The Isaiah 53:5 Project Shows Evidence for God by Quoting the Bible

evidence for god

Every day, without fail, I spend time reading numerous Evangelical Christian blogs and websites. Doing so allows me to stay informed about what goes on in the insane asylum. One such blog is the Isaiah 53:5 Project — a site I have used as blog fodder numerous times before. Today, a man by the name of James wrote a post titled, Not Enough Evidence God. (link no longer active) I thought, oh boy, this ought to be good.

James starts out by saying that this post is a repost of one of the blog’s most-read articles. He goes on to say “If you think there is no evidence to support Christianity, you may want to think again. I thought, okay, James is going to present evidence that supports the existence of the Christian God. Perhaps he is even going to present evidence to support a virgin having a baby, dead people coming back to life, and a man walking through walls. Sadly, James left me quite disappointed. No cigarette after reading this post.

James quotes 19th-century atheist Bertrand Russell’s response to the question, What will you say some day when God asks you, why didn’t you believe in me? Russell replied: “I would say, ‘Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!’” Again, James raises the issue of evidence. I thought, here it comes. Finally, an Evangelical is going to give the evidences for the existence of the Evangelical version of the Christian God. Once again, James leaves me disappointed.

According to James, Russell’s answer is, and I quote, “loaded with problems.” I thought, okay, loaded with problems. James is now going to unpack his powerful arsenal of proofs and slay the mighty dragon of atheism. My body tingled with excitement as I pondered what was coming next. I thought, oh how I want to be a Christian again. Finally, someone is going to give me sufficient reasons to believe the Christian narrative. And, just like that, James, ever the tease, left me, yet again, disappointed.

After James’ coitus-like build-up, I was expecting a rousing defense of Christianity. Instead, James showed that he was a virgin and in but a few moments the deed was done. The only evidence James gave for the existence of the Christian God was the tired, worn out Evangelical trope, the Bible says __________. That’s right — for all his talk about evidence, James gives none. Lest you doubt that I am accurately reporting James’ magnum opus, here is exactly what he had to say:

Problem number one is what God Himself has to say. I don’t think He minces any words here. [emphasis added]

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

– Romans 1:20

…without excuse

…without excuse

…without excuse

Let that sink in a minute then ask yourself if Russell is making the arrogant mistake of blaming his lack of belief on the failure of a divine being who can do no wrong and gave humanity no excuse.

Are you making the same mistake Russell did? If so, how do you think the conversation at judgment will go?

You: “Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!”

God: “…without excuse.”

Seems fairly cut and dry to me.

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

– Proverbs 26:12

That’s it. According to James, the Bible says God reveals himself through creation, and that by looking at creation, humans know that God exists. Those who look at creation and do not see God are deliberately ignoring what is plain for all to see. Thus, those who refuse to acknowledge God are without excuse. As I read this, I thought, That’s it, James? Come on, surely you have more evidence for God than this?

I wonder if James has ever had someone actually challenge his beliefs? According to a comment he left on his post, James was, at one time, an atheist (a claim I would love to see him support). (Please read, Dear Christians: The Word “Atheist” is Not Shorthand for Your Lives Before Jesus and I Was an Atheist Like You Before I Found Jesus.) James’ one-point evidence for the existence of the Evangelical God can be easily and quickly refuted.

When someone uses Romans 1:18-21 as “proof” for the existence of God, I quickly grant them their assertion. Fine, I say. I accept your claim that creation reveals to everyone the existence of God. Usually, Evangelicals are taken aback when I do this, but they fail to see that what I am really doing is setting a trap.

After I admit that someone could look at creation and conclude God exists, I then ask, which God? The Evangelical usually quickly responds with, why the one true God, the Christian God. I then ask them, what is there in creation that tells anyone that the Christian God created everything? What proof is there for the God of the Christian Bible being the creator God? What is the bridge that gets us from creation revealing that there is A GOD to that God being THE GOD of Evangelical Christianity? There is nothing in the universe that shows the Evangelical God created everything. At best, creation testifies to there being some sort of deistic God. When I look at the stars at night, I can easily understand how someone might conclude that a deity of some sort created the universe. However, I see no evidence in the sky that tells that this God is the Evangelical God.

