Explaining a World Without a Theist God, in Less Than 60 Pages


During a debate appearance on WPRI-TV’s (CBS 12) Newsmakers this past weekend, Providence Democratic Mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza was asked by panelist Ted Nesi what he meant about having disproved the existence of a theist God with sufficient certainty to have it taught in public schools…

Ted Nesi: You wrote in a 2010 law review article that, quote, the evidence shows that it’s overwhelmingly unlikely that the theist God exists. Therefore, you wrote, it’s Constitutional to teach in public schools that, apparently, the God of Christianity and Judaism does not exist. Why do you believe that, and would you seek to implement that in the Providence public schools?

Providence Mayoral Candidate Jorge Elorza: No, absolutely not….This is a 60 sixty page article, and it’s a special definition of what the theist God means. Effectively, I wrote this article because there are a number of quote-unquote angry atheists arguing that since evolution has proved true…God doesn’t exist. And I wrote this article to combat them and say that look, you might be right on this small slice, but everything else that God entails remains intact…I don’t seek to have this be taught in the public schools. This is a hypothetical that I laid out over 60 pages in an academic article.

TN: But you did write it’s unlikely that the theist God exists…Do you believe that yourself, or are you saying this is what those scientists believe?

JE: As narrowly defined, within that article, then yes, I believe that. But that’s a very special definition. There is so much more to what God entails.

Irrespective of the length of the paper, the definition of “theist God” employed doesn’t seem all that narrow or specialized.  15 pages into 65 (on page 67 in the original), Elorza makes a sweeping claim that all possibilities of God can be reduced to “four views of God that cover the entire spectrum: the theist, deist, atheist, and what I call the memist view”. The meaning of the atheist belief is clear: there is no God. The deist God, meanwhile, “does not perform miracles, does not interact with His believers, and does not intervene in the natural world”, while the memist God, according to Elorza, “resides entirely in the minds of its adherents”.

Remember, it’s Elorza who claims that his categories are comprehensive. That means that if there is a God but no “theist God”, then God either exists entirely in the human mind or, if He does exist outside of the human mind, then He “does not interact with His believers”.  By any reasonable analysis, this  leaves God as something decidedly less and not “so much more” than the “theist God”.

In the end, what Elorza said on Newsmakers is very different from what he claimed in his law review article.  The article is not an argument that God is “so much more” than a “theist God”; it is an argument that religion is so much more than a God who exists outside of the human mind and who interacts with His believers, religion doesn’t require a living and active God at all…

If the non-existence of the theist God comes to form part of a basic public school education, it will not spell doom for religion.

And of course, it’s OK to teach this theology in public schools, in Jorge Elorza’s opinion, because it’s just true!


  • Warrington Faust

    I am well aware that I am not the first to notice that atheists feel some greater compulsion to make their beliefs public than do ordinary people of faith. God arises with unusual frequency in their converrsations. Still, I do wonder. Are they seeking reassurance?

    Mr. Elorza: bases his belief on the proposition that " evolution has proved true". This has become a litmus test in the way that abortion is a litmus test for feminists. No deviation is allowed. That evolution is an ongoing process is without doubt, but there are a lot of unexplained gaps. Better minds than mine have objections to accepting evolution, as currently understood, as a complete explanation. Take for example the "Cambrian Explosion" about 500 million years ago. When this is taken into consideration it is obvious that evolution has not been ongoing for all of the earth's existence. We have gone from single cell creatures to our present flora and fauna in 500 million years. Break that number of years into seconds and calculate how many successful mutations per second are required, and not just for homo sapiens. There are hypotheses, but no explanation. As I have pointed out, I do not require a theist explanation. Perhaps alien intervention?

  • Tommy Cranston

    An Atheist
    Illegal alien parents
    A corrupt Sicko-line crony
    A plagiarist who covers up his plagiarism by blaming an anonymous, likely fictive staffer
    The ONLY admitted thief in the race, but still a stone-throwing, glass-house dwelling sanctimonious p**** in the tradition of his mentor Sicko-line

    [Line-crossing paragraph deleted. — JK]

  • Tommy Cranston

    Some GOOD news out of the city last night though. Comrades Bob Kerr and Tatiana Pina have been shown the door.
    Look for them to find spots in in some of our myriad taxpayer funded do-nothing non-profits.

  • Warrington Faust

    Some GOOD news out of the city last night though. Comrades Bob Kerr and Tatiana Pina have been shown the door.

    I saw that in the online Boston Herald, did the online ProJo mention it?

  • Warrington Faust

    Speaking of the ProJo, did anyone else see the article on the Narragansett Rune Stone? A TV geologist has linked it to the Knights Templar, without explaining why the Templars would use a runic alphabet. He then links the Newport tower to the Kensington Rune Stone (an acknowledged fake). All this to show that Europeans preceded Columbus to the Americas. I suppose it is no worse than the controversial Solutrean migration which suggests Europeans reached America by boat 20,000 years ago. This is based on the similarity of stone tools. Of course he also posits that the real purpose of the Templars was to protect the bloodline stemming from Jesus and Mary Magdalene.