“Is God Dead?” Script

This was the first time in my life I wrote a script. I wrote this script in response to the 2014 film God’s Not Dead. The movie was entirely unrealistic (ex. a Philosophy professor would not do this to their class), so it needed a harsh push into reality. It was also too stereotypical, as well as inaccurate. Example, the film writers of “God’s Not Dead” portray Prof. Radisson as a “atheist” when it is revealed he is a Misotheist.

In this script, I placed myself right inside the film God’s Not Dead, and act out exactly what I would do if I personally was in this story where a philosophy professor forced his class to conform and bypass all discussions on a given topic or fail his students if they failed to cooperate. If I was in classroom like this in real life, I would reporting the professor to the University. In the real world, the professor would be punished and that would be the end, making this a very short movie. But the target audience of God’s Not Dead were Christians, and they went to see this movie expecting to see a battle of faith, I decided to let the debate happen and roll with it. The writers of the film God’s Not Dead had tons of arguments to use to prove “God’s Not Dead” and they decided that the arguments presented by their protagonist (Josh Wheaton) were excellent. Personally I thought they were terrible arguments, but they were the ones who picked them so I decided to leave it exactly as it was (with a few additions) and response with proper counter-arguments.

In the original film God’s Not Dead, one of its biggest problems was there were too many side-plots on 12 different characters. Having a lot of characters in a film is okay, but that many side-plots is just filler. I wanted to avoid the overwhelming side-plots and only focus on the debate, but I decided to include only one side-plot: the student Jennifer. In this script, she is a Christian like Jacob, but upon hearing the arguments back and forward during the class debate, she begins to question her faith. Unlike the world in God’s Not Dead, this is how the real world works. College students broaden their horizons and often become less religious. I wanted to make the young viewers out there to relate to Jennifer, the one who is struggling and letting go of her faith.

I kept this script as simple as I can, I’m not looking to make a award-winning film but at least I’m making a more realistic and honest film then God’s Not Dead ever was. If this was to become a real short movie, all it needs is three locations: a school classroom, a library, and any socializing spot on campus. Depending on the school, finding a unused classroom for most of the day is easy to find. And the class could be filled with the crew making the film, posing as the students.

Names of Actors:

Brian – class atheist

Jacob Webb – class Christian, mirror image of Josh Wheaton from the original film

Radisson – Misotheist Philosophy professor

Jennifer – class Christian turned doubter

James – igtheist, friend of Brian

Is God Dead?

Written by

The Godless Wolf

Based On “God’s Not Dead”

FADE IN:

INT. EDGE – DAY

First day of class at a University. The classroom is a studio with seats on a stair. Class is about to start, students begin to take their seats.

Enter Professor Radisson

Radisson

Hello everyone, I’m professor Radisson, and welcome to Philosophy 150: Introduction to Philosophical Thought.

You are here at this University, you will be expected to produce University-level work.

Michel Foucault, Bertrand Russel, Ludwig Feuerbach, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, George Santayana, Democritus, Denis Diderot, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Albert Camus, Richard Dawkins, Sigmund Freud, Noam Chomsky. The list goes on. Philosophers, poets, scientists, authors, towering intellectuals, all of them. But what do they have in common? They are, and were, all atheists.

Based on the 16th century French “athe’isme,” from the Greek “theos” meaning “God,” and from a prefix “a” meaning, as it always does in Greek, “without.” In short, each of these thinkers I have named took the strong position that there is no God, as oppose to the weak position of agnosticism. “Gnostic,” from the Greek “gnosos,” to know, and again with the prefix “a” meaning to not know, or more accurately, to doubt the existence of a supreme being.

This semester I propose that we refuse to waste our limited time together debating the existence of the Big Man in the sky, the myth of a benevolent all-powerful supreme being. “God is dead.” This is, of course, a metaphor but an illustrative one meaning not that God has somehow died, but rather that he never existed in the first place other than the depths of our forebearers imaginations. He was a useful fairy tale in the ages gone by, when his fiery anger was used to explain away plagues and crop failures, diseases and disasters which we now ascribe to bacteria and viruses, chromosomal disorders, and plate tectonics. In short, science and reason have supplanted superstition, and we are all better for it. And with your permission, I would like to bypass all senseless debates altogether and jump to the conclusion that all sophomores are already aware of: there is no God. All that I will require from each of you, to write on each of the papers that I have given you, to write three little words: “God is Dead” along with your signature.

Students begin to write “God is Dead” on sheets of paper, and hand them to the students sitting on the right side of the class. Raddisson begins to walk by and collect each paper. But when he gets to the fourth aisle, Jacob the student on the right, does not hand over the sheet of papers.

Radisson

Excuse Mr.–

Jacob

Webb. Jacob Webb.

Radisson

Mr. Webb is something wrong?

Jacob

I cannot do what you want, I’m a Christian.

Radisson

Oh, well don’t worry you can always still go back to your dorm room and sink to your knees and pray to your bedside if you’d like. What you do in your personal life is your business, but what you do in this class is mine.

Jacob

Be that as it may, I still can’t do what you ask.

Radisson

Alright, Mr. Webb, allow me to explain the alternative. If you cannot bring yourself to admit that God is dead for the purposes of this class, then you will have to defend the antithesis that God is not dead. And you will need to do it in front of this class from the podium. And if you fail, as you shall, you will also fail this section and lose 30% of your grade right off the bat. Are you ready to accept that?

Brian

I can’t sign this paper either. Or rather, I won’t. It’s just not right.

Radisson

Oh. Is that so, Mr.–

Brian

My name is Brian. And I’m not a Christian, or even a theist. I’m an atheist.

Radisson

Is that so? An atheist who will not write down three simple words he, by definition, thinks is true, “God is dead.”

Brian

I can write those words on my forehead without any problems. I don’t believe in God anymore than Zeus, and I agree that science and reason have replaced superstition, but you are the one who is proposing that we bypass all discussion on the existence of God. That is where I put my foot down and object to your proposal.

Radisson

Is that so? Care to elaborate?

Brian

This is a Philosophy class, the most open class a student could take, where we are free and encouraged to question and challenge every idea under the sun and broaden our minds. In this class, we may learn a lot but the students are under no obligation or requirement to walk out of class and accept everything they heard or were just taught. We can discuss, accept and reject ideas however we like. But telling us to by pass a debate and just settle on the conclusion is the exact opposite of what a Philosophy class should be.

Radisson

Well Mr. Brian, you seem to forget that this is my class. My class, my rules. But if you want a discussion that badly, then how about you and Mr. Webb have a go up front and debate whether God is dead or not. Is that okay with you?

Jacob

I have no objections.

Brian

Fine, but right afterword, I’d most definitely want to debate you professor Radisson on whether Ayn Rand can be grouped in as a “towering intellectual.”

[classroom laughs]

Radisson

[chuckles]

Well, that would be an interesting debate, but we’ll save that one until after you and Mr. Webb have had your debate.

Jacob

Who will decide who won or not?

Radisson

Well, I will. Like I said, my class, my rules. Grading is my prerogative.

Jacob

Well, with no disrespect, I don’t think you can be objective.

Brian

I agree.

Radisson

Well, Mr. Webb and Mr. Brian, what do you propose?

Jacob

Well, what about them? The students.

Radisson

Well, that’s interesting, but why would I want to empower them?

Jacob

Well, you’ve already won them over, I’d have to un-convince them, get them to admit they were wrong.

Brian

He didn’t “win” them over, he pushed them over. He didn’t win them over with arguments or logic, he just told them what to think.

But I think it is safe to say that nearly everyone in this class believes in God is some form. National polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans are religious, mostly Christian. So it is very unlikely, practically impossible, that we all happen to stumble upon the one public college classroom in all of America where there is only one Christian in it.

Radisson

Hmpf. Alright boys. You both have three sessions. The last 20 minutes of each of the next three classes, to make your cases. I promise to keep my interruptions to a minimum. You may take whatever questions you may have from the class, but I will not increase your allotted time. Of course, you will be responsible for all the other class assignments. But, you know, you could change your mind and bring your signed statement to our next class and we will go forward as if nothing happened. The rest of us, having dispensed with primitive superstition, will turn to the issue of being in reality. For our next class, please read David Hume’s the “The Problems of Induction” and Rene Descartes’ “Discourse on Method,” to which you may add Bertnard Russell’s “Why I Am Not a Christian” in preparations for Mr. Webb’s lecture and in thanks for his failure to help us reach a unanimous consensus.

Class ends. Students begin to leave the classroom. Jacob Webb walks out the door, finds Brian waiting for him.

Brian

Hey! Webb!

Jacob

[Jacob spots Brian]

Hey. Did you want to talk about the debate?

Brian

Never mind that. Follow me. Come on.

Jacob briefly hesitates, and then follows Brian.

Jacob

Where are we going?

Brian

H.R. Department. We are going to talk to the Dean and report Radisson.

Jacob

What? Why?

Brian

Why!? What do you mean “why”? What he did in there was wrong. Plain and simple.

Jacob

What are you talking about? Making us do a debate?

Brian

No, making his students sign that statement, in exchange for not getting a failing grade.

Jacob

But you’re an atheist. Why didn’t you sign it?

Brian

Like I said, that is a Philosophy class. Students are not and should not be forced to accept anything, especially without discussion. What’s next, is he going to make us bypass all discussion on Materialism and make us sign a statement saying something like life is just an illusion?

Jacob

But why would you want to out Radisson?

Brian

What? Being an atheist does not mean we should conspire to force people to believe or not believe.

Jacob

But do we have to report him?

Brian

Yes, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t you think so?

Jacob

Well yeah, I think it is wrong to force students like that.

