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Posts Tagged ‘bertrand russell’

In the paper by which this experiment is largely inspired, the author notes that Bertrand Russell, when discussing what he might have to say to God in the afterlife if such things turned out to exist, reported that he “would chide Him for not having provided enough ante-mortem evidence of his existence”. I think Richard Dawkins has made similar comments, and it’d be near the top of my own list of questions too in such an unlikely eventuality.

The author suggests, however, that God might shoot back: “Well, you didn’t ask me for any, did you?” – thus apparently emphasising the potential importance of atheists following this Christian rigmarole of prayer to a god they don’t believe in, as I’m doing.

The paper ends on that rejoinder, but it’s not hard to imagine that Russell or Dawkins or I might have a slightly prickly response of our own. For my part, it might go something like:

No, but then I also didn’t ask any of the other thousands of gods humans have believed in over the centuries. Nor did I address every pixie, imp, sprite, or other mystical being sometimes alleged to exist, but who seemed far more likely to have been an entirely human creation. I guess I could have devoted every second of my waking adult life to personally imploring every imaginable supernatural entity to reveal themselves, but since none of them had ever given me a reason to expect they existed, asking them all for a reason seemed like a waste of time – yourself included. I did, however, ask your self-proclaimed earthly representatives – the priests and evangelists and so forth – for some scrap of evidence, on numerous occasions, but they always came up short. So what, exactly, was I supposed to conclude?

If anyone wants to play the role of God and fill in the next part of the conversation, feel free.

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