I just believe in one less God than you

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The "I just believe in one less God than you" is an atheist argument.

"When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen Roberts[1]

Problems with the "I just believe in one less God than you" argument

1. The atheistic argument improperly considers historical evidence and other forms of compelling arguments and evidences for the existence of Gpd

Simon Greenleaf, one of the founders of the Harvard University law school. His work Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice is a classic work in the discipline of Christian apologetics.

The Ministry Cold Case Christianity declares:

In every criminal trial, a jury is asked to evaluate the actions of one defendant related to a particular crime. While there are millions of other people in the world who could have committed the crime under consideration (and indeed, millions of these people were actually available to commit the crime), only one has been charged. If the jury becomes convinced this defendant is the perpetrator, they will convict him based on their beliefs. They will convict the accused even though they haven’t examined the actions (or nature) of millions of other potential suspects. They’ll render a verdict based on the evidence related to this defendant, in spite of the fact they may be ignorant of the history or actions of several million alternatives. If the evidence is persuasive, the jurors will become true believers in the guilt of this man or woman, even as they reject millions of other options.

As Christians, we are just like the jurors on that trial. We make a decision about Jesus on the basis of the evidence related to Jesus, not the fact there may be many alternative candidates offered by others. If the evidence is persuasive, we can reach our decision in good conscience, even if we are completely unfamiliar with other possibilities. Christianity makes claims of exclusivity; if Christianity is true, all other claims about God are false. If the evidence supporting Christianity is convincing to us as the jury, we need look no further. In the end, our decision will be based on the strength (or weakness) of the case for Christianity, just like the decisions made by jurors related to a particular defendant must be based on the strength (or weakness) of the evidence. At the end of a trail, juries are “unbelievers” when it comes to every other potential suspect, because the evidence confirming the guilt of their particular defendant was sufficient. In a similar way, we can be confident “unbelievers” when it comes to every other potential god because the evidence for Christianity is more than sufficient.[2]

Dr. Greg Bahnsen became known as "the man atheists fear most" due to Michael Martin's cancellation of their scheduled debate.[3][4]

There is a considerable body of evidence and valid argumentation for the existence of God (see: Arguments for the existence of God and Evidence for Christianity and Rebuttals to atheist arguments).

At the same time, in 1990, the atheist philosopher Michael Martin indicated there was a general absence of an atheistic response to contemporary work in the philosophy of religion and in jest he indicated that it was his "cross to bear" to respond to theistic arguments.[5] Yet, in 1994, Michael Martin was criticized for his eleventh hour cancellation of his debate with Greg Bahnsen (see: Greg Bahnsen and debate and Bahnson-Martin debate press release).[4][6] See also: Atheist apologetics

The majority of philosophers of religion, or those who have extensively studied the issue of the existence of God, are theists (72 percent).[7]

In addition, there has been attempt to redefine the definition of the word atheism due to the lack of proof and evidence for atheism (see: Definition of atheism).

Furthermore, given the lack of proof/evidence for atheism and the weak argumentation for atheism, in recent years, there have been a number of notable cases of atheists dodging debates related to the Atheism vs. Christianity issue (see: Atheism debates),

For additional information, please see:

2. Multiple schools of atheist thought objection

There are a number of schools of atheist thought (see: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions). For example, if an atheist belongs to one school of atheist thought, a theist would adhere to one less school of atheist thought than the atheist does.

3. Type of religious belief objection

C. Michael Patton writes:

Whether we are speaking of this from a political or rural position, the commitment to religious pantheonism (note: not “pantheism”), especially of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman world, don’t have as committed adherents as we often think. The religious culture that Christianity demands needs to be distinguished here. People did not really believe in Shu, Nut, Hercules, Baal, Wearisomu, Enki, Utu, Diana, and the like in the same way that people believe in Yahweh. Their belief was more of a social convention which included all the pressures that such a system demanded. Their gods were more “faddish” than anything else. Their existence was rather fluid, changing and even morphing into other gods and sometimes moralistic ideals such as “justice” and “reason.” This is why the Caesers could so easily deify themselves and expect people to jump on the bandwagon. Did these people really suddenly believe Caeser was a god? If so, what does this say about the type of belief they had? Both in the philosophical world of the day and among the laity, “belief” as we think of it, was not present.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that we have “faddish” Christianity today where people follow the tide of the culture in believing in Christ the same way that people believed in these ancient gods. In this social folk religion, there is a parallel. But the basis for belief in these other gods was founded on social convention, not philosophical, rational, and historic necessity as is the case with Christianity. Christianity exists not because of rural pragmatism, but because of historic events.[1]

Similarly, the Shadow To Light blog declares:

Now, I accept and embrace Christianity because I think it is true because of my use of reason and evidence... In this case, we have evidence about the thousands and thousands of gods that have been worshipped throughout history – most of them are no longer worshipped. It would seem to me that if a God did exist, the deity would be able to sustain the existence of some significant community of believers across time and space. The Christian God qualifies. Christianity has a significant presence on every continent on the Earth. The thousands and thousands of gods that have been worshipped throughout history don’t.[8]

4. Type of god objection

C. Michael Patton writes:

More importantly, the gods of these pantheons were/are not really gods in the proper sense. In order to call them such is a misunderstanding of what “god” means. In other words, they were functional deities who carried a role that was expedient to the life and happiness of the people. They were the gods of rain, sun, crops, war, fertility, and the like. They were the “go-to” immanent forces who had no transcendence or ultimate creative power. They were more like superheroes from the Justice League than gods. In this system, human beings and these gods shared the same type of life, having similar problems and frustrations. The deistic philosophy of the people did not center around a “universe” in which one god was controlling and holding all things together, but a “multiverse” where each god was responsible for his or her respective career. Therefore, these gods would have much more in common with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause than they would with the God that the Bible describes.

While most systems had a “top dog,” if you will (Zeus, Re, Enlil, Marduk, etc), these were not thought of as the ultimate creators of all things who, out of necessity, transcend space and time. They were simply really, really powerful beings that happened to be caught up in the same world we are. More powerful than us mortals? Yes. But none qualify for the title “God.”

Christianity believes in only one God (monotheism). We believe this not simply because we want to have the most powerful being out of the millions, but out of theological and philosophical necessity. We believe that God created all things out of nothing. We believe that existence necessitates a “first cause” or an “unmoved mover.” This first cause is by definition God. Simply put, whoever started it all (the time, space, matter creation) is the only true God. There cannot be multiple first causers. God, while able to interact and love mankind, must transcend all that we see and know. He must be outside of our universe holding it all together, not simply the most powerful actor in our current play. We are simply talking about two different species here. One that is transcendently holy, both ontologically (who he is in essence) and morally (what he does) and the other which is but a hair’s breath from us.

In the end, the theistic type of God espoused by Christianity cannot be compared to the pantheon of gods of polytheistic religions.[1]

See also

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Why the “I Just Believe in One Less God than You” Argument Does not Work by . Michael Patton
  2. Do Atheists Believe in Just One Less God Than Christians?, Cold Case Christianity ministry material posted at Bible.org
  3. Pushing the Antithesis on Greg Bahnsen
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bahsen at the Stein debate by John Frame
  5. Open Questions: Diverse Thinkers Discuss God, Religion, and Faith by Luís F. Rodrigues, page 201
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named simpleapologetics.com
  7. Does it matter that many scientists are atheists?
  8. The Silly “One Less God” Argument, Shadow to Light blog

See also