Questions and Answers

Question #1 - Why did you create this web site?

My first goal is to help theists understand for themselves that God is imaginary, so that they can end the delusion brought on by religion. To do that, this web site provides a place where the evidence for Godís non-existence is consolidated and clearly stated. On this web site you can find clear demonstrations showing that God does not answer prayers, that God did nothing to inspire or create the Bible and that God has not incarnated himself. In short, visitors learn that God is imaginary. This web site presents the evidence in a clear, simple, compassionate, common-sense and easy-to-understand way.

My second goal is to show that there is a rational alternative to religion as the foundation to our value system, our legal system and our moral compass. The alternative to an imaginary God is human intellect. See Chapter 28 as a starting point.

Question #2 - How can you possibly say that God does not answer prayers? There have been dozens of scientific studies showing that prayers work, and God has answered hundreds of prayers for me and my friends.

As a starting point, please read section 1. This section will show you that all answered prayers are coincidences, nothing more.

You can also look at scientific studies. For example, this article says:

    One of the most scientifically rigorous studies yet, published earlier this month, found that the prayers of a distant congregation did not reduce the major complications or death rate in patients hospitalized for heart treatments.
    A review of 17 past studies of ''distant healing," published in 2003 by a British researcher, found no significant effect for prayer or other healing methods.
This article from March, 2006 discusses another study that confirms the same thing:
    In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.
A peer-reviewed scientific study published in 2001 did indicate that prayer works. According to this article:
    "On October 2, 2001, the New York Times reported that researchers at prestigious Columbia University Medical Center in New York had discovered something quite extraordinary. Using virtually foolproof scientific methods the researchers had demonstrated that infertile women who were prayed for by Christian prayer groups became pregnant twice as often as those who did not have people praying for them. The study was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. Even the researchers were shocked. The study's results could only be described as miraculous."
This study was later proven to be completely fraudulent. However, everyone who cut out the original article in the NYTimes and posted it on their refrigerators still has that article as "proof" that prayer works.

This article entitled A prayer before dying uncovers another case where a "scientific study" of prayer is unmasked as fraudulent.

It's not just prayer that is ineffective. Not even a hopeful attitude helps. According to this article:

    A positive attitude does not improve the chances of surviving cancer and doctors who encourage patients to keep up hope may be burdening them, according to the results of research released Monday.
Quite simply, prayer has absolutely no effect on the outcome of any event. The "power of prayer" is actually "the power of coincidence." Prayer does not work because God is completely imaginary. See section 1 for details.

Question #3 - What makes you think that you can prove that God is imaginary?

Imagine that we have a conversation one day and I say to you, "I believe in the gerflagenflopple. You cannot prove that the gerflagenflopple does not exist, therefore it exists." You can see that this is a silly notion. Just because I have invented something out of thin air does not mean that its non-existence is suddenly unprovable. There has to be some evidence that the gerflagenflopple exists in order to assert its existence. Since there is not, it is quite easy to say that the gerflagenflopple is imaginary.

Now let's imagine that we have a conversation one day and I say to you, "I believe in Leprechauns. You cannot prove that Leprechauns do not exist, therefore they exist." You actually have heard of Leprechauns. There are lots of books, movies and fairy tales dealing with Leprechauns. People talk about Leprechauns all the time. Leprechauns even have a popular brand of breakfast cereal. But that does not mean that Leprechauns exist. There is no physical evidence for the existence of Leprechauns. Not a single bit. Therefore, until demonstrable evidence is produced, we all know that Leprechauns are imaginary.

If you think about it, you will realize that there is no difference between God and Leprechauns. Lots of people talk about God as though he exists, but there is no actual evidence for God's existence. For example:

  • God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth.

  • None of Jesus' "miracles" left any physical evidence either. (see chapter 19)

  • God has never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone.

