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You Can’t See The Wind

The other day, I got an e-mail from a Christian claiming that I should believe in God even though I can’t see him. After all, I can’t see the wind either and yet I surely believe in the wind, right? As absurd as this argument is, it is not the first time I have heard it. Not by a long shot. It is almost embarrassing that I actually have to talk about this, but Christianity is an embarrassing belief system.

First, as a point of fact, human beings have five senses, not one sense. Sometimes, as a slang use of the term, people use “seeing” to represent all five of their senses. With that in mind, yes we can “see” the wind. We do have sensory experience of the wind. We don’t have any sensory experience of a god let alone a particular god.

Second, even if we had no sensory experience for something in the natural world, that doesn’t mean that we should automatically reject its existence. We also have a sixth sense (and no, I am not talking about psychic powers). We have our capacity to think. Using this “thinking” sense, scientists have developed tools which allow us to sense more than our senses allow.

Any one who has even a small degree of scientific knowledge should know that the human eye can only see a very small part of the light spectrum. The human ear can hear only a small part of the auditory spectrum. But through technology, we are able to see and hear far more than our eyes and ears normally allow. This has enabled us to know more about the universe than our five senses alone permit.

Even though we can experience more using this sixth sense of thought, we still have no sensory data which would even suggest the existence of a deity let alone the particular deity of the Old and New Testaments. This isn’t to say that such a deity can’t exist, but it does say that we have no valid reason to even suppose that it does exist. In fact, all the “effects” that were once attributed to gods and a god are now attributed to things in the natural world which science has allowed us to experience or “see.”

Science has pushed the effects of God into the gaps of understanding. In other words, what science has not yet explained has been deemed the work of God. Unfortunately for God, scientific understanding is growing at a pretty fast rate and that means that the work of God is shrinking at a faster and faster rate. This “God of the Gaps” as he is called is losing. The more and more science is able to explain and allow us to experience, the less and less God is needed to explain those things which humans can not experience. God quite simply is now defined as what can’t be experienced through our sixth senses (five senses plus thought).

The only sense that can seem to experience any type of deity is the “Faith Sense” which is to say that you should just not worry about your five senses and just not think too hard about it either. Just believe blindly on faith. That is the final gap that God is relegated. No sense points to god. No reason can reason god. Instead, theists (those who believe in a deity) claim that we should just believe for no reason. All they can say is that we need to have faith and not think about it. That’s pretty weak.

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  • Kat

    It still comes down to what happens after you die..until Science can answer THAT question…or people stop believing they deserve something else, The belief in God will live on. Religion is fear of the unknown, pure and simple…I find the wind analogy amusing. Christians are always coming up with things like that. Are they trying to convince YOU or are they trying to convince themselves?
    You know, even if there was a “GOD”..Why all the mystery? He, She, It? has a pretty sick sence of humor. Why would you cause this huge mass of confusion, never show yourself(except to a few chosen people a few thousand years ago, only in the Middle East or to some Televangilist),make your “words” so unitelligible and confusing that they get translated into a thousand different meanings…then tell everyone if you don’t believe you’re going to Hell? That’s why I don’t believe in this God..because this God is an asshole.

    • Jane

      Thanks for the laugh…I think of religion the same way you do but you put a very funny spin to it.

  • http://www.fullmetalblogger.com A-Dizzle

    Good post, although I have to disagree with your assessment that thought is a “sense”. The brain interprets data from our senses, therefore it cannot be classified as a sense in itself. That’s like saying the CPU of a computer is classified as a peripheral.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      I was being figurative. I don’t really think “thought” qualifies as a sense in and of itself.

  • existential blues

    You can objectively measure wind in a repeatable way (its speed and direction; you can also measure and composition and weight of the air that constitutes it). Christians, get back to me when you devise an objective measure for God.

    I love when Christians use arguments that would be just as valid for my claim to be God. I am God, you know. Just saying….

  • Scott

    Somebody used this on me once. The wind can be felt by our sense of touch. We can hear it. We can see the affect it has on things. We can sense how it affects odors by blowing them in or away. We cannot feel God unless we are delusionally creating that feeling (and our feelings aren’t the sense of touch anyhow). We cannot hear God with our ears. We cannot see God with our eyes and “We can see the affect he has on the world” doesn’t count because that is faith based and can equally argue that by giving credit to spirits, non-christian deities, aliens, ghosts, bigfoots, loch ness monsters, flying spaghetti monsters, invisible pink unicorns, pirates, or ninjas. We can’t smell God. And taste is used to determine if food is good or bad so it’s irrelevant.

    Therefore, we are comparing something that is technically invisible directly to the eye but easily detectable nonetheless to something that has absolutely no evidence whatsoever. So, its apples and oranges pretty much. This is all common sense, but perhaps common sense is not truly common.

  • Hmmm

    Oh no, there is very good reason to believe! The reason you should believe is because the bible says so and the bible is the word of God! You don’t think so? Prove it! Those men were inspired by God. The bible says so – doesn’t it? This is how God wanted to communicate to us humans and who are we to question the will of God???? Seriously, how can you question God’s word? Its right there in black and white!

