Can Christians claim to have the One, True God?

By Ryan Pauly

You don’t have to spend very much time interacting with atheists on the internet before you hear this objection: “There are almost 5,000 gods being worshiped by humans, but don’t worry… only yours is right.” The picture above was sent to me on Twitter last week in response to my blog about God’s hiddenness. There are other very popular forms of this argument. Richard Dawkins claims that Christians are atheists when it comes to Zeus, Thor, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and many others. Dawkins just goes one god further than the Christian. So the claim is either than I’m an atheist when it comes to 4,999 gods or that I’m dumb for claiming to have truth when I reject so many other options.

The reason this argument is so popular on the internet is that it is easy. It fits into a 140 characters for Twitter and can easily be turned into a meme. Here are examples I found from a very quick search on Twitter.there-are-almost-5000-gods-being-worshiped-by-humanity-but-dont-worry-only-yours-is-right

“There have been nearly 3000 Gods so far but only yours actually exists. The others are silly made up nonsense. But not yours. Yours is real.”

“there are thousands of religions practices. thousands of gods worshiped. but don’t worry. yours is the only right one.”

“30,000 religions and 5000 versions of Christianity and only ‘yours’ is the right one-you are a joke.”

“Roughly 4200 religions in the world; and only yours is the right one? You must be a genius and everyone else is dumb to not pick yours.”

This objection also works well because a good response can’t fit on Twitter or a meme (like most good responses or argument), and so it seems like the Christian is left without an answer. If you try to answer on Twitter, you are most likely going to get another short objection. Instead of giving you a short Twitter response,  I will hopefully help you understand this objection. This will help you see that there is a response and that the is just a bad, popular level objection. There’s nothing to worry about for the Christian.

Let’s start by applying the same logic of this objection to other scenarios to see if it even makes sense. The basic idea of this argument is that since different people believe different things, it is unreasonable to think that you are right. If a married couple does their finances and comes to two different conclusions on how much money is in their bank, does that mean they can’t know the truth? No, it means that either both are wrong or one is right and the other is wrong. Disagreement doesn’t lead to the absence of truth. A person can have the truth in a world of contrary beliefs.

The second idea I see with this objection is that Christians are basically atheists because they reject thousands of other gods. Does that follow? Is a married man basically a bachelor because he isn’t married to thousands of other women? To say that I am an atheist when it come to Zeus and Thor is like saying a married man is a bachelor when it comes to women other than his wife. The difference between a bachelor and a married man is the difference between a theist and an atheist. You would never say a married man is a bachelor for every other woman. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to say that a Christian is an atheist to every other God.

Another objection against Christianity that can be easily refuted by simply paying close attention to how silly it really is.

Imagine looking at a police lineup and telling the officer that person #4 committed the crime. What would you say if the officer responded by saying, “There are four other possible suspects… but only your guy is the right one-you’re a joke.” I don’t think you would say “Good point officer, I guess we are done here.” If this objection worked, defense attorneys could win every trial by saying “Roughly 7 billion people in the world; and only yours is the right one? You must be a genius and everyone else is dumb to not pick yours.” There’s a reason we don’t see this objection being used with police or in court.

The reason we don’t see these situations in court is that we base the innocence or guilt of a suspect on evidence. We know that not all suspects are the same, and in the same way, not all gods are the same. If there is positive evidence that a certain person committed a crime, then we have good reason to rule out all other possible suspects. We don’t use the possibility of other suspects to say that we can’t know who committed the crime. If that were true, no one would go to jail. If we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one person is guilty, then other possible suspects are innocent. In the same way, I am convinced that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Christian God exists.

The reasonable person makes a conclusion based on the evidence, and this is why it is reasonable to conclude that I do have the truth in a world of different beliefs. There is very good evidence that God exists. I won’t get into that evidence here, but I barely scratched the surface of examining the evidence when I wrote my blog Is Belief in God a Rational Position? These are just three of over a dozen arguments for His existence. A big difference that atheists, who present this objection, fail to recognize is that Thor, Zeus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are all gods inside the universe. The Christian God exists outside the universe and is the creator of all physical things. We are talking about very different categories.

