Argumentum ad ignorantiam – (argument from ignorance, or appeal to ignorance) A logical fallacy that claims the truth of a proposition based on a lack of contrary evidence.
Humans do terrible things sometimes. Examples:
- Catholic priests rape children and their crimes are hidden by church officials who fear that disclosure would cause harm to the Church.
- Terrorists fly airplanes into buildings, or detonate bombs in crowds, killing thousands of innocent people.
- Voters in democratic societies elect unqualified and unsuited leaders who sow anger and distrust within their nation, and create chaos and confusion in relationships with other nations.
According to Christian (and other) religious doctrine, God is both omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing) so He knows about all of these awful things that people do. Furthermore, He knew in advance that they would happen. Why would a “loving God” allow that if he had the power to prevent it?
One answer often given by apologists is that we mere mortals cannot know the infinite mind of God or his plans for humanity. But they assert that anything God does is good, and since we don’t know His Plan, these horrific events must be necessary, and therefore good. No one can prove otherwise.
As noted in the definition above, that is a logical fallacy. But claiming that these things are evil, or that God had no control over them, or even that God does not exist, is also a fallacy according to the same definition.
Other religious apologists argue that God has given us Free Will, so his intervention would violate the whole idea of humans as “free agents” capable of making bad decisions without divine intervention…but with the threat of divine retribution after death, of course.
So, which is it?
Is God in charge, controlling everything? Does he have a benevolent plan that protects us, and shows his love for us, and when some miscreants among us do terrible things, it’s really not bad? Or do we have the freedom of free will…to take actions as we wish…sometimes bad, sometimes good?
I think most Christians would answer with a smug smile. Yes, they would say, both are true. Free Will is part of God’s plan. It is a sorting mechanism by which God judges us and selects the few who will enjoy eternal life in Heaven…and discards the rest of us to broil our butts in Hell. Life is an obstacle course that we all must traverse to pass the test.
But why does God need the test if he already knows what every person’s actions will be? The only answer can be that He does not know what these unpredictable creatures will do…creatures that He created. And that raises the final question: Would a benevolent god create us, knowing that most of us are doomed to eternal torture after death?
Occam’s Razor gives us the answer: The obvious answer. The simplest answer. There is no plan. There is no test. There is no Heaven or Hell. Because there is no god. I claim that it’s all a big joke on us, and religious believers cannot prove otherwise.
What’d you say?
Hell no, that’s not a logical fallacy!
It’s the truth!
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