Hello, everyone! I am new here and this is something I have been rolling around in my head for some time now. I'd love your thoughts on it.
During most if not all conversations I have had with theists, I have observed a pattern of reasoning, which I like to call “the five stages of God” and which I will try to explain below.
The “five stages” work mostly with the Abrahamic religions, since they are the ones that I encounter most often, in real life or the Internet.
Let's say that I am debating an Orthodox Christian, as it is common in my home country of Greece. This person believes in an omnipotent, creator, interventionist God, and, although it's the same God worshiped by Catholics and Protestants (and Jews and Muslims, but that's a little more removed) that person, let's say it's a 'he', believes that the little differences between his particular denomination and the others, make it the One True Word of the Ultimate Being.
Now, enter me. An atheist, that remains unconvinced. My debater wants to prove that what he believes is real. The point is, he thinks that all the qualities of God I have described, go together. And I ask: Why? How come?
This is what I call the “five stages of God”. The five assumptions an Abrahamic theist makes, and for each of which he believes that it proves his point as a whole. Which is, of course, nonsense. The problem of course is that, if I concede Stage 1, the theist thinks I have conceded them all. And that is the trouble in debating them.
Stage 1: The Creator God
This is the chief assumption of all religion, and the chief point that atheists contest. With that I mean the existence of a Will that set the Universe in motion, created it or created the conditions in which it came into existence, for example the Big Bang. I say Will and not Intelligence because I want to emphasize the point that Stage 1 does not prove
Stage 2: The Intelligent God
Why does Creation require or demand Intelligence? Why is the creator God an almighty being and not simply a being with that one, singular ability of creation, like a simple organism giving birth? I realize that it is a simplistic argument, but my point stands that the Creator God does not need to be an Intelligent one. Of course, the Intelligent God does not prove
Stage 3: The Omnipotent, Omnipresent God.
Now, I group these two together, although they can be contested separately. Even if the Creator God 'survived' his Creation (also an assumption), why does he contain these qualities? If he exists, why does he know everything and is everywhere? How is the act of Creation, either instinctively or by design, pertain the Omnipresence and Omnipotence of God? Even if it does, this does not prove
Stage 4: The Interventionist God.
This is the crucial point that separates religious people from theists. The turning point of each religion. That an Omnipresent and Omnipotent God, a transcendent up until now God, takes the time and energy to make himself not only known to humans, but also has rules and conditions for them to follow, and begins to contain human characteristics. He is benevolent, pleased or displeased, vindictive, judgmental or all of the above. Point is, he is exhibiting human characteristics, that make him seem a lot more like the pagan or ancient Greek gods. He takes an active interest in the affairs of humanity, guides or punishes them, all the while, presumably, running the Universe. But still this does not prove
Stage 5: Your God.
How on Earth are you so sure that you have the right one? Pascal's wager is pretty fun, but it applies from Stage 4 and up, not here. You and a handful of other people follow the Truth all the way up to Stage 1? And yet, this is exactly the problem. Although all through history extremely bloody wars have been fought over differences on Stage 5, a theist, any theist, believes that if I concede Stage 1, as an agnostic would, I have conceded them all at least until Stage 4. Which is simply not true. It is obvious that an Orthodox Christian that believes in a Stage 5 God has conceded all the stages before it, and indeed, if a later Stage is conceded it mostly proves all the stages before it (I say 'mostly' because this happens in Abrahamic religions. For example, a believer in the 12 Gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon can concede Stages 4 and 5 alone.)
And therein lies my frustration with theists. A theist (usually) vehemently believes that all five Stages can be debated as one, whereas I do not. What are your thoughts?
Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.
Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.