I would like to investigate in this post the opportunism of the theist. I have been involved in many conversations and debates, and have certainly seen many debates between proponents of most corners of the divides, and there is something which does annoy me. Theists, it seems, like to have their cake and eat it. They seem to enjoy the ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ ethos. There are many arguments where the theist will use the evidence available, in this here world, to support their case. However, if the evidence ran antithetically to the present evidence, they would use this to support their case too.
One example of this would be the fine-tuning argument. What seems to be the reality of this argument? Well, the theist would say that the cosmic constants and physical laws are so finely tuned as to show that the universe was designed for life; that any deviation either way would result in there not being any life. However, to the non-theist, the physical laws are actually much more likely to result in death. There is very little life, comparatively, in the universe, it seems. In fact, the life we do know hangs on a knife-edge. Surely an omnipotent being would produce constants and laws that would comfortably afford life. If such laws did exist, then the theist would just as much argue that this was a sign of life.
So it appears that ANY combination of physical laws existing from entirely ‘finely-tuned’ to ‘blatantly bloody obviously giving life’ are evidence for a Creator God. The theist has his cake and eats it.
It seems that evil also fits the bill. If there was no suffering on earth, well then, God would really be all-loving (you know, just like it is in heaven!). However, we have a large portion of suffering on earth, and still this is evidence for God. William Lane Craig claims that evil evidences good which is grounded in God. Other theists claim that this much suffering is a corollary of free will, given to us by God. And so on and so forth. No suffering would equal God. Lots of suffering evidently equals God. More cake eaten. In fact, anywhere where an atheist will claim that there is simply not enough evidence, theists usually claim that this evidence is precisely the evidence for God. Yet they would claim exactly the same given a preponderance of evidence. Belief in god comes no matter what the evidence, it appears.
The issue is this. We have an idea of what a universe designed by an omni God would look like. And many of us contest that such a universe would look like this one. But theists agree that this is the universe we have, and they need it to be designed and actualised by their God. Thus ideas of what a God would create and what one has created are then conflated.
Heads they win. Tails we lose.
In : Religion
Tags: belief evidence "fine-tuning" "problem of evil"
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