July 9, 2019

The Official God FAQ

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern 1860 001

"God" is perhaps one of the most complex and divisive subjects with which humanity has wrestled throughout our brief history. It is a subject that has stimulated countless philosophical debates, wars, and many of the worst atrocities our species has committed. As just one indicator of its importance, it is difficult to contemplate the number of people who have been killed over disagreements about the nature of this particular nameless entity.

Does it have to be this complicated or polarizing? What if there was a place one could go on the interwebs where one could have all one's relevant questions about "god" answered once and for all? Well, now there is: The Official God FAQ.

Pretty clear, wasn't it? Maybe we can move on now. Maybe nobody else needs to die over this ridiculous notion our primitive ancestors invented to explain things they didn't understand and to which some of our contemporaries continue to cling for reasons that aren't much better.

I can hear the objections now. "But you can't prove that (my preferred) god doesn't exist!" You are the one claiming that it exists, and so the burden of proof is yours. What I am saying is that you haven't met your burden. That makes not believing in gods (i.e., atheism) is far more reasonable than the alternative. If you want me to believe what you believe, provide me with sufficient evidence to support what you are asking me to believe. I change my mind frequently, and I'm really not that hard to persuade.

Of course, there might be a far simpler option for bringing me around to your beliefs: prayer. If your god would like me to join its tribe, it seems like it should have little difficulty in persuading me to do so. If it hasn't, maybe it doesn't want me. Or maybe you just haven't been praying to the right god.

An early version of this post appeared on Atheist Revolution in 2005. It was revised and expanded in 2019.