There is no God


#1

An essay by Penn Jillette (of “Penn and Teller” fame), for apologetics practice:

*Morning Edition, *November 21, 2005 · I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy – you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do.


But, this “This I Believe” thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life’s big picture, some rules to live by. So, I’m saying, “This I believe: I believe there is no God.”


#2

[quote=Ahimsa]An essay by Penn Jillette (of “Penn and Teller” fame), for apologetics practice:

Morning Edition, November 21, 2005 · I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy – you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do.


But, this “This I Believe” thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life’s big picture, some rules to live by. So, I’m saying, “This I believe: I believe there is no God.”
[/quote]

This is just sad. On top of that there is no proof to her claim. It is just “I believe it to be true and that is it.” Don’t people know there is more to faith then “I believe.”


#3

Believing there is no God means the suffering I’ve seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn’t caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn’t bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

Believing there is no God means that I can lie cheat steal and kill whoever and whenever I want, especially those who REALLY, REALLY annoy me, as long as I can figure a way not to get caught doing it.

Believing there is no God means that if I do get caught, I can escape retribution by killing myself before someone else does it.

In fact, believing there is no God means suicide is the logical solution to ennui.

If I remember correctly, an English Lord embraced Darwin’s Theory of Evolution because it disposed of God who was “…so inconvenient, doncha know?”


#4

Just remembered…

Years ago I read a small book, written in rhyme by Maureen someone or other, set in Britian in the late 1930’s or 1940’s.

The father in the story was an atheist until his child was deathly ill, when he prayed “O God, Thou save my child.”

Wish I still had the book.


#5

Well he does have a point that in some cultures/religions there is a more fatalistic approach to life and laying the blame for life’s ills at the feet of the gods can be perceived as a cop-out to addressing them.


#6

Isn’t “not believing there is a God” more of an agnostic position? I know atheists claim this is their position, but in actuality they usually seem to “believe there is no God” instead.


#7

Jillette was doing some verbal acrobatics.

the “This I believe” series is supposed to be affirming. (most of the pieces are quite good but they do run the range from the ridiculous to the sublime.)
The essayist has to talk about what he does believe so Jillette had to frame his non belief in terms of a belief…sort of an odd way to go about it. :confused:

I would think an agnostic would just say “I don’t know”…which doesn’t make for good radio


#8

“Without God, we can agree on reality”

That right there sums up the contradiction for me.

The author speaks of “truth” and “reality” as things worthy of respect and deference but then speaks of “God” who allows suffering. Doesn’t “truth” and “reality” also allow suffering?

My understanding of Scripture leads me to see “God” as the name with which I try to address “truth” and “reality”. Thus the quote above indicates that the author of the article simply defines the word “God” to mean something other than that which the authors of Scripture defined it to mean.

I think the problem with atheism, at least in some forms, is that it is breaking the second commandment about taking God’s name in vain. I know that isn’t how we usually interpret the second commandment but I think there is a connection.

peace

Jim


#9

While Jillette’s quote sounds intelligent at first, a moment’s thought will reveal that saying, “I believe there is no God,” doesn’t change the fact that you can’t prove a negative. What he positively believes is a negative statement, and he still can’t prove it. He hasn’t moved beyond atheism, and if the entire essay runs along these lines, it’s a waste of time. I’ve heard the arguments of atheists before. I have nothing against the man himself; in fact, I think he’s pretty funny when he’s not being totally vulgar. Let’s just hope that this piece of drivel isn’t the best he can do.

[quote=Ahimsa]An essay by Penn Jillette (of “Penn and Teller” fame), for apologetics practice:

Morning Edition, November 21, 2005 · I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy – you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do.


But, this “This I Believe” thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life’s big picture, some rules to live by. So, I’m saying, “This I believe: I believe there is no God.”
[/quote]


#10

Okay, I read the whole essay, and it was indeed a waste of my time. It’s the usual atheist assertion that his beliefs somehow make sense and are provable, but mine obviously don’t make sense and have been disproven. As usual, this assertion is accompanied not by actual argument, but by insulting references to my belief in an “imaginary friend,” my inevitable intolerance and irrationality, and an unrecognizably simplistic version of my faith. None of it can be classified as rational debate, and much of it consists of ad hominem attacks and (hopefully not deliberate) misrepresentation.

