Thursday, August 15, 2013

Santa Claus, Leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Some atheists claim believing in God is like believing in Santa Claus or leprechauns. The claim is that science has disproved such things. The truth is that science does not really address the issue. Now I have clear empirical evidence that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy do not exist. I stayed and saw my parents putting out presents, and they admitted to the rest of it.  What does this have to do with the existence of God, where there is no such proof?

There have always been claims by people to have mysterious encounters with unusual beings. The present versions are UFOs, Big Foot, ghosts, and the Loch Ness monster. I am skeptical of such things because the evidence is scattered and  anecdotal. However, were there clear enough evidence to support them, I would be forced to believe in them. Now once we get beyond the modern, cutesy, obviously fictitious version, leprechauns,  elves, and fairies are simply earlier versions of the same thing. People claimed to have run into mysterious beings on rare occasions. Now science does not really say anything about the existence of such beings. They might even be capable of some form of naturalistic explanation. The problems with them are the same as those with the modern ones. There is the added problem that  people do not seem to run into them as much anymore. But the evaluation of their existence needs to be based on the evidence. It is difficult to see what this has to do with the existence of the God that Christians believe in. He is a God who has given detailed revelation to people and even became a man in the full light of history. Such claims may be doubted, but it is hard to see what they have to do with UFOs and elves.

Others invent ideas like the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn to ridicule the existence of God. Now no one really worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn. And it is always easy to come up with a ridiculous caricature to use to make fun of something. But these are a response to those who put their major emphasis on proving God's existence. The idea is, if all you prove is God's existence, you do not necessarily know what kind of God it is. But if you have reason to believe there is a God, the logical place to look for Him is in the places where it is claimed He has revealed Himself. But it means studying these without the attitude of simply dismissing the evidence out of hand if it includes the supernatural.

But ultimately this is nothing but a red-herring. Just because counterfeit bills exist does not mean real money does not exist. Just because there are supernatural beings who clearly do not exist does not mean God does not exist. We need in all cases to look at the evidence.       

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