Brian

Then it’s settled. Let’s go.

Brian and Jacob make it to the H.R. Department and file a complaint notice. Brian says he will contact a law firm on this issue if Radisson is allowed to continue to teach as he did. The H.R. Department says they appreciate the boys coming in and will look into the matter.

Brian and Jacob leave the H.R. Department

Jacob

Are we still going through with this debate?

Brian

What?

Jacob

We just reported Radisson to the school, but I think we should do this debate.

Brian

Why are you so eager to have a debate? It’s your first year of college, don’t you know that you have all semester to have an open discussion with anyone about the existence of gods?

Jacob

I just… I just feel like God want’s someone to defend him.

Brian

Dude, if there is a God and he wants someone to defend him, then he can send an angel straight from the clouds. Or speak to us directly like he did to Moses, Noah and Job.

Jacob

You’ve read the Bible?

Brian

I was a Christian once. Do you really want to go through with this debate?

Jacob

Yeah. I am just reminded of a line by C.S. Lewis, “a real risk can test the reality of a belief.”

Brian

Risks may test the reality of a convicted belief, but not whether the belief itself is true. Hijacking airplanes on 9/11 was a “real risk” that ended with nearly 3,000 people dead, but that risk does not mean the belief that 72 virgins are waiting for martyrs in the here-after is real or true.

Alright then, we’ll have this debate. Since you really want it, I’ll let you speak first each session. See you tomorrow. Oh, and good luck.

Next day. Near end of class.

First Debate.

Radisson

Alright guys, today we begin the first of three sessions of this class debate on whether God is dead or not. As both parties have agreed, Jacob will speak first. You both have ten minutes to make your case, making each session last twenty minutes. We will allow times for questions throughout the session.

Okay, Mr. Webb, you have the floor.

Jacob

Atheists say that no one can prove the existence of God, and well, they’re right. But I say no one can disprove that God exists. But the only way to debate this issue is to look at the available evidence and that is what we are going to do. We are going to put God on trial, with my friend Brian as the prosecutor, and me as the defense attorney and you as the jury.

Most cosmologists now agree that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago in an event known as the Big Bang. So, let’s look at theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg’s description of what the Big Bang would have looked like. And since he’s an atheist, we can be sure that there isn’t any believer-bias in his description. “In the beginning there was an explosion, and in 3 minutes, 98% of the matter there is, or ever will be, was produced. We had a universe.” For 2,500 years most scientists agreed with Aristotle on the idea of a steady-state universe, that the universe had always existed with no beginning and no end, but the Bible disagreed. In the 1920’s, Belgian astronomer George Lameitare, a theist, said the entire universe jumped into existence in a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, out of nothingness, in an unimaginably intense flash of light is how he would expect the universe to respond if God where to actually utter the command in Genesis 1:3, “let there be light.” In other words, the origin of the universe unfolded exactly how one would expect after reading Genesis and for 2,500 years, the Bible had it right and science had it wrong.

All of which points to God that created it. You see, in the real world, we never see things jumping into existence out of nothingness, but atheists want to make one small exception to this rule, namely, the universe and everything in it.

Female Student 1

But in his book, “The God Delusion,” Richard Dawkins says that “If you tell me God created the universe, then I have the right to ask who created God?”

Jacob

Dawkin’s question only makes sense in terms of God who has been created. It doesn’t make sense in terms of an uncreated God, which is the kind of God Christians believe in. And even leaving God out of the equation, I then have a right to turn Mr. Dawkin’s own question back around on him and ask, “If the universe created you, then who created the universe?” You see, both the theist and the atheist are burdened with answering the same question of how did things start. What I’m hoping that you’ll pick up from all of this is that you don’t have to commit intellectual suicide to believe in a Creator behind the creation. And to the extent that you don’t allow for God, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find an incredible alternative explanation for how things came to be.

Radisson

You carefully avoided the fact that Stephen Hawking, the world’s most famous scientist, and who is not a theist, has recently come out in favor of a self-designed universe. Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Physics at Cambridge, who occupies a teaching chair once held by Sir Isaac Newton, has to say about the origin of the universe. “Because there’s a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous Creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing. It’s why the universe exists, it’s why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to set the universe in motion.” Mr. Webb, how do you respond?

Jacob

I… I don’t know.

Radisson

You don’t know? I prick the balloon of your entire argument with a single pin, and you don’t know?

Jacob

Well, I’d like to tell you I have the perfect answer, but it does not shake my underlying faith.

Brian

And there lies a fundamental problem. Before I begin, may I just ask Jacob one question: you don’t have an answer for Radisson, but yet you still believe. What would it take for you to change your mind about God?

Jacob

Well, I’m a Christian and I have faith.

Brian

So is there anything that can change your mind?

Jacob

No.

Brian

I figured you would say that, and I hope you can see the problem. If nothing in reality can change your beliefs, then your beliefs are not based on reality.

Radisson

Okay then, Mr. Brian, our class atheist prosecutor, you have the floor.

Brian

Atheists say that no one can prove the existence of werewolves, and well, they’re right. But I say no one can disprove that werewolves exists.

Now all of you are a looking at me funny, and I know why, because you are all thinking “that’s ridiculous, I don’t have to disprove werewolves to show they don’t exist, there is no proof of werewolves are real to begin with.” And you are all right to think that, but Jacob here thinks backwards. You see, he believes there is a God and he want’s to show there indeed is one, so it is up to him to meet the burden of proof. Just as I don’t have to disprove the existence of werewolves, I don’t have to disprove the existence of God – rather it is up to Jacob to prove God. If he cannot prove God, then there is no good reason to believe in one. He did mention that in this debate, you the class will act as the jury, and I acting as prosecutor. Yes I am an atheist, though for the intentions of this debate, as an atheist I view my role as not someone who says there is no God, but rather I am here to show that Jacob has failed to provide a case for a God. And for the sake of argument, even if Jacob could argue that the universe needed to be created, how could he prove that it was even a god that did it, let alone the specific god he believes in? How could be prove that the universe was not created by a group of gods, or a team of intergalactic scientists? How could he prove that the universe was not created by a advanced machine built by a race of aliens, and when the super-machine was activated it created the universe while simultaneously destroying all traces of the aliens existence? Of course there is no evidence for any of those. Well, to Jacob, saying “you can’t disprove that didn’t happen” may be a sound good argument for him, but I for one say that does not fly. If he wants to make the extraordinary claim that the universe was created by his invisible all-powerful supreme God, then he must provide extraordinary evidence to prove that it’s true. If I said that werewolves were in fact real, you would demand that I provide proof, and you would rightfully not be satisfied with, “well, you cannot disprove that werewolves are not real.”

Moving on, Jacob talked about the Big Bang. He was correct that the overwhelming number of cosmologists accept it as a fact, but he fails to provide a connection between the Big Bang and his God. He tries to paint the Big Bang as similar to the poetic words of Genesis, and he said “the origin of the universe unfolded exactly how one would expect after reading Genesis and for 2,500 years, the Bible had it right and science had it wrong.” Absolutely backwards. Allow me to explain why.

For starters, Jacob quoted Laimaiter from the 1920’s on what the Big Bang would have looked like: with a flash of light. What Jacob does not know, or fails to show, is that the descriptive image of how the Big Bang started has changed dramatically as more data and knowledge has been collected nearly a century since Laimaiter. According to the most updated model, the first ~400,000 years of the universe had no free light. The entire universe was filled with electronic plasma, which is opaque. Light first appeared after the plasma cooled and formed atoms, through a process called recombination. So the universe didn’t start out with light at all!

And it gets worse for Jacob, who said the Bible got it right on how the universe started. Jacob directed our attention to Genesis chapter 1 verse 3, misleading us to ignore the previous verse that destroys his entire argument in such a colossal way. Genesis verse two says “the Earth was without form and void”, and “God separated the waters from the firmament.” I can go on and make a accurate case that the Genesis authors believed the “firmament” was the sky being just a dome, but I’d like to address the second elephant in the room: the water. The Hebrew word used in this verse is “מָ֫יִם – mayim” which means “water,” the same literal word used for the seas later mentioned in the same chapter in Genesis. Mayim is the literal word for seas, oceans, floods, streams, rivers, and rain. It’s the word used that quenches thirst and bathes our bodies. So we are definitely addressing literal a body of water, H2O, existing before everything else that was created according to Genesis. For those who say this passage is symbolic or metaphorical, despite it using literal words, allow me to point out that there is no indication or any criteria that any of this is being symbolic or metaphorical. But if we are going to argue that this phrase is metaphorical for no reason, why stop there? To be consistent we would have to argue that everything else in Genesis is being metaphorical, including the part of there being a supreme God and the story of creation as a whole.

But that not being the case, and that we are dealing with a literal word to represent water, what cannot be denied is that Genesis says water existed before everything else. So let’s get to the meat of the argument, and please listen carefully as I explain why this piece is significant and fatal to Jacob’s position, because I will simultaneously argue why the origin of the universe does not require a God to explain it as well as demolish his first argument.

To begin with, all of the matter in the universe is a condensed form of energy. We know this from mass energy equivalence (E = mc²), and we have been able to convert one to the other with two nuclear forces by the manipulation of qluons, W+ and W-, and Z bosons. All matter comes from energy, and energy in accordance to the law of thermodynamics, is eternal. These are also naturally occurring processes, the rule of these processes and the Big Bang Theory is by following inflationary epoch, approx. 10 to the minus four seconds after the Big Bang.

The expansion of the universe causes temperature to fall, to the threshold temperature of protons and quarks, the fundamental constituents of matter, is reached. Further expansion causes the temperature to drop further, allowing protons and neutrons to form, and there are your first Hydrogen atoms.

