Essay:Refutation of 'Proof That God Exists'

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This essay is an original work by An American Nihilist and others. The original author has freed it for editing by other editors.


Proof That God Exists is a Christian apologetics "quiz" by Sye Ten Bruggencate, along with a non-quiz part of the site.

Quiz[edit]

'Proof That God Exists' Response
The site starts immediately on the quiz and gives you four choices:

Absolute Truth Exists: This option moves you through the quiz and gives the following text: My (An American Nihilist's) position, as a Wikipedia Nihilist, is that 'absolute truth' doesn't really exist, as any time we perceive objective reality we are creating our own subjective reality due to the very nature of perception — although i do accept that some things are so universal to the human experience that they are practically 'absolute truths' — so i'm kind of at a loss on which one to select. Some others (ThiehEd Poor types in Chinese?) argues that the question "Does absolute truths exist?" is not even decidable yet. Simply put, given the existence of the concept of cartesian daemons, the definition of terms such as "perception" and "truth" in such presence would vary, and some of the definitions do allow absolute truths to exist, and some do not. Since the terms are not yet well-defined at this point, neither the phrase "Absolute Truth Exists" nor "Absolute Truth Does Not Exist" has merit.

"You have likely heard that it is impossible to prove that God exists. You have heard wrong. Not only can the existence of God be proven, denying the proof undermines rational thought. It is true that God does not need anyone, let alone this website, to prove His existence. The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for denying Him. No one needs proof that God exists, I simply offer these 8 steps to the logical proof of God's existence in addition to what you already know (and may be suppressing). This website is NOT about money-grubbing, nausea-inducing TV evangelists in their gold embroidered suits, and will not attempt to justify unjust wars, or the sinful actions of so-called Christians.

This website is NOT about whether you are satisfied, happy, at peace, whether you are fed up with yourself, or think you are a failure. This website IS about truth. The truth that we are sinners, that we have defied God, that we have offended Him, denied His authority, and put ourselves in the wrong with Him. This website IS about the eternal consequences of our sin, the judgment we deserve for our rebellion, and the only way we can be put right with God.

If you are honest with what you truly believe, this website will lead you to the proof that God exists. This website offers logical proof, not persuasion. It is my hope and prayer that God will renew your heart and use this site as a tool to help you understand your condition, lay down your arms, and accept the promise of salvation, and the peace which passes all understanding."

The introduction here is just standard Christian apologetics and lies, although i thought this was pretty good: "Not only can the existence of God be proven, denying the proof undermines rational thought". So, what? All seculars are irrational and stupid? Does this also apply to all non-Christians as well?

Absolute Truth Does Not Exist: This leads to a screen with two options under the heading "Absolute Truth Does Not Exist": Absolutely True and False, both which lead back to the previous screen which now says "This is not a glitch (Think about it)". I don't know for certain, but i think people who picked this option would say that the only absolute truth is that there are no other absolute truths. Besides, there can be people who don't really believe in absolute truth, but aren't absolute about it; the site creator seems obsessed with black-and-white dichotomies.

I Don't Know If Absolute Truth Exists: The same as above. Okay, i know that the type of people who picked this option would answer to the second question 'i don't know' again.

I Don't Care If Absolute Truth Exists: This leads to a screen with the heading "Thanks for visiting!", with an Exit button that leads to http://disney.go.com. Yes, people who have better things to worry about than 'absolute truth' or who simply aren't philosophically-disposed are like little children, worthy of your condescension. It's also highly ironic that the website routes you to another fantasy-based website.

Step 1: Laws of Logic[edit]

"In the introduction page I mentioned 'logical proof.' The first step towards the proof that God exists is to determine whether you actually believe that laws of logic exist. Logical proof would be irrelevant to someone who denies that laws of logic exist. An example of a law of logic is the law of non-contradiction. This law states, for instance, that it cannot both be true that my car is in the parking lot and that it is not in the parking lot at the same time, and in the same way." What do you mean by "exist"? I think that logic is a human (or intelligent being) construction, a way to look at the world and make choices -- logic doesn't actually exist as a 'thing', although it is material since it's based in our thoughts, which are electrochemicals or whatever. And i think you want physics if you're talking about things only appearing in one place at a time. Not only that, ProofThatGodExists.com's invocation of the laws of formal logic conflates them with the logical absolutes and, although these two concepts are related, they are not equivalent. The logical absolutes -- the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of excluded middle -- are descriptive statements about the fundamental nature of the reality we perceive. The logical absolutes are used to form the foundation of the "laws of formal logic", a set of prescriptive rules about what logic can or can not do. (ie. the logical fallacies)

Laws of Logic Exist: Moves you on through the quiz.

