There is No Evidence for God

There is just no evidence for God’s existence.

Have you ever heard this?

How would you reply? If you’ve studied the issue, it’s tempting to say something like:

What!? Are you crazy? Haven’t you heard of all these arguments [insert a bunch of arguments] and all these smart people who believe in God [insert names of smart people] ?

While I’m sure you can score points that way in the conversation, I don’t think it’s the best tactic. It might insult the person’s intelligence. And it sounds patronizing.

Yet, there is definitely truth in that response. Frankly, the atheist should know better. The internet has made tons of evidence for God readily available. Click any of these buttons for some video examples.

A Tactical Reply

My advice: be patient and ask a good question. Here’s a great one I stole from Trent Horn:

That’s interesting you say there is no evidence. I’m curious, what is the best evidence you have heard and what do you think is the problem with it?

You’re off the hot seat immediately, and no one feels insulted. Next, recognize that they can answer in about three different ways.

A1: They have never heard any evidence.

A2: They have heard some evidence, but it is weak.

A3: They have heard some strong evidence, yet they point to a mistake in reasoning.

In all likelihood, they will respond with no evidence (A1) or weak evidence (A2). In both of those cases, you can affirm their skepticism based on such evidence (or lack thereof), and offer something more for their consideration (e.g. the Kalam or Contingency argument). You could say:

  • You know, I’d have to agree with you. That support for God’s existence is pretty weak, but there are other philosophical arguments out there. Have you ever heard the Kalam or Contingency argument? Would you mind if I shared them? I find them to be good reasons to think God exists.

Naturally, you must prepare (see the 3 P’s) for this discussion to do well in offering the arguments. Much more to come on those specific arguments in future posts.

The Prepared Skeptic

Of course, there is a chance they will respond with strong evidence and assert a mistake in the reasoning (A3). This atheist or skeptic did his homework, and you should commend that! Moreover, you can reply to his objection, provided that you have a good understanding to the issue. You could say:

  • That’s a good point and shows that you have looked into the issue seriously. Have you ever considered [insert a resolution to the issue he raised]?

If you haven’t studied his objection and don’t know how to answer, grant him the point. Also, let him know you’ll look into it and get back to him. It’s best to be intellectually honest.

Your Action Plan

Follow these three steps.

  1. Rehearse some arguments for God’s existence in your spare time.
  2. When you hear the no-evidence objection, respond with Trent Horn’s question.
  3. Reply accordingly to their A1, A2, or A3 responses.

Now go out there and do it! You got this!

Books!

For a survey of some great arguments, check out On Guard by William Lane Craig.

For a defense of Aquinas’s 5 Ways, check out Aquinas by Edward Feser.

A Tactical Question to Ask: What is the best evidence you’ve heard for God’s existence and what’s wrong with it?

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4 Responses

  1. Baxter says:

    I’ve only made it through a couple of your linked videos, but here’s a comment I made on one of them:

    “Religion exists at the edge of knowledge”, Before we understood the
    mechanics of cell division, humans thought it was divine. Now we know
    better. We can explain what is happening with physics and chemistry.

    You discount chance with a specious argument, right at the end of your commentary on chance. (beautiful video, by the way). But you are missing the concept of eternity. If something has a chance of 1-to-the-10-to-the-120 of happening, that’s pretty unlikely, but infinity looks at that number and laughs at how tiny it is.

    How about this: The Universe (physics and stuff) tries (and here I’m anthropomorphising, but that process is still unknown to us) and in the ten-to-the-ten-to-the-thousand-to-the-ten times, one of these tries gets it right. Perhaps that’s where we are now. A chance. An infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters randomly recreating the works of Shakespeare.

    If you discount chance and call it GOD, you’re no different than the medieval alchemist doing his chants to turn lead into gold.

    • John DeRosa says:

      Baxter,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Re: “Religion exists at the edge of knowledge”. . .

      This seems to imply that all of the arguments for God are “God-of-the-gaps” arguments. This is not the case. Some of the strongest arguments for God are rooted in philosophy not in the natural sciences. I think you’ll appreciate this analogy: some of the strongest arguments against the minimum wage are rooted in theoretical economic reasoning not in empirical case studies of the minimum wage.

      Re: but infinity looks at that number and laughs at how tiny it is.

      This assumes there was an infinity (or sufficiently large number) of chances of producing the universe. But if there is only one universe (and note that we don’t have empirical evidence of any other universes), then that does not refute the point.

      Re: How about this: The Universe (physics and stuff) tries (and here I’m anthropomorphising, but that process is still unknown to us) and in the ten-to-the-ten-to-the-thousand-to-the-ten times, one of these tries gets it right. Perhaps that’s where we are now. A chance. An infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters randomly recreating the works of Shakespeare.

      What do you mean by “The Universe tries”? Doesn’t “The Universe” already have the constants and quantities in question? If so, are you proposing that the constants and quantities have changed tons of times in the past? I’m a little unclear on what you’re arguing here.

      Re: If you discount chance and call it GOD, you’re no different than the medieval alchemist doing his chants to turn lead into gold.

      The fine-tuning argument doesn’t merely discount chance with hand waving. It aims to show that chance is not the best explanation of what we observe. To counter that, you will need to show why chance (or something else) is the best explanation.

  2. Baxter says:

    OK, I’ve gone through the rest of the videos. They are all on the same YouTube channel. All but one has the comments disabled. It’s obvious to me that you are proselytizing, even though you are pitching this site as some logical proof of GOD. There is no such thing.

    To say that there can be no good or evil without GOD is placing a razor-thin subjective definition of good and evil.

    I came here as a link from Tom Woods. I would expect that someone who appreciates Tom and the libertarian ethos would not try to paint his faith through deceptive arguments full of strawman arguments and painting theories and faith as fact.

    Deception is one of those things that a lot of people would call “evil”.

    I’m what you would call an atheist, but I believe that good people respect the rights of others as long as their actions don’t impinge on the rights of me or other people. I would consider myself a good person, but by your theory, good doesn’t exist in my universe.

    Believe what you want, but when you peddle deceit, I think we can both agree that such an act is the genesis of evil. In your bible, I believe the serpent used deceit to fool Eve into eating the apple.

    • John DeRosa says:

      Baxter,

      I’m sorry to disappoint your curiosity, but I appreciate you stopping after hearing the Tom Woods Show and leaving some comments.

      Re: OK, I’ve gone through the rest of the videos. They are all on the same YouTube channel.

      4 of the 5 are from reasonable faith but the Aristotelian argument is not on that channel. I would suggest you look into that one at some point. It is the closest argument to the one Tom presents on his show episode 272.

      Re: I would expect that someone who appreciates Tom and the libertarian ethos would not try to paint his faith through deceptive arguments full of strawman arguments and painting theories and faith as fact.

      These are hand-waving assertions. Care to elaborate?

      Re: Believe what you want, but when you peddle deceit, I think we can both agree that such an act is the genesis of evil.

      It is not my intention to “peddle deceit” and I’m very confused as to what deceit I am peddling. If you read the intro, the point of this article is to counter the assertion that “There is no evidence for God’s existence.”

      Whether or not you return, I’m glad we have some common ground as Tom Woods Show fans.

      Peace,
      John D.

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