Atheists, what would you like to see as proof for God?


#1

The most common response I hear is witnessing a miracle, but before you post that request, keep this in mind. If you are asking to see a miracle you are asking to see something that you don’t believe of in the first place. It would be like a theist asking to see giant, pink unicorns dancing around one of Jupiter’s moons as proof God doesn’t exist. Since I don’t believe in unicorns in the first place, asking them to be giant, pink and alive in space around Jupiter’s moon is asking for the absurd and nonexistent from my point of view.

The same would follow a miracle request from an atheist; if you don’t believe in them anyway why ask for the absurd and nonexistent?

So is there anything that can convince you that God exists? Perhaps a mathematical formula?


#2

I’ve often thought about waking up one day to find that mount everest is missing, or relocated. Wouldn’t that be wild? :slight_smile: It would be interesting to see how many Atheists remain.


#3

If God were to show Himself to me personally (not through His traditions, His architecture, His written word, the examples of His saints, or a pretty, pink sunrise), that would probably have the desired effect.

I figure that if the risen Jesus showed himself to Thomas, who had seen Him walk on water and raise people from the dead, it’s not an entirely unreasonable request.


#4

I actually had a guy try to give me a mathmatical formula one time (accompanied with pictures). Ironically he was a Christian (at least in his eyes) but he has some of the craziest ideas I have ever heard. He also has a messed up view of the nature of God, which is why I question his Christianity to begin with.


#5

In regards to miracles, how many from Lourdes were dismissed by the atheists who witnessed them? There are excellent documentations of French philosophers actually seeing the before and after, and stating that even if there were thousands, they would not beleive.


#6

I love this Question:

An atheist friend once told me that it would have to be a Very BIG miracle for him to believe even that.

Since then, I have been praying for his salvation and for the salvation of Marilyn Manson. (Maybe that’ll be enough of a miracle for him to believe.)

{He was recently healed from a heart condition - that wasn’t even enough to open his eyes}

I like to equate this question to the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man outside his door.
Luke
Chapter 16

31 Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’" My question for an atheist is…
“How many times does a risen man have to show himself ? Do you actually expect God to reveal himself in the way you want him to, to every single person that has ever lived one at a time ?”

“If you were God how would you go about making sure that every single person believed in you, while still maintaining their freewill?”

todd


#7

I don’t know what proof would be acceptable.

For those who have faith, no proof is needed.
For those without faith, no proof is sufficient.

Let us be the proof of the existence of God, by being the best (Catholic, non-catholic, etc.) we can be, and shining the light we have within us to the world.


#8

The miracle at Fatima in 1917 was one of the most well documented miracles of all time. Still, there are many who dismiss it a mass hysteria.

As pointed out above, there have been many individual medical miracles at Lourdes, some seeming to be specificly directed at challenges by non-believers. In spite of the evidence, they did not believe.

So I’m not sure if miracles would do it. Most atheists are also materialists, and so have difficulty believing in anything non-material, including God. Maybe more study of Aristotle would help!

JimG


#9

When it comes to intellectual atheists (as opposed to atheists who are just lazy/want to be cool) then I think Auberon hit the nail right on the head. That’s pretty much what it would take to change an atheist’s mind since most atheists are prone to dismiss almost everything else as coincidence.

So for now, the best method of at least opening up an atheist’s mind to conversion would be:

1.) Living the faith, or setting a holy example. Many atheists have stereotypes in their mind that religion is necessarily corrupt and evil, probably because of bad examples.

2.) Being an intellectual Christian. That is, being able to explain your belief in God through logic and philosophy, and being able to quote the Bible and the Church’s doctrines and dogmas by memory (to dispel the attitude that a Catholic doesn’t know his own faith.)


#10

[quote=uncleauberon]Do you actually expect God to reveal himself in the way you want him to, to every single person that has ever lived one at a time?
[/quote]

Why not? Does He have something better to do with His time?

This may be the only time I have ever encountered another Auberon. It has to be from the same source, but shouldn’t you be “Gaffer Auberon” instead?


#11

I can’t remember the source of this (I think it was C.S. Lewis):

For those who ask what proof I can give for the truth that is Christianity, I would point to the conversion of the entire world in less than 500 years. For those that see this and believe, no further miracle is necessary. For those who do not believe, there is no greater miracle that can be given.


#12

The question raised by the opening post is valid, but it should be explicitely rephrased as “what would it take to turn an atheist into a Christian?” By asking the wrong question, at least two fallacies are committed.

First, atheists will generally grant that a god may exist - with the common exception of the Abrahamic god, which they consider logically impossible. Even if a persuasive argument is made, for an atheist not subject to Christian dogma it does not follow from “a god exists” that “the Christian god exists”.

Second, even if the existence of the Christian god is proven and it is further proven that no other gods exist, it does not follow that all atheists would convert to Christianity. Many atheists consider the Christian god as immoral, if not downright evil, and would be compelled to reject such a god - even at the cost of eternal damnation.

