Intellectual Dishonesty And Being Certain Gods Do Not Exist

There is nothing more aggravating than being in the middle of a discussion about the parameters of what constitutes a God, and another atheist in the discussion says to you,”You are being intellectually dishonest by saying deities absolutely do not exist. You cannot know 100% for sure if a god exists or not. You’re making our cause look as stupid as that twat you are talking to.”

This is a frequent sticking point betwixt the religious and atheists, as well as between atheists and their fellow atheists! It’s a frustrating topic, but I would put forward that it doesn’t have to be so long as you have a lot of patience, and are tolerant of those who are really being intellectually dishonest. You can say with clarity and in proclaiming tones of confidence,”Gods do not exist! 100%” if you lay the appropriate foundation for understanding in your conversation.

First things first, there is an equivocation problem with the concept of god in the religious and atheist communities. The concept that there are mysterious beings/forces/entities in the Universe we have not yet discovered that might possess amazing powers of healing, immortality, and psychic afterlives, is not far fetched. In fact, it is impossible to say with 100% certainty that they do not exist. But the statement “Gods do not exist! 100%” has absolutely nothing to do with fantastically powered beings that watch you masturbate, and cry for your wasted semen in that kleenex.

Godliness has to do with worship, dogma, reverence, and sovereignty. We are not going to automatically worship the wonderfully different creature that just made that amputee’s leg grow back. It’s still just an alien of sorts. When this thing crosses the threshold of awe and brings the euphoria of worship, then you have a god. But how does it cross that threshold of importance? Well, it is an individual decision that one embraces after a certain level of criteria has been met emotionally, as well as intellectually.

As you can see, there is a very obvious difference between god and an all powerful being somewhere in the Universe. Yet the religious, and many atheists, tend to equivocate the two as one and the same, and it just isn’t so. This equivocation is actually the intellectual dishonesty here, and you have to be clear about where you are coming from because many really cannot wrap their heads around the difference. Quite literally, the two concepts share similarities, but are most certainly not the same. You will need to point this clarification out in your conversation if you hope to get them to quit classifying these two different concepts with the same label.


It is a vexing conversation, causing a lot of sideways looks of disdain, frustrated commentary, and incredulous criticism at one making the declaration that deities are not real, and 100% not real on top of that. That is why, yes, all powerful beings could possibly exist. No, deities do not exist until you accept them as such in your mind. Agnostic atheists really seem to have a tough time with this one, and the best solution is to put it in a different frame of thought. Make sure you differentiate between the status of godliness and a not yet discovered being with power beyond our understanding. Make sure you differentiate between reverence and worship. More importantly, I think you need to get clarification from nay saying atheists if the trait of godliness is inherent or given. If they agree it is given, your discussion will be a lot easier.

“I am not 100% sure there isn’t something in the Universe I wouldn’t consider worshiping.”

This sentence is what the discussion should really be about. It’s about personal accountability instead of shifting choices on to other manifestations and ideologies. This sentence doesn’t say “Yes, deities might exist.” It says one is willing to consider giving that reverence to something in the Universe if the appropriate amount of personal standards are met. Too often, many people, even famous writers and historians, have a tendency to round up their belief system to the next qualifier, misunderstanding that what they perceive as a small leap in reasoning is actually a very large one.

“Maybe it’s because we like to make things simple. 9/10ths of a pie is almost a whole pie. 99% is almost perfect on a test. We say “eh, close enough”. Some possible being out there who we don’t understand, and who may have powers we don’t understand – if we ever found one of these beings, a lot of us would also say “eh, close enough”, and round “mysterious powerful being” up to “god”, and then start worshiping it. This is laziness, and you will find it all over the place in the religious and atheist communities.” (via L. Megan)

And why would all these mainstream intellects like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitches, or Sam Harris just “round” things up? Maybe because they haven’t taken the time to learn the difference.

Now, if you are unlucky enough to run into an atheist that has the attitude that the trait/status of godliness is inherent? That brings up a whole other conversation for another day regarding absolutes and how they just don’t work, and we will touch on that later next week on this blog.

I will part with these final words on the existence of gods.

I’m not atheistic about whether there are mysteriously powerful beings in the Universe. I’m atheistic about godliness.

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Comment by Future on August 3, 2014 at 10:08am
If there is a truly eternal entity that has no choice but to exist through eternity, then we should feel profoundly sorry for it. That is a fate far worse than anything. By now, it has gone absolutely mad as a result of its predicament.

Think about it, if this god's ultimate goal was to create sentient beings in its image, then it clearly went through an extensive period of miserable failure. It took billions of years until the most primitive human form finally arrived, and the environment it occupies (earth) compared to the total mass of the universe in which it is a part of, is so minute that it can be considered practically nonexistent itself. That is hardly a sign of success, much less infallibility. By now, that entity wouldn't even know where to find us, and it is infinitely unlikely that it would even care anymore. It has gone insane from billions of years of abject loneliness for which it has no escape.
Comment by Michael Penn on August 2, 2014 at 6:50pm

You have to be wary of anything calling itself a god, and it wanted blood sacrifices and to savor some burned meat. Regardless of how you translate that bullshit into "Jesus Christ" it all comes avross like something out of a horror movie. Tell that to a christian today and they say "but we live in the New Testament now." WTF does that mean? Daddy is older and he put up childish things. Maybe he doesn't exist.

