Using policeman as analogy for God

Months ago I was participating in a discussion in an Internet forum on the sensitive subject: “god/religion,” and was confronted with this question, posed by an interlocutor:

“‘Maybe the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.’ Would you leap on someone who said this?”

Yes, I would.

The person who said this can be seen as standing on thin ice. But I suppose you intended to use it as an analogy; but it is badly phrased and appears as self-destructive. That the thief cannot find a policeman may be due to his own stupidity, as there are policemen in every police station. The thief’s stupidity is, however, no guarantee that he will not end up getting caught by the policeman. And the policeman is likely to say to you: the thief may be stupid enough as to be unable to find me, but that, obviously, does not mean that I cannot find him; many thieves have been caught and suffered for the consequences of their thievery. The atheist may respond thus: It is silly of you to say that I cannot find God; I don’t believe in this imaginary being you call God and thus there is no question of me not being able to find God; imaginary beings and the policeman are worlds apart; your analogy is convoluted, makes no sense.

Some atheists were previously God-believers and gave up their faith after having discovered the irrationality in relying on faith alone, without any evidence whatsoever. One of the set-backs in the world today is that we have too many people [say, around 5 billion?] who prefer to live their lives in superstitious beliefs, for example, in the existence of divinity, Heaven or Hell, and in praying for the fulfillment of their goals or desires. And it’s mind-boggling that these people cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination.

A believes in god m.a.d but B believes in god pqr; for C the god is zyr; etc. So many gods [hundreds or thousands] have been worshipped in the past and the number being worshipped presently are probably numerous. What makes you think your god is the right one?

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” [Stephen Roberts]

Someone somewhere once said “religion is a curse on humanity” and to a non-theist such a view has a certain relevance and does not seem like a hyperbole, as it is a fact that religions or religious differences have been the cause of many wars in history, for example, the Crusader Wars [11th to 13th centuries], the Reconquista [Reconquest] wars fought between Christian Kingdoms and Muslim states in the Iberian Peninsula, commonly accepted to have started in 722, with the Battle of Covadonga, and finished in 1492 with the conquest of Granada, the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in France in the 16th century, not counting the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre [in 1572] of Huguenots [French Protestants] by Catholics, the so-called Taiping Rebellion in China [1850-1864] that ended the lives of about 20 million people, and between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland in the 20th century. The conflicts in Northern Ireland were, however, partly influenced by turf and politics, though we can’t rule out that politics could also have been a factor for the other cases I have just cited.

In the Indian subcontinent, at around the time of the partition [1947] of India into India and Pakistan, religious riots accounted for the death of about 1 million people and caused the displacement of over 10 million. Skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani nationals since the emergence of Pakistan as a separate country have led to deaths in the thousands, with the plausibility of their religious differences being one of the underlying factors, if not the principal or sole factor. Arguably, the birth of Pakistan as a separate Muslim nation would probably not have occurred if Islam had not been introduced into India centuries ago.

If religious bigotry was evident in yesteryears, it is no less evident today, though not as malicious as it was in centuries past, and can be encountered in areas both East and West.


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