Proof That God Does Not Exist
By Derek Mathias
The intent of this article is to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the God Evangelicals and other fundamentalist Christians believe in does not exist. (Note: this article will not prove that the God or gods of other religions do not exist, only that the God of fundamentalist Christianity does not exist.)
Fundamentalist Christians claim the following beliefs:
- God exists
- Everything in the Bible is true and should be interpreted literally (except where the use of parable is obvious)
- God is all-powerful and all-knowing
- God is good
To prove the non-existence of the fundamentalist interpretation of God, one must prove at least one of the above claims false. In this article I will show that given claims #1-3, claim #4 must necessarily be false. Not only will I provide strong evidence that God is not good, but I will show that he is the most profoundly evil being that has ever existed.
So what exactly does "evil" mean? Unfortunately, dictionary definitions for evil (such as "morally bad or wrong, wicked") are often inadequate, as they bring up more questions than answers (such as what do moral, wrong or wicked mean, exactly?), leading to disagreements about an exact definition of evil. However, some behaviors cause so much suffering and societal damage that nearly everyone considers them "evil" (indeed, to do otherwise would render the term "evil" essentially irrelevant). These behaviors would include:
- Murder and genocide (specifically, the intentional and premeditated killing of people, not in self-defense)
- Child abuse (intentionally causing serious mental or physical harm to young children)
- Betrayal (specifically, using lies and deceit to bring harm to those who put their trust in you)
- Slavery (treating another person as property that can be bought or sold and forced to do your bidding)
- Rape (forcing sex upon another person against their will)
- Torture (specifically, intentionally inflicting severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion)
In other words, you don't have to agree on a strict definition of evil to be able to recognize evil behavior.
And yet, according to the Bible, God is guilty of committing or condoning all the above behaviors. The complete list of scriptural evidence supporting this claim is too overwhelming for a short article, but the following few examples from the Old Testament should suffice to carry my point:
Murder and Genocide:
God murders people just because they displease him:
Genesis 38:7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
Genesis 38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
God also shows how little he values the lives of children, as he murders the firstborn of everyone in Egypt:
Exodus 11:4 Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast.
But the most telling example is where God committed genocide, using the Flood to indiscriminately murder virtually everyone on Earth:
Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
7:23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth.
Fundamentalists usually insist that essentially everyone on Earth was evil and deserved to die, and thus God drowning everyone in the Flood wasn’t murder. However, these same fundamentalists also claim that children are innocent of evil, yet countless innocent children had to have drowned in the Flood.
Additionally, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful then by definition he knew mankind would become wicked, yet he did nothing to prevent them from turning bad, nor did he correct them after they became wicked. An all-powerful being by definition would be capable of either solution, but instead God chose to murder everyone in a most horrible way and start over (and for those who don’t believe drowning is horrible, take a look at some of the film footage of the effects of the Southeast Asian Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina).
The Bible includes many examples of God murdering children, but here is a particularly clear example of God’s ordering the abuse of a child:
Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
Setting aside for the moment the immorality of God ordering a man to murder his son, and the evident willingness of the man to commit the murder, Isaac was obviously aware that his father was preparing to slaughter him. Just imagine the horror he must have felt when his father bound him and put him on the altar. While it is true that God stopped Abraham just before he slaughtered Isaac, he did nothing to reduce the horror of the event from Isaac’s perspective.
God also tells parents that if they beat their children he won’t send them to Hell:
Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
The following example of child abuse would also fit as an example of murder, but the particularly cruel means God uses to specifically kill children warrants its inclusion here:
2 Kings 2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
God sent two bears to tear apart 42 children who were just making fun of someone. Is this the behavior of a good being or an evil being?
The Genesis 22 passages mentioned above—where God ordered Abraham to murder his son—are also an example of God lying to his people. Either that or it’s another example of murderous intent. If God never actually intended for Abraham to kill Isaac, then he lied to Abraham (and in a particularly cruel way, too). The alternative is that God did indeed intend for Abraham to murder Isaac, but then later changed his mind (which contradicts the claim that God is all-knowing, and it makes God guilty of a worse crime: intention to commit murder).
