What would change my mind about God?
It’s a good question. There is no simple answer.
I am an atheist. In the literal meaning of the term: a-theist, i.e., without a positive belief in gods. In the same sense I am a a-unicornist, meaning that I don’t think there is sufficient reason or evidence to accept the notion that unicorns are more than a figment of the human imagination.
Does this mean that I know for sure that there are neither gods nor unicorns around? No, of course not. After all, the existence of neither violates any law of logic—unlike, say, the definitely not existing square circles. And I haven’t exhaustively search the cosmos in order to verify that gods and unicorns are nowhere to be found.
Rather, my lack of belief is an epistemic judgment: insufficient reasons and evidence have, in my opinion, been put forth by believers in gods or unicorns, and it is rational to reject any belief that is not based on sufficient reason or evidence. Why, you may ask? Because there are a lot more possible false beliefs than true ones, a point superbly made by Jorge Luis Borges in his 1941 short story, The Library of Babel.
The story imagines a gigantic library containing all possible 410-page books written using the 25 characters of the English language (22 letters, the period, the comma, and space). Most of the books are gibberish. Some of them are readable, but contain nonsensical or false information. But one book, somewhere, must contain an accurate description of the universe and its history. Because there is one reality and an infinite number of books.
Similarly with any utterance we may make about the world, like “God exists.” Any particular utterance may be true, false, or partially true/false. But the number of possible utterances far outweighs the small set of true utterances. It follows that we need some sort of guide to sift the likely true from the likely false statements. And the best guidance we have been able to come up with are arguments based on logic (i.e., philosophy) and empirical evidence (i.e., science). Better yet when the two guides are combined.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial