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If one believes in God, then why God? Why not an invisible spiritual unicorn with supernatural powers? Why not say it creates all things?
 
THE QUESTION
 
Is believing in a spiritual God with supernatural powers as bad or silly as believing in a spiritual unicorn or witch or whatever with supernatural powers? Or is it worse? We are talking about the idea that dropping belief in God is similar to dropping belief in magical unicorns or fairies or whatever. Its just a magical belief like them.
 
ALISTER MCGRATH V RICHARD DAWKIN'S UNICORN
 
Page 85 of Alister McGrath's book, Mere Theology (SPCK, London, 2010) states that the following argument of Richard Dawkins is wrong. "I do not believe in God. It is an unnecessary belief such as belief in a magical invisible unicorn. The believers in God do not believe in all tales about supernatural entities. I am just going a bit further than them and abandoning God."
 
McGrath says the mistake is that God is thought to be an alleged object in the universe such as the invisible unicorn. He says God is not an object in the universe but its source. McGrath then implies that God is not as unnecessary as the unicorn. He means the unicorn does not explain how things exist or where they came from and God does. Thus he thinks that God is a more sensible idea than the unicorn and so in a different league.
 
This overlooks the fact that it is not always irrational or foolish to favour a view that might not seem to be the most sensible. If you admit you do not know how all things came to be the unicorn is as good as God.
 
There are different degrees of rationality. Being a bit irrational does not make you irrational. If you can be called rational and believe in God then you can be called rational if you believe in the unicorn instead. You could be a more rational person as you believe in the unicorn than you would be if you believed in God.
 
God would be more magical than the unicorn for he is seen as more powerful and maker of all. So God would be a worse idea than a magical unicorn!
 
The claim that God is immune to Dawkins criticism for he is not an object in the universe but its spiritual source is actually a red herring. For God to be the source means he has the miraculous power to make the universe from nothing. So the point is not if God is an object in the universe or not but his supernatural powers. God by definition is a spiritual and magical power. Dawkins correctly reasons that if you reject a unicorn with magical powers, just go a step further and reject a God with magical powers. If you reject one magical being why not another?
 
ANOTHER QUESTION
 
Is believing in a spiritual God with CREATOR powers as bad or silly as believing in a spiritual unicorn or witch or whatever with CREATOR powers? Or is it worse?
 
THE CREATION "EXPLANATION"
 
McGrath thinks that the reason it makes more sense to believe in God than the unicorn is that God explains why the universe exists and the unicorn does not. That is what his source and object talk is all about. He sees God as a source and anything that is not God as an object that exists because of the source.
 
But God is not really an explanation. We do not know how somebody can make something without using anything. At best for the Christians, we do not know if it is possible. But many of us realise that we do know it is impossible.
 
The fact that we are here instead of being non-existent does not help. It is like saying that because a rock is on the shore that somebody put it there. We do not know if God creates or makes all things from or out of himself.
 
We do not know if the idea of spirit - a being with no parts - like God makes sense. We may as well pick a unicorn as an explanation for creation as God!
 
UNICORN AS CREATOR?
 
A unicorn creator of all is more comprehensible to us than God. It would be a better option. God can never be greater to us than how our minds conceive God and the mystery of God. In other words, anything we think God is, is only going to be a guess. We tend to see the unicorn as a magical fictional thing and God as real for that is the way we have been conditioned. We think there is no comparison between God and a supernatural unicorn. But the problem is not that the unicorn is magical but that his existence cannot be proven or disproven. Thus it is in the same category as God. It is not question of myth but a question of knowing one way or the other. So God and the unicorn are in the same boat.
 
God is too much of a mystery and too unknowable. The unicorn making all things is a better explanation. We have a better idea of what we are talking about then.
 
IS THE UNICORN OR GOD THE BEST EXPLANATION?
 
If magic exists, we should not assume that it is more powerful than what it is. God with his infinite power would have infinite magic power so belief in the the unicorn who has limited magic would make more sense. 
 
If there is no evidence for God or the unicorn or against them, we can draw some morals from this.
 
Moral 1 is that our being unable to prove their non-existence does not make it reasonable to assume or believe that they exist.
 
Moral 2 is that our being unable to prove their non-existence does not make it unreasonable to assume or believe that they don't exist.
 
Moral 3 is that we cannot prove the non existence of either but it does not mean that it is equally likely that they exist or do not exist
 
Moral 4 their non-existence cannot be proven with absolute certainty but the chance of their existing is very small
 
Moral 5 we must assume their non-existence until suitable evidence for their existence comes along. This assumption is reasonable and needs no defence.
 
Christians and some philosophers say the morals are correct as regarding the unicorn but that God is a different case.
 
They say that unlike the unicorn, God does or just might answer the following questions.
 
What caused the universe to come into existence from nothing?
 
Whether there was a universe that came into existence or always existed, what is the explanation for its existence?
 
Does life have an ultimate purpose?
 
Why are we policed by a moral conscience as if a God or reasonably moral being put it in us?
 
To sum up, they are arguing that "if the unicorn exists, it is no big deal. But if God exists, these questions make this a big deal." But the fact remains that divine magic is the answer to all the questions. The point is the magic so a unicorn doing magic and a God doing infinitely more magic is another red herring - it dwells on the quantity of magic when it should dwell on the magic itself.
 
Also, the entity that caused the existence of the universe need not be the same being as who put a moral conscience in us. And the alleged morality of our conscience is controversial.
 
The argument only makes a case for the undesirability of belief in the unicorn as creator. But loads of undesirable things are true! The unicorn could still be God though we do not want him to be.
 
