Philosophers and theologians have been quarreling for centuries over a handful of abstract arguments –ontological, cosmological, teleological, experiential . . .– that some insist either prove or disprove the existence of God. Obviously, they don’t prove either, or the argument would be over. Mind you, I do think it’s over. The scholars have had their noses so deep in their books that they didn’t notice the obvious.
1. Mosquitos. Let me get it straight. The world – in fact the whole universe—is fine tuned so that humans, the pinnacle of creation can live here on Earth and spend our time joyously praising God. Oh, and there are mosquitos, but they didn’t evolve. They are part of the perfect plan. Huh.
2. Migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches are about as useful as mosquitos, and they hurt worse. As many as ten percent of school kids get migraines; mine started right around the time I learned to talk—barf-in-the-bathtub headaches, not the rare-but-benign flashing lights and visual distortions that make you think you’re on good drugs. Any god who created migraines would be a sadist.
3. Nudibranchs. Nudibranchs are the coolest creatures on the planet. Why would a loving God put them where no-one could see them for the first ten or twenty or thirty thousand years of human history?
4. Prayer. My mother prays for rain in Scottsdale when the tortoises start dying of thirst in the desert –and lo and behold my basement floods in Seattle. (Rain dances don’t work so well either. I tried them a number of times when I was a kid. Got dust storms.) What does that tell you? Is the rain god helpless, or mean, or non-existent? Ok, my apologies. That forced choice sounds a little too much like the tired old trilemma that some Christians use to defend Jesus: was he an a. lunatic, b. liar, or c. Lord? It’s possible that Jesus was a legend or a reformist rabbi; and it’s possible that the god of rain is simply geographically challenged, or ignorant rather than mean, or that he exists on alternate Thursdays, even though cognitive scientist Pascal Boyer says my brain structure won’t let me believe this.
5. Babies without brains. Some people think that believers without hearts—like, say Catholic bishops who cover up for pedophile priests– are reason to doubt that there is a god. But I think there’s some wiggle room in terms of who’s at fault in those heartless pedophilia cases. On the other hand – anencephalic babies that are born with literally no brains– babies that are physically incapable of becoming persons–no wiggle whatsoever.
6. Bad marketing. If you were God, would you let Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, or Anjem Choudary speak for you. Would God really be less marketing savvy than Coca Cola?
7. Endometriosis. According to the Bible, God retooled women’s reproductive tracts after Eve ate the apple. The idea was that we would want sex and get pregnant, and then having babies would hurt like hell. If the story were true, mightn’t you think God would have gotten the design right? Why have some of us bleed every month like sacrificial goats and then not get pregnant so we can actually live out Eve’s curse?
8. The Ten Commandments. How neither set of Ten Commandments in the Bible (here and here) says, “Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.” Or “Don’t have sex with anyone who doesn’t want you to.” Epic fail. Imagine if wash your hands had replaced, say, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth [like nudibranchs].” Just think how many lives could have been saved! Or how about that non-PC commandment about not coveting your neighbor’s ox or ass or wife or other valuable stuff. Really? Really? Implicit endorsement of wife as chattel? Some people say that the Ten Commandments are just evidence against the Jewish or Christian God. But would any omnipotent, omnibenevolent extant deity have let them stand unedited for 3000 years?
9. Stars. There are way, way too many of them and they are way too far away. Efficiency is part of good design. If God designed the universe for us, seems like he could have simply put a firmament above the earth, with little holes where the waters above the firmament could come through, and where angels could lower down lights– say a greater light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night. It would be kinda like the Truman Show. Who needs deep space?
10. Chocolate. If there was a God, would chocolate make you fat? I rest my case.
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org. Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.
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Okay Valerie, that’s fun and certainly “proves” that there is not a loving G/god. But it doesn’t prove there is not an interfering, meddling, game-playing G/god. Not does it answer the question as to whether there is an awesome creative first force that set the machinery going and then stepped back to watch. As for me I’m still with Col. Ingersoll who, as I’m sure you know, said
“all should be permitted to have their opinions, and my opinion is that nobody knows”.
I enjoy your blog.
Thanks! As you guessed, I wasn’t really trying to prove that there is no god. I think we can certainly rule out some human conceptions of God — like the one(s) taught by the Bible writers and their modern day kin. But I also think that god can be defined in such a way that the only possible answer is, “we don’t know.” My objective is simply to whittle away at archaic god concepts that are harmful.
How can you prove that the God of the Bible does not exist? Nobody can. Nor can anybody prove his existence, because He would not want it to be so – if there was proof, then nobody would have faith, because they don’t need it. Please don’t rule out the idea of God, because he has never ruled out anybody. He loves all equally, and he sent His son to die on a cross to pay for all our sins, then rose again, and that is why I love God and have faith in Him. I think God is awesome!
Kathie Lee (sorry Valerie, there was no reply button to her), I’m in a relationship with Casper the Holy Ghost and the Wizard of Oz is great, even performs miracles, how can you prove that they don’t exist?
Here’s another one for you Kathie Lee- Capt. Kirk has had more resurrections than Jesus Christ. Says so right here in my little book too.
No matter how you slice it or wax whimsically of creative forces or pranksters, you can’t logically escape the question of who or what made “him”. If your explanation for our so called unlikely without help existence is even more unlikely in the extreme ….
Which human conceptions of God should I NOT rule out?
The ten (non)proofs show Holy Bible is not the only scripture.Migraine occurs when deep seated anger/ hatred /suffering is not allowed to be expressed (IE good manners /etiquette),mosquitos are evolving to be resistant to DDT Malathion et al ,Nudibranchs are not curious about our history ,prayers need not be answered,enencephalic children are always female children and God probably teaches a lesson ,God does not like markets stocks shares bonuses ,endometriosis occurs when a woman deeply desires womanhood in every part of her body ,ten commandments and other parts of Bible are edited periodically by King James or his successors,stars show the greatness of God ,and God did not stop at chocolates He gave us sugar butter junk food and gave us a choice .
There are 1000 explanations to prove God exists . May I rest my case here Lady ?
And Harry Potter and the Sorcerer flys to the stars and brings back chocolate from sky daddy to share with bad man priests who get fat and pray that they are forgiven for raping young boys…….Jackass…..
What about faith?
Your tongue-in-cheek post wryly addresses the “God question” in the simple-minded terms that are commonly used to defend Religion. If I’m on your wavelength, then it isn’t God per se that is the issue but the validity of Religion, the precepts of which were constructed out of ignorance of the world and which continue to linger long past their usefulness.
Weaksauce! Maybe not the Judeo-Christain god, but it does not prove if there is indeed a higher power that is outside our knowledge.
You are right. Some conceptions of gods are falsifiable; others are not. My tongue-in-cheek article was aimed at the former.
And the Ten Commandments that actually made it into the Ark of the Covenant (remember that the first set got smashed) didn’t even contain “don’t kill”.
And this is the pinnacle of moral wisdom?
I was a practicing Christian for over 15 years…..I served as a musician in some of the largest Churches in the Seattle area……I was on stage one day and the asshole music leader said a nasty comment to me in front of many other serving, (NON PAID), members unlike himself. I was already so tired of Christian wackiness that I packed my gear at the end of service and never went back. After years now of De-programming, researching etc, I am more clear and sane than I have ever been and that the honest truth is that – WE DON’T KNOW!, and that is the real truth – So to live on faith, (UNLESS IT’S FAITH YOUR GOING TO STOP EATING DORITOS AND SOUR CREAM, ICE CREAM AND SODA), as said above is retarded irresponsible behavior. Example: I have faith that there is a poo poo monster that reins in my attic and I worship him. He tells me things everyday and you should listen to him also or you will die and go to an ice land deep down under and you’ll freeze yer nuts off……With all the scientific knowledge we have today, It’s more likely that space aliens from a Katillion, zillion lights years away, made an experiment that went horribly wrong, and then they loaded us in the star orbiter, came zipping through a black hole on their slip and slide and dropped our fat asses off here because we are all assholes and ate all the wheat-grass and drank all the beer on the good planet and they left us to rot hear on planet crap-hole…..When Adams ass hit the ground, (when they threw him off the orbiter), he bumped his head on a tree and an apple fell to the ground and he ate it…His dumb blonde girlfriend, (that also got the boot), said she made him eat it, they fought, (again), they wrote a book about it and had sex and played angry birds with Noah….. and so the story goes….That’s faith in a nutshell…….And this is sanity my fellow Christians…..
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It’s frustrating to have wasted years of one finite, precious life on hogwash.
I Pray for you and everyone else that is commenting on this.You guys don’t know JESUS yet and someday you will.As it says in the bible that he the KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS,is coming soon.and when that day comes you will see that their is a GOD and many of your questions will be answered.You and everyone else including me will have a chance to see our Creater face to face.Its called judgment day and he will judge us for everything we ever did on this earth.SO valerie please keep your comments to yourself.im not judging you or anything but i really am offensive by this thing.
