We have good reasons for belief in the biblical God, but not in mythical beings like mermaids, elves, unicorns, the tooth fairy, or flying spaghetti monsters. When people say that belief in God is like belief in the tooth fairy or Easter bunny, this is a philosophical blunder, a misguided comparison. These cases are quite different. We have good reasons for thinking tooth fairies or Santa Claus do not exist. For example, we know that parents typically replace their child’s extracted tooth under the pillow with some surprise; we know where Christmas presents under the tree come from — and it’s not the North Pole. By contrast, belief in God is far different, and today we live in an age in which arguments for God’s existence are being taken seriously and are ably defended. (View the many debates of Christian philosopher William Lane Craig at www.reasonablefaith.org/media).
While the evidence for God’s existence may appear to be lacking for some, that is different from saying we have evidence He does not exist (which we do for the tooth fairy and Santa). Having reasons for rejecting the existence of something is different from not having evidence for something. Outright denial of God’s existence is what happens when we do not distinguish between (a) not believing in the existence of something (as in the case of God) and (b) believing that it does not exist (as in the case of unicorns).7
What about Richard Dawkins’ suggestion that maybe a “Flying Spaghetti Monster” is responsible for the universe? (i) Physical objects like flying spaghetti monsters would be part of the physical universe. The one true God transcends the empirical world; spaghetti monsters do not but are embedded within it.8 (ii) This “objection” proves nothing. It only reminds us that philosophical arguments about the nature of the Creator cannot get as specific as those from special revelation. However, the universe came into existence a finite time ago apart from previously existing matter, energy, space, and time; so we can still legitimately conclude that what brought the universe into being must be personal, powerful, immaterial — unlike a spaghetti monster. (iii) This objection does nothing to undermine the very legitimate conclusion that the finely tuned universe was designed by a remarkably intelligent being. (iv)There is no reason to think that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a necessary being — one that necessarily exists in all possible worlds. Either something is necessary (it exists by its very nature without relying on something outside of it), or it is contingent (it depends on something else for its existence and does not exist by its very nature). Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s nature require that it necessarily exist? We have no reason to think so. (v) Why suggest a Flying Spaghetti Monster at all? Where does this idea come from, and why should it be taken seriously? How are the phenomena of the universe and human experience specifically connected to this entity? How does it do a better job of explaining these features of reality?