I’m the kind of guy that says if I don’t see it, then it doesn’t work. And nobody can show me god.
-- Kerry King, guitarist for Slayer
Doubtless there are believers out there who would label the above statement as simplistic, but boil it down and what’s left is the single biggest reason why religion ultimately will have to either collapse or descend into irrelevance. Regardless of the tradition or culture it may come from, all concepts of god share one unavoidable characteristic: the inability to decisively demonstrate said god’s existence.
Believers have been cognizant of this problem very nearly from its onset, and their response has been virtually universal: make god inaccessible. Put god on a mountaintop. If the mountain gets climbed and (of course) no deity is found, then god is in the sky or in the deep recesses of the earth. Once those hiding holes are eliminated by troublesome human explorers, relocate god to other dimensions or completely beyond time and space. At the same time, break out the convoluted explanations, the exceptions and special pleading which allows their pet deity to circumvent the laws of nature and the contravening evidence. If god’s proponents can’t give physical substantiation for him/her/it, make god’s existence a philosophical argument, and the more complicated the better. Keep shifting the goalposts, the burden of proof, and the topic of conversation if necessary to obfuscate the persistent fact that their god fails the most fundamental requirement: evidence that it is at all.
“Nobody can show me god.” Indeed, hasn’t that been the sticking point from the beginning and the cause of all the hand-waving and excuses and apologetics? That’s all the believers would ever need to do to convince us, and yet to date, it has never happened.
And I for one suspect that it never will.