Keep Them Short and Sweet

In a few hours, I’ll be heading to downtown Naperville, IL for “The Party that shall not be named.” And then I’m taking a hiatus from the world (Minus one event) until I’m done with the new Harry Potter book.

In the meantime, here’s a project.

There are certain questions that atheists get asked all the time. If you search online, the answers we give are often long-winded when they don’t have to be. Yes, there are some questions that demand longer answers. But many of them can be answered in a sentence or two.

How would you respond to the following questions?

I’m not looking for simple “yes” or “no” answers, but rather answers that anyone can understand and any atheist can remember.

In the comments, please cite the question when giving an answer. And if I’ve left out a question (or you don’t like how a particular question is worded), leave those thoughts in the comments as well.

If this works, I’ll put out a PDF of the best Qs and As.

  • Why do you not believe in God?
  • Where do your morals come from?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Is atheism a religion?
  • If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
  • Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
  • Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
  • How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
  • Why does the universe exist?
  • How did life originate?
  • Is all religion harmful?
  • What’s so bad about religious moderates?
  • Is there anything redeeming about religion?
  • What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
  • Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
  • Are atheists smarter than theists?
  • How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
  • Would the world be better off without any religion?
  • What happens when we die?



[tags]atheist, atheism, FAQ, questions, answers, God, Jesus, religion[/tags]

  • Kat

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Talk to a real live friend who can and will talk back.

    What happens when we die?
    We decompose.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    How could people have been wrong about leeches curing disease? Or bloodletting? Or goucho pants?

    What is the meaning of life?
    Whatever meaning you decide to assign to it. It’s entirely up to you.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Is atheism a religion?

    It depends. If you define a religion as a worldview complete with common assumptions, a level of shared culture, and beliefs about the nature of reality, then modern atheism could be considered a religion. But for many people, including me, a “religion” must include a set of supernatural beliefs, so atheism, along with some other philosophies (like certain types of Buddhism) wouldn’t qualify as a religion. So, call atheism my worldview, but not my religion; the latter implies dogmatic belief.

  • http://chatiryworld.typepad.com Katherine

    # If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Talk to my friends and family who support me, and if possible, try and do something practical that will help the situation.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    Well I’ll be wrong then, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will start following a religion though.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Yes, actually. People who did not believe in God have done terrible things. Atheists do themselves a disservice by claiming that the sins of Stalinism were not by True Atheists. By the same logic, the Crusades were not carried out by True Christians. A Christian can acknowledge that not all who claim the title of Christian are infused with love for their neighbors and a passion for justice. And an atheist can acknowledge that lack of belief in supernatural religion is not really what we hope for. Rather, we dislike all unfounded mythologies, be they held by Christians, Muslims, or atheists who embrace Marxism. Atheists are as capable of religious people as perpetrating evil, and good.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    In the same way that billions of people could be wrong about which God is the real one, how many Gods there are, and in which ways (if any) he has revealed himself. Once an idea about God that is compatible with human psychology, promotes group cohesion, and necessitates evangelism is created, that idea may spread regardless of its value as a truth claim. See Mormons for an example.

    What is the meaning of life?,
    and Why does the universe exist?

    Why is a concept created by human intelligence’s tendency to assign motivation and consciousness to the existence and actions of other entities, be they other people, animals, or inanimate objects. It seems to me that entities (like the Universe or any part of it) are self-existent, lacking both an answer to the question of “why?” and the need to have that question answered, outside of humanity’s psychological needs. The answer to questions of “why” must be answered in the same place where the questions originated: humanity’s imagination and aspirations.

    How did life originate?

    We don’t know yet. A possible answer is agglomerations of self-replicating organic reactions sheltered within rock crevices near deep-sea ocean vents, before bacteria existed to eat up the organic soup. A precursor to RNA could fulfill both enzymatic and information-storing roles, a process much-simplified from where evolution has brought us today. Improbably in any once case? Yes. But, it only had to happen once, and there were likely millions of precursors that failed.

    Is all religion harmful?

    No.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    I like them. Well, most of them.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Certainly. Or rather, it’s more precise to say there are many redeeming things about religious people. Those who claim that there is nothing redeeming about religion must claim that those good deeds done by religious people occur in spite of the religious beliefs, instead of because of them. In my view, religion is a motivator and a salve for many. It can also be repressive and hurtful. Teasing out the frequency of each is a subject of endless debate.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    That would depend on the nature of God, wouldn’t it?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    No, there are many intelligent atheists, theists, and people in between. Many educated people are likely to become atheists because the popular forms of theism in our society contain assertions that are difficult to hold alongside an educated, scientific worldview.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    The historical Jesus (as Christian scholars of various schools have proven) is rather hard to pin down. That some man named Jesus wandered around Palestine with a small following in the early 1st century is generally accepted (and only rejected by a fringe of atheists), but the nature of his teachings is hard to approach. We have early letters from Paul that never mention any miracles. And we have a lot of sayings in the Gospels in Greek, written down several decades later by men (some of whom claim to be witnesses, some who don’t) that were likely originally said in Aramaic. Maybe we should take the general approach of Albert Schweitzer; Christ was, like several others in his time, a failed eschatological prophet. He taught a rigorous, selfless ethic that made since if this world was about to be replaced by the Kingdom of God, a theme running through his teachings recorded in the gospels. The original meaning of these teachings, probably got reshuffled when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, and the nature of what we now call Christianity only arose then as the earlier followers of the Way had what in hindsight was a gradual speciation event, slowly becoming separate from Judaism. What the real Jesus said and did is hard to say; it would take a prophet to know.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Who knows. No one’s ever tried it, and it will probably never happen. The tendency toward religion is so common for homo sapiens that it’s like other hypotheticals: Would the world be better off without pair-bonding? Would the world be better off without social taboos? Would the world be better off without nepotism?

    (That said, can you imagine a world without hypothetical situations?)

    What happens when we die?

    No one’s ever come back to tell us, so it’s hard to say. The best assumption is that since our minds are processes rooted in the biological nature of our brains, our consciousness ends when those biological processes cease.

  • http://groundedinreality.blogspot.com Bruce

    Just to get the ball rolling.

    Why do you not believe in God?

    I answer this two ways:

    1. Because I do not have any credible evidence that there is a god and the universe seems to behave in a predictable manner and can be explained with a materialistic worldview which does not require any supernatural intervention.

    2. Why do you not believe in Thor, Zeus, Ganesha, Big Foot or Santa Clause?

    Where do your morals come from?

    From the same place that yours come from: life experience. Even Christians who read the same Bible don’t have the same morals because they aren’t getting their morals purely from religion, they are getting them from a combination of all their life experiences, which includes the ability to use logic and reason to determine proper behavior.

    What is the meaning of life?

    I hate this question with a passion. It presupposes that there has to be some overall meaning as to why we are here on earth and hence that religion is required to explain it. How about just accepting that we are here and we should make the best of it.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    This is a logical fallacy. The number of people who “believe” in something does not have any bearing on whether it is true or not.

    Is all religion harmful?

    I think this depends on your definition of harmful. If you simply mean, “do all religions drive people to do evil things” then the answer is no. But if your definition of harmful is broader to include such things as mind control, purposeful deception, willingness to ignore reality and make decisions based on such ignorance, etc… then certainly religion is harming many people.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    No one has the right to have their particular religious beliefs respected. What they do have is the right to have their own particular religious beliefs. I will respect your right to believe whatever you want, but I in no way have to respect what you believe. This is why it is perfectly acceptable to criticize religious beliefs, because your beliefs themselves are not protected and do not automatically have any right to be respected.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    First, the jury is still out on whether a historical Jesus even existed. Second, even if he did exist that doesn’t mean that any of the miracles he is said to have performed really happened. Do we accept people today who claim to perform miracles? People were more gullible back then (for example, they believed that words themselves could do actual physical harm). And of course the whole resurrection thing was written after the fact by people who didn’t see it and didn’t even know Jesus. Not very convincing.

    What happens when we die?

    Remember what it was like before you were conceived??? Good, then you’ll have no problem adjusting to death as well.

  • PrimateIR

    Too many questions Friendly Atheist. People will run from you in terror…and not because you are godless.

  • Vincent

    Why do you not believe in God?

    I have chosen to live my life in a rational manner, making decisions based on evidence. There is no evidence a god exists.

    Where do your morals come from?

    They started with my parents and have evolved over my life based on my experience and reflection.

    What is the meaning of life?

    none, unless you give your life meaning.

    Is atheism a religion?

    No. Religion is a set of beliefs and practices held by a community. Atheists don’t hold a belief and certainly have no unified practices.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Talk to my wife. Work out a solution. Do something about it.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    No. Just to stop using that belief to make laws.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    No, they weren’t. When you think of 20th century attrocities you think of Hitler, who was a Catholic (he may not have practiced, but he never renounced it), Somalia, Serbia, Iraq, etc. These were all committed by theists. Stalin is apparently the only atheist who makes the list, and of course his killings were not because of religion.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Well, everyone was wrong when they believed in lots of gods. Malaria is not caused by “bad air.” Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. We actually use 100% of our brains, not only 10%. People are wrong about many things.

    Why does the universe exist?

    Because it has to. That’s its nature.

    How did life originate?

    I don’t know. I wasn’t there. There are hypotheses, and I believe some day people will figure out the best one and elevate it to a theory.

    Is all religion harmful?

    More often than not, yes. But it doesn’t have to be.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    They promote a world where people accept something as true with no evidence, based solely on someone else telling them it’s true. In fact they treat it like a virtue.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    There can be. The music is quite good. I like the architecture too.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Then he will judge me based on the life I have lived, how well I have used my talents, and how well I have treated others. If that’s not good enough, then I will be punished unjustly.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Depends on what you mean by respect. Actually, I take it back. No. People should be respected. Their beliefs should be irrelevant.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    I assume they spread across the IQ test just the same.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    I don’t believe in his hitoricity either. See Wikipedia “Jesus myth hypothesis” or Robert Price’s “The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man.”

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Yes, though we’d miss some things it would be a net gain.

    What happens when we die?

    The same thing that happened before we were born.

  • http://misterjebsblog.blogspot.com Tina B.

    Why do you not believe in god?

    Nothing I have learned, read or seen has made me believe in a god. The bible only reinforces my non-belief.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    In my opinion, it has a LOT to do with indoctrination by the parents from the beginning of most peoples lives and is passed down through generations.

  • infideljoe

    Why do you not believe in God?

    Not enough evidence. When I meet him, then I’ll believe in him.

    Where do your morals come from?

    From my empathy and compassion for others. My parents.

    What is the meaning of life?

    Whatever you want it to mean.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    No, they should encourage believers to logically evaluate their belief in God. And they should encourage them to read the ENTIRE bible.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    No, but they were committed by some ISTS, communists and marxists. Hitler was a catholic.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Easy, lots of people were wrong about slavery and equal rights for women. They were also wrong about the Earth being flat and it being the center of the Universe.

    Why does the universe exist?

    Because, it can.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Like scientology and mormonism?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Some are and some aren’t, stupid people can be found in all types of groups.

    What happens when we die?

    I don’t know and neither do you.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Crap, I forgot the short part. Feel free to edit. :-D

    The short versions:

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Yes, but most atheists dislike all unfounded mythologies, including the Marxism and nationalism believed by many atheists.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Billions of people must be wrong about which God is the real one, and if he’s revealed himself, because they disagree.

    What is the meaning of life?,

    There is no why, outside of the human mind.

    How did life originate?

    We don’t know yet. Possibly agglomerations of self-replicating organic reactions (and eventually RNA precursors) sheltered within rock crevices near deep-sea ocean vents. It only had to happen once.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    I like them. Well, most of them.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Certainly, religion is a motivator and a salve for many. It can also be repressive and hurtful. Teasing out the frequency of each is a subject of endless debate.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    That would depend on the nature of God, wouldn’t it?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    No, people on all sides of belief are intelligent. Many highly educated people reject theism because its popular forms are contradictory to their learning.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    We can tease out that he was probably a failed eschatological prophet; he believed the world was about to be replaced by the Kingdom of God, and taught an appropriate ethic for that belief.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Who knows. No one’s ever tried it, and it will probably never happen.

    What happens when we die?

    No one’s ever come back to tell us, so it’s hard to say. The best assumption is that since our minds are processes rooted in the biological nature of our brains, our consciousness ends when those biological processes cease.

  • Jen

    Why do you not believe in God?

    1. Why do you not believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
    2. Because there hasn’t been one concept of god over the milenia

    Where do your morals come from?

    My parents, my society, and my desire to make the world a better place

    What is the meaning of life?

    1. 42
    2. Why does there have to be meaning? Can’t we just enjoy the ride?

    Is atheism a religion?

    Its a philosophy and a way of looking at the world, but there is no book or Pope or dogma. Atheists are only alike in that we do not believe in god(s), but we can believe anything else.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    1. How could half of America vote for George W Bush?
    2. That is a flawed logical argument
    3. How could billions of people have been wrong about slavery?

    Is all religion harmful?

    It inspires people to rely on something that isn’t there, and to view the world in a non-skeptical way. If people don’t use logic and rationality in their decisions, there will be all sorts of negetive reprecussions.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    They are still using the same thought patterns and flawed logic.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Nothing that can’t be found in secular groups,

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Then he can punish me for not believing in someone who showed no signs of existing. He should have made robots.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    No. Beliefs are not facts, and since they are changable and based on delusions, they do not need to be respected.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    I don’t necessarily believe in a historical Jesus, for a myriad of reasons. If Jesus was real, that does not make him the son of a god.

    What happens when we die?

    We cease to exist. We are mourned. We are forgotten.

  • Susan

    Much as I like the response “Why don’t you believe in Zeus/Ganesh/The Flying Spaghetti Monster?” for the question “Why don’t you believe in God?” I don’t think it’s likely to lead the theist to the right conclusion. I think most theists would answer, “I don’t believe in Zeus/etc. because God says he is the one true god.” So it’s not really a good explanation of why us atheists don’t believe in any god.

  • Tao Jones

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    In order to try and make sense of a world we didn’t understand, humans have come up with many stories that didn’t end up being true. The sun doesn’t revolve around the earth. The earth is not flat. There are so many gods that we have (and still do) believe in, that it seems far more likely to me that our notion of god is also a myth. We may not completely understand the universe but I’m more comfortable asserting my ignorance than in making up a story that explains everything. Looking at the universe with this honest ignorance is greatly inspiring.

    * Where do your morals come from?

    Morals are outward expressions of internal decisions based on the values of the kind of world we want to live in.

    * What is the meaning of life?

    42.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    No more than NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    The same things you do. I talk to my friends and family. I seek council. I talk to myself. Most of all I try to understand the situation as that generally gives me a good idea of what I should be doing about my situation. Attributing it all god or otherwise deferring the resolution to god tends to get in the way of understanding.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Not expressed like that, no. Atheists should be trying to convince others of the value of reason, science and “honest ignorance.” Atheists should also try to debunk myths that are most harmful.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    No, and it would be irrelevant even if it was true. Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by people who wore pants? Hey, wait a minute, YOU’RE wearing pants. (Well, at least I hope you are.)

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    When it comes to any particular religion, there are always more people who don’t believe in that religion than people who do. By this logic, how can anyone ever be right? In the past, most people believed the sun revolved around the earth and that the earth was flat. They were wrong. Religion is a beautiful and easy way to answer all of life’s mysteries so it has great appeal. My way isn’t easy and it’s at least as beautiful.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    Like the question on the meaning of life, this question just doesn’t compute. For a theist, this question would make sense, “Why did god create the universe?” There is no ultimate cosmic purpose.

    Besides, where else would all that stuff fit?

    * How did life originate?

    Ask a scientist. I don’t know, though I would like to. My working theory goes something like this… Stuff exists. Given time, things will happen to stuff. The chemicals that represent the basic building blocks of life happen to be stable configurations of stuff. Life is a stable configuration of those chemicals.

    * Is all religion harmful?

    Not all religion is harmful, no. Not to me anyway. But even the most kind, loving and respectful believer is missing out on some awesome opportunities for personal growth that “honest ignorance” allows for.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    You mean those who “hate the sin, not the sinner?” Why else are there still debates about issues like same-sex marriage, stem cell research or even atheists running for office?

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Absolutely. The message of love in many religions is quite profound. The bible has many beautiful moral messages in it. None of these teachings are exclusive to religion, however. The messages of love certainly aren’t diminished at all if there isn’t a god.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    I’m certainly open to that possibility. Maybe I’m wrong and when I die I will be judged at the pearly gates. If so, I’ll gladly stand on my record. What kind of god would turn away a good and honest person based on such a technicality. Not one I’d care to believe in.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    You mean like sacrificing virgins or only your “reasonable” beliefs?