At this stage, there is a lot of Hydrogen clouds. Hydrogen is the most common atom in the universe. And within this vast clouds of Hydrogen, the atoms start to get attracted to each other under the force of gravity to form structures of extreme density and heat, eventually resulting in quantum tunneling and allows fusion to take place. This is how the first stars form, and fusion being the process that keeps stars burning by converting Hydrogen into other atoms.

This fusion that powers the stars allow heavier elements to form for the first time, such as Helium, Neon, Carbon, Oxygen, Iron, and so on. But after a long time when stars run out of fuel, they eventually die and explode called a supernova. When that happens, these dying stars release all the heavy atoms that was created within them all across the universe at high speeds. Now with new atoms such as Oxygen floating throughout space, finally for the first time that Hydrogen atoms can bond with Oxygen and form the first water molecules.

But according to Genesis, water existed first before God created light and stars. But thanks to science and cosmology, we know this to be outright impossible. it’s completely backwards: the stars existed long before the first water molecule formed. Turns out Genesis got it wrong 2,500 years ago and still has it wrong today.

To wrap up my session, I’ll address Jacob’s last response. In the words of Carl Sagan, “In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?” What Carl Sagan just utilized right here is a principle called Occam’s Razor, which explains the most simple position is the most plausible. Saying “the universe needed to be created, so a uncreated god did it” flies in the face of Occam’s Razor. Why? Because bringing God into the equation raises more questions then it answers, and yet we cannot know anything about this God because he is hidden, untestable, and “mysterious.” Answering a mystery with another mystery ultimately answers nothing, and that is why Jacob’s position is unsatisfactory.

Jacob says you don’t have to “commit intellectual suicide to believe in a Creator behind the creation” but thus far, we haven’t established that we live in a creation that needs a Creator, and even if the universe was created, he has yet to prove that a specific god created it, if the creator was a god at all. As of right now, we have no reason to think the universe was created, just as we have no reason to think werewolves are real. On the other hand, we do have enough reason to accept that the universe can be able to originate from simple natural processes that show none of the expected signs of design. Indeed, the universe looks as it should look in the absence of design.

Male Student 1

I have a question. I’m just curious how can you look around you, see the trees and clouds, and not believe it was all created.

Brian

Because there is no reason to think that any of it was “created.” You seem to be presuming that a being needs to exist in order to explain all the things you see before you have proof of that said being is real. If you don’t know how clouds form naturally, this University has a Meteorology course that will tell you all you need to know about the weather. If you want to know where trees come from, take a Environmental Biology course. If you can’t take a course then talk to a professor, or go to the Library and read a book. We have answers for where these things come from and how they are formed. We don’t need a “God” to explain them. Once upon a time humans may have needed to explain things they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand how lightning formed, so they invented gods like Zeus or Thor to explain it all away. They didn’t know what caused diseases like measles or the mumps, so they blamed it all on wicked gods and evil spirits. Example, the Greeks didn’t know where plagues came from, so they filled the gap of their knowledge with the myth that plagues came from Pandora’s Box. The point is, history tells us that humans always inserted a god or some supernatural being into the gaps of their knowledge. But turns out, when we actually learned how lightning forms, why the tides go in and out, what causes disease and where they come from, or why volcanoes spit magma, the answer never has been gods or magic. I challenge anyone to share an example where magic turned out to be the right answer instead of science.

Let me ask the audience something. Many of you likely have seen a snowflake, or at least a micro-scoped picture of one. You may have marveled at it’s beautiful shapes and geometry. I certainly do. But does all that geometry indicate that they were designed? Are we to infer that there are a host of ice dwarves hidden somewhere in the clouds that chisel and design each individual snowflake, then later dump them out of the clouds and let them fall to the ground? No, of course not. We know water is a polar molecule. We know snowflakes form naturally in the clouds. My point is we don’t need to explain anything away with supernatural creatures, especially if they have the appearance of design.

Jacob

If I may, I’d like to say something. If I showed you a picture of a mountain, and another picture of Mt. Rushmore, would you say that the faces on Mt. Rushmore just happened naturally? No, you wouldn’t. You would acknowledge the fact that those faces were created by human sculptors.

Brian

Ah! Good one, I’m glad you brought that up. Yes, I can distinguish that the faces on Mt. Rushmore were designed by humans, but have you seen the pictures that show a mountain on the planet Mars that looks just like a human face? Have you seen pictures of a rock formation in Maui’s Iao Valley State Park that bears a striking resemblance to President John F. Kennedy in profile; or the eagle rock off the 134 freeway in Southern California that overlooks the town Eaglerock (hence the name). Or how about those times when people see the face of Jesus on sandwiches or Cheetos.

At the end of the day, comparing man-made artifacts to nature itself is a big false equivalency fallacy. We know certain things are artificially made, but that does not mean everything in Nature or Nature itself requires a “maker.” You need to distinguish between naturally made objects and artificially made objects, and not assume they are all the same thing.

Female Student 2

I want to go back a bit to something you mentioned in your opening. You said you aim to show that Jacob has failed to prove a case for God, but aren’t you as an atheist have some form of burden of proof?

Brian

I’m an atheist agnostic, meaning I don’t know if there is a god or not, but there’s insufficient evidence to warrant belief in a divine, supernatural creator of the universe. However, if I were shown sufficient evidence to warrant belief in such an entity, then I would change my mind and believe. I’m willing to change my mind, whereas Jacob here admitted a minute ago that nothing will shake is underlying faith.

It may be arguable that I as an atheist may have a burden of proof of showing there are no gods whatsoever, but that is not what I’m arguing here. As an atheist, I’m not asserting there is no god, I’m only sharing that I lack a belief in god due to the lack of proof. I don’t know if there are any mermaids in the oceans, but I lack any belief in them because there’s no proof of them. All I can say is if a person has no reason to believe something, that seems like a good reason not to believe it, wouldn’t you say? I think you all agree. Think about it, why else aren’t any of you carrying silver stakes everywhere we go in case there are werewolves out there. I may not be able to prove there definitely are no werewolves, but we all know that is not an argument for the existence of werewolves, nor does it leave open the possibility that werewolves are anything more than fictional monsters. It’s like if I told you I can walk on air, you’d ask me to prove it. Imagine if I replied with “you can’t prove that I can’t walk on air, and since you can’t that means that I can walk on air, or at least it is possible for me to walk air. Hardy-har-har.” If I said that, how many would believe me and let that slide? Anyone? Right, you wouldn’t!

Class ends. All the students leave.

Radisson confronts Jacob outside of class in a hallway. Brian over hears the conversation.

Radisson

Do you think your smarter than me Webb? Do you think there’s any argument that you can make that I won’t have an answer for?

Jacob

I never said I was smarter.

Radisson

That’s the first intelligent thing you’ve said. Now I want to make this very clear. In that classroom, there is a god, and yep, I’m him. I’m also a jealous god, so do not try to humiliate me in front of my students.

You know, I also checked on your declared major. Pre-law? What exactly is pre-law? We don’t award degree’s like that. Don’t bother answering, but know this, if you truly feel the need to continue this charade, I will make it my personal mission to destroy any hope of a law degree in your future. Have a nice day.

EXIT RADISSON.

ENTER BRIAN.

Brian

What a jerk.

But you know what I find very amusing? When he said there is a god and it’s him, and he is a jealous god… the funny part is Radisson is the mirror image of your God. Jealous, controlling, threatening to ruin your life over something so petty as this. But the main difference between the two, Radisson is the one who is alive.

Jacob

With all due respect, I don’t think God is like that at all. I think of Jesus as my friend and he is alive today. To me, he is not dead, he’s alive and I don’t want to disappoint him. And I don’t want anyone to be talked out of believing in him because some professor thinks they should.

Brian

People get talked into faith, they can be talked out. You may be thinking this debate we’re having will bring people to your Jesus, but you are just as likely capable of making them reject your Savior.

Later on in the day. Brian goes to the Library to catch up on his homework for another class. A girl named Jennifer from the same Philosophy class see’s Brian working. She decides to walk over and talk to him.

Jennifer

Excuse me. You’re in my Philosophy class. With Prof. Radisson. May I ask you something?

Brian

Sure. Have a seat.

Jennifer

Why are you working so hard to disprove God?

Brian

Disprove? Pardon me, but who proved God was real in the first place?

Jennifer

God can reveal himself to you if you seek him. Why don’t you pray just in case there is a god?

Brian

For the same reason you don’t put garlic rings on your doors to ward off vampires. The same reason why you don’t pray to Odin or Zeus, because you have no reason to believe any of them are real to begin with. Telling me to pray just in case your god is real is like asking me not to go to sleep just in case Freddy Kruger is real.

Jennifer

But aren’t you concerned with what happens to you after you die?

Brian

I wasn’t concerned of death in 1856. Because I wasn’t alive then. I’m sure I won’t be concerned in 2250, because I’ll be dead.

Why should anyone be concerned with such things? Aren’t you concerned with what happens when you die and you find yourself believing in the wrong God?

Jennifer

No, I don’t believe those gods exist.

Brian

There are millions of people who believe those gods exist, and they are just as confident in their beliefs as you are. People have built large temples to their gods for thousands of years. They don’t do that just for laughs, they do it because they firmly believe their gods are with them.

May I ask you a question this time?

Jennifer

Okay sure.

Brian

How confident are you in your belief? 1 being not confident and all and 100 being completely knowing.

Jennifer

I’d put myself at 100. I totally know there is a God.

Brian

Wow, that’s pretty high. How can you be so confident in a belief?

Jennifer

Because I was raised in a Christian family, I went to church, I prayed a lot and was saved at a young age. And I remember feeling the presence of the Lord when I was a teen, and he really moved me with his Grace.

