Skeptics Wanted: What is the Best Reason Not to Believe in God?

Jason Micheli —  September 25, 2013 — 8 Comments

Next weekend, we’ll begin a 3 part sermon series called The Skeptical Believer: Making Peace with Your Inner Atheist.

I get to kick-off the series, and I thought I would do so by tackling Doubt and Disbelief as seriously as I possibly can.

And I’d like your help.

What do you think is the best, most compelling reason not to believe in God?

It can be an intellectual argument or it can be a moral argument. Your choice.

If you’re a believer, what’s that nagging doubt in the back of your mind?

If you’re a believer without any nagging doubts, first get real and then put yourself in the shoes of a skeptic and give me a reason not to believe.

If you don’t believe in God at all, give me your best case.

I’ll give/send a free copy of Daniel Taylor’s book, The Skeptical Believer, to the person who gives the best argument.

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Jason Micheli

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8 responses to Skeptics Wanted: What is the Best Reason Not to Believe in God?

  1. You will not find this helpful because the reasons are so commonplace and you’ve heard them all before. I’m not a skeptic, but this is the kind of stuff I have heard:
    1. There is no evidence for God, no proof of God’s existence. Moreover, the world can be explained scientifically.
    2. If there is a God, and God is loving and just, why is there so much evil in the world, e.g. If God created this world, why does God allow all these natural disasters?
    3. Bad things happen to good people. What kind of a God would permit this? (a variation of #2)
    4. The Bible is full of inconsistencies and untruths and is not reliable, e.g., Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. Scholars mostly agree on this, but the Bible/the church says Bethlehem.
    5. Skeptics chalk it up to the need for others to believe in a power higher than themselves.

  2. -If there is a god there should only be one true religion yet we have many religions with the commonality that all believe theirs is true. Religion is a man made concept and is not eternal, many in history have failed.

    -The existence of the haulocaust, AIDs, wars, famine, junior high, birth defects, disease, nickleback. Why would a God let this happen?

    -An omnipotent all knowing God is contradictory (ie. stories in the OT where God knows all but gets angry at what happens; if one knows everything how can you know the feelings of surprise or learning.).

    I also have a real problem with the wastefulness and unlimited enormity of space and the idea that the universe is expanding. If we find a day where science can account for creation where does that leave religion? Also the timing of Jesus’ arrival on earth leaves me with questions when the universe is billions of years old. Why then and why that location to that specific culture?

  3. My most common doubts are easily disproved in my own head…and yet I still doubt. I think it has something to do with the nature of faith (trust)…it’s simply hard to do.

    1) Knowing that it takes faith to both believe and not believe in God…I still doubt God exists at all…am I the only person, at the end of the day, that wonders if we didn’t make the whole thing up?

    2) I look at the church, and I see so much evil, and I look at the teachings of Jesus/apostles and I begin to doubt that God is anywhere near the church (or at least many churches I have been apart of). I could point to myself as well as others here. And it makes me doubt.

    Again, I can give good answers to these problems to myself, and i truly do believe. But I still doubt…I still struggle at times to trust.

  4. Agreed with the others on thoughts on why not believe….I think more though on the idea of worship. If I was sure there was a God, I can’t imagine that I would worship. If I were to create a globe of tiny people, would I expect them to believe in me and worship? It just sounds like tyranny.

  5. As a 16-year-old college freshman (a year or two ago), brought up in a small Southern Baptist church in a family where everyone was a Southern Baptist, I felt my world fall apart when a professor’s wife said, at a social gathering, “Isn’t the story of creation just the kind of thing cave men would have made up?” It was so logical. How had I missed that?

    Fortunately for me, my faith held. I can’t prove God exists. He gave us free will and we don’t always measure up, so the world is not a nice place. There are good people who don’t believe and bad people who do. It is totally a matter of faith, but it helps to study.

  6. 1. I’ve never had an experience that’s even remotely close to anything described by other believers….no miracles, no healings, no “encounters with the risen Christ,” etc. All I’ve had is the vague sense of rightness in the world (this world screams “I love you”) while walking through the woods while the sun is going down. Stuff like that. Without an experience of any kind, how can I believe on the same level that others do? And why would I be expected to? And why would the God who created the human brain reward me for essentially silencing it?

    2. The Hebrew Bible is so vastly different seen through the lens of scholarship and study (particularly Jewish scholarship and interpretation) than it is seen through the popular theological lens. The New Testament is dealing with cultural realities that have little to no bearing on 21st century culture. The modernist worldview, while not capable of dealing with all aspects of reality, IS STILL A PRETTY DAMN EFFECTIVE worldview…as Wright has said, I don’t want to have a pre-modern or postmodern surgeon operating on me. Since Scripture is so different seen through a learned lens, it can be easy to just give up on the whole issue and either revert to a former development phase (a “childish” faith that is built on colloquial ideas and folksy superstition) or throw it away altogether in favor of a newfound “freedom.”

    3. Religion seems to be explainable biologically and anthropologically.

    4. If the story of the Hebrew Scripture is primarily “God chose us, then delivered us, then a bad thing happened in history and he didn’t deliver us…and we’re still waiting for the time he would deliver us…so why doesn’t he?” isn’t the simplest answer: “Because your history is a legend and you’re dealing with a real Empire oppressing you now….God doesn’t exist.”

    5. I know you basically quoted NT Wright’s whole tome while defending the Resurrection, but scholarly ideas always have pushback…why don’t all scholars simply give up the prize and proclaim NT Wright the ultimate interpreter of history? The mere fact that Christians have primarily been going to one voice as the be all/end all of all historical research into the resurrection is indicative of a problem to me.

  7. Humans have been around for about 160,000 years . God waits until a few thousand years ago to reveal himself to an obscure tribe and leaves everyone else in the dark and proceeds to destroy a lot of folks because they believe in other gods. Is that justice? Why didn’t he reveal himself to everyone so as to give them a fair shake?

  8. The declarations in the O.T. of God ordering violence. How do we reconcile this with the peace-loving Jesus? The O.T. prophets rant against people and their sin, page after page, with the occasional glimpse of grace, how do we reconcile this with Romans 8 that God is for us?

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