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Refutation of Religion


I am an atheist. There is no reason for me to be religious as there is no evidence to support such beliefs (i.e. the existence of a supernatural creator, the existence of a heaven and hell, or of a moral code laid out by an all powerful being or group of beings). Religion does not require belief in the existence of a God, however because God is such a dominant theme amongst religions it will be the primary focus of this article. Many of the arguments raised here are also applicable to Godless religions as they too depend upon faith as opposed to reason or empirical evidence.

Note: God will be referred to as "He" at various points in this article simply because it is traditionally done so, though I would be more tempted to refer to God as an "it". Those who believe in God (or Gods) of any kind shall be referred to as "theists". I will also refer to God in the singular even though what I say may also be applicable to those who believe in a plurality of Gods.

Definition of God

To begin with, I will have to define what God is. God is (supposedly) a supernatural being who created the Universe and all things within it. He exists outside of time and outside of human perception. Of course, this becomes a rather large problem when you try to prove God exists at all. God (again, supposedly) is an uncreated, self-existent, all-knowing source of reality and is worshipped in many forms throughout the world. God is something which one must believe in based on faith alone, without any real evidence to support his existence.

Why do People Believe in God(s)?

Until relatively recently the human race didn't really understand the world in much detail. Until the information revolution brought about by the printing press in the 15th-16th centuries, science as we know it today was very limited in both breadth and depth. Society was based on religion. Since the dawn of civilization humans have turned to God as a means of explaining what they cannot explain. This is known as the "God of the gaps" argument or the "argument from ignorance" (Thomas 2005). This is the core of the argument between science and religion. Science and faith are incompatible. You cannot advocate science and faith simultaneously as science demands observed evidence before belief, whereas faith demands belief before observed evidence (or more often without it at all).

There are many reasons why the idea of God is an appealing one. The comfort factor being one example. Having the belief that there's some all-powerful guardian watching over you can make the world a bit less frightening. A belief in God also makes things intellectually much easier. Who created everything? God, of course. Why is the sky blue? God made it so, of course. However, the most likely reason to believe in God is because one is told to do so, as I will discuss.

Theists may sometimes even draw upon the fact that most people in the world have at least some religious belief as an argument supporting the existence of God. This is quite easily debunked since it is merely an example of the appeal to popularity logical fallacy. A huge majority of people are sheep. Institution, upbringing and social interaction are to blame for the continuing trend of religious belief. People are not born with the idea that a God exists, it is given to them, passed on from previous generations or from "those who know". Religion is commonly taught in schools, religious practice is entrenched in society and even amongst those people who are not religious in the traditional sense, the idea that there is a God in the way of some kind of "higher reality" or "greater being" is nonetheless very common. This can be supported by the fact that different religious beliefs are common in different parts of the world, and this disparity points to the fact that religion is taught and is not revealed to people through supernatural revelations. It doesn't mean that these people are plain stupid or anything like that since such a deeply interwoven social belief is very difficult to change. However, it is the same as the now rejected idea that the world is flat or that it is the centre of the Universe, in the sense that even when these things were proven false, it took a while for it to "sink in" as the previous consensus was so rigidly believed to be the truth. One tends to find that in societies where much of the population is religious that the more highly educated people are the most likely to hold atheist or agnostic views.

Karl Marx, despite his (dismal) failure in the politico-economic arena, actually had a fairly accurate view of religion. He saw it as a means of social control. The church was a very powerful entity in centuries gone by, and with such power it was able to control people through fear of things such as punishment after death for sins in life. Because in these times people had no means to learn about the world for themselves, they had to be told, in the form of church services mainly - at least in Europe this was the case.

No Scientific Evidence

The lack of real, observable evidence for God may lead to the proposition "God may or may not exist", as there is no way of proving that he does exist or indeed that he doesn't (however, later I will explain what it can be safely stated categorically that God does not exist). Theists on the other hand may make the claim that because you can't prove he doesn't exist, therefore he does exist. However this is illogical as it is an example of negative proof. Since there is no evidence within what I see as reality to suggest that God exists, then it is only rational to reject the idea and forget about it until evidence presents itself. The alternative means I could come up with any ridiculous improvable claim and it would have equal credibility to that of God. An example would be to claim there is an invisible, incorporeal dragon monster which breathes heatless fire in my garden. One cannot prove it's not there, but one cannot prove it is either, rendering the claim pointless. Even if it was real, it has no impact on my life whatsoever so again, I should ignore the whole matter. God is the same, and the theist's defence of God uses the fact that you cannot prove the non-existence of God. If I look at the Universe, the reality which I perceive, I do not see God anywhere, I just see the Universe. Theists argue that there is a God out there, even though you cannot sense one in any way. There is no scientific evidence for the existence of a God, and there is no valid reason to believe in such a thing.