Brian

So do you know that he is real, or do you use faith?

Jennifer

The Bible says that we all must have faith.

Brian

And how would you define faith?

Jennifer

Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.

Brian

Do you use faith for anything else, outside your religion?

Jennifer

Yeah, I mean, I have a math test coming up in another class. And I hope that I pass, obviously.

Brian

Is hope and faith the same thing?

Jennifer

I guess it’s more like you put hope in faith.

Brian

When you take a test, you hope that you will pass. You study and work hard to improve your chances of passing, but regardless you still hope you will pass because hope admits there is a lingering possibility that you will fail.

So if you put hope in faith, that means there is a lingering possibility that your faith can be wrong. If that’s the case, can somebody be at the 100 level of their beliefs if there is a chance that they might be wrong and their beliefs might not be true?

Jennifer

No, I guess not.

Brian

I agree. I have had a lot of talks on these things, I’ve talked to Muslims students on campus, and they have told me they too are at the 100 percent level that their beliefs are true. They use faith and they hope Allah is real, they go to Mosques and pray five times a day and invest a lot into their religion. How is their faith any more true then yours?

Jennifer

I honestly don’t know much at all about Islam.

Brian

Well you know plenty about your own religion, and they know plenty about theirs. They use faith, you use faith, yet you believe in different religions, different religions that declare themselves the one and only true faith. Both you and the Muslims are very certain one god is the real one and the other is not. How can we then figure out which belief is true, what tools can we use to figure that out? It cannot be faith, because faith is what drove the lot of you to completely different conclusions.

Jennifer

I don’t know. I guess we need to examine all religions.

Brian

It’s a start, though earlier you said that you are at the 100 on the scale, but you also said that you don’t know much about Islam or any other religion. So as of right now, where would you place yourself on that 1 to 100 scale?

Jennifer

I don’t know. 80 I guess.

Brian

You remain pretty confident, but I think that’s a more honest position. And who knows, maybe it will get bigger as my debate with Jacob continues. All I can say is keep questioning, and I’m sure you will come to the right conclusion.

Second debate

Next day, back in class. The second debate is about to start, where again Jacob is to go first.

Jacob

Stephen Hawking is an atheist. He wrote a book called, The Grand Design in which he says the following: “Because there’s a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” And to be honest, I didn’t know how to refute that. I mean, after all, Hawking is clearly a genius. But, Professor John Lennox, who teaches mathematics and philosophy has demonstrated that there are not one, even two, but three errors of logic contained in that one simple sentence, and it all boils down to circular reasoning. Hawking is basically saying that the universe exists because it needed to exist, and because the universe needed to exist, it therefore to create itself. It’s like this, if I say that I can prove to you that spam is the best tasting food that’s ever existed, because in all of history, no food has ever tasted better, you’d probably look at me strange and say I haven’t proven anything. And you’d be right, all I’ve done is restate my original claim. But when Hawking claims that the universe created itself because it needed to create itself, and offers that as an explanation as to how and why it was created, we don’t immediately recognize that he’s doing the same thing. But he is, and prompting Lennox to further comment, “nonsense remains nonsense, even when spoken by famous scientists even when the general public assumes they are statements of science.”

Radisson

This is the height of hubris. Are you telling us that Stephen Hawking, the most brilliant scientist in the world, is wrong?

Jacob

No, I am saying that John Lennox, a professor of mathematics and philosophy has founded Professor Hawking’s reasoning to be faulty and I agree with his logic.

Brian

No, you just want to put out there that a smart guy who believes in god disagrees with Hawking to give the audience permission to believe without looking ridiculous. Sorry, but that is not helping your case, or making you look less silly.

Jacob

What helps my case is that Hawking is using circular reasoning to argue the universe created itself.

Brian

Again wrong. Hawking was not saying the universe needed to create itself. Listen to what he says:

“Because there’s a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

Hawking meant exactly what he said. It doesn’t mean:

“the universe exists because it needed to exist, and because the universe needed to exist, it therefore to create itself.”

It is a ludicrous strawman version of what he said, making your entire spam analogy false.

Jacob

I will have to disagree, and encourage you and everyone to really critically examine Stephen Hawking’s work. Hawking is a brilliant scientist, but no one is right all the time. If people like Prof. Radisson think Hawkins is right about everything, he ought to know that Stephen Hawking also said on page 5, “Philosophy is dead.” So is Hawking wrong, or should we all just pack our bags and leave this class because it is all pointless?

Brian

I hope by your inclusion of saying “page 5” means you read it, otherwise you would know that Hawking is not saying that Philosophy as-a-whole is dead and no longer needed as a subject, rather Hawking is referring to the most ancient forms of philosophy is dead, not modern philosophy of science that has taken root in today’s society.

Jacob

Excuse me, but it’s my turn and still have a lot left to say.

Brian

By all means, carry on. Maybe we’ll finally see some evidence for God.

[Students chuckle.]

Jacob

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, for the last 150 years Darwinists have been saying that God is unnecessary to explain man’s existence and that evolution replaces God, but evolution only tells you what happens once you have life. So, where did that something that’s alive come from? Well, Darwin never really addressed it. He assumed maybe some lightning hit a stagnate pool full of the right kind of chemicals and bingo, a living something. But it’s not that simple. You see, Darwin claimed that the ancestry of all living things came from that one single, simple organism which reproduced and modified over time into the complex lifeforms we see today. Which is why, after contemplating his own theory, Darwin uttered his famous statement, “Natura non facit saltum” (“Nature does not jump.”) Well, as noted author Lee Strobel pointed out that if you can picture the entire 3.8 billion years that scientists say life has been around as one 24-hour day, in the space of just about 90 seconds, most major animal groups suddenly appear in the forms which they currently hold. Not slowly and steadily, as Darwin predicted, but in evolutionary terms, almost instantly. So, “nature does not jump” becomes “nature makes a giant leap.”

So how do theists explain this sudden outburst of new biological information? “And God said, ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems according to it’s kind. And God saw that it was good.” – Genesis 1:20. In other words, creation happened because God said it should happen. And even what looks to our eyes to be a blind, unguided process, could really be divinely controlled from start to finish.

Brian

Ladies and gentlemen of the grand jury, the case is closed, evolution is a fact. It is called a theory, just as gravity is called a theory. The Earth orbiting the sun is a theory, called Heliocentrism Theory. Atoms and germs are just a theory, but theories can be facts too. In science, the word theory does not imply uncertainty. No, instead in science, a “theory” is a large coherent body of models that contain facts and laws to explain certain phenomenons. There are laws of gravity that say what will happen when you drop something, but the theory of gravity explains why things fall. There are laws within evolution too, such as Dollo’s Law and Darwin’s Third Law of Economics. It is a fact that evolution happens, but Jacob thinks that maybe it’s all “guided.” Well great, but we are still waiting for proof of this thing guiding it. If some mystic force was guiding evolution, how could Jacob prove it’s his particular god and not some other god? But really it doesn’t matter, because as it stands, the idea that evolution might be guided is… well dead, thanks to natural selection.

Jacob, without focusing on philosophy in a Philosophy class, loves to go on about science. I for one would be glad to hear scientific evidence for this God, but thus far we are given poetic verses from a old book he presupposes is true, which by the way, when Jacob brought up about God creating sea creatures and birds, if he read a little later in the same chapter, it says that land animals appeared for the first time after the sea creatures and birds already existed. It’s important to point out that it is proven fact that birds did not exist before land animals. In fact, land animals existed for billions of years until the first avians appeared in the Jurassic Period. No matter how far back you look in the geological record, you will not find a bird existing before land animals.

But moving on, I must say I am disappointed in Jacob’s case thus far. He introduced author Lee Strobel, who is not a scientist or has any scientific degree. Strobel pretty much is a puppet author for a creationist organization. Strobel did not come up with the “24-hour clock” analogy Jacob brought up, Strobel got that from AIDS-denialist Jonathan Wells of the Discovery Institute, which is a creationist lawyers hub. Years ago Wells was chosen by his church to go get a degree for the sole purpose of “destroying Darwinism.” Wells is not guided by evidence, he is guided by a religious agenda to invalidate a scientific fact. But look what Wells, and in turn Jacob, had to do to make it look like Nature making great leaps: they had to condense the lifespan of the Earth, which is as Jacob correctly pointed out is billions of years old, into a 24-hour period. Doing that, it is completely expected to make the appearance of life appear almost sudden if you pull that trick. You could make the 280 years it takes for Pluto to orbit the sun to look like it takes only 19 seconds. You can make it look like a 90 year old person only lived for a split second, where they just popped out of their mother then suddenly dropped dead an hundred year old man. But when you look at the broad picture, you see the appearance of complex life on Earth taking several million years to form. Let me emphasize that: millions of years. Doesn’t sound so “sudden” now does it? Sounds like a very long and very slow leap when we remember it took millions of generations to finish. To sum up, Nature needs to take millions of little steps, it does not make great leaps. This is why I say “dishonest” when people like Strobel and Wells have to play word-games to misdirect people.

Student #2

I have a question for Brian. I’m currently enrolled in BIO 101, and I recall learning about a law in biology called the Law of Biogenesis. From what I understand, the law says that life can only come from life. Isn’t that indication that life cannot come about naturally?

Brian

To give the class a bit of context of what the Law he is referring to: many years ago, a scientist named Pasteur put rotting meat into two jars, then sealed only one of them. In the sealed jar, nothing happened. But in the unsealed jar, flies could fly in and out and plant eggs on the rotting meat, then maggots would appear. Thus came about the Law of Biogenesis, which explains that fully formed complex creatures like maggots and mice do not appear suddenly. In essence, the Law disproves spontaneous generation, it disproves creationism.