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    There is nothing intrinsic about atheism that would make an atheist smarter than a theist. However, people who are logical and can reason and think critically while looking at the universe with a sense of wonder (honest ignorance helps with that) do tend to be smarter. Those people tend to be atheists too. Also I think that having all the answers tends to stifle curiousity and can stunt intellectual growth.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    It’s not too difficult to separate the historical Jesus with the stories attributed to him that were written long after his death.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?

    I’m not omniscient so I can’t be sure, but religion is causing some problems today. If more people were logical, and could reason and think critically, then I think we would be better off whether those people believed in god or not.

    * What happens when we die?

    We rot. That’s not nearly as bleak as it sounds. Think of all the life lost so that we could eat and live to our 70′s or 80′s (hopefully.) Even if you are vegetarian, our system of agriculture is quite harmful to natural ecosystems. You don’t have to eat a cow to kill a cow. Decomposing and giving our nutrients “back to nature” is what makes us alive — part of the community of life. Surely it’s the least we can do considering all the damage we do to our environment?

    * Would an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters really come up with the entire works of William Shakespeare?

    Of course. This has already happened and it was all done by one monkey. His name was William Shakespeare.

  • http://www.templewhore.blogspot.com sacred slut

    It would be very interesting to do a more formal (quantitative) survey of atheists’ views and publish the results. You’d probably have to do most questions as multiple choice, though, to enable the data analysis.

  • Mark

    Why do you not believe in God?

    For the same reason you don’t believe in astrology or Santa. No evidence. Furthermore, “god” never gets meaningfully defined, so rational consideration is difficult.

    Where do your morals come from?

    People’s will to live happy lives, including my own. Evolution explains this well.

    What is the meaning of life?

    There is no meaning of life where conscious purpose is concerned. Each person gives his or her own life meaning. That’s the way it’s always been, no matter where the person gleaned the purpose they give themselves.

    Is atheism a religion?

    Is not believing in the existence of Santa a religion? Is even stating that Santa doesn’t exist or arguing against his existence a religion?

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Whatever comes naturally to me. Some worry a ton, others decide to act so as to improve their situation. And companionship and consolation are always nice.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Faith, the belief of inerrancy, and dogmatism are the problems. They can lead to things other than theism. But theism can cause its own set of ills.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Given that atheism does not of necessity entail beliefs, the above question is akin to blaming those atrocities on nonastrologers or those who don’t believe in Santa.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    The same way that they were wrong about alchemy and the position of Earth. The same way that so many children believe Santa exists. Human inclination to believe does not make a belief true. It says something about the person before it says anything about reality.

    Why does the universe exist?

    Why do snowflakes exist? Why does dirt exist? We can ask how they came to exist (if that even makes sense fot he universe) or how they persist in existing, but asking “why” presupposes purpose. We have not found purpose or a purpose-giver for the collection of all things that exist (a.k.a. the universe).

    How did life originate?

    Why does it matter, unless it can be proven to have come from a god who gave it purpose? Science leads us to believe that life formed from a combination of nonliving matter on early Earth. All that was necessary for the persistence of life were the parts, the organization, and the environment to allow for reproduction.

    Is all religion harmful?

    Is all science harmful? The answer to your question depends on how you define “religion” and “harm”, and what one does with religion.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    In one sense, nothing. In another sense, they legitimize the actions of extremists and those who would legislate religion by not acting against them and thinking religion inherently worthy of respect.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    If this is asking if religion does any good, then the answer is “yes”. If this is asking if religion can be forgiven, then I would have to answer “no”.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Then I’m wrong and it will have been an honest mistake, based on the reality I know. What if you’re wrong, though? People have believed in the existence of countless gods. Individual believers aren’t statistically much better off than nonbelievers. And if what prompted the question is the threat of eternal torture, how is it moral for a god to torture me for honestly not seeing its presence? Sure if it’s at all fair it will show me it exists if my very soul (whatever that is) is at stake.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Should the act of believing something without reason to be respected? Should slaughtering and raping people because a god tells you to be respected?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    I don’t know. What I do know is that in at least one aspect of their lives, theists believe without reason. In that aspect, I would say atheists are smarter. But since theism isn’t the only faith-based phenomenon, atheists and theists could be just as irrational about other things.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    First of all, why privelage Jesus above other “historical” religious figures? Secondly, I don’t know if a historical one corresponding to the biblical one existed. Some people argue he didn’t. Third, if he wasn’t divine, it doesn’t matter to me if he existed.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Only if people stopped behaving as they currently do under religion. Again, other ideologies can cause harmful behavior, too.

    What happens when we die?

    Our bodies decompose, giving back to nature, and everyone keeps on living. If we care about anyone else, let’s not have lived our lives in vain. Let’s make the world better off for us having lived in it.

  • Mitsu

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    I don’t think that’s necessary as long as we encourage critical thinking, intellectual honesty, and the questioning of our basic beliefs, not just religion, but everything we believe merely on faith. We may find that some beliefs stand on a strong foundation of facts and reason while others do not.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Then I guess when I get to the pearly gates and they tell me my name isn’t on the list, the first thing I’m going to do is find the suggestion box so I can tell God that his book is riddled with errors and contradictions and that he should really think about getting an editor if he doesn’t want to see more “lost souls” like me.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    I think a more precise way of putting it would be to say that the world would be better off without dogma and blind faith, for what good would it do to rid ourselves of religion if we ended up replacing it with the worship of the state.

  • Claire

    Ah, the KISS principle -it’s a good one, isn’t it? Thanks for the opportunity to clarify and condense! Here are my short-but-completes, nothing over two sentences (ok, one is three..).

    Why do you not believe in God?

    I have seen no evidence for it, and no – the natural world and human achievement do NOT count as evidence.

    Where do your morals come from?

    Morals are a part of culture, you learn them (or fail to) as you grow up. Common decency and kindness are all you really need, and those exist quite nicely outside of religion.

    What is the meaning of life?

    That’s not a valid question – “life” doesn’t have a meaning. Nobody’s life has a “meaning”, but our words and actions can have both meaning and purpose, if we choose to give them such.

    Is atheism a religion?

    No, it requires neither faith nor belief.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Suck it up and deal, like an adult. How on earth should belief in a divine being that could have prevented horrible things but chose not to make a person feel better?

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    There’s no purpose in it – if a person is honest and thinks about it, he or she will likely convince himself. I can’t do another person’s thinking for them.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    No, your “facts” are wrong, and it’s pretty much the opposite (insert one of a few thousand examples here). Where DOES this bullpucky come from?

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Beliefs are not right or wrong, only facts are right or wrong, and belief is not a fact. Even if there was any kind of agreement as to who or what this god is and does, that’s still a faulty question – “everyone” really can be wrong.

    Why does the universe exist?

    The universe doesn’t need a reason to exist, it just is, and I don’t see why people think it needs one.

    How did life originate?

    We have most of the answer (physics, chemistry) but there are many scientific unknowns waiting to be discovered that have nothing to do with any god.

    Is all religion harmful?

    If it causes people to do bad things, yes, and it nearly always does, even if sometimes it’s only minor badness.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    If their beliefs are harmless, nothing, but there’s no guarantee that those beliefs will continue to be harmless. If faith is all they require, today’s harmless moderate may easily be tomorrow’s dangerous fanatic.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Truly, I have yet to find it.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    It would make no difference to me. I’ve never seen any religious writings that portray a god worthy of worshipping or even liking. They are pretty much bullies and jerks.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Not just no, but HELL NO (so to speak…) (Insert one of a thousand examples of beliefs unworthy of respect here). There’s no reason a horrible idea should get respect just because it’s a religious belief.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    It takes more intelligence to understand that to believe. You
    decide.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    Many, many religious figures have or may have had a historical
    presence. It doesn’t mean any of them are divine.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Yes. A world full of people behaving decently just because it’s the right thing to do sounds wonderful to me. (Imagine me humming “Imagine” at this point…)

    What happens when we die?

    Nothing. Anything good or bad that we did or created may live on, but we do not.

    And, there’s another question I hear a lot – Isn’t the world/universe a horrible cold and empty place without god?

    No, it’s a place of wonder, freedom, and infinite possibility. I like it here.

  • stogoe

    Why do you not believe in God?

    I see no evidence or need for such a being to exist. Reality is better explained by leaving such a being out.

    Where do your morals come from?

    Selfishness and empathy – that guy is getting mugged. How would I want others to react if it were me being mugged? Etc.

    What is the meaning of life?

    I create my own meaning for my own life. I’m personally fond of the goal “have grandchildren” – the idea that I can propagate beings similar to me into the future is cool. But there are other meanings for my life, too.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Yes – religion isn’t the only cause of society’s problems, but it’s one of the major stumbling blocks.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Sure, but Stalin didn’t commit his deeds for Godlessness.

    Why does the universe exist?

    Who knows? Certainly not the priests. That it exists at all is good enough for me at this point.

    How did life originate?

    self-replicating chemicals came to be billions of years ago, and then through descent with modification, became complex organisms.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    When the chips are down, they side with the fundies every time.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    The music can be beautiful, and community has its advantages. I’d rather not tie up community with obeisance to fanciful myths, though.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    If the Christian god does exist, I still wouldn’t worship him. He’s a monstrous sociopath.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    No. I’ll tolerate you having silly superstitions, but I’m still going to snicker at you for having them. Likewise, you can snicker at me for being a nerd, if you like. Or for not liking sports. Or not believing in gods.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    If Jesus was a person and not an amalgamation of wandering messiahs and ancient myths, then he had some good ideas mixed in with some crazy ones.

    What happens when we die?

    Our bodies decompose, and our loved ones carry their memories of us with them into the future.

  • Becksi

    Where do your morals come from?
    Human nature and reason. Supernatural dogma is unnecessary and sometimes against human nature and reason.

    Is atheism a religion?
    Atheists don’t believe in supernatural or have dogma and is therefore not a religion.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    I think everyone should learn neutral information about all relevant religions and atheism. They should hear arguments for and against the existance of God.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Religions and atheism are in constant competition over people’s minds. Religions have tactics that give them advantage in the competition: promises of heaven, threats of God’s punishment, evangelism, demonization and censorship… The competition is not about what is true or good for humans, it’s about who spreads most efficiently.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    If it turns out I was wrong about something, I will admit it! But It’d be horrible if something like the God described in bible actually existed.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    I don’t think there’s any evidence to believe that ;)

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    We would certainly be better off without some of the intolerant religions we have now.

  • http://icestationtango.blogspot.com Station Agent

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    Well, strictly speaking I don’t believe in any religion. I go with a strict translation of atheism. Without theism. Isms are not good. God might exist, whatever. I don’t even care because it’s pointless.

    * Where do your morals come from?

    Process of elimination. Long process that. Started out Catholic, then threw my beliefs open to the other religions. They all fell short of satisfying, though I learned some neat tricks.

    * What is the meaning of life?

    Well we atheists have to formulate our own morality, but i would say the core of it is the golden rule. That’s not bad, for Jesus. I kid Jesus.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    No.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Hope.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Only if they ask.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Sure. That has nothing to do with atheism.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Ha! That’s a good one. Billions of people eat at McDonalds.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    A giant spilled an ice tea.

    * How did life originate?

    Lightning through amino acid. I think.

    * Is all religion harmful?

    Not all. Most.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    They’re cool as long as they vote right.

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    They all have some neat insights. Buddhism is not bad at all. The Sermon on the Mount ruled. They should make a movie about the Sermon on the Mount.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    It’s my natural ass in a sling hardcore.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    No. People do all kinds of sick shit claiming it’s religion. Clitectomies and shit. No way.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    They seem to tend to be smarter.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    I think he was a badass warrior who liked nothing better than smacking around the Romans. All the polite shit was added to make the sect powerful.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Sounds good in theory, but I somehow doubt it. We’d just fight over something else.

    * What happens when we die?

    Game over man. Game over.

  • http://www.let-me-be-frank.blogspot.com Stephen

    * Why do you not believe in God?
    - Why would I?

    *Where do your morals come from?
    - Reason and empathy.

    * What is the meaning of life?
    - Biologically speaking, to create more life. Humans are capable of infusing their lives with their own meaning.

    * Is atheism a religion?
    - How can the lack of something be that something?

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    - I enjoy life as best I can and find the solution to my problems.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    - Turnabout is fair play; if someone is pushing their god on me, I reserve the right to explain why I think their belief is unsubstantiated.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    - Some, yes, but they didn’t do these things because they didn’t believe in a god. They did those things because they had been poisoned by fundamentalist political and racist ideologies.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    - How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to lack of belief in a god?

    * Why does the universe exist?

    - I don’t know. Were I to venture a guess, I would say because it can.

    * Is all religion harmful?
    - No.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    - The same thing that was bad about the average German citizen in the late 1930s and the early 1940s.


    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    - That depends on the religion, really.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    - That would depend on the god — but the existance of a god doesn’t necessitate the existance of an afterlife for human beings.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    - No; no belief, idea, or principle should be respected on its own merits.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    - Lack of belief in some being doesn’t have a connection to intelligence except that intelligent people are able to reason out answers and not need belief in an all-powerful being to provide easy answers.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    - He’s dead; why would I deal with him? His depiction in the “Gospels” is undoubtedly far from the truth. There are some nice traits represented in Biblical Jesus’s character, and there are some dispicable traits represented in Biblical Jesus’ character.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?
    - That’s a very broad question, but I would venture to say yes.

    * What happens when we die?

    - Our bodies disintegrate and become part of the Earth once more.

  • Claire

    Sorry, let me correct a typo in my response above…

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    It takes more intelligence to understand than to believe. You decide.

    Countdown – 9 hours, 56 minutes until I have the new book…..

  • Pingback: more atheist answers « stereoroid.com

  • http://stereoroid.com/ brian t

    I tried to keep it short, but it was still long enough to be a blog post, so… my answers are here. 8)

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    Why should I? There’s no compelling evidence. Do you make it a habit of believing in things for which there’s no evidence? If you do, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

    Where do your morals come from?

    Me. My ability to reason, to choose the sort of society I want to live in. Some credit probably goes to evolution for this ability.

    What is the meaning of life?

    What is the meaning of my kitchen table? Life is an observed property of certain arrangements of matter. It doesn’t have to mean anything.

    Is atheism a religion?

    No. As others have put it, “Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.” Atheism is no more a religion than baseball.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    I deal with them as best I can. I’m not the sort to notice troubling times until they’re past. I’m too busy working on problems to notice how big they are.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Personally, I think people should be convinced to stop using faith. To me, faith is a very dangerous proposition- the idea that something I believe is true because it is true. You can justify anything with faith. Since there’s no proof of any god, the only way to believe is through faith.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Hitler was a vegetarian. Should we oppose vegetarianism? The one common thread in all atrocities, whether perpetrated by religion or the state is faith. The Inquisition grew from faith in the Church. The Soviet Pogroms grew from faith in the State and dialectic materialism. The Holocaust grew from faith in unfounded racist ideologies.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Which god? Lots of people believe different things about lots of different gods. More to the point- at one point most everyone believed the Earth was the center of the Universe, that the process of biological reproduction could never be understood (it was too complex), and that rotting meat spontaneously turned into flies. Belief is a horrible way to find truth.

    Why does the universe exist?

    Why does gravity obey an inverse square law and not an inverse cube law? Why is the speed of light 3*10^8 meters per second? Perhaps we can answer these questions someday. Maybe they don’t have answers.

    How did life originate?

    While we’re not 100% sure on the details. As best we can tell, the composition of the atmosphere of the early Earth was prone to producing organic molecules. Some of these organic molecules- that could for spontaneously- were able to replicate themselves. Over the course of millions of years, these molecules started to evolve into something that would eventually be recognized as life.

    Is all religion harmful?