And he did not waist his life of anything.He was doing what he wanted and he will be awarded for that and the reason he stoped was becasue the devil had him.Ohh yeah another question i want to ask you.Do You believe in the Devil.?i bet you would say yes.
Angel, you are indeed offensive. Your loving god is going to send people to hell so they can roast for trillions of years—that’s pretty offensive.
And calling for people to keep their comments to themselves? Have you read the nonsense you’re writing? I defend your right to say them, but, seriously, you’ve got some huevos to imagine that your opinion is the only one that deserves to be expressed.
Angel, Try reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Ra/Horus was also King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as well as the way and the life. He was also the source of life and light, AND was indeed coming soon, arising from the land of the dead, having houses, etc etc. You’re offended? I’m offended you haven’t studied mythology better than you have. Even Tom Harpur, an Anglican priest has said, “Religion is mythology misunderstood.” (see below)
All these things come about because man refuse to repent of their sinful ways . This proves that there is no God . It proves that sin has caused all the plegues to fall upon the earth . God does not need to prove Himself to us . He does not need us . Tell me why you think He needs to explain Himself to you? What have you done to stop these things from happening ? Did evolution leave you some instructions ? I blame evolution since there is no God . Better yet I blame man for all that has happened . U
Oh yes, migraine headaches from hell, where you puke up your guts as your mother holds your hair out of your way as you shake to death from your nervous system going bonkers and then she guides you to bed when you stop dry heaving, I’ve had since I was 5. I still get them to this day and I hate them. You’re right, if such a deity as religious believers, Xians, Muslims, Jews, etc, believe exists, then s/he/it is indeed a sadist.
Ooh you’re bringing back bad memories!
I still have them sometimes.
On Chocolate, that is probably the only reason aliens would come here, and I take that as clear evidence for the dark goddess of Chocolate!
Fun! Must have been hard to stick to just 10 reasons.
This is the deal: Religion is too ingrained in societies to do anything about it. It is particularly pernicious in the US. In China they do not have this counter-productive influence. The US is going to implode due to this religious noise. Morons, the uneducated and the misinformed are being led by the greedy and the power-hungry. Those of us who can see this can do nothing about it. This is due to the power of the comercial, superficial, corporate church and the racist, sexist, reactionary, right-wing, “southern/KKK, style” evangelical, propaganda machine. The citizens remain dumb and hostile. It has been this way since forever.
This religious stuff (here in the US whre I am most familiar with the problem) will create major classs struggle in the not too distant future.
This is scary. Similar to being surrounded by fascists. It is a war.
Following God is not about it being a religion, it’s more about a relationship with Him. The one who created the world, the one who sent his son to die for our sins, and the one who loves everyone, no matter what they’ve done, infinitely.
why earth almost have everything to supply our technology why your head is good design….did you experience wake up in the morning and your father or mother prepare a breakfast for you?,,,or the food on your table just appeared???i ask bcoz i think theres no great things just appear in this world..great things happen because someone make that happen…why the earth is a good design???i hope you can help with my questions because you proof that there’s no god…
Thank you Valerie, for you wisdom, humor and passion. I have recently stepped out of the evangelical closet and see much sense in your perspectives. For many years I cared for people with special needs, one boy in particular required tube feeding and had a port right through his belly into his stomach, he suffered from migraines and seizures and could only communicate basic needs. I would hold him and wonder “why God?” Is his suffering so that I could learn something? Seemed quite sadistic to me. As I view the Bible from the perspective of myth, a collection of stories that contains wisdom, that reflects the history of a specific range of people; not as a book to be worshipped but to help explain questions that could not be explained; I finally can see it clearly.
This is where u are wrong. U believe that there isn’t a God when the answers are right in front of you.
Fresh water was recently discovered in sea water by scientists who claimed it to be a great discovery
And yet it was mentioned in the Bible
In the story of Job thousands of years ago
Take a time and take a look at yourself
Everyone is unique right
You have the different fingerprints,DNA etc………….
Don’t you think that there had been someone who took time creating every single strands of DNA
instead if being a cosmic accident
Which story is more believable
A cosmic accident happened where everybody has different and unique DNA
There is a God who loves us so much that He took Care and tenderness to create from a single hair strand to the blood of our body which the heart pumps
The choice is yours to choose of what to believe?
