The atheists’ god challenge


Friends, here you shall find what the OP has presented as a challenge. I will, if you allow me, paste the challenge here and then show why the premise upon which the challenge is based can’t stand and advice the author to either formulate a proper challenge or drop it altogether.

The challenge reads as follows

Before you begin the challenge, ask yourself what you consider the probability that God doesn’t exist. You might be 80% sure, 90% sure, 99% sure, or 99.99% sure. So the way this scale works is this: Let’s say that if you are at 50%, you are an agnostic, and at about 75% or higher you are an atheist. If you go too far below 50% you actually become a theist, since you are more sure that God does exist.

Then once a day, for the next thirty days, say these words out loud, with as much feeling as you can muster:

“God, please open my eyes so I can see you. Reveal yourself to me. Demonic forces blinding me, leave me alone.”

Then after thirty days, reevaluate what you consider the probability that God doesn’t exist. If the number goes down significantly, that might be evidence that you live in World B. If it doesn’t, that might be evidence you live in World A.

The first problem with this challenge is that the OP doesn’t seem to know that agnosticism is a knowledge position and one can be an agnostic [a]theist. For agnosticism answers to the question of whether the nature of god is knowable. Having said that, however, it must be noted that there is a bigger problem to be mounted by the person presenting this challenge and that is we must be told what god is! To make the assumption that all of us know what you mean when you talk about god is to be presumptuous.

The next problem with this challenge is the assumption embedded in it, that is, if you repeat certain words several times, then magically it becomes true. Are we back to kindergarten again? What sort of challenge is this you propose to rational adults to engage in? The second assumption it makes is that apart from believing there are demons, he is actually implying that it is these demons that have blinded the atheist! And he has the nerve to call this a respectful challenge! What respect!

So as I told him in my response, let us cut the chase. I can’t even talk about what percentage of belief I hold on the existence of god simply because such a thing hasn’t been defined and the question of its existence is a secondary one. The primary question is and will always be what is this entity and why is it necessary. Once this question is answered, we will move to the next order of day, until then am a naturalist, with no belief in anything supernatural.

And his promise

If you, an atheist or agnostic, are open minded enough to take the challenge, I will be open minded enough to publish your results on my blog, no matter which direction the results lean

To which again, is an offer yours truly will reject outright. My mind is open but not so that my brains can fall off. So, Tim, if you get to read this, you can post it already as a response to your challenge in the knowledge that even if you don’t I have no ill feelings. I think it is a poorly formulated challenge and while you call it respectful, it’s hidden premises border on condescension and insult to people’s intelligence.

I need not say more except to invite you friends to weigh in if there is anything I left out in my response. And while at it, here is a bad way to defend one’s religion.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

28 thoughts on “The atheists’ god challenge

  1. Mordanicus says:

    I have an additional point of critique: not all probability statements can be expressed numerically. Often we can only say that some event X is more likely than event Y, without being able to put any quantitative chance upon it.

    Like

  2. Arkenaten says:

    Hi, Mak.
    Popped over to dear Tim’s blog.
    Sheesh, blokes like this are nothing but smarmy dickheads. They reek of hypocrisy and aren’t even aware of it.
    I left a comment.
    Let him demonstrate how his god, Yeshua, is divine before we start talking about any creator of the universe.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Hello Ark,
      Hope you have been well mate. Oh yes, he is a silly person, talks of being respectful but is full of condescension without even being aware.

      That would be interesting proof if he offers one.

      Like

  3. MichaelB says:

    I asked God innumerable times for him to “reveal himself to me” throughout my Xianity, and searched desperately near the end for any signs or traces. Nearly three years into my deconversion, still nothing. Go figure.

    Like

  4. thatonecoolkid99 says:

    Hi there, I believe you tried to post a comment to my blog about this page but it turned out incoherent. If you edit it for me I’ll be glad to post it!

    Like

  5. Ark, as always, the first question of religion can only be: is there a god. There is only one good way to answer that question: evidence. About 2000+ years ago, so the story says, YHWH and Jesus were all about demonstrating their credentials. Now that we have cameras and technology there is no ‘evidence’ being offered up. Third hand testimony is not evidence. Even Jewish scholars are saying the Moses story isn’t true and so on. There is no evidence for any of the monotheistic religions that stands up to scrutiny.

    Never mind how likely I might think it that a god exists, the first question is why should I begin to even think there can be a god. Without some reason to think a god exists the probability that one does remains at zero.

