Humans behaving badly and the existence of God

The following “Closer To Truth” video clip is a typical example of atheists conflating human behavior with the question of the existence of God. The interview is between host, Robert Kuhn and Michael Ruse. Kuhn is an agnostic, Ruse is an atheist philosopher of science. 

The original subject of the program was on the New Atheism, but Ruse’s argument is that the question of atheism is a moral issue. He said that while Richard Dawkins’s arguments are philosophically and metaphysically horrendous, what he’s after is the morality of the Bible, of church history, Catholic priests and little boys, etc. To which Ruse concludes:

“Belief in God is not just wrong; it’s morally wrong….because religious beliefs lead to such horrendous effects all the way.”

Kuhn responds to this assertion:

“In my mind there is absolutely no correlation, zero, I mean zero correlation between what religion has done and “is there a God?” …I mean there is no relationship whatsoever, so I understand if you have a moral question against religious practices or what religion has led to from an organizational point of view, but to really understand the nature of atheism versus theism itself, it’s not a social moral issue.”

Then Ruse brought up the thirty years war, as if that was refuting Kuhn’s point.

Kuhn tried his best to tell Ruse that just because God is invoked in disputes in history, those things don’t address the question of the metaphysical existence of God.

“That’s an absurdity, that’s a human absurdity, but the impact of whether God really exists has nothing to do with it”

Amen. Kuhn gets it, but Ruse carries on sarcastically with his fallacious argumentation.

What Kuhn is trying to say is, YES, we SHOULD make the world a better place and eradicate war and fight against radical extremism, but that’s not the same issue as whether God exists or not. It’s not even an argument against Christian theology. As I’ve said before, if we stop cherry-picking history, we can only conclude that human beings poison everything.

To his credit, Ruse finally dropped this absurd line of reasoning and articulated his theological problem with the Christian God, which is trying to combine the Greek idea of God (divine simplicity) and the modern idea of God (personal theism). This is a legitimate argument.  I’ve dealt with it in my series of posts on the classical argument for the existence of God.

Ruse then admits, “Ontologically, I’m more of an agnostic,” which again, is refreshing in light of the dogmatic certitudes of the new atheism of Dawkins and his ilk. Of course, Ruse is no idiot. Atheist ontology itself is totally incoherent (see graphic below, click on pic for explanation) and he probably knows it. They all hope that science will one day unlock this conundrum. The only problem with this wishful thinking is that science, by definition, is forever locked within the material realm. It can only vanquish the little “gods of the gaps” (see graphic below). It cannot address the existence of God.

Ruse clearly has a beef with “Christian” people behaving badly in history. I would agree with him on that. But, let’s be clear—this is no argument for atheism.

One more point. Ruse also had a sadly typical view of heaven…meeting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates…(picture Gerber babies with wings playing harps on clouds, etc.). He said, “I don’t believe in that God.” Well, I don’t believe in that God either. Neither does anyone who knows anything at all about Christian theology.

Here’s the video clip.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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4 Responses to Humans behaving badly and the existence of God

  1. I quite agree, Mel. People can make a mess of anything, even our faith. Christians do bad things sometimes and the institution or politics of our faith has participated in historical atrocities. This however, is completely irrelevant when it comes to reasoning about God’s existence or non existence.

    I call this thing the Al Capone defense. You can try to say God is like a mob boss, extorting money and making people do bad things, but it is completely illogical to then claim He doesn’t exist. Al Capone was very real, He didn’t just vanish because people disapproved. We actually do not have the power to just squeeze our eyes shut and make scary things in the closet disappear. That is actually an emotional mindset, not a logical one.

    Also, something inside of us all clearly states, I will not worship someone like Al Capone. That’s a good thing! But absent that moral and Divine fingerprint that causes us to recoil in horror, there really is no rational argument against it. In an evolutionary, somewhat nihilistic worldview, you should worship Al Capone and pay him his protection money, too.

