[Turing] Atheist Answer #10

This post is part of the Ideological Turing Test Challenge. Go to the tab above for an overview and remind yourself of the voting and commenting guidelines here.

What’s your best reason for being an atheist?

Evidence, plain and simple. There is no historical evidence compelling enough that can be accepted based on actual facts. Previous reasons for believing in gods were based on events, such as the creation of the world, weather patterns, etc, people and cultures could not explain. Now science has filled in the gap that gods once had in our understanding. This evidence has made the gods that once existed in cultures obsolete. Additionally, out of all the gods there are, why believe in the Christian God? Why set him apart? He certainly isn’t the oldest or the most popular, and no evidence for him exists outside the Bible, so why should I choose him, or any other god? Why should I structure the way I live and act based on mythologies of gods that were created thousands of years ago? I just don’t see what Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, can offer, that can be obtained through other means.

What evidence or experience (if any) would cause you to believe in God? If you believed in some kind of god, what kind of evidence would be necessary to convince you to join a particular religion?

Essentially nothing. To this date, no evidence has even come close, and I doubt any will arise. Additionally, the Christian belief is based on faith and choice, so if the Christian God was true, he never would act in a way that would force this choice upon someone. Therefore, there will never be any infallible evidence because this is in direct contradiction to how the Christian God behaves.

When you have ethical and moral disputes with other people, what do you appeal to? What metric do you use to examine your moral intuitions/cultural sensibilities/etc?

I may not believe in a god, but I have logic and reason. Moral and ethical beliefs are structure by society and family. Because of my logic and reason, I am able to consistently evaluate the standing of what I consider “moral”, and thus am able to change my beliefs and adapt with the world. It wasn’t too long ago that slavery was considered acceptable in the US, yet it was our changing ideas and beliefs that abolished this horrible practice. Additionally, the Bible is never something I would base my morality on. The Old Testament promotes both slavery and genocide. Maybe that’s how the world was “back then”, but not anymore. And doesn’t the Bible say that God is never changing? Then you would have to accept the fact that the Christian God still believed and supported these things. One of the most heinous events of most recent history is Hitler’s attempt to exterminate the Jews. Yet, this is the very same thing the Christian God commanded Kings and armies of Israel to do countless times. How is it any less evil 4,000 years ago than it is now?

Why is religion so persistent? We have had political revolutions, artistic revolutions, an industrial revolution, and also religious reformations of several kinds, but religion endures. Does this not suggest its basic truth?

Religion is still around to answer questions that science cannot. Science cannot tell someone what their purpose in life is, why they are here, what happens when they die. This does not suggest that religion has a bases in truth, because what religion are we then to believe in? There are thousands, yet we are somehow supposed to determine which one is true. Additionally, religion creates community. It creates an environment for people to belong in who might not necessarily fit in anywhere else. People like feeling that they belong to a group or community, and religion fosters this idea. Because of these two reasons, religion will continue to persist regardless of what science discovers.

Voting opens Friday afternoon

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • Rieux

    [W]hy believe in the Christian God? Why set him apart? He certainly isn’t the oldest or the most popular….Huh? To the contrary, in simple demographic terms the Christian God certainly is "the most popular" deity in world history. By a large margin.Not that that's a legitimate reason to believe said deity exists.

  • Anonymous

    Rieux, the Muslim god Allah is more popular.Also, John Lennon.

  • Anonymous

    "Religion is still around to answer questions that science cannot. Science cannot tell someone what their purpose in life is, why they are here, what happens when they die."That sounds more like philosophy than religion. Unfortunately the confident answers of religion don't mesh as nicely as contemporary philosophy does with scientific findings.

  • Anonymous

    "what their purpose in life is, why they are here, what happens when they die."The very questions that man created god to answer.