BUT THE UNICORN IS BIZARRE!
 
The unicorn has magical powers so it could be the creator. And Christianity says God has the power to give a creature his power to create. What if we say the unicorn is God? Robin Le Poidevin says that we are still saying there is a God and are just engaging in a bizarre take on God and are not repudiating God in the sense of an all-powerful source of all things and the father of love. He would say that we are saying there is a God and the dragon is God incarnate just like how some people say that about Jesus.
 
But if so, who is to say what is a bizarre take on God and what isn't? A unicorn is a bizarre thing to suppose but at the end of the day its only a magical horse with a horn growing from its head. Who is to say that the idea of a God with no parts and who is spirit is better or worse? If God has magical power then what do you need God for? Why not just say there is magical power? Imagine there is a superhero called Electro-Man. He uses electricity to help people. Believers in him say he exists because they see how electricity works and sometimes blasts criminals into the next world. They should say electricity exists and stop there. There is no need to say or think there is a man operating the electricity. Electricity is only a proof for electricity and not for Electro-Man.
 
If you think your king is an alien in disguise you are repudiating the king. For the same way, to think God is a unicorn is to repudiate God and make another God - a unicorn one.
 
THE BIBLE NEVER MENTIONS AN UNCREATED GOD
 
The Bible says God is the source of everything and had no maker outside himself. The Bible says that God made all things. It says nothing to exclude the notion that God himself is an object though he is source of other objects.  It never confirms or denies that God made himself. That would be absurd but the Bible is not a book of philosophy so we can expect errors and absurdities of a philosophical nature to appear in the Bible. The Bible says that God made what is visible out of what is invisible. It never actually says, "God made all things out of nothing." Mc Grath then needs to assert that Dawkins reasoning applies then to the biblical God and not the God of philosophy who is spirit and the source of being. There is no reason to believe that the Bible God and the God of philosophy are the same. The Church only pretends they are and reads philosophy about God into the Bible when it is actually not there.
 
DAWKINS AND TESTABILITY
 
Dawkins only meant that to say God is a spirit or to say the unicorn is a spirit puts them beyond refutation. You say they are outside the physical universe which means nothing can prove they exist or prove they do not exist. You have no reason to believe one or believe the other. That is the point not what role they have, not that God is the source of all and the unicorn is not. There is no reason to believe in either so if you reject the magical unicorn it makes sense to reject God as well.
 
THE ESSENTIAL POINTS
 
Essential Points:
 
# If God is a spiritual person then he can be a spiritual anything even a unicorn or a dog or a computer.
 
# You cannot prove God scientifically as he is said to be non-material or undetectable. The problem is that this stops investigation and once you stop investigating you can end up believing in anything.
 
# Some say God as maker of all things is a more sensible thing to believe in than the unicorn which is not creator or source of all. But these are red herrings. The point is that God is a supernatural magical being which is why he is able to be the source of all. It is the magic that is the point not who or what wields the magical power.
 
# Some say that God as the source of morality is a more sensible thing to believe in than the unicorn which is just a magical animal. But if we get enough morality to get by and we base it on a kind hearted unicorn that is better than basing it on nothing. That is assuming that morality has to come from some authority outside us. It is better to base it on the imperfect unicorn than a perfect God. If we will never be the best all the time, what do we need God for? We need realistic role models.
 
# We think we experience something like spirit when we visualise something for nothing can detect the image we see or measure it or weigh it. But being unable to scientifically check it and examine it does not mean it cannot be scientifically checked or examined if we had the right machine. God is spirit and so is the unicorn but the problem we are looking now is not them but the very concept of spirit. There is no evidence at all that spirit is possible or exists and we have no reason to presume that it is possible. Spirit is a mere human concept. To honour spirits is really just to honour the minds that invent them. And as for God giving a purpose to your life, atheists sometimes find meaning in being a loving god to others. As there is no God we have to do the loving he can't do. Also, to link God and a sense of meaning in life is always over-simplistic. The reality is that working out what good is and what ethics we should have is damn hard work as the controversy is super-complicated and confusing. It takes years. And yet religion says you need to understand good in order to make some progress in knowing God for he is good. Those who say that God gives meaning are really showing that guessing that God exists is giving them meaning. It is not God that is doing it.
 
# A God who loves the sinner and hates the sin would be an impossibility. Therefore there is no all-good God. Your innate qualities show in your behaviour. You can't be a sinner because you sin but you must sin because you are at least partly a sinner. Whoever says that they condemn your behaviour, and not your innate qualities are being pure hypocrites. Thus God is even more absurd than the unicorn.
 
# Agnosticism presumes that God might exist but alleges that you have no reason to presume that he does or he doesn't. Presuming God might exist is wrong. Atheism is the default position not agnosticism and certainly not theism.
 
FINALLY
 
It is proven. Belief in an invisible magical unicorn is as bad as belief in God if not better. Suppose creation really needs a creator. Then what matters is not what creates but that something creates. So a creator could be a witch or an invisible unicorn or anything.  When you say there is a creator you are in fact saying that.  To assert it is the Christian God is just your opinion and one opinion in this case is as good as another.  To say it is that God is to say it could as well be a unicorn!

 

Some say, “I am an atheist in the same way I am an atoothfairyist.” But in fact being an atheist commits you to create good for there is no God to do it. Being atheist then is about creating good and not about somebody else creating it for you. It is about denying God yes but in a particular way. An atheist who is not doing good is still an atheist in the way a doctor who will not work is still a doctor.  While it is true that it is as silly to say there is a God as it is to say there is a toothfairy, it is also true that if there is no God or no toothfairy then it is your call to be the good God or the good toothfairy.