It’s all well and good to present a picture of an atheist who loves his family, lives by a moral code, and enjoys life, but that’s hardly a logical argument for atheism. I can only conclude that he wasn’t trying to argue a point, but rather this essay was simply a ramble about his personal beliefs. That’d be fine, I guess, if he didn’t choose to attack my beliefs or make such asanine statements as, “Believing there’s no God [allows me to] read ideas from all different people from all different cultures.” Remarkably enough, I can do that, too. It’s called being literate. The entire paragraph that follows that statement is simply a variation on the whole religion-makes-people-intolerant-and-unable-to-communicate theme. Obviously, if he believes there is no God, he must disagree with much of what he reads from those other cultures. Why is his disagreement different from my disagreement?

I also enjoyed this statement: “I don’t travel in circles where people say, ‘I have faith, I believe this in my heart, and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith.’” He then goes on to say how such statements of faith are somehow insulting to him and the equivalent of shouting an obscenity. In reality, it’s just the truth. Just as it is impossible to argue someone into religious belief, it is equally impossible to argue someone out of it. It doesn’t mean one can’t have interesting, respectful discussions on the subject. This is not an example of interesting, respectful discussion. This is the kind of stuff I’d expect from a high-schooler. Again, I really hope he can do better.


#11

Eileen:

Even if there is a God, you can lie cheat, steal and murder anyway … it’s called sinning against Him. Your choice.


#12

There are two kinds of Atheism:

  1. Strong atheists, such as myself, assert that no god exists. We are making a postive statement about the state of the universe, meaning that we believe there to be no god, of any kind, in existence.

  2. Weak atheists express a lack of belief in god. In other words, a weak atheist will say that they don’t believe in god, but will not assert it is impossible for one to exist.

There are other differences, but these are the main two.

For example, it is possible for a person to be a Strong Atheist WRT to the Catholic god, but a Weak Atheist WRT to, say, Thomas Paine’s deist type god.

After all, everyone here is a Weak Atheist of some type. How many believe in Zeus, or Thor?

Ty


#13

[quote=TySixtus]There are two kinds of Atheism:

  1. Strong atheists, such as myself, assert that no god exists. We are making a postive statement about the state of the universe, meaning that we believe there to be no god, of any kind, in existence.

  2. Weak atheists express a lack of belief in god. In other words, a weak atheist will say that they don’t believe in god, but will not assert it is impossible for one to exist.

There are other differences, but these are the main two.

For example, it is possible for a person to be a Strong Atheist WRT to the Catholic god, but a Weak Atheist WRT to, say, Thomas Paine’s deist type god.

After all, everyone here is a Weak Atheist of some type. How many believe in Zeus, or Thor?

Ty
[/quote]

Since you assert that no God exists the burden of proof rests with you to prove it. Please do so!


#14

[quote=buffalo]Since you assert that no God exists the burden of proof rests with you to prove it. Please do so!
[/quote]

This is nonsense.

Am I required to provide proof that leprechauns don’t exist? No, of course not. Your god is no different. Give me some characteristics of your god and I’ll disprove them, and easily.

The standard default for any belief is “No”, until proven otherwise. You don’t believe in anything until it’s existence is at least inferred from some other source. In other words, you can’t believe in something until you have knowledge of its essence.

Having said that, any type of god that you can conjure up can be disproven by anyone with a shred of critical thinking ability. Let’s give this a try. You provide some attributes a god may have, and I’ll disprove them.

While some would claim that it’s “impossible” for a person to claim that something doesn’t exist, I would hesistate to argue in this arena, as it leads to solipsism; which is considered to be a intellectually bankrupt field of philosophy.

I’m as certain that there is no god of any kind as I’m as certain as I’m sitting in this chair, right now. After 24 years on this planet, 21 of them as a Roman Catholic altar boy, lector and Eucharistic Minister, and having seen no evidence whatsoever for the existence of the Catholic god (let alone any other generic type of god concept) I can safely and reasonably say that no god exists.

If it turns out I’m wrong, I can admit it. I’m just not convinced, yet, so my answer is “no”.

I mean, should I go around thinking that maybe Zeus exists, because his non-existence can never be proven? No one but the theist, when defending his particular religion, makes this claim.

You can’t prove the non-existence of anything. You maintain a lack of belief when sufficient evidence hasn’t been provided. You do this in almost every facet of your life, except your theology. Your theology gets a pass.

