magic elephant

Let’s say I tell you that I believe in the existence of the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant.

You ask me to define this being, and I tell you that it is…

"…an elephant who was not created by anything and whose non-existence is logically impossible".

Then you ask me how it is that I know anything about the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant. I respond:

“It communicates with me through the voice of my inner spirit, and tells me all about itself”

Now, when you ask me who made this Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant, or how it came to exist, I say to you:

"To ask what made the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant is a nonsense question. I already told you that the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant is an elephant who was not created and whose non-existence is logically impossible. To ask what made the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant demonstrates that you don’t understand what the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant is! If it had to be created, then it would not be the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant. Duh!"

At first glance, it seems as if I would be justified in raising such an objection. If I DEFINE this being as one that was not created, and whose non existence is logically impossible, then to ask where it came from, what created it, or to even ask for evidence of its existence seems meaningless and self-refuting.

But I’m sure this won’t convince you that the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant exists. Will it? And if not, why not?

Simple.

It is because I have merely defined the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant into existence i.e. I have implied its necessary existence in its definition only, and not demonstrated it. Such an approach is flawed because it can be used to justify belief in the existence all manner of imaginary things, such as mermaids, unicorns, goblins, our dear Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant…

…and gods.

Indeed, the answers I gave in response to questions raised about the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant are the kinds of answers many believers give in response to similar questions about the existence of a ‘God’. But if those answers are not sufficient to render a belief in the existence of the Super Invisible Immaterial Dancing Elephant reasonable, there is not reason why we should assume they hold as reasons to believe in the existence of a ‘God’ either.


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