    I’m chuckling here too, false perceptions of St Peter and those Gerber babies has probably driven more people away from faith then all the well reasoned arguments our world tries to offer up. What’s worse then being forced to submit and worship a God you have misdefined as being a bit like Al Capone? Mandated harp playing sitting on a cloud as a cherub for all of eternity. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, IB. Al Capone is good analogy. It reminds me of something Andrew Wommack said once: “Some people’s understanding of God the Father turn Him into the Godfather!”

      I’ve come to realize after my foray with atheists (actually, anti-Christians and de-converts) is that their beef is really with organized religion, extreme fundamentalism, and atrocities in history done under the auspice of “Christianity.” The funny thing is, I agree with them there! But then they conflate this with the question of the existence of God or what it means to follow Christ, and those have absolutely nothing to do with the issue of God’s existence or what it means to follow Christ.

      And I agree, the typical boring description of heaven (which came from fictional stories and movies, not the Bible) turns a lot of people off. It would’ve turned me off, too. But then I actually read the Bible. Then I actually encountered the Source of Life. 🙂

  2. Ben says:

    I think this is where a lot of people come to their conclusions about the existence of God. “If God exists, then why are all these bad things happening?” As a former Christian, I do not think that question was the main factor for disbelief, at least for myself. I think what led me to disbelieve is more of the issues with the religious texts having been shown to have been altered through the years and (at least in my opinion) a lifetime of unanswered prayer. What was promised to come to fruition has not. There seemed to be a stark difference between biblical promises and the reality of life. I think that basically what happened, for me, is that the religion of Christianity didn’t seem to make sense to me any longer. Does that mean, that because I am unconvinced by the Christian religion, that God is therefore nonexistent? No. Not at all. There’s no way to know that with any degree of certainty no matter what scientific advances we come up with.

    I had a discussion just today with an atheist who seems to think that being unsure about God is somehow being dishonest and a slap in the face to true atheists. The truth is that some of us do not subscribe to religion (largely in part to the atrocities committed by religion in general) but cannot rule out God’s existence. It’s the old “just because you cannot see something or feel something doesn’t mean it’s not real” argument. I do not presume to speak for anyone else as it is not my place to do so. I will just speak for myself. Right or wrong, my feelings are my own. No one has to like them or agree with them. For me, I just do not know enough to boldly proclaim anything, but I am open to the possibilities. I’m open to the possibility of God and to the possibility of being proven wrong. I’m not afraid of the truth. I yearn for truth. I do not care where it leads me. It led me from religion. If it leads me back then so be it. If not, I’m just going to have to accept that. At this moment in my life, I do not concern myself with finding God or labeling myself Agnostic, atheist, deist or anything else. Labels are what other people place on you. You are simply who you are. No labels are necessary. What is necessary is the search for answers. The search for truth. If God is real and is longing to reach me then I have no doubt it will happen.

    I have no issues with people believing whatever they wish to believe but I do have issues with labels. If I say “this is how I feel or this is what I think”, someone may want to say,” well, than you are this or you are that.” That’s unfair and just adds to the division between all of us. Even when I was a Christian, I didn’t like being called one. People hear that word and assume a lot about you. Many times they are wrong and that’s unfair.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Ben. They are very honest and open. I appreciate that. I’m sure I would enjoy having long conversations with you. 🙂

      I totally get the label thing. Kierkegaard once said, “As soon as you label me, you can dismiss me.” That’s true. While labels are a convenient way to make sense of positions, they also don’t really define us. I’m also with you on the “Christian” label. The term conjures up a lot of bad things. I have a close Israeli friend who is a Messianic believer who says emphatically, “I’m not a Christian!” She says this because, in Israel, “Christian” represents a long history of hatred and persecution. I also don’t like the word, “religious” for the same reason, so I end up using the term, “following Christ” to better explain what I mean. This is why I don’t personally like political labels. I find myself disagreeing with both parties on many things.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping here. Let me know if you have specific questions or interests and I can cover them. I may not have an answer but I can certainly give you my take on it. 🙂

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