[quote=uncleauberon] {He was recently healed from a heart condition - that wasn’t even enough to open his eyes}
[/quote]

[quote=Archbishop 10-K]When it comes to intellectual atheists (as opposed to atheists who are just lazy/want to be cool) then I think Auberon hit the nail right on the head. That’s pretty much what it would take to change an atheist’s mind since most atheists are prone to dismiss almost everything else as coincidence.
[/quote]

The so-called miracles are not persuasive to atheists. E.g., some people recover from heart disease, many die of it - prayers or not. Ignoring the scepticism concerning the divine origin of alleged miracles as opposed to (possibly unexplained) natural causes, this argument boils down to the fallacy of “99 times out of 100 the outcome is bad, so a single good outcome is a miracle”.

Further, from an atheist’s point of view, even if granting a miracle of supernatural origin they can conclude that the miracle was effected by a Great Deceiver that prevents Christians from worshipping the True God.

[quote=Archbishop 10-K]So for now, the best method of at least opening up an atheist’s mind to conversion would be:

1.) Living the faith, or setting a holy example. Many atheists have stereotypes in their mind that religion is necessarily corrupt and evil, probably because of bad examples.
[/quote]

Sadly, they have good reason to consider some, if not all, organized religions as corrupt and themselves as a persecuted minority. As long as atheists perceive that Christians stereotypically define an atheist as the exact opposite of a perfect Christian, as opposed to a fellow human being that simply doesn’t share their beliefs, why would they be receptive to Christian dogma?

[quote=Archbishop 10-K]2.) Being an intellectual Christian. That is, being able to explain your belief in God through logic and philosophy, and being able to quote the Bible and the Church’s doctrines and dogmas by memory (to dispel the attitude that a Catholic doesn’t know his own faith.)
[/quote]

Any honest debate is much more likely to result in a Christian doubting his or her faith than the reverse. The fundamental problem in such a debate is that a Christian is both constrained by dogma and has the burden of proof.

Quoting scripture, by the way, is singularly unhelpful in the given context, because it simply amounts to an argument, valid or invalid, from disputed premises.

Finally, to give an answer to the restated original question: It will take a period of personal crisis and an atheist that will ultimately prefer escapism and seek comfort rather than face a harsh reality.


#13

I’m probably more surprised than anybody that I believe in God.

For decades, I never considered it would be a possibility for me. A worldview that included theism just wasn’t coherent to me. Didn’t make sense.

What changed things? Partially reading and discussing lot of philosophy and coming to realize that believing in God was not necessarily irrational. It wasn’t the way I saw things, but it wasn’t completely without any sort of rational basis.

There’s no way that would have been enough to believe in God. Theism wasn’t irrational, but neither was atheism. And I had no reason to switch worldviews.

What did it take to change worldviews? One of those darn mystical experiences. It didn’t lead to an immediate switch. Far from it. But in trying to piece things together, theism became something that made my personal worldview more coherent than atheism.

I still struggle with the idea that God knows what would make any given atheist into a theist, but He doesn’t seem to make himself known in that particular way. Of course, maybe He does at some point in everybody’s life, even if it is in that split second of moving from life to death …


#14

Finally, to give an answer to the restated original question: It will take a period of personal crisis and an atheist that will ultimately prefer escapism and seek comfort rather than face a harsh reality.

I assume that you mean that the harsh reality is we are just organic pain collectors racing towards oblivion? :smiley:

wolpertinger- Your whole post proves my point. There is no proof test to convince an atheist of the Christian God. It cannot be proven in the same way that you can prove something in Euclidean geometry. If that is what you want, then you will never have it.

There are plenty of good arguments for the existence and only one really good argument against God. Which you stated in your post–the problem of evil.

The issue then becomes compatibility, can what we see in nature be compatible with what we see in the Bible as God is explained to us. I see the answer as yes; obviously you see the answer as no.

It really does come down to belief, but it isn’t blind faith, it is faith with evidence. You (assuming you are an atheist) look at the same evidence at come to a completely different conclusion than I. How is this possible?

prefer escapism and seek comfort

The most common atheist charge is that theists are a bunch of weak willed suckers who buy into the whole religion thing. It is simply a psychological phenomenon of wishing their earthly father lived on forever for a number of reasons so they can too. But remember the door swings both ways then, atheists must be suffering from a severe Oedipus complex in which they want to murder their heavenly father for a number of reasons.

If theism is just a psychological choice, based on heredity, environment and stresses, then atheism is the same. Ultimately both choices are irrelevant, because we die and rot and the universe burns out one day if atheism it true.

My point to this post is that there is no possible proof test scientific naturalism, as there is no proof test for the existence of God. It is a choice.

I have a challenge for you. Prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Love actually exists. We sing songs about it, write poetry about it, teach it to our children, but I defy you to use a scientific test to prove it exists. I bet you think about love though, and I bet if you haven’t found it already you are looking for true love, even though it doesn’t really exist…


#15

wolpertinger

What do you want out of God if anything?

or

If you don’t like God as He is presented in any religion, how would you go about making Him/She/It?


#16

Any honest debate is much more likely to result in a Christian doubting his or her faith than the reverse. The fundamental problem in such a debate is that a Christian is both constrained by dogma and has the burden of proof.

