I’ll Answer Your Questions (A response to CARM)

A group called Christian Apologetics and Research Ministries decided to put out a list of questions to atheists.  I guess the idea is to stump us and make us come to God.  They say that they aren’t, but given some of the questions on here, well, it’s not hard to see where they’re coming from.  Let’s look at the questions, and answer them, in our usual eloquent style.  Here is a link to the questions, if you want to take a closer look.  Now let’s get this party started.

How would you define atheism?

The lack of a belief in God.  Gee, that was easy.

 

Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?

Oh look, Strawman Atheist already make an appearance.  Being an atheist doesn’t automatically mean that you believe there is no god.  As for acting on this “belief,” there are no rules or tenants that come with it.  I tend to act with empathy, but that’s a personal choice I made, because I don’t want to be a total dick.  I’m kind of a dick, but I don’t kill or rape people because I don’t want to be that kind of person.

Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist?

Hi again, Strawman Atheist.  Boy, I’m seeing you a lot in this list.  Not all atheists try to disprove the existence of God.  Hell, I wouldn’t say that most of them do.  If anything, most just try and do what most Christians do – live out our lives in peace.  Most Christians don’t preach, and most atheists just live and let live, so long as someone’s religion isn’t hurting anyone.

How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?

Because your belief about atheism is that we believe that no god exists, I am just going to assume that your actual question is – how are you sure that God does not exist.  I’m not.  To be clear – I am sure that the Christian God does not exist.  His properties are understood and can be analyzed.  Can I say that a deist god with properties unknown doesn’t exist?  Of course not.  Nobody could.  It’s an unfalsifiable hypothesis.  But proving that your deity doesn’t exist is pretty simple.  The fact that a divine being is vengeful, hateful, and willing to genocide people, when he could just snap his fingers and make everything as he wants them to be, is proof that your God is a ridiculous concept.  So yeah, I am certain that my lack of a belief in God represents reality.  I’ve seen NO evidence for the existence of a God.  None.  Show me some, that holds up to scrutiny, and my viewpoint will change.  Until then, too bad.

How sure are you that your atheism is correct?

This is just the last question repeated.  Yes, I am, given the evidence I have.

How would you define what truth is?

What has evidence.  For real, if there is evidence, then that is truth.  Evidence that can hold up to intensive scrutiny.  Simple as that.

Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?

Because there is NO evidence of a god.  None.  I’ve read apologetics for years, and it’s all the same rehashed bullshit.  The reality is, as Neil DeGrasse Tyson said, the god of the gaps is just an ever-decreasing pocket of scientific knowledge.  Show me evidence, I will examine it, and if it stands up to scrutiny, then I’ll change my views.  The evidence points to there being no God.  Simple and clean.

Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?

Do I believe that the universe is made up of materials?  Yes.  It would be kind of hard to argue that, considering materials are what makes up everything.  Our bodies are made up of atoms, molecules, cells, organs, and chemicals that make the brain work.  This isn’t that complicated.

Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not?

No, I don’t think it’s a worldview.  It’s a belief that is personally held, that a god does not exist.  That’s it.  There are no laws with it, no values that come with it.  It’s just this one area that concerns the belief in a deity.  Worldviews come with convictions and values that you place on various things.  In truth, atheism is just part of my larger worldview.  If you’re going to ask what that is, then that is a topic for a whole other post.  It’s kind of long.  As is the case with most people.

Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?

And here I was hoping to see Strawman Atheist again.  Well, to answer your question – who do you think it is who has opposed gay marriage?  Religious groups.  Who do you think it is killing people for apostasy in the Middle East?  Religious groups.  Who do you think it is who is telling people all the time about how evil and rotten and bad they are?  Religious people.  Most religious people are just like most atheists.  They keep to themselves and do their own thing.  But then there are those who are making things difficult for everyone who doesn’t agree with them.  Those are the people that those like myself take umbrage with.  Beyond that, believe as you will.  So long as what you believe doesn’t hurt anyone.

If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny His existence?

I grew up in the Lutheran Church.  I went through Confirmation.  I still know the Apostle’s Creed by heart.  But I never really believed any of that.  It all seemed kind of silly, to me.  A man in the sky does stuff just like people?  It seemed like God was just some spoiled kid who was looking for a fight.  He seemed as real to me as fairytale characters.  Not to mention the fact that Satan seemed like a better guy.  I mean, watch the A Night on Bald Mountain bit in Fantasia and tell me that that doesn’t look like a good time, to you.  But back to the serious stuff, I just never believed.  I never have, and I never will.  I’m a grown man.  I don’t need a fairytale to make me feel better.

Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?

I believe that the world would be better off without the insane radical religion.  Outside of that, I think the world would be alright.  I doubt that faith will ever truly die, so I don’t try to examine things that I don’t believe would ever happen.

Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?

Same deal.

Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?

Not specifically.  It can very well be tied into mental disorders, but it isn’t on its own merits.  I think that religion evolved because people are afraid of death and what waits for us.  I don’t believe or disbelieve in an afterlife.  I don’t know, after all.  None of us do.  Only way you can know is if you die.  And that’s kind of a one-way trip.

Must God be known through the scientific method?

Yeah.  That’s exactly it.  There has to be tangible evidence of this creature.  Something that can be tested and retested and verified.  Only then will I believe.

If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?

That’s a misnomer.  If he is immaterial, then he doesn’t exist.  Something that is immaterial cannot exist in the physical world.  At least, we have no evidence of something like that.  Again, if it is impossible to detect, then it can’t be found.  Then there’s just the endless loop of questioning about how he exists without a physical form.

Do we have any purpose as human beings?

No.  Purpose is what you choose to make of it.  It’s whatever you want it to be.  Maybe you want a career.  Maybe you want wealth.  Maybe you want kids and grandkids.  Maybe you want to lay on the beach and get high.  Whatever the purpose is, it is something that you decide on for yourself.

If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?

See previous answer.

Where does morality come from?

In a lot of ways, morality is formed by culture.  Look at society’s with rules and you see the values system.  Religions all have moral systems attached.  They are imposed by those in power within the religion.  The Pope tells people that condoms are immoral and wrong, then boom, that is a moral code that people believe in.  Morality is a system imposed by those in power.  If that isn’t very satisfying, well, sorry but it’s true.

Are there moral absolutes?

I believe that acting with empathy is as close to moral absolutes as you’re going to get.  How empathetic morality behaves is something that is open to debate by people smarter than I.  I recommend checking out this video (linked here).  I should give you some idea where I stand on the issue.

If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?

The previous answer kind of lays out my position.  I will say that I think that killing and rape are wrong.  By the way, only one of those is outright condemned in the Bible.  The other says that the person who committed the crime must marry the victim and pay some silver to the father.  Yeah, real hard justice there.

Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?

I believe that evil is a complete lack of empathy.  Not when you don’t know what the difference between right and wrong is, but when you know, but you just don’t care.

If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that He is bad?

Yes, I do believe that the Old Testament god is morally bad.  Though, I don’t think the New Testament God is much better.  After all, you don’t really hear much about Hell until the New Testament.  As for how I judge it, a good example – he committed untold genocide, many times, even with obvious alternatives were open.  Such as flooding the world.  That didn’t have to happen.  He could have just snapped his fingers and made everyone good.  Or he could have made it so that we didn’t have the ability to commit evil.  Or he could have just given everyone magic heart attacks.  There are dozens of things he could have done, and instead he floods the world and kills everyone.  Just like how he goes all Zeus on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Yeah, real good guy.

What would it take for you to believe in God?

Already said, evidence that holds up to scrutiny.

What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?

Here’s a small example – for him to rip open the heavens and god, “I am God!”  At which point he does something that couldn’t possibly be done any other way by through supernatural, and boom.  That’s just one possibility.

Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?

Testable, to be certain.  It must be able to be tested, again and again.  And if it can be tested, then it’s rationally-based.  Pure and simple.

Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why?

I’d rather a society run by empathetic people.  Regardless of their spiritual beliefs, just them having empathy.

Do you believe in free will? (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion).

No, I don’t.  I think that our choices are already made, based on our experiences and encoded parts of ourselves.  Choice is one of the biggest illusions that people have.

If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal, and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not?

Look, I don’t know what is going to happen down the line.  I don’t know what is possible.  As I said, it is the reason that I can’t disprove a deistic god.  I think that there will come a point that we can encode a human brain into data, and then the possibilities are beyond the limits that I understand.  Who knows what is possible.  But the thing is – whatever does happen, there will still be limitations of the laws of the universe.  I don’t believe that the brain will “evolve” to a point where it can do the impossible.  That’s just how it is.

If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?

I’ve already talked about this.  It is very possible that a deist god exists.  But it is not possible that the Christian God exists.

And that was the list.  Let me know what you think of the questions in the comments.  Or if you have your own answers.  This was pretty simple.  Guess Strawman Atheist was only in a few questions.  That’s good.

Until next time, a quote,

“How come God gets credit whenever something good happens?  Where was he when her heart stopped?”  – Gregory House, House, M.D.

Peace out,

Maverick

 

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