Argument against a personal God

As I see it, there is no evidence that a personal God exists in the form described in “Holy” books such as the Bible.  The basis of our belief in God is in ancient written records and oral tradition.  Not only are these sources known to be an unreliable method of transmitting information; but if taken literally, one can find many statements that are inconsistent with reality.

For example,  the earth is created before God allegedly ordered, “Let there be light!”  But matter is held together with electromagnetic fields.  (Light is an electromagnetic field.)  Furthermore, we know through the well tested theories of Einstein that mass and energy are really the same thing.  So, the idea that one or the other was created first makes no logical sense.  The assumption that the Bible is to be interpreted literally and that it comes from an infallible God is clearly invalidated by this simple fact.

Some argue that the Bible is meant to be interpreted figuratively.    The problem with this approach is that it results in many conflicting interpretations.  But this whole argument skirts the issue of how we can know that the Bible truly comes from God.  There is no direct evidence of a connection with the Bible (or any other “Holy” book) and the existence of God.  We are left with accepting God on faith.

So what exactly is faith?  My understanding is that it is belief without proof.  Well, there are many things that do not exist that we can faithfully accept, so how do we choose what to believe and what to accept as true?

Humanity seems to accept God for many reasons.  It makes us feel secure;  It takes the edge off of our fear of death; or, perhaps our parents told us to believe in a particular God.  None of these are justifications or evidence for the existence of God, but rather reasons for belief in God.  It is comforting for a child to hug a stuffed animal, but we would not use this fact to conclude that the cotton has special powers.

Are the teachings of the Holy books of such high moral standards that they would compel us to believe in God as author?  I think not.  The Bible instructs us to do some awful things.  We end up embracing those things that we believe are good and discard the bad or irrelevant.  In essence, we apply our own internal sense of morality.  Given that fundamentalism has lead to atrocities, such as stoning women who are raped, perhaps we would be better off discarding the holy books as the source of morality.

Some may argue that answered prayers and miracles are proof that a personal God is looking out for our well-being.  All modern claims of miracles and the efficacy of prayer have been debunked or can be explained in terms of natural causes (see  For example, prayer is found to be no more effective than random chance.  A massive study that was designed by scientists and theologians, and carried out by religious groups (staunch believers) showed no correlation between prayer and medical outcome.  A good review of this study can be found in the New York Times.

It is well known that people fool themselves into believing all sorts of things that are false (See Cargo Cult Science).  Since it is easy to see the folly in others more clearly than in ourselves, consider the peoples of the South Seas who started a cult based on their observations of planes during World War II.  The ritual of the Cargo Cult may seem silly to us, but not to its practitioners.  How would we view ourselves if we could analyze our beliefs with the same dispassionate objectivity?

Given that there is no evidence for a personal God, and the sources used to invoke such a God are flawed, I submit that it is highly unlikely that a personal God exists.


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