    Religion is a set of rituals and behaviors. Faith, the cornerstone of religion, is a way of thinking- and a dangerous way of thinking. Faith- belief without (or contrary to) evidence- is always harmful. Can you have religion without faith? I don’t think so

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    The best qualities of religion can be maintained without keeping religion. So, in that sense- no. Religion offers nothing unique to itself that is valuable.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Then I’m wrong. Given solid evidence- meaningful, repeatable, verifiable evidence- I’ll happily change my position. My only goal is truth. Based on the information I have right now, the best guess I can make is that god doesn’t exist.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    The believers should be respected. The beliefs? Would you respect the belief that members of the population must be sacrificed lest the planets descend into chaos? At one time, that was a real religious belief. Is that belief respectable? Is the belief that young women must be burned alive if they are accused of witchcraft respectable?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Are Steelers fans smarter than Jets fans? Atheists have a very different way of viewing the world- they demand evidence. This is a safer, more reliable way of viewing the world. The relative intelligence of the people involved has nothing to do with it.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    The only “strong” historical evidence of Jesus is the Bible itself. Outside of that text, evidence is spotty at best. Within the Bible, there’s ample evidence of editorial tampering to make the “historical” Jesus better correspond to the prophecies of the “divine” Jesus. I’m not sure there’s any need to “deal” with anything.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    No. It’s not an automatic “gimmie”. Disposing of religion isn’t enough- the problem is faith- belief without evidence. Demanding evidence of faith is viewed contrary to the entire concept- and that’s the problem. Without evidence, without something to verify, faith can be used to justify anything.

    What happens when we die?

    Our bodies are an amazing consequence of the rules of the Universe. Our mind is an ephemeral collection of electro-chemical signals encoded onto neurons. Our body is a complex machine that’s held together by a haphazard collection of poorly-mated systems that’s glorious in its complexity. And when we die- that system breaks down. The mind vanishes, the body decays. Everything that we were is gone. And that makes each death its own unique tragedy. The living lose something irreplaceable when one of us dies.

  • Raghu Mani

    Why do you not believe in God?

    I don’t believe in God because I do not think there is enough evidence for the existence of one – and when I say ‘evidence,’ I do not mean it in the mathematical/scientific sense but rather in the colloquial sense. What would it take to convince me? I don’t know if I can precisely define it but there is a threshold beyond which I will have to abandon my disbelief and start believing. I may not be able to precisely define it but, if there is a God, he/she should know pretty much what it is.

    Where do your morals come from?

    Several places. First of all, I think that all social animals are born with some kind of innate moral sense. That moral sense is a product of evolution and enables the animal in question to survive as part of its society. In humans, the moral sense is a lot more sophisticated than other animals – probably due to our greater intelligence – but it is there in a lot of other creatures as well. On top of that innate moral sense is the moral climate prevalent in society today – ‘the moral zeitgeist’ as Dawkins puts it.

    Even though religious people claim they get their morality from some holy book, I doubt if that is really the case. To illustrate, let us look at the attitude regarding slavery in the US. A couple of centuries ago, there was actually a debate as to whether or not slavery was correct. Today the answer seems self evident. Neither the Bible nor human nature have changed in the interim. What has changed is the moral climate in society which causes us to interpret certain passages from our holy books differently and ignore certain others.

    What is the meaning of life?

    If you are looking for some kind of ultimate meaning/purpose, I don’t believe there is any. But on a smaller scale, each individual can make his or her own purpose. That purpose can come from your life, work, family, friends and from the people around you – and it doesn’t have to be anything grandiose or noble. Right now my purpose in life is to avoid all things that have anything to do with Harry Potter – a battle I am going to lose because the wife and kids insist on dragging me to every Potter celebration in the area :-) .

    Is atheism a religion?

    Not at all. There is no common dogma or central tenet that all atheists believe in. The only thing atheists have in common is a lack of belief in anything resembling a god. Just like ‘not collecting stamps’ is not a hobby, atheism is not a religion (sorry for restating that tired old cliche).

    If you dont pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Frankly, I haven’t been in any dire trouble in my life – so I cannot tell how I would react if I were faced with such a circumstance. During the troubling times I have had so far, I have stayed up worrying but I never felt the urge to pray. However, just suppose I am so desperate that I do start praying at some time. As far as I am concerned, that proves nothing. A drowning man will, in desperation clutch at straws – that does not mean that he seriously believes that the straw will keep him afloat.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    As far as I am concerned, no. What atheists shold be trying to do is to get prople to think rationally and maintain a healthy skepticism about anything that they encounter. The problem is not religious belief per se, but rather any unquestioning, credulous belief in any dogma (whether religious in nature or not). Of course, religious belief is irrational and it is one irrationality I do not have – however, I am sure I am irrational in a multitude of other ways. We can never achieve perfect rationality – if we did that, we would cease to be human and turn into a race of robots. So any religious belief that is tempered with a little rationality and skepticism is fine in my book. In fact I would much rather deal with such a religious individual than an dedicated unquestioning Marxist (even though it is the latter who is the atheist).

    Werent some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Well – yes an no. Hitler was no atheist – his religion was a mish-mash of his native Roman Catholicism and traditional German paganism. Neither were the Japanese in World War II – they were Zen Buddhists. Of course Stalin and Mao were atheists – however, the dogma they advanced (communism) is very similar to a religion in many respects. They both have one or more ‘holy books’, set certain people up as ‘prophets’, communism does not have a god but there is near-deification of ‘the state’ and the current leader and, of course, they both demand unquestioning obedience to the human authority-figures who are currently in charge. As I said in the above point, the problem isn’t religious belief per se but unquestioning obedience to any dogma.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    At various points in history billions of people believed things that are now universally accepted to be false. The majority of people on earth believed, at one time, that the earth was flat and that the sun went around the earth. Billions of people can be (and frequently have been) wrong.

    Why does the universe exist?

    In short, I don’t know and I am comfortable with my ignorance. Various religions provide various answers which do not satisfy me – they tend to raise more questions than they answer. I’ll wait till science comes up with some answers – and I won’t be disappointed if no answers are found in my lifetime.

    How did life originate?

    Here science has provided some answers. Evolution has been verified extremely well. Of course, for evolution to start you need some form of primitive life and here, there are few solid explanations from science. Still the many abiogenesis hypotheses are intriguing and one of them may turn out to be the correct answer.

    Is all religion harmful?

    No – quite the opposite. My family is full of religious people and, for the most part, religion has played a positive role in their lives. They aren’t anti-scientific troglodytes by any means. So long as religion is tempered with a little skepticism, some tolerance for others and an understanding of where the boundary with science lies, I don’t see religion as being harmful.

    Whats so bad about religious moderates?

    The answer of Dawkins/Dennet/Harris/Hitchens is valid – that the religious moderates provide cover for religious extremists. However, I’d consider that a fairly minor objection. Extremists abound in all areas of life and even if religious moderates didn’t provide them cover, they would find some other way to justify their existence.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    For some people, there is a kind of comfort and consolation that religion can provide that nothing in the secular world can replace. Some people need to be told that their near and dear ones who passed away are in a better place. Nothing that I, as an atheist, can say could possibly compete with that.

    What if youre wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Yet another form of Pascal’s wager. The first problem with this question is that it treats belief like some kind of horse race – this question always sounds to me like ‘what if you put your money on the wrong horse?’ Unfortunately, I cannot change a belief as easily as I can change a bet. Belief is not some kind of switch that I can turn on or off at will. I could pretend to believe and I could do it so well that I fool everyone – including those closest to me. However, I would not be fooling myself and, if there is a god, I would not be fooling him/her.

    So what if there turns out to be a God? Well, if it is a just God, then I feel certain that he/she will not be angered by honest disbelief. And if God is not just then no one, religious or not, can be sure of anything.

    Shouldnt all religious beliefs be respected?

    No. What should be respected is the right of people to believe what they choose so long as they do not try to impose these beliefs on others. While I don’t believe in yanking someone’s chain just for the heck of it, religion should not be shielded from reasoned criticism. Neither for that matter should atheism.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Not necessarily. I have seen too many smart religious people and quite a few dumb atheists to make that claim. There does seem to be some correlation between level of scientific education and religious belief. I find that most people who are well educated in the sciences tend to either moderate in their religious views or non-religious. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you dont believe in his divinity?

    Is this another way of phrasing the ‘trilemma’ of CS Lewis? I am not sure whether Jesus was a historical figure but even if he was, I see no reason to conclude that he was in any way divine. Lewis’s ‘lunatic, liar or lord’ options represent a false choice. There are many other choices possible – one of them being that he did exist but the account of his sayings/deeds in the Bible are either incorrect or embellished.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    I don’t know. The cynic in me says that were religion to disappear, we would find some other reason to fight with and kill our fellow human beings. Religion is just one excuse to make any enemy of someone else. If you look at all the conflicts in the world today, you’ll find that there are quite a few that are not religious in nature. Rwanda was mostly Christian-on-Christian violence (both sides were largely Catholic) and Darfur is mostly Muslim-on-Muslim (both sides mostly Sunni). Sri Lanka might appear to be religious in nature (one side being Hindu and the other being Buddhist) but the root causes are cultural/linguistic in nature.

    What happens when we die?

    The only thing I can say for sure is that our bodies become worm-food.

  • anti-nonsense

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    Lack of any credible evidence, to put it simply. Why do you not believe in the gods of other religions, or leprechauns or teapots orbiting Mars? I simply cannot believe in something for which there is no evidence whatshowever.

    * Where do your morals come from?
    my ability to relate to the feelings of others, my sense of responsibility for the human race and the planet, and my desire to live in a society where I can be safe from molestation and other harm.

    * What is the meaning of life?
    There is no one single meaning of life, life has no intrinsic meaning, it just is. Whatever meaning your life has is what you give it.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    No, atheism has no dogma or doctrine and is not a unified philosophy, it is simply the absence of belief in deities.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    I try to solve the problems that are bothering me, if I can’t do that, I find some way to distract myself, I read a book, talk with friends and family, or treat myself to something nice.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    I think people should be encouraged to examine their beliefs and see if they hold up to scrutiny, that includes all beliefs, it’s dangerous to believe things without carefully examining why you believe them, because then people might be able to get you to believe in just about anything.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Sure, and some of the worst crimes were committed by religious people too, Hilter was a Christian and often stated that he believed he was doing God’s work. There are bad people in every group. In any case, none of the atheistic regimes that people denounce killed in the name of atheism, Stalin killed in the name of communism and Pol Pot killed everybody that disagreed with them, atheist or theist.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    There are billions of people that are Christians, and billions of people that are Muslims, obviously one of those groups at least must be wrong, which proves that billions of people can easily be wrong about religion. Also, at one time, everybody believed that the earth was flat, that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the plague was a punishment for sin. Just because a belief is popular doesn’t make it any more likely to be true.

    * Why does the universe exist?
    Why does it need a reason to exist? It exists because it exists, I’m not sure there is a better answer then that. I don’t find that the various religious answers to this question make much sense.
    * How did life originate?
    We don’t know for sure, but scientists have come up with some pretty good theories on how life could have originated, It’s still an area of interesting speculation, look up the Urey-Miller experiment if you want to know about how some theories on the origin of life have been tested.

    * Is all religion harmful?
    No. not all religion is harmful in an of itself, but religion encourages belief without careful examination of the evidence (faith) and faith is extremely dangerous.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    there is nothing bad about them as people, but moderate religious faith makes it harder for people to criticize the extremists and thus helps to allow nuts like Fred Phelps and Becky Fischer to continue their insane and dangerous activities.

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Religion does bring a sense of community, and some people have been helped by religion to get out of bad situations, but I don’t think those are things that cannot be attained in a secular way.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    What if you’re wrong about God and he doesn’t exist? Or what if the god that exists isn’t the one you worship? If I’m wrong, then it should be possible for somebody to provide credible, examinable, verifiable evidence to that effect. The moment somebody provides solid evidence that a god exists, I will freely admit I was wrong. I want to believe what’s true, I want my beliefs to reflect reality as closely as possible based on the evidence I have available, and right now the evidence I have available does not suggest the existence of a god.
    Also, if there is a god, I hope that he/she/it would be just and fair and give me credit for the fact that I honestly felt what I believed was true and that I honestly tried to live a good life and do right by others.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Would you want to respect somebody’s belief that God wants them to shoot you personally with an assault rifle? Would you want to respect a belief that the entire population of the city you live in are actually demons and therefore your city must be destroyed with a nuclear bomb? Beliefs shouldn’t be respected just because they are beliefs, they should be examined on their merits.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?
    No, not necessarily smarter, I’ve known smart people that believed quite strongly in God, I’ve even known a few young earth creationists that were apparently very smart. Atheists do tend towards higher education levels especially in science however, atheism is much more common in college educated people then non-college educated people, and higher still in grad school educated people.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    I’m not certain that a historical Jesus ever existed, from what I’ve heard it seems that Jesus may have been a made up character created from stories of a lot of “messiah” figures that appeared around the time Jesus supposedly lived. But I’m not sure about that, I’d really have to do more reading and stuff about that.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?
    The world would be better off if everybody demanded evidence for their beliefs (ie didn’t rely on faith), since religion relies on faith, I think the world would be better off without religion, which doesn’t mean I support banning non-violent religious sects or anything like that, I hope that knowledge of science and logic will improve in the future and religion will gradually fade away.

    * What happens when we die?
    Nobody knows for sure, but it seems likely that we cease to exist as conscious entities. There is every reason to believe that consciousness is rooted soley in the brain and when the brain ceases to function, consciousness dissapears. This makes our own life, and the lives of those around us, incredibly precious, because once we are gone, we are gone finally and completely. We have to value this life because it’s the only one we get.

  • gamb

    * Why do you not believe in God?
    The same reason you don’t believe in Zeus.
    * Where do your morals come from?
    Reason
    * What is the meaning of life?
    To pass on your genes/ideas. If you don’t like that feel free to make your own meaning. You have the freedom to that you know ;)
    * Is atheism a religion?
    In the same way math is a religion.
    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    You actually do something constructive.
    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Should Christians be trying to convince others to believe in God? If it’s ok for you, it goes both ways.
    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Like who? Hitler? He often invoked Christianity to support him, and popular christianity did just that. Stalin? He was a marxist, that’s the key thing. Nothing is ever done because of atheism,
    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    It’s easy. Billions of people are wrong about lots of things everyday. Belief does not imply fact.
    * Why does the universe exist?
    Good question.
    * How did life originate?
    See above.
    * Is all religion harmful?
    No, but unfounded belief can be.
    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    They legitimize unfounded belief.
    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Yep, it can comfort you and give meaning to your life. Doesn’t make it true.
    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    What if you’re wrong about Allah/Yahweh/Zeus/nameyourgod?
    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    No. You don’t respect racism. Not all beliefs need to be respected simply because they are believed. Respect the person, yes, and talk with them honestly.
    * Are atheists smarter than theists?
    You can’t generalize intelligence from one fact. Some atheists are less smart than theists, and some theists are less smart than atheists. The question is meaningless.
    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    The same way you deal with the historical Buddha, I suppose.
    * Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Who knows?
    * What happens when we die?
    People grieve, then after a few generations you’re forgotten completely.

  • Polly

    Why do you not believe in God?
    No evidence/the Universe on the whole is hostile to all life.

    Where do your morals come from?
    Proactive-empathy mainly

    What is the meaning of life?
    That’s an illogical and meaningless question.

    Is atheism a religion?
    Is economics a religion? Atheism is an inference about the answer to a solitary question from lack of evidence.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    I pace back and forth while wringing my hands all the while weighing options for solutions.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    NO. Atheists should encourage people to remove the impediments to reason from their minds.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Marxists were mostly atheists, but atheism was as relevant to their cause as the ubiquitous use of the color red.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    You tell me. Don’t you feel the same way about Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, etc.

    Why does the universe exist?
    “Why” presumes a purpose. Inanimate things don’t purpose themselves.

    How did life originate?
    I don’t really know. My uninformed guess: Some carbon chains probably stuck together billions of years ago and started accreting in a manner that gave them self-perpetuating properties.

    Is all religion harmful?
    To the extent that it must blind its followers, yes. But, it doesn’t have to be. But, religion that asks nothing also tends to produce nothing.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Besides holding irrational beliefs? Nothing at all.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Maybe, if it encourages people to maintain hope even in difficult circumstances.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    Then he’s hidden himself really, really well and is probably pissed at you for finding him.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Do you respect other people’s religions?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    They are generally better informed. But definitely not smarter, or dumber.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    I think he was more or less invented probably based on one or more moralists from Judea with a heavy dose of Gnosticism and Platonism.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    I don’t know. I think so. But, I don’t know what the religious-dependent would fill the gap with.

    What happens when we die?
    All evidence points to decomposition. Consciousness isn’t magic.

