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A Critique of the Articles of Faith

by Chris Bowers

This originally appeared in the Friendster Religion & Spirituality discussion forum and is republished with the permission of the author.

A discussion on this article has been opened in Debate and Discourse. Please feel free to add your own thoughts to the exchange of views via the contact page.

The following is a critique of John's positions on the Apathetic Agnostic website.

1. The existence of a Supreme Being is unknown and unknowable.

To believe in the existence of a god is an act of faith. To believe in the nonexistence of a god is likewise an act of faith.

Why is it that belief in God's existence is an act of faith, and Belief in God's non-existence is an act of faith, but Belief in the indeterminable nature of God is NOT an act of faith? Aren't you just arbitrarily designating your position as NOT an act of faith when it really is just another form of Belief about God?

There is no evidence that there is a Supreme Being nor is there evidence there is not a Supreme Being.

That's quite a claim. If you mean that there is no EMPIRICAL evidence for or against God, then I would agree with you. There are all sorts of evidence pro and con of God, including anecdotal evidence, logical evidence, ethical evidence, metaphysical evidence, anthropological evidence, etc. Are you just defining all information about God as "non-evidence"?

Faith is not knowledge.

No, but faith is based on knowledge. It's a belief held by evaluation of information from a variety of sources.

We can only state with assurance that we do not know.

Why are you assured of that?

2. If there is a Supreme Being, then that being appears to act as if apathetic to events in our universe.

Oh? Why's that? A religious person might just as easily say the converse: "There is a Supreme Being because it is so involved in our universe.

All events in our Universe, including its creation, can be explained with or without the existence of a Supreme Being. Thus, if there is indeed a God, then that god has had no more impact than no god at all.

Complete foolishness. Simply because there are two different explanations to a scenario doesn't mean that both explanations are equal. One is true and one is false. A robbery can be explained as an inside job or a nefarious locksmith, but only one explanation is correct and relevant to the scenario.

To all appearances, any purported Supreme Being is indifferent to our Universe and to its inhabitants.

You keep saying this, but how do you know that the Supreme Being isn't having an impact, and that impact just hasn't directly affected you?

3. We are apathetic to the existence or nonexistence of a Supreme Being.

If there is a God, and that God does not appear to care, then there is no reason to concern ourselves with whether or not a Supreme Being exists, nor should we have any interest in satisfying the purported needs of that Supreme Being. However, our apathy to the question of God's existence does not necessarily mean we are apathetic about promoting agnosticism.

So your argument is now that THERE IS a God, and that God doesn't care about us, so we shouldn't care about it? This argument is flawed for several reasons.

  1. If there is a God that exists and doesn't care about us, then this metaphysical revelation would deeply inform our choices and outlook in life. It might make us nihilistic, or it might make us want to be better than that God (in terms of caring more than that God).
  2. It doesn't follow that because a divine being doesn't care about us, we shouldn't care about it. If Horus exists and doesn't care about us, we may still be interested in it's existence and purpose (if it doesn't care about us, what IS its purpose? Should we subvert it's purpose or help achieve it?)
  3. Morally, the fact that intelligent entity (A) has no love or interest for intelligent entity (B), it doesn't follow that Intelligent entity (B) should have no love or interest in intelligent entity (A).

    It seems as if you are positing here some sort of metaphysical tantrum at God, and using that as a justification to be apathetic about it. I simply don't agree that God's non-concern for us should mean that we shouldn't be concerned with it!