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Mar 24 2012

Gospel Disproof #42: The infallible test

Have you ever wondered whether there is an almighty, all-knowing, all-wise, and all-loving God Who wants a personal relationship with each of us badly enough to literally die for it? Well, fortunately there’s a simple test you can do that cannot fail to tell you whether or not such a God exists. Ready? All you have to do is say, “God, can I see You for a minute? I want to talk with you.” Then have a digital camera ready. If He shows up to talk to you, take His picture and post it on the web, and you will have proven that He exists. The cool thing is that this test will work for anybody and everybody, so if anyone claims you might have faked the photo, they can just repeat the test themselves.

What makes this test infallible is the nature of God, as specified in the test. Because He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise, by definition there is no greater power than God to prevent Him from showing up if He wants to. And because He is all-loving and wants a personal relationship with each of us, He wants (by definition) to show up to participate in that relationship as long as no greater power is able to prevent him. It is thus impossible, by definition, for this test to fail to reveal the truth about whether such a God exists.

In fact, there’s only one flaw.

No, it’s not that free will or some other factor is powerful enough to thwart God’s desire to be with each of us, in person. As someone once said, “the truth will make you free,” so if we had a way to know the truth about God for sure, it would only help our free will, not harm it. Nor would bad things necessarily happen if God did show up: He is all-powerful, by definition, and therefore His appearance cannot have any consequences He does not want it to.

No, the flaw in this test is that it is completely unnecessary. If such a God existed, He would already be here, because it’s His desire to have a relationship with us, and not the other way around. By the time it might occur to us to find out whether such a God were real, we would already know, because He would have already been there for us, live, in person, in the real world. Because, by definition, that’s what He wants, and—by definition again—there is no force or power or person strong enough to prevent Him from getting it.

So there you have it. No such God exists, or else we would all already know about Him. You might still propose a weaker, more ignorant, and less-wise God, who fails to show up because He’s not powerful enough, or because He’s not really able to direct the situation to His own advantage, or because He simply doesn’t care enough. But the big guy, the All-Everything Heavenly Father Who loves us and wants us to be with Him forever? No such thing.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Rob

    Because He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise, by definition there is no greater power than God to prevent Him from showing up if He wants to

    Plus, it’s not like he didn’t show up all the time previously. Why the change of heart? If it didn’t hurt free will then, why does it now?

  2. 2
    BobS

    Gospel disproof 40-something: Good Friday. Did Jesus save us by committing suicide? If he was God (conscious of his God-like nature), he would know the outcome (becoming alive again after 3- days). That’s cheating, not a real death: and even heavy suffering ,like crucifixion etc. becomes irrelevant when set against eternity, mostly spent in heaven…

    If Jesus was a man (or unaware of his God-like nature) he would be subject to religious law. Being interrogated by Pilate, the Roman consul, he should have known that a refusal to answer, or to say a few cryptic words, would totally screw up his case, with the sure outcome of death by torture. This is suicide by trial!!!!! (is suicicide allowed in the bible?) Being a man he could not have been aware of his task saving the world. Who told him this? If Yaweh did, it is ,again, cheating! If he just believed, from what source? Which scripture could have indicated HE was the one? Sounds like being VERY suicidal!

  3. 3
    Jer

    You might still propose a weaker, more ignorant, and less-wise God, who fails to show up because He’s not powerful enough, or because He’s not really able to direct the situation to His own advantage, or because He simply doesn’t care enough.

    Which is of course what Christian apologists do when confronted with reality. I have never seen a serious argument for an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God made, though I see plenty of arguments for why we should redefine all-powerful, all-loving, or all-knowing down in such a way so that they’re compatible with the fact that God doesn’t make Himself known in the world.

  4. 4
    Chrish

    I can almost hear the reply from a certain Christian I debate all the time.
    “Oh God is there, and is working in our lives. But we just choose not see him and his power. God is beyond our understanding and cannot simply be shoved into a point of reference that we can understand. He can and will manifest himself however and whenever he sees fit, but we have to make a conscious effort to want to see it.”
    This is the kind of BS I get all the time, and it’s extremely frustrating trying to reason with some who thinks like this.

  5. 5
    peterwhite

    We hear the same lame excuse from every religion about their god(s). “Our god used to talk to us all the time but doesn’t any more”. I suspect that argument was used the first time anyone asked why their god didn’t speak to his followers.

  6. 6
    Crudely Wrott

    I’ve been only partially successful in trying to articulate what you have made clear and sufficient in your post, Deacon. Thanks. I’ll be quoting and paraphrasing you for some time to come.

    Back at old Revival Tabernacle they told me that the desire of Yahweh’s heart was to be, you know, tight with me. I thought, “Great. Maybe now I’ll learn some useful things” but I learned nothing except how stingy and self-serving the church cannot avoid being.

    The dude never showed up! And I’d asked him once before as a child. As a child! Nothing. Not even a damned birthday card.

  7. 7
    Azuma Hazuki

    This has always bothered me. Carrier has a very good post on infidels.org that addresses the bullshit “ooh, but that would interfere with our precious FWEE WILLIES!” objection though.

    Seriously, i really think we nonbelievers take Yahweh a lot more seriously than the believers do. The mention upthread of “postulating a smaller, weaker God” in particular resonated; it always made my jaw drop to hear people do that.

    Because, if this being exists but isn’t what we were told, we are in a world of shit. In effect, nearly all apologists are familiar with the feeling “If it were anyone BUT God…” (and i suspect they wrestle with it constantly themselves). They are aware, perhaps subconsciously, that if any one of the omni-attributes isn’t actually there, “God” is a Lovecraftian, shambling, pan-dimensional horror whose very existence should make one’s brains ooze out the ears.

    Of course, there is a group of cultists who glory and wallow in this very point. They are called Calvinists. Heddle is one of them. Pilty is a Catholic Calvinist, as contradictory as that sounds. Very few things invoke the particular mixture of repulsion, fear, loathing, and pity that they do.

  8. 8
    zxcier

    Bleh too easy, because god is all-knowing he realizes your intentions are not pure and that you are merely trying to test him, and one must not test god. And probably something about impure relationship instead of giving yourself fully to the lawd who in his perfectness could not bring himself near such uncleanliness.

    And after blabbing such blibber blubber,
    My poor brain feels made of rubber.

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