  • http://friar-zero.blogspot.com/2007/07/atheist-questionnaire.html Casey

    Why do you not believe in God?
    One word, Evidence. I learned to use rational thought and practical reason to examine the world. In my high school days I kept reading the bible and the books on comparative religion and wondered how one could be right and the other’s not? I looked at metaphysics and actual physics and examined the idea of a supernatural force that interacts in our lives. I saw no evidence, anecdotal or scientific, that proves the supernatural or the divine. On the other hand, in my search I was turned on to the majesty of the cell, the virus, the photon.

    Where do your morals come from?
    Many places. My parents tried to raise me to be skeptical and reasonable; they gave me the emotional and logical tools to face the world. School taught me science and art and led me to discover the origins of thought. Philosophy has taken it from there. Using reason, a touch of Socratic Method, and comparative study in philosophy I have shaped my own morals. Not only those but the day to day events of our lives shape our worldview and do so regardless of our religious beliefs. The evolution of morals is a constant thing and I take what the world and its collected knowledge as it comes to me.

    What is the meaning of life?
    The meaning of life is that it has no intrinsic meaning. Everyday, we wake up and try to create our own meaning. Life is the struggle to imbue our lives with meaning.

    Is atheism a religion?
    No. A religion implies faith and belief in a metaphysical or supernatural worldview. Atheism is the rejection of the supernatural, the metaphysical, and the divine. Atheism is perhaps best explained as the anti-religion.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    I think, I cry, I talk with friends, family, and lovers, and I read. I cope. I move on and work toward getting myself out of troubling times knowing that no supernatural force will come to my rescue.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Not as such… I believe it is the call of the exuberant (or militant) atheist to hold up the hard mirror to religion and let the world see the imperfections and atrocities. I believe it is the call of all atheists to promote reason and logical thinking and to fight religious oppression and intolerance wherever it rears its head.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Yes. Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, and others committed horrible atrocities; but they did not do it in the name of atheism. Atheists are people too and all people are capable of great evil. However that evil is fostered y the hateful teachings of religion. In the name of religion the average man rose up to slaughter his muslim brother in the ancient crusades and the streets of Palestine today. Because of the teachings of the priesthood and their bible thousands of women were burned at the stake and many more men and women were tortured in the inquisitions. Millions of jews, catholics, blacks, and homosexuals were slaughtered by Hitler and his Aryan Cult. Protestants and Catholics kill each other, Shi’a and Sunni kill each other, Jew and Muslim kill each other, Hindu and Muslim kill each other; all for no better reason than they are the wrong religion. Atheism has never advocated death and has never provided the encouragement for slaughter.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Because human knowledge is always growing and evolving. In our early days were small tribes of nomadic barbarians who wandered the land with no law and no science. Those who sought power claimed to have the power and knowledge from god and set themselves up as the leaders of the community. The law was not informed by reason or science, but backed up by divine fiat. This system remained for thousands of years and was changed through science and learning. The roman senate, Athenian democracy, the enlightenment, and modern science hae all changed the way we look a society and the universe. We will continue to expand our knowledge and clarify our worldview as the centuries pass. Religion is simply the superstitious relic of our ancestors waiting to be shrugged off.

    Why does the universe exist?
    Because of the big bang. Of course, you probably want to know what created the big bang. We don’t know, yet. However there are many theories. I believe the universe is an infinite system and that the big bang was caused by the big crunch and that this cycle repeats constantly. Obviously this is an open question that continues to be studied by theologians and physicists today.

    How did life originate?
    Amino acids forming unicellular organisms in the primordial soup of our cooling world. Unicellular organisms formed colonies and then formed multi-cellular organisms that formed all modern life. It is a scientific and reproducible process that has been studied by molecular biologists and evolutionary biologists extensively. For all we know, this same process could be happening right now around Proxima Centauri or an even more distant star.

    Is all religion harmful?
    I believe so, yes. Religion fosters hate, ignorance, and subservience. Almost all religions are built with the idea that there are those among us who commit heinous sins and are worthy of death. Almost all religions teach that the punishment for transgression or sinning is to be forever punished. All religions teach the existence and acceptance of the supernatural; ghosts, goblins, and the like. All religions teach tha the divine and the supernatural is above our reasoning and therefore we should distrust reason. All religions have stood in the way of scientific and social progress. All religions teach that we are worthless and that this life is a sham; thus we should bow down to an invisible master and his earthly priesthood. Almost all religions preach the idea of theocracy and rule by the religious elite. Reason, Acceptance, and Self-Reliance are crushed by religion. What religion does good for society has been done by secular authorities that much better. What good religion does for human beings is outweighed by the atrocities and the message of spite and fear and ignorance.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Nothing per say… However, religious moderates act as a smokescreen against the larger evils of religion. Whenever Falwell or Robertson or Coulter or Savage or O’Reilly or Phelps stands up and spews hate and ignorance and theocratic madness the people are ready t attack their ignorant and superstitious beliefs until a moderate stands up and says, they may be wrong but god loves you. They deflect the public away from the hard questions about religion.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Nothing. The “good” morals and values that religion teaches are universal to all human cultures that we can cultivate without an invisible dictator.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    I’ll be dead anyway, what will I care? Besides, if I was wrong there would be some shred of evidence that a diety or supernatural being has interacted with this world outside of the myths and legends of ancient man. So, I’m confident.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    I respect people, not religions. People are free to accept and belief whatever they will, but I and other atheists and freethinkers have an equal right to challenge those beliefs. As long as you are not trying to force your belief on me we will get along smashingly. If you try to tell me I am going to hell or that this country is being corrupted by gays and pagans, I am going to rip you a new one.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    The “historical Jesus” is only ever mentioned by Josephus outside the context of Christianity. Most of the “gospels” were written long after Jesus died and were based largely off of older mythologies. The myths and “miracles” of Jesus are similar to those of Apollonius of Tyana, Mithra, the cultic Orpheus, and a few of the myths attributed to Heracles, Horus, Gilgamesh, and the Elusian Mysteries. So I am not that impressed with the historicity of Jesus and/or the bible.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Yes, yes, yes. Science would make great leaps forward, sectarian violence would be a thing of myth, and universal human rights would be a reality.

    What happens when we die?
    We cease to be. All that we were and are simply stops. Our memories and deeds and works will continue to exist beyond us. Our families and community will continue, be we will simply cease to be. This is the question and the horrifying reality that has driven more people to religion than anything else. We don’t want to believe it, we don’t want to accept it, but we have only a short time on this earth and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Make the most of it, don’t live in fear of an invisible dictator and don’t give in to hate and intolerance. Live, love, and leave the world better than you found it. That’s all any of us can do.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Why do you not believe in Odin, Zeus or Osiris? I believe in one less god that you.
    Where do your morals come from?
    Typically learned responses to social situations. There is no inherent sense of right and wrong any more than there is a divinely inspired one. We are social animals and as such have evolved to cooperate in our groups and to empathise with others.
    What is the meaning of life?
    Propagate your species. However i think people look for meaning where none is actually required. It’s the wrong question.
    Is atheism a religion?
    No. You may as well say is logic a religion.
    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Typically I do something about the situation rather than waste my time on my knees talking to the air.
    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Yes, in the same way that intelligent people should convince someone who believes that the moon is made of cheese that they are wrong. We correct mistakes through logic and debate. It isn’t a conversion or crusade, just education.
    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    I think that the lack of religion is secondary to the political aims of these people. You’re referring to Hitler, Stalin and others who held radical political views and are also reported to be atheist despite the fact that no real evidence for this exists. Furthermore the atrocities are relatively few compared with those caused by religious agendas. I say few but you may counter with the number of dead Jews in WWII for example and I’d have to say that it was the technical efficiency of the killing given the superior weapons of the era and not the agenda behind it that led to so much wasted life.
    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Until relatively recently people thought the earth was flat. Some people actually still do. Public opinion isn’t necessarily a measure of accuracy.
    Why does the universe exist?
    Why would it not? Why would there need to be a why?
    How did life originate?
    A complex chemical, electrical and physical set of circumstances occurred. Given the size of the universe it is actually very unlikely that life would fail to spontenously occur. More likely than a creator deity anyway.
    Is all religion harmful?
    Without a doubt. Ignorance is never the best option and religous fervour harms everyone it touches.
    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    They are misinformed and either unwilling or unable to question their relgious beliefs.
    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Not that I can think of.
    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    I suppose it’s always a possibility but I’d rather live my life as a sceptic than accept some story without question.
    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    No more than you would respect someone’s political beliefs. A belief should be strong enough to be challenged otherwise it is simply dogma.
    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    As an atheist I like to think so but I don’t have any real evidence. I do know that the bible belt in North America has lower exam results than the less religious North East but there are considerably more factors involved than religion.
    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    About 2000 years ago there were a whole string of “miracle workers” and religious leaders. Jesus was most likely a healer or travelling preacher whose reputation was blown out of all proportion.
    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Certainly. No more hiding behind some old book.
    What happens when we die?
    We cease to be alive. Why would you think that you enter a state that is any different from the one you were in prior to your birth? Worse religion teaches that people who don’t fit the right profile (A Jew or Atheist to a Catholic or a homosexual to a Christian) are destined to suffer unspeakable torment after death simply because of an accident of their birth. Your religion is largely derived form the place you were born after all.

  • http://everydayatheism.wordpress.com Everyday Atheism

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Because the only reasons people have for believing in God are psychological, rather than empirical.

    Where do your morals come from?
    My natural compassion and being brought up to respect the rights of others.

    What is the meaning of life?
    The meaning, or significance of life is that it has value. The fact that it ends makes it infinitely more valuable.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    I seek the comfort of friends and family, and search for solutions to my problems.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    I think we should point out the flaws in theism, because religion has such a large impact on our world.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Simple, they all believe in mutually exclusive deities.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    It depends on which one it is.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Should all alien abduction stories be respected?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    No, we just ask different questions, and have different standards of evidence.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    He never calls me, so it isn’t much of an issue.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    I know I am better off without it. You should give it a try.

    What happens when we die?
    Our bodies decompose, and get recycled back into nature, but the impact that we’ve made on the word lives on. What we do in life echoes an eternity.*

    *from Gladiator – I’ve always liked that line.

  • The Vicar

    Why do you not believe in God?

    Observation of physics and history shows that a loving and all-powerful God cannot exist. People like you say that no other kind exists. So no kind of God can exist. You change your story, I’ll change mine.

    What is the meaning of life?

    You don’t ask for the meaning of sleep, or electricity, or nectarines, do you? They’re just there. Why should life be any different?

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    A vanishingly small number. Many more were incited by a relative handful of atheists, I’ll grant you, but the actual actions were overwhelmingly undertaken by believers.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    You tell me; if any one religion is true, all the others are false, so billions are wrong anyway.

    Why does the universe exist?

    The minute you posited the existence of an undetectable being who is all-powerful but insists on hiding from the entire world, you sucked all the meaning out of the word “exist”.

    Is all religion harmful?

    Depends — are all lies wrong?

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He’s unwilling to forgive you for getting Him wrong)? The chances of winning the lottery are nearly the same whether you buy a ticket or not. I’ll risk it.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Don’t be silly. The Old Testament says that Jews should kill all the inhabitants of just about every city in the world, including nearly all of the United States (Deuteronomy 13) — and that’s a mainstream religion.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    On average? Yes. In specific? Well, I hate to sound conceited, but there are two of us here, and only one of us didn’t know the answers to these questions…

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    Last I heard, the only people who really believe the Jesus of the modern New Testament is historical in toto also believe the earth is less than 7000 years old and that God cares more about your sex life than whether you kill someone. Remember that question about “should all religions be respected?”

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Dunno, but it’s hard to imagine that it could actually be any worse.

    And seriously, FA? Naperville? That’s, like, small town America after the Republican pod people hatched and sucked all the personality out of the real inhabitants. Although I’ll give them credit for having the honesty to make the local Republican Party headquarters out of a gas station in 2006. (Wish I had taken a picture!)

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  • http://www.agnosticatheism.wordpress.com HeIsSailing

    • Why do you not believe in God?
    Actually, there might be one. But until he parts the skies, peers down at us and announces his presence with a giant megaphone, we will never know, will we?

    • Where do your morals come from?
    Same place yours do. From various influences that we happen to revere.

    • What is the meaning of life?
    The worst of the Monty Python movies.

    • Is atheism a religion?
    Blast, I don’t know. Does it matter? Whether the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ still does not bring God into existence.

    • If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Same thing you do. We chew our nails and pace the floor. We both talk to ourselves too.

    • Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    We should dispense information, free from church creeds, and let people make up their own minds.

    • Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Ummm… yeah I guess so. What’s your point, ya jerk?

    • How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Remember the TV ad that claimed Slim Whitman sold more albums than Elvis and The Beatles combined? Next question.

    • Why does the universe exist?
    Why does this question exist? Because humans assume there must be an answer.

    • How did life originate?
    I think we will know the answer to this when we find out why the universe exists.

    • Is all religion harmful?
    Is atheism a religion? Wait, you already asked that. Pass.

    • What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    They make debating Fundamentalists much more difficult. They believe in things like local floods and Theistic Evolution. Heresy I say!!

    • Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    What is this stale talk of religion? I thought you had a relationship.

    • What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    If John Hagee is right and I am wrong? Honestly? I will spend an eternity in Hell.

    • Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Have you seen the latest YouTube responses to the Blasphemy Challenge from the French Realian Clone Masters? You gotta love UFO cults.

    • Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Is a Realian Clone Master smarter than Martin Luther?

    • How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    I think the worms dealt with him a long, long time ago.

    • Would the world be better off without any religion?
    My honest, uninformed opinion? No.

    • What happens when we die?
    I don’t remember. I have to rent Beetlejuice again for the authoritative and inspired answer to that question.

  • GM_Scorch

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Evidence up until now points to the negative.

    Where do your morals come from?
    Morals come from dogma. Ethics come from logic.

    What is the meaning of life?
    Multiple Meanings:
    Biological Reason: To procreate and spread into every ecological niche.
    Individual Reason: To experience and enjoy oneself for the duration one has.
    Societal Reason: To minimize the pain and suffering of others.

    Is atheism a religion?
    Lack of belief is not a belief.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Observe what is causing trouble, examine it, and work out a solution.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Nope. If it makes them happy and as long as they keep it to themselves then let them believe what they want. Its when they go from “I believe…” to “You should believe as well..” (sometimes followed by “I’ll make you believe…”) that you should start worrying.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    And some of the worst atrocities throughout all of history were committed by believers. The committers belief had nothing to do with the atrocity. They are bad people to begin with.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Believing something to be true is not the same as it being factually true. For example: the majority of the worlds population believed the earth was flat and the universe rotated around it.

    Why does the universe exist?
    Why is a subjective question that is just an exercise in mental mastrubation. How is much more interesting and fulfilling.

    How did life originate?
    Either evolved from primordial goop long ago in our oceans or was seeded here by meteorites or comets.

    Is all religion harmful?
    No. You might as well ask if all drugs are harmful. They are to excess. Same with religion. All things in moderation.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Nothing. They are trying to find a common ground in a bad situation and more power to them.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    It kept ancient kings from tearing things apart, it preserved history and knowledge during dark times, and it generally kept us from barbarism and gave birth to modern day civilization. But now that we are grown up, we no longer need the crib and pacifier.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    If God does exist then he/she/it will be something that none of us have gotten right in defining. The afterlife will be something we cannot even comprehend now. On the other hand if the fundies are right and you go to heaven and just fly around and sing praises all day long then I would prefer Hell or annhilation of conciousness.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Respect is earned.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Nope.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    The same way I deal with all the rest of the messiahs around that time. There were hundreds of em (one thing Life of Bryan got right). Jesus just happened to be the one who won out the “Messianic Idol” show and got the recording contract and 2000 years of apologists revising his biography.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Nah. It makes things more colorful.

    What happens when we die?
    Probably true answer: We de-compose.
    Wuss out answer: No one knows. We will find out when we expire.

  • http://jamonation.com/ Rolf

    * Why do you not believe in a God?

    As I have personally never been provided with any evidence of God’s existence, I have no reason to believe. Thus non-belief is the default position.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    No atheism is not a religion. Nor is it a belief system. Atheism is a way of being. Atheism is the acceptance of what my senses tell me is reality here and now. Atheism is a world view that embraces a reality supported by empirical evidence. Nothing is made up or manufactured to supercede reality or fact. There is no need to draw a distinction between ourselves as human and a supposed supernatural entity that judges our actions and controls our destiny. I personally don’t need to read anything more into the events in my life than my experience of events themselves. The concept of a god directing my life is totally foreign to me as I have been given absolutely no proof of a deity.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    It doesn’t really matter why. The universe exists because it does. Of more interest is the question of how it came into existence. And science provides a much more rational explanation than the answer, “God made the universe”.

