I was an atheist when I first said that to a Christian about 45 years ago. I must say it felt pretty good to say those words. It makes one feel superior to tell a person they cannot prove something they believe. Most Christians I said that to personally and on my radio talk show either crumbled or exploded at that point. Either reaction was fine with me.
I am no longer an atheist, but still believe the statement to be true. We cannot “prove” the existence of God, but we don’t have to.
Before I believed in God, I thought the only things that were real were those things I could prove through my senses–sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. I had never seen God, never heard God, never touched God, never tasted God, never smelled God, and didn’t know anyone who had. I dared God to sit down in a radio studio for a live interview during my afternoon talk show back in 1970. I gave him ten seconds to show up, but He didn’t appear. I sarcastically told the audience that God must be under the weather or away on vacation.
That’s the way many people think today. They believe some of what they see and little or nothing of what they don’t see. If it isn’t on TV or YouTube or some other visual media or they can’t see it with their own eyes, it doesn’t exist.
Why is it that God won’t show Himself to us? If God exists, He certainly must want people to believe He exists. Why doesn’t He show Himself to the world? Why no absolute proof?
It’s important to remember that God has shown Himself to lots of people in the past. That’s what takes up a lot of the discussion between Christians and atheists. Christians believe God did appear to hundreds of thousands of Israelites in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. Christians believe God did appear to scores of Hebrew kings and prophets and priests. Christians believe the Son of God did appear to thousands of people in Israel during a period of 30+ years.
Atheists say “prove it.” They want to see God with their own eyes or at least in a video they can verify wasn’t altered. Why didn’t God come in the flesh now so He could be photographed and filmed and recorded and stamped with our approval? Why did He come to earth 2,000 years ago before radio, television, still photography, videography, and satellites?
God had His reasons to come to earth when He did. He didn’t come to satisfy the curiosity of today’s atheists or agnostics. He came at the perfect moment for His eternal purposes. His appearances have most often had to do with the nation of Israel – from Abraham to Moses to David to Jeremiah to John the Baptist to Jesus Christ. The Bible says God will appear again to Israel and to the entire world in the future. Atheists will get their “wish” to see God in person one day. They will see Him on their televisions, smart phones, tablets and computers. They will see the Son of God in all His glory. However, it’s not a sight they will enjoy and remember fondly. When Jesus comes again and the entire world sees Him, they will regret the day they were born. They will watch with horror as the Son of God destroys the armies of the earth that come against Him. They will mourn for their intense loss as Jesus Christ reveals Himself as the Great and Mighty King and Lord of the earth.
Atheists often ask me why I became a Christian. One atheist scolded me by saying that I must have been a very “bad” atheist to have become a Christian. He probably has a point if the definition of an atheist is someone who will never believe the truth even when there is strong reason to believe it is true.
Maybe atheism has changed since the 60s and 70s. I thought myself a member of a great group of “free thinkers.” We were free to think for ourselves, unfettered by the religious bondage of the masses. One difference, though, was that I thought of myself as being free to really think for myself. I wasn’t bound by the thoughts of anyone, even other atheists. So, as a free thinker and professional journalist, when I received new information I looked into it, asked questions, dug for answers. That’s what a free thinker does, right?
It’s interesting that atheists, agnostics and other unbelievers don’t use the same skills when asking for proof of the existence of God today. For thousands of years the human race had no idea what was going on in the “invisible” world of the human body or the solar systems so distant in the nighttime sky. The beliefs of science have changed through the centuries as scientists acquired new skills because of new information and technology. What they once thought could not be proven has been proven.
The same is true about the existence of God. I firmly believe that God exists and that’s based on acquiring new skills because of new information and technology. That technology is called Faith. The information is called Truth.
Faith is the “substance” of things hoped for and the “evidence” of things not seen. God will show Himself to those who seek Him. He wants people to know Him and become part of His family. The problem atheists and other unbelievers have is defining “faith” in their terms rather than the terms of the One Who created faith. If we want to understand the definition, we must seek the wisdom of the Definer.
Can you “prove” the existence of God? No. Can you establish strong reasons for believing in the existence of God? Yes.
Can an atheist “prove” that God does not exist? No. Can they establish strong reasons for not believing in the existence of God? No.
Many free thinking atheists have come to that same conclusion – that the reasons for not believing in God are extremely weak in light of the reasons for believing in God.
Here’s to thinking for yourself and being open to the Truth.
Since the title of your article is “You Cannot Prove the Existence of God!”, it provokes me to say, “Oh Yes You CAN – Prove the Existence of God!
A deductive argument is a proof, since the conclusion follows inescapably from the premises, if the premises are true. The classic example of a deductive argument is this:
1. All men are mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
A basic deductive argument for God looks something like this:
1. Things that exist require a cause.
2. Things exist.
Therefore a cause exists.
This Singularity Argument for the Existence of God is a proof:
When we look back in space and time, we see a singularity that appears to come out of nothing because space and time were created in the beginning along with other temporal things. But since nothing comes from nothing, a cause must exist for these things. A cause that is outside of space and time is thus considered eternal, and thus, uncaused:
1. Temporal things are temporal because they exist in space and time.
2. Temporal things require an eternal cause.
3. An eternal cause is eternal because it exists outside of space and time.
4. Temporal things exist.
Therefore, an eternal cause for temporal things exists.
Does this mean everyone is forced to believe this argument against their will?
No. One may willfully choose to believe (against reason and logic) that something comes from nothing.
Does proof of God’s existence eliminate or reduce the need for faith?
No. In fact, it strengthens the foundation upon which faith stands, thus increasing faith.
It is large ONLY if it is true. So far neither you nor anybody else in over 6K years of trying has ever done it.
But keep trying. It is amusing to watch. Or at least would be if you guys didn’t take it so seriously you are willing the kill the rest of us over it.
Hi, Michael. Thank you for stopping by the post. You say that no one in over 6,000 years of trying has ever done it (assuming you mean proving the existence of God), yet billions of people have been convinced of God’s existence during that time. Is something true only if every person in a span of 6,000 years has believed it? Please help me understand your method of testing truth.
As for taking the existence of God so seriously that I would be willing to kill the rest of you over it, I disagree. I’m glad that no Christian wanted to kill me when I was an atheist. I don’t personally know any Christian who would want to do that. Do you personally know a Christian who wants to kill you and other unbelievers?
Thanks again for writing and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
“Can you establish strong reasons for believing in the existence of God? Yes.”
“Can they establish strong reasons for not believing in the existence of God? No.”
You’re going to have to do better than that if you want atheists to take you seriously.
Hi, Amby. I’m writing a full series in this blog about what convinced me to believe in God. It’s called “Convince Me There’s A God.” It’s in answer to the most-asked question I’ve received from atheists for more than 40 years. Hopefully, atheists will take it seriously. Thanks!
“Can an atheist “prove” that God does not exist? No.” Proving a negative is impossible. Also, threatening an Atheist with eternal damnation is equivalent to threatening that Santa Claus won’t bring him/her presents on Christmas…
Hi, Evolved. Christians believe in a positive – God exists. The atheist has to prove that He does not exist – therefore trying to disprove a positive. I understand your point about the threat – didn’t work for me until I believed – then it meant something. The difference between eternal damnation and not getting presents on Christmas is obviously large. Thanks!