Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anecdotal Evidence

For those of you who don't know, my mother-in-law is an evangelist. She is an Apostolic Faith evangelist who is chairperson of the missionary department at my former church.

If I told her now that I am an atheist, her head would spin around three times. Then she'd rebuke the devil and lay hands on me until she pushed me down through the floor.

That's how I'd imagine my "coming out" experience, anyhow.

See why I stay in the closet?

She came to our home for a short visit (on the night that I'm writing this). And she told us a cute little anecdote:

A little boy gave a report about how God created the heavens and the earth according to Genesis. After his report, the teacher began to ask him a few questions.

Can you see my hair?
Can you see my blouse?
Can you see my shoes?
Can you see my face?

The little boy didn't understand the teacher's line of questioning. But he answered "yes" to all of her questions.

Then the teacher asked, Can you see God?

The little boy sheepishly answered, "no".

Then the teacher explained to him how he need not believe in God because we cannot see God. Since we cannot see God, he does not exist.

The teacher was an atheist.

Then the next little boy gave his report. He directed his questions towards the class:

Can you see the teacher?
Can you see her shoes?
Can you see her blouse?
Can you see her hair?

All the students answered "yes".

Then the little boy asked, Can you see her brain?

The students answered, "no".

Then the little boy concluded his report:

Well then, she must don't have no brain.
I admit that I found the story cute. And my mother-in-law has a knack for delivering a good punch line.

I laughed to myself.

But, sorry, that story doesn't count as sound anecdotal evidence.

An autopsy would revel that the teacher in the story indeed has a brain. Although, she might not have been all that smart.

A CAT scan would also revel her brain too, I guess. So, I suppose we have no need of cutting people open to prove they have brains.

The mistake? Many theists seem to misunderstand. Atheists do not doubt God's existence simply because we cannot see God.

Atheists doubt God's existence because no one can produce sound, physical evidence that proves God exists.

The Bible doesn't count. We can't prove God actually wrote it. The same goes for any other sacred scripture text.

Philosophical arguments and "common sense" arguments (such as the complexity of the universe or the human eye) are only opinions. More physical evidence seems to support the idea that the universe can exist without a God of any sort rather than the idea that any particular God created the world.

I didn't say that science disproves God's existence. Perhaps an impersonal God exists. Maybe a Personal God exists.

Maybe personal gods exist because the people keep making up different, personalized gods with their imaginations?

Regardless, the theists aren't proving God's existence either.

Again, belief in God is by faith-- not by sight.

Nor by CAT scans or ultrasound.

See? Atheism isn't quite so unreasonable after all.
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