Does God Exist? Is God Useful?

I recently watched this conversation between William Lane Craig and Sir Roger Penrose. Sir Roger Penrose & William Lane Craig • The Universe: How did it get here & why are we part of it? - YouTube
Shorter summary here: Sir Roger Penrose debates the sort of God he can believe in with William Lane Craig - YouTube
In the shorter video, I understand Penrose to be saying I don’t find God useful to explain my perceptions, and especially if God is like us, then he’s even less useful. Watching Craig trying to convince him otherwise was sort of painful.

I also just watched Sabine Hossenfelder’s videos about existence here:

The first video from Hossenfelder was interesting, because I do find God useful to explain much that I perceive. The second was interesting, because I realized scientists would not find God useful to explain much that they perceive.

What’s the difference?

Is it that scientists concede God is scientifically possible, but there’s no reason to think God is plausible?

I think God is plausible because of my own experience and studying apologetics, but that God exists is also true because of my own philosophical thinking.

However, I think Christians miss that we consider God to be useful because we understand ourselves to be sinners. And that God would make us like himself is useful because that means we can have a Savior. All of the rest of our utility of God is explained within these two ideas. Craig failed to explain this to Penrose.

Intelligent design and philosophical discussions are useless unless you explain to a non-Christian that you are are a sinner who needs a savior and that’s the usefulness of being a Christian.

Agree? Disagree?

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No, I don’t think that’s the issue. Or at least, that’s not the issue for me.

There’s a lot about the biblical god that is not plausible. But if one considers a more generic god, said the god of the deists, then I don’t see anything implausible about that.

However, as Sabine says, the concept of god is not something that I find useful. I understand that some people might find it useful. But, from the point of science, the god concept is not useful at all.

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Quite calling me a “sinner”. Sin has no legal, ethical, or moral basis in this country. I don’t need to be “saved” nor want to be saved.

I watched the Penrose-Craig discussion. Craig argued for a deist God while Penrose just said he doubts its existence.

Do you believe in good and evil? How do you explain people’s behavior? I actually really don’t know how most atheists think.

What is not plausible?

Right, I get that. I understood from watching the videos and a few others that arguing intelligent design with a scientist will get you nowhere. It’s a philosophical or moral discussion.

I definitely do think everyone has to concede that science cannot rule out God.

Yes, I know the difference between good and evil. I see a lot of good and evil in people’s behavior. However, I reject the notion of sin against an imaginary god. Sin has no legal, moral, or ethical basis in a modern secular society like we have in the United States in 2020.

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Now if only we could get the ID-Creationists to understand science cannot rule in God either.


I don’t think that’s the point. The point is that nature shows God is plausible. The scientific method though does not require a belief in God, if I understand correctly where scientists are coming from - even though physics erases the beginning of the universe - it’s just Penrose and Smolin have come up with ideas for eternal creation so they think that erasure doesn’t matter.

So good and evil is what you decide or what society decides?

The Adam and Eve story is not plausible, except as a fable.
The Noah’s ark story is not plausible, except as fiction.
The Tower of Babel story is not plausible except as a “Just So” story.
The Jonah story is not plausible, except as fiction.
The biblical order of creation is not plausible (daylight before there was a sun).

I could continue, but that’s enough for now.


We are evolved social animals. Each person, even young children know what is good and what is evil, what is fair and what is unfair, what is just and what is unjust.

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Nature does not show that God is plausible. In fact our current understanding of nature is such that God is very improbable. And certainly not necessary to explain anything about the world.


so humanity survives better by using goodness, fairness and justice - is that what you’re saying? But yet, somehow society continues to perpetuate the same standards when humans developed from monkey or what? or do you think the standards evolve too?

OK - but just because a theory seem to comport to all of reality, do you have to throw the whole thing out? Like what if some of the story is real and the rest is made up? Everything you mentioned is in the Old Testament. How do you throw out the New Testament?

I thought this thread was about whether God is useful for science. My examples were intended to be to that point. Those implausibilities that I mentioned were not why I left Christianity. But they are good illustrations of why the Christian god is not useful to science.


Good point. To clarify, I meant that a scientist like Penrose was thinking about whether God was useful to explain anything we observe.

I was following up with comments even though they were off topic compared to what I intended to communicate in my post. The Bible stories you mention aren’t observable so they are not useful so much to science but more to history.

I was trying to point out the general theme of the Bible is useful as a moral argument and that’s more effective than a scientific argument that tries to make God more plausible.

Yes humanity does survive because of goodness, fairness and justice. Look at the process made since the ideals of The Enlightenment have taken hold.

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You don’t think racism is a sin?

No I don’t think racism is a sin because I don’t believe that sin exists. But I do see racism as a crime against people’s civil rights. And I find racism to be morally reprehensible and ethically wrong and evil. So racism is fundamentally against the rule of law, human rights. Racism, in all its forms is morally, ethically wrong and evil. It goes against the core values of our society.


I’m not sure “sin” is a useful category for anything. Would it be a sin to refuse God’s order to slaughter the Midianites? And what does THAT say about the “sinfulness” or non-sinfulness of racism, if declining to engage in divinely-ordered racism is a sin? We do have might-makes-right systems of justice on earth, but they don’t have a great record.

Moral reasoning cannot arise from systems of command. Omnipotence in relation to things is not enough to give one the power to turn right into wrong, or wrong into right. Only humans can judge such things.