Eventually, Evangelicals will finally say, the Bible says ________________. And just like that we are right back to where we started. James’ non-evidence evidence falls flat on its face because the real issue is not what the universe tells us, but whether the Bible is what Evangelicals claim it is. I have long argued that the best way to disabuse Evangelicals of their Fundamentalists beliefs is to attack the foundation of those beliefs — the Bible. And not just the Bible, but their interpretation of the Biblical text. The goal should be to convince Evangelicals that the Bible is not what they think it is. Specifically, Evangelicals need to be shown that the Bible is NOT an inspired, inerrant, infallible text.

The biggest problem is that Evangelicals have been brainwashed into rejecting out of hand any claim that casts doubt on the veracity and authority of the Bible. When the mythical Satan tempted the mythical Adam and Eve in the mythical Garden of Eden, he said to them, Yea, hath God said (Yes, even Satan uses King James English)? Evangelicals see challenges to the accuracy and truthfulness of the Bible as modern-day equivalents of Yea, hath God said? Thus, it becomes very difficult to breach the inerrancy wall that surrounds Evangelical minds. Not impossible, but hard. This is why when Evangelicals attempt to argue with me about something I wrote, I ask them, have you ever read any of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books? (Please check out our bookstore for a list of Ehrman’s books.) I have yet to have an Evangelical answer yes. Often, they will say they have read reviews of his books or Dr. so-and-so’s take-down of the agnostic Bart Ehrman’s books. When pressed to read several of Ehrman’s books, most Evangelicals reply, I don’t need to. I have the Bible. And therein lies the problem. Until Evangelicals are willing to at least entertain thoughts of the Bible not being what they claim it is, there is no hope for them. If Evangelicals are willing to honestly and studiously read Ehrman’s books, I am confident that they will be disabused of the notion that the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible text. Until the Jameses of the world are willing to wrestle with the history, nature, and complexity of the Biblical text, there is little hope of delivering them from their Fundamentalist beliefs. While I think someone can remain a Christian after reading Ehrman’s books, it is impossible for them to remain an Evangelical. The evidence provided by Ehrman is so overwhelming that those saying they are still Evangelical after reading his books are living in a state of denial.

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19 Comments

  1. Geoff

    I take your point entirely about how evangelicals look at the world and conclude the Christian God exists, and the trap it presents.

    I like to take a step back from there and simply point out that an observation that leads to a hypothesis is not, by itself, evidence of that hypothesis. I can observe the sky and the trees, but don’t conclude that God created them, only that ‘they are’. When Darwin initially conceived his magnificent hypothesis, that life on earth wasn’t created but evolved, he didn’t just say ‘there you go’, he spent years diligently and painstakingly collecting and assessing the evidence before concluding that that his hypothesis was correct, and it became accepted scientific theory.

    There is no equivalent evidence for any form of belief in gods, be it Christian or whatever, and I would suggest that the bible itself is such poor evidence that, to a very great extent, it is actually evidence that the matters it attempts to portray are not true. Were they true then we would not be having these discussions.

    Reply
  2. archaeopteryx

    “If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood, or persuaded of afterward, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call in question or discuss it…the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”
    — William Kingdon Clifford —

    I wonder if James has ever had someone actually challenge his beliefs?” – On a number of occasions, by several of us – in one head and out the other —

    Reply
  3. Kenneth

    I think the evidence in creation is closely related to the knowledge at the specific time in history. I think Neil deGrasse Tyson explained it well in “The Perimeter of Ignorance”. If you are more of a science buff, this is a good read: http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/universe/211420/the-perimeter-of-ignorance . It basically explains how God enters the equation only after it surpasses human understanding. It makes sense why the people way back in biblical times believed what they did. Its just sad to still believe this stuff in our age of understanding…

    Reply
  4. Randy

    I am a Christian and a former atheist (I’m not going to argue that again here. I know what I believed and how I lived.) One of my absolute favorite authors is Bart Ehrman. He is one of the foremost scholars on the New Testament and quite brilliant. At this point I have read 5 of his books and own 2 of them (“Forged” and “Did Jesus Exist”).

