Keeping It Simple

I read a lot of blog posts regarding God and religion. I don’t have the time (or the interest) to respond to them all. There are so many writers out there unapologetically using apologetics to attempt to prove the existence of God. After feeling satisfied that they have done so, they then will assign all sorts of attributes to this god, mostly from their scripture of choice. There is a debate going on that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Is God real? If so, what is he like? What is our purpose? What are our responsibilities to this god?

Rather than try to review every single hypothesis and theory out there about the existence of God or to try to answer these tough questions, I will instead pose one of my own: Why are we searching for answers instead of God giving us the answers before we have to ask for them?

There’s an old principle introduced in 1960 by Kelly Johnson of the U.S. Navy. It’s quite well-known and quite useful when dealing with topics like these. It’s K.I.S.S. Or, Keep It Simple, Stupid. This phrase was used primarily as a way to not overcomplicate things and instead keep them simple and easy to understand and easy to fix. Instead of making repairs for a jet engine using sophisticated tools, Kelly Johnson handed his team some simple tools and told his design team that mechanics in the field would have to be able to fix aircraft using only a handful of simple tools. Therefore, the design of the aircrafts would need to be kept relatively simple in order for the tools to work. Why make things so difficult to understand that only a select few would have the tools to use in order to figure things out?

This is where religion fails, in my opinion. No one is keeping it simple and it should be so simple that even a child should be able to understand it without having to be taught. However, that is not the case. God is said to be everywhere and obvious, yet we need to convince our children, teenagers and adults that he exists without using any evidence outside of words written that say he does. Why not be so simple that everyone would have the tools to understand? Why not use tools like our eyes, ears, hands and brains? If we can’t see, hear or feel something, our brains conclude it doesn’t exist. Yet we try to reprogram our brains in order to believe. Then we need to constantly fill that brain with reinforcing verses, platitudes and testimonies of others (who also have the same tool deficiencies that we have) in order to maintain our beliefs. “Less is more” is another saying that applies to religion.

If we were meant to believe, then our tools to do so should be simple. We would all have access to the same tools and be able to use them. That’s how a competent god who wants to be known should operate. Our tool belts should not have to have a compartment for ontological arguments, a compartment for metaphysical theories, a compartment for cosmological arguments, or any other overcomplicated method for just knowing God is there. Our tool belts certainly should not have any sort of blinders in them that shield us from the obvious and knowable and instead keep us focused on things we cannot prove and just want to believe.

Why do we feel the need to overcomplicate things? If something isn’t obvious, why do we make up excuses until we convince ourselves it is? Obvious things require zero effort to know they exist. Loving families require zero effort to know the love is there. If someone wants us to do something, they tell us, thus eliminating the guesswork. God is not like that. There is a tremendous effort to prove God’s existence rather than God simply revealing himself. There is a tremendous effort trying to determine what God wants from us and exactly how he wants us to do it and yet there is no proof of the first part; his existence. And there is an unbelievably tremendous effort to show us that not only is God there, but he actually loves us. Our experience here on Earth does not show the love of a god. If anything, it shows a god of cruelty and malice. But realistically our existence here on Earth shows that if God exists, he is indifferent to our lives here.

I think we should always use the K.I.S.S. method when dealing with religion. Basically, if it is not simple, it likely isn’t real. If we have to overcomplicate things and come up with elaborate excuses for why God himself isn’t simple, there’s a problem. We are promised a relationship. Having to prove the other party in a relationship actually exists is a huge red flag that you’re not actually in a relationship.

“Have you met my girlfriend? She is amazing, beautiful, intelligent and loving. She loves me more than anything else in this world. However, you can’t see, hear or touch her so let me give you several hundred reasons why I believe she exists and how I have come to know that, despite her reluctance to reveal herself to everyone else. By the end of our conversation, you too will be convinced this invisible being of love is real.

Does that sound reasonable? Or simple? Sure doesn’t. But for God, we use this line of reasoning to conclude many unprovable things. Let’s just stop with the excuses and admit when we have nothing but our feelings and desires. God is a relatively simple concept, yet we try to use sophisticated methods to prove he exists and even then we fail. We need to stop trying to do the impossible and prove something exists that can only be proven when and if it reveals itself. We’re trapped by our beliefs and it’s holding us back. We need to be free from our indoctrination and live as we see fit. In other words, Stop Living As Prisoners, or S.L.A.P. Many people can’t see or understand this. Do the right thing and educate them…with a S.L.A.P. Help to free their minds by using simple logic.
theories, a compartment for cosmological arguments or any other overcomplicated method for just knowing God is there. There certainly shouldn’t be a spot on

simplicity-sophistication

20 thoughts on “Keeping It Simple

  1. Nicely written and well reasoned. I’ve often thought religions were unnecessarily complicated but I never thought to apply the KISS principle to them before. Doing so certainly makes sense. Come to think of it, so would applying the idea of Occam’s Razor which is really just another way of stating KISS.

