Argument from locality

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The argument from locality states that every religion that has ever existed, or will ever exist, had an origin at a specific time and place within a specific culture. Any god or gods who truly wanted all humans to follow them logically could have started their religion at the very instant that the human race appeared and would have informed all cultures, not just one, thus giving all humans who would ever be born an equal chance at joining. The fact that no religion has ever done this shows that no religion is the "correct" one — or, at least, that no religion so far has had a "rational" deity.


Tenets of the argument

  1. Any god who wanted all humans to follow him/her would have revealed themselves to all humans at once, not just one culture or race at a time.
  2. If rewards and punishment are given for belief and nonbelief respectively, then any god who waits hundreds or thousands of years before revealing itself to humans is unfair, since the people who lived and died before this revelation didn't have a chance to believe.
    • If believers are rewarded for their belief then it is unfair for only a specific group of people to receive more evidence than others.
    • And vice versa: if nonbelief is punished then it is also unfair for some people to receive less evidence than others (or no evidence at all).
  3. Any religion that strongly reflects the beliefs and thoughts of the time in which it was created is not the "true" one.

The argument and Christianity

  1. God revealed himself only to the Jews at first. He was the god of the Jews and no one else. It wasn't until Christianity came along that he became the god of the world.
  2. Even though Christianity states that its god will save anyone who follows him, he still waited thousands of years before revealing this plan to humanity. Plus, the reason he suddenly decided to save all humans instead of just the Jews was never explained — thus making it unfair for the millions of non-Jews who lived before Christ, who never got a chance to be saved.
  3. The Christian god rewards believers. Thus, the fact that he only revealed himself to a small group of people in the Middle East 2,000 years ago and left it up to humans to spread his word is very unfair of him.
  4. Non-belief is punished as well, which reinforces the unfairness of only telling a small group of people.
  5. The Bible strongly reflects the beliefs and thoughts of the time (e.g. a flat earth, women being inferior to men, slavery, etc.).

Possible Objections

William Lane Craig provided the following rebuttals in his debate with Christopher Hitchens:

  1. Population was not that high before jesus
  2. Jesus appears just before the exponential explosion of population
  3. Conditions were stable – roman empire, peace, literacy, law, etc.

Nevertheless, the above rebuttals fail to address the following:

  1. What happens to those who have never even heard of Christianity due to distance in time or space? What chance do they have in escaping damnation? Did they all go to Hell when they died, simply because God chose not to tell them the way to salvation? Or did they somehow get to Heaven without the redemptive powers of Jesus or even the Jewish law? And if so, if this is possible, then what was the point of sending Jesus or giving the law at all?
  2. Why does the Bible strongly reflects the beliefs and thoughts of the time? Why not something new?

Maybe God has already expected that some people will not believe in Him regardless of the evidence. Maybe God has his own standards to judge us. Maybe God wants us to explore the wonders of the world on our own. Maybe God wants us to develop our sense of morality on our own. Maybe. Yeah, maybe God does not exist at all!

See also


v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Argument from observed miracles · Personal experience · Argument from consciousness · Emotional pleas · Efficacy of prayer
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers · Argument from the meaning of life
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes
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