“God is Not PT Barnum”

barnumIf God is real, then why doesn’t he just prove that he exists?”

I get this question a lot from folks, particularly atheists, and nothing could be better designed to produce a migraine. Thankfully, John Shore over on Suddenly Christian has figured this question out:

If you think about that question, though, you’ll see pretty soon that what anyone asking it really wants is for God to not only prove to them personally that he exists, but to simultaneously prove his existence to a whole bunch of other people, too. Because if God proved his existence to just you, then that’s going to leave you with one whopper of a challenge on your hands, insofar as right away your choices will boil down to exactly two: Either tell people how you personally encountered God, and risk them thinking you’re absolutely badoinkers — or don’t tell anyone how God proved to you he was real, and risk having a stress-induced heart attack from having to keep such an extraordinary experience locked up inside of you.

The truth is, we don’t want God to prove he’s real to us in the same way everything else in our lives that’s “real” to us is real to us. Because it would destroy that within us which keeps us ever moving forward toward resolution, knowledge, clarity, context, wholeness. It would strip from us the very thing that makes us human.

For me, this is a fresh perspective. It actually addresses some of my own doubts, and perhaps why I doubt. Good stuff. Go read the entire article here:


  1. #1 by Christian Beyer on September 11, 2007 - 6:41 pm

    C’mon Poetman, I am sure you are more original than me. I wasn’t trying to crack on your use of the analogy. I just that I don’t buy it, even though someone I respect as much as CS Lewis has used it before.

    As far as using the pronoun; do you really think that I believe God is masculine? It’s just common usage. I see something personal in God so I’m not crazy about using the word ‘it’ -so impersonal. To me I see both masculine and feminine qualities to God, knowing full well there is nothing remotely sexual about God. I should probably lose the pronouns altogether but it gets kind of ponderous.

    I say know a person by how they treat others


  2. #2 by 1poet4man on September 11, 2007 - 7:31 pm

    If you lived in the Bay Area, and you smoked cigars – well lets just say I think we would have many a fine conversation…

    Even though we don’t quiet agree I have added you to my Blogroll…now thats right agnostic of me isn’t it?:)


  3. #3 by Christian Beyer on September 11, 2007 - 7:40 pm

    I have a taste for Ashtons. Used to be a fan of Thomas Hinds, can’t find them anywhere. Usually smoke Arturo Fuentes curly heads ’cause their cheap.

    I do live near the Chesapeake Bay, but that’s not what you mean, is it?

  4. #4 by 1poet4man on September 11, 2007 - 7:54 pm

    When I wrote “Bay Area” I knew I was being a bit chauvinistic, as if there is only one of those…I should have wrote S.F. Bay Area…oh well.

    I have a preference for Opus X’s – close to an Ashton in that both are made by Arturo Fuentes, but miles apart in the taste department.


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