Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Proof of God

Well, another holiday season is behind us and the work week is back in full force. The chaos of idle time always makes writing in a blog nearly impossible. I know that I am not alone in this, however, as many of my favorite blogs also went down for the end of December. Now that I am back I am ready again to discuss the world with anyone who will listen.

One item that has been on my mind lately is my own commitment to the truth. Specifically, am I willing to accept the possibility of a deity or am I completely closed off to the idea? And if I were truly as open to truth as I like to think I am, what would it take? What kind of proof would I demand from a deity?

The reason this has been bothering me is that I can't think of anything I would accept as proof. No amount of New Testament-style miraculous conjuring would convince me. I would think that it was just a bit of sleight-of-hand or advanced technology of some kind. I certainly would not trust my own eyes. The miracle would have to be performed to an international audience of scientists and under strictly controlled conditions. Even if a giant pillar of light descended from the skies, dispensing idiomatic wisdom and demanding fealty and praise I would sooner believe it was some sort of extra-terrestrial (although what is a god but an extra-terrestrial alien?) with massively advanced technology, no more divine than you or I or a house cat.

Presumably a real deity would have the ability to convince us of the truth without resorting to 'proof.' The Biblical God should be able to simply 'reveal himself' to us. I suppose that this is the kind of proof I would need. And it bothers me because I don't actually think of myself as being such a difficult nut to crack. I'm not an atheist because I dislike god or because I want to sin and rebel, and I like to say that I'd be perfectly willing to believe if sufficient proof were shown. And yet here I am saying the opposite. I guess that the problem with god is not as simple as a lack of proof. It is also that there are numerous problems with Christianity (this post is not my manifesto, and I will not list them here) itself that make it an illogical philosophy as well as an irrelevant explanation of the world. Our history with science has proven that explanations are possible. We have a framework with which to answer our questions. Even if we do not currently know the answer, we can see that an answer is at least possible.

So what would god have to do to prove himself to me? Well, unless this god is completely unrelated to any of the religions we currently observe, he would have to come in and admit that he was really just joking about everything. The God of the Bible would have to admit that he deliberately made the world look as though he wasn't there and that he muddied his texts to the point that no two humans would interpret them in the same way. To be honest, I would require the same exact explanation for Santa Claus.

I don't particularly like this conclusion. I don't like to think that I have solved mankind's biggest question (and if I'm correct, then it is far from our biggest question) or examined every scrap of evidence, because I haven't. And yet the fact remains that I am about as certain as I could be about the state of god's existence. I no longer even look for proof. It sounds terrible, I know. It makes me sound like a conceited asshole, like a self-assured jerk. Believe me - I don't like it any more than you do.