As my peer in sexual flexibility and FtBlogging Trav Mamone just posted, “Today Christian” posed 10 Question For Every Atheist to Answer that are supposed to be so spot-on and amazing we can’t handle them. I’d have just linked to Mamone’s takedown, said “Trav done it” and been on my way, but thought maybe a few differences in our answers could be instructive to … whoever.
I don’t get why this is supposed to be difficult, but then, that’s true of a lot of them. Maybe they think that if we examine the causes of our “turn” we will realize it’s an unnatural decision we’ve made – that it was a corruption caused by demon whispers and whatnot? I’ve explained this before and it’s uninteresting and unimportant. My cats are atheists and it doesn’t keep them up nights.
2. What happens when we die?
Again with why? And further, if we’re both assuming atheist = philosophical materialist, and I think we are, then the questioner already knows the answer to the question. Am I supposed to be given pause by the ramifications of ceasing to exist? I don’t like the idea that my existence is limited, but my wishes and daydreams don’t alter my beliefs. Is the questioner assuming that my desire to avoid death should be able to change what I perceive as truth? Is this a case of projection?
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
A sense of relief that I will get more than a piddly sixty to ninety years for experiencing consciousness. Huzzah! And then a sense of dread because heaven as envisioned by xtians is scarcely better than their hell. Give me the place with the homos and the billions of people who were never xtian, thanks, though it’s a shame we’ll all be on fire. Maybe when god finally gets bored of existing he’ll wink us out of existence and we’ll have surcease at the end of time… I kid. Heaven and hell are so absurd that you might as well be asking me, “What if I found out monsters will tickle my butt if I don’t knock on the toilet seat before I sit down?” I guess I’m gonna get butt-tickled, you goofball.
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
I don’t want to hurt people. There are other considerations like the law and society, but really, wanting to be good should be sufficient. Is that not the case for you?
5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
Here Trav quoted someone I’d rather forget the existence of, so I turn again to questioning the questioner. How much do you want to commit rapes and murders? Assuming you even do (how uncharitable of me), is it worth the consequences?
6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
Yes and no. I can make meaning for myself, but ultimately, it is meaningless. Meaning is a human construct that doesn’t matter in the slightest to our unfeeling and unthinkably vast universe. I am a pointless blip of matter and energy that wouldn’t even register as a twinkle in the cosmos. That could bother me more, but it doesn’t. How does it make you feel?
7. Where did the universe come from?
Why does this matter to you or I, outside of idle curiosity? It’s the domain of scientists and they’ve got some pretty good ideas, so I’ve heard.
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?
If it feels real to them, then hooray. They have a reason to be religious. If any of that happened to me, my first stop would be a neurologist. They aren’t as believable to me as a stroke or seizure, personally. YMMV. Unlike a lot of atheists who claim their position is strictly rational, I will admit that I’m going with what feels real. It’s a powerful feeling.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
Embarrassing. What do you think of Pat Robertson, Rick Warren and Scott Lively, you fucking fucks?
10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
Did you know there’s some evidence Homo sapiens went through a population bottleneck, where the whole species numbered a few thousand people? I think about that often. If you see common features of the majority of cultures around the globe (such as patriarchy and religion), it seems probable they were present in the ancestral culture.
Any societies that lack the trait in question are outliers, and probably lost the trait at some point in the past. It’s the same kind of thinking that predicts the existence of hadrosaur eggs – phylogenetic bracketing in zoology terms. Birds and crocodilians are the living creatures most closely related to dinosaurs and both lay eggs, therefore most likely dinosaurs laid eggs – though there may be some outlying instances of secondary vivipary.
Maybe we can call this sociomemetic bracketing? Native Americans diverged from Eurasian cultures over ten thousand years ago and both sets of cultures have religions, therefore it is probable their common ancestors had religions. The end.
Well, that and the existence of the plurality of religions across the planet is a powerful argument against the idea there is one true god anyhow. Self-awareness. You can do it, guys. Come on.