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Discussion 1 to Ask the Patriarch 188
Your inquiry reflects a fundamental logical fallacy.

by: Paul W. Sharkey

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It is not clear what your motivation, or presuppositions, might be for asking this question in which you assert that we “sure spend a lot of time, money and effort on a non existent God.”

If your question was meant as a sincere and legitimate inquiry, rather than some thinly veiled critique, then why did you express it in such an apparently rhetorically offensive way? Given that you did, the tone of the response you received seems appropriate.

More to the point, your supposed innocent inquiry reflects a fundamental logical fallacy. The way you have expressed it involves the fallacy of presumption of complex question[1]. We do not “spend” (and certainly do not waste) any time, money, or effort on any “non-existent God,” as though, by your implication, that supposed “non-existent God” exists. That is precisely our point. We don’t spend any time, money or effort on any non-existent gods because to do so would indeed be a waste of our time, money and effort. We do spend time, effort, and thanks to our founder are provided with money, to expose just such fallacious thinking as yours and to fight against just such non-sense. In short, we spend our time, effort and money promoting clear, rational, and realistic thinking, not on promulgating fallacies, fantasies, and fictions.

I for one am very grateful for this Church and this site and I appreciate very much that its founder has provided a place to reach out to and bring together the many thousands of otherwise disenfranchised “non-believers” who search for truth and integrity in their beliefs and behaviors without appeal to superstition or supernatural causes and entities.

We all spend not just our time, money and effort but our very lives in service to something, whether we are aware of it or not. Whether one wastes one’s time, money, effort – or even one’s life -- is a matter of what one finds most valuable and important. As a proud Apathetic Agnostic, I find hope based upon reason and reality to be more valuable than superstitious wishes founded on fallacies and fantasy.


  1. Another more obviously transparent example of the fallacy of complex question is “Have you stopped beating your wife?” which, as a matter of unproved presumption, presupposes that the person being asked the question has, at least at some time, beaten his wife. This particular example – “spending time ... on a non-existent God” – also involves a linguistic fallacy not unlike the claim that “the present King of France is Bald” which, depending on how it is understood, can be regarded as either sheer nonsense (because there is no “present King of France”) or, for the same reason, as just plain false, depending on how one regards the truth value of non-existent referents.