Monday, April 23, 2012

All Bets Are Off.

I’ve been debating a baker’s dozen of Christian Apologists and they all claim to have the logical high ground. After all, the best way to demonstrate that you are the most logical is simply by stating “I’m the most logical.” (read:sarcasm) This got me thinking, once you evoke the supernatural, does logic even matter?

Merriam-Webster defines logic as “a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration.” The words “science,” “validity,” “inference,” and “demonstration” all lose meaning against the supernatural. Gravity is not valid to Superman. I can’t accurately infer anything about the actions of a genie. Someone, please, demonstrate God.

If the supernatural exists, all bets are off. God can exist, but so can literally anything. You may be praying to Allah, but only because a telepath is forcing it upon your mind. Jesus could return, or he could be shapeshifter in disguise. God himself may be unwittingly doing the bidding of being that can conceal his influence even from the Lord.

If you think God is, by definition, the top dog and creator of everything thus making the above scenarios nonsensical, I ask you, how could you possibly know in a supernatural universe? Maybe an otherwise unknown mystical creature possessed the authors of the Bible just to mess with humanity. Suddenly we can’t trust our senses. We can’t even trust history since everything that once was may have been rewritten last Thursday.

An all-powerful being is capable of every deception. Just because your God wouldn’t do such things doesn’t mean a random supernatural entity wouldn’t. As a theist you must not only believe the supernatural is possible, but also that your particular flavor of the supernatural is real in the face of no evidence. Even if you suddenly you had evidence, it could be contrived by malevolent magic. All. Bets. Are. Off.

It appears as though the universe has rules that have made everything happen in a manner that is understandable, even if we don’t yet fully understand it. Sure, each rule could just be an illusion waiting to be turned on it’s head, but I choose to believe in only the natural. If a theist ever convinces me that the supernatural is possible, I’ll suddenly have many more questions...each crazier, yet entirely possible, than the last.


  1. Good post. I agree with you, if they could prove that god exists, it would lead only to many more questions.

    As far as a logical highground many of my conversations with apologists, the logic they employ seems to be a circular logic (think the ontological argument). If logic means going round and round in circles, then yes they have the highground. If it means following a line of questions to a reasonable end, then I am going to have to go with no, they don't

  2. Religions are like that famous film line, whereby everyone shouts and claims to be the true leader.........

    "I am Spartacus!"

    The religious seem to want to suspend the laws of rationality and time to accommodate their beliefs........should be quite interesting in another couple of thousand years, when we have cracked space travel!!:)

    In fact the more I think about it.......I'm Spartacus!!!!

  3. Grundy, I really enjoyed this post. I have tried to express similar sentiments myself, but not as well as you.

    Even so, let me play God's advocate. Every day of your life, when you get out of bed, you feel gravity pulling you toward the floor. How do you know that tomorrow you won't float to the ceiling when you fling off your covers?

    1. Glad you liked it.

      To tie your comment into this post, gravity is natural. We have an understanding of how it works. I have as much belief in gravity working tomorrow as I do in any of the physical laws working tomorrow. Maybe I can't know it as a certainty, but I'd bet my life for a $1 PayPal donation that it will work tomorrow. I wonder if you could get that kind of wager out of some demonstrable act of God from a believer?

      For example, I doubt Harold Camping would have made a life or death bet that the rapture would occur.

  4. I like where you take this argument. What is the supernatural realm? How can we know about it? Seems like a different take on the interaction problem. Great post Grundy.

  5. I just finished writing my thoughts (after a correspondence with a Christian apologist) on a similar quest for demonstration:

    In fact, demonstrating god's existence leads to a recurring questions, which is in my opinion vital: Can we still prove (s)he is moral and ethical? I doubt it. It's all fiction.