Does The Atheist Want God To Do Tricks?

This is Frequently Asked Question/Frequently Offered Claim. It seems to stem from the Atheist requirement for less subjective evidence of God.

Atheists have a more empirical criterion than Christians do. Generally an Atheist will not settle for any testimonial or subjective evidence while a Christian will. Since Atheists are not likely to accept anecdotal or subjective evidence for God, they prefer the kind of evidence that results from something like but not limited to a scientific style inquiry.

When faced with a conclusion that does not seem to follow from the evidence, isn't it normal to want more evidence which better supports the conclusion? Law, Law Enforcement, Medicine and Science are only a few fields that depend on having a conclusion as qualified as possible, as certain as possible. Arresting a person, sentencing a person to prison, performing surgery and showing results from scientific grants are actions that depend on a conclusion based on sound evidence. It just won't do to settle for "maybe". Since the prospect of a God has the potential to influence every part of our existence it follows that we should as sure as possible that God exists.

So if the Atheist is not convinced by the evidence presented, it should be expected that the Atheist would want more evidence. This evidence could be as dramatic as imaginable or it could be as subtle as something personal. If God is everything he is supposed to be he knows what it would take to convince us. If God wants a relationship with us, then he should be as present as necessary to create it and sustain it. Christians claim that he does and that Atheists refuse it. But I think a strong argument can be made that an all powerful being could, with a minimal amount of effort, be undeniable if it wanted to be.

What are our expectations for relationships with our friends, family, spouses, business acquaintances or strangers? What does it take to sustain those relationships? Most of the time, its not tricks, just a little understandable feedback.


Vincent said...

That god fellow is a pretty selfish dude. He never calls, never invites you to go to the movies, and demands that you devote your life to him.

NM said...

From the religious point of view, wanting evidence is counter-intuitive. If you had evidence you wouldn't need faith, now would you?
I think that's why the atheists seem nonsensical to the believers: we keep asking them to do the thing that contradicts who they are. It's a bit like asking "if you think the afterlife is so wonderful, why don't you kill yourself and go to heaven, then?" I've actually asked someone this.

Their point is that that's not the point. My point is that it must be the point, or why all the fuss? It's a sort of stalemate.

Michael said...


there are other purposes of faith than to be confident in the existence of God. Many people in both the Old and New Testament spoke or met with God or and angel of the Lord. I would think this fact questions the credibility out of your statement.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Both Mohammed and Joseph Smith spoke with angels of the Lord -- according to their testimony. (And many people today, from saints to Pat Robertson to serial killers, also claim to have 'spoken with God.'

You, I'm sure, do not accept their testimony. Why should we accept the testimony in the Testaments?

Fiery Ewok said...

If a being were to present itself to me as god....would I want it to do tricks? hmmmm.

If the being is claiming to be the god of the bible (whatever translation you read) I wouldn't want tricks so much as an explanation for all the EVIL that god demanded, perpetrated, authorized and performed.

And why did he feel the need to create hell?

No- not tricks for me thanks. But some REALLY convincing explanations. I wouldn't care about walking on water or 6 day creation.

But who the hell does god think he is?

Murdering babies, hardening hearts and punishing the hardened, killing 70,000 of his own believers as a punishment for someone else counting them????

If god were to show up, he'd have some EXPLAINING to do.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I think, Prup. Things such as divine visions, miracles, etc. are hard to prove simply because you would then have to accept the divine visions and miracles in other religions. It seems selfish and unfounded to claim that only the miracles in your religion is true, and all others false.

From the religious point of view, wanting evidence is counter-intuitive. If you had evidence you wouldn't need faith, now would you?

That baffles me. In the believers' view, we should have blind faith. So as rational, intelligent beings, we should require as little evidence as possible when trying to believe in something? Surely God cannot have such an absurd idea. That is why the idea of blind faith is a strange one for me.

paul said...

A true atheist will not expect tricks from a being that doesn't exist.

I think a more apropos question would be: "Should the believer in a God of the bible expect that God to do tricks?"
If Mark was inspired and quoting Jesus then: "...these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; pick up snakes with their hands, and when they drink deadly poison, it will not harm them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." Mark 16:17,18

Apparently, "Jesus" did not consider it a violation of "faith" to promote the expectation of "signs."

I like these verses and call them "The Insiders Test." It's a substitute for those who don't want to do all the work involved in Johns "Outsider Test." Of course, there is a pesky risk of death...

Kelly Gorski said...

I completely agree with you. We demand evidence in every area of life except when it comes to something as core to our identity as faith-based concepts, beliefs, and even legislation. And yet, these faith-based concepts are really the root of the majority's opinions on "moral matters." It's quite scary how faith, in certain instances, can trump logic.

live-n-grace said...

I hope faith trumps "logic". What is logic? In my eyes faith and logic go hand in hand. To me, there is logically a creator, not the universe and earth coming by chance.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi l-n-g,
I agree with you. I agree that faith and logic should go hand in hand.

I have faith the sun is going to come up tomorrow because I have seen it come up everyday that I can remember. Unless something changes and I don't see any indicators that it will, I can form a general principle to go by which states that unless something changes, the sun will come up tomorrow, and I will expect it. I have formed my faith by logic.

I don't have faith in Santa Clause because I found out there was another explanation. It was my parents.

I deduced on my own that the easter bunny was a fraud by not seeing any mechanisms by which a rabbit could go around delivering baskets. I logically deduced my way out of that belief.

I believed in all kinds of frauds, the bermuda triangle, UFO'S, Bigfoot, ghosts, god.

By not seeing any indications that any of those things were true other than by what people said and published in other sources besides the news, I stopped believing in them too. (On the other hand, don't get me started on how money grubbing the news is!)

There is motivating factor in perpetuating fraud. It makes money. Preying on peoples hopes and fears is as old as prostitution. Its easy money. Look at the news. Look at the "Left behind" series. I bet those authors have a chunk of change in the bank right now. Look at all the crap that popped up based on the "The Da Vinci code".

The Bible is a collection of Near Eastern myths. Once I saw a ton of evidence to that effect, I stopped believing in it. Without the Bible, there is no principle about god to go by. That and the silent partner that god is a relationship sealed the deal.

Logic and Faith should go hand in hand.

live-n-grace said...

Hmmm... how many adults believe in the easter bunny and santa claus? Why? THERE IS NOTHING TO IT. How many adults believe in Jesus Christ? Well, there's gotta be something there.

If it is all false as you say, then people should be dropping left and right. But there is nothing like the love of Jesus Christ, and once you believe in Jesus Christ, everything falls into place. Why we are here. How we came were. What we are here for. What we are to do here. What the future holds.

(by the way, I won't be able to post at all this memorial weekend)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi l-n-g,
NO! Don't leave me!
seriously, prup was right about you. I'm starting to look forward to talking to you.

now...back to business....

If it is all false as you say, then people should be dropping left and right.
Then Islam and Mormonism must be true as well right?

Last time I looked they were growing. If we use your statement above as a general principle the we should be able to say "If they were true wouldn't you expect them to grow?"

Larian LeQuella said...


So, l-n-g,

By your logic, when the majority of people believed that the earth was flat, it actually was flat? Or when the majority of poeple believed that the sun went around the earth, that is precisely what happened? You are making a severe logical fallacy with your argument.

And a recent Pew study would seem to confirm that people are leaving religion in much greater numbers now than ever.