Let’s say that tomorrow, the world is presented with definitive, inarguable proof that God exists. Which would be the largest faith community to recognize and affirm His existence?
On average, anyway. Because if God happened to be exactly manifest in the form that one particular denomination believed, that denomination would immediately point to the proof and triumphantly declare that they were right all along. Now, most people of any faith willingly agree that no faith has it absolutely right. But even if there were one that was 100% correct. Let’s say it was the Ba’hai.
Would all the people of faith, the other billions of non-Ba’hai, admit that they were wrong? Absolutely not. Ask a believer now, and their likely answer will be “it’s a ridiculous question, because it’s not true. I’ve never even heard of the Hi faith, how could it be real?”
We’ve addressed this arrogant fallacy before, that while people of faith say that God is Supreme, they also tend to believe that it is their faith in God which proves his existence, thus suggesting that man did in fact create God, but the reason I bring it up now: if every non-Ba’hai in the world generally agrees that they’re full of shit, and every non-Mormon in the world agrees that they’re full of shit, and every non-wiccan agrees that they’re full of shit, then why do Judeo-Christians have any reason to believe that they’ve got the inside track? The answer is simply that they don’t. But just as all non-Ba’hai feel safe that they can dismiss the teachings of Bahaullah without fear of going to Hell (which the Ba’hai would agree with. So, win-win), so too do all the world’s Jews who refuse to recognize Jesus as the messiah, and all the Christians who refuse to recognize Muhammad. Elvis exposed the hypocrisy of institutional religion when he wore the star of David, cross, and chai on one big necklace, saying he didn’t “want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality.” Houses of worship put a great deal of effort into turning people away from Elvis’s philosophy: there is no room for multiple interpretations. You believe in our faith, and none others. Or, as God put it:
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the LORD thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me. —Exodus 20
The atheist argument to those who don’t respect it as a belief system is that everyone is mostly atheist. There have been a hundred religions in history, give or take… a Christian, by not having any other gods before him, pronounce that they are atheist to 99% of the world’s religions. Atheists don’t believe in Mount Olympus, and neither do Christians. Atheists don’t believe we came from teardrops, and neither do Christians. Atheists don’t believe that there is one omnipotent God, and neither do Buddhists, or pagans, or animists, or the cavemen, or North Koreans, or ancient Greeks, or Persians, or any other non-monotheist faith in history. And of the monotheist faiths, Christians are atheist towards Allah, Muslims are atheist towards Jehovah, and Ba’hai are atheist towards the Trinity.
But there is a difference between a true atheist, and a person of faith who is “atheist to all other religions.” That difference is that people of faith are absolutely certain that all other faiths are wrong. Most are so convinced that they’re so obviously the only correct ones that they love to ask atheists: “okay, you say you don’t believe in Hell. What if you’re wrong?” The expected answer being, okay, I’ll believe in Hell, just in case it actually exists, and therefore by believing in it I won’t go there. Aside from the paradoxical nature of that logic, if atheists were so easily swayed, they wouldn’t be atheists. They’d be in a Kool-aid cult.
The fact is that most atheists have a very good reason for not believing in God: they’ve never seen him. They’ve never seen any evidence of him. Every single thing that religious people claim is the work of God has been very clearly and unambiguously explained through human reasoning, or is still questioned. There is not a single thing that people of faith have been able to point to and say “that. For as long as that exists, there can be no doubt that God exists.” Many have tried, as we discussed last week, but none have succeeded.
But the second one comes up, atheists will promptly say, out loud, that we were wrong. Obviously, such a time has not come, but there have been countless instances where rationalists have let go of at least part of their beliefs. We atheists used to believe that the Earth was a large, flat disc that the sun revolved around. We have since admitted we were wrong. We then believed that you could sail west from Spain and land in India. We have since admitted we were wrong. We then believed that caucasians and blacks were two separate races, independent of each other both in quality and in soul. We have since admitted we were wrong. We then believed that any time an egg was fertilized in a woman’s body, barring some horrible tragedy that egg was virtually guaranteed to mature into a child. We have since admitted we were wrong. We then believed that homosexuality, pornography, and drug addiction were contagious maladies that could be spread and would infect us and drive us insane. We have since admitted we were wrong.
So a Christian, not paying attention, may gloat, “well, you seem to be wrong about a lot of things. Seems reasonable that you might be wrong about God.” Actually, we’re not wrong about any of those things. Because the second we realized they were wrong, we moved on. In fact, if you ask around, the only people who still believe any of those things… are religious. They have tied their belief in God to all sorts of beliefs that have nothing to do with where we came come or why we’re here.
They’ve forgotten their original quest of trying to understand the world around them and become obsessed with fighting moral wars and bolstering their numbers. They’ve become so obsessed with the minutia, things that matter to people and nothing else, things that are so ensconced not in natural law but in social order, that they no longer recognize the reality in front of them if it endangers any of the beliefs that they would be damned for eternity if they disavowed. They would deny their own God if he was standing right in front of them, if their self-interested pastors said He wasn’t what the church represents.
True atheists have no such reservation. We have all the knowledge that has accumulated over the centuries pointing to the nonexistence of God. But if He were to appear tomorrow, we would welcome him with open arms, and we would admit we were wrong. Then our children would learn what we pass on to them, about our round earth, about racial equality, about biology, about tolerance, and about God, and our children would be right about all those things.
Yet there would still be the millions upon millions who ignored the coming of the Lord and insisted that he was a fraud, a blasphemy. Like how pagans view Jews, how Jews view Christians, how Christians view Muslims, how Muslims view Ba’hai. All of them, literally arguing about nothing. At least they don’t still think the world is flat.