    The biggest problem I see in Christian apologetics to day is the use of circular logic. “How do I know the Bible is true? Because the Bible says so.” That is an epic failure. I am sure every holy text testifies to it’s own veracity. These same apologists will quickly call out circular logic when used by other faiths or evolutionists. You cannot change the rules in your favor.

    To complicate things, the majority of Christians are unwilling to read anything outside of the Christian realm of apologetics. They won’t read Ehrman and his questions concerning the reliability of the biblical text. They won’t read what evolutionists have to say. They won’t read what prominent atheists have to say. They stick their head in the sand and shout, “But the Bible says so!”

    I cannot live that way. I walk in doubt many days. I don’t find the answers of men like James satisfying at all. In fact, it makes me disappointed in Christianity in general. Do I have irrefutable evidence for the existence of the Christian God? Unfortunately, no. Do I believe the Bible is the best defense of the Christian faith? Nope. Do I believe there are compelling arguments against the existence of the Christian God? Sure.

    My faith is what it is: faith. I have seen things, experienced things that leads me to the conclusion that a supreme being of some type exists. I best view him through the paradigm of Christianity. I am reluctant to label myself “evangelical” because at this point in my life, it is a personal journey seeking truth. I do not regularly share or impose my beliefs on others. I feel like I am beyond that. I do respond to those who come seeking knowledge of Christianity, and I always encourage those I work with to keep their brains turned on, to focus on their spiritual journey and not some manmade institution that is more interested with your butt filling a seat and your money filling the offering bucket.

    I enjoy reading you Bruce because you challenge my thoughts and faith. I believe you were a sincere Christian once as I was a sincere atheist. Maybe one day our paths will cross somewhere on your side, my side or in the middle.

    Reply
    1. Tony

      Randy, it’s as if you read my mind.

      I’m not sure I was ever an atheist but have seen and experienced more injustice and misery – much of it by “christians” – than miracles. I was raised in the Catholic church/school and later exposed to the run-of-the-mill evangelical christian teaching. It’s comical how 1,500 years are glossed over. I once received dirty looks when I asked why Martin Luther didn’t “subject himself to those in authority”. Soon thereafter it was obvious I was no longer welcome. It appears to me that the entire church thing is about 95% social interaction. Personally, I’m not much for any social interaction. Business forced me to learn and use social skills but it was never something I enjoyed. Now retired, I have the freedom to limit such interaction to those times I comply for my wife and family.

      My doubts started the 1st time someone quoted the bible as evidence of what the bible says. I would guess one could do the same for any religion’s “holy book”. If someone only reads and studies the works of Jules Verne only it would be easy to conclude any number of things that never happened. I once read a political comment during the last presidential election from someone that said our government could/should be more like Star Trek, citing numerous references. After just a few lines it was obvious, at least to me, that the guy was serious. Guess he wrote in Spock when he voted?

      While my political persuasions are way different from Bruce, I generally stop by here a couple of times a week for knowledge, entertainment and to challenge my thinking. This blog has helped me a great deal with my search for “truth” and I am very appreciative.

      Reply
  5. Zoe

    Hi Randy,

    This here:

    I do respond to those who come seeking knowledge of Christianity, […]

    I’m wondering whatknowledge you share with people seeking? You state your

    faith is what it is: faith.

    You state your faith is based on things you’ve seen and experienced. Does this qualify as knowledge of Christianity?

    Reply
    1. Randy

      I suppose the easiest answer to your question is that I used the Bible to present knowledge to them. As for “knowledge of Christianity” I find the things I’ve seen and experienced fit into the paradigm of Christianity. However, I’m sure if I were to adopt another religious belief I might see them fitting into that paradigm as well. I find for the most part that my beliefs easily line up with the teachings of Jesus. My journey is towards loving others, accepting others and giving grace and mercy to others. As a preacher or teacher my greatest desire is to instill hope in others, and a way they can find joy and peace in their lives, again based primarily around the teachings of Jesus.