    Every religion I’ve ever encountered has been ridiculously complicated and vague. And it shouldn’t be that way. If it was true that there is some supreme being who created us and wants us to live a certain way, such a fundamental truth should be glaringly obvious to everyone. It shouldn’t have to depend on “sacred writings” that are thousands of years old and which are written so vaguely and are so self contradictory that they look like something written by someone who’d been eating funny mushrooms.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I have been arguing for some time that we need to take step back and ask some more obvious questions, such as “Why does an all-powerful being need messengers/helpers?” This is an excellent approach of this type. Could not an all-powerful being make his existence blindingly obvious? Of course, if you put this question to many theists, they will reply that it is blindingly obvious.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If anyone makes the claim that they have evidence of a personal god that is blatantly obvious, then they should be able to simply point a finger and turn our heads to be able to see it. There should not be any discussion or explanation necessary. Otherwise it’s not obvious. Obvious things don’t need help being obvious. They are there for all to see. Period.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Along your lines of simplicity too Ben is the argument of Why the literal hiding!? Hiding or being all super stealthy in who you are, what your true nature is and how to know everything about an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present (past, present, and future simultaneously!) BUT keeping it mysterious, hidden, IS NOT a show of truth, much less authority!

    This argument was proposed by Dr. Theodore Drange in his book Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the nonexistence of God. Basically it says:

    …there is no good argument or evidence for God’s existence. […] Even theists sometimes say such things as “God is hidden” or “the world is ambivalent or ambiguous (as between being governed by God or being totally natural).” Whether such a statement is made in terms of “hiddenness” or “ambivalence” or “ambiguity,” it runs counter to Saint Paul’s (General-revelation) idea, expressed in Rom. 1:20, that “God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” So if it is a statement made by Christian writers at all, they would not be Calvinists or evangelical Christians, but rather Christians of a more liberal persuasion.

    Drange goes on to explain why arguing from a position of non-belief is much more reasonable and sound than from a position of lacking evidence (or LEA):

    Argument from Nonbelief:

    • (A) Probably, if God were to exist, then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world.
    • (B) But there are many nonbelievers in the world.
    • (C) Therefore, probably God does not exist.

    The term “nonbelievers” as it appears here can be taken in various ways. Let us take it to refer to nontheists. Since that class includes not only atheists and agnostics but also deists, pantheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and countless other individuals throughout our planet who do not believe in a single Supreme Being, it actually contains close to half the earth’s population… a well-established empirical truth, given a suitable definition for the term “nonbelievers.”

    Your point Ben becomes even MORE valid and well-taken when we consider the millions upon millions of human beings—from the ancient past, thru the Medieval Ages, to modern history, and even up through our near future—so so many are impoverished, in horrible living conditions and consequently poorly educated, WHY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH and in HIS BLUE GOLDEN HEAVEN would this “God” make Himself so unbelievably complicated, mysterious, and unseen!??? 🤔🤬

    I recommend reading Drange’s full contrast and comparison on The Secular Web here at Infidels.org.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The literal hiding should be enough to make people stop believing, but somehow it encourages so many. If God doesn’t show up and show us exactly what he is like, we are free to make as many wild claims as we like and no one can prove us wrong. And that’s what we see happening all over the world every single day. You would think a vain, jealous god as described in the Bible would set the record straight the first time a lie or created story about him was spoken into existence. But he hasn’t.

      No being who is interested in having a personal relationship can do so while hiding. Therefore, either a god doesn’t exist or has no interest in getting to know us in any way. Either way, the story falls apart and religion becomes laughable.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Not only do we have to train our children into faith, but to keep it they have to develop the nonsensical verbiage to be up to speed on the latest excuses. Words like teleology, and so forth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s what you have to do when you make it up as you go along. Facts don’t work like that. Facts don’t change or need excuses in order to believe them. Unsubstantiated stories with zero evidence require a lot of creative defense in order to survive.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. They did keep it simple for a long time. Believe what you are told, or be killed.

    There is something else that this principle could be applied to. What purpose could some salvation scheme involving Jesus being crucified possibly have? We can’t earn salvation by some effort, according to them. So it can’t be construed as a sort of test to see who can pass. Besides, a truly omniscient being would have no need for a test, and an omnibenevolent one wouldn’t either. So if it is not some kind of test to find merit, what purpose could it serve? Some purpose of the Christian god? Other Christian beliefs rule out any benefit that the god might get from humans in this scheme, so it can’t be that. An omnipotent being has no need for particular means, goals and will would be the same for him. If he truly wanted to “forgive everyone” or “would have all men be saved” then that could have been done with a long time in the timeline before Jesus and Paul, and without any requirements or strings attached. I don’t recall there being a rule that the god has to follow, that if he wants to forgive anyone, he has to have himself(or his son, or his incarnation) crucified and then have people believe that, be purified with sacred water(just like Jewish and pagan cults prior) and ritually drink and eat bread representing the crucified son(in a manner like pagan mystery cults).

    “Paul” in the epistles says things like “God has put everyone under sin so he can pardon all”. I never could understand how anyone could take a statement like that seriously. He also wrote that the god makes people certain ways so he can punish or reward them arbitrarily, just because that is what he wants to do. Every time I read those epistles, I wish that they had been burned and that more literature from antiquity had been spared. Just imagine, Pindar, Sappho and Theognis relegated to rare scholia, notes, or fragments, Archimedes treatises scraped away from parchment for a prayer book to be written over them. And yet this absolute nonsense from the epistles of Paul is still shoved on people today.

    Liked by 1 person

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