It’s Sunday morning. You’re lazing about in bed, or having coffee and breakfast, or otherwise having atheist happy time. You don’t have to go to church, but you could answer a few questions from a believer, I suppose. There is a set going around that are good for a laugh. Here’s the challenge:
Some Questions Atheist Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer! Which leads to some interesting conclusions…
Hmmm. Now I have to answer the questions, and I also have to ponder why a wacky Christian would think I couldn’t
Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer them.
1. How Did You Become an Atheist?
Why would we be unable to answer that one? Most atheists can tell you exactly how they gave up on religion. I became an atheist because I thought seriously about what I was being told in church, and found it unbelievable. Later I found that religion drove people to do incredibly stupid and destructive things, like endorse creationism or control women’s reproductive rights, and I decided I had to be an active anti-theist.
2. What happens when we die?
The available evidence is that your physiological functions stop, brain activity ceases, your body cools, cells begin to self-destruct, and eventually bacterial activity and the work of decomposers cause your body to rot. Your flesh is dissociated and recycled by other organisms.
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
I’m not wrong about the rotting bit. Oh, you mean your bizarre notions about a ‘soul’ that exists independent of your material body that goes on to engage in some undefined, mysterious post-life activity in some other undefined realm? That’s just silly. There’s no reason to believe that happens.
But OK, I’ll play along. If your metaphysical scenario actually played out, and “I” continued to exist after my body died, and I found myself in the fantasy land of your Bible…it would be terrible. Learning that our minds were playthings of some cosmic tyrant who at a whim would condemn you to an eternity of torture, or alternatively an eternity of servitude worshipping a monster would be nightmarish.
I’m relieved that there is no evidence for your evil dreams.
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
Reciprocity, empathy, a theory of mind, need. I’m a member of a social species with finely tuned instincts for interaction with my fellow humans, and I live in a culture where cooperative behavior is rewarded. I don’t really need anything outside of that to explain morality; I’ll also note that individuals who claim to have an external source of moral compulsions don’t actually behave in a more moral fashion than those, like me, who don’t have imaginary voices in our heads.
5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
Even with your phantasmal god, you’re free to murder and rape. God never seems to swoop in and stop anyone from murdering and raping, have you noticed? The ones stopping criminal actions are us. Ourselves. People. I don’t murder or rape because harming other people is repugnant and a violation of the social contract, because I have no desire to harm others, and because even if I did, there is a framework of law within my society that limits my ability to do harm.
6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
You know, imagining an invisible man who tells you what to do doesn’t give your life actual meaning. I find that doing things — sharing, teaching, playing, working, learning — gives me satisfaction. If I had an ultimate goal it would be to leave the world a better place for my children and others when I leave it.
7. Where did the universe come from?
Read a physics textbook. We’ve got knowledge of 13.7 billion years of the universe’s changing history, virtually none of which is in your holy book. It’s always funny to get that question from people who so despise the natural, physical knowledge of how the universe works that they think “god did it” is actually a good answer to their own question.
8. What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
People claim many things: they also claim that they’ve seen Bigfoot, that the Queen of England is an alien reptoid, that they can bend spoons with the power of their mind, that little grey men in flying saucers are deeply interested in their rectums. Show me the evidence. Others have tried, and it’s always garbage.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
Who would think this would be a difficult question for an atheist to answer? There are lots of different opinions of these men within the atheist community. Personally, I like Dawkins, I think he’s a smart person and a brilliant writer, who is a man of his place and time who is unfortunately a bit inept at seeing other social circumstances. Hitchens is dead…but in life, he was the best writer of the bunch, wonderfully courageous and outspoken, but also possessed catastrophically bad political views. I’m not a fan of Harris, at all.
And if you ask a different atheist, you’ll get completely different answers.
10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
If there is a god, then why does every society have a different religion, and further, why are there thousands of different sects within each society?
You know, your question only works if we were challenging the existence of god belief. We know people believe in gods, and that it is quite common; that many people believe in false things does not in any way make them true.
We were supposed to get some interesting conclusions from the fact that these are questions that atheists
Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer, yet I found them trivial and easy to honestly answer. I think we can draw a conclusion from that, but it’s not particularly interesting.
I have to conclude that whoever composed that list was an idiot.