How is belief in God different than belief in a Flying Spaghetti Monster?
In 2005, Bobby Henderson wrote a sardonic letter to the State Board of Education of Kansas to protest the attempt to teach intelligent design in public schools. Henderson said in his letter, "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel."
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Since that time, many atheists have used Henderson's argument, asserting that belief in the God of the Bible is no more rational than belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. However, the comparison of God to the Flying Spaghetti Monster suffers from a number of logical and practical faults.
First, it commits the logical fallacy of faulty analogy. While analogies can be useful in arguments, not all analogies are created equal. A faulty analogy assumes that, because two unlike things may be similar in one respect, they will automatically be similar in other respects. It assumes connections that just aren't there. The creator of a faulty analogy is saying, in essence, "Accept my argument because of these superficial similarities between what you are proposing and my fictitious comparator."
An example of a faulty analogy is, "Saying that humans are immortal is like saying a car can run forever." This argument fails to take into account the nature of humans (who have a soul) and the nature of cars (which don't). In other words, the essential difference between humans and automobiles creates a gap wide enough to dissolve the analogy. The same is true of God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The heart of the Flying Spaghetti Monster argument is two-fold: (1) the chance of God existing is extremely low – similar to that of a Flying Spaghetti Monster; (2) there is no evidence that God exists, just like there is no evidence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Intellectually honest atheists know that making a propositional truth claim that is existentially negative is philosophical suicide. One can claim that there exists no meteor shaped like a horse's head, but validating that claim is humanly impossible. So it is with those who claim there is no God. There's no way to disprove God's existence. Therefore, the atheist's fallback position concerns the likelihood of God's existence, which they reckon is so low that atheism is the most reasonable position.
However, the issue is not how likely it is that God exists, but what evidence is there for His existence? For example, scientists (both Christian and non-Christian) admit that the odds of the essential elements coming together from time + matter + chance to form even the initial building blocks of a single cell exceed that of all statistical probability. So, despite the "low probability" of life occurring—given the atheist's formula for existence—life does exist. The atheist's argument of "low probability" needs to be jettisoned.
This brings us to the second part of the atheist's argument, that there is no evidence of God's existence. This position is simply absurd; there is weighty philosophical, scientific, and historical evidence that affirms God.
From a philosophical perspective, evidence for the God of the Bible can be seen in the argument from contingency (e.g., the idea of a necessary Being that is timeless, etc.), the argument from the beginning of the universe (God being the first cause), and the argument from absolute moral values.
Advances in science also confirm the existence of God. The current understanding that the universe as we know it exploded into existence out of nothing strengthens the philosophical argument for a first cause. Further, the incredible fine-tuning of the universe for human life and the confirmation of specified complexity point to an intelligent source behind it all.
Historically, the life of Jesus of Nazareth affirms the existence of God. No scholar, Christian or secular, denies the life, teachings, or extraordinary reports about Jesus. A philosophical appeal to the best explanation and thorough historical examination of what occurred reveal that the New Testament account of God being the cause is reasonable to believe.
So, there is evidence of the biblical God's existence; there is no evidence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's existence. Even those who put forward the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory do not believe its existence. While the Flying Spaghetti Monster may, on the surface, seem to challenge the existence of God, it suffers from too many intellectual and rational flaws to be considered credible.
Does God exist?
Can the existence of God be proven?
How does the cosmological argument support the existence of God?
How does the teleological argument support the existence of God?
How does the moral argument support the existence of God?
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