-By Michael S. Smith and Scott Severn. 4-1-17
God doesn’t exist! Not only that, but logically He can’t even potentially exist. Do you know how I know? Because of Eric, the God-eating penguin. Okay, obviously I’m being silly. But this is actually an argument that was presented to Scott and I once from an atheist. Now, I debated whether or not I wanted to write about this simply because I didn’t want to be attacking a straw-man. Surely not all atheists come up with arguments this stupid, Right? Allow me to respond to that… Yes! They do! How many times, if you’re a Christian, have you been accused of believing in an equivalent to Santa Clause, the Easter bunny, or the famous flying spaghetti monster? I’d bet at least once. Atheists have no problem trying to make us look stupid. But what they don’t realize is that when they make these comparisons, they give away how little they understand about what Christians actually believe God to be.
So, what do Christians believe God to be? For the purposes of this article, I’ll name just three attributes. God is Timeless, Space-less, and Immaterial. We know this from the cosmological evidence for the beginning of the universe. Since time, space, and matter had a beginning, whatever created time, space, and matter, can’t be made of time, space, and matter; in other words, the cause must be timeless, space-less, and immaterial. I’ll include a link below which explains this better. But what’s important to understand is the difference between things inside the universe which are contingent (meaning they had to be created by something else), and God being outside the universe and existing necessarily (meaning He doesn’t rely on anything else in order to be able to exist). I’ll come back to this later.
Now, let’s get to the argument this atheist gave us. I’ll paraphrase, but essentially this is what he said: “Let’s see if you can understand logic. Logically, God can’t exist because of Eric, the God-eating penguin. Eric, by nature, eats God. So, if God exists, He ceases to exist because Eric eats Him. Now, if you can provide evidence to show that Eric does not exist, then that same evidence will apply to God as well, therefore, proving that God doesn’t exist. So either way, God doesn’t exist.”
First of all, if this is the best that the atheist I’m debating can do, then we’re in for a short night. Anyone with an IQ that contains at least two digits can see how silly this argument is. The reason I want to write an articulate response is so that anytime you, if you’re a Christian, have this thrown at you (or anything similar such as the flying spaghetti monster charge), you’ll be able to catch that atheist with his pants down and make an example out of him by showing that there is no toilet paper within his reach.
Only two things need to be said in response; first, point out that the burden of proof lies on whoever makes the claim. If I say to you, “God exists”, then I have the burden of proof to support that claim with evidence. But if someone is going to say to me, “Eric the God-eating penguin exists”, then that person has the burden of proof to support that claim with evidence. That atheist is not allowed to just assert “Eric the God-eating penguin! Prove he doesn’t exist”, any more than I am allowed to do the same with God.
Second, penguins aren’t God. I know, mind blown right? It may seem like such an obvious thought, but it’s apparently one that this atheist didn’t get. Atheists are continually guilty of the fallacy of equivocation when talking like this. Either they’re comparing God to something contingent like spaghetti or penguins, as if we believe God to be nothing more than a big angel; or in this case, speaking as if a penguin can be equivalent to God. But it’s silly. The same evidence that disproves Eric, does not also disprove God. A penguin is a contingent being inside the universe, and cannot exist in the same way that God does. So Eric is refuted by the fact that the universe began to exist a finite period of time ago. God on the other hand, being the creator of the universe, is not bound by the same restrictions.
Imagine if I said this: “The big bang theory cannot be the explanation for the universe, because Fred the big bang disproving marmoset exists.” Obviously this claim has no footing because I dispel no logic, only a fictional being coated in satire so I don’t have to logically argue anything.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much critical thinking to tare arguments like this apart. So next time an atheist says God is like the flying spaghetti monster or that God logically can’t exist because of Eric, relax, smile, and calmly melt their face off with actual reason and say, “How’s that for logic?”