Religion

"Omniscience Escape Clause": Why People Believe in Religion

| by John W Loftus

It doesn't matter what the particular problem is for a person's faith. Having an omniscient God concept solves it. It could be the intractable and unanswerable problem of ubiquitous suffering; or how a man could be 100% God and 100% man without anything leftover, or left out; or how the death of a man on a cross saves us from sins; or why God's failure to better communicate led to massive bloodshed between Christians themselves. It just doesn't matter. God is omniscient. He knows why. He knows best. Therefore punting to God's omniscience makes faith pretty much unfalsifiable, which allows believers to disregard what reason tells them by ignoring the probabilities.

I call this the Omniscience Escape Clause (read the link). There is only one way to convince believers in an omniscient God that their faith is false. They must be convinced their faith is impossible before they will consider it to be improbable, and that's an utterly unreasonable standard since the arguments to the contrary cannot hope to overcome the Omniscience Escape Clause. So think on this: Given that there are so many different faiths with the same escape clause let believers seriously entertain that their own God might equally be false. Sure, an omniscient God might exist (granted for the sake of argument), but how we judge whether or not he exists cannot rely over and over on his omniscience since that's exactly how other believers defend their own culturally inherited faith. Reasonable people must not have an unfalsifiable faith, and yet an omniscient concept of God makes one's faith pretty much unfalsifiable. But this is not all...

The concept of God's omniscience is not the only thing that makes a faith pretty much unfalsifiable. So also does the concept of hell, since believers must be certain there is no hell before they will abandon their faith, thus overcoming the force of Pascal's Wager. With an omniscient God concept and the threat of hell it is nearly impossible for believers to doubt their faith and then walk away from it. 

Believers must be forced to acknowledge that other believers in different religions (or sects within their own) who have the same concepts have the same exact problems when it comes to reasonably evaluating their own faith. And they too must be convinced their faith is impossible before they will consider it to be improbable, which is an utterly unreasonable standard of proof, making their faith pretty much unfalsifiable as well. This is something believers reject when it comes to evaluating the probability of other faiths. Why is it they don't reject this when it comes to their own?

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My goal is to force believers to see this. They must approach their faith with open eyes given the nature of religious faith concepts. You must have a Gestalt Shift in the way you see your faith (read the link). Nothing less than that will do the trick. You must try seeing it differently. Try it. What are you afraid of? Do you really want to know the truth? Why wouldn't you?