Inconsequential Quiz

As my peer in sexual flexibility and FtBlogging TravTris* Mamone just posted, “Today Christian” posed 10 Question For Every Atheist to Answer (link broken) that are supposed to be so spot-on and amazing we can’t handle them.  I’d have just linked to Mamone’s takedown (link dead) for their presence around internet if interested in them), said “Tris done it” and been on my way, but thought maybe a few differences in our answers could be instructive to … whoever.

1.  How Did You Become an Atheist?

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 Tris 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.

*Tris left FtB and the deadname, but has more writing around the internet if you’re interested.  However they quit writing altogether in the early 2020s to focus on art and music, so…  Bon voyage, comrade.  Ya beautiful.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    1. Cogito
    2. Decomposition
    3. Red face
    4. Being able to sleep at night
    5. See 4
    6. Chocolate
    7. Working on it
    8. There’s nowt as queer as folk
    9. Arsehole, arsehole, arsehole.
    10. See 8

  2. usagichan says

    1. Reading the Bible did it for me (for Mr Mamone’s deity at least). None of the alternatives made much sense either.
    2. My identity reverts to the state it had before I was born. The physisical components that make me up will continue in the universe.
    3. Ah, Pascal’s wager… The only possible options are the Judeo-Christian psychoGod or nothing. What if we’re both wrong? We might end up reincarnated as a tapeworm for upsetting the wrong god. Or for failing to purify our soul. Or… well any shit you can imagine really. At least by not believing in any I don’t run the risk of worshipping a false idol and pissing off any real deity (if there is a god maybe She’ll just ignore me?)
    4. Morality is not something that I ‘get’ as a gift. I belong to a (generally) successful social species and am hard-wired for the successful continuation of the species. However I am also capable of introspection and have determined that those natural urges for the good of my species are also postitive things for me personally (I want them to be generally shared and accepted).
    5. This one confuses me, because as far as I can tell prisons are full of murderers and rapists convinced that their god will forgive them (if they are sufficiently sorry). I have the same sense of right and wrong that we share as a species, but with no cosmic “get out of jail free” card when I fail. There are disorders where the natural sense of right and wrong are surpressed, or not present, but these are illnesses, and are generally not limited by (and quite often seem stimulated by) religious thought or affiliation.
    6. Meaning is what I ascribe. I am not so insecure to require some sort of external validation.
    7. Why should it have “come from” anywhere? Maybe stuff just happens? There seems to be some interesting stuff some people that are very clever in that particular area are coming up with to explain the 13bn year segment we have evidence about. But before that (and after) our knowledge seems very limited. We could guess and make shit up I suppose, but I don’t have a problem that there are limitations to my knowledge.
    8. ditto Rob Grigjanis @1 – can’t say it better than that.
    9. I find them rather sad – I think that their potential as people, as intellectuals, has been wasted and distorted in a futile struggle against superstition. Religion poisons everything, even it’s opponents apparently.
    10. If there is a god, why don’t all societies have the same religion? Or at least be monotheistic? It is possible religions perform a necessary social function – but even if it were so, that still does not make them any truer (just less superfluous).

  3. Great American Satan says

    usagi @3- A few notes –

    I don’t know how Trav feels about “Mr” given their genderqueer status so probably best to avoid it. And your phrasing sounds like you might think they wrote the piece. Understandable – my phrasing wasn’t too clear. Trav just linked to and responded to the article on “Today Christian.” Their own responses are here:

    Avoid synonyms for “crazy” and “stupid” on my blog please. “Psychogod” not kosher. Also suggesting religion stimulates mental illness. Religious abuse certainly doesn’t help the vulnerable, a case could be made, but best to avoid splash damage to the mentally ill with that line.

    Other than that, good job.

  4. usagichan says

    Ah… apologies to Trav Mamone… teach me to follow links before commenting.

    And I messed up with the mental illness ref. Using mental illness as an insult is certainly not cool and I hope to do better than that. A fail there too.

    Note to self: Must try harder.

  5. Ambidexter says

    What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!

    Pascal’s Wager has always struck me as being a very weak argument. When Homer Simpson can point out a flaw in the argument then it cannot be taken seriously.

    The Wager assumes that God will be impressed by and reward people who worship him. An all-powerful being would gain little from the allegiance of human beings. In the same way, it would be pretty pointless for a human to persuade the inhabitants of an anthill to worship him. The constant harangues and demands for worship by Yahweh suggest that it might just be an ego thing.

    Regardless, it’s impossible to force a belief. One can fake belief but an omniscient god would know the belief is a sham.

  6. Great American Satan says

    Ambi @7- For real. BTW, what was Homer’s take? As for forcing belief, fundies really seem to think you can. They always phrase it as “choosing” to believe. I never bought that either. Hey, Wonder Showzen.

  7. Ambidexter says

    BTW, what was Homer’s take?

    “Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god. What if every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder?”

  8. Great American Satan says

    Heh. From the episode where he stops going to church? I don’t think I’ve seen that in twenty years. Good times.

  9. says

    If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

    This one is so amusing because everyone can see the obvious answer (even once you change the question from “if there isn’t a god” to “if there is a god”: no god steps in to prevent these crimes). Humans obviously do reward good behavior, and we obviously do try to stop bad behavior. The answer to this question is just so obvious it’s silly.

    This question is your brain on christianity, so say “No!” to christianity, kids! (Or at least it’s your brain on Divine Command Theory or whatever moral system the questioner prefers)

  10. says


    Yes and no. I can make meaning for myself, but ultimately, it is meaningless.

    I kinda dislike this kind of thinking. I really think the meaning we have for ourselves actually is “ultimate” in every sense that matters.

    If we meant something to a god or a universe, those would only be bonuses in addition to the more important matter of being meaningful to ourselves. Plus we already do get similar bonuses by being meaningful to other humans besides ourselves.

  11. Great American Satan says

    I’m a bit of a nihilist. Don’t ask me to talk someone down from a ledge. I find grim ideas hard to argue with.

    Good points though. I appoint you official person-on-ledge-talker.

  12. thebookofdave says

    I find this brief preface to the list of 10 to be revealing:

    “Some Questions Atheist Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer! Which leads to some interesting conclusions…”

    If they were actually looking for answers to these questions, or exploring the ramifications of those “interesting conclusions”, perhaps they should have invited reader responses and discussion in the form of a comment section (the type accessible in their surrounding articles). Instead, they leave their strawman dangling, with the not so subtle accusation of dishonesty. Also, note the lack of credit to its author, either because it was dredged from the cesspool of the viral email chain and can no longer be precisely attributed, or because it is too much of an embarrassment for even an amateur apologist to stick their name on.

  13. Great American Satan says

    XD nice. Because I’m out of touch with those kind of relations and spam filtering tech is cool, I forgot chain e-mails even exist. That’s the level. My cousin works at microsoft and confirmed this was totally true.

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