“Which god? Yahweh? Allah? Thor? Wotan? Zeus? Isis? Osiris?”
Saints and Sceptics
A depressingly common objection to evidence that God exists queries:
Which god? Yahweh? Allah? Thor? Wotan? Zeus? Isis? Osiris? Loki? Odin? Mithra? Lolth? Aphrodite? Poseidon? Cronos? Horus? Beddru? Krishna? Zarathustra? Baal? Dagon? Dionysus? Enki? Gaia? Helios? Hermes? Marduk? Ra? Seti? Vishnu? Shiva? Xenu? Akuma? Raiden? Gekka? Bumba? Eshu? Jupiter? Romulus? Ilia? Venus? Abaangui? Ewah? Imhotep? Periboriwa? Dagda? Ishtar? Baldur? Tyr? Quetzalcoatl? Ixchel? Qi-Lin? Dievas? Adonis? Xanthus? Kali? Akka? Anubis? Sif? Mercury? Juno? Brahma? Frith? Eric Clapton? Or one of tens of thousands of others?
Perhaps the atheist is suggesting that evidence for God’s existence is irrelevant, since it doesn’t give us much information on who God is or if he has communicated with us? That would be a very strange position to take. We don’t need to focus on exactly what God is like before discussing whether there is in fact an intelligent creator and designer of the universe. It would be like a detective saying he wasn’t interested in whether a person was murdered and instead just focussing on what kind of person the potential murderer might be.
As it happens, I think that that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to murder President Kennedy. Evidence which unequivocally demonstrated that Oswald could not have acted alone would be of monumental significance – especially if the evidence showed that significant resources had been expended to kill the President. The conspiracy theorists would have been proved correct. It would not matter that we did not yet know the exact identity of the conspirators. We would know that we needed to put much more effort into discovering their identity and in understanding one of the most significant events of the Twentieth Century.
Similarly, it is an extraordinary event in a person’s life if she becomes convinced of the truth of monotheism. She has gained a deeper insight into the nature of life, the universe and everything, and so will also be motivated to understand more about the identity of the creator. And establishing the identity of the creator could be much easier than the sceptic might think. The gods of polytheism can be immediately dismissed. Sceptics tend to get their understanding of polytheism from “The Clash of the Titans”; they tend to view it as proposing numerous supernatural being who created and control the world.
Now, even if this was the case, polytheism could be rejected a less simple theory than monotheism, because it posits many causes when one will suffice. These gods seem too contingent to explain the existence of the universe. Nor could they explain why one set of moral standards exists rather than many…
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