      I feel like I walk a very fine line at times. I feel like I have one foot in faith and one foot in doubt. I am okay with that now. It has led me to a much more balanced life. I think American Evangelical Christianity is on the decline and has been a failure. I also feel like it does not fit with what we learn a church should be especially in the book of Acts. Because of my feelings towards this, I resigned my church leadership positions as a pastor and elder at my current church. I have found it very liberating.

      I try to read the Bible realistically – an imperfect book seeking to understand a perfect creator. I honestly see myself as a truth seeker, and I will follow wherever truth leads me. Once it was atheism. Once it was full blown overzealous evangelical American Christianity. Now, I’m not sure I truly have a label for where I am 🙂

      Reply
      1. Zoe

        So it’s more than “faith” in your sight & experiences Randy? It’s what you’ve seen and experienced and it is also faith in the Bible? It sounds like many religions and philosophies. Take what you need and leave the rest. When you share with seekers do you do so with full disclosure about

        one foot in faith and one foot in doubt

        I guess I still wonder about this “knowledge”. You use the Bible but seem to not assign any authority to it at all.

        Is hell part of your faith? Or has it morphed away from

        […]full blown overzealous evangelical American Christianity

        Thanks for sharing.

        Reply
  6. Randy

    I try to be up front in sharing my doubts. I always tell people I do not have the whole thing figured out and I often have more questions than actual knowledge. I encourage them to seek answers for themselves, and not just to become part of a “Sit down, shut up, listen and just believe” type of system. At this point in my life I believe all faith systems can hold both truth and falsehoods. For me, I find the most truth in Christianity. I try to have great respect for other faith systems as well. I think through dialogue we can learn from each other.

    As for hell, I struggle with that. I believe such a place exists, but I’m not sure it is designed for the purpose that most evangelical Christians say it is. I think a poor way of presenting the Gospel is to tell people without it they are going to hell. How does that make people feel? Using fear and coercion to bring someone to any faith is seriously problematic. I don’t use hell when I am talking to somebody about faith. Those beliefs are currently in the closet for me right now, as it runs contrary to pretty much what every Christian I know believes in. It’s not a hill I’m ready to die on yet. I just think it’s hard to reconcile a place of eternal torment with an all loving divine being.

    I used to believe the Bible was perfect, inerrant and infallible. That has changed. Erhman influenced me somewhat on that, but more than him my own research into the text led me there. I’ve tried to raise my kids to be critical thinkers, and not too long ago my ten year old asked me how do you reconcile all the different resurrection accounts. That is an ongoing discussion between us. The authority I assign the Bible then is that it is the best source I have for man trying to understand God. I read it and study it with a critical eye.

    Reply
  7. Angiep

    Randy, your visits to this site are welcomed. You come across as a seeker of truth, not interested in beating up the rest of us who don’t share your beliefs. My reading of your comments puts you more in the category of someone who wants to be spiritual in his own way, and it’s not our job to try to convince you to give up all your beliefs. Honestly if all Christians were like you, I would not have a problem with them. (Except maybe when it comes to the hell doctrine – maybe consider opening your mind to the idea of letting go of the idea of a literal hell).

    Reply
  8. Melody

    Reading this made me realize how even the arguments are about fear. It is really all about Russell daring to defy God! He will get his comeuppance, gna, gna. Quite petty.

    When you don’t think about it rationally but think like an Evangelical, saying God doesn’t exist is the dumbest thing in the world one could do. Defying God and laughing at him or making fun of him, well, you’d end up like Goliath, wouldn’t you? Such a stupid thing to do! So why do they do it? That question doesn’t really have a good answer when you’re a Christian. Why would they condemn themselves to such a fate? Even willingly?!

    As a Christian I never understood that. How dared they be against God? How could they laugh and smirk and grin without being afraid and how did God stand it? These mortals making fun of Him. Of course, He would get them in the end. At one point, I did pick up on that they weren’t afraid and I was and I began to realize why. They were not afraid of God because He didn’t exist in their universe and so all his threaths were empty ones. At that point, I still believed those threats weren’t empty but I was pretty jealous at them for not being afraid.