But the Law of Biogenesis does not rule out Abiogenesis, the field of study where primitive life can form from increasingly complex molecules. Abiogenesis doesn’t claim that modern living complex lifeforms like maggots and fully functioning cells just spontaneously appeared like that *snaps fingers*. At the risk of sounding really nerdy, I wrote down a detailed explanation what abiogenesis is just in case it was brought up in these debates: Abiogenesis outlines possible physical mechanisms for the production of the first self-replicating polymers, their assembly and sequestration within membrane bound compartments and the development of the chemical interfaces between different biopolymeric systems.

Yeah, it’s a mouth-full. The point is that self-assembly is an intrinsic aspect of chemistry, otherwise there would be no molecules of any kind. All molecules seek the lowest energy state, and if combining yields a lower energy state than being separate, two atoms or molecules will combine spontaneously. Even when this is not the case, in the presence of external energy sources and catalysts, atoms and molecules may still combine, as long as the overall energy state (i.e. the total energy state of the sources and recipients combined) ends up lower. All of the organic molecules (amino acids, phosphates, lipids, etc.) present in a cell have been demonstrated to spontaneously assemble, given the right conditions. Some have been discovered on meteors, indicating they can form in space. Even complex protein precursors such as polypeptides (strings of amino acids) have been demonstrated to spontaneously assemble in the right conditions.

Jacob

So you believe that complex life forms we see all around us can come from slime and brainless goo?

Brian

You are proof that complex life can come from goo. You did it in 9 months. Think about it, a few brainless cells of goo mixed with more goo of cells that can fit in a petri dish creates a catalyst and BINGO they begin to self-replicate into much larger and very complex life form with a brain with neurons and consciousness. I mean, look at us, look how complex we are, and each of us came from tiny brainless cells.

So to scoff at the idea that, as Jacob put it, “life coming from goo” is a big mistake, considering that everybody in and outside this room has proven that it can and does happen. Simple things can develop into more complex things.

Student #5

But I’ve heard that mutations are rare and they take away information, not add more.

Brian

Whoever told you that misinformed you. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, the average human zygote undergoes 128 mutations. So clearly, they are not rare. Do they only take away information? Of course not. Be advised when using the word “information” with some people, because people like Lee Strobel and Jonathan Wells purposefully leave that word undefined, vague, or constantly shift it’s meaning. But scientists have definitely observed the increased genetic variety in a population and in genetic material. And if “information” does not cover that, then it’s a useless word. Most mutations are neutral, but they can add as much as they take away. One example that I know of, in human evolution, we mutated to have have smaller jaw bones. Sure we have weaker jaws then other primates, but smaller jaws led to more available space to grow larger skulls. Larger skulls means larger and better brains then other primates. Thus we lost something small, only to gain the greatest brain throughout the animal kingdom.

Student #2

We’ve actually covered in my BIO 101 class a quick list of beneficial mutations.  I remember this one discussing a family in Connecticut where a change to the LRP5 gene gave them hyperdense, virtually indestructible bones. I remember that one because it was compared to that Bruce Willis movie “Unbreakable.” There was also a gene, Glycophorin A, allowing Tibetians to live on very high mountains without succumbing to altitude sickness.

Class ends. Students begin to leave. Brian and Jacob are last in class, but are kept in by Radisson.

Radisson

[slow clapping]

Mr. Atheist – facts, evidence, and reason.

Mr. Theist – Lies, lies and more lies. My particular favorite was the “nature makes great leaps” lie being exposed.

Jacob

It’s easy to dismiss that which you don’t understand or what you don’t want to understand.

Brian

Projecting much are we?

Jacob

I’m not projecting, you could understand too and get to know God through his Word.

Radisson

There it is, the default setting of the Bible-thumper. If only you would open the Scripture and read, then you would understand. So says the brave young freshmen.

“For thou art wise, and with thou, all wisdom shall die.” Job 12, verse 2. What else does Job tell us? “For man who is born of woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a shadow and does not continue. So man lies down, and does not rise ’til the heavens are no more.” Well, at least he got that last part right.

Jacob

What happened to you?

Radisson

When a 12-year-old watches his mother dying of cancer, it’s only natural to beg God for her life. He’ll promise anything to his make-believe grandfather in the sky, including to love him and worship him forever, if only he will spare her.

Jacob

Sometimes the answer is “no.”

Radisson

Tell that to me the day you lose someone you love. She died believing in a lie. She died believing that someone out there loved her even when he was strangling her to death. A God who would allow that is not worth believing in. That is why, Mr. Webb, you will find the most committed atheists were once Christians, like Brian here, but we took the blinders off. We saw the world for what it truly is. You see, Shakespeare had it right. Life is really a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing.

Brian

I’m very sorry for your loss professor. But I and many others didn’t take the blinders off with the loss of someone close to me. All I did was read the Bible, and with a dose of questions and common sense. And just like that, faith just vanished.

You, on the other hand, sounds like you just rejected God out of grief and hatred, not by philosophy or science or any critically evaluation of your beliefs were true or not. Is that the case? Do you just hate God?

Radisson

Of course I hate God. He took everything from me. All I have for him is hate. How could you, Brian, not hate him?

Brian

For one, I don’t hate that which I do not think exists. I don’t hate werewolves that eat people, because I don’t believe werewolves are real. At best, I could hate fictional evil characters like Darth Vadar or Voldemort, but I don’t think any of them are real. I’m an atheist, I don’t hate god, you on the other hand, you’re just a misotheist.

Jacob

A what?

Brian

He’s a Misotheist – someone who believes in God but hates God.

Well I’m glad we cleared that up, but I’m done for the day. I’m going to get lunch. See you tomorrow.

Class ends.

Elsewhere, Jennifer is beginning to question her beliefs.

She meets Brian in a library. Brian is already having a conversation with his friend James.

Jennifer

Hi Brian.

Jennifer

Oh hi Jennifer. What’s up?

Jennifer

I kinda enjoyed your presentation today.

Brian

Thank you. I enjoyed it too.

Jennifer

I’ve been having some questions about my faith, and I was hoping we could talk.

Brian

Sure, have a seat. Jennifer, this is my friend James. He’s an Igtheist.

Jennifer

What’s an igtheist?

James

In shortest terms, an igtheist says that “god” is a ridiculous concept because there is no coherent definition of what god is, and every proposed description of god is inconceivable and does not make any sense. It’s basically identical to theological noncognitivism.

Jennifer

What part of god doesn’t make sense?

James

Well a lot actually. The reason why I see the notion of god, or at least the Abrahamic notion of god, is being nonsensical is because properties of which are ascribed to him seem to be outright unintelligible or mutually contradictory.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. One pair of attributes that seem to me to be contradictory are omnipotence and omnibenevolence, or perfect goodness. I think that if god is omnipotent, then he must be capable of doing evil. And if he actually never does do any evil, the fact that he is potential of doing great evil means that he is not perfectly good. However, if he is not capable of doing evil, then he is not omnipotent. Some may say that God is good by nature and therefore it would be logically contradictory for him to do something evil and the inability to do something logically contradictory acts does not count against an entities own omnipotence. But it seems to that in order to be meaningfully omnipotent, one must have a nature that does not constrain the kinds of acts it is logically possible for one to perform. If being omnipotent means only being able to do things that are not logically contrary to one’s nature, then I am omnipotent. I can do anything that is not logically contrary to me as a mortal finite material being. But of course I do not believe that I am omnipotent. I am not omnipotent precisely because it is my nature constrains that is logically possible for me to be able to do. It is my nature that renders me non-omnipotent. So in order for a being to be omnipotent, that being would have to have a nature that does not logically constrain it’s capabilities. If God cannot do evil because he is good by nature, then his nature constrains his capabilities and he is therefore no omnipotent. But if God could do evil things, then God is potentially evil and if a being is potentially evil then they cannot be perfectly good even if it never does anything evil.

Another attribute of God that does not make any sense to me is the claim that God is spaceless and timeless. To say that God can exist spacelessly and timelessly seems to be the same as saying God can exist nowhere and never. If God created space-time of his own free will, then he must be capable of existing in the absence of space-time. That makes no sense to me. I don’t know what it means for something to exist in the absence of space-time, or at the very least some kind of an extension through some kind of dimension. But I am especially confused when by the idea that a conscious mind can exist without space-time. A conscious mind is always in motion, it’s always in flux. I don’t know how something that is completely static can be considered a conscious mind. Consciousness is a process, it’s an event. If God is timeless and some would also say changeless, then I don’t know what it would mean for a god to have a conscious mind. A changeless conscious mind is inconceivable to me. William Lane Craig said that matter and energy cannot exist timelessly like God can because matter and energy are never quiescent, matter and energy never stop changing and therefore they cannot be timeless. But as Theoretical Bullshit pointed out, a conscious mind is never quiescent either, and I cannot conceive of a conscious mind that is quiescent, that seems like a contradiction to me. I see no conceptual difference between a quiescent mind and a unconscious one. If the fact that matter and energy are never quiescent, that means that matter and energy cannot be timeless, then a conscious mind also cannot be timeless.

So igtheists like me don’t believe in god because I cannot make any sense of the common definitions of god. There may be other definitions that are more coherent, but I suspect that even those definitions would lack sufficient evidence.

Jennifer

It’s so weird that you say that, because last night I had trouble comprehending how God can be omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

Brian

It’s not “weird” at all, these are common questions we ask ourselves. This morning on the way to school, I was thinking how can people believe in a god also say “my god exists outside our reality” to explain why we cannot detect god in any meaningful way. Essentially, whether they realize this or not, when they say their god exists outside reality, they are saying that their god does not exist within reality. Last I checked, when something doesn’t exist within reality that means it’s not real. It’s like when they say, “God transcends time and space,” when you think about it, that is basically saying God exists never and nowhere.

