Archive for March 13th, 2012

March 13, 2012

The God Of Personal Necessity

Supporting  one delusion requires supporting many others. If  any delusion is out of place, the whole delusional house of cards comes tumbling down. SOB

The God of Personal Necessity

This is probably the second most popular religious fallacy and, like the God of the Gaps fallacy is accepted by very many otherwise intelligent people.  Like the God of the Gaps fallacy it too is so ludicrous when spelled out that it’s astonishing that it’s even attempted, yet it crops up time and again in discussion with believers of all creeds.

It takes several forms but essentially the argument is always, there must be a god otherwise the consequences would be [something undesirable, unpleasant or otherwise unacceptable].
Some examples are:
  • There must  be a god otherwise there would be no morality;
  • There must be a god otherwise there would be no purpose to my life;
  • There must be a god otherwise I would have nowhere to go when I die;
  • There must be a god otherwise I would not be so special that the universe was created for me;
  • There must be a god otherwise the explanation for everything would be too hard for me to understand;
  • There must be a god otherwise I would be just another animal and I’m too important for that;
  • There must be a god otherwise my invisible friend would not be real;
  • There must be a god otherwise I would just be talking to myself when I pray;
  • There must be a god otherwise my belief in it would be wrong.  (This is often referred to as ‘faith’ – I believe it, therefore it must be true.)


Of course, there is always the unspoken subtext that this god is the locally popular god, or at the very least, the god I was told to believe in when I was a child.  There is never any question that it might be a different one, even one no one has heard of.
And nor is there ever any consideration that things may indeed not be as the believer would like them to be.  The idea that the universe may not be compliant and cosy is never considered
There is, of course, absolutely nothing at all in this argument unless it can be shown that somehow, personal necessity creates gods; that somehow gods are obliged to exist if and when believers require them to and these gods have exactly the right characteristics required by personal necessity.
The surprising thing is that this delusion often persists into adulthood and so allows believers to be duped by charlatans who earn a living partly by reassuring them that their god is indeed everything they need it to be.  It’s probably the nice warm glow of self-affirmation which makes this such a persistent and attractive fallacy for both religious exploiters and their victims alike.
Of course, it’s also one of the hardest fallacies to explain to a believer because so much of their persona is invested in this delusion.  That their god fills their personal requirements so perfectly and completely is often the reason they subscribe to the ‘faith’ in the first place.  To consider for one moment that their god might not conform to their requirements is to attack their entire reason to be deluded in the first place.