When talking with religious folk, I’ve come to realize there is one important question to ask at the outset.
“Is there anything that anyone could show you that would make you not believe in god?” I realize we’re not out to DISPROVE god, though there are convincing arguments for that, but that’s not the point. However, if the answer is no, then we’re done. There is no point in continuing. You want to believe more than you want to know. Science has shown, to everyone except those who bury their heads in the sand, how we very likely got from the nothing before the universe began to where we are now with just natural processes, no god required. If you refuse to see that, well too bad for you, but the theories and the data are all there for anyone to look at.
Some people would rather deny any science that conflicts with their beliefs than entertain even the possibility that they could be wrong about what they believe.
This vast conspiracy of science to destroy god is laughable… or it would be if there weren’t people who actually believe it and tell others to believe it. Scientists work through a process called peer review. They submit research to journals for their peers (other scientists in the same field) to review. And by review I mean attack it ferociously, trying to tearing it apart and show where it is wrong. If the peers fail to do this, then the research is considered to be valid and is one step closer to becoming a theory, or is reinforced as a theory, or whatever. This is how we come to knowledge.
Does religion do this? Hardly. Religion does the opposite. Religion tells us there are things we can’t question. Religion tells us to be satisfied with half answers, or non answers, or to take it on faith. Faith? There is literally no worse way to arrive at any kind of reliable understanding of reality than faith.
Hebrews 11:1 in the King James Bible says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (though in the Bible, the word ‘evidence’ clearly has a much looser meaning).
God is not a theory. God is not even a hypothesis. A hypothesis needs to be falsifiable. But there is no test for god, and no evidence either. Most of the time when people talk about god, it is so poorly defined that it is not even a coherent statement.
If some god exists, and if it is the god of the Bible, with all the qualities and attributes ascribed to god (though that makes him not a good god, but we’ll skip that for now and pretend, for the sake of argument, that Bible god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent), and this god wants people to know he exists so we can all worship him and go to heaven, then he’s done a piss-poor job so far of providing evidence for rational people to be able to believe he exists. At this point in time I think it is unlikely in the extreme that Bible god would suddenly provide absolute objective evidence that he exists after going so long not providing it, given the claim that god loves us all and wants us to go to heaven.
I can’t think of what would convince me that some god exists, but here’s the difference between me and “unshakable faith” Christians. I acknowledge that I could be wrong. I acknowledge that if Bible god exists, and if he wants me to know that he exists (as Christians claim), he would know what would convince me. So far I’ve seen nothing, which indicates either that that god does not exist, or that he doesn’t want me to know that he exists. And if he does indeed exist, why has he gone all this time in complete silence, letting rational, open-minded, freethinking people live and die without providing evidence which we would accept if presented with? We’re not out to deny things that are supported by evidence, we don’t see any.
And no, subjective evidence is not evidence. Actual evidence is objective. It can be shown to anyone who has a rational mind, and that person would then weigh the evidence and perhaps alter their views. To claim that god has shown you subjective evidence (but apparently not me) is not only the height of narcissism, arrogance, and grandiosity, but it would also mean that your god is not a very good god since it has given you the evidence, but not me, and not countless others who have died without it. If there is actual evidence, then show that evidence.
But again, some people want to believe more than they want to know. Some people value their fantasy more than knowing things.