This happens more often than I care to admit, and when it occurs with regards to one of my many failed attempts at humor, I try to take it in stride. However, it’s simply bad etiquette to ask a comedian to explain his joke, no matter how bad he screws it up. It also usually reveals a marked sense of willful ignorance on the part of the one who “doesn’t get it.” In my experience, no one walks away from this scenario without metaphorical egg on their face. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a crime to fail to be funny, although many a professional comedian can tell you the penalties for such an heinous sin make one wish they could just get off with a warning or pay the occasional fine; would be easier than what actually happens in practical reality.
I fail to be funny so much, it’s not even funny. Insulting my own failure as a comedic writer is not why I am writing to you today, my fearless companion spinning with me on this pale blue dot. Might wanna get a barf bag handy by the way, you already look a mite queasy.
Recently on Twitter I had a dizzying exchange that went as follows.
@NoufAlBr: Dear atheist, look at nature, it’s WEAK! How could u think that it created itself by itself?
ME: I don’t.
@NoufAlBr: ..it’s only a creation.. there has to be a Creator..
ME: BZZT! Wrong. Existence is not proof of Creation.
@NoufAlBr: What do you mean here?
ME: You may as well worship dragons. They’re slightly more likely than your god.
@NoufAlBr: And what do you mean here?
ME: with which word are you having difficulty? i recommend a dictionary.
Did I stutter?
Was I not typing loud enough?
Did someone change the definition of “BZZT!” when I wasn’t looking?
Looks clear as mud to me. Still, if I care to elaborate..? Yes, then I shall.
First off, I do not believe the universe created itself. There are scientific observations of the known universe, objective to any subjective dogma that man made up for itself before it could get any relevant and verifiable scientific data, that lends to the plausibility of this theory, but what we know is incomplete. The life cycles of everything on Earth from the smallest of viruses to the largest of mammals function fine without any discernible arbitration from external forces. Oh, I see a lot of religious people doing a lot of praying, but there is absolutely zero relevant and verifiable scientific data that prayer incites the intervention of an external party which is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent entity that happens to mirror descriptions in ancient texts like the Torah or the Quran or other Abrahamic resources.
Zero. None. Zilch. Nada.
Secondly, there does not have to be a creator. A few years ago, Stephen Hawking published a book that explained how, if gravity existed prior to the alleged big bang, then there did not need to be a creator to incite reality. It could have happened all by itself. Even though others have disputed his findings, even and including other secular minded scientists, the point is there ARE other explanations besides, “my god did it” and many of these other explanations are simply more fathomable and rational.
Believers are notorious for not only making claims they can’t prove, but then climbing out on those rickety unsubstantiated assumptions as if they are made of mortar and rock. They then make other speculations extrapolating from these unproved givens they pretend are facts until they have amassed a house of cards so preposterously insane and ridiculous the only reason it doesn’t fall down around their heads is for the same reason Wile E Coyote always falls to his death and Road Runner never does: it’s imaginary. None of these bold faced lying claims are happening in actual physical reality, where the laws of physics have relevance and meaning.
Your god exists only inside your head. Your god does not exist outside your head in actual reality. Your god is imaginary. The god you believe in is not the same exact god as the one inside the head of your closest friend or dearest relative or most complete stranger. I do not know how clearer I can make this to you.
This belief that because reality is here it must have been created only works inside the mind of the people insisting this assumption is valid. There are other explanations, some of which we haven’t even fathomed yet, and others we don’t want to fathom cuz most of mankind is too busy living in this castle in the air called Abrahamics, where not only did this mysterious being create an entire universe but he did so just so you could exist in it as the center of a grand design of which you are an integral part even though this god isn’t letting you in on the details. Rest assured it’s a doozy and you’ll like it when it’s all over, probably long after you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil and are playing shuffleboard in heaven with George Burns and Gracie Allen. My how you’ll all laaaaaugh at the goings on of your mysterious but important part of your god’s amazingly mysterious plan.
Another possibility is that some force created this universe, but it wasn’t humanoid, wasn’t omnipotent, wasn’t omniscient, wasn’t benevolent, or was some of the above and not others, but at any rate doesn’t fit much if any of the criteria described in the Abrahamic works of ancient humanity’s ignorant past. It’s far more likely that this creator entity is not humanoid, because far more things we CAN see in this universe ARE NOT humanoid than ARE.