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  • http://uncrediblehallq.blogspot.com Chris Hallquist

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    No evidence, and we would expect to see some evidence if there were a God.

    * Where do your morals come from?

    This can be answered on several levels: From having compassion. From realizing I have no more metaphysical importance than anyone else. From nowhere, because it’s impossible to derive a statement about what we ought to do from only statements about the world.

    * What is the meaning of life?

    42. Or, “the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.” No, seriously, what does this question even mean?

    * Is atheism a religion?

    Depends on how you define religion?

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Say to myself, “I should do something about this.” And sometimes I do do something about it.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    If they feel like it. But mainly, there are other doctrines in orthodox Christianity and Islam that are much more dangerous and deserving of our attention.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Some. Not all. Stalin rejected Darwinian evolution–thought it was too capitalistic. What’s your point?

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Because they make the mistake of thinking that if everybody around them believes something, it’s likely to be correct.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    It’s not clear that that question is even answerable in principle.

    * How did life originate?

    Slowly building up from simpler to more complex forms. See here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html#Globule

    * Is all religion harmful?

    No. But, contrary to what some people want to believe, just because something is harmful doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as a real religion.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    Because the majority of them believe absurd things about religion that serve to give cover to the dangerously orthodox. Examples: “all religion is good,” and “it’s wrong to criticize someone’s religious beliefs.”

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    No. Why do you think there would be?

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Liberal/deistic God: pleasantly surprised. Orthodox God: hoping I’d have the guts to tell him off.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Should all political ideologies be respected? Should all claims about science be respected?

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    In absolute terms, no. Statistical averages, I have no idea.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    Probably, he deceived himself into believing he had miraculous powers and that he had been given the job of heralding in the end of the world (just read Mark 13).

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Yes. Some religious beliefs are extraordinarily harmful and none have any benefits.

    * What happens when we die?

    Stop assuming so much about personal identity.

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  • Aj

    Why do you not believe in God?
    No evidence. Being a sceptic, rationalist, and a naturalist, I require evidence for my beliefs.
    Where do your morals come from?
    The question hints at relativism. Why do people behave the way they do? Determinism, evolution, we evolved our morals. As social animals it would be impossible to be anything but moral animals.
    What is the meaning of life?
    There doesn’t have to be a meaning, there’s nothing that suggests there is one outside of what we give it.
    Is atheism a religion?
    There’s no church of atheism, no priests, no faith, no superstition, and no doctrine. Atheism is a state of nonbelief, it’s not a philosophy or religion. It’s not a positive belief.
    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Since praying is useless to me, then I’ll most likely try to do something about what’s troubling me.
    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    No, they should be pointing out the absurdity of belief in God. Faith and religion don’t need a God, or gods, to be harmful.
    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Yes, God isn’t a problem, religion, faith, and dogma are problems, and you can’t have God without atleast one. Without those I don’t believe those atrocities would have been commited. Theism didn’t stop Hitler.
    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Popularity isn’t an argument for truth. Most people believe strange things. Some people dedicate much time to understanding why.
    Why does the universe exist?
    We’ll never find out if we give up and say “God did it”.
    How did life originate?
    We’ll never find out if we give up and say “God did it”.
    Is all religion harmful?
    It has the potential to be, faith and doctrine don’t seem to be concerned with it.
    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    They support religious extremism by protecting irrational beliefs, demanding we respect them.
    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Gothic architecture, Pugin is one of my favourite architects, wasted a lot of time on churches.
    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    I’m not wrong about not believing in a god, there’s no evidence for one, whether there’s a god or not. No one knows the mind of this god (that may or may not exist), which prophets are right (if any), or whether this god cares about us.
    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    No religious beliefs should be respected, no beliefs should be respected unless by their merit, that being evidence and reason.
    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    If by being smart you mean being rational, having loyalty to the truth, and knowing which things you don’t know.
    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    There’s not much evidence for the historical Jesus outside of an inconsistant gospel account that’s highly unbelievable. What it claims he said isn’t particularly insightful, intelligent, or clear.
    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    If people can get the comfort they claim they recieve without religion, yes. Religion in its current state has to change, if it can’t change, then it has to go. The world would be a better place without religion for me.
    What happens when we die?
    There’s no evidence that suggests anything but decomposing.

  • Jonas G

    I seem to be arriving late, to comment. But I haven’t read through the comments yet. — So forgive me for duplicating, and I’m trying to be original in my comments, which is why I haven’t read the previous ones yet ..

    – “Why does the universe exist?”
    — Why should it not? Do we need an explaination or justification of why it is here, to be awed at the complexity of it’s workings as revealed by science?

    “How did life originate?”

    – As I recall from some of Dawkin’s books there are several competing theories on the origination of life on earth, (so called ambiogenesis) which is not to be confused with the evolution of life on earth. ie. Somehow life originates, it then evolves by Natural Selection.
    — That science may find an answer without resorting to divine intervention, is the nature of what science does. Science does not claim to know, necessarily, but will admit when there is something which is as yet unknown.

    “Is all religion harmful?”
    — While not necessarily “Warlike” or “Violent” as is obvious with the fundamentalists, all religions which claim “revelation” as a source of knowledge have dangers. Jehovah’s Witnesses may not be flying planes into buildings, but if they refuse a blood transfution as an act of faith, they are comitting a senseless act of suicide. A Christian Scientist refusing medical care for her child is practicing child abuse. A hasidic Jew might risk his infant to a herpes infected Mohel.
    — Religious “Faith” — A Belief not based on evidence can be the basis for much discrimination. Gay Marriage, Slavery, Womens Rights – we do not need a pope, priest, minister, or rabbi to tell us what position to take on these issues.

    “Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?”
    — What exactly is a religious belief, and why would I not then adopt it?
    — If by belief you mean “Faith” (having no evidence to support it) why should it have special status?

    Using “Faith” as an argument: “God says all humans are equal” has the same False Authority as “God says I’m better than you are.” By contrast, “Races of Homo Sapiens have no intrinsic difference in brain size, among themselves and are thus all equally sentient, of equal potential intelligence, and wisdom, and thus deserve equal rights, unlike chimpanzees.” is an argument that does not invoke “What God Wants” as justification.

    “How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity? ”
    — I’m not enough of a historian to know if there was a historical Jesus or not. There may have been and he may have in some way contributed to The Bible but it is just a book.

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  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Jonas G, not being an atheist I’ve only been reading the posts. But your dependence on Dawkins should take into account several important things. Dawkins is what Stephen Gould called a “Darwinian fundamentalist”, he asserted that his reliance on one mechanism of evolution, selection, was unrealistically narrow. When you consider that evolution took place over a period of 3+ billion years and how many organisms were involved with the process of evolution, and when you consider the relatively short length of time that the subject has been being studied it’s quite reasonable to assume that the situation is a lot more complex and varied than the adaptationist orthodoxy would allow. Given the difficulty of studying the subject, the relatively rare fossil evidence, the random nature of that evidence, the ambiguity of the evidence, etc, it’s pretty clear that the subject isn’t likely to be closed within our lifetimes.

    Given the history of biological determinism, the weapons industry, the rise of industry, there is an excellent case to be made that science and technology are bigger dangers to the survival of the human species and the biosphere than most religion. Look at the professional backgrounds of the 9-11 suicide bombers, look at the professions of the recently arrested terror suspects in England. Heck, look at their gender. Maybe males are the real danger to the survival of the species and need to be suppressed.

  • http://www.templewhore.blogspot.com Slut

    Why do you not believe in God?

    I studied my religion (took some classes) and realized that its teachings were based on the Bible and Transcendentalism. It may make for a comforting philosophy but there’s clearly no factual basis underlying it. The bible comprises just one set of myriad human myths. I also looked for evidence of the survival of the “self” after death – there is none. Also, the universe and life do not require a god to exist. So…no evidence, plain and simple and plenty of evidence against (argument from evil). Richard Carrier’s book was pretty influential on my thinking also.

    Where do your morals come from?

    I do what’s commonly believed to be right because of 1) desire for society, friends, family and 2) laws. I don’t believe in any moral absolutes, although humanist values serve humans very well.

    What is the meaning of life?

    Do something personally fulfilling. I like this quotation: “The purpose of life is the expression of love and the creation of beauty. I would add to that, “the pursuit of knowledge and the celebration of life.”

    Is atheism a religion?

    No, it’s the lack of any religion.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Meditate on the mantra “peace,” analyze the problem and work to solve it, or think about something else (when there’s nothing that can be done).

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Yes. The reason is primarily that people only have one life and it is a shame to live it based on some antiquated rules in anticipation of a fictional life to come.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    True. Their problem was less atheism and more political ideology. Daylight atheism or ebonmusing has a good essay on this.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Lack of education, lack of knowledge about natural processes and statistics.

    Why does the universe exist?

    Natural processes. It may be a mistake to think that “nothing” is the natural state of existence. “Something” is just as likely always to have existed.

    How did life originate?

    Natural processes. See talkorigins.org for details.

    Is all religion harmful?

    Primarily in that it gives people false comfort. It’s more productive to face reality and live fully.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    They are laboring under the same delusions. It doesn’t particularly matter how liberal or conservative one’s delusions, does it? I was quite a liberal non-Christian theist and yet I based my life decisions on false beliefs about what “god wanted” and the expectation that this life was one of many. What a waste.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    In the same way that pot and alcohol are good, I suppose? They make you feel nice. But the flip side of that is that they also create unrealistic expectations that most people can’t live up to. Religion is also a crutch which makes people think they can’t survive on their own.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    So? Is there any real reason to believe that whatever god might exist has any resemblance to the Judeo-Christian god and not some other god? If some other god exists, who knows what it wants humans to do?

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    No, for the reasons listed above. I try to treat people with respect, but not their erroneous ideas.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Generally speaking, statistically. But that does not mean there aren’t plenty of very intelligent theists. I assume that most of them are at least of average intelligence but brainwashed.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    I don’t see any compelling evidence that such an historical person existed, but if he did, it’s quite common for “miracle” stories to spring up around historical persons. Notice how miracles don’t happen so often nowadays? My religion did not teach the divinity of Jesus and I’ve always found the entire Sin/Fall/Redemption myth ludicrous.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Yes.

    What happens when we die?

    The mind is a brain-based phenomenon. When the brain dies, so do we. ebonmusing has a very good article on this also, and I recommend “Dying to Live” as well.

  • ash

    Why do you not believe in God?

    i do! and loch-nessies, and teapots round saturn, and unicorns, and santa, and faries,….

    Where do your morals come from?

    they were a gift from the great and mighty oz…

    What is the meaning of life?

    42

    Is atheism a religion?

    yes, and so is baseball, capitalism, vegetarianism,…

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    sit in a corner, scream, cry, talk to friends, everything a theist does without the praying really…

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    absolutly! and i’d encourage others to evangelise to me! erm…

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    yes! did you miss the speech Stalin gave when he attributed his actions ‘in the name of almighty Darwin’ ?

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    they can’t! which is why we should take up witch-burning, rock-worship, infidel-murder, eating rice as our staple diet….

    Why does the universe exist?

    you bloody ingrate!

    How did life originate?

    by god’s will! i am not descended from a common ancestor that would demand respect from me to all other beings, i am a dirt by-product and proud of it!

    Is all religion harmful?

    only insofar that hypocrisy, lies, the assumption of privilege over others, the abandoning of reason etc are harmful

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    what’s so bad about people? ah, potential…

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    the ability of people to take a good idea and not attribute it an invisible beings will

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    i shall go to hell with all the other good people who were judged unworthy – unbaptised children, people who’ve never heard of god, the ones who were worshipping the wrong one etc. if our petition for change of leadership fails, i shall then organise a coup.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    yes! respect my right to racist/homophobic/misogynistic/etc views based on my invocation of a god!

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    about equal, however an atheist can’t hide behind god as an excuse for ignorance

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    historical jesus=the dead one right? then in the same way i deal with any other dead person i have no links to…

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    the world would be better off without people being able to use god as an excuse for being ignorant/intolerant

    What happens when we die?

    we fulfil our role in the circle of life (see disney for further clarification)

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  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    Seems like some good material for Ask the Atheists. I disagree about the value of providing 1-2 sentence answers to many of these questions because I think it is unlikely that such brevity will satisfy many believers. Personally, I find the most effect approach is to give both a “in a nutshell” sort of response and then to provide a fuller elaboration which anticipates the common objections to the abbreviated response.

    Getting these questions out to the atheist blogosphere is important and represents a real contribution, so I thank you for that.

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    Like brian t, I put my answers on my blog too. See here.

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  • http://www.wayofthemind.org/ Pedro Timóteo

    My answers, too, are here.

  • Ross

    Mine seem a touch longer then maybe they should be, but you can find them here.

  • Jonas G

    reply to: olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    I’ll grant you I’ve been reading more Dawkins recently than Gould, but I have read both. Unfortunately Gould is no longer with us.

    Jonas G, not being an atheist I’ve only been reading the posts. But your dependence on Dawkins should take into account several important things. Dawkins is what Stephen Gould called a “Darwinian fundamentalist”, he asserted that his reliance on one mechanism of evolution, selection, was unrealistically narrow.

    The question I was answering was “Why did life originate” not how/why did life evolve. – From the Selfish Gene:

    The account of the origin of life that I shall give is necessarily speculative… There are a number of rival theories, but they all have certain features in common

    I am aware of differences in opinion between Dawkins and Gould, and Gould’s theory of Punctuated Equilibrium for example. My point is that whatever the question, science either honestly answers: “I don’t know yet”, “I don’t know, and cannot know” or “I believe, based on evidence.” In no case does Gould, Dawkins or any other evolutionary biologist resort to a Supernatural “Miracle” defn: (Wikipedia)

    A miracle, … is a striking interposition of divine intervention by a God in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified.

    -

    Given the history of biological determinism, the weapons industry, the rise of industry, there is an excellent case to be made that science and technology are bigger dangers to the survival of the human species and the biosphere than most religion.

    Religion clouds human judgement, and thus the uses of technology may be terrible. Mother Teresa railed against Birth Control, Family Planning, and abortion. Potential cures to Parkinsons, Alzhiemers and other diseases are blocked by anti-stem cell research bills, due in no little bit to religious beliefs. Is it just coincidence that all of the 9-11 suicide bombers all had a “faith” that said “If I hijack this plane & kill 3,000 people in the process, I’ll get a lovely reward of 72 virgins” ?

    Whether the world would be “Better” without religion who knows?

    Humans would still have needs (food, water, space, air etc), perhaps be greedy jealous and selfish, maybe kind loving, and compassionate to some. Would we have had a Union Carbide explosion, or a Voyager 2 exploration? It would have made a good episode of Sliders to speculate.

  • http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=TheMathGuy Nate the Mathematics Guy

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Lack of evidence.

    Where do your morals come from?
    There are really two questions here.
    1.) Where did we get our moral sense?
    I believe it evolved as we became social animals.

    2.) What criterion determines what is “moral” and what is “immoral”?
    It’s complicated, of course, but I’d say the most basic principle would be some version of the golden rule: Treat others how you would want to be treated if you were them.

    What is the meaning of life?
    It has whatever meaning we give to it. No one can give anything meaning but a sapient being, i.e. us. Nothing has meaning except in that it means something to someone.

    Is atheism a religion?
    No. It is no more and no less than the lack of theism (belief in a god).

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Get support/advice from those I trust. Real life people are wonderful for this purpose! More people should try it sometime! Humans are social animals–we don’t fare too well being alone.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    No. We should be trying to convince people to think critically. What’s important is why you believe what you believe. The specifics of belief are always changing, as well they should be.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by theists? While some of the people who committed terrible atrocities were indeed atheists, it would be a fallacy to assume that atheism was the reason why they committed these atrocities. Atheism is not a solution to the human condition, but then neither is religion.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    The same way we were wrong about the earth being flat: Given our experience it seemed that way to us at the time.

    Why does the universe exist?
    Why does the universe need a reason to exist?

    How did life originate?
    Probably with a self-replicating molecule that occurred by chance some 4.5 billion years ago on this earth–at which point evolution through natural selection could begin to take effect.

    Is all religion harmful?
    Depends exactly how you define “religion”, but if a religion is based around belief without (and indeed in spite of) the evidence then it is harmful, and this describes a great many of the world’s religions.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    The religious moderates themselves aren’t so bad, but unfortunately they do provide a fertile breeding ground for the fundamentalists to recruit from. Also I think the moderates could do better. They already think for themselves in some matters. Why not all?