  • The resurrected Jesus has never appeared to anyone. (see chapter 20)

  • The Bible we have is provably incorrect and is obviously the work of primitive men rather than God. (see section 2)

  • When we analyze prayer with statistics, we find no evidence that God is "answering prayers." (see section 1)

  • Huge, amazing atrocities like the Holocaust and AIDS occur without any response from God. (see chapter 10)

  • And so onÖ
Given that there is no evidence indicating that God exists, we can conclusively say that God is imaginary. That is the only thing that a rational person can say.

Here is a second way to look at the same question.

With every other object and phenomenon in our experience, we use the scientific method to determine whether it exists or not. For example, X rays are invisible, but we know that they exist. We can devise scientific experiments to prove that they exist. With those experiments, we can detect X rays, measure how strong they are, etc.

If you would like to hypothesize that God exists, then the process you should consider is, "Let's devise a repeatable scientific experiment to provide evidence that God exists." No such scientific experiment has been devised yet, so at this time God falls into the category of "imaginary". When we do devise an experiment that shows that God exists, and only at that point, he changes from "imaginary" to "real".

Isn't it odd that God, unlike everything else in our universe, has been put into a special category? When we talk about God, we are supposed to do so "philosophically." Why? Why not treat God just like all other objects and devise experiments to detect his presence or absence?

The classic Christian response is, "God must remain hidden. If he proved his existence, that would take away faith." This is clever -- here we have an object named God that proves its existence by completely hiding its existence. Of course, in the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

Even more interesting, this object called God, which is supposedly hiding its existence completely, is in the meantime writing books, answering prayers and incarnating itself. How can that be? Clearly he is not hiding.

How can a being that is supposed to be completely hiding itself also be manifesting himself in our world in such profound ways? And how is it that all of those profound manifestations are completely invisible, completely non-reproducible, and completely undetectable in every experiment we can think to devise?

Or, to put the question more directly, why are Christians constantly claiming that prayer miraculously cures cancer and other diseases, but at the same time prayer has never miraculously healed an amputee? That is where the name of the book comes from.

If you read the book, you will find that the answer to the question is very simple. God does not answer prayers, God did nothing to inspire or create the Bible and God has not incarnated himself. In short, God is imaginary. Those who believe in him are ignoring the evidence that is all around us.

Question #4 - Where did the universe come from? If God does not exist, then who created the Universe?

There is a common belief among Christians that "someone" had to create the universe. There is "no way" that nature could create the universe. Only "God" could have created the universe, according to Christians.

While it is true that science does not yet know everything there is to know about the universe, we are still very early in the process of scientific endeavor. We did not know that galaxies existed until the 1920s, for example. We did not understand the form of DNA, or anything about how it worked, until approximately 50 years ago. In time, cientists will figure it all out, and when they do what we will find is that nature created the universe, not an imaginary being.

The whole notion that "someone" had to create the universe is silly. It is as silly as the ancient peoples who believed that "someone" had to produce thunder, or that "someone" had to make the sun rise each day. These things happen for natural reasons, as did the creation of the universe.

The other way to understand the silliness of the religious point of view is to listen to the logic. The logic goes something like this: "It is impossible for something (i.e. the universe) to create itself. Therefore God must exist in order to create the universe." The flaw, obviously, is that if it is impossible for something to exist without a creator, then it is impossible for God to exist. In truth, there is no need to add the "god" layer of obfuscation. Creating an imaginary being accomplishes nothing, as seen in the case of thunder and sunsets.

Here is another way to think about it. If you have studied science, you know that there is a universal law called the Conservation of Matter. What this law states is that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. If you want to be completely accurate, you would say that matter/energy can be neither created nor destroyed, because matter and energy are interchangeable.

As far as we know, the Conservation of Matter/Energy is an immutable law of nature. In the entire history of science, we have never seen an exception to this law.

So think about what the law says: Matter cannot be created. What this means is that there is no need to imagine a god to create the universe. Every single piece of evidence we have indicates that the matter/energy of the universe has always existed, and always will. It can be neither created not destroyed. While it may be difficult to get our heads around that concept today, there will come a time when it makes complete sense, just like thunder. On the other hand, there is not a single piece of evidence indicating that God exists.

Question #5 - How can there be right and wrong if there is no God?

Human intellect creates right and wrong, not an imaginary god. See Chapter 28 for details.

Question #6 - Would you rather live in a Christian society or a non-Christian society?

Many Christians have asked this question. The gist of the question is, "Since Christianity promotes 'goodness', Christianity is better than any alternative even if the Christian God is imaginary."

The problem with Christianity is that it has many unsavory aspects. As discussed in section 2, the Christian Bible promotes slavery, misogyny, animal and human sacrifice and baby-killing, among other things.

The better alternative would be to throw out the Bible and stop worshipping an imaginary god. Then we create a society focused on goodness that does not contain the irrational and delusional things that accompany religion. See Chapter 28 for details.

Question #7 - Why would all the apostles allow themselves to be killed for their beliefs if Jesus were not God?

This question first of all assumes that the apostles were actually killed for their beliefs. These could be merely legends with no basis in fact.

If we assume for the sake of argument that the apostles actually did die for their beliefs, then we should note this important fact: People die for their beliefs all the time. The fact that people die for their beliefs, however, that does not mean that their beliefs are true. Here are two examples:

  • Example #1 - Islamic suicide bombers are willing to die for their beliefs. They believe that, by blowing themselves (and others) up, they will be given as their reward a place in heaven with 72 virgins to satisfy their every whim. We can say with 100% certainty that suicide bombers are delusional.

  • Example #2 - The members of a cult known as "Heaven's Gate" were willing to die for their beliefs. In 1997, 39 members of this cult all committed suicide together. Why? Because their religion taught them that by dying they would be transported to a space ship traveling near the Hale-Bopp comet. [ref] We can say with 100% certainty that the members of the Heaven's Gate cult were delusional. Yet they still killed themselves, and many cults demonstrate these tendencies.

  • Example #3 - Soldiers in armies die for their beliefs by the millions. Yet in many cases (for example, Nazi Germany), these soldiers are dying for ideas that are reprehensible.
The willingness to die for one's beliefs is, quite obviously, meaningless.

Question #8 - Why don't you publicly debate a prominent Christian like James Dobson, Rick Warren or William Lane Craig?

If a debate can be arranged with someone like James Dobson, Rick Warren or William Lane Craig, I would very much enjoy the opportunity to participate. It would be a good way to expose people to both sides of the issue.

Question #9 - How can you say that the Bible contains errors? I have read the entire Bible and I know that it is the inerrant word of God.

Here are several pages for you to read that will help you gain a new perspective:

Question #10 - How can I ask a question?

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please visit the the Contact page.

Next steps

  • If you would like to start at the beginning of the book with a gentle introduction, click here.

  • If you would like to explore the central question of this book - Why does God hate amputees? - start here.

  • Did God really inspire the Bible, or is the Bible a collection of fictional stories written by primitive men? Start here.

  • Was Jesus God, or just a man? Start here.

  • Is Christianity a delusion, or not? Start here.

  • What is God's plan? Start here.

  • Are you a religious leader? Take the Challenge.

  • If you would like to browse the table of contents, start here.

by Marshall Brain

New York Times Coverage
discussed in a
New York Times piece
by N. D. Kristof.
For a counter-point to Mr. Kristof, please see
Chapter 26.

Recommendation by Sam Harris
Sam Harris recommends WWGHA in his book Letter to a Christian Nation.

Endorsement by Richard Dawkins
In a New York Times Letter, Richard Dawkins calls WWGHA a "splendid Web site."

Table of contents

Executive Summary


Section 1 - prayer Section 2 - The Bible Section 3 - Jesus What it means


Other Resources

Important  -  Home  -  Table of Contents  -  Contact  -  Join us  -  God is Imaginary  -  Deciding to Be Better  -  How God Works

© Copyright 2006-2017, All rights reserved.