Most people haven't experienced God

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Argument againstThis argument is an objection to Some people say they have experienced God.
Keywords: God[ edit ].



“"Weakness of experience? Speak for yourself!" some will retort: "I never stop feeling God's existence, his presence, his listening, his love!" What can I say to them, except that I've never experienced anything like it? It's not for want of having looked for it, nor of having believed in it. But faith, for me, has never taken the place of presence. Oh, the emptiness of God in full churches! Oh, his silence, in our murmurs! When I was a teenager, I opened up about this to my high school chaplain: "No matter how much I pray," I told him, "God doesn't speak to me...". The priest, a man of heart and spirit, replied: "God doesn't speak, because He listens. This kept me dreaming for a long time. In the long run, however, I grew weary of this silence, and then it struck me as suspicious. How do you know if it's the silence of listening or the silence of non-existence? It reminds me of Woody Allen's quip: "I'm devastated! I've just learned that my psychoanalyst has been dead for two years: I didn't realize it! It's still possible to change psychoanalysts. But what about God, if there's only one, or if they all keep quiet? To each his own experience. One of the few things I know for sure about religion is that God has never said anything to me.”

André Comte-Sponville, The spirit of atheism, Albin Michel, 2006.


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