James

Not only does it not make sense to speak of god making a choice without time, in which to make it, the idea that timeless god also implies that his choices had no cause. If a timeless god “freely” decided to create a universe, that decision had no cause, in other words, Yahweh created the universe for no reason. It was an entirely capricious act.

Brian

So not only is the idea of a “timeless” god nonsensical, what about a god that created time? Think about it, if God is the creator of everything, that would include time, which would mean at one point there was no time before God decided to create it. But in order to create something, first it must become a thought and then an act through indifference to bring something into being… and that requires time. If you need time to create time, then time already existed before it needed to be created. Ergo, god couldn’t create time which defeats the claim that God is the creator of all things.

James

Or what about is the idea of god as being a perfect god? Let me ask you Jennifer, does your religion say god is perfect?

Jennifer

He probably wouldn’t be the greatest god if he wasn’t.

James

And does your religion say that god loves humans?

Jennifer

Yes.

James

Okay, think about this. If a perfect god has the ability to create a perfect world such as Heaven, and he loves all humans, we would all be in Heaven. There wouldn’t be anything else. He wouldn’t have to send us to a world full of misery just to “test” us on something he already knew what the result would be. When was the last time you heard of a mother who just gave birth to a child say, “Hey, you know what would be great? Let’s immediately send away my newborn child to a third-world country full of disease, famine, and civil war where the child has a guarantee life full of suffering”?

Jennifer

Nobody would do that if they were loving parents.

James

Precisely, they wouldn’t.

Jennifer

But my father once told me an analogy. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was along the lines of a comparison to sending a child to school to learn and grow. When there is a test, the teacher remains silent. But if there are rebellious students in the class who think they have a better method, the teacher could expel them but that might make the other students think the teacher is afraid of challenge. So the teacher steps aside, and when the other students see the rebellious student’s math doesn’t add up, they will find out on their own and see that the teacher was right.

James

That whole “the teacher always remains silent during the test” is as cheesy as it is insane. What teacher remains silent and does nothing when they know a student is raping another student? What teacher just sits there, does nothing and let’s it happen?

Brian

I’m sure your father meant well when gave you that explanation, but that rationalization for the Bible God’s abdication is, well, it’s a mess. Giving a student a little latitude in a classroom is miles apart from centuries of suffering and brutal savagery plaguing the world. Think about what James just said: what if the rebellious student started to incite violence like killing or raping or enslaving the other students or the faculty? Would it be okay for the teacher to just stand by and watch while the students attacked their classmates right in front of them?

Jennifer

That wouldn’t be okay.

Brian

And for the same reasons, it wouldn’t be okay for a loving god to stand by and do nothing as violence erupted among his beloved creations. But it gets worse, the Bible is full of stories of God directly intervening and killing people. Not Satan, God is the executioner. He sent the Flood, killed all the first-born Egyptians, and so forth. Take your teacher analogy, and re-write it so the teacher would come into school every day with a assault rifle and threaten to kill any child that broke a rule.

James

And in the real world, no teacher worth their salt thinks that they are “unquestionably correct.” If there was a student who proposed a better method, a good teacher wouldn’t toss his student’s aside without hearing their ideas. Students surpass their teachers all the time. If they didn’t, our knowledge would never progress. What teacher would label their student “rebellious” for proposing new ideas? Let that settle in for a second: the analogy of God being the teacher is punishing students for proposing new ideas or alternative solutions. Good teachers rather would encourage their students to think of new creative ideas. And imagine what would happen if parents heard of a teacher that kicked out a student from the class merely for proposing a alternative solution?

Jennifer

I see your point. You guys really have thought a lot about this.

Brian

Thank you.

Jennifer

But what do you say to the Bible that in Psalms “the fool said in his heart there is no god”?

Brian

Proverbs 14:15 — “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.” [this visibly catches Jennifer by surprise] Skepticism is a good thing we should value. Faith demands you believe anything, even without proof. But to address Psalms directly, in order for the accusation that atheists are “fools in denial” to hold any weight, first there would have to be substantial and sufficient evidence that demonstrates and proves the existence of god. But there is as much proof of god as there is for Odin or Krishna. It all boils down to faith, which is just a personal belief. Ask yourself: would it make sense to call a person a “fool” for not believing in mermaids when there is no proof of mermaids are real to begin with? Of course it wouldn’t make sense.

James

To add what Brian just touched on, that whole quote from Psalms is, frankly, completely backwards. In all honesty, the Scriptures have hijacked the word “fool” to reverse it’s meaning. Think about it: the Bible is essentially saying that if you are a person who does not believe in outrageous things from incredulous sources without asking for evidence, then you are a “fool” despite every other source in the world defines a “fool” as someone who does the opposite. Nope, we are the farthest from being fools. We’re skeptics, and currently non-believers simply because the burden of proof of a god has failed.

Jennifer

I see your point, and it makes sense…but does that mean believers are the fools?

Brian

Can I tell you a quick story? A true story.

Jennifer

Sure.

Brian

Sometime in Fresno, CA back in 2013, a group of sick old Christian ladies outside a hospital gathered around a tree and prayed to be healed. When they touched the tree, droplets of water sprinkled unto them. They claiming they were showered in the “tears of god,” they they were witnessing a miracle and will be healed by the love of god. However when a skeptic came to investigate the source of the water, the answer turned out to be this was a common occurrence among trees all throughout the nation. You see, on the trees are these little bugs that drink the tree sap then excrement it through their abdomens. In English, those old ladies were being pissed on by bugs. And those bugs will squirt regardless if you touched the tree said “Jesus please heal me” or if you say “these aren’t the droids your looking for.” And it doesn’t stop there. When the truth of the story came to light, when the professionals investigating the cause literally pointed to the bugs so the Christians could see them, did the Christians feel embarrassed, did they change their views on the matter? No. Instead they preferred to ignore the real explanation and continued to pray for more water droplets to fall on them, because they preferred to believe they were witnessing a miracle. This was a case of literal make-belief. The moral of this story is that faith makes people deny what is demonstrably in front of their eyes and still make them believe in fantasies when they know they are wrong. Because to them, belief is more important then facts and reality. This is why faith is foolish.

James

There’s a saying in the South, “don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” In other words, it means “don’t take me for a fool.” But in that case with the faithful, you can literally piss on them and make them fools.

Brian

The main lesson I wish you to learn from this is simple. Skepticism is a good thing. It protects you from being duped. It’s not something to shun away from. I’ve had a long journey thinking really hard about god and faith, and I don’t expect you to leap unto the same road, that’s in your hands. But whatever road you choose, please at least take my advice: question everything and always demand evidence. Constantly ask people “prove it” and “how do you know that?” Even question the preachers screaming on the pulpits. Think hard before jumping to conclusions.

James

Those are good life lessons. I would like to add you should always be honest with yourself. If you have thoughts, don’t ignore them. And please don’t lock yourself into some deep denial. Try to work around your biases when looking for answers. If new evidence comes to light that conflicts with your cherished beliefs, the only and honest thing to do is discard your beliefs and embrace new evidence. After all, what do you call someone who refuses to change their mind when confronted with new evidence? I call them a person in denial, like a guy on the Titanic refusing to accept the ship is going down because he thinks the ship is unsinkable.

Jennifer

[big smile] You guys have been such a pleasure to talk to. I’ll definitely take up all your suggestions.

 

Third debate.

Radisson has gotten word that he is to be suspended for a week after today. He is told that Brian and Jacob were the ones who outed him. He confronts Jacob and Brian outside the classroom, and while keeping his anger in check he says he is going to change it up a bit, and he will dictate who will talk and when.

Radisson

This is my class. Now that you two have had your fun, I’m calling the shots now.

Jacob begins his final presentation.

Jacob

Evil. Now, it’s been said that evil is atheism’s most potent weapon against the Christian faith, and it is. After all, the very existence of evil begs the question, “If God is all-good and all-powerful, why does he allow evil to exist?” The answer at it’s core is remarkably simple: free will. God allows evil to exist because of free will. From the Christian standpoint, God tolerates evil in this world on a temporary basis so that one day, those who choose to love him freely will dwell with him in Heaven, free from the influence of evil, but with their free will intact. In other words, God’s intention concerning evil is to one day destroy it.

Radisson

Well how convenient. “One day I will rid of all evil in the world. But until then, you just have to deal with all the wars, and Holocausts, tsunamis, poverty, starvation, and AIDS. Have a nice life.” Where’s a person’s free will when a lighting bolt strikes them, or when a person is in a forest that catches fire? Hate to break it to you -not really- but bad things happen all the time regardless of people’s free will. Babies are born with AIDs, weak hearts, and even without limbs.

I hope most of you in this class has found time to read my recommended readings by Bertrand Russell. I’d like to read a quote by him: “The world, we are told, was created by a God who is both good and omnipotent. Before He created the world He foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain; He is therefore responsible for all of it. It is useless to argue that the pain in the world is due to sin. In the first place, this is not true; it is not sin that causes rivers to overflow their banks or volcanoes to erupt. But even if it were true, it would make no difference. If I were going to beget a child knowing that the child was going to be a homicidal maniac, I should be responsible for his crimes. If God knew in advance the sins of which man would be guilty, He was clearly responsible for all the consequences of those sins when He decided to create man.

The “free-will” response to the problem of evil is a joke. Next, he’ll be lecturing us on moral absolutes.

