Hemant Mehta’s 22 reasons to stop believing in God has convinced many to begin questioning their religious beliefs. Although skepticism is healthy, I’ve found it can often lead to some head-scratching conclusions.
If the first thought to come to you is “Why is he holding a banana?” you’d be right if your next thought is that this video really isn’t meant to be taken seriously. However, many do, so we’ll see how strong these reasons are before casting judgment.
1. If God knows everything we’re going to do in the future, we don’t have free will. But we do. If God doesn’t know everything we’re going to do in the future, He’s not really omniscient.
The first reason Mehta gives is a supposed contradiction in Christian theology. However, this objection is nothing more than the result of completely misunderstanding the theology altogether. It isn’t relevant to me because I do not believe in free will, but regardless, Mehta has fallen into the all-too-common trap of thinking God exists on a linear time plain the same way we do. Say my present is point C on a timeline that goes from A to Z (A being the moment I was born and Z being the moment I die). Mehta is also positing that God exists only on point C as well. His argument is that, because God knows everything we’re going to do in the future, we, therefore, have no free will. He is saying that God only exists in one point of time while having divine knowledge of what’s going to happen in another.
This is a thoroughly false concept of the Christian God.
Let’s go back to our timeline and describe why I do not believe in free will. If I exist in point C on the timeline God wouldn’t be another token on that timeline, He would be the paper the timeline was written on and He would be the one who writes the timeline.
We think that our history is history for God as well, but that is not so. He exists the same way 100 years behind us as He does 100 years into our future. Every moment of ours that ever was and ever will be is His “Now.” Mehta argues that God is a being that is progressing along the timeline with us but that idea is not true. In Christian doctrine, God exists outside of and above time. Our tomorrow is just as visible and real to Him as our today is to us. Therefore, it is not a case of God foreknowing or foreseeing our future, as if we were nothing but a program or fabricated story, but a case of God living in our future and sovereignly ordaining every moment of our lives.
2. God couldn’t stop a murder when there were only 4 people on Earth!
This dives into the argument of evil. Due to the nature of the argument I don’t have the time or the space to provide a thorough answer myself so I’ll link to a well thought and researched article here in respect to the argument at hand.
3. If we’re supposed to be God’s special creatures, then the universe is full of a lot of wasted space.
I’m not quite sure I understand what Mehta is implying with this one. For one, it seems strongly inconsistent with other arguments he has used against religion. If a religious person says he has all the answers of the known universe and a scientist humbly says “I don’t know” if he doesn’t yet know the answers, why is Mehta portraying absolute knowledge that the entire universe is “wasted space” (this also seems to be a strange backhanded indifference to the wonder of the universe itself)? In fact, science has shown that it isn’t wasted space (i.e. the fine-tuning argument).
4. The myth of a great flood and a virgin birth were around long before Jesus. Maybe those elements just make for a good story?
Before I answer this I’d like to point out this video is just under 2 years old at the time of writing this rebuttal. This argument is hugely ignorant and has been shown as such by scholars and historians many times throughout the years. A little research into the supposed “pagan influences” is enough to refute this. The comparisons are hardly identical as this list shows. None come close.
5. Virgins can’t get pregnant. Not without modern medicine, anyway.
This argument misses the mark simply because it assumes Christians believe that any virgin can be pregnant at any time. That is not what Christians believe. The virginal conception is a one-time miraculous event never to be repeated, and it’s validity is tied to many historical truth claims and proofs (i.e. the Resurrection).
6. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin? Christian. Barney Frank? Not a Christian.
I’m not one for politics so I’m not too aware of who these folks are. Many acts by Christians are hardly representative of the Christian doctrine itself. It’s simply a lazy cop-out from doing the legwork to see what Christianity itself says.
7. Isn’t it weird that God seems to agree with you about everything? And isn’t it weirder that God seems to agree with Christians who disagree with you about everything?
This is just another wording of the argument of Christian disunity, which I’ve looked at here.
8. If you ever wrote a book with that many contradictions in it, your publishers would have to pull it from the shelves.
I’ve yet to find a contradiction that can’t be harmonized with a little research and skepticism. If Mehta believes there are unsolvable contradictions, he needs to provide the evidence, which he hasn’t done.