I think its amazing that God wove me together in his mother’s womb, and that all are fearfully and wonderfully made. It would be an empty world, empty of spirit, if everything was just chemical reactions..
I think the complexities of life are amazing, The world is overflowing with an awesomeness that often leaves me breathless. It is a sad perspective, to cling on to the idea of belief in god, if only because the world would seem empty otherwise.
As the scales of “faith” fell away from my eyes, I saw how mislead I had been. My anger fell away to sadness, for I could see so many people that I loved, were lost, trapped in a mindset spiraling around the false premise that the Bible is the ultimate truth. That no matter what logic and reasoning were applied after this premise, they were lost from the ability to see the truth they were really seeking.
Happy 2014 fellow readers of Away Point. Thank you Valerie, for helping me, and many others, to break out of the false premise, by showing that we are not alone, by showing that it is not an empty world, as people like Katie Lee would have us believe.
Ah geeze! How sweet! The mighty hand of God is crocheting fetuses in mothers’ wombs! Does he do this for non-human mommies too?
Kid, maybe someday you will understand the truth, which is you have been suckered, yet it appears much of the definition of who “you are” is based an entity you cannot prove. Imagine that….”amazing that God wove me together?’
Why not “amazing that god wove “all of us” together?”
Why not,.”amazing that god wove Christians, jews, muslims, blacks, whites, Asians, dogs,cats, gays, bacteria, etc. etc,” together?
For example, “god created mankind in his image.” That means ALL mankind…including the folks many “believers” don’t like…like atheists, liberals, pro-choice people, and transgender lesbians.”
Now…in order to “believe in god,” you must follow his (it)_ dictates, right? He “make no mistakes…right?
So who are you, your daddy, your mommy, etc. to JUDGE folks you don’t like? You know, like Muslims.
So…don’t get on this thing and attempt to convey a reality that is less than complete…meaning your own. If “god” works for you fine…but otherwise “seek the truth” by AT FIRST, questioning an existence that, one would suspect, would REQUIRE more than “I have been told by my———(you fill in the blank).
THEN… spend a year or two (minimum), NOT EVERY DAY….learning YOUR BOOK.
Who wrote it, when, how, why?
Then self-reflect….compare this reality to a logical, HUMAN, scientific, philosophy and perspective.
Otherwise you are blind and faith will only carry you so far.
Whoever wrote does certainly must have an IQ of negative 1000
I’m not sure if these are really taken to be serious, because they are radically ignorant of traditional Jewish views. The Jewish scriptures are a fun punching bag for our increasingly anti-semitic culture (The Jewish scriptures are the most “Jewish” things in existence, they define “Jewishness” and mocking them is mocking “Jewishness” itself.)
Onto rebutting the anti-semitism: Numbers 6 & 10 are pretty obviously tongue-in-cheek, so they won’t be addressed. Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 7 can be grouped under one heading. “The creation is supposed to be perfect but there are imperfections in it”. Bereishis (Genesis for non-Jews) explains that HaShem cursed the world because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. It declares that HaShem changed the physical universe to make it painful as part of the curse. Thorns and thistles are mentioned explicitly but anyone who understands Jewish thought realizes that more is implied in the curse including migraines, babies born with all sorts of defects, mosquitoes (the animal kingdom was modified in the curse, not evolved but instantly changed), and of course the pain of childbirth. The implication is that _all_ of life was affected and made painful.
Number 4: HaShem only answers prayer that reflects His will, He will not answer each and every whim of man. Number 8: Aseret Hadiberot or the “10 commandments” are about how to serve and love HaShem, not about how to prolong your life on this earth although the two may be related. Number 9: More mockery of Jewishness. Hama’or hagadol and hama’or haqaton are the Sun and Moon respectively. Why are hakochavim so many and so distant? To display the great power of HaShem, who made them all by simply speaking. It required no effort so there was nothing “inefficient” about it, and it wasn’t worthless because we obviously have the ability to understand how incredibly large the creation is otherwise this mockery of Jewishness would not be able to mention it at all.
Oh honey. God is too great for us to understand his ways. One day we will see him for ourselves. There is no proof that God does not exist. We have the Bible, the ten commandments, and countless miracles and answered prayers to prove he exists. No one has to prove he exists because we believe in him for the betterment of ourselves. It is called “we believe”, not “we know this by scientifically proven facts.” It is a choice that we make. He does in fact exist, you just have to choose to aknowlege him.
Oh honey. Cling to that.