Jacob

But why not? Professor Radisson whose clearly an atheist, doesn’t believe in moral absolutes.

Brian

Wrong again Jacob. Radisson made it clear to us yesterday, for those of you who didn’t attend our after class meeting in the hallway, turns out Radisson here believes in God, he just hates him. That mean’s he’s not an atheist, he’s a misotheist. Whether you love god or hate god, if you believe in one, you are by definition not an atheist. Jacob, you continue to disappoint me, your honesty in arguments haven’t improved much since yesterday’s debate, but by all means go on and share with everyone your argument for moral absolutes.

Jacob

If we want to discuss moral absolutes, look at the core syllabus for this class, in which we are to be given an exam during finals week. Now, I’m betting that if I managed to get an “A” on the exam by cheating, he’ll suddenly start sounding like a Christian insisting that it is wrong to cheat and I should have known that. And yet, what basis does he have? If my actions are calculated to help me succeed, then why shouldn’t I perform them? For Christians, the fixed point of morality, what constitutes right from wrong, is a straight line that leads directly back to God.

Male Student 2

So you are saying that we need a God to be moral, that a moral atheist in an impossibility?

Jacob

No, but with no God, there’s no reason to be moral. I mean, there’s not even a standard of what moral behavior is. For Christians, lying, cheating, stealing– in my example, stealing a grade I didn’t earn– are forbidden. It’s a form of theft. But if God does not exist, as Dostoyevsky famously pointed out, “If God does not exist, everything is permissible.” And not only permissible, but pointless. If Prof. Radisson is right, then all of this, all our struggle, our debate, whatever we decide here is meaningless. I mean, our lives and ultimately our deaths are meaningless have no more consequence than that of a goldfish.

Brian

So many incorrect statements in such a short rant. That whole spill you just gave us… this whole debate is no longer an argument for the existence of god anymore, it’s just preaching at this point. It’s pleading for a god to exist before proving there is one. We are supposed to be debating whether God exists, but after that last rant, I cannot ignore all the things you got wrong.

To begin with, that Dostoyevski line was from the novel The Brothers Karamazov, and the line “without a god everything is permissible” is not true both in reality and in the story. In it, people feel guilty for being associated with crimes. They suffer, so much that a murderer takes his own life. In another novel Dostoyevski wrote, Crime and Punishment, a character named Raskolnikov commits murder, but his conscience doesn’t let him get away with it. It causes him great mental anguish, so he turns himself in to stop his suffering. And just like in real life, other people won’t let you get away with doing whatever you want either. So apparently, even if there is no God, not everything is permissible.

Moving on, Evil is not the best weapon against the Christian faith. Reason is. Reason always has been the antithesis of faith. That’s why Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant movement, once famously said, “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but — more frequently than not — struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.” It wasn’t enough that he called Reason the Devil’s whore, he argued that Reason should be destroyed in all Christians. And he is not alone, even modern day apologists and preachers agree. Ever heard of Joyce Meyer? She wrote a faith-boosting book for teens, in which she lists the things that Satan will use to confuse kids to make them lose faith. She listed things like “worry” “fear” “depression” … but do you know what else she included on that list? Reason! You heard me correctly, she included Reason in her list of things Satan will use to turn people away from faith. How bizarre is that? If a person’s faith was reasonable, how can you be reasoned out of it?

But enough with that, what we’ve heard thus far, is not proof that God exists, it’s an appeal to believe in a God for the sake of morals. It’s wishful fantasy, and it’s flawed.

Now before I go in further, I will admit that Jacob is right that an atheist can be moral, but he is incorrect on the basis of evil and morality.

Regarding evil in this world, Jacob says free will is why evil exists, and yet he just told us that he believes that in Heaven you will be free from the influence of evil all the while your free will will still be “intact.” That means, he believes God can create a world with free-will without evil, but did not here. Which means, for the sake of argument of a god existing, that means God deliberately wanted there to be evil in this world.

Jacob

(interrupting) He didn’t deliberately create this world to be evil. God only wanted there to be free will in this world, allowing man to choose evil.

Brian

Why couldn’t your God create humans that are both free and morally incorruptible?

Jacob

I don’t know. I suspect because it is logically contradictory, because agents with free will have the ability to choose evil.

Brian

That’s quite ironic coming from you because under your religion, you believe your God is incorruptible and has free will. If it is possible to be morally incorruptible and have free will, your God who can make the impossible possible would have no problem creating humans that way. But your religion says that is not what happened, as humans were eventually corrupted and became wicked and cursed. Your God, being all-knowing and having a “Plan” for everything, would have seen this coming, and having made humans corruptible, it logically follows that he intended to create this world with evil.

To make matters worse, even after the world is created, your morally-perfect God has no problem corrupting it further. One example, John 12:40 explains the unbelief people experience even when seeing Jesus perform miracles by saying this is to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy that “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts–so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” Who has blinded the people so they cannot turn to Jesus? Not the devil, but the Lord. He deliberately blinded people from their salvation to be free of suffering. So much for free-will.

Now back to morality, before we got side-tracked. Radisson could have argued that if absolute morality is real, then surely it must hold God accountable for all the gratuitous evils He allows go well beyond what is actually necessary for free will to be legitimately present in the world. This is a strong case against believing there is an omnibenevolent and morally perfect God at all.

I will also stress that it’s a false dichotomy to imply that for morality to be objective, rational, and compelling it has to be “absolute.” But for the Christian perspective, Jacob says that in order for morality to mean anything, it must come from God, otherwise everything is “permissible.” I find that argument hilarious coming from someone of the Christian faith. You see, if there is a God, then immoral acts are permissible. The Bible itself attests to that. You can lie, steal, cheat on every test in college, you can be the most wicked person on campus, and yet you can still get into Heaven because Christianity is a loophole that does not require moral accountability. If you rape and kill dozens of people, you can still go to Heaven if you eventually come to Christ, and some of your victims may end up in Hell if they weren’t believers when you killed them. Where’s the justice there? Turns out, beliefs are more important than whether or not if you were a good person. If you can convince other people that you killed someone just because “God told you too” or “God allowed you to,” you can literally get away with murder. Just as the people at the Salem Witch trials.

And it’s worse. Jacob said “For Christians, the fixed point of morality, what constitutes right from wrong, is a straight line that leads directly back to God.” Do I have to remind everyone, for centuries Christians who followed that straight line to God were told slavery was perfectly okay? As were many things we in modern society would call barbaric.

This is a Philosophy class, ask yourselves this philosophical question: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

Did God change his mind? If something is absolutely wrong, then shouldn’t it always remain wrong by definition? Isn’t that the whole point of being absolute? Think about this: does God say certain actions are wrong because they are wrong, or are they wrong because he says so? If the first one is true, then morality exists independent of God. Meaning you can figure out what is right or wrong without God in the picture. But ff the second is true, then words like “good” becomes meaningless.

Take a look at incest. Most Christians and churches say incest is wrong, but according to their own religion, God allowed the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve to marry each other and have children. Noah and his family interbred to repopulate the world. Lot had sex with his daughters. Moses married his cousin. And what do Christians have to say about this? They say things like, “incest wasn’t wrong back then.” Which proves my point that if morality was absolute, well it would be absolute and not change, here they just admitted morality does change. Christians flock to the defense, “whatever God commands mean’s it’s good.” This is called the Divine Command Theory, which is basically a moral dictatorship. The Divine Command Theory has a huge problem: If right and wrong were left to the whims of deity, today murder can be wrong, tomorrow it could be morally right.

Jacob, would you kill your family if God commanded you to?

Jacob

My god would never do such a thing.

Brian

Your Bible says your god did exactly that. Several times, like Abraham and Jephthah, both commanded by the big kahuna himself to kill their children. So I’ll ask again: would you kill your family if God commanded you to?

Jacob

Whatever God commands I must obey. We all must obey.

Brian

And there you have it.

Imagine a man says to his wife, “prove to me you love me by robbing a bank for me. And if you don’t help, I will beat you.” We would call that husband a abusive bully and criminal, and yet this is what Jacob’s God does – do what you are told or get punished. And if the wife refused and got beaten, we would not think she brought this upon herself. Following the commands of a God does not make you moral, it only means you are obedient. Just being obedient does not mean you’re not doing wrong. At the Nuremberg trials, we punished Nazis and ordinary people who were “just following orders.”

Student #7

[Raises hand] Quick question please. Brian, I’m curious. For the sake of argument  that there is an all-powerful God, would you do what it says?

Brian

No. Short and simple answer No, I would not do whatever it told me.  Especially if a God told me to kill my parents, my response would be No Way.

For the sake of argument that if there was a God, and it was the God of the Bible sending me a telepathic message, how would I know it came from God? Let me check my notes… Paul says in Galatians 1:8 that even angels can preach false Gospels. Isn’t that amazing? Not even angels can know who the messiah is? How does Paul know who these angels are? And whose word would you rather take: a sinner like Paul or an angel of the Lord? But moving on… 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that even Satan can appear as an angel. Well isn’t that great. Even if you decide to take the word of an angel, it may be an angel or it may actually be a demon. But surely a direct message from God can be reliable right? You might think so, but that’s not the case. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says God himself sent a powerful delusion unto people, making them all believe a lie. Isn’t that nice.

So even if I received some supernatural message from an entity, how would I know it’s genuine? Even if I felt a wonderful sensation I could barely describe, how would I know it’s not a demon tricking me? Even if it was from a genuine angel, it could be a lying angel. Finally, even if it was a direct connection from the big kahuna itself, it may be just a false delusion. How would I know, how could I tell? Can the human mind outwit and overpower the most powerful being in existence?