But the greatest example of God’s betrayal has to be the concept of salvation. Currently there exist all manner of religions (up to 10,500 distinct religions and 35,000 Christian denominations, by some estimates). If salvation is dependent on choosing the correct religion, how are people to know which religion is the correct one to follow? The one that claims to be true? All religions claim to be true. The one that relies on faith? All religions rely on faith. The one that has prophecies that have come true? Most religions have prophecies that are vague enough for people to claim they’ve come true (see Prophecy For Dummies), and many opposing denominations within the same religion share the same prophecies.
To compound the problem, most people throughout history have been born in areas where they had little or no exposure to Christianity, much less the correct denomination. What chance have they had of choosing the correct religion? The problem persists even in today’s world of global communications.
Finally, Satan uses his powers to actively deceive humanity into turning away from the path of God:
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world
Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth,
If God wanted humanity to be saved, how would he ensure all his people received his message? What method would be universal and evenly distributed enough for such an important task as determining how people spend eternity? Well, God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and thus could appear to each and every individual and let him or her know what exactly must be done to achieve salvation. That would ensure nobody missed God’s message or heard a distorted version of it.
But instead God’s method for getting his message to humanity has been through such vague and indirect methods as writing laws on stone tablets, sending his son to Earth for a short time 2,000 years ago (and making him appear human, thus giving most people reason to doubt his divinity), creating a book that is often difficult for even biblical scholars to interpret (a problem compounded by multiple, imperfect translations), and fallible human missionaries and prophets. God deliberately chose some of the least efficient or most uneven methods for spreading his word to all Earth’s people—a problem compounded by the fact that all the other thousands of religions use similarly vague methods of teaching their beliefs. And then on top of that he allows Satan to purposely deceive even those who are trying to follow God’s will…
Given such an amazingly inefficient manner of spreading the Gospel, one must conclude that God wants people to be deceived into following the wrong religions. Indeed, the following passage suggests that this is precisely God’s intent:
2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
2 Chronicles 18:21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
18:22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
In fact, it appears that the ultimate deception may be that it doesn’t matter which religion one chooses, since God has apparently already chosen from the beginning who will be saved and who will not:
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
The Bible reveals that God condones slavery. Although it often uses the term "servant" instead of "slave," the meaning is obviously the same: one person buys another person who has to obey all his owner’s wishes, even if the owner is cruel:
Exodus 22:2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.
22:3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.
1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
The Bible does not actually condone rape, but it does not always consider rape a sin, either. For example, if a man rapes a woman who is not betrothed, all he has to do is pay a fee to her father and then marry her, thus making the rape no more serious an offense than offering a dowry for a woman’s hand in marriage:
Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
22:29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her
Also, Lot had no problem offering his own virginal daughters to a group of men to rape, rather than allow the men to have sex with two visiting angels:
Genesis 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes
Much of life involves pain and suffering through disease, parasitism, injury, birth defects, etc., many of which are excessively and unnecessarily cruel (see Organisms That Look Designed for a list of some particularly nasty examples). But all of that pales in comparison to the concept of Hell. God created Hell as a place to send unsaved souls to suffer horribly for all eternity:
Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:
God also intends to send most people to Hell:
Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
If the fundamentalist belief in salvation is true, then the relatively small number of Evangelists in the world would be in keeping with the above passages.
The point of punishment is to teach a lesson, to correct bad behavior. But punishment without any hope of it ever ending serves no good purpose, and thus is nothing more than gratuitous torture. That is exactly what Hell is: a place to gratuitously torture souls forever, with no hope of redemption. Surely there can be no greater evil than creating a place of eternal suffering and then sending the vast majority of one’s own children there. If God were good, wouldn’t he painlessly destroy those souls who didn’t make it into Heaven? What possible good could come of making someone suffer eternal torment?
One might try to excuse God’s evil behaviors by claiming we don’t have a full understanding of God’s intentions, or because God defines "good" and therefore anything he does is good. But these are unsatisfactory answers because they beg the question: What would God have to do to be considered evil? If committing murder, torture, deception, etc., don’t count as evil, then what does?