    There is this paradox in Christianity and I guess it would go for many religions with some kind of hell, in that the people who believe in it and are (to some extent) reasonably sure they won’t go to hell, as long as they believe the right thing and accept God’s gift of mercy, or follow whatever rules they have to, are the most afraid of it. If hell is for the bad unbelievers (who are not afraid of it) why would you as a faithfull believer be afraid of it? If you are saved? I’ve heard of quite a few people, good Christian believers, who are so afraid on their deathbeds, petrified of hell, when they’ve followed the rules as best as they could. It just makes me angry and sad, and I think it was one of those things that got me to question. If God cannot give his followers peace on their deathbeds and instead lets them die in complete agony over a hell only the non-believers go to, what kind of a God is that? Shouldn’t he grant his followers complete peace about their conversion and their trip to heaven? I think so.

    Reply
    1. Peter

      Well said Melody. I have seen many arguments where Christians seek to justify the concept of Hell and reconcile it their view of a loving and just ‘God’. I always find the arguments strained, when I called myself a Christian it caused me great concern when ‘unsaved’ relatives died. They were not perfect folk by any means but I could not accept that they deserve eternal torment using any concept of justice that made sense to me. I would plead with ‘God’ to annihilate them rather than torture them for all eternity.

      In the end I concluded that the Bible was very vague on the matter of Hell and there was scope to hope that annihilation occured. This is anathema to many evangelical theologians, who say Hell must be conscious eternal torment for ever and ever and ever. That always troubled me and could never see it as just.

      Some argued it was just because ‘God’ is infinite so offending hm requires infinite punishment. Others argued ‘God’ did not want to send people to Hell, but he was just letting free will prevail and was powerless to intervene. Others said that ‘God’ did not want to send people to ‘Hell’ but well there was no where else fro them to go. None of these arguments sat well with me.

      In the end the idea that made most sense to me was that Hell was a human creation designed as the ultimate deterrent. It had the advantage of being unverifiable so in essence something unable to be refuted.

      When I still called myself a Christian I read a number of reports from people who claimed they had visions of heaven and Hell. One thing I did notice was that these all differed which made me conclude that they could not all be correct, it then set me wondering whether any were correct.

      In the end I could never accept that eternal punishment for finite crimes was justice. It certainly was not loving or merciful so it seemed to go against the core characteristics of ‘God’ as described in the Bible. Sure ‘God’ is holy so the sinners can’t get into heaven, but love and mercy would dictate annihilation not eternal torture. If justice required some punishment then a finite sort of hell could be argued, but never an eternal Hell.

      But further than this I always wondered why ‘God’ did not provide more evidence to those who sort to find the truth. I also wondered why ‘God’ allowed so many issues in the Bible that would give raise to doubt.

      In the end I concluded that if Hell was real then in essence it made it hard to love ‘God’ one could fear ‘God’ but could you really love a being who designed a system where the majority of people of people would be tortured for all eternity. It would have been better to stop those people ever being born.

      Reply
      1. Randy

        Hell certainly presents a perplexing conundrum for the believer. Rob Bell pointed out some absurd observations in his controversial book “Love Wins.” He theorized if there is an age of accountability but up until that age children go to heaven if they die, wouldn’t the most loving thing you could do for your children be to kill them before they reach that age? That way you guarantee they go to heaven.

        The next thing for me is what about the Christian who has professed Christ but engages in some form of sexual abuse – molesting children let’s say. He has professed Christ, committed a heinous crime but gets to go to heaven because of his faith. Then we have an atheist philanthropist who has been an advocate for children, mentored them, helped found an orphanage and been a generous member of society in general. However, he never professed Christ so he gets a ticket to hell despite all of his good work.

        Does this sound like justice? Does this sound like love? Even more confusing hell is never discussed in the Old Testament. Some translations render the Hebrew “sheol” as hell, but it is literally “the grave.” We are left then with a handful of New Testament references to hell, some of them being more elusive as we dig into the etymology of the words translated as “hell.”

