Interesting Facts the American Humanist Association (AHA) Might Not Know, part 2 of 4
The American Humanists Association is one of the groups that collected donated money to fund self-serving ad campaigns instead of helping people in need during a time of worldwide recession. The 2008 AD ads read “Why believe in God? Be good for goodness’ sake” the 2009 AD ads read the same with the addition of “No God? No Problem!” (see the bus ad/billboard archive).
In this segment I will consider part of the AHA’s 2008 AD explanation for the ads which is entitled “Interesting Facts You Might Not Know.” I will consider one of their facts: “Why not believe in a god?” and consider another in part 3, namely: “Without a god, why be good at all?”
This fact is elucidated thusly:
“Why not believe in a god?
There’s no universally agreed-upon definition of God, description of what God does, or list of things God wants humans to do. Different cultures, faiths, religious denominations, theologians, and ordinary people have held wildly varied beliefs for centuries. In fact, people aren’t always talking about the same thing. So it’s difficult to know where to start any rational or useful exploration of the subject.
Most definitions of God aren’t scientifically testable. They are philosophical abstractions, logical contradictions, imprecise spiritual notions, or subjective feelings. So there appears no way to show that this or that particular god idea is true or false, or even makes much sense. Moreover, most people don’t even want their god idea to be scientifically testable, since that might result in it being falsified.
Those definitions of God that are scientifically testable, such as the very humanlike and limited god ideas of children and ancient peoples, have always lacked evidence. The Santa Claus idea also falls into this category [emphasis in original].
Let us parse this elucidation before considering the next.
It appears that the lesson learned is “There’s no universally agreed-upon definition of God…So it’s difficult to know where to start.” Therefore, since it is difficult why bother; just do not believe in a god.
Would this argument be accepted with regards to any other issue with which humans deal? “What son? Your schooling is difficult? Well, just quit.” Or why not, since it is difficult, just go ahead and choose one, or more, god(s) out of a hat?
Furthermore, “Most definitions of God aren’t scientifically testable.” But why is scientific testability the criteria? Is it scientific testable that scientific testability is the ultimate, if not only, cogent epistemology? If not, then the criterion fails its own criteria and eternally loops in a cycle of circular illogic (for how atheists restrict their thinking by appealing to “science” see Atheism and Science - Is There a Relation?part 1, part 2, part 3).
They have not established why we must adhere to their search for God parameters. If we do not know whether there is a God we do not know for what sort of evidence to look. If, for example, God is non-physical should we expect a non-physical being to give off, or leave behind, physical evidence? Do we look for wet evidence of a dry object? Science deals with the natural so why is it being called upon to investigate the supernatural? In fact, when science begins to uncover evidence of God it must change in order to accommodate the new evidence.
Try this, “There’s no universally agreed-upon definition of _________ (fill in the blank)…So it’s difficult to know where to start.” It just so happens that we do have a place to start: natural theology, or general revelation—inferring the existence of a creator and even particular characteristic of this creator from nature. This is one way to show that this or that particular God idea is true or false, or even makes much sense. So, to be fair, they are stating that “it’s difficult to know where to start” well, you can start at the parsed post On the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorns, et al.
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