An Atheist’s 11 Reasons For Disbelief.

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Some media personality (I think) over at some FB page posted these 11 reasons for his unbelief, to which I’ve provided answers below.

1. If we truly had one creator speaking to prophets, it would do so consistently, not contradictory as thousands of different religions have proven.

2. Living by the means of man helping man, and realizing time on earth is not a practice run, creates an urgency of life that requires fulfilling.

3. I asked my four-year-old daughter where the stars came from. She confidently said “The moon made them.” I followed by asking “Then where did the moon come from?” She strongly asserted “Daddy, the moon is the boss. Nobody made the moon.” This is an unmistakably familiar mindset; and rightfully embarrassing for an adult to hold such similar thought.

4. Demeter, Jesus, Apollo, Horus, Zeus, Mithra, Yahweh, Tammuz, Ganesha, and Allah are only 10 of the thousands of gods recorded in history. An Atheist is not one that refuses to read religious doctrine; but is often one who reads too many.

5. In the technicalities of most religions, there is no difference between a believer that dies before having time to repent, and a nonbeliever that rejected the doctrine altogether.

6. If the Christian god created humans as sinners, how could it rightfully expect us to believe the corrupt messengers it has sent to teach us the way of life?

7. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?” – Epicurus

8. All babies are Atheists. Religions are taught depending on the location and era in which you are raised. Being born in the U.S. in 1974 does not make you right, it most likely just makes you another Christian. That’s no better or worse than the person born in Tibet in 1955, who proudly worships the Dalai Lama.

9. It is better to find your own answers and make an educated decision, than to intentionally remain uneducated and make a fearful one.

10. Only for the sake of argument, if I were to astonishingly find myself face to face with a supreme being, I would expect to be judged on my life as a humanist, and how I treated others, (just as most Christians plan to be judged on character, not on the actual Ten Commandments). If my positive actions were ignored, and I was instead judged on using my intelligence to doubt religious doctrines created by human sinners, I would rather be eternally punished than bow to such an unfair tyrant who made things seemingly impossible for humans to succeed at this horrific game.

11. I could go through the motions, attend the churches, shake the hands, follow the rituals of whichever religion or denomination of Christianity I liked the best, sing the songs, and help with the luncheons, but that still wouldn’t make me a believer. It would make me a pretender. I am honest with myself and those around me that these things do not appear logical to me. I didn’t choose to be an atheist, and belief isn’t a choice. I just realized I was one. I simply refuse to be a hypocritical, disingenuous Christian – so I am honest with myself and others about my disbelief.

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Answers:

1. That’s because many people fancy themselves prophets. That’s hardly the fault of the “one true creator speaking to [real] prophets.”

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2. Absent God, there is no objective purpose and meaning, and therefore no epistemic basis for saying we are morally obligated to do anything. Indeed, if one sees morality as merely the residue of evolutionary processes — which is, on naturalistic atheism, how we’re suppose to see morality — then harming others, for fun even, would be more aptly described as being unfashionable rather than as being objectively wrong. In more words, the difference between good and evil on atheistic naturalism is more than analogous — perhaps univocal — to the difference between chocolate and vanilla.

So, rather than the happy talk you so blithely spout, it’s more likely (since it arguably follows with logic) that realizing “time on earth is not a practice run” will make people moral nihilists, as atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche makes explicit in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

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3. Because we all know the moon is exactly the same as God. Why, they are just as explanatorily powerful! Indeed, without the moon, we’d be hard-pressed to answer things of deep philosophical import — like, why is there something rather than nothing, or what is the meaning of life? — about which people for millenia have pondered. Without the moon, it can likewise be argued that life has no objective meaning and value, and that morality, free-will, and even consciousness perhaps, are illusions!

Right.

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4. But does so without any depth. For if it is as you claim that you did read about, and have investigated, all those gods, then you would have noticed that none of them (except maybe for Allah) formed any parallel to the Christian one. If you even knew a whit about the Christian God, whom you’ve spent considerable time and effort attacking, you’d have known He is very much unlike these other gods you mention in that he isn’t merely a mishmash of anthropomorphic qualities to which the various arguments for theism — championed by the likes of Craig, Leibniz or Aquinas — can point.

In other words, all the philosophical rigor in the world won’t help the chances of Zeus existing.

So it’s doubtful that it is like you claim; that the atheist is well-informed — better informed — than the theist on religion. It’s precisely that he is not informed at all that allows him to make these ridiculous parallels.

—–

5. Eh?

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6. More proof that you don’t have an atom of knowledge about that which you devote your time and attention to railing against. Did you really just put this in as a space-filler? This is not what Christians believe, and that makes it worse, since you aren’t merely attacking a strawman of what Christians believe, you are attacking a strawman of what you think they believe.

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7. What’s interesting is that you quote a man who believes that what’s certain in life aren’t just death and taxes, but also that pleasure is a moral good.

Firstly, omnipotence doesn’t mean being able to do that which is logically contradictory. An omnipotent being cannot create squared circles, married bachelors, rocks he can’t carry, and, alas, free-willed agents who are completely under his control.

