In a previous update, I made a claim in passing that “If god can interact with the natural world, then god ceases to be supernatural.” That is, any interaction between any god and the natural world can be observed. Such observations would be integral to forming hypotheses, theories, and ultimately proof that god does exist. Of course, this would do little to prove what exactly god wants of us, but that’s neither here nor there.
This sets up a conundrum for people who claim that supernatural agencies such as gods exist. That is, A) either god interacts with the natural world and can, therefore, be observed and tested, or B) god is supernatural and (to take the Deist route) remains supernatural by not interacting with the natural world. Until such a time that evidence can be gathered to support group A, the question of whether or not god exists is irrelevant. If evidence is impossible because the position is on B, then the question of whether or not god exists is also irrelevant.
Perhaps I’m being a little too narrow on the Deist model. There are some who claim that god created the universe, thus interacting with the natural world, but has since ceased its interaction with the universe. This necessarily implies that the evidence to support such a claim does indeed exist; we just haven’t discovered it yet. Unfortunately for them, this is not generally how science works. Usually (with very few, yet remarkable exceptions) we make observations and collect evidence prior to making a claim. Religion works the other way around, which is why it constantly must adapt to survive. Here the question is still irrelevant until we discover evidence.
I would imagine some might counter this argument by saying, “god is powerful enough to interact with us without leaving behind evidence.” There are two problems with this statement (actually three, if we include the first part of the claim, which is god does indeed exist). First, they are essentially saying that god is a natural being that can’t be observed. This creates a brand new conundrum. Why would any of us assume that natural phenomena lie permanently beyond the scope of inquiry? Wishful thinking, I suppose. Second, it is also saying that god cares enough about us to interact with us, but not enough about us to prove it. This is precisely the moment when religious people turn to faith. It’s again more wishful thinking than anything else. They hope that god will reveal himself and therefore blindly accept that he will.
Let’s turn this back around on me, to be honest and fair. In the beginning of this post I made two claims that rest on the assumption that god does exist (I do not claim that god exists, however; I merely set the scope of my argument). The first is that if god interacts with the natural world, then god is not supernatural. The second is that if god is supernatural, then god does not interact with the natural world. Both of these are merely ideas. They don’t even qualify as hypotheses because I don’t claim an ability to test these ideas. Indeed, I have no reason to test them, and I don’t plan to do so. Instead these “claims” exist merely as fun things for believers to consider. The limit of my argument is that it cannot be proven and therefore is irrelevant. Unfortunately for me, religion doesn’t work that way.