        Hell as taught by Christianity seems to be a great paradox to the Christian god. It is the ultimate scandal of the church. Eternal, everlasting, horrendous, scorching punishment for a few decades of sin? No argument sufficiently justifies this.

        Of course my discussing these things in Christian circles would get me the pariah and heretic label quickly. It’s a tough quandary for me because hell is considered a key doctrine for American Evangelical Christianity. That’s why I don’t claim that label “evangelical” any longer. It’s hard to make Christians consider the problem of the doctrine of hell. It basically ruined the ministry of Rob Bell and he ended up having to step down as leader of Mars Hill Church over it.

        Reply
  9. Zoe

    Randy:

    I believe such a place exists, but I’m not sure it is designed for the purpose that most evangelical Christians say it is.

    Zoe: Regarding your belief about hell, if you don’t mind me asking, where is it and what purpose do you think it has?

    Reply
    1. Randy

      Zoe,

      I hope I don’t break some taboo here on Bruce’s site by quoting Bible verses but here is where I draw my conclusions from:

      For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment. (2 Peter 2:4)

      And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Jude 6)

      These two verses are the most specific discussion of hell I find, and they explicitly state it was constructed for fallen angels. Angels operate under different circumstances than man. They do not have their sins forgiven or have grace through the work of Jesus. Therefore that is my theory of it’s purpose. As for where it is? It is a spiritual realm without a physical latitude and longitude.

      This is still a subject I am delving into, but I hope that gives you an idea of where my head is on it.

      Reply
      1. Zoe

        Interesting Randy.

        I think my understanding of 2 Peter 2:4 was that this isn’t about “angels” only. It’s about God saying, ‘Hey, if I didn’t even spare the angels how much more for you sinning humans?’

        Reply
  10. Melody

    Thanks! I found it very hard too when people I knew who were unsaved died. The thought of them being in hell was just appalling and I would pray if God could just save them and remember they were good people, even if they didn’t believe. If He had granted them more time perhaps they would have believed eventually so that wasn’t fair either. Of course, pleading with God or challenging him always felt scary and blasphemous, so I’d stop after a while, thinking “God knows best” and “his ways are higher than ours” and “I should simply trust him.”

    “It would have been better to stop those people ever being born.” That’s true and if God has perfect foresight, He would already know who would be saved and who wouldn’t and he would have known that Adam and Eve would fall, and Jesus would be necessary, so why did he not do something to stop it all way sooner.

    It was always explained to me that Hell was designed for the devil and his fallen angels and God ideally didn’t want to see anyone (people) there. What puzzled me was that if God didn’t want to see people there, why didn’t he simply stop putting people in there? Why couldn’t Jesus’s blood save everyone, even the people who didn’t want him or didn’t know about Christianity? If God was larger than life and was rigging everything anyway than why not that too? Some Christians do believe that Jesus’s blood saves everyone regardless if they believe in him and it’s lot more humane at least. It makes God seem more of a good guy than he does in traditional evangelical Christianity.

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  11. Geoff

    Some very interesting views on the concept of hell. Especially from Randy who, as a Christian, makes a concerted effort to paint it in the most reasonable light it can possibly achieve. Yet for me no words can survive the reality of close scrutiny of the concept.

    If God were perfect then how could there possibly be a devil or fallen angels?
    If there were, then why not just wipe them from existence?
    Why should people, not angels, be condemned to eternal torture for sins committed during a comparatively minuscule existence?
    Is Satan actually in hell and governing it?
    If so, does he report to God?
    If so then he has no autonomy and is simply an agent of God?
    If he has autonomy then he is independent of God and God is not omnipotent.

    Just some of the arguments those outside of close evangelical indoctrination will have encountered, but which render hell nothing more than a string of mutually exclusive paradoxes.

    Reply
  12. JR

    Thanks for sharing Randy. No offence intended but it seems like your faith involves stumbling about in the dark trying to find answers. You realise the Bible isn’t clear cut and need to work things out for yourself. I am not pointing fingers as I think I am in the same place.

    My question is, if there is a God who loves us and made us for a relationship why would he hide from us?

    Reply

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