Laws of Logic Do Not Exist: Has three buttons -- I used logic to the come to the conclusion that laws of logic do not exist, I came to this conclusion arbitrarily and next time may agree that laws of logic exist, and Okay, I believe that laws of logic exist, which all lead to the previous screen. It also says this:

"If you believe that laws of logic do not exist, how do you make decisions about the most basic things in life? How do you decide which side of the road to drive on? How do you choose whether to drink water or poison for nourishment?"

One interesting aspect of denying laws of logic, like the law of non-contradiction, is that since you DO NOT believe in laws of logic, you actually DO believe in laws of logic. If contradictions are allowed in your worldview then so is that one. Just because a person doesn't believe in logic, however stupid that may be, does not mean they don't believe in any sort of structure at all, and that every random thing now applies to them. In addition, Just because someone denies a particular law of logic (law of non-contradiction in this case) does not mean they deny all the laws of logic. See Paraconsistent logic.

Step Two: Laws of Mathematics[edit]

"The basic operations of arithmetic are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Laws of mathematics then, are basically descriptions of what happens within these operations (and more complex ones as well) . For example, with the law of addition we know that if you take 4 things and add them to 3 things, you end up with 7 things."

"If you believe that laws of mathematics do not exist, what would you do in the following scenario? Let's say that you walked into a bank and asked for change for a $100 bill. If the teller handed you only 2 $5 bills would you be satisfied with his or her personal interpretation of mathematics or would you appeal to a universal law of mathematics to show that he/she was wrong? I suspect the latter." Again, what does 'exist' mean here? Just like with logic, I think that math is a human construct, a way to understand the world, and not really either immaterial magickz or a material 'thing'. And you don't have to appeal to 'a universal law of mathematics' to disagree with someone else's 'interpretation' of math.

Step Three: Laws of Science[edit]

"Laws of science are basically descriptions of what matter does based on repeated observations, and are usually expressed in mathematical equations. An example of a law of science is the law of gravity. Using the law of gravity, we can predict how fast a heavier than air object will fall to the ground given all the factors for the equation." Wait, so what exactly is the difference between the 'Laws of Science' and the 'Laws of Logic'? All you're doing is creating your own arbitrary, poorly-explained categories of 'laws' you made up.

Step Four: Absolute Moral Laws[edit]

"I have seldom heard anyone deny that laws of logic, mathematics, or science exist, but I have often heard people deny the existence of absolute moral laws. Whereas some laws like those that govern science, and mathematics describe reality, and how things do behave, absolute moral laws 'prescribe' how humans ought to, or ought not to behave." This is where your argument really starts to fall apart. Even though I did have some relatively minor philosophical qualms with your earlier statements, they were basically agreeable -- but this is just stupid, and you don't even attempt to justify it.

"Rape, and child molestation, are two examples of absolute moral wrongs." Yes, that's how to make a convincing proof: blindly assert things.

And did someone say rape being an "absolute moral wrong"? I Sye himself begs to differ, because from other section of the scriptures he'll later use has varying punishment and the lack thereof depending on the victim's status. If it is such an absolutely universal wrong, wouldn't the putative punishment be independent of the victim?

And someone is neglecting history regarding "child molestation", not the molestation part, but the society's view on when someone is a child changes over time. Ancient Rome has marriageable age of as little as 12 (with parental consent). If a girl of 12 is married to a man at his prime (Aristotle said 37) it would be considered problematic in terms of child marriage/molestation from today's point of view.

