The Old “You’d Have to be God to Know There is No God” Objection

(Redated post originally published on 9 December 2011)

Layman at Answers in Genesis repeats the myth that atheism is self-refuting because it requires knowledge that only God could have. In his words:

To say there is no God is to say you have enough knowledge to know there is no God. But an atheist can never have enough knowledge to be certain there is no God. He would have to know everything, because if there is something outside his area of knowledge, that something could include God. An atheist would have to be everywhere in and out of the universe all at one time, because if there is anywhere he cannot be, God could be there.

No atheist can claim total knowledge, therefore atheism is self–refuting, because knowing everything and being everywhere is to be like God. Since no one can prove ‘there is no God’, the question becomes irrelevant and so does atheism. Thus, Creation cannot be ruled out as a potential alternative.


We don’t mind if someone makes this objection to atheism, but we do mind when he doesn’t even bother to acknowledge obvious rebuttals to this objection, much less respond to those rebuttals. I responded to this objection over a decade ago, as have others. As the editor of the “Call for Papers” page for the Secular Web, I issued a challenge to anyone who thinks atheism requires omniscience to submit a response to my article or any of the others on the Secular Web which address this objection. To my knowledge, this challenge has never been answered.