I would disagree that this is always the case. Many self-proclaimed atheists have very poorly-developed opinions (probably because they just don’t care, which is the reason for their atheism in the first place) and if their beliefs are challenged by an intellectual Christian, then they are very prone to doubting their faith. As an example, the school I attend is primarily agnostic and atheist, but hardly any of the students there have developed opinions, so it becomes easy for me to argue the case for theism, then Christianity, and then finally Catholic Christianity.

Quoting scripture, by the way, is singularly unhelpful in the given context, because it simply amounts to an argument, valid or invalid, from disputed premises.

I was referring to how some atheists will argue Scripture to discredit Christian faith. However, your point is conceded.

Finally, to give an answer to the restated original question: It will take a period of personal crisis and an atheist that will ultimately prefer escapism and seek comfort rather than face a harsh reality.

“There are no atheists in foxholes.”

But really, that’s also subject to opinion. I mean, some people will view Christianity as escapism, others will view it as harsh reality. Some will see atheism, on the other hand, as escapism, others as harsh reality.


#17

wolpertinger,

Is it fair to call an atheist an atheist if they can accept any god other than God as understood by Christians and Jews? Would it not be more correct to call them something other than a person that believes in no God?

Also, what about miracles that have no real explination, sucha s the one witnessed by Zola in Lourdes where a woman whose skin was basically destroyed came out of the water looking as a newborn baby’s. This is one of the ones that Zola responded that it still was not enough.


#18

Man says show me and I will believe, God says believe and I will show you.


#19

[quote=Psalm89] I assume that you mean that the harsh reality is we are just organic pain collectors racing towards oblivion?
[/quote]

At the end of the day, yes. Although what I meant is some people fall on hard times or simply live a hard life and some cope better than others.

[quote=Psalm89] Your whole post proves my point. There is no proof test to convince an atheist of the Christian God.
[/quote]

That is an accurate summary. Technically, there are non-theist religions and I can’t speak for this type of atheist, but for those that have rejected religious dogma and ultimately faith there is no turning back. If you are raised in a religious tradition and come to reject it, neither rational debate nor an appeal to emotion is likely to succeed.

[quote=Psalm89]There are plenty of good arguments for the existence and only one really good argument against God. Which you stated in your post–the problem of evil.
[/quote]

I did? However that may be, it is one of the most damaging problems faced by Christian theology. I don’t want to derail this thread into a debate for or against the existence of god, so suffice it to say that most, if not all, of the arguments in favor that I’m familiar with are generic with regards to the deity to prove.

[quote=Psalm89]The issue then becomes compatibility, can what we see in nature be compatible with what we see in the Bible as God is explained to us. I see the answer as yes; obviously you see the answer as no.
[/quote]

The Bible is an object lesson of human nature. Beyond that I don’t consider it authoritative.

[quote=Psalm89]It really does come down to belief, but it isn’t blind faith, it is faith with evidence. You (assuming you are an atheist) look at the same evidence at come to a completely different conclusion than I. How is this possible?
[/quote]

I don’t know what specific evidence you refer to, so I cannot directly answer this question. Having said that, from my point of view faith is blind by definition. I have seen neither evidence nor argument that would compel me to consider the possibility that religious faith may be a justified belief.

[quote=Psalm89]The most common atheist charge is that theists are a bunch of weak willed suckers who buy into the whole religion thing. It is simply a psychological phenomenon of wishing their earthly father lived on forever for a number of reasons so they can too. But remember the door swings both ways then, atheists must be suffering from a severe Oedipus complex in which they want to murder their heavenly father for a number of reasons.
[/quote]

I don’t personally hold that view. Religious belief clearly satisfies a human need or want; some people are more needy than others and that is all there is to it. I reserve invective for people that use religion to further their base motives and personal agendas or that adhere to a particularly intolerant religion or interpretation thereof.

As to the rest, either side of the door one is a false dichotomy.

[quote=Psalm89]If theism is just a psychological choice, based on heredity, environment and stresses, then atheism is the same. Ultimately both choices are irrelevant, because we die and rot and the universe burns out one day if atheism it true.
[/quote]

False. Ignoring for the moment whether or not theism is simply a choice, the more common weak atheism is simply the refusal to make a choice. You also ignore that a majority opinion has real consequences during our lifetimes.


#20

(continued)

[quote=Psalm89]My point to this post is that there is no possible proof test scientific naturalism, as there is no proof test for the existence of God. It is a choice.
[/quote]

I’m not aware that science proclaims truth, as opposed to a working model of the world we live in. It’s not much a choice to believe that an apple will fall when dropped.

[quote=Psalm89]I have a challenge for you. Prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Love actually exists. We sing songs about it, write poetry about it, teach it to our children, but I defy you to use a scientific test to prove it exists. I bet you think about love though, and I bet if you haven’t found it already you are looking for true love, even though it doesn’t really exist…
[/quote]

I’ll pass. Whether it can or cannot be done, it is a strawman.

[quote=Psalm89]What do you want out of God if anything?
or
If you don’t like God as He is presented in any religion, how would you go about making Him/She/It?
[/quote]

I have no interest in deities, but I consider Deism as inoffensive. Since you asked the question, see Do-It-Yourself-Deity.


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