I use the Buybull as a ruler to establish if the claims within it are true. They are not. These 66 books have errors that show they were never meant to be bound together as one. Anyone ever wonder why Jesus was said to have long hair and later Paul claimed that long hair on a man was shameful? The reason is that Paul never met Jesus, and at the time he wrote his letters the 4 gospels were not circulating around. Writings in your Buybull have no order. The story of it all (and its order) was created later.

There was nothing miraculous here. Just a collection of stories mostly told orally until Saul of Tarsus came along. He never met Jesus and the apostles did not like him. He was a braggart. Many "anti-christs" were in the world at that time. Saul (Paul) was the biggest one. A Roman citizen, this Jew got the attention of Rome. History shows they made good use of his "message." The writings do not make it clear but I doubt seriously if they killed him. In a house and "gaurded" at the last writing, Paul was likely guarded by Rome so nobody else would kill him.

Oh, yes. The blessed Saint Paul. The stories all went together and have given Caesar an army from that ancient day to our present times.

Comment by Bluegrass Skeptic on August 2, 2014 at 2:13pm

Absolutely, Loren!

I take that view completely. Since I know there is NOTHING out there I would worship, I know, at least for me, there's no chance of deities. I won't ever give that status to anything.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 2, 2014 at 1:44pm

Right on Loren!

Comment by Loren Miller on August 2, 2014 at 1:20pm

If you're going to ask the question, "Is there something out there in the Universe worth worshiping?" I have to ask a counter-question, to wit:

WHY would I want to worship ANYTHING?!? 

Certainly I can acknowledge when someone is better or more skilled at something than I am, and that might cause me to respond in admiration and appreciation, but the abasement which goes along with worship?  Not remotely.  I freed myself from that vice when I discarded any kind of god.  Does that make me my own god?  Again, not at all.  What I AM is my own agent, a free man, responsible and answerable for my own actions, and that's as far as it goes, though that's a good and proper distance.

Not surprisingly, this matter reminds me of a quote from my favorite author:

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Comment by Ted Foureagles on August 2, 2014 at 12:36pm

There have probably been nearly as many gods as there have ever been humans, or at least that many god concepts.  Some conceive it as an absolute, some a thing more ephemeral.  And some imagine humans, either real or mythical, as gods -- Julius Caesar, Jesus, Kim Jong Ill, David Koresh.  Some belief systems have many gods, some just one, and some, like Christianity, equivocate and leave open a possibility of three.

That last phrase just caught my fancy; if Jesus Christ was the son, would that imply that Jesus H. Christ was the father, and some B movie actor the holy ghost?


Comment by Bluegrass Skeptic on August 2, 2014 at 4:50am

Again Michael- I am not talking about a being that is inherently godly. Frequently scholars have taken the view of godliness being inherent, then at the same time will make statements like,"But for everyone there is a standard for what is a god or not." meaning that godliness is NOT inherent.

If one must accept a deity and grant sovereignty to it, then obviously, godliness is not inherent. This is what I am getting at here. The correct statement that these scholars need to be asking is not "Does god exist?" but "Is there something out there in the Universe worth woshiping?" Whether it created us and the Universe is irrelevant. I and my mate created our children, but they certainly do not worship us no matter how much authority we exert on them, and to demand worship would not work either. To create doesn't equal godliness and to conflate such as godliness is irrational.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 1, 2014 at 10:18pm

What would be a good definition of god? If there was a god and that god was a being, and we believed that this being created the entire galaxy and our world along with the universe that we live in, this said "god" would be the one described in "holy books." There is absolutely ZERO evidence for such a being. God cannot be proven or disproven. There is no evidence.

With that said, I have to conclude as Dawkins, Krause, Hitch, and others have said before that their is a 99.9% certainty of no god or god(s) existing. The claim is made this way and not put at 100% certainty because to do so would make the burden of proof fall upon you. I believe that I am 100% correct in there being no god, but the belief has to be stated in such a way that you are also not left with a burden of proof. Why? This is because nobody can prove god either way. If I tell you that I have $100 bill in my pocket it is up to me to prove that to you. If I tell you that for a certainty there is no god, then I am also left to prove my claims.

Dawkins and the others talk as they do because they know that nobody can prove these claims one way or the other. They do not want to be the one left with a burden of proof.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on August 1, 2014 at 8:12pm

I do not find it useful to distinguish between one god for whom we have no evidence or a mysterious being for whom we also have no evidence. 

I make an attempt to be atheistic regarding all things that aren't demonstrated.

Comment by Bluegrass Skeptic on August 1, 2014 at 7:32pm

Loren- I like the breakdown of the word assume :O)  Never thought of it that way, nice! I'll be using it around the webz I think! 

Now, you say no evidence for god and then interchange being. This is exactly what I am speaking about in my blog entry here. No evidence for god as a status to be given? Or a being with the inherent traits of a god (whatever that definition might be). Or a being with unknown abilities? These are very different things. Don't be equivocating an unknown being with amazing powers to be the same as a god, they are very different. One is just unknown and amazing, the other is something you are willing to recognize as something to be worshiped.



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