I am an atheist because God if God exists, he could tell me what the best Steven Spielberg movie is.
God – Yahweh, anyway – is omniscient. He knows everything.
So God knows what the best movie ever made is. If he can do that with all movies, he can do it for just Steven Spielberg movies.
‘Wait,’ you say, ‘what do you mean by “best”? If we could agree which movie had the best special effects, it needn’t be the one with the best soundtrack, or best performance by a supporting actress. The best romantic comedy isn’t the best horror movie.’
‘Ah-ha,’ I reply, ‘thing is, while we think it’s a complicated question, it wouldn’t be for God. He also knows what ‘best’ means in this context. He perfectly understands the question. He has perfect understanding, remember?’
‘God can only do the possible,’ a theologian chips in. ‘Omniscience means he knows everything it is possible to know, not that he knows impossible things.’
‘Interesting,’ I say. ‘So … God will be sending Spielberg to Heaven or Hell based on his judgment. God has the capacity to make absolutist judgment calls on a movie director’s entire *life*, one with literally eternally-binding consequences, and that’s objective, but he couldn’t make a judgment call on the same man’s *movies*?’
‘If there is no objective truth, God can not declare an objective truth,’ the theologian smugly asserts.
‘But God could have a subjective opinion?’
‘Some store clerk in Blockbuster can have a subjective opinion, but God can’t?’
‘Er … yes. Erm, hang on. Got it: there are some things people can do that God can’t, like lie, scratch their bum and so on’.
‘But this is just an intellectual exercise. Are you saying that God would be incapable of knowing that Jaws is better than Jaws The Revenge?’
‘Did I say “no”? I meant “yes”. God can have an opinion.’
‘But … how can something omniscient have an “opinion”? He knows or he doesn’t.’
‘Aaargh, aaargh. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ the theologian weeps. ‘I only got into theology because I failed all my exams. I wanted to do a proper subject. It’s fifty years, at least since anyone who wasn’t a simpleton studied theology. I admit it. It’s why, when asked to name five great modern theologians one guy who always makes the list is Martin Buber *who died in 1965*. We’re *all* cretins. Every single one of us. It’s true.’
OK. So we can ignore the theologians. Color me shocked.
Here’s the thing, and it’s something the Greek atheists had worked out: God’s opinions would have to be our facts. Either that or God is the mere servant of a higher truth. In which case, cut out the middleman. Functionally, God’s opinions are our facts – who would we be to argue?
*If* God exists, his answer to the question ‘what is Steven Spielberg’s best movie?’ would be the right answer. If he says it’s Jurassic Park, it’s Jurassic Park. Not Jaws. Not Close Encounters. Not Schindler’s List. Not any of the others, don’t even think that’s a possibility. It’s Jurassic Park. There is *one* answer, no appeal, no ambiguity.
The Christian God could state what the best Steven Spielberg movie is. If you disagree with his choice, you are *wrong*. Not mistaken in your opinion, you are wrong.
God could tell you, and be right, whether the sports team the Cleveland Steamers are better than their rivals, the Boston Stranglers. He could tell you what the best hat ever made was. He could tell you if Wednesdays are better than Thursdays, dogs are better than cats, red is better than blue. God could tell you who the most beautiful woman in the world is. God could tell you what the best breast size for a woman is. God could tell you whether white skin is better than black skin.
And that’s all just SILLY.
It’s silly enough before you realize that no-one can ever ask God these questions, or ever get the answer. Let’s leave aside that religion is basically a quest to double guess God on entirely subjective questions like ‘is homosexuality good?’ or ‘is it right to steal bread?’. Or that rival religions are just like the rival sports teams in the example above, and that their adherents are claiming precisely that, no, God knows their team is best. Religion is a quest to understand whether red is better than blue. It’s the futile asking of absurd questions.
The answer is often that there is no one right answer. It’s the answer to many of the problems our world faces, particularly the social issues, and generally speaking it’s the people who think there’s one right answer who are the root cause of those problems in the first place.
‘There’s no one right answer’ is not an allowable statement in a universe with an omniscient God in it. It’s a very frequent answer to questions in the universe we live in. There’s only one possible conclusion from that: there is no God in the universe we live in.
And that’s the reason I’m an atheist.