One other glaring, and intentional, fallacy ProofThatGodExists.com makes is to equivocate the adjective "absolute", which means 'never changing', with the adjective "objective", which means 'independent of subjective experience'. A person who claims that a particular moral statement is absolutely true is saying that it is true, and will always be so. Saying that the same moral statement is objectively true means that it is true regardless of what a conscious being thinks about it. These are two distinct claims which, needless to say, create a massive burden of proof.

"I feel that the best test to determine whether or not you really believe that absolute moral laws exist, is not whether you feel that atrocities like rape and child molestation could be right somewhere in the universe, but whether they could ever be right if perpetrated against you or someone you love. Please keep in mind, I am asking what YOU believe, not what you think anyone else believes." This is stupid, because the categories of 'right' and 'wrong' don't objectively exist, so any question of whether it could "ever be right" isn't valid in an objective sense. Furthermore, the wording is confusing, since, in my mind, 'objective' means outside of human opinion, and 'absolute' means that it's always wrong in either a subjective or objective sense, with regards to morality. In my opinion, yes, there can be pretty much no justification for molesting children -- but the universe doesn't care. That's why we have law enforcement systems to punish such behavior.

"If you truly believed that there was no such thing as absolute morality then there would be no 'right' or 'wrong,' just things that you or your society happen not to like. Rape and child molestation would not be wrong, they would just become manmade objections." A reminder that "consent", "rape", "child", "molestation" are all human constructs (before we discuss whether "right" or "wrong" are human concepts), as such whether such actions are right or wrong are also human constructs.
It's not like in the rare case that we observe cases of rape or child molestation in animal mating habits and somehow find that "wrong" and attempt to correct that phenomenon.

"The question then becomes: 'If man is the measure of all things - which man? - which society?" The one which has the power to exert itself. Yeah, that sucks, but it's just the way things are.

"If someone with enough power happened to like rape and molestation, what right would we have to impose our morality on him?" What would stop us from doing that?

"What would be wrong with the person, or society, with the power imposing their morality on you?" I might not like it?

"Why do we condemn the Nazi society for following their self-imposed morals?" Because we don't like them? I am invoking Godwin's law on this one, by the way.

"Why did the Nazi society not have the right to break from the tradition of morality in western civilizations?" You seem to have trouble understanding "no objective morality".

"There is no question that societies have different interpretations of morality but if you examine the following sentence you will see the illogic of thinking that societies determine morality. "The majority of the people in our society participated in that evil deed.""Let me google that for you: definition of "subjective".

"If morality was up to society, that sentence would never make sense, but we know that morality is beyond societies and such a proposition is possible." "We", as in "people who agree with me"?

"You have denied that absolute moral laws exist but you appeal to them all the time. You say that rape IS wrong because you know that it IS wrong and not just against your personal preference. Unless you reconsider your stand on this matter, your road to this site's proof that God exists ends here. It is my prayer that you come to understand how inconsistent and irrational this line of thinking is and return to seek the truth." Thank you for telling me how I truly feel and act. Remember that condescension and blind assertion thing from earlier?

Step Five: The Nature of Laws[edit]

"By reaching this page you have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute morality exist." Or i've been railroaded into choosing the path you want me to take. You know, whichever.

"Next we will examine what you believe about these laws. Are these laws material, or are they immaterial?" Or are they another option that isn't part of this false dichotomy (when you say "material", i assume you mean 'tangible things').

"In other words, are they made of matter, or are they 'abstract' entities? - are they physical or non-physical things?" Just because they're abstract doesn't mean they aren't based in matter.

"If you believe that laws of logic, mathematics, science, or morality are made of matter, please show me where in nature these laws are. Can you touch them, see them, smell them, hear them, or taste them? Rather than have you produce a material, physical law I will narrow down the field for you... just show me the number '3' somewhere in nature. Not 'three things,' not a written representation of the number 3 but the real physical, material number 3.

It is my hope and prayer that you come to see the futility of trying find an abstract entity in nature, and return to seek the truth, otherwise your road to this site's proof that God exists ends here."

Yeah, I've already said what's wrong with this. Next.