9. If God made us in His image, why do we have vestigial body parts and organs that often fail?
The fact that our bodies disintegrate over time hardly means we weren’t made in God’s image. Mehta is implying that that verse tells us we are literally and physically made in the image of God. What it really means is that we were set apart as God’s representatives.
10. 99.9% of all the species God created are extinct. How many do-overs does God need?
The Genesis flood wasn’t a “do-over” but a revelation of sin’s destructive consequence. If it was simply a do-over I wouldn’t think God would wait two hundred years in order to save potentially everyone on earth, He would have flooded it immediately without warning.
11. God doesn’t exist because I said so. What, you don’t like that reason? Because that’s pretty much the same reason pastors and parents give to kids to convince them that God *does* exist.
This isn’t much of a reason either, and it conveniently excludes the well-read apologists and scholars who do give evidence for Christianity’s truth to their children.
12. The Holocaust
This is a repeat of question 2 on the argument of evil, so we needn’t address this again.
13. The proof people often give relies on their personal experiences — they felt God. God spoke to them. They just *know* God exists. It’s the sort of proof we’d never take seriously if it were applied anywhere else.
I agree with Mehta here. Subjective experience isn’t a solid foundation for belief. That’s not to say it should be ignored, but rather than seeing it as conclusive evidence in itself, it should be seen as supportive proof for what’s already established: the truth of the Resurrection. However, I have to fault Mehta for bringing it up. It does no good to use a strawman as an argument to stop believing in God.
14. Too many of God’s followers, using Bible verses to support their actions, have made life worse for other people.
This is a repeat of argument 6.
15. No matter what Ray Comfort says, bananas weren’t created to look like this. They evolved this way without God’s help.
This is where the banana comes in. The argument is since we formed bananas a certain way (he corrected his mistake in the video, it wasn’t evolution) we don’t need God. This, I will address in the next objection.
16. Every time science and religion battle it out, science wins.
This is a rather vague point so I’ll answer what I think he’s saying. Essentially what Mehta may be arguing here is that, since science answers what we used to attribute to gods we no longer need gods to explain the universe. This does well to answer the “Why don’t you believe in Zeus or Thor?” question, but placing the Christian God in there is a category mistake. God wasn’t thought up to be a mere explanation of the universe. Of course, the presence of a designer is reasonable to explain why the universe is as it is. However, it seems Mehta views the Christian God as nothing more than an explanation, which is false. It also makes the assumption that people created gods simply to explain how things work and have no relation to human beings aside from that.
17. You don’t need God to be a good person. So why not just cut out the middleman?
This argument woefully misses the point. The moral argument for God is that without God objective good and evil cannot exist. The argument is not that you need to believe in God to be a good person. Since he missed the point of the argument we needn’t defend it any further.
18. People have been saying Jesus will return during their lifetime… for many, many, many generations. He’s not coming back. It’s time to move on.
If no man knows the hour, we can conclude those claiming to know are likely going to be wrong. My conclusion is that the final resurrection will be random, at least, in the sense that it will happen in a time where it is least expected.
19. “God works in mysterious ways” is a euphemism for “Stop asking hard questions.”
I don’t use this term, and no one I know does, but I can’t fault those who do unless it’s used as a cover-up for doubt. If there is anything that causes concern in regards to Christianity, don’t ignore it or brush it off, I’d encourage you to find the answer. There are many (including myself) who can help.
20. Between tornadoes in OK, droughts in TX, and Hurricanes in AL, there are a lot of natural disasters going on in the places God loves.
This is another facet of the argument of evil, this time regarding natural disasters. I also won’t go into detail here as it would take way too long to provide a thorough answer so I will recommend Glenn’s article here.
21. You were made perfect, in God’s image. Except for your foreskin, apparently.
Once more Mehta raises the false implication that being made in God’s image means we are physically like Him. Already the point of this objection fails. This one is also a complaint against circumcision, a Jewish act of loyalty towards God and the covenant He established with them. This argument ignores the reason for circumcision and isn’t worth taking seriously.
And that brings Mehta’s video to a close. It’s amazing how many take this video as a serious argument against Christianity. It’s fraught with ignorant claims, misconceptions, false assumptions, and anti-religious bias that all create truly bizarre reasons to stop believing in God. Some, like the ones dealing with the problem of evil, are legitimate concerns worth answering, but the video is mostly a joke.
We will see Hemant Mehta again as he has another video in this series that’s worth checking out.