What is a god? A magical, usually anthropomorphic immortal being. Well, if a god existed, he would have to obey the Law of Identity and would not be allowed to have magic. Nor would he be immortal.
So, no, gods cannot exist. Not if being magical and immortal are essential aspects of being a god.
Since such a being is impossible, he clearly cannot exist. That is why some atheists are so certain that no god can exist. It would be worse than naive to believe an impossible entity could possibly exist.
I am guessing because he prefers people to have faith that he exists, rather than direct evidence. It is not a matter of faith to believe someone exists when you hear them speak directly to you.
Or, it could be because he does not exist and it is easier to fake the written Word of God than the oral equivalent.
Trying to fake the spoken word of God has a few problems…
For one he sounds quite mortal and not divine, unless you have a huge special effects budget. Which was clearly not available at the time Christianity was being created.
You could also have God only speak to certain people. But, that has the obvious problem of you then having to just take their word for it. Not a problem if you are taking all this stuff on faith anyway.
As an atheist, I am going with it just being easier to fake, if you say that he prefers mortals to write his word for him.
Having it in a book also makes it easier, for a few reasons, some of which I will explore, in no particular order.
Firstly, remember that in those days most people could not read. In fact, priests were often some of the only people that could read.
So, if God did not speak directly, then how could they know what God said? They have to consult his book. Who can read it? The priests. This made it very easy for priests to become important and powerful people.
It also makes it easier to maintain their status as mysterious cults. If only the priests can read the Word of God, then they are perceived as holders of knowledge that most people cannot have, which increases their perceived authority.
It also makes it harder for most people to argue with the priests. Imagine that some believers disagreed with the meaning of the religious texts. If God spoke to people, then people could try clear it up with God. At least, they could if he existed.
But, if the Word of God is only in written form and the priests do not want to admit that they are wrong, this is much easier if almost nobody else can read the Word of God. Then they can just tell people what they think the text says and not have to worry about people being able to check for themselves.
So, in short, I believe that the two major reasons why the Christian God and many others do not speak directly to most of their believers and instead speak through holy texts are that:
A) The Gods do not exist and it is thus easier to pretend that they do by using holy texts.
B) Holy texts give priests and their various churches more power and perceived credibility in cultures where most people cannot read the holy texts.
Why do we have to “explain existence”? Obviously, existence exists, everyone knows that, even the most dishonest Creationist.
There is no “explaining” existence. It simply is. Any explanation of it would presuppose something that exists in order to be able to explain existence!
Existence has no cause. A cause presupposes the existence of something in order to cause it!
Introducing God into the mix makes things no better. If God existed before everything else, then God was at that point all of existence. Why then should I not ask you: can’t you admit that you cannot explain God?
Saying “because God is magic” is not an answer. Which I believe you know, because if I said “The universe just appeared out of nothing and then exploded”, you would laugh.
Why then, isn’t it equally absurd to argue that God just appeared out of nowhere and created the universe out of nothing?
And if we must explain existence, why can’t we demand that you explain God?
But, you can’t explain God, because he does not exist.
So, any attempt to explain existence is by necessity, circular and futile. Existence exists now and always has. Existence has no explanation. It just is. Accept it.
So, this atheist will freely admit that we cannot explain existence. And then tell you that we should never be asked to!
No. I think unexplained events are proof that we have not explained everything yet.
The question makes a major leap or two. First, it assumes that God exists. Which has never been established and since magical beings are impossible, never will be.
So, if God does not exist, how can the fact that we cannot explain things prove that God does exist?
But, let us suppose that we believe he exists. There is still no reason to jump to “God did it”. That is just a “God of the Gaps” argument where you assume that everything science cannot explain must be explained by God.
Why must it be explained by God? Why not assume that reason can explain it and just because we do not know the answer, does not mean that we cannot find the answer.
I can tell you one thing, the answer will not be God. Every time someone has assumed that they have been shown to be wrong. The correct answer is never “God did it”.
Just because we cannot explain something now, does not mean that we will not find an answer later.
Unless we assume it was God. Then we stop looking for the real answer and we never find it.
Why then, should we ever assume that anything we cannot explain has anything to do with God?
Now let us answer a question submitted by one of our listeners, regarding the particle-wave duality of light discussed in “Episode Seven – Bohr’s Philosophy“. Thank you, Steve, for this question.