Origins of the Universe & Improbability

All this said, a theist may then question how the Universe came to be, if it was not created by God, with the belief that the Universe is far too unlikely and complex to have simply come into being by itself. This is known as the argument from design: The belief that the Universe must have been designed by a consciousness. As evidence to support God's existence theists often talk about amazing events which must have been caused by some super being, because they are too unlikely or magnificent to be explained otherwise.

Well, I do not know how the Universe came to be, and nobody does at this point in time. Our scientific knowledge has not reached a point where it is able to fully explain the origin of the Universe. Theories have been made about the Big Bang, but they are still theories, and even if it is a correct theory, it doesn't even begin to explain what caused this initial event or what preceded it, if anything. This gap in our knowledge seems to be why people have thought up the idea of a creator being. It effectively solves the problem and fills the gap, even though it is completely arbitrary and imagined. Instead of this, it is surely better to admit that we do not know the answers and try and find them through research and study. Only then we can hope to gain a real understanding of the Universe. Even if we do not ever find proof of God (or more likely, the real beginning of the Universe) we may still discover new and important things along the way. This is how science and technology advances. Religious beliefs simply silence any questions by inventing a supernatural answer. If one does not understand a problem and has no information upon which to base a judgement of the problem, then it is of no use to make up a theory about it and just assume it valid until someone proves you wrong. It should just be accepted that the gap in knowledge is there, and shall remain until we find the real answers to fill it.

The fatal flaw with the improbability argument, the suggestion that there must be some kind of intelligence behind the Universe because it's simply too complex to be a result of chance, is that it attempts to solve the problem by creating an even bigger problem. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion (2006) calls this the "Ultimate 747" because an argument often used by theists is that if the Universe was not created by an intelligence it would be akin to a gust of wind blowing through a scrap yard and creating a fully functioning Boeing 747. By the "Ultimate 747", Dawkins was pointing out that if the Universe is improbable, then a super-intelligent and all-powerful being which is supposed to have created it is an even bigger improbability. The theist argument makes the problem even worse than it was to begin with.

Regarding these other seemingly amazing occurrences; chance and randomness are quite remarkable and sometimes so much so that it is very difficult for humans to dismiss amazing occurrences as simple luck. However, randomness is a part of nature, or rather, unpredictability is part of nature. People, unfortunately, are very gullible and just have to dream up a supernatural explanation for strange happenings, perhaps just because it makes things more exciting for them. Indeed, the idea of ghosts as one example, creates a whole market of TV shows involving ghost hunting or films involving ghosts. There is actually a society in England which offers a million pound reward for any evidence whatsoever for any supernatural occurrence, however small. Not one person has come forward to claim this prize. So why has no mystic, clairvoyant, or other person claiming to have supernatural abilities ever had their abilities proven by these scientists / parapsychologists? Because doing so would reveal them as they frauds they are.

Other arguments related to the origin of the Universe are extremely simple. They involve using God as an arbitrary terminator for an infinite regress of some kind. For example, it is suggested that there couldn't have been an infinite amount of time before now, therefore something must have existed before time. A theist might simply say this proves God exists, though it clearly does no such thing. Similar arguments are made using the proposition that "physical things can't have always existed" or "there had to be an initial cause of existence". None of these arguments go anywhere, and certainly do not prove the existence of God.

Contradiction of the Primacy of Existence

Possibly the most fundamental and damaging problem with the argument for God is that it presupposes a content-less consciousness, which is a contradiction. It suggests that there existed a consciousness before existence itself. It is impossible for there to be a consciousness which is aware of nothing, because it ceases to be conscious. Consciousness requires there be something to be conscious of. If God preceded existence, then He contradicts the very nature of consciousness.

Contradictions of Free Will & God's Benevolence

If God created the Universe and is an omniscient and omnipotent force as religions claim, then everything that happens is effectively dictated and predetermined. This would explain luck and randomness, but if this is true, then our free-will must merely be an illusion: Everything that happens is a result of God's will. Yet, this contradicts the idea that we must choose our actions in life in hope of positive judgement after we die. The idea of God implies both fate and free-will, and they are essentially incompatible. Religion has always functioned as a tool of social control. It creates a fear of punishment and hope of reward after death which thereby restricts people's behaviour in life, but if everything is pre-determined, how can you try to avoid your fate? Also if God is so powerful, why would he let suffering continue? If he is so benevolent, why create the Universe so that it allowed suffering to exist at all? If God does exist then he must have a twisted sense of humour. The qualities associated with God are mutually exclusive. He cannot be both 100% benevolent AND all powerful as he would have done something to end suffering. The fact that he cannot exist as theists portray him quite clearly means he is a product of human imagination.

