Matt Dillahunty

AS210: Matt Dillahunty and Blake Giunta

Matt Dillahunty and Blake Giunta

Today’s episode is part 1 of a fascinating discussion on the problem of Divine Hiddenness. Matt Dillahunty joins us, who you no doubt have heard on Atheist Experience and countless other debates. He can be found here.  On the other side is Blake Giunta, a Christian and past guest of the show whose work can be found here.

Some of the questions Matt Dillahunty and Blake Giunta will debate are: Should god reveal himself to everyone? Should god at least reveal himself to unresisting non-believers? Does god want a relationship with us? If he does, could something be stopping him from seeking this relationship? Blake lays out an argument against God’s existence, made famous by Schellenberg. Matt Dillahunty has a bit of a different take on the argument which mainly focuses on the question of how Matt could tell the difference between a god that doesn’t exist and a god that doesn’t want a relationship with him. A video dealing with this topic can be found on Matt Dillahunty’s YouTube here. As you’ll see, his argument is quite different from Schellenberg’s, which may or may not be a point of contention in these episodes…

Atheistically Speaking is a podcast where thoughtful discussions like this can happen! My goal is to promote an environment of calm, rational discourse, and my two guests today certainly exhibited these qualities in spades. I’m very grateful to them for taking the time to really dig deep and challenge each other in this topic. If you’d like to help keep the podcast going, please consider making a contribution at In addition to regular weekly bonus material, you will also gain access to part 2 of Blake Giunta and Matt Dillahunty immediately! Much earlier than the rest of the listeners get!

16 thoughts on “AS210: Matt Dillahunty and Blake Giunta”

  1. One minute I feel like I’m watching a Shakespeare play at the old Globe Theatre and a few minutes later it’s more like I’m watching a classic bull fight in Pamplona. All of the thrust and parry and counter thrust, verbal, philosophical and otherwise is extremely entertaining. I can assure you I won’t miss Part II, but a large part of the charm of this sort of entertainment is how little it has to do with anything outside the venue of the moment.

    I get the same feeling listening to Justin Schieber of Real Atheology. As the subject matter is discussed, as we strut and fret our hour upon the stage, as it were, it’s very important that everyone involved, all of the characters, including God, hit their marks just so and right on cue. I love the way so many of these spectacles start with something like, “If God is such and such then God must necessarily also be so and so.” Or, “God, being the most perfect imaginable being, would have to then be and behave, thusly . . .”

    If indeed there was a god, she wouldn’t HAVE to do or be a goddam thing. The creator of the Universe from which all existence arises and subsides would not be bound by anything, including reason or logic. We can play “Pin the God On the Universe” to our hearts content and then play it again tomorrow.

    See ya Thursday.

    1. I don’t understand. What’s wrong with going back and fourth navigating logical subtleties through careful argument?
      This complaint is just a complaint against serious and careful scholarship. It’s anti-intellectual.

      1. Who’s complaining? I love this shit! And the fact that it’s completely irrelevant makes it all the more enjoyable.

      2. Oh, and I’m not anti-intelectual. The denigration of intellect is the single biggest problem this country has. Contrary to GW and The Donald, dumb is not the new smart. It’s the same old stupid it always was.

    2. Couple of thoughts. Whatever follows ‘if there is a god…’ is unjustified speculation. And the consequent ‘she would not be bound by logic’ (to paraphrase) is puzzling. Things are not bound by logic, any more than they are by mathematics.

      1. What I’m saying is that the premises to many debates (and I’ve listened to a lot of them) include things like, “If there is an all [knowing, loving, powerful, benevolent—circle all that apply] god then god would necessarily have to be such and such or so and so. We tie God up with a bow and then prove that that god cannot exist. I think that’s presumptuous. I think it’s fun and eminently entertaining, but any god we can define almost certainly doesn’t exist, or exists only at our pleasure and discretion. Not much of a god. No wonder she doesn’t exist.

        If I were an academic or an intellectual, I would gather examples and references to illustrate my point, but I’m more like an audience member at the Globe Theatre with chunk of rye bread in one hand and a flagon of grog in the other shouting insults at the players with my mouth full.

  2. I think it’s to Blake’s credit that he cites his sources and doesn’t take credit for other people’s work.

  3. God is like a bad, or pretend boyfriend.
    “Mom, He doesn’t want to come over to meet you because he thinks you won’t like him.”, “He’s too busy helping other people.” , “You know how elusive gods are”, “He and I have a relationship you don’t understand”. “He really loves me, I know it”

  4. Let’s suppose I were at a party where my goal was to make as many friends as possible. It seems to me that my optimal strategy would be to introduce myself to as many people as possible, try to find common interests with them, etc. Would anyone think that my optimal strategy would be to hide in the closet, even if I gave any of these reasons for doing so?
    — Maybe they won’t like me.
    — Maybe they’ll like me temporarily, but end up hating me.
    — Maybe they’ll only pretend to like me.
    — Maybe they’ll become my friends, but be such lousy friends that they’ll convince other friends of mine to end the friendship.

    1. There’s a chance that the God dilemma begins and ends with anthropomorphized deities. There seems to be a fairly pervasive underlying assumption that God is just like a human but in spades, on steroids, X-Treme, omni this, omni that, on and on in every direction imaginable. That’s basically the Judeo-Christian god. It’s not hard to imagine (thank you Mr. Lennon) that that god is not and never was. But what if God is not human on any scale and never was? What if God is a completely different kind of being? Do we even have anything to argue about in that case?

      1. Eliram and Matt Dillahunty are quite rightly questioning the psychology and motivation of the anthropomorphic Abrahamic god. It is a ridiculous and morally disgusting fiction. But the transcendent god that Karen Armstrong promotes is not viable either. So,yes, there’s nothing to talk about – which suits Armstrong just fine, because she thinks faith should be apophatic: stop talking and just experience the divine. The infinite mutability of the god virus.

  5. Sciencelady, I love your analogy!

    Frankly, it is just amazing to me that god-speculators such as Blake are so cavalier about the assumption after assumption that they pile up to get to where they want to end up. Every single argument Blake made had assumptions that were so baseless, they just seemed to be wishes. Amazingly, he had no embarrassment in treating them as facts.

    Those assumptions fall apart the minute you use them for any similiar line of argument (Zeus, Russell’s teapot, imaginary boyfriend, etc)… as long as the premise is not taken seriously by the person. But it works great for whatever woo has latched into their brain. So, if they start with the belief, the path is logical. If they start without the belief, the path is ridiculous, despite the fact that the it is the same path, with equally unsupported premises.

    1. You nailed it — Blake piled up enough presuppositions in the first 90 seconds to irritate a bed of oysters! (And then, when he’d HAD his time to speak, and Matt started, he wanted to INTERRUPT Matt!)

      A conversation with Blake and myself would not last long.

  6. Very serious contradiction on the part of Blake Giunta.
    Through out the entire debate, repeatedly, Blake asserts that his, is a loving God.
    His assertion is in direct contradiction of what the Bible shows.
    The Bible show us a capricious, vindictive, immoral, murderous God who kills more than ONE MILLION THREEHUNDRED THOUSAND humans beings (in the Bible) NOT counting the entire human race who perished in the floods.
    Giunta is constantly engaging in non sequiturs with assertions that the Bible contradicts.

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