[CN: Rape and murder]
A while ago Today Christian posted 10 Question For Every Atheist to Answer. The website says these are questions “atheists cannot truly and honestly really answer” (didn’t need all those adjectives), so let me give it a try.
1. How Did You Become an Atheist?
I was raised a “wedding and funeral Christian,” which means my family and I only went to church when someone was getting either married or buried. But my mom gave me a children’s Bible, so I knew the basic stories. This was before I really dug deep, so at the time I thought God was alright guy. Then I became born-again at age 17 because, at the time, Jesus was the only thing that gave me any comfort. I’ve always struggled with mental illness, but high school only made it worse, so I was looking for some cure for the pain. I thought I found it in religion.
I always knew Christianity didn’t make sense, but instead of exploring the questions for myself, I just accepted whatever C.S. Lewis and other Christian apologists had to say. In 2010, I became involved with liberal Christianity, where I learned that the virgin birth didn’t happen and the Bible is a man-made product. The more I deconstructed my faith, the more God disappeared until one day I had nothing left.
It took me a while to identify as an atheist. At first I was a pantheist because I loved the idea that God was just another word for nature. Then I realized there’s no reason to call nature God when you can just call it nature.
2. What happens when we die?
I don’t know for sure, but based on the available evidence, we lose consciousness forever. All our memories, thoughts, emotions, opinions, etc. . . . . gone. The only way I will live on is in the memory of my loved ones.
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
First of all, I find it interesting that heaven gets a question mark and hell gets an exclamation point.
Now there is always a slight possibility that I’m wrong. But the opposite could be true; YOU could be wrong. Maybe Allah is God. Or maybe Vishnu. Or maybe the ancient Greeks were right all along and Zeus is the true god. I’ve got a better question to ask: If God wants everyone to worship him, wouldn’t he give us more proof of his existence?
I’ve heard people say, “We don’t know everything about the universe, so who’s to say there is no god?” To which I respond, “Why would God hide himself in such a way that we need super-complicated technology to find him? And why haven’t we found him already with the technology we have now?”
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
I tend to lean towards consequentialism for ethics. If it harms or dehumanizes others, it’s morally wrong. If is produces the most good to people, as Jeremy Bentham would say, it’s morally right.
5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
To quote Penn Jillette, I actually do rape and murder all the people I want to, and that number is zero. That’s because, as I mentioned above, I consider the consequences. I may not go to hell, but I’m pretty sure rape and murder will land me in prison. As far as good deeds going unrewarded, why need a reward to do good? Why not give food to a hungry simply so they won’t be hungry anymore?
6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
I create my own meaning. The human race has evolved in such a way that we have the ability to create something beautiful. I don’t need a God to give me meaning for my life.
7. Where did the universe come from?
I’m not a scientist, but right now I’m going with the Big Bang because there’s more evidence for that than divine intervention.
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?
As far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong in the comment section), there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever for divine intervention. If someone claims to have come back from the dead and has seen Jesus, I want to know how long the person was dead and what their mental state was during that time. I want to make sure it’s not a trick of the mind.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
Meh, they’re alright, but I’m not a big fan. I give them credit for starting conversations about atheism, but I don’t think of them as some holy trinity of atheism. Plus, Dawkins and Harris tend to stick their feet in their mouths.
10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
To paraphrase Douglas Adams, our early ancestors at some one point and said, “I have the ability to make tools, so therefore there must be a higher toolmaker who made me!” All religions are human attempts to describe the indescribable. The difference between religion and science is science keeps testing theories to make sure they hold water instead of just saying, “I can’t explain it, therefore God.”
Well, there you have it, folks! I answered the questions has truthfully and honestly as I could. Feel free to give your answers in the comments below.