What would convince you that God is real?

This post is purely a mind game, a hypothetical, a ‘what if’. For this post I am not interested in why you believe in god or not, I’m not trying to convert anyone either way. What I’m asking is for you to think what would convince you that God is real. Use your imagination, be as scientific and logical or as wild and bizarre as you like, but remember ultimately your scenario should be able to prove God exists to you, and the rest of the world. The scenario could be something like mine below, or a day-in-the-life-of like I spotted recently, but now can’t find again (if the writer reads this please provide a link).

For my readers who already believe God exists you can get involved in this little thought experiment as well. You can either:

  1. Tell us a scenario which would unequivocally make you dis-believe in God (what might be the one thing that would make a Christian disbelieve in God?), or
  2. Give us a scenario that would convince you that the person standing in front of you was God and/or Jesus (ie. imagine someone walks up to you in the street and says “Hi, I’m Jesus”).

For 2 above you might think “but I’d just know, it would be obvious by his presence” (or something similar). But would you really? There have been many ‘false prophets’ over the years, and many people who were convinced they were Jesus, some of these have even managed to get a following. Some people are amazingly coercive and persuasive. I’ve been to a Billy Graham meeting and “I BELIEVED”, I’ve been to Amway meetings and wanted to buy and sell all their products. It doesn’t necessarily mean either of these are true, it could just be excellent selling skills? I’m not talking about Jesus returning for the Rapture, as per Revelation, but just turning up. Imagine trying to convince your friends you actually physically met him.

For a while now I have read many blogs and forums frequented by religious and non-religious people. Both sides are often trying to convert the other, generally with little success. It always comes down to a belief or disbelief in God.

For atheists the general consensus is that they would need some unequivocal evidence to believe in God. Here’s an example I dreamt up several months ago:

God appears, in human form, near the summit of Mount Everest in front of some climbers. God would be wearing just the usual robes and sandals and be showing no evidence of altitude sickness or cold. He would provide the climbers some time to obtain video footage and then request they leave the mountain and inform the world God is about to move Mount Everest to Australia. Once all the climbers have left the mountain, God would remove the top 1km or so of the mountain and fly it to out-back Australia, say near Uluhru (the transit could quite easily be visually verified by many people). He would then give scientists time to verify the piece of mountain in front of them is actually part of Mount Everest. (I’m sure this would be easy by verifying composition of the rock, dirt and ice; and verifying that the outlines match). Perhaps God would sit at the top for a few weeks and those of us who were able could go and have a look? Afterwards, just to be nice, God would then put Mount Everest back together (additionally I imagine that if a large chunk of Mount Everest suddenly disappeared for a few weeks it could mess up the environment and weather, so God would also put in some provision to prevent this).

If I saw this and had credible scientists state unequivocally that it was not faked, then I would seriously consider that God exists (as I’m sure just about everyone else in the world exposed to this would). One point to consider though, which god would this be? I guess he’d tell us?

An added bonus with my scenario is that those of us who make the trip to see this ‘miracle’ could visit Sean on the way. Those with a few spare dollars might even want to stay here whilst visiting Uluru, possibly the most expensive tent in the world?

Please note that, IMHO, to-date no totally unequivocal evidence, like this, has been provided that any god exists.

On the other hand, I have read many articles that explain why God couldn’t or doesn’t exist, all of which to me seem perfectly logical and provide credence to me that God doesn’t exist. However very few, if any, religious people accept these arguments.

So to sum up:

Believers – 1. Tell us what might make you disbelieve, or 2. Give us a scenario in which you, and hopefully the rest of the world, would know God and/or Jesus was standing in front of you.

Non-Believers – Give us a scenario which would prove to you, and hopefully the rest of the world, that God and/or Jesus exists beyond a shadow of a doubt.

One Last Thing

Now I’d like to keep this nice and civil, no attacking others scenarios or beliefs, this is purely an exercise in thinking “What If”. None of you will be held responsible for the thoughts expressed here (at least not by me).

We have a long weekend here in Australia, for Australia Day, so I’m going to be busy – watching cricket, going to barbecues, parties, doing some DIY, etc. – so I won’t be making any new posts till Tuesday.
So; Play Fair, No Arguing (save that for another post), No Biting, or else I’ll have to send you all to bed without dessert, and have fun.

Oh, and one very last thing: There may be an award for the best scenario.

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54 Comments to “What Would Convince You?”

  1. Christopher says:

    Hi Arthur

    In answer to your questions.

    1) Perfect may be defined as “entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings.”

    2) You ask why should you accept that such a being exists? But that’s the whole point of the argument Arthur. According to modal logic if we accept even the possibility that such a necessary being exists then the necessary being MUST exist.
    The ONLY counter to this argument is to reply that it is not even remotely possible that such a being exists which seems unreasonable to do for the reasons I’ve given above.

  2. Christopher says:

    I should explain that second point a bit more. In order to declare that there is not the slightest possibility of such a being existing you would have to have knowledge not only of every planet, meteor and asteroid in the universe but also throughout all space and time. For example “This necessary being does not exist on this planet, neither in its dim past nor in its far future.” In order to be able to declare this you would have to be omniscient, omnipresent & eternal. In other words you would be God. See the problem?

  3. Christopher says:

    Sorry guys but I’m going to have to leave the discussion. Have to hit the books for my class tomorrow.

    Oz, AV, Arthur, Bruce, Saved Sinner thank you for a most stimulating discussion. Bye

  4. AV says:

    I know Chris has left the discussion, but I’ll put this out there anyway.

    According to modal logic if we accept even the possibility that such a necessary being exists then the necessary being MUST exist.

    One can always remain agnostic about whether the possibility exists. The burden of evidence lies with the one claiming that the possibility exists (as well as, I agree, with the one denying it).

    Perfect may be defined as “entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings.”

    This doesn’t tell us very much about what perfect looks like. Without flaws, defects or shortcomings in relation to what standard? If the answer is “any standard,” then “perfect” is meaningless. If the answer is “standard X”, then we’d need to establish what X is.

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