Still another possibility is that whatever caused this universe to begin wasn’t an act of conscious choice on the part of a single entity at all, but the result of a near infinite number of other possible scenarios, again none of which are mirrored in any Creation Myths human beings have told one another for centuries. This universe behaves far more like it was fashioned by a committee of people running multiple departments, none of which properly communicated with each other prior to the launch of their ill-conceived “designs.” There is rhyme and reason to some things and not other things, and many forces which make sense in and of themselves make no sense in relation to other forces in the universe, which is why scientists can’t come up with a universal law of everything, cuz the universe is absurd and contradicts itself, much like the bible does, and much like many religions contradict each other.
Or maybe it had nothing to do with any conscious thought. Maybe it just happened. Believers counter that everything must have a cause, but then they introduce their god as The First Cause. The alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. Their god didn’t have a cause cuz it just always was. Since everything else mankind can observe has a cause, it is unnatural to assume a god would not also have a cause, which means you have to ask: what made your god? Whatever made your god, is more likely the god you should be worshiping, then the one you do, but then you have to ask what made that guy, and so on. “My God” is not the answer to the equation of reality. The fact reality exist doesn’t magically mean YOUR god did jack shit.
So again. Mere existence is not proof of creation, and even if this existence was created, which is doubtful, YOUR god didn’t do it, for the simple reason YOU can’t prove YOUR god exists. And NON existence, is DEFINITELY not proof of creation! Even if ONE of the countless religions in all of human history happened to be right about how the universe came into being, it would be an uneducated guess. Because those who made up these creation myths in the first place have no evidence to secure their footing. You have better luck winning a lottery. At least numbers are identifiable.
Finally, dragons are mythical creatures based loosely off ancient mythologies from both western and eastern civilizations. There are no fossils of ancient dragons and they don’t exist today. The likelihood of some giant serpent with legs that had an internal system of organs which allowed fire breathing to occur is so remote as to be laughably absurd to most scientists. However, if push came to shove, there are scientists who could fashion about from a speculative stand point just how such a creature could exist in this reality, to the point where one would have to admit it’s plausible. It is not probable by any stretch of the imagination, but such a creature could have existed in the past and we just haven’t found evidence yet to confirm it. Such a creature could exist in the future, if nature gave alligators a slightly more sulfuric environment to adapt to and millions of years to adapt to a fire breathing capacity. We wouldn’t be around anymore but they might. Or perhaps silicon based life is possible in environments much hotter than ours and such creatures exist right now on another planet somewhere in space. Crazier things have happened.
However, when you compare the likelihood of dragons existing to the likelihood of an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, pan-dimensional, mystical Creator deity existing, dragons are slightly more likely, simply cuz dragons don’t have to be omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, pan-dimensional AND the inventor of all known space and time.
Genetics. Chemistry. Geology. Biology. Anthropology. Archaeology. Mathematics. Quantum mechanics. Engineering. The list goes on. If someone grasps at least a layman’s understanding of these topics, one cannot continue to believe in an old white man in a robe who sacrificed his son to himself so that you may party on Saturday night and pray for redemption on Sunday morning. Your beliefs are simply not real. They are not conducive to actual physical tangible reality. They are “surreal” which means they are NOT real. You live in a fantasy land inside your mind if you pray to a god. You are delusional. That’s okay. So am I. I’m fully aware that my sensory perception is subjective and therefore I will never objectively understand reality with absolute certainty, but the less baggage and clutter I drag around with me while I try to understand the better. Dogma, and unsubstantiated belief systems are simply unnecessary baggage and clutter. We are all better off without it dragging us down like weights at the bottom of the ocean when we’re trying to dog paddle on the surface of the water.
There. Now. Honestly, I don’t know how more articulate and succinct I can make these arguments. I thought I was pretty clear and understandable the first time, and the several times after that. Stop insisting I explain myself. It just makes you look stupid.
Oh, one more thing, oftentimes someone will shoot back that they are not a true Abrahamic. Theirs is a more generic god that is not limited to the trappings of descriptions in Abrahamic literature. Deists are most notorious for this. Theirs is a god that could have existed given current knowledge of science, as their god exists outside spacetime and is powerful enough not only to alter the universe but cover his tracks, like a really good hacker going up against giants of industry, commerce and politics.
To which I say poppycock. The less specific your description of your god, the more easily it is to dismiss. The more detailed, the easier it is to debunk. Go forth into the actual universe we both share and prove the scientific validity and natural existence of your god. Then, and only then, will we have a worthy debate on this topic. Until then, the balcony is closed.