Does God Exist? Overview of Resources on the Existence of God & Debates

Does God Exist? Understanding the Question:
A common question which atheists hear a lot is ‘why don’t you believe in God?’ Theists, religious or not, have trouble imagining why anyone would not believe in at least some sort of god, preferably their own. When a belief occupies such a central place in a person’s life and even identity, this is understandable. The fact is, there are many reasons why atheists might not believe in any gods. Most atheists can cite multiple reasons and every atheist is different. Read More...

What is God? Defining the Question:


Although there is potentially infinite variation in what people mean by “God,” there are some common attributes which are often discussed, especially among those who come from a generally Western tradition of religion and philosophy. Because it relies heavily upon a long tradition of intersecting religious and philosophical inquiry, it is commonly referred to as “classical theism,” “standard theism,” or better still “philosophical theism.” Read More...

Gods & Goddesses Around the World:


Although most debates between atheists and theists are over the god of classical, philosophical theism in the West, there is potentially infinite variation in the sorts of attributes and actions that can be ascribed to gods. Even a cursory review of the history of human religion reveals just how varied theism can really be; a more thorough familiarity can be useful when discussing theism and religion generally.

What is Theology? Studying God:


Theology describes the study, writing, research, or speaking on the nature of gods, especially in relation to human experience. Typically the concept includes the premise that study is done in a rational, philosophical manner and can also refer to specific schools of thought — for example, progressive theology, feminist theology or liberation theology. The study of theology is usually done in religious institutions where the promotion of religious beliefs is part of the mission. Read More...

Debating God:


Debates between atheists and theists over the existence of God are common, but really good and productive debates are rare. I’m not talking about the formal, professional debates between trained debaters; I’m talking about more personal and private debates — serious discussions between serious people. What can be done to improve their quality and ensure that time isn’t wasted? Read More...

Arguments Against the Existence of God:


There are a number of different ways to argue against the existence of gods (atheological arguments). Some start from the claimed characteristics of this god and others start from reality, but most end up converging. In the end, the argument is that the god which is said to exist is either incompatible with reality or is incompatible with itself (because its claimed characteristics conflict). None work against all possible gods; most work against the most popular gods, though. Read More...

Arguments For the Existence of God:


There is a limited number of arguments offered for the existence of gods, although there are certainly variations and ways to make old arguments look new. Most purport to prove that a single, personal, creator-god exists, so that's primarily the sort of argument which will be discussed here; however, a few are compatible with other sorts of gods. It’s also rare for any of these arguments to prove the existence of the god which the claimant actually believes in. Read More...

What is Theism? Who Are Theists?:


To put it simply, theism is a belief in the existence of at least one god — nothing more, nothing less. Theism does not depend upon how many gods one believes in. Theism does not depend upon how the term ‘god’ is defined. Theism does not depend upon how one arrives at one's belief, nor upon how one defends that belief. Theism and theist are general terms which cover a lot of different beliefs and people. Read More...

What is Atheism? Who Are Atheists?:


The more common understanding of atheism among atheists is “not believing in any gods.” No claims or denials are made — an atheist is a person who is not a theist. Sometimes this broader understanding is called “weak” or “implicit” atheism. There is also a narrower sort of atheism, sometimes called “strong” or “explicit” atheism. Here, the atheist explicitly denies the existence of any gods, making a strong claim which will require support at some point. Read More...

How the Question of God is Addressed on This Site:


Some people may find it strange that the question of the existence of gods is addressed at all on this site. If atheists don’t believe in any gods, then why bother talking about them? What is there to discuss? Isn’t it just a waste of time? Ideally, such concerns would be correct — in an ideal world, perhaps there wouldn’t be any reason or need for atheists to spend much, if any, time dealing with questions about the existence of gods.

This isn’t an ideal world, however, and in this world there are questions about the existence of gods which need to be dealt with because there are so many claims about the existence of so many alleged gods. So long as there are theists who insist on claiming that there are gods that we should believe in, atheists will need to tools to evaluate these claims, understand what they mean, and reach some sort of conclusion about them.

That is the purpose of the resources explained here. On this site you will find information on who atheists are, who theists are, how ‘God’ is commonly defined, what the major arguments are, and how debates should proceed. All of this material is presented from an atheistic perspective, naturally, but I seek to be as fair and as objective as possible when stating theistic and religious positions. If I’m not, then atheists who try to use this material will find themselves ill-prepared to deal with the reality of theistic arguments once faced with them.

Last updated by Morgan Matthew Jul 29, 2008.

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