The God Question: Deistic Relevancy and the Size of Christ
The God question is one we constantly find ourselves both asked and asking. Does God exist? It's quite a tricky one, especially since there are so many possible answers to such a simply complex question. However, this question can be made much easier once one realizes that there is not one, but two questions here; the big question and the small question. The big question is whether or not there is any kind of being, sentient or not, which can be considered solely responsible for the creation of the universe and everything in it. The small question is the more specific form, the one which must be asked on a religion by religion basis. Once we determine the question being asked, the answer becomes quite clear. The answer to the small question is no. Gods like Zeus, Thor, Yahweh, Amun-ra et al. almost certainly do not exist. Their nature and deeds are mythologies invented by man. As for the big question, the answer is largely irrelevant.
For what reason can we say such a vast thing as the possibility of a god is irrelevant? The answer lies in our own natural lack of understanding. If such a thing as the god in question does indeed exist, we do not know anything about it or if it even exists with any certainty. Therefore, we cannot begin to hypothesize its nature in any way; we cannot assume to know its motives, its desires, or its personal preferences. Once we do, we move back into the small question, and the answer to that question is no. With any such hypotheses, we create our own versions of God, and this is where religion begins to form.
So then why is it we can so quickly answer the small question? The assertion that gods such as the ones previously listed do not exist may seem rather unfounded at first; how can one say something so definitively? The truth is, it's a matter of probability. Religious texts make many claims which are now known to be untrue. The errancy of these texts does not necessarily disprove the god they are attributed to. It does, however, attest to the correctness of the doctrine itself, and if a religious doctrine is incorrect, chances are the god it proposes is incorrect as well. In order to believe any such god exists, one would need to more or less take another person's word on it. But what reason is there to believe this person? Why should they be given any credit? On what basis can we accept what they say?
The fact of the matter is that there is simply no evidence for the claims made in these writings. More importantly, there is evidence to suggest that various religions are wrong on key issues. For example, the Christian view surmises the direct creation of the human race sans evolutionary processes. The Koran suggests the Earth is flat and orbited by the sun. Scientific study has shown these accounts to be incorrect, much to religion's discredit. Additionally, there is the "one true religion" problem. When compared against each other, various religions will contain histories and causations of the universe which will contradict and conflict. With no evidence for either we have no way to decide which is correct, but with no evidence for either it would be safe enough to say neither. Perhaps, however, it's the numbers which truly testify to the improbability of any proposed god.
Let's think for a moment about the size of a religion compared to the populace. This can be done with any religion, but for now we'll focus on the Biblical God. Judaism has been around for about 5,000 years. For the most part they don't take any converts, so it's mostly who's been born into the faith. Christianity has existed for just under 2,000 years. Even if we combine these Abrahamic faiths, it's still not a very large amount of people, given how many people it is we're talking about. As of 2012, Christians make up between 31-35% of the current world population of an estimated 7 billion, no more than half of the world. If we consider the age of this religion compared to the age of the human race, about 100,000 years (using scientific data, not religious text), we find that this god has only existed for about 5% of mankind's existence. If we compare all of this to the total number of people estimated to ever have been born, we find that only 1.75% (barring fluctuations in demographics; this number isn't perfectly accurate but it's a basic estimation, the real number is perhaps smaller) of people who have ever lived (estimated by the Population Reference Bureau in 2011 to be 107,602,707,791) believe or believed in the God of Jesus Christ.
This, however, is not even the full picture. We must also take into consideration the other religions which have existed throughout human history. The classical faiths of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were polytheistic. In comparison to other faiths, their beliefs in no way match up. By most followers of the monotheistic religions we have today, and they are largely rejected as "pagan." In antiquity, however, they were quite widespread. Human civilization was in a constant state of flux, with every conquering or change of dynasty bringing with it a new faith to which all in the land were expected to convert. The sheer number of the gods created by man (estimated to be around 4000, but we can't account for those of which there is no surviving documentation) testifies to one thing: the Abrahamic god is not special. The only thing that separates him from Zeus, Thor, Shiva, Amun-Ra et al. is the fact that he currently has the most followers. But this, as history has taught us, means mostly nothing. The Roman religion was spread throughout the empire, which was between 30-40% of the world population at that time, larger than Christianity's hold on the world today. But then, where is Zeus now?
The point I'm making is that this god, or really any god for that matter, is small, and that is only compared to the human race, let alone the planet. In comparison to this grand and expanding universe, he is miniscule. If this god is the one true god, it really doesn't make sense that documentation and worship of this god would make up such an incredibly minute piece of the universal puzzle. With that in mind, why would it be rational to think this god is more real and worthy of worship than any other? How is this god different from any other? The answer is simple: it isn't.
Does that answer the question?
Jenkins, chap with wings there, five rounds rapid!