Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Atheist Buses: Belief in God = Belief in Fairies?

This picture shows one of the signs appearing on "atheist buses" in cities like London. It reads:

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom if it too? There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Hmmm... Years ago I got a personal paradigm shift from a kind of deism and even a practical atheism to theism. I became a theist. Concurrently, I became a follower of Jesus. I didn;t believe in fairies before my shift, and I don't believe in fairies now. The words on this poster make a connection like this: Belief in God is equivalent to belief in fairies existing at the bottom of one's garden. This reasoning feels like the kind of thing I've heard some atheists say, e.g.: "I reject belief in God just like I reject belief in Thor, Zeus, etc. etc." Well, I reject belief in all those finite quasi-gods too.

The God of theism with the requisite omni-attributes is quite different than a "fairy" with whatever attributes such a thing would have. An argument like the fine-tuning argument for God's existence reasons that whatever caused the fine-tuning of our universe could not have been a fairy. Therefore, the logical equivalence "God" and "fairy" fails. Logically, belief in God does not entail fairy-belief. So one can believe in God and reject the existence of fairies, or conclude that "probably" there are no fairies.

This particular bus poster reminds me of religious posters that make false claims. It only preachers to members of the choir who accept such irrationality.