Ty


#15

[quote=TySixtus]This is nonsense.

Am I required to provide proof that leprechauns don’t exist? No, of course not. Your god is no different. Give me some characteristics of your god and I’ll disprove them, and easily.

The standard default for any belief is “No”, until proven otherwise. You don’t believe in anything until it’s existence is at least inferred from some other source. In other words, you can’t believe in something until you have knowledge of its essence.

Having said that, any type of god that you can conjure up can be disproven by anyone with a shred of critical thinking ability. Let’s give this a try. You provide some attributes a god may have, and I’ll disprove them.

While some would claim that it’s “impossible” for a person to claim that something doesn’t exist, I would hesistate to argue in this arena, as it leads to solipsism; which is considered to be a intellectually bankrupt field of philosophy.

I’m as certain that there is no god of any kind as I’m as certain as I’m sitting in this chair, right now. After 24 years on this planet, 21 of them as a Roman Catholic altar boy, lector and Eucharistic Minister, and having seen no evidence whatsoever for the existence of the Catholic god (let alone any other generic type of god concept) I can safely and reasonably say that no god exists.

If it turns out I’m wrong, I can admit it. I’m just not convinced, yet, so my answer is “no”.

I mean, should I go around thinking that maybe Zeus exists, because his non-existence can never be proven? No one but the theist, when defending his particular religion, makes this claim.

You can’t prove the non-existence of anything. You maintain a lack of belief when sufficient evidence hasn’t been provided. You do this in almost every facet of your life, except your theology. Your theology gets a pass.

Ty
[/quote]

Your reasoning is faulty because you are looking for a proof that you will not see. In the case of the gods you mention they are mere fabriocations of men. The one true God is known throught the following ways - THe Catechism states:

** “I BELIEVE” - “WE BELIEVE”**

26 We begin our profession of faith by saying: “I believe” or “We believe”. Before expounding the Church’s faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy and lived in observance of God’s commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what “to believe” means. Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. Thus we shall consider first that search (Chapter One), then the divine Revelation by which God comes to meet man (Chapter Two), and finally the response of faith (Chapter Three).

further:

29 But this “intimate and vital bond of man to God” (GS 19 § 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man.3 Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.4

30 "Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice."5 Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, “an upright heart”, as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God

Important:


#16

Important:

II. WAYS OF COMING TO KNOW GOD

31 Created in God’s image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of “converging and convincing arguments”, which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These “ways” of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world’s order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.7 And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: “See, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?8

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”,9 can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”.10

35 Man’s faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God’s existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.


#17

[quote=TySixtus]This is nonsense.

Am I required to provide proof that leprechauns don’t exist? No, of course not. Your god is no different. Give me some characteristics of your god and I’ll disprove them, and easily.

[/quote]

One characteristic of “god”: that which is ultimately responsible for your existence.

Disprove that such a “god” exists, if you please.


#18

[quote=Ahimsa]One characteristic of “god”: that which is ultimately responsible for your existence.
[/quote]

Hogwash. Prove that this god is responsible for my existence. Furthermore, you’ve simply equivocated “god” with “that which creates life”. As far as I’m concerned, my mom and dad are responsible for my existence. Last I heard, sex leads to babies. And my mom and dad aren’t gods.

Ty


#19

[quote=TySixtus]Hogwash. Prove that this god is responsible for my existence. Furthermore, you’ve simply equivocated “god” with “that which creates life”. As far as I’m concerned, my mom and dad are responsible for my existence. Last I heard, sex leads to babies. And my mom and dad aren’t gods.

Ty
[/quote]

I am curious - is this your first stab at this?


#20

[quote=buffalo]Your reasoning is faulty because you are looking for a proof that you will not see.
[/quote]

Of course. If I believe first, then I suppose everything will be hunky-dory. Right?

In the case of the gods you mention they are mere fabriocations of men. The one true God is known throught the following ways - THe Catechism states:

Wait, wait, wait. So I’m to assume that you’ve got the scoop on what the one true god is, and what he wants from mankind?

In case you didn’t know, the 35,000 denominations of christianity all claim the same thing. As do the hundreds of denominations of Islam, and the Jews.

So can you give me any reason why I should trust you over everyone else? I mean, only one can be right, right?

Ty


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.