I’m writing a series of short posts about whether gods exist and why the question is an important one. I’ll update this list every time I publish a new one, so please bookmark this page.
Ideas of Gods
1 Deists and theists
2 Atheists and agnostics
3 What is more likely?
4 Is god a pure mind?
5 Perfect and changeless?
6 Is a god the first cause?
7. Papal movement argument
8. A fine-tuned universe?
9. The moral argument
10. The Euthyphro dilemma
11. Good god or evil god?
12. An all-knowing god?
Reality and Morality
The Ten Commandments
21. The Ten Commandments
22. The Lord thy God?
23. Creating images
24. No blasphemy
25. Sabbath day
26. Your parents
27. Do not kill
29. Do not steal
30. Do not lie
31. Do not covet
32. The other Ten Commandments
33. How Jesus evolved
34. Unjust Jesus in Mark
35. Unjust Jesus in Matthew and Luke
36. Unjust Jesus in John
37. Unjust Jesus in Revelation
38. The resurrections of Jesus
39. The historical Jesus
40. Jesus by Josephus
41. Jesus by Tacitus
42. Jesus by Pliny
43. Jesus by Suetonius and Thallus
44. Biblical and historical Jesus
45. Summary so far
As an overview: do gods exist? We can’t know for certain. But we can form reliable beliefs, to the same degree of confidence that we routinely do with other extraordinary claims.
Ideas of Gods (see posts 1 to 12)
Faith and personal experience are the least reliable ways of finding out what is most likely to be true, and applying reason to evidence is the most reliable way.
When we apply reason to evidence, we notice that the idea of a god seems to be implausible.
The idea of a pure bodiless mind, perfect and changeless, as the first cause of a fine-tuned universe, is increasingly incoherent.
The idea of a god communicating morality to us makes that morality either arbitrary or independent of the god.
Reality and Morality (see posts 13 to 20)
When we apply reason to evidence, we notice that reality and morality both seem as we would expect them to be if there was no god.
The universe reflects evolution of imperfect life forms, with conscious beings creating their own sense of meaning and understanding of morality.
And while there are still questions that we still don’t understand the answers to, we also notice a relentless flow of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones
The Ten Commandments (see posts 21 to 32)
One of the arguments made in favour of gods is that they are the source of morality. In the case of the Christian god, this morality is often expressed in the ten commandments.
But these commandments are not a guide for ethical conduct. They are not based on universal values of right and wrong, because they were never intended to apply to all people.
These laws demand unthinking obedience, based only on desire for amazing rewards and fear of horrific punishments meted out by this god.
This becomes even more evident when you look at the Biblical background to each of these ten laws.
Jesus (see posts 33 to 44)
The Biblical character of Jesus began as a human Jewish apocalyptic preacher, and gradually evolved into part of a newly invented Christian god by the time the Gospel called John was written.
Based on the early records of Jesus that are independent of the Bible, if the historical Jesus existed, he was not a major figure, as nobody other than his followers wrote about him for over half a century.
On balance I believe that the mythical figure of a divine Jesus was invented and tacked onto exaggerated stories based on several real-life human Jewish preachers.
Whether this is true or not, it does not add any credibility to the claim that any of these preachers were in any way divine or that any gods exist.