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If people are getting their morals from their conception of God, you’d think that contemplating God’s opinion might be more like thinking about someone else’s beliefs than thinking about your own.
But this isn’t the case. The same study also found that when you think about God’s beliefs, the part of your brain active when thinking about your own beliefs is more active than the part of your brain that is active when thinking about other people’s beliefs.
In other words, when thinking about God’s beliefs, you’re (subconsciously) accessing your own beliefs.
Fulfilled Biblical prophecy is often cited at atheists as proof that a God exists, but we’re not buying it. Why not?
First, there’s a logical disconnect. Suppose it were true that the Bible did accurately forecast future events. How does that demonstrate a god? Why not time travelers, aliens, or the simple ability of a person to see into the future, as a magical power? From our perspective, the theist has simply chosen the preferred conclusion out of many possibilities.
Often, the connection between fulfilled prophecy, and God, is just a fallacy of association. A book makes Claim X (prophecy), which turns out to be true. The book also makes Claim Y (God exists), and because it’s in the same book as Claim X, it must also be true.
That’s not how demonstration works. It would be fascinating if a 2000 year old book reliably, accurately and specifically predicted the future, but if you claim that this was due to a god, you have to actually demonstrate that mechanism. Otherwise, all we know is that people 2000 years ago somehow had knowledge about the future.
Beyond that, we can examine the nature of “prophetic claims”, to evaluate whether they indicate there’s anything to them.
Do you buy into horoscopes? If one is interested in knowing whether they “work” or not, we can find ways of evaluating them. For instance, one can go through the description for each sign, and rank each assertion as to how well they match your life and personality. Tally up the sums for each sign, and compare them to each other. You’l likely find that the majority of the signs match you fairly well, and many may match you better than the description for your own astrological sign.
That’s the point when you might realize that it’s essentially an inkblot test, where you’re reading vague, broad statements, and matching them to your life… and that’s it. Once you realize that, it’s easy to understand that it’s bunk, and is no longer compelling or interesting.
The question is loaded. It’s assuming it’s a “who” (some kind of being), instead of a “what”.
While a bunch of ideas exist that have yet to be supported, let’s cut to the chase. We don’t know.
Just because we don’t know doesn’t mean there’s any credibility to asserting that a supreme being is responsible. When we say that we don’t know, it means we don’t know – nothing more, nothing less. We’re currently looking into it.
This counts for virtually every question of “Well, if there’s no God, then how do you explain ________?“
Humanity has a long history of investigating phenomenon (such as lightning) that were thought to be supernatural (thrown by Zeus), only to find they’re perfectly natural phenomenon (equalization of electrical charge between the upper atmosphere and the ground via electrostatic breakdown of the air).
Out of that huge list of scientific investigations, we as a species have never confirmed a supernatural claim.
This question can arise often from a misconception about the burden of proof – “Can you prove that God doesn’t exist?“.
Law of probabilities
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence
W. K. Clifford (1879)
Many people are atheists because they think there is no evidence for God’s existence – or at least no reliable evidence. They argue that a person should only believe in things for which they have good evidence.
A philosopher might say that they start from the presumption of atheism.
The presumption of Atheism
This is an argument about where to begin the discussion of whether or not God exists.
It says that we should assume that God does not exist, and put the onus on people who believe in God to to prove that God does exist.
Depending what type of atheist one is asking, this question may or may not even make sense.
If one is asking a strong atheist – one who positively believes/asserts that there definitely is no god – most atheists would be right there beside you, wondering the same thing. Though, it depends heavily on the god definition. Definitions that are too narrow/specific are easy to disprove.
In short, the authors of this FAQ believe strong atheism is not justified.
On the other hand, when asking a default/weak atheist the question, the question doesn’t make sense. The default/weak atheist position is “You haven’t supplied sufficient evidence to convince me that your claims are true.” (since the theist has the burden of proof).
… so you’d literally be asking the atheist what evidence he/she has that proves that “you haven’t convinced me” is true and accurate, since default atheism is not a position that no gods exist.
Asking such a question would be like asking “what temperature does the number 7 melt?” It’s technically a question, because it has a question-mark at the end, but the question itself is gibberish, when applied to numbers.
Before asking the atheist the question, you’d benefit from clarifying whether he/she is a strong or default atheist, and go from there. Asking this question can make you seem like someone who doesn’t understand the topic enough to even ask a coherent question.