I would like you all to know something – there really is no god. And. As much as I want you to know it, just making that claim doesn’t make it a true claim. It remains, just a claim. It sits there, more useless than a paper weight, a door stop, because it does nothing. It is like E. Dickensen’s frog, “..telling it’s name the live-long day to an admiring bog” – just a mere declaration, move along now.
In that sense then, I suppose the verse (Psalms 14:1) has some truth in it; all despite my preference that it were a lie after all. Because who knows? Who can make a definitive knowledge-claim about the positive existence of something like a god? Wouldn’t that be a foolish thing to do! Of course, we can imagine many things that might employ the same shifting criteria for existence to avoid any such knowledge claims, but never mind that. As the questions roll and the goalposts get moved further and further away, you end up with something that is immaterial, invisible – indeed, undetectable to any of our five physical senses, furtively hiding between the gaps of our testable knowledge, physical without proof, spiritual with no evidence. Completely indiscernible from non-existence.
But the opposite is also true, isn’t it? Hath not the fool also said in his heart, ‘there IS a god’? Both statements have equal value (null) as knowledge-claims. Unless of course we are willing to accept as evidence such proofs that must first be believed to be considered evidence. ‘If you will not first believe, then no evidence will be given you!’ – or some such gobble-dee-goop. No no, I say! There is no evidence for either claim in the realm of ‘knowing’; either for or against. Both are fools.
The only stone, then, that remains unperturbed is that of apprehending that this is not a ‘knowledge-claim’ at all. It is a simple belief-claim, which is innocent enough I suppose, but it doesn’t read as a belief-claim, does it? It reads as a statement which finds value in judging and mocking alternate views or claims. Nowhere does it address the veracity of the claim, but instead assumes it’s own truth and then ridicules any counter-claim or argument. It is a belief-claim pretending to be a knowledge-claim; a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Bravo! This is a perfect example pre-programming anyone who encounters this particular verse and attending belief system. Already, from the very beginnings of the Bible, one is taught to fear questions and to associate doubt with evil, wickedness, lies; with satan, a la ’the snake in the garden’. And now, having been thus inoculated, the individual having had that center-piece of critical thinking stripped away, will not consider the underlying question in Psalms. No no! For them there is no question of god’s existence – it is assumed – the question for them is, “Am I a fool?”.
Where is the case for the existence of god? Any god? Everywhere and for all time, such beliefs rest on the assumptions of mankind, from culture to culture, unbounded by oceans or languages or ethnicity. It is assumed, and all competing views are roundly ridiculed, shamed or vilified. Are these the tactics of a loving god who wishes to make himself known? And no wonder people react with offense to such tactics – it is not, dear christian, as you might imagine, that they ‘simply hate’ your god. Or did you forget already that you have ridiculed them and mocked them? Oh! Already, I can hear the justifications – the pompous, proud and arrogant justifications – pouring out of your sneering hearts as an excuse for evil.
So, perhaps instead of using these thuggish argumentative maneuvers, it is time for you to be very still and simply ask yourself – What if there really is no god?