not present when stars, galaxies or planets were formed.
- Man is often depicted as the centre of creation and/or even perhaps the reason for creation in theology, it is sometimes said that man is created in the image of god or that the beauty of the universe was created for man’s mere pleasure. This claim is extremely arrogant and perhaps based on man’s superiority complex and our inability to fully grasp the vastness of the universe, however even if you don’t subscribe to quite such a self-centered view, there exists no reason to suggest a supernatural being had a hand in the creation of man, we know that we, as homo sapiens, are a product of evolution.
- One might be persistent and argue that god guided these processes or (as many ignorantly do) argue that god ‘initiated’ the big bang and started ‘creation’, the issue that theists seem to overlook here is that if god is reduced to ‘an initiator’ or merely guiding the natural processes, you are suggesting that god simply allowed the laws of nature to dictate ‘creation’ and that god was essentially *’deistic’ for the first 13odd billion years that the universe existed(until the first claims of revelation and miracles popped up a few thousand years ago). You would essentially be arguing for the existence of a (temporary) Deistic god (again) and in doing so, conceding that a Theistic god didn’t exist.
- It is also crucial to realize that these natural laws and processes have no predestined goals, they have no mind/consciousness and they are definitely indifferent to our existence (specially on a personal level) – even if you were to suggest that a deity put them in place, you would still be admitting that this deity created humanity ‘coincidentally’ and without intention or forethought. Something which cannot be reconciled with a personal theistic god.
- Although I have given sufficient reasons to support the idea that the Christian god cannot be the creator, I would just like to add that I always felt it was rather silly to think an omnipotent god took 9odd billion years to create the earth and another 4odd billion years to create man.
- * laws of nature.
Then god is claimed to be a personal god and an active governor/ruler.
- The ineffectiveness of prayer is perhaps a good place to start. Studies show that prayer simply does not work. It has absolutely no effect beyond being a placebo, meaning that if you pray that god protects you, instead of being protected, you will simply feel safer due to believing that prayer works.
- There exists no evidence for any ‘miracles’, everything in your day to day life can be naturally explained, no matter how many times you thank your chosen deity for the food on your plate, for blessing you with offspring, for letting you wake up every morning, for your friends and family, for allowing the medicine to cure you or for helping you find a parking space near the shop’s entrance, the simple reality is that all of these things took place within the natural laws of nature.
- If the laws of nature aren’t ‘personal’, (which they aren’t) god would have to suspend, bend or break these laws to either actively govern or personally affect your life. Seeing that all impacts on the natural world can be detected and/or measured (tested), god (if he were to do anything) would become detectable, as a result, we can safely conclude that the personal theistic god simply does not exist.
Although the further claims are automatically disproved (seeing that they rely on the existence of a personal theistic god) I would like to just touch on some of them and show why they are individually also very improbable, even if a theistic god were to exist.
It is claimed that God is love, loving and that he personally cares for humanity.
- I’ll share the following Sam Harris quote on suffering with you, which will hopefully illustrate that if a god exists, it couldn’t care less about man. – “Nine million children die every year before they reach the age of five, picture an Asian tsunami of the sort we saw in 2004 that killed a quarter of a million people. One of those, every ten days, killing children only under five. That’s 24000 children a day, a thousand an hour, 17 or so a minute. That means before I can get to the end of this sentence, some few children, very likely, will have died in terror and agony. Think of the parents of these children. Think of the fact that most of these men and women believe in god, and are praying at this moment for their children to be spared. And their prayers will not be answered… Any god who would allow children by the millions to suffer and die in this way and their parents to grieve in this way, either can do nothing to help them or doesn’t care to. He is therefore either impotent or evil (Indifferent).”
It is then finally claimed that we have an immortal soul which survives death and goes on to spend an eternity in one of two specially created realms.
- There is nothing that suggests a soul exists, there is also nothing that suggests the afterlife is a rational concept and there is nothing that suggests any part of the human anatomy survives death.
- It is important to note that if we want to consider heaven and hell as serious concepts, Consciousness would have to be able to survive death in order to enable you to ‘experience’ the afterlife. Now as far as our current knowledge of consciousness goes, the brain gives birth to the conscious mind and without the brain, no consciousness would exist. This disproves the notion of a second life, seeing that the brain is a physical part of our anatomy and we all know what happens to the brain after death.
I have thus concluded that the Christian god, or any conventional theistic god, does not and cannot exist.