Meme Grinder #13 – God & the Genetic Fallacy.


There are several things that we can say in response to this meme.

Firstly, this is something philosophers call the genetic fallacy. This fallacy is an attempt to undermine the truthfulness of a belief based on how it originated. As philosopher William Craig explains:

“The genetic fallacy is trying to invalidate a position by showing how a person came to hold it, and that’s obviously an invalid way of reasoning. A person might come to hold a belief for any number of reasons, some of them inadequate, but that doesn’t show that the belief itself is false” (1).

So, if you were born in Pakistan and became a Muslim by force it doesn’t in any way invalidate the Islamic worldview. Islam may be true or false independent of how someone came to believe in it, whether by force or by volition.

This is what we have with this meme. It assumes that belief in God is false because such a belief originated in the mind (I can’t help but ask where else our concept of God would have come from, if not the mind). Yet there is a built in assumption here, namely that God does not exist independent of the human mind. Well, how exactly does the skeptic know that? Does he possess omniscience (an ability to know all things)? Surely such is a claim beyond any epistemological ability for any human being. So, just because we contemplate God’s existence using our minds does not actually mean that he does not exist.

It also fails to note the need for a mind. How else are we to comprehend reality if it was not for our mind? In other words, how else could God reveal himself to us? It is far more plausible that God would have created the human mind so that not only could the human comprehend reality, but that God could also reveal himself to the human. That is, after all, the Christian position – that God created mankind with a mind.

The meme also assumes that God has not revealed himself to people. For example, 2000 years ago should have Jesus’ disciples, the skeptic James & the non-believer Paul all have rejected the physical post-mortem appearances of Jesus simply because a skeptic comes along exclaiming “Well, you just made up God in your mind!” Well, of course not. Likewise, should my lecturer in Ethics & Philosophy, who is also a pastor, reject a miraculous moment where God completely healed a churchgoer from brain cancer through him after prayer, and in front of a church congregation, reject his experience? Should a pastor I interviewed who anointed a deformed baby & only to see it recover fully the following day reject his experience? No, of course not for they have all had authentic experiences of God intervening in human history in some way. Would trying to convince them that God is merely a construct of the mind work? Of course not.

Throw it into the Grinder!


1. The One Minute Apologist. The Genetic Fallacy? Available.

One response to “Meme Grinder #13 – God & the Genetic Fallacy.

  1. Pingback: Meme Grinder #14 – ‘Atheism & the Claim to “Know” Religion.’ | Historical Jesus studies.·

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