Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unasking the question

The problem with asking a theist to give evidence for a God is not so much the fact that they lack evidence.

It's that they don't seem to have a coherent concept of what they mean when they say the word. The God concept slips around in any argument - one moment its one thing, the next moment it's some other, contradictory thing.

(And woe betide anyone should they dare ask for a coherent definition! Your likely fate is to be buried under increasingly thick layers of blather, each one getting further from any sense of definition.)

I have come to think "God" is not a concept in the usual sense. It's a bag for holding and dealing with a large pile of (often conflicting) emotions, with a vaguely concept-like structure imposed on it by hundreds of generations of talking about it.

I wonder if perhaps the debate should shift. We should unask "What evidence is there?", and instead we should perhaps be saying "You keep using that word - what do you think it means?".

If you can get an answer that sounds like it means anything whatever ask "Umm, can we write that definition down, please?"

You still won't get any evidence, of course, but maybe you can get them to talk about the one damn conception of God for more than one sentence at a time.

Well, it depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

1 comment:

Dana Hunter said...

I think I'm going to have to start calling my Misc. files, my junk drawers, and the black hole otherwise known as my closet "God" now. I could have so much fun with this!