"You have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute morality exist and that they are not made of matter. The next question is whether you believe they are universal or up to the individual. Does 2 + 2 = 4 only where you are, and only because you say it does, or is this a universal law?"I'm going to say that they're universal for any remotely-practical purpose, but technically subjective in a sense.

"If you believe that the immaterial laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute morality are up to the individual, then it would be perfectly alright for anyone to come up with their own laws in these matters." "Perfectly alright" according to whom?

"Not only would these alternate laws be common," Why?

"they would have to be 'right' since there would be no universal standard to evaluate their correctness." Well, that is the problem of inherent subjectivity. And no. Everyone has their own laws does not by any means imply any of them is 'correct' precisely because there is no universal standard to evaluate their correctness, and as such the concept of correctness simply does not exist. In such a case all such laws would be neither correct nor incorrect.

"Not only could no conflict ever be resolved," Resolved in an objective sense, maybe, but we could settle matters based on consensus.

"there would be no conflicts since everyone would be right." I'm not sure what you mean by this, but I do agree that there could be differences in perception already and there's no way to determine who's 'right', albeit there's also no real way to determine there's a difference at all. I mean, you can't really communicate what the color red looks like to you.

"We know however that this is simply not the case. In base ten mathematics, when you add 2 + 2, you expect the correct answer to be 4, and would not accept a different answer as being correct from someone who lived down the street, or in Bangkok."

"You would not accept that child molestation would be right anywhere in the universe."Not necessarily -- I'm a sci-fi fan.

"You would not accept a logical contradiction as being acceptable no matter where or when you were confronted with one." Ideally, I'd change my idea of what a 'logical contradiction' is.

"You deny that laws of logic, mathematics, science and absolute morality, are universal yet you base your life on their universality." I base my life on the probability of them being the same.

"Unless you reconsider your stand on this matter, your road to this site's proof that God exists ends here. It is my prayer that you come to see the inconsistency, and irrationality of this line of thinking and return to seek the truth." Yeah, this patronizing (changing things up with synonyms!) paragraph at the end of each of these is getting pretty damn annoying.

"You have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute ablity exist, that they are not made of matter, and that they are universal. The next question is whether you believe they are changing or unchanging." There's no real way to know, but based upon what science has discovered about the past and predicted about the future, and Occam's razor, I'd wager they aren't.

"If you believe that laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute morality are changing, then living with the expectation that they do not change would be inconsistent with your belief."No, it's simple probability and not needlessly worrying yourself with theoreticals. I could believe that 6-7=8 could eventually become true and still wake up thinking it equals -1.

"To reach this page you had to acknowledge that immaterial, universal, unchanging laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute morality exist." Did i say "railroading" yet?

"Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are necessary for rational thinking to be possible." So, people who don't agree with you are irrational lunatics? Well, lock me mostly everyone up in a mental asylum then. (Or is earth itself a giant mental asylum?)

"The Bible teaches us that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who profess the truth of God's existence and those who suppress the truth of God's existence." Just because you reference the Bible does not make your false dichotomy any less stupid and fallacious.

"The options of 'seeking' God, or not believing in God are unavailable. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God as it declares that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for not believing in Him." Well, since the Bible asserted it it must be true!

"The God of Christianity is the necessary starting point to make sense of universal, abstract, invariant laws by the impossibility of the contrary." Should I even bother to ask "why the Christian god"?

"The Proof that God exists is that without Him you couldn't prove anything." Just because you assert something in a large typeface does not make it truer.

Proof[edit]

"The argument is that you must borrow from the Christian worldview" The author of ProofThatGodExists.com, Sye ten Bruggencate (STB) defends his presuppositionalist worldview by speaking at great length about "the nature of god", what he does not realize is that when he does this he is actually borrowing from a naturalistic worldview to make such statements. As most Christians do, STB ascribes to the infiniteness of his god but for a "thing" to have a nature it must have a relationship to something else and for there to be "something else" the "thing" must have limits. Infinity precludes nature. Furthermore, humans can only distinguish, and conceive of "things" via their limits and their natures. A statement of 'nature' is an extrapolation of a particular limit (physical, temporal etc.) of one thing in relation to a particular limit of something else. A "thing" that is infinite is indistinguishable from a "thing" that does not exist. Indeed, it is necessarily impossible for a human being to conceive of an infinite "thing" (ie. god).

