Understanding the logical breakdown that occurs in the minds of theists – Rabbi Mark Gelman and “40 Year Atheist” provide examples
How can theists believe in something as ridiculous as the God of the Bible? Theists look at the world around them, see no evidence whatsoever for their deity, yet still believe in their imaginary friend. How do they do it?
One technique that is critical to their delusion is the strange ability to hold two completely contradictory positions simultaneously. In the previous post, Rabbi Mark Gelman of The God Squad demonstrated this ability in disturbing fashion. At the beginning of his article he says:
Together these statements explain that God wanted and therefore created a regular, rational, ordered universe. God wanted this so that we could use the brains God gave us to solve problems. If God was in the habit of capriciously and miraculously intervening in nature, then we’d have every reason to just give up seeking to understand anything.
This is a simple statement of reality. Gelman explains that the reason God does not heal amputees is because God cannot be “capriciously and miraculously intervening in nature”. Indeed, this logic prevents God (if he were to exist) from performing any miracles at all. This is how the universe operates – completely devoid of any interaction by any imagined God – and no intelligent person can deny it.
But then, later in his article, a logical impossibility occurs. Gelman proclaims the completely opposite position:
I believe that God has also done miracles for us in the world. The spontaneous remission of cancers, the sudden flashes of genius in science and art and philosophy, and the way people who’ve hardened their hearts suddenly find a soft spot where forgiveness and compassion can enter — all these miracles and more are, for me, evidence that God is with us and cares for us and can, unprovoked, act on our behalf.
An intelligent person looks at this reversal with utter bewilderment. How can Gelman think anyone will take him seriously? By proclaiming two diametrically opposed positions in the same article, Gelman appears to be insane.
In that same post there is a comment by a visitor named “40 Year Atheist” that contains the same sort of insanity. In this comment, 40YA defines God in this way:
a non-material being, one that would exist necessarily outside space-time and mass-energy, a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure using devices that do not apply in any way, being designed to measure material things.
According to 40YA’s logic, God is “a non-material being, one that would exist necessarily outside space-time and mass-energy, a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine”. Furthermore, this immaterial being is impossible for humans to detect here in our material universe.
Then we read the Bible. God supposedly does a thousand material, detectable things in the Bible: God creates man and woman, walks with them in Eden, bans them, talks to their decedents, completely floods the planet, creates rainbows, destroys towers, talks through burning bushes, brings down plagues, kills babies, dries out the Red Sea, rains manna, carves on stone tablets with his finger, parades naked before Moses, pours fire down to earth… And then God incarnates himself – God, supposedly, becomes man. What could possibly be more material than that?
So either 40YA has to completely ignore a thousand material elements in the Bible that act as the foundation for his Christian mythology, or 40YA is inventing a completely new God of his own design out of thin air. Either path is pure delusion.
In both of these examples – Rabbi Gelman and “40 Year Atheist” – the lack of logic and the strength of the delusion is palpable. It makes it impossible for any intelligent person to take them seriously.