So no matter where I get a supernatural message from, the Bible says that I can’t trust anyone, not even from God. Seems to me the Bible itself is feeding us reasons why we shouldn’t believe.

Jacob

No! The Bible wants us to believe. Prof. Radisson is the one who wants us to not believe, under threat of failing grades. What I want is for the students is to give them the freedom to make their own choice.

Brian

So do I, and I am fortunate enough to be enrolled in a secular school to allow them to think and make their own choices. You and I, and many others here, were upset with Radisson making us sign a statement of belief that “God is Dead” with threats of failure if they didn’t comply. He was forcing us to agree to a conclusion without any debate or discussion. But if his actions bother you, get ready to have your mind blown.

In the real world, ironically, it is Christian universities in America that require students and faculty to sign faith statements to attend or teach. If Professor Radisson’s actions bothered you, in you should be bothered by these Christian universities’ behavior, that happen on a routine daily basis. You might say that statements of Christian faith are acceptable for Christian universities since people apply to be there voluntarily, knowing in advance about the faith statements, so no one is being pressured to agree to something that goes against their intellectual consciences.

But there is, nonetheless, something completely contradictory to the spirit of true inquiry to have college students, in advance of their higher education, commit to believing things on pain of having to leave the school if they stop believing them. How is that open minded? How is that interested in really proving and testing one’s beliefs? That’s saying, “Come here and we will educate you and teach you to think critically. But before we educate you and teach you to think critically, please sign this statement that you will never come to conclusions different than your current beliefs and our beliefs.” To say that to eighteen year olds, who are only just becoming adults and only just having the chance to think outside their parents’ influence, is inherently stifling. It’s contrary to the entire point of education. But Christian universities all around America do this.

And it isn’t just the students, their faculty can be fired if they say or think the wrong things. Teachers have gotten fired from religious schools over a personal Facebook post. Imagine that. These are people hired because they are highly qualified educators in their subjects. But if they say or think something not pre-approved by the school’s religious tenets, they can lose their jobs. Does that sound like what open-mindedness about truth would be? Is that a policy that is going to lead people to correct their mistakes or start challenging discussions that might lead to greater truth?

Jacob

Brian, why are you so fervent against people believing in god?

Brian

People can believe whatever they want, so long as they don’t hurt anyone. But if you or anyone are going to claim their beliefs are true, well, then you better be able to back that up, because if not I’ll call you out on whatever it is because I care about whats true. And right now, there are people trying to pass laws that dictate how I should live or how I should think, simply because they believe in a unproven invisible entity that tells them to do all that stuff to me and everyone. And there are theists who think I deserve to go to prison or receive the death penalty simply because I don’t share their belief in unproven entities. Even if other believers won’t take it that far, plenty of others prejudge people like me because their religions tells them I am bad by default. Look at what Psalm 14:1 says about atheists, “They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” That’s prejudice, and it’s not just toward outsiders to the faith like me, these unproven religious beliefs have compelled believers to think such horrific things about other people for no reason. Kill all the witches, shun the homosexuals, fear and hate people who are left-handed, keep the women silent and obedient toward men.

Sorry, none of that is going to fly. Someone has to speak up against such irrational beliefs. If by doing so somehow offends you, I’m sorry for that, but do not mistake or confuse my intentions. I do not lash out at people, I target beliefs and ideas. Beliefs is what compels people on how to behave, and that is what needs to be addressed.

Jacob

Is it certain people you are concerned about, or is it God? Are you really worried about people, or are you trying to push God out of our lives?

Brian

Only one of those two are evidently real, so my concern is solely with people. Particularly people with certain beliefs.

Jacob

I think you are just trying to push God out of reality. It’s not enough that you pushed God out of your life, but you have to push him out of ours. That somehow if you make us all not believe in him, then you will make God disappear.

Brian

Follow that poor logic, then all the gods that nobody believes in anymore must still be real. Zeus is up on a mountain in Greece, and he is throwing lightning bolts willy-nilly all around the world.

Come on Jacob. Throughout this whole thing, it’s been your job to prove God and all I’ve done thus far is exposed flawed arguments while encouraging intellectual honesty. It may be uncomfortable to you Jacob, but there comes a time when you should accept your mistakes instead of red herring against me, that I want to push God out of people’s lives.

Jacob

Do you hate God?

Brian

Excuse me?

Jacob

Do you hate God?

Brian

*points to a student in the class* You! With the glasses. Answer me: Do you hate werewolves?

Male Student 3

No.

Brian

Why?

Male Student 3

I don’t hate things that don’t exist.

Brian

And there you have it. I don’t hate that which I don’t believe exists either. And I don’t believe in werewolves simply because I want them to not exist, I don’t believe in them for the sheer fact that they don’t evidently exist.

Your question “do you hate God” presumes I believe in a God. Get this straight Jacob, not everyone believes in a god. I mean, they REALLY don’t believe in one. Like really really, the same way you don’t believe in werewolves, mermaids or Santa Claus. I don’t hate anything I don’t believe in. There is just no reason to believe in something that does not evidently exist.

Jacob

God does exist. You’ve seen the science and the arguments. Science supports his existence. You know the truth!

Brian

What planet are you on? What part in all the past three days has science shown to once support his existence? A few unsubstantiated poetic verses with a mix of inaccurate out-dated science?

I should be asking you, why do you insist to pretend there is a god? You don’t need a god to be moral or account for morals, God does not appear anywhere in the universe. It’s as if he is just as real as werewolves. So why do you pretend that there is a god?

Jacob

I don’t pretend there is a god.

Brian

You don’t? Because it certainly seems like you do.

Jacob

I believe God is real.

Brian

Beliefs don’t make things real. No matter how hard or how long I try to believe, that won’t make werewolves and unicorns real. Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world, and right now millions of people believe Krishna is the ultimate god head and all concepts of god derive from him. But the fact that so many people have these beliefs and had them for a very long time, that doesn’t mean their beliefs are true.

And besides, throughout this debate, you’ve quoted Bible verses and said “God did this and that” like it’s a matter of fact. Those were not words of belief, you spoke as if you know they happened. How do you know those things happened?

Jacob

That’s because God’s Word is true.

Brian

Says who?

Jacob

God says so.

Brian

The Qu’ran says it’s the Word of God, because Allah says so. But the problem is there is as much proof of Allah as there is for your God. All holy books around the world were written by men. We’ve been talking about this back and forth, and yet we’ve gotten nowhere near proving the existence of God as I can prove the existence of werewolves. So unless you’ve got concrete proof for the existence of God, now would be a good time present it.

Jacob

Even if I present evidence, the Bible says that we must believe on faith.

Brian

And there it is ladies in gentlemen. Faith.

No evidence, no proof, just faith. He believes by faith that the Bible is the Word of God. Basically make-belief. Hey everyone, did you know that I raised from the dead seven times? I say it’s true, are you going to take it on faith. Would you believe me, or would you ask for some proof?

Hear me now, faith is not an answer. Remember the millions of people who believe Krishna is the ultimate god head? They believe it by faith too. But Christians and Hindu’s believe in different gods, and they both cannot be right at the same time. So obviously, faith is not a useful tool to find out which one is true or not. It’s make-believe.

Closing statements

Brian

Well we’ve finally come to the end of this mock debate, it’s been fun. Now, statistically speaking, I expect practically every student in this class was already a believer in god before we even started. And I honestly do not expect to have convinced any of you to turn away from their faith after this whole thing.

But I must remind you all what this was all about. The whole point of this debate was to examine the existence of God, and whether or not Jacob made that case or not. Now that the class is about to vote, regardless if you already believe in God prior to this debate, please do not vote based on your personal beliefs. I urge you to look at this whole thing through a non-biased perspective, and vote whether or not if you think Jacob won the case that there is a God.

A male student stands up.

Male Student 4

Before we vote, I’d like to share with the rest of the class something: I’m Jewish. I was one before this debate, and I’m still a Jew now. I believe in God, but I’m declaring Brian the winner of this debate for the simple reason that Jacobs arguments for God were rather weak and easily shot down by Brian, thus leaving him with no case. I don’t think Brian disproved God, but Jacob failed to prove God.

Radisson

Okay, let’s wrap this up. With a show of hands, who here thinks Jacob prove the existence of God?

Just less then half side with Jacob

Radisson

Oh, so close. Now raise your hand if you think Brian won.

The majority of the class raises their hands, including Jennifer. Brian is declared the victor of this debate.

After the class, Radisson is suspended without pay for his actions. Brian and Jennifer continue to be friends. Jacob continues to read his Bible and go to church.

THE END

My Last Comments

Some may be wondering why I let Jacob continue to be a Christian, especially after losing the debate. Bear in mind, I tried to keep this film as close to reality as I could (which was difficult given that Radisson would’ve been suspended much sooner before these “debates” would finish) and Jacob was not the intended character to give up his faith, it was Jennifer. This script is loosely based on a real life story of a friend who did first begin questioning their faith for the first time in their lives, and it all started in a Philosophy class. Even if I, as Brian, did this debate, I honestly would not expect to convert anyone on the spot even if I won the debate. Let’s be real, deconversions are long journeys, they tend to not happen after three classes. At best, all this debate would do is get people to start thinking, and that is what Jennifer did after the second debate, when she met Brian again and told him she began to think a bit more about her faith. That is the most important part, trying to get people to think. It may be hard and some will continue to believe regardless however you talk to them, and that is Jacob’s role. But eventually, the fruits of your efforts reach that one person, and that is where it makes it all worth it. It is up to the people’s imagination whether Jacob will always keep his faith or not. Just remember what Brian said in the film, “people can be talked into faith, they can be talked out of faith.” Patience and civil dialogue is key, results may be very slow, but it’s worth it.

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