"Note that the proof does not say that professed unbelievers do not prove things. The argument is that you must borrow from the Christian worldview, and a God who makes universal, immaterial, unchanging laws possible in order to prove anything.

This type of logical proof deals with ‘transcendentals’ or ‘necessary starting points,’ and the proof is called a ‘transcendental proof.’ Any contrary view to the God of Christianity being the necessary starting point for rationality is reduced to absurdity. You have to assume God in order to argue against Him. Only the Christian worldview can logically support rationality."

Have you given a reason yet why a god -- and more specifically, your narrow version of a god -- must have made these "universal, immaterial, unchanging laws"?

"Christians account for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws as they reflect the very nature of God.

The Bible accounts for immaterial entities as in John 4 vs. 24 it states: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

In Malachi 3 vs. 6 God says "I the Lord do not change." accounting for His unchanging nature.

Psalm 90 vs. 2 states: "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." and Psalm 139 vs. 7 - 10 states: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast," accounting for God's universality.

The laws of logic, mathematics, science, and morality, reflect the thinking and character of God and what He has created in order to accomplish His purposes.

In Jeremiah 33 vs. 25 God speaks of how He has 'fixed the laws of heaven and earth.' These universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are the basis for all knowledge and are rooted in God's word. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Colossians: My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Chapter 2 vs. 2 - 3)

Of course everyone uses universal, immaterial, unchanging laws, but many do so denying their only possible source. Christianity proclaims the source which can be summarized with Christ's declaration: "apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15 vs. 5)"

So, in other words, "because I said so" or "because my holy book is holier than yours". Gotcha.

Here is a problem with all Christian apologetics: before Bible verses are used to prove the point, perhaps it would be a good idea to establish that the bible is correct without using the Bible. Otherwise the logic would be as bad as the folks at CMI.

ProofThatGodExists.com was very careful to conjugate the word "proof" as a noun and not as a verb. At no point does the site explicitly indicate that it will, "provide evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth", it says it will provide "a proof". One definition of the word "proof" is 'the act of testing or making trial of anything; test; trial: to put a thing to the proof.' By simply operating under the assumption that the Christian god exists and seeing whether or not anybody can navigate through your bullsh*t technically is "a proof". Just another in a long line of equivocations.

"Arguing against God's existence would be on par with arguing against the existence of air, breathing it all the while." An immaterial, intangible being from a particular ancient book of nonsensical myths is as obvious as the gas necessary for human life. Yes.

"These laws are not the only way God has revealed himself to you, but they are sufficient to show the irrationality of your thinking, and expose your guilt for denying Him." I'm pretty damn sure i've said "condescending" before. Hm...

"There is a reason that you deny the existence of God and it has nothing to do with proof. I can show this to you. Examine what your initial reaction was to the proof of God's existence offered on this website. Did you think that you could continue to deny God because you are not a scientist, or philosopher but 'Surely somewhere, sometime, a philosopher or scientist will come up with an explanation for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws apart from God?' Did you try to come up with an alternate explanation on your own? OR Did you even consider that the proof was valid?" No, I took issue with your explanations of the universe and gave my own explanation. Stop fucking thinking everyone will agree with you, you horrible DM.

"Hoping that an alternate explanation for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws can someday be found apart from God, is a blind leap of faith, or wishful thinking. Isn't it interesting that this is exactly what professed unbelievers accuse Christians of?" So your idea is that anyone who come up with their own holy book describing their own god being one of the alternate explanations "is a blind leap of faith, or wishful thinking." How is your case being different? Instead of believing a magical non-answer on blind faith, having reasonable faith that science, based on its past record, will provide answers like it already has for many, many of life's questions? No, they're not really very similar.

"Please examine the real reason why you are running from God. It is my prayer that God will open your eyes and change your heart so that you may be saved from your sin, embraced by His forgiving love, and come to know the peace which passes all understanding." You got me: i'm an atheist because i like porn and not having to go to church on Sundays.

See also[edit]