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19 replies
  1. Kyle says:

    The police lineup example is wrong. It would be correct if there were multiple people pointing out all the other suspects and still yet more people pointing out suspects not even in the lineup. The same evidence would be presented by multiple people to support the accusation for different suspects. Still yet more evidence would be offered by others to refute your claim. So yeah, the cop (and atheist) would be right to be skeptical of your claim that you know the truth. Also the claim of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is that he created the universe. He is outside the universe and the creator of all things So this is no different than your god.

    • John says:

      Kyle, while you initially make a decent point, you are incorrect when you say “the SAME evidence would be presented by multiple people”. That’s the whole point of what Ryan is saying. The evidence for the Christian God is unique, fits with reality, and can be tested against accurate, reliable, eye witness, historical documents. While the flying spaghetti monster might be outside the universe, there is no evidence for such a god or documentation that such a being exists.

      • Kyle says:

        I’m so glad you asked. As we are well aware from the BGV Theorem we can fairly definitively say that the universe had a beginning. I can form an argument as follows:

        1. Everything which begins to exist, has a cause.

        2. The universe began to exist.

        3. The universe had a cause.

        This follows easily from the premises. Now as for evidence of what or who might have created the universe we need only look all around us. He has left his noodly mark in billions of places. From cosmic structures deep in space to the smallest microbial elements. He truly is amazing.

  2. Brian says:

    I agree that the police line-up is a poor analogy or example. However, if there was a murder and many people presented evidence, sometimes the same evidence, for different suspects, would that mean that there was no murder? Would it be reasonable to assert that all suspects murdered the victim? If a jury, hearing all the evidence, convicted a single person, would you suggest that the jury was wrong because there were other viable suspects, at least to some degree?

    Flying requires an atmosphere.
    Spaghetti is made of flour and water (sometimes egg).
    Monsters – I’m not sure the constraints on being a monster.

    But, 2 of the 3 aspects of the FSM are constrained within the universe, and cannot logically exists outside the creation. So I don’t believe you are correct to simply assert that a FSM is outside of the universe.

    • Andy Ryan says:

      “Flying requires an atmosphere”

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster is BY DEFINITION omnipotent, and therefore requires no atmosphere to fly.

      “Spaghetti is made of flour and water (sometimes egg).”

      The FSM is made out of non-material flour, water and egg, and can thus exist outside the creation.

      Anyone can come up with ad hoc explanations if they can rely on omnipotence and defining their way out of a problem.

      • Brian says:

        Can you please provide a reference to the definition of FSM? The reason I ask is because I have head others use “unicorns” rather than FSM. Am I to understand the unicorns are by definition immaterial and omnipotent?

        So if I understand you correctly, you are trying to assert that FSM has the identical qualities to the God of the Bible. Thus FSM = GOD?

        • Andy Ryan says:

          “Am I to understand the unicorns are by definition immaterial and omnipotent?”

          How am I supposed to know how unicorns are defined? I never mentioned unicorns!

          “Thus FSM = GOD?”

          The FSM is the supreme creator. If you want to call it a deity, go ahead.

          “FSM has the identical qualities to the God of the Bible”

          If the God of the Bible is a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs, then sure.

        • Kyle says:

          Well obviously FSM=God, but to compare him to such an evil god like the biblical one is wrong. It says so right in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He even created the Christian religion as well as whatever evidence people use to argue the Christian god is the true god, even though he isn’t. The FSM is a deity in the form of a complex carbohydrate. He is all powerful and all knowing and delicious.