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Well, sure! It provides a social tradition that strengthens bonds between human beings. But this can be also achieved by religions such as Unitarian Universalism which have no requirement of belief in a doctrine, and also by other secular organizations. Again it boils down to just exactly how one defines “religion”.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    That would be great news! (Provided God is good of course, and in that case I trust he’ll have a good reason for withholding evidence of his existence). If on the other hand God is not good, then he’s not the sort of god I’d want to serve anyway. In any case, I can’t really base what I believe on the possible consequences of holding that belief, as though I were choosing flavors of ice cream. I have to believe what I think is actually true, period.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Why? Shouldn’t an idea be respected or not based on whether or not it is worthy of respect?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    That all depends on why they are atheists. I do think the converse holds though–that smart people have a higher tendency to become atheists and agnostics. This is exactly what one would expect if the evidence is indeed insufficient to demonstrate the existence of a god.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    I think more people would do well to actually follow his advice, especially Christians! Jesus had some social ideas that were very progressive for his time (and for ours). The real Jesus, if he existed, might never have claimed to be divine. He might never have deliberately chosen to be crucified. Perhaps this theory arose later on in the still developing Christian religion.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    I’m convinced it would be better off than it is right now.

    What happens when we die?
    Our body decomposes and becomes dirt (unless we opt to be cremated in which case it becomes ash). I don’t consider consciousness to be a separate ontological entity–it’s something that arises out of the structure of our bodies. When that structure is destroyed, so is consciousness.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    Off topic question:
    Does anyone know of an exclusively atheist-themed blog that is updated regularly (daily) that unabashedly disparages religion, preferably in a sarcastic manner? I already know about PZ Myers.

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  • Serrac

    Is atheism a religion?

    No more than not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  • severalspeciesof

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Please define God.

    Where do your morals come from?
    Please define morals. If the ultimate moral comes down to the Golden rule, (I prefer the negative version: Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself) then I’d say evolution shaped our morals.

    What is the meaning of life?
    What is the meaning of the afterlife?

    Is atheism a religion?
    Is believing that things fall up and repel each other a definition of gravity?

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Think things through, vent my concerns with those I love.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    If you mean to evangelize atheism, no. But atheists should become more vocal whenever possible.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Yes, but not under the name of ATHEISM. If someone were to prove to me that Stalin had said, “I’ve killed all these people because I don’t believe in God and for no other reason.” I would change my answer.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Which God?

    Why does the universe exist?
    Would we be talking if it didn’t? And, Did it matter to you before you were born?

    How did life originate?
    Science is working on that as we speak, and the short answer is still: We don’t KNOW and neither do you.

    Is all religion harmful?
    Only the parts that co-erce.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    They’re only bad if they ‘respect’ religious fanatics.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Only the parts that exalt the golden rule, and then that wouldn’t be religion (strictly speaking) now would it?

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    Which God? (Wait for answer, then counter with an opposing God or Gods)

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Including the command of killing all in a battle? (See pretty much any battle commands of the Old Testament)

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Only if you feel reason is better that blind faith, and only in that particular area.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    How do you deal with the historical -Insert any other historical figure- ?

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Best guess: slightly better.

    What happens when we die?
    What were you like before you were born?

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  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    Where do your morals come from?

    I just posted a definitely not short and sweet conversation I have been having with a believer on that very question.

    Essentially my answer came down to “we are”. The combination of humanity’s experience, rational thinking and a scientific worldview is an extremely powerful tool or set of tools for understanding reality and the correct moral actions. I believe that this offers a better alternative to blind faith (a bit redundant I admit). I believe that moral actions have always been determined by human reason and that religion all too often captures/justifies immoral behavior at a certain point in time and that fossilizes and becomes incontrovertible dogma

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    In that same post we touched on this topic as well and my response is paraphrased here.

    Stalin and other notable atheists did not persecute/kill others because of atheism he did it because of his Marxist (some would argue Stalinist) ideology. Ideology is something to always guard against because it is far too prone to non-critical thinking or any kind of self correcting mechanism. In fact, religion could be considered a form of ideology that unfortunately garners a special status as unquestionable unlike economic or social ideologies.

    What happens when we die

    Our bodies begin to decompose. Hopefully we’ve left the world a better place than when we came into it.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    The number of adherents has nothing to do with the validity of an argument or belief. I think this is a classic logical fallacy.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    That depends very much on the nature of God. A Christian/Muslim god would be very bad for me ;) Any kind of non-personal god would likely make no difference. A flying spaghetti monster would likely make me into a very tasty meatball.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Related to my response above regarding ideology. Yes the world would be a better place if any ideology that encourages faith ( a belief in something beyond evidence or reason) over critical thinking, logic and reason were eliminated since it so egregiously prone to manipulation.

    What is the meaning of life?
    Why does the universe exist?

    These questions unfortunately rely on a false assumption (another kind of logical fallacy) that there is an answer or that these are actual questions that must be answered.

    If we take these questions as a thought experiment I would have to say that they meaning of life is up to each and every individual and may even change many times during someone’s lifetime.

    The universe exists because of some as yet undiscovered principle.

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  • Chaim Krause

    For many of the questions, like “Why does the universe exist?” and “How did life originate?” my answer is “I don’t know.”

    I also wonder why religious people rarely provide that answer when questioned.

  • http://vastleft.blogspot.com Vast Left

    Why do you not believe in God? I wasn’t raised in a particularly religious family, and from a very young age, religious stories sounded phony to me, and the rituals struck me as ominously cultish.

    Where do your morals come from? Instinct, society and culture, reasoning about what constitutes fair play and good civics.

    What is the meaning of life? On what basis do we assume there’s a general “meaning” to life?

    Is atheism a religion? As James Randi says, “Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.” In a word, no.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times? Ruminate, hope, seek answers to problems that may be solvable, seek advice, commiseration, and/or distraction.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God? I don’t know if I’d say “should,” but it’s a goal that’s worthy, controversial, and generally unachievable. Lifelong brainwashing dies hard.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists? Relatively few crimes are committed by atheists. Stalin, who elevated nationalism to a religion, can be cited as an “atheist monster.” Hitler, who likewise made a form of Fascism into a sacred creed, was not an atheist, despite frequent claims to the contrary.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God? The mass of people are wrong about things all the time. For millennia, people thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. The majority of Americans were convinced that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. People think cilantro is edible.

    Why does the universe exist? I’ll defer to science for the latest theories on “how,” a more sensible question than “why,” which supposes a sentient creator — something for which there is no evidence (it’s also the gateway drug to the paradox of who created the creator).

    How did life originate? Ditto on deferring to science. I’m not an expert on the latest theories, which may or may not hold up to additional evidence and scrutiny.

    Is all religion harmful? Ultimately, yes, because it keeps us from having a shared, legitimate sense of reality. It forces us to choose between sharing and reality, which is an awful choice. It also, of course, forces us to make arbitrary and often ill-fated decisions about with whom we can and cannot share.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates? I can’t improve upon what Chris Hallquist wrote: “Because the majority of them believe absurd things about religion that serve to give cover to the dangerously orthodox. Examples: “all religion is good,” and “it’s wrong to criticize someone’s religious beliefs.”

    Is there anything redeeming about religion? It can serve as a medium for building community and a vehicle for charity and comfort. I think we’d be better off choosing alternatives that don’t require us to check reason at the door; also, one man’s community is another man’s outsiderhood.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)? I acknowledge that there could be supernatural forces that I don’t understand. All evidence suggests that religious humans don’t understand him/her/it any more than I do.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected? Religious (or any) people, yes — unless they do something to earn one’s disrespect. Religious beliefs, not particularly, no. Where they approach philosophy, they may worth debating. But carte blanche respect for religion is the road to Hell.

    Are atheists smarter than theists? Of the smartest people I know, many are skeptics. Some are not. Atheists don’t corner the market on intelligence.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity? As I understand it, the Gospels were written long after Jesus’ death, by people who never met him. I’m slowly working my way through the Old Testament before I get to the red pages, so I don’t have too much to say yet about the teachings attributed to JC.

    Would the world be better off without any religion? I would expect so, as long as it isn’t replaced by something similarly misguided, such as fundamentalist nationalism. I don’t, however, advocate any sort mandated way to rid the world of religion — that would not only be a crime against freedom, it would surely backfire. Ideally, in the marketplace of ideas, ancient supernatural folly will eventually lose the day.

    What happens when we die? My guess is that our mind/personality/soul, whatever you like to call it, ceases to be, just as a lightbulb ceases to give light when the filament burns out.

  • http://berlzebub.blogspot.com Berlzebub

    Why do you not believe in God?
    I don’t believe he exists, because there is no evidence he does.

    Where do your morals come from?
    It’s really simple, actually. “Is what I’m doing negatively affecting others lives.” No. Then, I can go on doing it.

    What is the meaning of life?
    Birth to worm food, and trying to make the world a better place in between.

    Is atheism a religion?
    No.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Try to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. If there’s nothing I can do (such as a loved one died), I find someone I can talk to about it.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Since theists are trying to convince us to believe, we should give everyone who will listen the opposing viewpoint. It’s ultimately up to them to decide, anyway.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Yes. Not believing in the existence of any gods does not make someone moral. Just like believing in a deity or deities doesn’t make someone moral.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    The same way one person can. If someone wants to believe something, it’s really hard to prove that they’re wrong. Contrary to what most believer’s think, most atheist’s actually wanted to believe. They just didn’t find anything convincing to support doing so.

    Why does the universe exist?
    I’m sorry. You aren’t asking the correct question. Why assumes there’s a reason for it. There isn’t. This is like asking “why was I born?” There’s a very simple answer to that. Your mom and dad had sex.

    How did life originate?
    It started microscopically small, and worked its way up.

    Is all religion harmful?
    Not all. If it makes people do good things for others and/or makes them happy, I’m all for it. However, it’s the bad things it makes people do that I in no way support.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    They’re wimps that won’t speak up or do anything about the insanity of the extremists.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Sure, but it’s not anything you can’t find as an atheist.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    Well, assuming you mean the Christian God, then he’ll either look at all the good things done in spite of not believing in him, and let me in the Pearly Gates, anyway, or he’ll take the childish tantrum route that is portrayed in the Bible and toss me into Hell. If the first, okay. If the second, he really did all of the atrocities in the Bible, and I wouldn’t have served him even if I did believe in him.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Not when they’re used in an attempt to force others into submission, or to keep people from trying to learn or from learning.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Smarter, no. Less gullible, yes.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    He was just another guy who did a whole lot of walking, and riding on donkeys. That is, if he ever existed at all.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    No. The world would be better off if everybody would quit trying to force their views and will on others. For a group of people that believes reward or punishment will come in the afterlife after you’re judged, you spend an awful lot of time in this life judging.

    What happens when we die?
    Decomposition, and the differences we made in the world, if any, continue. Whether those differences were good or bad is a different story.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Jonas G, over three thousand people got killed in the attacks on 9-11, how many people got killed by the two atom bombs dropped on Japan? How many people have been killed with munitions developed by science and technology? How many scientists are employed in developing more devastatingly effective methods of killing people, including, apparently, your hero Christopher Hitchens favorite mass killing device, cluster bombs? Mother Theresa is a non-entity in the death machine compared to the community of scientists.

    Ok, then we can talk about the wonderful things that just the chemical industries have done for both munitions and industry. All those wonderful chemicals that are doing so much to destroy the biosphere. I’d say the evidence is that science and technology done for profit, and that would probably account for most of it, is more likely to do us in than the religious.

    What? There are scientists who aren’t involved? Well, it might just be too much for bigots to believe, but there are hundreds of millions of religious people who haven’t ever killed anyone, many who oppose killing people, who support the rights of women to their bodies, etc.

  • spinozista

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Assuming you mean the Christian Trinitarian God, I reply: For the same reason that I do not “believe in” Zeus or Osiris. Reality, as I understand it to be, contradicts the existence of such a character. But I do affirm the existence of the God defined by Spinoza.

    Where do your morals come from?
    Experience. But where does arithmetic come from?

    What is the meaning of life?
    Mine, yours, the cockroach that’s hiding in your kitchen, or the dinosaur whose bones are hidden somewhere in China? By the way, you do know, do you not, that “meaning,” “purpose,” “use,” “function,” “object,” “aim” and “goal,” are not all the same thing?

    Is atheism a religion?
    No. Is geometry?

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    If possible, get by, get through, get past, get over, get on. If not possible, the same. Like everybody else.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Why not? It’s a free country.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Yes, but not all of the worst ones, and not even all of the plain vanilla atrocities, either, and not by all the atheists, and not just because they were atheists. By the way, which group of atheists built the most hydrogen bombs?

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    How could millions have been wrong about Zeus? How could billions be wrong about Vishnu?

    Why does the universe exist?
    Because it does. Why does God exist?

    How did life originate?
    On this planet? What was the first thing that ever existed on earth that we would be willing to call “alive” if we could see it now? Get back to me when you know that, and we’ll talk then.

    Is all religion harmful?
    To whom? And how much of the time?

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Bad for what? Bad for whom? And compared to whom? If push comes to shove, I doubt they’ll have my back. On the other hand, can they keep push from coming to shove?

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Absolutely. According to you, if you didn’t have it you’d probably be trying to kill me this very minute. So by all means, don’t stop believing! Certainly don’t let me talk you out of it.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    Does He share all your opinions on that subject? If not, why not? If you were making a God from scratch, what would you have him do about me?

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected? Short answer: I’ll let Mencken handle this one. Shorter answer: WWJD? WDJD?

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Are Red Sox fans smarter than Yankees fans? I’m a Reds fan myself.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    Short answer: How should we deal with the historical Muhammad? Shorter answer: Do you know any Jews?

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Would the world be better off without cockroaches?

    What happens when we die?
    Where we are, death is not. Where death is, we are not.

  • techskeptic

    I posted my answers here

  • http://moonflake.wordpress.com moonflake

    fantastic idea – my answers posted here

  • http://jp-criminalenglish.blogspot.com jp

    Hi Hemant. Here are my answers.

    cheers,

    JP

  • http://www.littlewoodenman.com Matthew

    My answers are posted here. This was a great post idea. Thanks!

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  • http://www.popcorngallery.blogspot.com Max

    I think this is my first comment here. Love the blog! I consider myself a friendly atheist as well. Except at mismanaged movie theaters or when they take a really long time to bring my food at restaurants. That really has nothing to do with God though.

    My answers can be found here–at the internet’s best blog read by fewer than a dozen people.

  • Alex

    (Whenever I say “you”, I adress any theist who asks these questions.)

    Why do you not believe in God?
    I was raised that way. Which is probably the reason you believe in him, her, it, or them.
    Where do your morals come from?
    China. Outsourcing, you see ;) . Well actually, I abide by whatever moral code is most convenient at any given time. (which is usually the code that is considered to be the most politically correct one by whatever society I am a part of, at the time.)
    What is the meaning of life?
    This is a rather nebulous question. I suppose that you actually want to say “What purpose does life actually have?” (Correct me if I am wrong.) To that, I answer: None. ‘Life’ is not sentient, so it cannot have a purpose. Do what you will during the (rather short, by cosmological standards) period of time between your exiting someone’s uterus and decomposing, the universe does not care.
    Is atheism a religion?
    Dunno. Can zero oranges be considered to be oranges?
    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Me? I get very, VERY snappy.
    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    If it furthers their goals in some way (that includes notions of ‘enlightening’ others), yes.
    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Yeah, probably. I was never too good at History. So?
    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    This way:
    If any such belief is actually correct, that means many others are false, (’cause different belief systems have different answers for the same pesky questions, such as, ah “What is the meaning of life?”, which makes them mutually exclusive. Oh, and many advocate stabbing of unbelievers.) so… a lot of people will always be wrong.
    Why does the universe exist?
    ‘Why’?! This implies that the universe has a sentient creator. I do not think such a being exists, therefore, in my opinion, it does not have a reason for existing. Any theist, however, can give you the reason it exists (and if we actually respect all religious beliefs, each reason can be considered equally true until proven otherwise)
    How did life originate?
    Ask again when I get a degree in biology.
    Is all religion harmful?
    No, no, no, actually, it can be incredibly useful. Ohhhh….! You meant “.. harmful to believers“.
    Well, yeah, because it makes them that much easier to manipulate.
    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Hypocrisy. They usually behave as if they have never heard whatever it is their priests preach, but when they actualy get near one they become faithful all of a sudden. Bah!
    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Yes.. it can be used to make people do things (including things that could be considered ‘good’ by whatever morality you espouse), as I have described above.
    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    How do you know it’s a ‘he’? That being could be a ‘she’. Or an ‘it’. Or a transvestite. Or hermaphroditic. ‘He’ might not exist, but they could. Anyway, if any of those beings actually exist, what happens is their call.
    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    Yeah, sure. Just be aware that ‘all religious beliefs’ includes all the ones you do not agree with and their adherents, who will be sent to a painful afterlife after the triumph of your deity.
    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    What does it matter to you? If they are, you just learn that you are less cerebrally quick than yet another group of people. If they aren’t, then you may feel reassured that you have an equal or higher chance of winning a debate with your average atheist, which will net you absolutely nothing in the long run. Hooray!
    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    What is there to deal with? Should I be excited, awed, or worried that a person existed (or not) in the past?
    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Dunno. Can you see into an alternate past, where people are not religious? No? Well neither can I.
    What happens when we die?
    You stop pestering me with questions.

  • http://atheisthussy.blogspot.com/ Intergalactic Hussy

    Done at my blog.

  • http://misanthropic-bastard.blogspot.com/ Rasputin
  • http://misanthropic-bastard.blogspot.com/ Rasputin

    Why do my comments always have a big black line in them? Am I doing something screwy?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Why do my comments always have a big black line in them? Am I doing something screwy?

    They look fine to me!

  • http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/ Paul

    I’ve seen these questions answered at several blogs now, but I came here from The Uncredible Hallq. I chose to post my answers as an entry in my blog as well. If you are interested, you can see them here: Answers
    -Paul

  • Transplanted Lawyer

    I put my answers on my blog, too, (see them here) and like Paul I found the reference from Uncredible Hallq. A really nice set of questions to have answers prepared for, FA!

  • Filip

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    There is not enough evidence for it. The religious book have shown to have too many contradictions. We are not even sure who wrote the bible, and Quran, well it is a literature that is nothing but a cheap copy of Zorastarism, Judaism and Christianity and Torah is just a book of historical events. So far the God as we know it (explained by religion) has a very human characteristics and it proves that God is created by men.

    * Where do your morals come from?

    Very simple, don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done to you. On the other hand we have a invisible social contract, every living organism has it. I leave you alone and you do so to me. In a society we all agree what is right and what is not. Some crime such as stoning, honor killings are created by religion and not the society. Indeed religion has shown to be a danger to the core moral of a society. Read the bible and you will see if you rate it based on it’s moral teachings it would actually qualified as a torture guide book. So it Quran and Torah. Actually stoning is an Jews tradition which was adopted by Muhammad and it became the face of Islam. However Jews have long stop this practice even thought is it clearly a law of God indicated in Torah.

    * What is the meaning of life?

    You must find it for your self. What means good to me maybe is not to you. Instead searching for a alien or Godly meaning we all need to find it here in earth and not look in heavens for answers.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    No. Since it has no prophet or leader or some sort of tradition or ritual. It is more of a ideology. Atheist comes from the word atheos meant “godless”. It was used by Greeks to call Christians Atheist, since they didn’t believed in Greek Gods.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    Prayer has shown to be only a temporary false hope. In time of trouble the only right action is to think of a solution. A shot of whiskey helps too.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    No. But they should fight for there rights. To not be prosecuted for their simple none believe. Atheism is a process that everyone must take by them self. Atheist can suggest books, and materials or debate but not insisting of one becoming an Atheist.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Not really. Stalin didn’t commit his crime in the name of Atheism. He would it done it so if he would be Christians or Muslim. Actually the religious crime out weight the Atheist crime by far. There have been no Atheist Jihad or Crusader.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Because humans mind is still evolving. Humans mind is build to find answers for every questions. The uncertain or unknown is humans biggest enemy. The fear of unknown causes men to find answer and if not make it up. The beauty of evolution is that we will always discover answer to our question of course time plays a important rule.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    The Universe is just like a rainy day. When you walk out the door ready to go to work, and it is raining. Do you stop and remain in the house and try to figure out why it is raining on this day or you continue your way to work? Of course there are scientists that are trying to get better answer until then I will go to work even on a rainy day.

    * How did life originate?

    As right now I chose to believe in the theory of evolution of course there are many unanswered questions but I believe with time we will answer them too.

    * Is all religion harmful?

    It has shown to be that religion by it self is not but the complete submission to it, it is dangerous. Any believes system that is not questioned and it followed blindly can be dangerous.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    Nothing at all. If one is able to separate the false teachings of a Imam, Priest or a Rabbi and believes in God as personal savior, it can indeed good for one. But again if you don’t submit completely to a religious believe you are an infidel (none believer) too.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    The good part no men has to pay for the other men wrong doing and in this case we let God to decide.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    As long as they provide the same respect to others no matter what.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Static has shown that Atheists are more educated, mannered and wealthier then theist. To become Atheist you must read, research and debate a lot this is mostly done by people who have shown a higher then average intelligence.
    Poll have shown that 99% of prison inmate believe in some sort of God.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    Historically it can even be proven that Jesus existed. And the bible clearly indicates that the writers of bible didn’t know Jesus. Actually bible was written about 70 – 100 years after Jesus dead.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?

    Not really. Again as I mentioned above human mind still evolving. Right now the human mind is not capable to live a God less live. So in a simple word human are still too primitve to live based on Nature laws and they prefer to live in a world of false hope and dreams. I do believe if Human survive their greed, for power and if they don’t destroy them self the would see no need for God in their lives.

    * What happens when we die?

    Nothing, after life as explained by religious shows to have too many contradiction to even exists. So at this point I will concern my self what I accomplishe while being alive.

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  • chryte

    Leeches do help some diseases

  • http://drycereal.blogspot.com Riker

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    The ‘supernatural’ is undefined… kinda like ‘divide by zero’; it’s a concept we can label, but there’s nothing we can actually put into that category. The entire universe is natural, and within it there’s only the already-known and the unknown.

    * Where do your morals come from?

    I am comfortable with certain things happening to me (good) and uncomfortable with other things happening to me (bad). I recognize that all other living things behave similarly to me, so it’s easy enough to assume that if I don’t like it, you probably won’t either.

    * What is the meaning of life?

    ‘Life’ is a word that describes “the behavior living things exhibit before they die”. Oh, what is the purpose of life? I don’t think there is a single pre-intended purpose of life that we can identify… but I highly respect people who choose to apply a purpose to their lives, especially if the purpose is a positive one.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    Only as much as total darkness is a color.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    I do my best to find a way to gain strength from the ordeal so I can better face it the next time I endure it. If it’s too much to bear on my own, then I draw strength from the support of my friends and loved ones who are there for me during troubling times. If it’s someone close to me enduring troubling times, then I do everything in my power to help them through it.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    I believe so; I think humans should have an interest in helping humanity as a whole. If you’re spending any time at all worshiping a deity, then you’re not helping humanity as much as you could be.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    That’s an irrelevant statistic. Some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century were committed by people who had dark hair, but we don’t campaign against that. A more appropriate statistic would be the ratio of atheism-motivated vs. religiously-motivated perpetration of atrocities in all of recorded history. The number would be small enough to illustrate that this is an absolutely stupid argument against atheism.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    There was definitely a value in believing in a higher power when primitive humans were fighting each other for survival. This religious tendency is a residual trait that was never extinguished, since up until the last century or two we didn’t have the capability to answer the biggest questions we were able to ask. Now our eyes are opened wider.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    I don’t believe that is an answerable question. I also don’t believe it needs to be answered. Interestingly, the fact that the universe exists is a source of unspeakable awe and ‘reverence’ to me. It drives me to never stop learning. This is the kind of awe the religious could only dream of experiencing.

    * How did life originate?

    I personally don’t know. But some of the best minds out there are working on further refining the very solid theories that we have. Once we find out for sure, it will promote a whole new category of capabilities that we will be able to use to vastly improve the state of humanity and of the world as a whole.

    * Is all religion harmful?

    No, assuming we apply a broad definition of ‘religion’. The Eastern spiritualities do nothing to stifle our inherent benevolence. In some cases they actually promote it. The harmful religions are those of ethical theism; the ones that have codes dictating behavior.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    They’re not bad in and of themselves. But their existence enables fundamentalism to thrive. They make a case for being complacent about religion, which is actually a very dangerous thing.

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Good things can come out of religious motivation… but to be redeeming I’d have to find an instance of something that religion provides more effectively than does rationalism (which is naturalistic in nature). For every good thing religion does well, there is a natural and rational thing that does it better.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Then everyone who did believe in and everyone who didn’t believe in the particular god that does exist (and it’s not necessarily Yahweh) will be subject to the rules (if there are any) established by that god. If it ends up that Yahweh exists, then I will be undeservedly punished for eternity. If the actual god is one that values rationality and abhors blind faith, then I’ll be handsomely rewarded for passing the test of religion. The god that does exist might not care at all what I did while alive, and he might not even have made us for everlasting life. We might still just die.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Only the ones worthy of respect… but chances are, the aspects of those beliefs that deserve the respect predate and are independent of the religion itself (“Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” et cetera). Rather: whether a belief is to be respected has nothing to do with the fact that it’s religious.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Not on account of their atheism, no. But smarter people are more likely to be atheist than theist.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    I assume you’re talking about Yeshua ben Joseph, a man who was a small political/spiritual leadership candidate (and thus given the title ‘Jesus’, as such candidates were all given) of a growing sect of a monastic society in the middle east a few thousand years ago. With my understanding of the vernacular and the culture of the people who wrote what surviving historical documents we have, he never said he was divine. Other people did, much later. People all throughout history have been calling themselves and other people divine, and as far as I can tell they’ve all been wrong.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?

    I believe so, and I’m doing everything I can so that someday we can find out for sure.

    * What happens when we die?

    We permanently lose consciousness; it is not unlike before we were born. Of course, there is the possibility of developing technology that will allow a person to live indefinitely; but that’s a whole other can of worms.

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  • http://yetanotheratheistblog.wordpress.com/ stone1343

    * Why do you not believe in God? I see a natural universe that functions exactly as I would expect it to function without any deities. I think all religions are primitive, tribal attempts to understand the universe, provide comfort in the face of the “big questions”, enforce morality and reinforce tribal beahviour.
    * Where do your morals come from? They are just as built-in with me as they are with everybody else.
    * What is the meaning of life? We’re here, we have a duty to ourselves, our families, our communities and to the world in general to do the best we can.
    * Is atheism a religion? No. Religion is first and foremost about worshipping a deity.
    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times? I try to find rational ways to deal with the situation.
    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God? No. I don’t think the world would be any better off if all religion ceased to exist today. However, I do think we need to do what we can to stop fundamentalists of all stripes. I think Creationism is a bigger threat to America than Al Qaeda, because of the dumbing down of its people.
    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists? I suppose, but I don’t think atheism acted in any way as a motivator. Besides, most of the worst atrocities before the 20th century were committed by religious people.
    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God? We have an instinct for faith (based on the glory of nature), it’s reinforced by the culture we’re raised in, and the human brain is so complicated that many people can’t distinguish what’s real from what’s not. Anyway, religious people think that everyone who believes in a different god, or gods, is wrong, what’s the difference?
    * Why does the universe exist? There’s no answer to this, that’s just the way it is.
    * How did life originate? In some natural way that science hasn’t been able to explain yet. Just because some guys sitting around a campfire made up a story doesn’t make it real. Every culture on Earth has probably had their own creation myth.
    * Is all religion harmful? Of course not. Religion is a human institution, and is capable of both good and evil, but on balance it’s more good than evil, just as most people are.
    * What’s so bad about religious moderates? Nothing, if moderation includes real tolerance of others’ differences. However, I’m with Sam Harris
    * Is there anything redeeming about religion? Of course. Religion is a positive force in many people’s lives. It doesn’t have to be real.
    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)? Which god are we talking about here? Poseidon, Zeus or Ra? Oh, you mean the Christian god? What if you’re wrong about Allah or Vishnu? To me it’s not even a question of probability. Gods are created by men. Period. Some use their gods to do good, others use them for money and power.
    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected? Absolutely not. Your “religious beliefs” really boil down to “what you think is right”, and there are a lot of stupid, intolerant, corrupt, power-hungry, evil people out there.
    * Are atheists smarter than theists? Not “smarter”. Just not deluded or deceived.
    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity? I’m not even convinced that Jesus really did exist, but if he did, he was just a man with some good ideas. His followers created all the supernatural crap to deify him.
    * Would the world be better off without any religion? No, because there would still be people who would crave and abuse power, hate or oppress others, profit off their ignorance and good intentions, and generally victimize the innocent.
    * What happens when we die? Usually you’re buried or cremated. Either way, your life is over and life goes on without you.

  • Lindsey

    * Why do you not believe in God?

    There is simply no proof of him existing. Why believe in something that doesn’t exist?

    And I refuse to believe in a god that would send people to hell for not believing in him.

    * Where do your morals come from?

    Myself, really. My belief in equality and respect. I like to believe I’m a good person. I don’t need a god to tell me so.

    * What is the meaning of life?

    To live life to the fullest and leave a mark while building up others in the process.

    * Is atheism a religion?

    An atheist does not believe in any religion, and “non religion” can’t count as a religion.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    I sort it out myself or with the help of real people that I know I can trust.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Of course not! Everyone is entitled to their belief, just like a catholic shouldn’t convince someone to believe in God.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Not that I know of. ^_^

    That’s like saying that feminists are encouraged to kill their children and overthrow the government. I simply don’t think that happened.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Human error, of course.

    * Why does the universe exist?

    There’s no answer to this and no way to prove it. Any excuse should be considered incorrect.

    * How did life originate?

    I’m a believer in evolution, simply because I believe in truth and science. Religion isn’t science, and there’s no way to prove it’s true.

    * Is all religion harmful?

    It can be, when used incorrectly by the Church. (Think back to Medieval times, or even to when Pharoahs ruled. They used it for violence and power, remember?)

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    Nothing, if moderation includes accepting and respecting others no matter what. (And I mean no matter what.)

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    God is a comfort pillow, and it can really help people. I’m just a kind of person who doesn’t need that in their life.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Oh well. He’s not a good god if he’d send me to hell because I didn’t want to believe in something that might not exist.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    No. People in the middle east are killed every day because of it. Why should I respect that?

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?

    I think in the realm of accepting change. For instance, the main reason gay marriage isn’t illegal yet is because of the church.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    I kind of just, do. When I learned it in school, I learned it like anything else, though I found it much more difficult.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?

    In my opinion, yeah. But for some, religion is, like I said before, a comfort pillow. It just has a lot of negative connotations.

    * What happens when we die?

    We go into the ground and stay there for a long time, until the universe implodes or explodes. Or we get cremated. Some get turned into diamonds, as well.

  • Mriana

    OK I’ll bite:

    Why do you not believe in God?

    Well, I questioned all my life and researched, believe it or not, various religious texts and previous myths. The Episcopal Church teaches they are just stories, which I had no doubt about that given the research I had already done. I had an Episcopal prof for the OT studies class I took during my first degree and was also Adult Sunday School class teacher. He pulled no punches as to where some of these stories originated and that they were adapted and rewritten for the culture. Then I met Bishop Spong, who taught religion and God were human concepts. What he said all made sense. I delved deeper into studying these things while being in contact with Bishop Spong, who I consider a mentor. The deeper I dug the more obvious such ideas were human concepts. The Gnostics believe we are Christ crucified and I see that in the behaviours and interactions of humans every day. I had the Enlightenment (head knowledge), but not the Gnosis (internalization) that the traditional concept of God was not real, until I started studying Hinduism. Then “Gnosis” hit hard and I think I told that story here before.

    IF there is a god, IT is part of nature and is much like the wind with no form or subtance or even possibly love and not a personal god or some old man in the sky.

    Where do your morals come from?

    From my own thoughts and observations, as well as education- for example: I don’t like it when people hurt others or even me, so therefore I try to avoid doing harm to others. Then of course knowledge like medical science.

    What is the meaning of life?

    Love, compassion, and appreciating everything and everyone around you, as well as striving to be all you can be and to help better society.

    Is atheism a religion?

    No. It too is a concept.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

    I try to think about how to make things better, talk to others, and when I figure out how to do, I get moving.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

    Depends. If it causes someone to be violent, dogmatic, and imposing, it might be good to help them think about their actions (Let us sit down and reason together, as Price would say), but I would not want to pound God out of them like they try to pound God into others.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

    Hitler was Catholic, though we don’t know if he was a devout Catholic. Granted Stalin was an atheist and I don’t know what Musilini was, but in all honesty the Inquisition and Crusades have done just as much damage. The Catholic Church hasn’t had a very pretty history and many slave owners were Christians who believed that God condone slavery. So, in reality, one can be religious or non-religious and still commit very hanous crimes against humanity.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

    Is the world flat? Why are there two creation stories? Why did one originate from one culture and the other from another? Was there really ever a world flood? Why is the Babylonian flood story almost similar? Why are there so many virgin birth and/or man-god stories? Why couldn’t tragedies like hurricanes just be part of nature? Why do people blame an invisible being when bad things happen? For that matter, why was the invisible man once a sun god, moon god, or volcano god? IMHO it is all superstition and wishful thinking that there is a Big Daddy somewhere in the sky who supports the who earth.

    Why does the universe exist?

    No one really has the answer and the only way we can find out is via science. Religious texts only give us stories of what early humans thought before science became what it is today.

    How did life originate?

    Various chemical reactions that continued to evolve through the ages.

    Is all religion harmful?

    In many respects I think it is, esp when people oppress others with dogma or use violence to force them to convert or denounce “heresy”, or when people play the “My God is better than your god” game and start wars, and the ultimate tragedy is when people commit suicide because of or in the name of religion.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?

    Moderates as in Liberals or some where in between? If you mean Liberals and humanistic religious people like Spong, I don’t see how that is a problem, because even he gripes about the Religious Reich and how they treat people. If you mean something in between I think they pose a problem because they don’t, as a rule, stand up to the extremists, but I think that is starting to change somewhat.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?

    Literary and maybe cultural historical value. Mostly literary value though.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

    Sigh. I don’t think God is an old man sitting in the sky judging our every action. As I said before, IF there is a god, It is part of nature, not outside of nature or separate from nature, just as like we are part of nature. Who knows, maybe we are the gods for that matter.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

    Why when they are killing each other over in the Middle East? Why when they oppress and/or abuse women, gays, and children? Why people commit suicide over it? Why when people wonderful people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Bishop Spong receive death threats from Muslims and Christians for speaking out and wanting to change things? When religion becomes more humanistic, get back with me and we’ll talk.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?

    Not necessarily, but many atheists are well educated. Even so, that does not mean they are smarter.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

    There is no historical Jesus or if there ever was, he’s too buried in myth to find him. It is all literature, rewritten myth, and extrapolated sayings and stories.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?

    I think it would be because people are doing too much harm (emotionally, psychologically, and physically) to each other in the name of religion.

    What happens when we die?

    Well, if you are cremated and your ashes are buried among the roses, you become a beautiful rose. :lol: Yes, I just said we become fertilizer, which really isn’t bad considering we are part of the earth and playcating to the Judeo-Christians (since I just did the naturalistic reincarnation bit), “Remember you are dust and dust you shall return.” Scientifically, the old Jews were not too far off the mark with that one, but the statement alone does not support there being a Big Daddy in the sky. IF there is a heaven, it is beyond human comprehension, but stories of hell came from previous myths and in some cases an incenorating garbage dump. Sheol simply means the grave in Hebrew. The idea of hell could have also originated with the myth of Hades or the Norse gods even. It’s just another human concept and quite possibly wishful thinking.

  • http://www.mountaintrail.us Joel J

    Why do you not believe in God?
    Everything I’ve learned about the universe leads me to believe that it operates by natural processes. I don’t see any convincing evidence that there are supernatural beings of any kind.

    Where do your morals come from?
    Morals are ways of dealing with common problems of living. I make moral decisions on the basis of my estimation of what would bring me the greatest happiness in the long run. This includes the well-being of my family, friends, and all people.

    What is the meaning of life?
    The meaning of a person’s life is the message communicated to other people by that person’s words and actions. The idea that a particular message is intended by someone or something outside of that person is a natural consequence of belief in gods, but it implies that people are not responsible for their own lives.

    Is atheism a religion?
    Theism and atheism are beliefs about the existence of one or more supernatural beings that control or influence life. Neither is a religion in itself. There are many theistic religions, and many atheistic ways of living.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    I read, think about what I have read or experienced, talk with other people about the issues that concern me, write about my concerns as a way to help me think about them, and take whatever actions I can to improve the situation.

    Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    Learning the truth is the best foundation I know of for making wise decisions. We should all present our reasons for what we believe to be the truth, and be open to learn from each other.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    All the worst atrocities were committed by people who considered other people to be less human than themselves. Their actions were guided by their personal agendas more than by their nominal affiliations with particular religious or philosophical stances.

    How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Billions of people disagree with other billions of people about everything, including belief in gods. They can’t all be right.

    Why does the universe exist?
    Our current knowledge of the universe is inadequate to know the answer to this.

    How did life originate?
    This question is being researched, but many aspects of the origin of life are still unclear. To the best of our knowledge, the first living organisms developed from self-replicating molecules that formed from combinations of simpler molecules.

    Is all religion harmful?
    The greatest harm caused by religion is that many religious belief systems encourage people to treat other people in ways they would not want to be treated themselves. Religions that are tolerant and respectful of other people are nevertheless harmful in that they promote false beliefs and ways of thinking that discourage learning.

    What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Religious moderates are not bad. Their values are generally humane, and their influence often tempers the effects of extremist positions.

    Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    Religious groups provide opportunities to develop friendships with people who share similar values. Cohesive groups often provide emotional and physical support when needed.

    Religion itself can offer comfort in difficult times as well as a sense of worth in being part of a beneficial historic or cosmic movement.

    What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. The implications of that would depend on what the god is like. If the god is strict and demanding, we’re all in trouble. If the god is loving and merciful, we don’t have anything to worry about.

    Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    All people should be respected. Beliefs deserve respect to the degree that they are supported by evidence, not merely because someone holds to them.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    I doubt that there is any difference in intelligence between theists and atheists. I do believe there is a positive correlation between atheism and a broad education.

    How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    Jesus was a man whose life was exaggerated to promote him as a deity, and whose teachings have been adapted to support the purposes of other teachers who followed him.

    Would the world be better off without any religion?
    The world would be better off with more focus on truth—without religion or superstition in any form.

    What happens when we die?
    Like all other living things that die, we decompose, and the substances of which we are made are recycled.

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  • http://womanwithoutsuperstition.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    I took the challenge, answers at my blog!

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  • Jim K

    • Why do you not believe in God?
    God or Gods are man made and do not fit in the natural order of life.
    • Where do your morals come from?
    My morals come from my inner self and child hood lessons of my grand father.
    • What is the meaning of life?
    Why do we need to have a meaning life open your eyes look around look at the universe.
    • Is atheism a religion?
    No it is freedom from fantasy and lie that is religion.
    • If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Clear my mind and think things though and come to terms with what is.
    • Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    The week of mind are that I do not appreciate others telling me what is, why would I do that to them.
    • Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    They pale into insignificance to what religion has done over the ages.
    • How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    That is a non argument, which god or gods as none are the same. Are they all Wight? They can’t be.
    • Why does the universe exist?
    This is the classic question turn it over explain how a God made it and show the science that backs up the clam.
    • How did life originate?
    From the rich mix of organic compounds mixing together over time.
    • Is all religion harmful?
    Yes as it is a lie
    • What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    What is the difference?
    • Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    In telling lies, No.
    • What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    You seem more worried than me.
    • Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    I respect people not the religion.
    • Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Yes as I do not believe in a lie.
    • How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    Non of what you read about Jesus was written by him nor can what is written be believed just read it with an open mind and you will see.
    • Would the world be better off without any religion?
    In a nut shell yes.
    • What happens when we die?
    We cease to live but our memories live with those that new us for some they will live on in written history.
    i.e. Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin.

  • Kevin

    Is atheism a religion?
    Yes…we pray to the god athe.

    Why don’t you believe in God?
    All my imagination was used up on Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

    What is the meaning of life?
    That’s up to you mate. Don’t be lazy.

    Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 2oth century commited by atheists?
    No. They were commited by mad men.

    How could millions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Hey, bell bottoms were once thought to be a good idea. Popular sure don’t mean right.

    Why does the universe exist?
    It is an illogical question…it’s simply not a why question.

    Is there anyhting redeeming about religion?
    You chaps sure do have nice cathederals.

    Where do morals come from?
    The morality shoppe on fifth and sandburn Ave.

    What fi you’re wrong about god and he exists?
    Whoops….lots of egg on my face? I wonder which one it will be. I do hope it’s Ganesha, always liked that wise elephany guy.

    Is ALL religion harmful?
    Nope. Just the ones that murder the innocent, hate the homosexuals, resent philosophy, demand dogmatic adherence to faith doctrines, oh wait…guess so.

    Are atheists smarter than theists?
    Well..if you need to ask…

    What happens when we die?
    A return to the state of preexistence. It’s not so bad really…just think..we won’t have to pay any more taxes…and no more bad dates.

    If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Umh…I actually DO somehting.

  • Nwsart

    I like to ask religious people questions. Here are some of the ones I fire off when they start talking about god:

    1) On holiness and godliness:
    Define what you mean when you talk about god being holy? Does holiness deal with the quality of being godlike? What is being godlike? Is it being incorporeal? If it incorporeal, how can it be all-powerful or omniscient? If it’s being everywhere and nowhere, explain that paradox. Is it being immortal?

    2) On god and law:
    What does god think about all the violence that he has both committed and sanctioned? Does god enforce right and wrong? How has god created a law of morality and then been able to live outside of it? Is god then a vigilante? If god is the standard for justice, is it OK to commit acts of violence because god has condoned violence?

    3) On god the being:
    Does god does not live in this universe, but in another? If it lives in another universe, how has it taken an interest in us? Does it live in another dimension? Where does god live? How does it travel? How does it communicate? Does it eat, sleep or defecate?

    4) On god as a supernatural being:
    Were the Greek gods natural or supernatural? Are the gods of the Hindu pantheon natural or supernatural? Is tarot or astrology natural or supernatural? Is Ghost Hunters real or imaginary? Then what is not supernatural about god?

  • Nwsart

    1) Why do you not believe in God? I think that if you have imaginary friends, you need to be on medication.

    2) Where do your morals come from? Do you think it’s easy or practical for people to exist in any society without morals? Why do you think that is?

    3) What is the meaning of life? I’m not afraid to say I don’t know. For me, it’s often simply the experience of living.

    4) Is atheism a religion? No, it the absence of religion.

    5) If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times? Talk to friends. You know, in real life.

    6) Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God? Yes, religion is a mental illness.

    7) Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists? Yes, but equal (and worse) tragedies were committed in the name of religion. Logical fallacy.

    8 ) How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God? The same way it’s easy for people to believe in Hitler, communism, witches, and check scams. Popularity does not equate with sanity.

    9) Why does the universe exist? We don’t know yet, and probably never will. But that’s better than making up a reason just to feel better about not knowing.

    10) How did life originate? Over more time and more gradually than our little brains can get a handle on.

    11) Is all religion harmful? Yes, in that it’s all delusional and is ultimately crafted to serve men.

    12) What’s so bad about religious moderates? They work hard to tolerate and enable stupidity and deception.

    13) Is there anything redeeming about religion? The only thing would be a thing around which to gather and create community. I think that’s probably one of the main reasons people become religious. Atheism needs to develop face to face communities and gatherings to offer a sense of community to us that’s equally involving.

    14) What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)? That’s the hard sell of religion. I’m not wrong.

    15) Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected? All people should be respected. Belief systems that try to decieve people and manipulate them should not be.

    16) Are atheists smarter than theists? No, just more aware.

    17) How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity? There’s no proof in any contemporaneous historical account that he did exist at all. It’s a metaphor at best, a fairy tale at worst.

    18) Would the world be better off without any religion? Yes. It would also be better without dishonest manipulative people. It would be better with education, more women’s rights, and a lot of other things.

    19) What happens when we die? Nothing. Existence stops. It is as it was before you were born.

  • Ben

    dont know if any of these blogs are active but heres a question. Actually a few.
    \Hello, i have a few questions i have to retype because it deleted some how.lol
    1. Benefits to being an atheist?
    2. Creation or evolution?
    3. Heaven or hell? (Answer this considering they exist and reading this quote)”I rather be A DOORMAN IN HEAVEN THAN A KING IN HELL.”
    Doorman or king?
    4. Imagine a world of just atheist, and imsagine a world of just Christians.
    A society of Christians or a society of atheist, which would have more peace?
    (Both following their own views)
    5. A request. I think its clarifyingchristianity.com Go there and click on the creation and evolution link

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  • Karen

    Thank you, globalizati,

    For answering the questions in a respectful and mature manner. Most Atheist will say that they study religions and are interested in what people believe (or their culture) but if asked about their “beliefs” I fine that most Atheist are cold, indifferent and down right immature in their responses.

    Again, Thank You.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alice.eve Savannah Faye Cuzzort

    * Why do you not believe in God?
    because he does not exist. its like worshipping an invisble pencil in the sky

    * Where do your morals come from?
    from life. right is right and wrong is wrong i do not need a magical book to tell me so.

    * What is the meaning of life?
    you make the best of it then you die. the end.

    * Is atheism a religion?
    it is if you want it to be.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    make the best of it. and my friends will help me through it.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    i dont care about your beliefs just stop trying to exorcise me. and NO i wont be converted.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    Hitler was raised as a devote catholic. stick THAT in your juice box.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    because jesus was delusional.

    * Why does the universe exist?
    it just does.

    * How did life originate?
    go grab a science book and find out.

    * Is all religion harmful?
    are 100 year long wars harmful? does hate kill? are your children brain washed? YES.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    if god exists he should take the time to prove it.

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    nope.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    then im wrong and ill let you convert me.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    no. not wen your killing people with them.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?
    how smart you are is not determined by that.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    he did many great things but he was, alas, delusional.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?
    then we would just blame other people.

    * What happens when we die?
    we die. end of story.

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  • Dr Dodo

    (sorry for the late reply, I just found this page and would like to contribute!)- Why do you not believe in God?Didn’t grow up being told to worship a big, bad guy in the sky, and I now understand that organised religions (are trying hard enough to) prove century after century that god does not exist.- Where do your morals come from?Roughly the same place biblical morals come from: a human mind (mine, in my case), and socially accepted values.- What is the meaning of life?Asking stupid questions like that. Human life seems fond of that.What’s the meaning of e.g. insect life?- Is atheism a religion?No, it’s just a worldview so for ease of conversation you could call it a religion.- If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?Sit them out or try to make a change instead of doing nothing (which is what praying is)- Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?I think that would be helpful to the world as a whole.Religion is just a blanket for societies to cover up their deficiencies with- Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?Weren’t (nearly) all of the worst atrocities in the middle ages etc. committed by believers and/or condoned/sanctioned/ordered by the pope?And how about the (catholic) priests who abused children,surely they didn’t belief in God/anafterlife/judgement day? In spite of telling us to do exactly that. Doesn’t the Christian faith prohibited homosexual acts?And, how about the (muslim) suicide attacks of late?- How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?Because they were told to do so, or to die at the stake.- Why does the universe exist?Ask Stephen Hawking, he can probably come quite close to giving the answer, are you good in math?- How did life originate?By an accident of randomness, the same randomness that shapes the ripples of sand blown by the wind.- Is all religion harmful?Mainly the orgranised stuff, which is used to make people commit attrocities- What’s so bad about religious moderates?Do real moderates really exist?They won’t stay moderate for long. Think about it.Is there anything redeeming about religion?No. Organised religion is all dogma, abused/intended for political means.What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?Then he has some questions to answer.But really, which god so you mean? and how can you be sure it’s a He? (and that it cares about belief?)Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?Are they? By you?Are atheists smarter than theists?Not neceessarily, although they’re not hindered by dogma, restricting them from  studying certain areas of science/the world/life.How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?He’s just this weird, long dead guy who claimed he was the son of god. And the historical Jesus is probably very different from the religious one, so how do YOU deal with him now?Would the world be better off without any religion?Yes, given the harm religion has done, I think it would be.What happens when we die?Our heart stops beating, we stop breathing, brain activity (what makes up the “soul”) stops, our bodies decay, and on the plus side, we’re exempt from paying taxes! 

  • Dr Dodo

    Sorry for the bunched up text in that post! And what I meant with this:
    - How did life originate? By an accident of randomness, the same randomness that shapes the ripples of sand blown by the wind

    was:   Mandelbrot fractals.


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