What is one of the worst arguments you will ever read? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
As we continue our look at Richard Carrier’s book, we will come to what I think has to be one of the worst arguments out there for atheism. As one of my friends told me when I shared this argument “We have found the banana argument of atheism.”
On page 273, Carrier says “Since there is no observable divine hand in nature as a causal process, it is reasonable to conclude that there is no divine hand. After all, that there are no blue monkeys flying out of my butt is sufficient reason to believe there are no such creatures, and so it is with anything else.”
Yes. That is an actual quote.
Question. Does anyone want to live in a world where the only things that exist are things that are flying out of Richard Carrier’s butt?
I don’t think so.
It’s hard to believe that this is being used as an argument but alas, it is.
Carrier goes on on the next page to give more of his favorite argument style which is “I would not create a universe this way. Surely an all-knowing God would also not create the universe this way. Therefore, an all-knowing God did not create the universe.” This argument will work if you assume Carrier is a person of supreme intelligence who’s highly capable of creating universes on his own. Other than that, it’s not impressive at all.
Carrier also says he would make it a law of the universe that if you did good, you got rewarded and things went better and if you did evil, you suffered. This sounds good at the start, but now we have a problem. We are usually told that atheists condemn Christianity because you are rewarded for being good. Why would Carrier’s universe not be any different?
Let’s consider two situations. Person A is a Christian in this universe and person B is a person who is an atheist in Carrier’s universe.
A: Sure. I’ll help that little old lady across the street. I want to have a good reward in Heaven after all!
B: Sure. I’ll help that little old lady across the street. I want the universe to be good to me after all!
What we could start asking ourselves at this point is either person really doing good? Does either person really care about the little old lady, or is each one of them merely looking out for their own self-interests? If that is the case, then are they really doing a good activity?
Now to be sure, I think we should be doing good activities even if we don’t always have good motives. Many of the times we do the good even if we don’t want to or don’t feel like it because we know that that will eventually help us build up the good attitudes that we ought to have.
Carrier’s universe is one where anyone could see results in this life for doing good deeds. Thus, the majority of people would be doing good deeds simply for the benefit of getting ahead. Everyone would be acting out of self-interest instead of focus on others. In what way would we consider this a good universe? Do you want to live in a universe where people help you because they think it is just the right thing to do and that your cause is a good one, or do you want to live in one where your being helped is a means to someone else’s desires being fulfilled? In some ways, we could say that you are being treated as if you were being raped.
In fact, Lewis long ago in the Problem of Pain wrote about what kind of chaos we would live in in a world where people could not do evil. I suspect he would have something similar to say about the universe of Carrier.
Carrier also says God cannot blame him for being an unbeliever if millions of Jews got to see miracles all the time and Carrier never gets to. Yet I wonder where did millions of Jews get to see this all the time? We only know of three periods in Israel’s history according to Scripture where miracles were abundant.
The first was the Exodus.
The second was the time of Elijah and Elisha.
The third was the time of Christ and the apostolic age.
Want to guess what the mindset of most of the people was in these times?
If you guessed, unbelief, move to the head of the class.
And keep in mind, most atheists when given any evidence of a miracle will just dismiss it. Even Peter Boghossian in his book says that if all the stars in the sky spelled out a message from God and everyone else saw it in their own language, that MIGHT be suggestive. He could still be experiencing a delusion.
If Carrier does not want to believe in Christianity, he will more than readily find any excuse.
And as most of us know when confronted with excuses, they don’t convince.
Carrier also says a perfect being would not create an imperfect universe.
To begin with, can a universe be perfect? Especially since in an Aristotlean sense, matter is always in a state of flux and thus, always has potential, and thus, can always change. That which is perfect cannot change can it?
Of course, this could be a problem for Carrier since he never defines perfect. As it stands, I have long argued that in fact God created the universe imperfect because He knew that man would fall so why create it perfect from the get-go?
On page 280, we start getting into one of the biggest problems I have with pop Christianity today. That is the idea that God is supposed to be your bud, your pal.
No. No He’s not.
He’s supposed to be your Lord and King. We have too often made a kind of “Buddy Jesus” which has not built us up any in discipleship, but rather lowered God down. It is this kind of belief system that makes so many of us treat God so lightly instead of with reverence and awe.
Carrier does say on 281 that if his children asked him to butt out, he would.
Well God is doing for Carrier exactly the same thing. If Carrier doesn’t want God to be a part of his life and will argue against him, he’ll get what he wants. I also suspect that’s why miracles don’t get as much attention here in America as they do elsewhere. We’ve asked God to butt out.
I also wish to point out that on page 282, we are told that if anything needs ridiculous contrivances to defend it, it is not likely to be true.
These are ridiculous contrivances like the argument from flying monkeys and the argument from big boobs. Carrier actually made an argument against God based on women having large breasts? Yes he did. If you need to see that, just look here.
I contend that because of this, atheism is not likely to be true.
So we end this chapter with Carrier asking that if his presentation has not been convincing, what would be?
Well for starters, a detailed refutation of all the theistic arguments and why they fail and then a better explanation for the existing of the universe.
As it stands, in all of this chapter, not once are theistic arguments argued with. Not once.
So when we continue this series again, we’ll be looking at morality.