  3. Kyle says:

    The problem is you came across a dead body and jumped right to the conclusion that there was a killer. Then you made arbitrary traits for this killer that happened to coincide with this book and you think you’ve solved the case. Why not accidental death or old age? If all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. All you can use is god when that is an atrocious explanation for pretty much everything.

    Spacecraft fly with no atmosphere. Also flying is not meant to be taken literally. The spaghetti is merely his image manifest in a medium our small minds can perceive and understand. The true depth of his noodly goodness are unable to be accessed by our primitive means. As for the monster part, it just sounds really cool.

    Can you prove that wrong?

    • Brian says:

      There is no problem on my end. You continue to assert things without evidence. First, I didn’t come across a dead body and made arbitrary traits for the killer. I also did not rule out accidental death or old age. I looked at the dead body and the environment to see if an accident or old age would be a better explanation than murder. I’d prefer it to be an accident or old age because then I could get on with other things in my life rather than try and solve a murder. The evidence, however, seems to point to murder.

      This brings us back to your original objection, which I was trying to address in my response, and that you ignored in your obfuscating response to my response to your comment. I’ve looked at the evidence and believe that it is rational to think that it was a murder. So do many others. So now I have to do the hard work of wrestling with the evidence and apparent inconsistencies to solve the case. You, my partner, just want to go to the donut shop and get a jelly-filled and a cup of coffee. So I identify several suspects. Because there are several plausible suspects you assert that the reasonable conclusion is that no one killed the person. I think your line of reasoning is irrational.

      For the sake of this discussion I’ll grant you that FSM is not to be taken literally, though other “images” used similarly, such as unicorns, are to be taken literally. So why not believe in FSM rather than the God of the Bible? First, there is no evidence of a FSM. When I say no evidence I don’t mean that people provide evidence and I reject it. I mean that there is absolutely NO evidence whatsoever. Second, there is no revelation from a purported FSM. Lastly, my own experience of living in the world does not support the existence of an FSM. Therefore, it is perfectly rational for me to believe in God and reject FSM. You may disagree, but it is rational.

      • Kyle says:

        While science is still delving into all this you are still maintaining a creator. This is the difference. There still is no murderer according to the science. The arbitrary traits I’m assuming are the typical apologist ones (timeless, spaceless, immaterial, immensely powerful, personal, disembodied mind). Baseless traits meant to sound like evidence has actually been pondered and basically meaningless from a scientific standpoint. So while you are getting a jelly-filled and cup of coffee patting yourself on the back for a job well done, science is still looking into the accidental death or natural causes (while not explicitly ruling out a creator mind you though it does seem pretty implausible).

        There is plenty of evidence for the FSM. If we are to believe the universe was created I will apply the arbitrary trait of a signature. His noodly image can be seen in things all the way from cosmic structures to microbial elements. The universe is his masterpiece. I’d love to know what revelation has to do with believing the FSM is the one true creator. Lastly, my own experience of living in the world does not support the existence of your god. Therefore it is perfectly rational for me to believe in the FSM and reject your god. You may disagree, but it is rational.

  4. Toby says:

    Mr. Pauly, this is a response to your rational belief post on your site. I couldn’t get it to file there.

    “We don’t see things coming into existence every day. Are you able to give an example of anything that came into existence from nothing and without a cause?”
    Are you? What apologists are talking about is a type of causation that is completely unknown and unsupported. It’s why this argument rings hollow for atheists. There is an implication of mechanism in the argument that no one can explain any way other than “god did it”. It breaks down to:

    1. God
    2. ???
    3. Universe

    “One scientific example is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. It states that the universe is running out of usable energy.”
    Explain the 1st law of thermodynamics and how it relates to kalam.

    “the odds for this type of a single-cell organism to form by chance are 1 in 10 to the 40,000th”
    This quote is everywhere, but without reference. Who said this, what are their credentials, and how was this calculation made.

    “The first thing to realize is that there really is right and wrong and everyone expects others to follow that moral code.”

    “You are claiming that there are objective morals and we ought to obey them. Any time someone claims there is evil in the world or that the world is unjust, they are affirming objective morality.”
    These two selections make up the strawman that apologists like to beat on. There is no evidence that everyone thinks this way. Via history we have strong evidence that morality is subjective and based on the knowledge, reason, culture, and level of freedom/ease of life that individuals possess. Throughout history many have felt that it was morally correct, a duty even, to slaughter their enemies. Pick any tribe of Israel that fell under god’s righteous genocide in the OT as an example. Anytime someone claims there is evil in the world they are voicing their opinion on whether something is a better or worse state of affairs for either human survival/flourishing.

    • Josef Kauzlarich says:

      Hey toby, here are some thoughts.

      Toby said: “There is an implication of mechanism in the argument that no one can explain any way other than “god did it”. ”

      I Thought the argument was:

      1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
      2. The universe began to exist.
      3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
      4. This cause must be timeless, spaceless, personal, and incredibly powerful.

      While this is used as strong support for God’s existence, the argument itself never mentions God. It simply makes belief in God a rational position, especially when paired with other strong arguments.

      Toby said: “This quote is everywhere, but without reference. Who said this, what are their credentials, and how was this calculation made”

      It was made by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe in 1981. Here is an excerpt and a reference so you can find

      “Life cannot have had a random beginning The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (10 to the 20th) to the 2,000th = 10 to the 40,000th, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court. The enormous information content of even the simplest living systems cannot in our view be generated by what are often called “natural” processes For life to have originated on the Earth it would be necessary that quite explicit instruction should have been provided for its assembly. There is no way in which we can expect to avoid the need for information, no way in which we can simply get by with a bigger and better organic soup, as we ourselves hoped might be possible a year or two ago.” [Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (Aldine House, 33 Welbeck Street, London W1M 8LX: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1981), p. 148, 24, 150, 30, 31 (emphasis added).]

      Toby said: “Throughout history many have felt that it was morally correct, a duty even, to slaughter their enemies”

      Sure. But that doesn’t mean they murdered without what they felt was justification. Their being wrong about how hey killed people doesn’t mean they didn’t value human life. Murder, an unjustified, premeditated taking of another life, had been wrong in every society across history. There has been significant work on the demonstration of values held by all cultures across history. If none of that convinced you (I’m curious if you have bothered to read it) I doubt anything I say here will.

      Toby said: ” Anytime someone claims there is evil in the world they are voicing their opinion on whether something is a better or worse state of affairs for either human survival/flourishing”

      Human flourishing is a good goal and moral realists would agree that moral values that contribute to human flourishing are generally good. However, there are two strong critiques of this position.

      Humans can flourish while still doing things we intuitively know to be objectively wrong. The oppression of women is a great example. Societies have always flourished regardless of treating women as second class citizens. Is it then right to oppress women? I think not. We know that it is objectively wrong to treat anyone different based on gender, color, or race. Societies can also flourish by the oppression of other societies. Is this wrong? Intuitively, we know it is wrong to exploit an entire people to enhance our own society’s version of human flourishing. Under conventionalism, this can’t be wrong or right.

      Second, to the conventionalist, why is human flourishing preferred over ant flourishing? This is speciesism under this worldview! Conventionalists have zero grounds for preferring human flourishing over that of other creatures. Why in the world should we prefer moral rules that enhance human flourishing? Conventionalists can’t answer this question with any weight.

      • Kyle says:

        Point 2 – How can we be sure the universe “began” to exist? Typical apologetics has us believe your god created everything at once. How can something begin to exist if there is no time for it to begin from? Cause and effect have a similar temporal relation. How can something begin or a cause lead to effect if there is no temporal measure with which to gauge these events? To maintain this notion you would need to define a beginning and cause/effect relation without the use of time.

        Point 4 – I have a hard time with this one as it tends to be vague. I’m assuming you also meant to include immaterial as that is a staple of Dr. Turek’s definition. For the first 3 (including immaterial) we already can define things like this. The coulomb is a measure of electric charge. It is timeless (no unit of time used for the couloumb), spaceless (no spatial dimensions), and immaterial (massless). For personal, this needs to be clarified with a more formal definition and metric if it is to be legitimately considered in scientific inquiry. Saving that, it amounts to nothing more than a feel good term with no useful properties. Incredibly powerful is a baseless descriptor. With respect to what? To us the sun is incredibly powerful. To UY Scuti (the largest known star in the universe) measuring at 1708 +/- 192 solar radii (our sun is 1 solar radius) the sun is orders of magnitude less powerful than itself. So that last point is extremely sloppy and not very convincing.

        To your excerpt on life, this is again a sloppy application of math and science. The odds of winning the Powerball are about 1 in 300 million, yet we seem to get new winners almost weekly. Without knowing how many opportunities for these chances to occur, all you have admitted is there is a chance that life could exist. That is all science needs to pursue that avenue over some magic controlled by your god. It is interesting to note that Hoyle and Wickramasinghe hypothesize the notion of Cosmic Ancestry which also flies in the face of the Christian notion of origins. They believe in an eternal universe and that life is also eternal. This also goes against the belief of the majority of cosmologists and biologists.

        “Murder, an unjustified, premeditated taking of another life, had been wrong in every society across history.” And yet so many cultures have found ways around those troublesome little caveats. Unjustified? Well let’s try to justify it by saying any number of things, not the least of which is “They don’t believe in the same god I do”. Or they define those who are actual life forms. If they can’t really be considered people it’s more like killing an animal and not a human like with slaves. If you asked them, they would be absolutely within their moral right to do those things. The same way we all tend to think we are within our moral right to do much of what we do. It’s almost as if society determines what is moral and what is not.

        I like that you bring up how it’s objectively wrong to treat anyone different based on gender, color, or race, but conveniently leave out sexual orientation. That is yet another immoral discrimination that will come to pass as society moves forward and leaves the Christian conservatives behind. It’s amazing that every one of those points of discrimination has had a strong Christian backing at its height almost suggesting a correlation. When every society and every culture and class throughout history claims to hold the moral standard, it is easy to distrust them all. That is exactly the result you would expect to see if morals evolved within a society.

        It is easy to have grounds for preferring human flourishing over that of other creatures. I’m human. Simple. The same reason I would prefer the flourishing of my family over people I don’t know. If I had to choose between saving anybody else and my wife, I won’t hesitate to save her every time. It’s easy to assign values from a conventionalist point of view as those are derived from society and not some magic god.

  5. KC says:

    The comment about 1 in 300 million winning the Power Ball is a strange analogy. Someone was literally sold the winning ticket; not even close to the idea that The entire universe just happened by chance. That’s really silly if you look at the evidence. I am a very analytical person that have asked myself the very same questions and the evidence points to God. Please research deeper and continue to seek the hard questions. Don’t just pick a side of the fence and debate, search it out.

    • Kyle says:

      If you do not understand the concept of opportunities then that is where I would direct your research. The reason we get lotto winners almost weekly is because they sell hundreds of millions of tickets weekly. Claiming the overwhelming odds against life permitting universes points to your god make as much sense as a lotto winner saying there was no way he could lose because the numbers came up the same as his ticket. You are ignoring the hundreds of millions of people with losing tickets. How do you know there aren’t universes out there with losing tickets with regards to life permittance?

      • KC says:

        Again, I would just find another analogy to make your point. Someone was literally sold the winning ticket. It’s just not even close to the point I think you are trying to make. Good luck.

        • Kyle says:

          This universe was literally sold the winning ticket. That doesn’t stop there being billions of other universes that are not life permitting. Not trying to understand this topic does not make it wrong. The whole point of this analogy is that it allows for there to be a winner.


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