Evidence and religion

“If God answers prayers, we should see miraculous effects of prayer. With millions of prayers having been said every day for thousands of years, we would expect some to have been answered by now in a verifiable way. They have not.

“If God has revealed truths to humanity, then these truths should be testable. Over the millennia many people have reported religious or mystical experiences in which they have communicated with one god or another. By now, we should have seen some confirming evidence for this, such as a verifiable fact that could not have been in the person’s head unless it was revealed to them. We have not.

“If God is the creator of the universe, then we should find evidence for that in astronomy and physics. We do not. The origin of our universe required no miracles. Furthermore, modern cosmology suggests an eternal “multiverse” in which many other universes come and go.
If humans are a special creation of God, then the universe should be congenial to human life. It is not.

“Theists claim that the parameters of the universe are fine-tuned for human life. They are not. The universe is not fine-tuned for us. We are fine-tuned to the universe. After evaluating all the evidence, we can conclude that the universe and life look exactly as they would be expected to look if there were no God.

“Finally, I would like to comment on the folly of faith. When faith rules over facts, magical thinking becomes deeply ingrained and warps all areas of life. It produces a frame of mind in which concepts are formulated with deep passion, but without the slightest attention paid to the evidence. Nowhere is this more evident than in the US, where Christians who want to convert the nation into a theocracy have tried to dominate the Republican party. Blind faith is no way to run a world”. (part of an article on religion by Victor J. Stenger)

To me this sounds eminently sensible, except for the condideration that mankind needs to believe in something, aside from money and survival. This being the case it behooves us to treat this matter with kindness, understanding and consideration. Religion fills a role for some people, even as their number drops. The problem comes when they get involved in party politics.

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