One of my favorite bloggers, Greta Christina, wrote a very sound, well articulated piece that she linked to from her blog, and you can read over at AlterNet. When I posted a few months ago asking Christians to show me their evidence for gods, what Greta wrote is kind of what I had in mind, although I was lazy, hoping that I might actually have someone present something in the way of evidence, other than anecdotal happenings or intuitive personal feelings, that I might then put under the blog-ial microscope to examine. Unfortunately, that post and a few afterward got hijacked by commenters who will remain unnamed, and we never really were able to sink our teeth into it (which, in hindsight was probably their goal). As Greta makes clear, deflection, deflection, deflection.
As I said in that post, and elsewhere, the existence of God is the ultimate question in the ongoing debate between theist and atheists. This boils down to “where’s the beef” (remember the Wendy’s commercial?). Well, Greta has dissected most of the arguments given, and starts from the proposition that theists fail to produce the beef, although she uses the metaphor of money (I have to have some originality here, don’t I?) All we get is the sesame seed bun, when they promise so much more. Not even a pickle.
She gives the standard deflections to the demand for evidence, and knocks each one down. Some examples to whet your appetite:
The spiritual realm is beyond this physical one — we shouldn’t expect to see evidence of it.
If there really is a non-physical, spiritual world affecting the physical one… why can’t we come to an understanding about the nature of that world, and how it affects this one? Why, after thousands of years of religious belief, are we still no closer to an understanding of the spiritual realm than we ever were? Why do religious beliefs still all boil down to a difference of opinion?
It’s disrespectful and intolerant to tell people their religious beliefs are wrong.
In the marketplace of ideas, only religion gets a free ride in an armored tank. Only religion gets to sell its wares behind a curtain. Only religion gets to make promises about its wares that it never, ever has to keep. And when people hand out flyers in the marketplace saying, “These guys are selling hot air, the Emperor has no clothes, here’s all the reasons why our wares are better,” only with religion do people scowl disapprovingly at the disrespectful, bigoted intolerance.
If They Had The Money, They’d Show It
When something even vaguely resembling solid evidence for religion appears, believers are all over it. The Shroud of Turin. The Virgin Mary on a cinnamon bun. That ridiculous prayer “study” supposedly showing that sick people who were prayed for did better… until the study was blasted into shrapnel, and the researchers were shown to be dishonest at best and frauds at worst, and subsequent studies that were actually done right showed absolutely no such thing.
There’s a lot more.