What evidence would convince me of the existence of God?
This is a question that comes up fairly frequently in discussion with theists. What evidence would convince me of the existence of God?
I have given this some thought, and in an attempt to bend over backwards for Jesus, Yahweh, Thor, Zuul, or whatever god is out there, if any, here’s what I’ve come up with. Passing either of these very easy tests will suffice for me to believe. Now, loads of atheists would find these tests insufficient. They don’t really test the limits of the deities in questions, nor even the identities of the deities. Any low level demon should have enough power to pass these tests. So, I do open myself up to being fooled by any sort of leprechaun or other mischief making being with magical powers with these tests. Still, I’m confident enough that low level demons don’t exist that I’m willing to accept passing of such a lax test. And, after all, isn’t a low level demon still a magical being? And therefore, compared to me, pretty much a “god?”
So, passing either of these tests will be sufficient for me to consider you a god. Got that? Ok. Wake up all you low-level demons, here’s your big chance to have a worshipper.
Test 1: I am thinking of a number. Tell me what number I’m thinking of by way of a believer. That is, have one of your believers tell me what the number is. This will demonstrate that you’re able to a) read my mind, and b) implant an idea into your believer’s minds. Well, it won’t actually demonstrate that conclusively, but, good enough for me. I’m deliberately relaxing my standards here, on account of I know that gods are traditionally handicapped by failure to exist. Surely a god is capable of this much though. My number is chosen well enough that I’m confident that any being capable of guessing it must be supernatural. You get three guesses. How generous is that? Why would a god need more than one guess? Guess away, god-candidates, and good luck.
Test 2: If the guessing game is too hard, then here’s another one. From time to time, I’ll hold a penny in my hand. All you prospective gods have to do is levitate the penny for a second or two, and only an inch or two, nothing too difficult. Any child could pick up a penny, surely a god can do that much. That’s it, that’s the entirety of the test.
If one day, the penny in my hand should levitate an inch or two, for a second or two, I’ll cease being an atheist. Likewise, if someday, a believer approaches me, and informs me that his deity has told him to tell me a number, and the number he tells me is the right number, I’ll cease being an atheist. It’s really that simple.
So, gods, what of it? Can you pass either of my very easy tests? Surely, given the feats that have been attributed to gods, the tests which I propose should be very very easy for any real deity. If the tests aren’t passed fairly quickly, one can only assume that any extant deities do not want me to believe in their existence (in which case, who am I to argue?) or that they fail my puny tests, on account of failing to exist.
My bet’s on the latter.