A Question for Believers that you might find useful in discussions.

The following was published on Gather.com after the posting of still another xtian rant. Feel free to use it whenever it might apply.

A Question for Believers

August 29, 2009 04:29 PM EDT

I posed this question in several different forms on the thread of a post that declared those of us who could or would not accept the "fact" of god's existence were just being obstinate, obdurate, obtuse or, in her words "intentionally ignorant". The gist of her prolix, but barely comprehensible rant was that it had been "scientifically proven" that "god is", and named several books which she touted as containing these proofs. Of course, she lol-ed that she hadn't actually read these works, but she knew they contained absolute proof of the existance (sic) of a supreme being, just as she knew such an entity was our creator and savior. So I asked a logical question, based on her thesis, as follows:

"Question: if this 'god' entity is a fact, how can an ordinary human like me deny its existence? I can't see, smell or feel oxygen either, but I know that it is indeed an integral part of the universe without which I could not live. It is part of my nature to breathe it. I cannot, therefore, refute its existence. Oxygen is. Just as this little piece of space detritus on which we live is, just as all the stars and planets are, just as the organism we call "humanity" is. All apparent, all proven, all completely believable and part of our collective consciousness. We are all born with the same knowledge base, instilled in our survival instincts; no sentient being could argue otherwise.

"So, if the 'god' thing is equally present, not to say omnipresent, how is it possible for so many of us to deny its existence? Why wouldn't that knowledge be as inborn as our other instincts? How could an entity presumed to have created us fail to encode itself into our genes? In short, if god truly exists, how can so many millions of us, after thoughtful research and consideration, see it as simply an ill-informed opinion?"

To my disappointment, this was met with a torrent of condescending snark that included a reference to my lack of reading comprehension and stubborn unwillingness to "do my homework", but still did not address the question. So I tried rewording it, hoping to elicit something more than a reiterated demand that I "look it up" for myself. The second version of the question:

"In simpler terms, if god exists, why isn't everyone born with that knowledge? Why is it necessary for parents to inculcate selected dogma into children rather than allowing them to recognize "god" on their own? Why isn't this "fact" part of everyone's instinctive knowledge, just as we're born with the ability to differentiate colors, sounds and species? If god did indeed create humans, why didn't he add a sense of his existence, along with our other senses?
"Surely this omission did not stem from modesty...just read the first three commandments, for an outstanding example of hubris and absence of humility. If he's so raucously insistent on declaring himself, why not wire us with knowledge of himself from the get-go? Why make some poor old jew carve his demands into a couple of stone slabs and shlep them down a mountain instead?"

This was "answered" by a reference to another holy writ, "The Lord of the Rings", but again my comprehension skills failed me, as I was unable to fathom a reasonable response to my query in the Niagara of verbiage that followed. I was again admonished to "do my own homework", followed by an outright refusal to provide any real information since, according to the author, I already had said information and she would not deign to repeat what she had already written.

So, since this vastly superior mind will not reveal its contents to me, I am turning to the mere mortals among you: Will someone please explain to me why, if this all-knowing, all-powerful entity invented us in his own image, we don't recognize him from the moment we're born, just as we recognize our parents and the air we breathe? In other words, if god is an actual fact of life, why aren't all humans innately possessed of that knowledge?

I await your enlightenment.

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Comment by Ruth Dickson on August 31, 2009 at 7:52pm
I'm afraid I haven't, carver. Since losing the vision in one eye, I find reading has become a chore rather than the deep pleasure it once was. These days, all my research is emanating from my own overheated brain.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on August 31, 2009 at 7:35pm
"As a determinist, I don't believe in the theory of free will anymore than I believe in a deity"
Indeed, I rank the notion of free will right up there with the soul and trickle down economics - delusional.
As a determinist, have you read any Leslie White's work on cultural determinism?
Comment by Ruth Dickson on August 29, 2009 at 8:28pm
The particular theist in question is an infantile name-caller and really not worthy of a reasoned debate. So far, neither she nor any of her cadre of equally ignorant xtians has shown up on my thread, but if any of them do drop in with the "free will" thing, I'm ready. As a determinist, I don't believe in the theory of free will anymore than I believe in a deity and can argue ''cause and effect'' till the cows come home. (I have a discussion on that subject here on A/N, if you're interested). I do think it's interesting that the only thoughtful answers to my question come from atheists, though. Thanks for the heads up.


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