The Bible's Pagan God
If God did not exist, it would be
necessary to invent him.
This report focuses on the fallacies of the arguments for the existence of God and their conflicts with the Bible. Many passages in the Bible describe a finite God with human characteristics, as pagan religions do, while current arguments describe an invisible infinite God with a human personality. The fallacies have a common thread: they mix absolutes with relatives.
Polytheism originated thousands of years ago when primitive men didn't understand the forces of nature. Early humans were nature worshippers. In their ignorance, they believed that by treating the unseen forces of nature as super-humans, they could gain favors through subservient worship-if you were extra nice to them they would be nice to you. The reasoning has gotten more sophisticated but it's still the same old primitive superstition.
Once the step was made to think of the forces of nature as being controlled by invisible super-humans, it was a short leap to think of these super-humans as having super-egos. What separates polytheism from monotheism is about whether the gods were finite or whether there was one infinite God. The quantity of gods is irrelevant to their shared premise.
The case for God comes by presuming a causative deity and deducing from the basic premise-conclusions are based on the premise. The weakness of deductive reasoning is that if the premise is wrong everything that flows from it must necessarily be wrong. If religious authorities had verifiable confidence in their reasoning they wouldn't be glorifying the necessity of faith.
The case against God derives by first employing inductive reasoning-conclusions are drawn by accumulating a host of facts. It is only then when deductive reasoning can be employed with reasonable confidence. The strength of inductive reasoning is that it allows for changes in previous conclusions when anomalies are discovered. You won't find that humbleness in religion.
Raw nature doesn't have human attributes. As obvious as that may seem now, it was only within the last few hundred years when scientific reasoning emerged from the theistic view of nature. In essence it is this human verses inhuman view of nature that separates religion and science.
The fallacy of an invisible God
Paul said God is invisible.
20Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; (Romans 1:20)
And John maintains that no one has ever seen God.
18No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. (John 1:18)
No one has ever seen gravity either. Scientific reasoning has confirmed that God has no power over gravity. The proof is that gravity has been found to exert a uniform force on earth and in outer space. If "God" has no power over gravity it is a safe assumption that "God" has no power over anything else in the universe.
About all that fits the definition of invisibility and infinity is space and time.
The fallacy of an infinite God
The Catholic Encyclopedia argues that God is infinite in every kind of perfection in the highest conceivable way.
When we say that God is infinite, we mean that He is unlimited in every kind of perfection or that every conceivable perfection belongs to Him in the highest conceivable way. The Nature and Attributes of God
1. The Bible shows no awareness of the idea of infinity. God is up in heaven and hell is down.
19So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
Earth was encapsulated by a shell called the firmament.
All things were made by God.
3all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:3)
The concept of infinity originated with the Greek philosophers. Centuries later the Christian philosophers broke away from the Bible when they incorporated an infinite God into their reasoning.
2. While they argue that the Whole (Universe) cannot cause itself, they flagrantly maintain that a part of the Whole (God) created the greater Whole, and is simultaneously the greater Whole.
To expand: 1) The Totality cannot be created by something external to it. 2) The Totality cannot be created by itself. 3) And the Totality cannot be a part of itself. 4) Thus whatever exists must necessarily be a part of the Totality.
3. Because the infinite Universe is all inclusive, it cannot be located relative to anything else. Therefore it is nowhere. Thus, if God is everywhere then he must be nowhere. If God is everywhere, then it must include every living thing and inanimate object. If God is somewhere then he cannot be infinite.
4. By definition, a being has finite qualities and the Universe has no finite quality. It means that a Being cannot have the quality of the universe. You can describe the parts, but the Whole defies explanation.
5. In English grammar, two negatives cancel each other out. Similarly, careless inattention to absolutes can render a statement meaningless. 1) To say that God existed before existence means that God didn't exist. 2) What is supernatural is not natural and does not exist. 3) For there to be a beginning there has to be an end of something else to start from. 4) You can create something by rearranging something else; but you cannot create something out of nothing. 5) A Being has finite qualities. But an infinite Being reduces to nothing. 6) Strictly speaking the Universe (euphemistically called God) is perfect because there is nothing else to compare it against.
6. The art of magic is to create illusions of things that seem to defy Nature. Similarly through the power of suggestion, words can create illusions of things that don't exist.
