Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Show me a miracle!

A popular atheist trope is that if God performed a custom-made miracle for the atheist, he'd believe in God. To put this in reverse, they feel justified in not believing in God unless they see a miracle. There are a couple of problems with this trope:

i) It doesn't occur to them that it might not be important to God whether everyone believes in him. Rather, it's important to you whether you believe in God. An atheist is like a patient with a life-threatening condition who tells the doctor, "I don't trust you. You must prove yourself to be me before I let you save my life".

But that has things backwards. The patient's life can't mean more to the doctor than the patient. The doctor doesn't have a personal stake in the patient's survival. The doctor has nothing to lose if the patient refuses treatment. The patient isn't doing the doctor a favor by letting the doctor save his life; rather, the doctor is doing the patient a favor by saving his life.

ii) What's the next step? What would the atheist do if he witnessed a miracle? How, if at all, would that change his life? There are duties that come with believing in God. (For that matter, an atheist has the same duties–he simply fails to recognize his duties.)

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