I’ll admit it, I’ve been driving this point home relentlessly in the last few posts, but it’s a score (I think) well worth repeating: apologetics only exists because theism is conclusively fraudulent. There isn’t a single validity test (hard or soft, cosmological, philosophical, or scientific) that any religion on the planet has ever passed. If any given mythology were even remotely true (a claim made by all) then that cult, its deities, its rituals, behavioural codes and canons would have emerged independently at least twice on the planet. Its truth would in fact be demonstrable in this supernatural event. This, however, has never happened, nor will it ever happen. Captain Cook did not stumble upon Aborigines sucking back Christian communion wafers at Botany Bay, Columbus was not confronted by a wall of Arawak asses pointed away from Mecca at sunrise on the beaches of Santa María de la Concepción, and Pedro Álvares Cabral did not find tribes of Aimore Indians auditing their Thetans with shiny new Mark Super VII Quantum Electropsychometers. This fact alone is proof theism is unnatural, and if neglected for just one generation its deities and practices would simply die off. Granted, a few generations down the line some other nonsense would emerge, superstition seems (for now) an inevitable blunder, but as Penn Jillette rightly observed, it wouldn’t be the same nonsense.
There is however a test (perhaps the only one) which apologists can in fact turn to to rationalise their religion without necessarily also having to meet the traditional Burden of Proof demands which plague them from sunup to sundown every day. It’s a rather simple exam devised to establish the plausibility of solipsism which, by default, also serves to prove or disprove solipsism’s opposite number: delusion… a word saddled with religious belief due to the failures of apologetics. The same exam can however also be used to prove (to some acceptable degree) god, and for this reason all aspiring apologists should now listen very, very carefully. Now bear with me for a second. Solipsism, the idea that nothing outside your mind is real, contends that since your present experience is generated in your brain (based on inputs from your senses) and given your brain can generate the same experiences without the input from the senses (a dream or hallucination) then there is no guarantee that what you’re experiencing right now is real. That’s to say your reality could all be-self generated, meaning nothing but your mind actually exists. If we turn solipsism inside out we get delusion: an experience which a person believes is real but is in fact self-generated. Now thankfully for the purposes of brevity both solipsism and delusion can be ruled out using the same process: examine the experience and see if anything in it can not be from your own mind. A self-generated delusion (a pot plant talking to you, for example) cannot contain information you don’t already have because you are generating it. Reality on the other hand does contain things you don’t know, meaning it can’t be self-generated, and this pretty much puts a bullet between the eyes of solipsism.
Now here’s how this applies to both professional and bidding apologists alike. A theist can go a long way in establishing some plausibility for their god by asking the same question of their particular belief: can my god be a self-generated delusion or, perhaps, a solipsistic error? The answer the theist is looking for is of course, No, but to arrive at that answer the theist has to determine whether their religion has revealed anything to us (at any time) that we don’t already know.
The question to everyone then is: has any mythology ever achieved this?
*parts of this post derived from ExistentialAtheism.