7. Infinity is incomprehensible to human consciousness. To assign the ideal of a deity to explain what is incomprehensible can never hope to come to a practical definition. Realistically, all we can presume is that the Universe is infinite and eternal. It precludes anything else.
the fallacy of Anthropomorphism
"Anthropomorphism" means to attribute human shape or characteristics to a god, animal or inanimate thing. Such human characteristics would include intelligence, consciousness, emotions and values. This is commonly seen in cartoons where animals, trees, rocks, toys, etc. act like people. The only difference with theism is that these people seriously believe that the universe has the attributes of a single person.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, to think of God as having physical organs and passions is a legitimate use of anthropomorphism as a metaphor for God. But it should not be taken to mean that God is anthropomorphic.
Yet sometimes men are led by a natural tendency to think and speak of God as if He were a magnified creature -- more especially a magnified man -- and this is known as anthropomorphism. Thus God is said to see or hear, as if He had physical organs, or to be angry or sorry, as if subject to human passions: and this perfectly legitimate and more or less unavoidable use of metaphor is often quite unfairly alleged to prove that the strictly Infinite is unthinkable and unknowable, and that it is really a finite anthropomorphic God that men worship. The Nature and Attributes of God
Despite the Christian Church's denial that God is an anthropomorphic creature, there is plenty of contrary evidence in the Bible. If I included angels the list would be much longer.
If God is infinite, then the passages below must be taken as something equivalent to UFO sightings, hyperbole, delusions or just plain bull. Some of them are reminiscent of people who claim to have had experiences with aliens from outer space.
God made man in "our" image. -This suggests that either God is hermaphrodite or there were female goddesses among the other gods he was talking to.
26"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness .. (Gen. 1:26)
God walked in the Garden of Eden.
The sons of God married earth women. -Jesus had divine brothers.
God likes the smell of burning flesh
21 (Gen. 8:20-21)
God came down to see the Tower of Babel.
God stood on the rock At Horeb and watched Moses strike the rock.
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders saw the God of Israel. He had feet and hands.
910 11 (Ex. 24:9-11)
God wrote on the tablets of stone with his finger.
God wrestled with Jacob face to face.
2425 30 (Gen. 32:24, 25, 30)
God spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.
No man can see God's face and live. -Completely contradicts the above.
20 "you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live." (Gen. 33:20)
God removed his hand from Moses' face and showed his back.
21"Behold, there is a
place by me where you shall stand upon the rock;
22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;
23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen." (Gen. 33:21-33)
God told Moses that he appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
2"I am the LORD.
3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.(Ex. 6:2-3)
God descended in the cloud and stood with Moses.
God spoke face to face with the Israelites.
David saw him ride on a cherub.
11(2 Sam. 22:11, Psalm 18:10)
Job heard and saw God.
God dwells on Mount Zion. -And the Greek gods dwelt on Mount Olympus.
Isaiah saw God sitting on a throne high above him.
God has body hair and a beard which he shaves with a razor.
An oracle saw God riding on a swift cloud on the way to Egypt.
God has breath like a stream of brimstone.
Ezekiel heard God speak to him from out of the temple. God sat on a throne with his feet on the ground.
6"Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel for ever..(Ezek. 43:6-7)7
God talked to Ezekiel many times.
5 "Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I shall tell you concerning all the ordinances of the temple of the LORD and all its laws; and mark well those who may be admitted to the temple and all those who are to be excluded from the sanctuary. (Ezek. 44:5)
Daniel said his clothing was as white as snow and the hair on his head like pure wool.
Amos saw God standing beside an altar.
John and Jesus heard God call Jesus his beloved Son.
17and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17)
According to Mark, Jesus went to heaven where he sat at the right hand of God.
Steven saw the heavens open up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.
he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
56and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55-56)
He wore a long robe with a golden girdle round his breast. His head and his hair were white and his eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze and his voice like the sound of many waters. He held seven stars in his right hand and held a sword in his mouth. His face was like the sun at full strength.
in the midst of the lampstands one like a
son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his
14his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire,
15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters;
16in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. (Rev. 1:13-16)
I haven't included Jesus who, if he is supposed to be God incarnate, would certainly fit the definition of an anthropomorphic God.
The fallacy of sophism
Through tortured reasoning the existence of God hangs in the balance about whether God can be known by analogy to human characteristics or if he is a metaphor. No amount of semantics can change the nature of tangible reality.
1. The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to warn that a theist of "average intelligence" would be aware of when he speaking of God in metaphors.
But whatever truth there may be in this charge as applied to Polytheistic religions, or even to the Theistic beliefs of rude and uncultured minds, it is untrue and unjust when directed against philosophical Theism. The same reasons that justify and recommend the use of metaphorical language in other connections justify and recommended it here, but no Theist of average intelligence ever thinks of understanding literally the metaphors he applies, or hears applied by others, to God, any more than he means to speak literally when he calls a brave man a lion, or a cunning one a fox. The Nature and Attributes of God
It goes on to assure us that our knowledge of God is derived instead by analogy.
