To me the existence of a god really boils down to two simple possibilities. If a god existed, and if this god cared that we know it existed, it would make its existence readily apparent. If a god exists and doesn’t particularly care if we know it exists and thus makes no effort to demonstrate its existence, then I frankly don’t care very much.
There are, of course, other alternatives, but only a few of which are of particularly significance. There’s the idea of a god that exists, will punish you for not believing it exists, but makes no effort to prove its existence. Another possible god is the variant of the aforementioned one, where the god makes an active effort to hide its existence but will still punish you for not believing.
The latter two alternatives are significant because they seem to be the god pushed primarily by the majority of members of the world’s major religions.
I cannot help but see these latter possibilities as pointing to either a cruel god or an irrational one. Since I have no reason to believe that either of these latter possibilities are likely, I simply reject them. That I see no evidence for these gods is of course relevant, but I won’t go into this discussion now as I’ve spoken of this many times before and it is beyond the scope and intent of this essay to revisit this now.
Since we obviously don’t live in a universe where a god is making its existence readily apparent, the only remaining possibility for a god is one whose existence does not affect me one way or another.
So really, the philosophical arguments for god’s existence, in addition to being failures, really don’t interest me a great deal. Even if one did point convincingly to a god, I might convert to being a deist, but I honestly don’t see how this would change my life significantly. I’d be running a deist blog instead of an atheist blog, and other than acknowledging the existence of a non-interventionist god, I’d still be pointing out the ridiculousness of the various faiths and religious extremists with equal enthusiasm.
I would certainly see no reason to “worship” such a being. To draw a parallel, even if Superman built the Earth with his own hands, saved the planet time and time again, and saved my own life on multiple occasions, I would think him a great dude, hug him, give him handshakes, perhaps even love him, but the idea of “worshipping” him would never even enter my mind.
So, in debates with theists who have deeply immersed themselves in philosophy and are able to argue the fine details of the ontological argument or the argument from design, not only does the fundamental error of the argument still stand out to me beneath the big words and fine nuances, but I can’t help but continue to wonder “so what?” Proving the existence of a god by this method would still be light years away from proving Christianity or any other particular faith.
The education of the philosophical theist is built upon hundreds of years of combing over each finally detailed argument with a fine tooth comb. Each seem to attempt to emphasize a slightly different nuance here, or quote from some 200 year old philosopher there, but even were ever to be successful, they still ignore the elephant in the room: the fact their holy texts are full of grotesque falsehoods, impossibilities, irrationalities, and immoralities. Even if they were to be successful, it does not point to a god which makes its existence “readily apparent”, let alone its desires for our behaviors.
While I have a healthy understanding behind the philosophical arguments for god, I am not well versed in the minutia of these arguments, and I can’t make myself want to pursue this minutia because it bores the skivvies off of me. Such words like “ontological” and “epistemological” simply don’t find an interested place to lodge in my brain and just drift off…I have to look them up again almost every time to translate them back into simpler language that makes what they really mean clearer.
I think I’ve made the case time and time again that I can argue religious philosophy. But I simply don’t have interest enough in minutia to be called a religious philosopher by most adherents of the practice.