Nevertheless it is completely possible to allow evil for an end that’s good, just as we sometimes allow our children to be hurt so they will learn. What you must show is that there exists gratuitous evil. But I don’t think that’s possible to show given our epistemic position on these matters.

As an aside: you talk as if evil exists in your worldview. It doesn’t! What exists is your subjective opinion of what’s evil. But that’s only true in the sense that anchovies are delicious, which is to say that for others they are not, and that, in your worldview, neither you nor the anchovy-haters are objectively right.

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8. All babies are atheists in just the same way that all dogs, tables and chairs are — which is to say they are (atheists) not in any meaningful sense. For they can only be said to be atheists on account of not having the cognitive capacity to know about matters of this sort, or of any sort at all. Of course that’s to all fall prey to your ilk’s twisting of the word’s definition in the first place, for atheism isn’t merely a lack of belief — which would make dogs, tables and chairs atheists — but an active rejection of one (of God). Unfortunately for you, under the real definition of the word, babies aren’t atheists.

But that’s all beside the point, which is that you commit the genetic fallacy (from wiki):

[A] fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context.

Or, in simple speak, someone may think democracy is better than communism solely by virtue of being born in the U.S.A. That doesn’t mean, however, that democracy is in fact not better than communism.

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9.Apparently, there is more straw to be had in these strawmen.

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10. If you have read religion as extensively as you have implicitly claimed, then you haven’t been paying attention. I won’t claim to know how you’ll be judged (whether it’ll be heaven or hell for you), but most of the classical evidences for the existence of the Christian God are ipso facto evidences for a God that is all-just.

There are many ways to look at Christian Particularism — too many, in fact, to expound on each one here. But this is similar to the proverbial question that makes the problems of Christian particularism more palpable, and that’s the one of whether Ghandi is in heaven.

The short answer is that God would judge him justly depending on how Ghandi lived against His (God’s) standards. But to accept the sacrifice of Jesus for your sins gives one the opportunity to be judged more mercifully than justly.

I’m not claiming, however, that all or even most Christians believe this, but that a good number do as it is scripturally supported.

And, lastly..

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11. We have much in common since I, too, don’t find much logic in much of that — I have to literally drag myself to church on most occasions. But this isn’t an argument against Christianity, or against theism for that matter, since their truth cannot be rejected (nor ascertained) in any of that which for the most part has mere symbolic value.

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Posted on April 15, 2013, in apologetics, philosophy, Religion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. That’s because many people fancy themselves prophets. That’s hardly the fault of the “one true creator speaking to [real] prophets.”

    LOL and i suppose your prophet is the real prophet… HUH, all others are just making shit up?

    • Yes. They are, in your words, “making shit up”. Or some of them could be crazy, actually.

      But you miss the point, and that is that if God were real, and has chosen to speak to “prophets”, that in no way precludes the appearances of ‘crazy’ people pretending to be prophets. So the fact that many ‘prophets’ preach different things is hardly evidence that God doesn’t exist.

      Get it right.

  2. Sure I get your point, but wars are fought, murders commited, ect… all on the basis that one group think their prophet is the real prophet! I dont want to be any part of any of those groups if thats what god is about.

    • If you speak of Islam, where the Hadith is clear on how to treat infidels, then you’ll get no argument from me.

      But on Christianity, at least: if I killed in the name of Richard Dawkins, that hardly means it’s Richard Dawkins’s fault.

      I don’t know how much more clearer it can be; Jesus said ‘Love your enemy’. And therefore all those wars of which you speak are nothing but ruling elites behaving badly, justifying it in the name of religion, as ruling elites are wont to do.

      I’ve written more on this here: http://wp.me/prJtC-nG

  3. Reblogged this on Interfaith Crossing and commented:
    As an agnostic, I don’t agree on every point, but a lot of these provide intriguing questions for those of nearly any religion!

  4. I wonder if you wouldn’t be better off looking for reasons why believing in a material universe is rational. I say this because for this to be a material only universe, many well known scientific principles would have to be contravened. As things stand, you’re forced to say things like:

    . I believe that material things can begin to exist without an external cause even though this has never been observed, tested or verified.

    . I believe that everything material can come from literally nothing material without an immaterial cause, even though this has never been observed, tested or verified.

    . I believe that an infinite regress of cause is tenable, even though this has been scientifically refuted.

    . I believe that the material infinite is tenable, even though this has been scientifically refuted.

    Rather than worrying about what other people believe. Perhaps you should get your own beliefs straightened out first.

    • I actually believe none of what you seem to think I believe. Below the ’11 reasons’ is my refutation of each one.

  5. Pantheism holds that God is the universe and the universe is God, whereas Panentheism holds that God contains, but is not identical to, the Universe; the distinctions between the two are subtle. It is also the view of the Liberal Catholic Church , Theosophy , some views of Hinduism except Vaishnavism which believes in panentheism , Sikhism, some divisions of Neopaganism and Taoism , along with many varying denominations and individuals within denominations. Kabbalah , Jewish mysticism, paints a pantheistic/panentheistic view of God — which has wide acceptance in Hasidic Judaism , particularly from their founder The Baal Shem Tov — but only as an addition to the Jewish view of a personal god, not in the original pantheistic sense that denies or limits persona to God.

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