Thursday, March 17, 2011

What it would take for me to believe in (the Mormon) God again

There's been an ongoing discussion among some prominent atheists about what evidence could convince them of the existence of God. The three main conclusions reached (i.e., 1] the concept "God" itself is so incoherent that the question is meaningless, 2] there could be evidence for God, there just isn't any, and 3] there could have been evidence for God, but since there hasn't been, why even bother?) are aptly summarized here.

I suppose I must fall into the second group, at least as far as the Mormon god goes, because I could be convinced to become a Mormon again. All it would take is for God to talk to me. All he needs to do is come around and say, "You were wrong, kuri. Come back to my church." And I would. I'd say, "Oops, I was wrong," and I'd be a Mormon again.

In fact, he wouldn't even have to show up personally. He could just send an angel or something. I'd believe them. I wouldn't even ask to shake their hand.

It would have to be in front of witnesses, though. I mean, how else would I know it isn't just a hallucination?

Doesn't seem like much to ask; just talk to me, in front of witnesses, and I'll be back in a heartbeat. (I'll let you know on the blog if it ever happens. Don't hold your breath, though.)

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  1. I strongly lean towards group 1. You have do clearly define what your claims are before you can decide whether the evidence backs them up, and what people claim God is/does/has done is all over the map.

    Additionally, one miracle (even if measurable and repeatable) wouldn't necessarily demonstrate all the claims about God (eg. A strange light and voice from the clouds does not imply additional claims like life after death or that the voice represents the creator of the universe). For another example, before the theory of gravity, astrologers could claim that the pull of the moon on the tides is evidence for heavenly bodies exerting influence on stuff on Earth, when, in fact, the tides don't demonstrate that the other claims of astrology have any validity -- an alternate theory (gravity) explains the moon and tides better.

  2. That's why I specified the Mormon god. I have a semi-coherent idea of what he should be like. (If pushed, I'm sure my idea would dissolve into incoherence, but I do have a sort of wibbly wobbly gody wody idea.)

    It would take a lot more for, say, Zeus to convince me. He could start tossing around lightning bolts, but I'd still want to ask him how I know he's not just a space alien with a power source hidden in his temple, like Apollo in that Star Trek episode. Maybe there would be nothing he could do to convince me.

    But that would be less of a problem with the Mormon god, since he basically is a space alien (i.e., he has a body and occupies physical space on another planet, etc.) rather than a "supernatural" being.

  3. Sure, but what about the claims that He created our universe and made our spirits out of spirit-matter? He'd have to provide some additional evidence for that. Already demonstrating that spirits exist would be a necessary pre-requisite.

  4. I don't know, maybe I'm just gullible, but I'd probably take him at his word if he showed up and talked to me and matched my wibbly wobbly gody wody idea pretty well.

    I mean, he could be some kind of cosmic prankster who thinks it's funny that I'd spend the rest of my life devoted to nonsense, or an alien who feeds off "prayer energy" or something like that. In that case, I'd just end up fooled, I guess.

  5. That's nothing that a good conjurer couldn't arrange. Tithing wise, it might just be worth it for the COB to hire a magician.

  6. Nah, whoever it was would have to talk to me, and I'm a poor candidate for a cold reading.


What do you think?