Arguments from Scripture

Some theists will point to religious texts such as the Bible as evidence for the existence of God. However, all religious texts are quite clearly products of human beings. If they were the inspired word of an all-powerful, all-knowing being then surely they would contain knowledge which was not available to people at the time of their writing. No such knowledge exists. Furthermore, a lot of what is contained in religious texts is contradictary, probably thanks to the fact that there were multiple authors. Also, a great deal of the stories in the Bible which are supposed to be historical events are completely unverifiable, for example there is no evidence outside the Bible that anyone called Moses existed, much less led thousands of slaves from Egypt. Lastly, a great deal of what is contained in the Bible promotes violence, cruelty and prejudice - these parts are simply ignored by the mainstream.

Spiritual Feelings & Revelation

People who claim to "feel" God's presence also says nothing about the reality of his existence. There are many people around the world who claim to have felt the presence of God, or who have been "touched by the Holy Spirit". Feelings and emotions are not tools of cognition, they are post-cognitive responses. Internal feelings and thoughts do not affect or reflect external reality, for example a schizophrenic may firmly believe that everyone wants to kill him, but that still does not mean it is the case. Different people's views of God are also varied, so this universal inconsistency invalidates the claim that feeling his presence in whichever way somehow means he exists.

Mankind's Significance

Our great significance is also emphasized by theists. The human race, even though it is such a small pinprick in the fabric that is the Universe; we are still illustrated as being of importance by religion. The Universe is vast. The human race is miniscule, and individual people are more so. We may be the most intellectually advanced species that we know of, but who knows how far the mind can advance? Who knows what other alien races there are which far surpass us in whichever ways? Religion often shows us to be at our height of evolution, though this is blatantly false. Mankind is only significant to Mankind.

The Soul & the Afterlife

The ideas of a soul or the afterlife are often closely linked with religion, though they can be separated from traditional religion and believed separately. Questions about these things are extremely common, however, neither the existence of a soul, nor the afterlife can be proven. Ghosts caught on camera and seen by people, as well as other such experiences, are all well and good but they provide no concrete foundation to say that they mean ghosts exist, or that the soul separates from the body after death. First, how do you even define what the soul is? The collective thoughts, knowledge, experiences, emotions and memories of a person? The self-awareness that one has? These things combined? As far as we know these are produced by the matter in our brains and the electro-chemical activity which occurs within them. In effect, we are just a very complicated computer which instead of being powered by electricity, is powered by nutrition and oxygen, the human body's ability to respire. Why are we aware of ourselves? It could simply be because we are so complex, but of course, we do not know for sure. The afterlife is like the idea of God though. There's no evidence of it, and so it's irrational to believe in it until the evidence of it arrives.


This article is not about disrespecting (a lot of) people's opinions on this matter, since you cannot have an opinion on reality. God either exists or he doesn't, and people's opinions are nullified by the facts. No opinion deserves any respect simply because someone holds it. Most opinions are inherited from someone / somewhere else anyway. I have simply tried to illustrate the seemingly obvious flaws in religious belief. I do not believe in the existence of God, and why should I? I don't suggest that people should abandon hope and creative thinking surrounding the subject, but religious beliefs which dictate behaviour or moral codes based on mystic, unnatural grounds should not be followed. It really is beyond me how so many people around the world can follow something so absolutely, even though it has no proof of existing whatsoever. It's the biggest con of all human civilization. This article could have been much longer and I could have gone into a lot more detail, but I think the fundamental problems with religion are all that are needed. I recommend The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins for further reading.

This article was based upon works originally written by The Last Ninja.


Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. USA: Bantam Books.

Mathew. (2005). Common Arguments. The Atheism Web [online]. Available from: http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/arguments.html [Accessed: 10/03/06]

Nirmalananthan, N. (1997). A Refutation of Religion [online]. Available from: http://www.neurotoxic.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/refutation.html [Accessed: 10/01/05]

Thomas, M. (2005). Why Atheism? [online]. Available from: http://www.godlessgeeks.com/WhyAtheism.htm [Accessed: 25/01/05]