    ;-)

    • http://www.myspace.com/DD_NU4EVER Diana

      I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or if you are really that…um, stupid…I can’t think of a better word for it. I’m sorry…wait, I can’t lie. I’m not sorry. You are simply just very unintelligent sir…

      You seem like a very angry person. Take a deep breath, inhale/ exhale. Just breath deep, inhale/ exhale. Now, do you feel better?

      Can you think clearly? OK.

      We are not making an outrageous claim to know so much about how the universe works. You are, so it is up to you to prove god exists. It is not up to us to prove he does not…though, as Staks mentioned, through the advances of science we are doing just that, though it’s not entirely intentional.

      …What kind of name is Hmmm anyway? It brings to mind deep thought and yet your words lack it.

      • existential blues

        Ummmm…that was sarcasm. I think you missed the smiley at the end.

        • http://www.gravesnovels.com Diana

          Oh, shit,

          I’m so sorry. I’m such a stupid jerk. :(

          1000 Apologies…How could I have known it was you?

          • existential blues

            It wasn’t me. Was that sarcasm?

  • http://www.myspace.com/rothtalltales Tralf

    Using the wind to validate the existence of God is a 10 out of 10 on the dunce scale. First of all, we can BOTTLE the wind (air tanks for SCUBA diving). We can’t bottle God. Second, the tangible effects of the wind are everywhere. God is nowhere but the imaginations of people who are too scared to face the finality of death. The level of willful ignorance required to parallel God with the wind takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

    Randy

  • http://poweressence.com/ Maxwell Jennings

    Christians (or devotees of any religion) will argue that they have been touched by God and have ‘felt’ his presence, when in reality, the soft warm fuzzies and the ‘changed’ states of mind are all in and only of the mind. The ability of the human mind to be triggered into euphoric conditions where concepts are believed is the primary way that con-artist religious leaders prey upon the easily influenced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.minton Terry Minton

    Back in the 30′s someone said there was no point in saying anything witty and clever because everyone would just attribute it to Dorothy Parker. Now DP is virtually forgotten and everything is attributed to the more enduring Mark Twain. But “I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t” comes from the obscure Jules Renard, who also said,”If you are afraid of being lonely, don’t try to be right.”

  • DRC

    This seems like a very mature, reasoned conversation by both parties. If they reply, please post it here!

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      We have already exchanged several long back and forth e-mails. All have been polite, but I don’t know if I will post them or not since they are all pretty long and she doesn’t really address any of my comments. But I might post more conversations down the road. What I wanted to show with this email is that we can be polite and still get our points across. When a Christian puts a lot on the table, we have to learn how to address those points tersely. I could probably write long blog posts on each issue that was raised, but you can’t have a conversation like that.

  • http://twitter.com/Stooshie Andrew Wilson

    It will be good to see his response.

  • Richard Collins

    I used to try to be patient and kind with true believers, but eventually I realized they were all delusional and that talking to them was a frustrating waste of time. I decided if I wanted to have an argument I would argue with my refrigerator, which never gave me canned apologetics for replies that I am aware of. Plus, and this is a big one, when I get thirsty I can open the door, reach in and get a nice cold beer. Arguing always makes be thirsty.

    But to get serious, for the last six years I have turned my attention to the problem of bigoted true believers, trying to understand bigotry, how it might be circumvented, and tracing out where bigotry is learned. Bigotry is a habit of mind and all such habits are learned, either haphazardly or deliberately. Because religious bigotry is such a widespread and well known phenomenon, there must be a systemic origin. I suspect the common thread is the religious grooming of children in their Sunday schools and homes. Children form rigid habits of mind at the time they are most vulnerable to mind control techniques. Once a child is convinced it is proper and even noble to believe without evidence, that habit of mind carries over into all their life activities. Including politics as adults, unfortunately for the rest of us. Psychologists discovered children as young as five can form blatantly wrong ideas about themselves and the world and cannot be argued out of these ideas. They will not admit they could possibly be wrong.

    I have an Ex-JW atheist friend who was very much against my international protest against hereditary religion. He fell into the category of people who adamantly support the libertarian idea that parents must have unfettered control over their children. People with this frame of mind, and they seem to be the majority, are willing to accept any harm that befalls children as a price to pay for their noble ideals. You want to raise a Nazi, fine with them. This is the price we must pay to maintain our ideal. I say no. Children should never suffer for someone’s noble ideals. Because, if an ideal is truly noble it will not cause suffering.

    Two positive notes to end on. My ex-JW atheist friend told me this week that he finally gets why religious grooming of children is an abuse and why my project to end hereditary religion is the correct approach. My argument is simple: attack the problem and not the problem symptom. But it took a lot of time to convince my friend and he had already undergone prolonged deconversion steps and declared himself an avowed atheist. Some atheists label such people Uncle Toms.

    Bigotry is actually a natural feature of the human mind and it usually serves a functional purpose. The problem arises when people refuse to see when it is a problem. My observations convince me that many people are totally unaware of all the traps and pitfalls our minds are loaded with.

  • Infidelguy

    Excellent post!!