This is technically expressed by saying that all our knowledge of God is analogical, and that all predicates applied to God and to creatures are used analogically, not univocally. The Nature and Attributes of God
Analogy to what? If the Universe is infinite then there is nothing comparable. The Church is not discouraged.
2. Since human knowledge comes from the senses and interpreted by reason, and God is spiritual and infinite, man cannot arrive at perfect knowledge of God.
As human knowledge proceeds from the data of the senses directed and interpreted by reason, it is evident that man cannot arrive at a perfect knowledge of the nature of God which is essentially spiritual and infinite. Analogy
Without the senses there is no way to test our reason. Not only can we not arrive at perfect knowledge of God; we can't arrive at any definition of God except by sophistry.
3. The analogy comes from the presumption that dependent beings must ultimately rest on a non-dependent non-relative Being.
For dependent beings must ultimately rest on something non-dependent, relative beings on that which is non-relative, and, even if this non-dependent and non-relative Being cannot be conceived directly in itself, it is necessarily conceived to some extent through the beings which depend on it and are related to it. It is not an Unknown or Unknowable. Analogy
Certainly humans are dependent on the biosphere and certainly the universe is non-dependant and non-relative. But once you interject a Being into the argument, you've introduced a metaphor. It's equivalent to saying that the Universe can think like a human. It would be just as silly to posit a tree, a rock or an animal.
4. It can be known by acknowledging that these things are produced according to a certain plan to a certain end. The conclusion is that such a power requires intelligence, will, personality, etc.
It can be known in different ways. We remark in finite things a manifold dependence. These things are produced; they are produced according to a certain plan and in view of a certain end. We must conclude that they have a cause which possessess in itself a power of efficiency, exemplarity, and finality, with all the elements which such a power requires: intelligence, will, personality, etc. Analogy
Let me see if I got this straight. Since God is infinite and unknowable, it is okay to speak of God in anthropomorphic metaphors as long as we are cognizant that God is not truly a metaphor for a human. While at the same time we can know about God by the analog of a being who posses the power of intelligence, will, personality, etc-the same attributes that humans possess.
This is like an exercise in let's-pretend or what-if the Universe had a personality, what would it be like? Let's see. I know what I would want. I would want to live forever in complete bliss. I could have whatever I wanted without having to work for it. What do I have to do to get those things? Believe in Jesus? That's easy! God asks for so little and offers so much, how can I lose?
This is a good time to compare the dictionary definitions of metaphor and analogy. Metaphor: a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used of one thing is applied to another. Analogy: The likening of one thing to another on the basis of some similarity between the two. The two words mean almost the same thing.
We could say that by analogy electricity flows like water, but in every other way it doesn't act like water. We could say that Mickey Mouse is a metaphor for a human, but that does mean he exists. Monkeys behave in ways that are analogous to humans, but in many other ways they are not human.
There are approximately six billion people on this planet and every person has a different personality. Even those who we know personally, it is often hard to figure out what they are thinking. To misjudge what other people will do is arguably the most common source of human error. If there was someone who is invisible and infinite, you cannot possibly deduce what their likes and dislikes are.
The escape from reality comes from attempting to deduce an ideal personality. It can only be done by subjective reasoning. This explains why gods come with so many names and personalities. Every culture throughout history has its subjective definition of what their gods would be like. If there was a God, then one is faced with the quandary of which one to choose. Between the major religions, the minor religions and their respective sects, there are hundreds of choices.
The argument by analogy also contradicts the argument by revelation. Proponents of the Bible clam that God revealed himself to the writers. To do that he would have to penetrate the senses in a language they understood. Realistically, the writers were inferring the words of God through the inner voice of their conscience. Some of them were certifiable nut cases. Ezekiel, for example, believed that God told him to eat human dung. When Ezekiel objected, God let him eat cow dung.
1213 14 15 (Ezek. 4:12-15)
This brings us back to the fallacy of an infinite invisible god: an infinite thing cannot be a part of the whole. The nature of any being can only be perceived imperfectly through the senses. If a rock cannot have human attributes, then the Universe cannot have human attributes. Space and time have no other attributes except space and time.
There is only one definition for God that is consistent with legitimate reason and evidence. His forms are infinitely variable and he is infinite in time and space. He has no human attributes-no gender, no values, no morals, no ego, no consciousness. But rather than call him God, it is far less confusing to call it Nature. The ability of people to deceive themselves has no bounds. It is the only way to explain God's existence.