Tag Archive: believer



ImagePreviously, I wrote a blog entry about an unfair “out” that believers have when they explain how something happened: “God did it.”

However, that is not the only trick up the believer’s sleeve. There is also the situation in which something does happen, but which an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God would not want to happen. Polio, floods, wars, drug wars, genocides, rapes, slavery, psychopathy, psychopathic killers, torture, child molestation, other religions existing, atheism, errors or contradictions in the Bible/Koran/Torah/etc., animal cruelty: the list goes on.

Why would God allow these things to exist? They do not help the case for religion in the slightest. However, a quick rejoinder solves all this: “God works in mysterious ways.”

Ah, yes! The “get out of jail free card” of religion. It works for anything that conflicts with one’s particular religious beliefs.

This is, however, not as great a solution as one might think. Why? Consider this.

After 9/11, many people might have said, “How could Osama Bin Laden have planned such a terrible act?”

Well, the answer would be simple, wouldn’t it? “Osama Bin Laden works in mysterious ways!”

“Oh, no! No, no, no! This cannot be applied to anything other than God, that’s not fair!” one might say.

Well, that’s partially correct, at least. It isn’t fair because it isn’t a fair argument.

It is an unfalsifiable statement. Although unfalsifiable sounds great (as in, “Wow! It can’t be falsified! It must be true!); unfalsifiability is not a measure of a statement’s strength, it’s actually a demonstration of it’s weakness, for precisely the same reason why it can be used to legitimize Bin Laden, or any other terrible act, for that matter. It can be applied to anything and still work. If something is true, it needs to have a method for testing it’s truth — an unfalsifiable statement cannot be tested and is therefore not a fair statement, logically.

If religious people can use “God works in mysterious ways,” then everyone can use “x works in mysterious ways” to prove anything. This is obviously not an effective way at getting to the truth in any matter, so the only other option is for nobody to use this manner of arguing. God does not work in mysterious ways: unfalsifiable statements work in mysterious ways.

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I recently stumbled across a blog that demonstrated that rationalists might finally be making some headway into the debate against believers 🙂 There has emerged a new strategy among believers (at least, new to me) that can be seen in this blog post. The blog post is called “Atheists ought to chill out” and it basically is trying to stop the barrage of logic that rationalists are continuously lobbing at irrationalists by saying, “Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? Don’t you feel embarrassed when you continuously disprove us?”

This is quite ironic coming from people who spend hours every Sunday in church. Don’t they have anything better to do?

This blog post in particular was useful because they set up this argument:

I don’t believe in the tooth fairy because I know she doesn’t exist. Therefore, I don’t spend time trying to disprove her. I don’t care if someone believes in her because it doesn’t harm anyone or anything.

I polished up their argument a little, but that’s essentially it.

So, I thought of a great game that we can play!

It’s called, “The Tooth Fairy Doesn’t…” and it goes like this: you state a reason why you feel disproving religion is more important than disproving the tooth fairy. That’s it. I’ll write a few of mine, but I’d love to hear other suggestions! 🙂

The tooth fairy doesn’t strap bombs to her chest and blow herself up in crowded civilian areas.

The tooth fairy doesn’t try to impose her legal system on other cultures (let’s call it Fairya Law) .

The tooth fairy doesn’t issue fatwas calling for the death of cartoonists or writers.

The tooth fairy doesn’t blow up abortion clinics.

The tooth fairy doesn’t knock on my door and try to tell me to believe in her.

The tooth fairy doesn’t influence politics.

The tooth fairy doesn’t try to stop the teaching of evolution in schools.

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Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.