(Warning: This article will include mathematics )
As me and many other atheists have noticed in the past it’s very often the case that theists seem to be confused about words like agnosticism, theism, atheism etc. . Too often is it the case that theists will try to force the definition of hard atheism upon us, insisting that we need to disprove God. When we then say “We don’t claim that there is no God, we merely lack belief” They then often say “You’re not an atheist, You’re an Agnostic”. Just to clarify confusion this is what the terms atheism and agnosticism mean and where the distinctions are:
All that aside I think for most Atheists the definition of lack of belief is also not entirely accurate. Now before you write an angry comment please let me explain my reasoning:
While I think a lack of belief in God is an accurate description in and of itself I personally (and I think many will agree) also have a high confidence level that the claims made by theists are in fact wrong. Now I don’t claim to know that there is no God but I am pretty confident that the God claims are wrong.
The way I see it beliefs aren’t a black or white thing, they come in degrees. For instance I am more convinced (about 99.99% ) that Mormonism is in fact false than I am convinced that Deism is false.
Just recently though I discovered a tool, with which one can assess the Probability of certain occurences taking place, and therefore what confidence level we should have in that occurence and whether we then should believe it or not. It’s called the Bayes’ theorem. And it looks like this:
I realize it may not be easy to understand so I wanna show how this theorem works on a very specific example: The resurrection of Jesus.
I feel pretty generous today, so I am going to presuppose the following 2 assumptions concerning the resurrection:
- the a priori probability of miracles is 1/100000 (we’re talking about miracles after all: I think 1 in 100000 is quite low and many atheists would give a much lower probability)
- we have 4 contemporary eyewitness accounts and the odds that these accounts are accurate are 99.99% (we in fact don’t have eyewitness accounts and eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable)
From these 2 assumptions we then get the following:
- P (e/H) = 99.99%
- P(H) = 1/100000
- P(e) = 0.001%
If we fill these into our formula we get the following:
P(H/e) = 0.9999/0.0001 *1/100000 = 0.09999 ≈ 10%
It is of course abundantly clear that this mathematical analysis of the resurrection even under very generous assumptions is very improbable and our confidence level that it didn’t happen should be very high. It is therefore unreasonable to believe in Christianity and the math proves it.
I hope you weren’t too bored by the mathematics but I wanted to share this tool, which has many applicabilities, with you and I think nothing illustrates the unreasonableness of religious belief better than this simple equation.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation