Rethinking Nielsen’s World Without God

CritiqueImagine for a second that there is no God. Imagine God is dead. What would we expect our world to look like if God did not exist? Based on this idea a brilliant, young Irish economist by the name of Robert Nielsen has presented an interesting, but ultimately unpersuasive case in his article World Without God. Nielsen states that this argument is at the foundation of his atheism. I hope to test his case below.

I could say many things about Nielsen’s article, but I would like to focus exclusively on his main argument which is as follows¹:

1. a. If God existed & controlled the world, then our world would exhibit features A.

b. If God existed & controlled the world, then our world would not exhibit features B.

2. a. Our world does not exhibit features A.

b. Our world does exhibit features B

Nielsen defends premises 1 and 2 as follows: If God controls our world then we would expect our world to exhibit certain features A. These features include those of a perfect world. He argues, “its fair to assume that it would be perfect (assuming God can do anything and loves us).” A perfect world is that without hunger, without fear, without diseases or disasters. In short it would be the world without pain and suffering. This is not enough for Nielsen. God must also be self-evident, not hidden from His creatures, thus creating no possibility of religious confusion. Our world needs to be a paradise, or something close. [Read more…]