A second approach to determining God’s moral standing is to ask, "If God is evil, what should we expect to see both in Scripture and in the real world?" Some have suggested that if God were truly evil, wouldn’t he just create everyone in Hell and have the suffering start right from the beginning? Perhaps. But there is another scenario that would cause far more misery:
Imagine giving people the ability to suffer great pain, but also give them a few decades to experience joy, pleasure, beauty and love. Don’t let them get too comfortable—make sure they understand what fear, pain and suffering are throughout their lives so they strive to avoid them—but also make sure they experience enough happiness to know what they would be missing if it were gone.
Then define all people as sinners destined for an eternity of suffering, but dangle before them the prospect of an afterlife in paradise if they choose to follow the "right" religion. Then base that religion on the same requirement as every other religion: faith—not facts, which can be tested, but faith, which depends on a lack of facts or even contrariness to facts. This will ensure that the vast majority of humanity will fail to choose the right religion, while giving all those who choose the wrong religions hope—even certainty—that they’ve chosen the right one.
Then, when people die, send all those who didn’t choose the right religion to a place where you can watch them experience excruciating pain and suffering for all eternity, where they can remember what the joy of life was like while knowing there is no hope of ever having it back. Finally, have those who did choose the right religion—those who will slavishly do whatever you want—stroke your ego by praising and worshipping you for all eternity.
Isn’t that even more fiendishly evil than simply creating beings born into immediate suffering? Yet that is exactly what the Bible tells us God has done. What more evidence would anyone require to determine that God is the most evil creature that has ever existed? Indeed, it should come as no surprise to find the following passage in the Bible:
Isaiah 45:6,7 I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
Now that we can see that the Christian fundamentalist version of God is an evil being, and thus he cannot exist as claimed, where does that leave Christian fundamentalists? Should they completely abandon belief in God? Not necessarily, for proving that their God doesn’t exist doesn’t prove that some other god or gods don’t exist. All it means is that in order to avoid worshipping a provably non-existent God, they must change at least one of their four assumptions. Let’s examine each assumption and consider the alternative options:
- God exists
The alternative is, of course, that God does not exist. While atheists and agnostics have no trouble with this one, some people have a need to believe in something beyond the natural world.
- Everything in the Bible is true and should be interpreted literally (except where the use of parable is obvious)
The Bible was written down by fallible humans. Perhaps their writings were not the literal word of God, but were just their own words inspired by their belief in God. Therefore the Bible should be regarded as the theological equivalent of a book on philosophy.
- God is all-powerful and all-knowing
Exhibiting great power does not make one omnipotent. Modern humans can heal seemingly terminal patients, travel to distant worlds, destroy whole cities with the push of a button, and do all sorts of things that would seem godlike to primitive people…but that doesn’t make us gods. Perhaps God was powerful enough to create the universe, but beyond that he has limited abilities to affect our lives.
Additionally, perhaps he is unaware of much of what goes on in the universe, and thus is unable to prevent evil from occurring. And being able to predict some things about the future wouldn’t necessarily mean he knows everything about what will happen.
- God is good
There’s no guarantee that God is good. After all, if power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then it would follow that an omnipotent God would be the most corrupt being in the universe.
So the next time a biblical literalist tries to proselytize to you, remember that he’s not only wrong, he may also be an unwitting emissary for evil.
 Fundamentalists often say that God could not prevent or correct evil behavior because otherwise we would not have free will to choose evil. And they insist we cannot have free will if we cannot choose to be evil (although that is highly debatable, since we are incapable of certain choices as it is—such as experiencing all emotions at once—yet we don’t believe that limitation means we have no free will). However, the ability to choose evil does not necessitate the ability to commit evil. After all, if simply coveting your neighbor’s ass…
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
…or working on Sunday…
Exodus 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
…are sins one can choose to commit without causing any harm or suffering to others, and the vast majority of people who might commit those sins would never even think of viciously slaughtering their own families (and thus would not even be faced with that as a choice), why would God allow humanity to commit such horrifying acts of evil as murder, rape, torture, etc.? The logical conclusion is that such evil exists because God wants it to exist (or doesn’t care that it exists)…for otherwise such evil simply would not exist.
©2005 Derek Mathias