    For every person that believes as the challenger, there are thousands that do not, most of whom believe the challenger is wrong and going to hell.

    When such challengers can convince people of other faiths that theirs is the right one I might listen.

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    • makagutu says:

      Indeed, that is the first question that must be answered and then we shall ask is it true?

      If the question of what is god can’t be answered, then we can’t proceed with debate. It is there that we must start

      Like

  6. fojap says:

    Funny, I just finished reading that post before stopping by here and I had two points I thought about making, but I didn’t leave a comment because I just don’t get into it with Christians who aren’t close friends.

    The first point is that there is an assumption that if one were to give up atheism, then the only other point of view is Christianity. That’s always been the leap I couldn’t make. At times, I’ve entertained a sort of platonic notion of god or life force, but as soon as you allow the possibility that there might be something not strictly material in this world many people immediately leap to “…and God put HPV on earth to punish girls for having sex.” I once had exactly that conversation at a party. I could probably be Taoist, or even animist, but not Christian.

    As it happens, I have tried his challenge, more or less, on several occasions. I bet most atheists who have grown up in an environment dominated by Christians have. The first time I recall, I was about eight or so. I’m not sure what prompted it, but I suspect that another kid in school might have suggested that I pray. I didn’t include the part about demons. I did it every day for what seemed like a long time, but was probably only a week or two since we’re talking about a child’s perception of a long time. I felt absolutely nothing. It was after that that I started to call myself an atheist. I remember shortly after that writing in my diary that I thought religion was created in a primitive time when people didn’t have laws.

    I tried something like that on a couple of other occasions. Embarrassingly, while I was in college I did believe a lot of stuff that I look back on now and think is really stupid. It probably could best be described as New Age Woo. Eventually, however, I just had to acknowledge the fact that “the universe” doesn’t care about us, probably because it’s not sentient. That period, however, did involve meditating and praying and, if there was a divine thingamabob out there, it had plenty of opportunity to enter my heart and do whatever it does.

    Many people who call themselves atheists today grew up in religious households. I would be very surprised if not once in their life did they ever pray. I’m sure there’s one or two out there because it’s a big world, but most people probably have already tried this challenge.

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    • makagutu says:

      I think the OP makes an assumption that all atheists were not religious at some point, for otherwise, he wouldn’t propose such a challenge. For a person who grew up religious and have come to the atheist conclusion, to ask them to engage in such a challenge is to be plainly ignorant of why they are atheists in the very first place.

      The problem with this challenge again is the ambiguity of what it is you are expected to believe exists.

      Like

  7. exrelayman says:

    I went over and looked. Pure drivel. What no one yet has has pointed out about the challenge is the “with as much feeling as you can muster”. Right! Try really, really hard! Then your brain, in response to the fervency of your effort, can generate some response indicative of you finding (to some extent) that which you so earnestly sought. You get to generate the mental effort involved in your own brainwashing! Nothing unfair about that is there?!

    Can you imagine scientist having to pray really really hard that radio signals would travel to the receiver? Pure lunacy. But yes, that is a familiar tactic used by many practitioners of organized superstition.

    Like

  8. aguywithoutboxers says:

    My friend, very interesting and appropriate comments above! A very good post! Much love and naked hugs!

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  9. pinkagendist says:

    I’ll do the challenge if I’m allowed to substitute the word god for the word lobster 😀

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      The fellow just didn’t think through his challenge. Whether it is being lazy or a refusal to think, the jury is out

      Like

      • pinkagendist says:

        I explained to him that his challenge is something other than what he thinks it is. The repetition of phrases is a mind-control technique that’s often used by religions and political groups. It’s very obvious in Islam’s ‘Allahu Akbar” or Christianity’s ‘Bless You’. In the political sphere we see it in phrases like ‘the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy’.
        He wants people to repeat a phrase that implies his god exists (satan too). That’s the first step in creating the ideal environment in which to manipulate someone into accepting something as a fact even if there’s no evidence for it. It’s how we convince children santa-claus exists….

        Like

  10. shelldigger says:

    Ahh, the Tinkerbell Challenge, if you try to believe really really hard, it will….what bullshit. Oh, and I will not give this goof the dignity of a page hit.

    Thanks for the laugh makagutu.

    Like

  11. mixedupmeme says:

    I had to go over there and look. I liked the responder who just said, “NO”.

    Like

  12. emmylgant says:

    Good post Noel and quite entertaining!

    Like

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