My wife and I are going to give a presentation to our young professionals group at church concerning popular arguments against the existence of a Christian God (or a Good one), their roots, and what the best theological responses are to them. I am aware of various arguments like Russell’s Teapot and some other logic tricks, as well as the use of the Old Testament to paint God as changeable and emotional.
What would be great are some resources that catalog all these things, so I can properly synthesize them into the discussion. Does anyone have any good books or other resources? I’m giving the presentation at the end of the month.
Even if you don’t know any resources, some ideas on the content and method of presentation would be much appreciated.
(1) A. God cannot exist if evil exists. B. Evil exists. C. Therefore, God cannot exist.
(2) A. If something cannot be proven by science, it is not real. B. God cannot be proven by science. C. Therefore, God is not real.
(3) A. Any theory with inherent contradictions is false. B. The theory that God exists has inherent contradictions. (E.g. Could God make a rock so heavy that He couldn’t lift it?) C. Therefore, the theory that God exists is false.
(4) A. If God is not good, He is not real. B. God is not good because He proposes bad moral ideas. (E.g. He says that homosexual activity is a sin, and that’s bigoted.) C. Therefore, God is not real.
(5) God is just an ancient theory to explain things people didn’t understand. Science explains most things now, eliminating most of the need for God. It is probable that science will proceed until all things are explained. At that point, there will be no need for God.
(6) You only believe in God because you were raised that way. Note: This one is not really an argument, it is just an assertion. But I think mere assertions should be refuted too. Assertions like these are used as quasi-arguments very, very frequently, especially by ordinary folk trying to give reasons for their beliefs without thinking about it much. I don’t think we should ignore them. I think we should respond by pointing out errors in the thinking, including the fact that it is just an assertion, but not limited to that.(7) You only believe in God because it’s a comforting idea to you – a crutch.
(8) A. The Bible has errors and contradictions. B. Therefore the Bible is false. C. Therefore Christianity is false. Note: I removed some premises from this argument to shorten it. It does not argue directly against God, just against Christianity, though I think it could easily be modified to argue against most other religions. Also, even though it does not argue directly against God, I think it is very influential in taking young people away from Christianity, and should not be ignored. Plus, if the people you are talking to want answers to atheists’ arguments, they probably want answers to this too, and to the mere assertions mentioned earlier. Look for updates on this thread in case I think of more arguments.
(9) A. In a choice between two explanations of something, we should presume that the more complex one is false. B. Supernatural explanations of things are more complex than explanations without the supernatural. C. Therefore, we should presume that supernatural explanations of things are false.
Also, you asked for theological responses to these arguments. A few of them are addressed in the apologetics series mentioned in my signature. You might like it: