Faith has to overcome resistance, or it doesn’t count. If God just comes right out and tells us, beyond possibility of doubt, that God exists, that’s an unworthy shortcut, like a sprinter taking steroids. No, we have to earn faith by our own efforts, which means by believing God exists despite all the evidence indicating it doesn’t and the complete lack of evidence indicating it does.
In other words, God wants us to veto all our best reasoning faculties and methods of inquiry, and to believe in God for no real reason. God wants us not to do what we do in all the rest of life when we really do want to find something out – where the food is, when the storm is going to hit, whether the water is safe to drink, what medication to take for our illness – and simply decide God exists, like tossing a coin.
I refuse. I refuse to consider a God “good” that expects us to ignore our own best judgment and reasoning faculties. That’s a deal-breaker. That’s nothing but a nasty trick. This God is supposed to have made us, after all, so it made us with these reasoning faculties, which, when functioning properly, can detect mistakes and obvious lies – so what business would it have expecting us to contradict all that for no good reason? As a test? None. It would have no business doing that.
A God that permanently hides, and gives us no real evidence of its existence – yet considers it a virtue to have faith that it does exist despite the lack of evidence – is a God that’s just plain cheating, and I want nothing to do with it. It has no right to blame us for not believing it exists, given the evidence and our reasoning capacities, so if it did exist and did blame us, it would be a nasty piece of work. Fortunately, I don’t worry about that much, because I don’t think it does exist.
Read the whole article by one of my favorite authors, Ophelia Benson.