Christians say the funniest things… like ‘atheists can’t possibly know that there’s no God.’
This is the argument expressed in a tract, Is It Wise To Be An Atheist?, that I was given on the street the other day:
A person cannot really be sure there is no God (unless) they have existed for all time and have identified that God isn’t there; they have been everywhere and have seen that God isn’t anywhere and they know everything and therefore know for certain that God is non-existent.
Safe to say, these are not the same impossible criteria Christians apply when determining whether deities other than their own exist. Even Christians know that Allah, Zeus, unicorns and the tooth fairy don’t really exist. But without being immortal, omnipresent and omniscient, they cannot know for sure. By their own criteria, all mythical/supernatural beings have as much chance of existing as their God. Yet Christians do claim, with reasonable certainty, that other Gods and imaginary entities are not real. This is because determining the authenticity of entities is not about absolute certainty but probability and, yes, reasonable certainty.
For reasons I explore on this blog – here, here and here, for example – the likelihood that a god of some sort exists is low. That that god should then turn out to be the one worshipped by Christians today reduces the possibility still further, on the basis that the more conditions one adds to a proposition, the more improbable it becomes.
To put it another way, the probability that there is no god is already high; that there is no God as conceived by Christians is higher still. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude he does not. This is reasonable certainty; the same reasonable certainty Christians apply when dismissing all other gods.
Better luck next time, Christians.