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Gospel Hypothesis 6: Evangelism

This one is as definitive as it is inevitable: if the Myth Hypothesis is true, then no matter how perfectly loving and perfectly powerful and perfectly wise and perfectly good and perfectly fearless God is supposed to be, you’re never going to hear about it from Him. He doesn’t exist, so He can’t be the one who knocks on your door and says, “Hi, have you heard the good news about Me?” The Myth Hypothesis requires that, while there may be stories about God showing up in person to tell people how much He cares about them, you’re only going to hear such stories from ordinary people. And fortunately for atheists, that’s all you and I ever do see.

Meanwhile, if the Gospel Hypothesis were true, that would imply an evangelism that would be vastly different than what we see today. Being real, as well as being perfectly loving and perfectly wise and perfectly powerful, God would introduce Himself as part of the lifelong process of participation in that tangible, personal, two-way relationship that is what He desires most. Notice here that we’re not saying we demand that God has to show up, visibly, audibly, and tangibly in the real world. The Gospel Hypothesis implies that being here, visibly present among us, and tangibly interacting with us, is something He will want more than we do. And He will naturally be able, as well as willing, to show up and do it.

Of course, this will make evangelism, and the career of evangelist, completely superfluous. God’s relationship with each of us will be a lifelong experience. He’ll be there with our mothers when we’re born. His face will be one of the early faces our infant eyes learn to focus on. His voice will be one of the first voices we learn to recognize. Like any loving, non-deadbeat Father, He will find some of His greatest joys in spending time with us and teaching us and playing with us and influencing us to grow up in ways that will help us achieve our full potential.

The job of evangelist simply would not exist, since there would be no unbelievers to convert. No atheists, no infidels, no cultists, and no goddam libruls. Failing to recognize God’s existence would be like failing to recognize the existence of the earth and sky. The Gospel Hypothesis ends up implying its own non-existence, because the Gospel is supposed to be good news, and yet if there really were a perfectly loving, powerful, wise and good God, this information would not come to us as “news” brought by men. We’d get it first-hand, from God Himself.

This is one area where believers put out huge amounts of effort, trying to come up with stories and arguments to try and declare how amazing and magnificent and deeply moving God’s love really is—and trying to somehow explain why, despite this incredible love He has for us, we still need to hear about it from some third party. And the harder they work and the more stories they come up with, the more remarkable it becomes that the Myth Hypothesis describes the exact circumstances we find in the real world without all the superstition and exaggeration and hearsay that the Gospel Hypothesis requires.

Comments

  1. badgersdaughter says

    When a Christian says to me that they have a relationship with God, I ask them to define “relationship” and then I ask them to define “God”, and nine times out of ten I wind up asking them how it’s even possible to have a “relationship” with that sort of thing. The tenth time, the Christian comes up with some nonsense that makes me wonder if they can also define “psychosis.”

    As for myself, this is the single biggest factor in establishing and maintaining my own atheism. As a deconvert, I must honestly admit that there are still times when I wonder if there’s really no God. Old habits of thinking catch up to me. I usually set myself straight by asking myself two questions. “What mechanisms do my body and mind possess that enable me to tell when and how I’m interacting with someone or something?” and “Assuming God knows that I have these mechanisms and not others, how would God interact with me in such a way that I could tell it was God rather than not-God?” It’s possible, but meaningless and irrelevant, to ask whether there’s a God who is trying to interact with me in a way I can’t comprehend, or else doesn’t want to interact with me in a way that I can distinguish from not-God.

  2. badgersdaughter says

    I just realized there’s a third question that I assume follows from the first two, “Since no intelligible interactions actually happen, what conclusions must I draw?” I usually come up with some form of “It’s pointless for me to act as though there is a God.” I suppose this is the long way round to “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

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