Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Questioning Atheism

   I have seen these questions answered in a few blogs, now. Most recently, I came across them at The Uncredible Hallq. They originate at the blog of Hemant Metha, author of I Sold My Soul On eBay. He lists them as examples of questions atheists get asked by religious people. I am preparing my own answers, but first I want some input on the questions themselves.
   Do you think they are authentic? I mean by that, are they questions religious people really would ask of atheists? Can you think of any other questions that might be added to the list? I'm looking for input from both sides of the issue. So if you are an atheist or a believer, chip in with your opinion. Kick it around in comments for a while, and I'll be back presently with my answers.

  • Why do you not believe in God?
  • Where do your morals come from?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Is atheism a religion?
  • If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
  • Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
  • Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
  • How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
  • Why does the universe exist?
  • How did life originate?
  • Is all religion harmful?
  • What’s so bad about religious moderates?
  • Is there anything redeeming about religion?
  • What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
  • Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
  • Are atheists smarter than theists?
  • How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
  • Would the world be better off without any religion?
  • What happens when we die?

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14 comments:

dpoem said...

Now this is a meme I can sink my teeth into.  I do look to your answers, and I'll try not to plagiarize them.  

-Dan

dpoem said...

Ooops...  that should read: I look forward to your answers.  

The questions are pretty spot on, and they seem to address several of the logical fallacies I've heard time and time again in various arguments.  The one about the atrocities, for example, is one I constantly hear.  

Coincidentally, right now they are discussing faith on some morning news talk show, but they are doing so with such an annoying candy-coated veneer, it's blisteringly annoying.  To boil it down, they are essentially saying that the evil is the result of bad sects of a good belief, and that it's important to teach our children the "right" faith (i.e. Christianity), otherwise humanity is doomed.  And, everyone is sitting there grinning over their coffee cups, pretending to understand.

-Dan
http://thewisdomofadistractedmind.blogspot.com/  

simianfarmer said...

The silliest question to me is:

-Where do your morals come from?

Most of the rest of them are genuinely interesting.  Or at least, well thought-out answers to them would be.  There are some, like "What is the meaning of life?", or, "Why does the universe exist?" that are too rhetorical.  Anybody can offer a perspective, but certainly not a definitive answer.

Let's see if we can get the comment thread on the next post over 50!

Simon
http://simianfarmer.com

And Hey... did Dan move over to Blogger from AOL?  Peer pressure, Paul.  Just think of how much more credibility you'd have if you left AOL...
:)

midwestvintage said...

 I look forward to your answers.  I have pondered many of them in the days I had no faith.  Hard to put answers to some, its all just a personal feeling but interesting thread.

                Julie

bhbner2him said...

I can't say that I ever thought to ask any of those questions per se.  The two that come closest to about anything I'd ask are:

Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?  - But to me the question is why try so hard to convince others there is no God, if in deed there is no God?  Why fight something imaginary?

What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?  - Or more to the point, if I believe and could turn out to be wrong I'm just disappointed.  If you don't believe and turn out to be wrong......well, there's an eternity of consequences.  

Barbara

jennyp51 said...

Barbara, you asked the very same questions that i asked in an earlier blog comment.

What about these two questions.
Why do athiests say that science and the bible are incompatable?
How do you explain archeological finds that consistently go along with what the bible says.?
Lawyers have studied the evidence of Christ's trial, death and resurrection and said it would stand up in court as true.  How would you answer them?
Sorry that was more than two.  I will still kep thinking.
Jenny <><

princesssaurora said...

I think you have a nice list there... be sure to reference your old post from last year with the definition of atheism... that was awesome, I thought.

be well,
Dawn

princesssaurora said...

Don't be a joiner Paul!  Don't listen to Simon or Dan!  AOL is fine!  lol

be well,
Dawn

teeisme57 said...

Paul, as I recall, you have said that some people are predisposed to believe in God. Do you think some people are predisposed to be atheists?

plittle said...

Tee,
  I don't know that I've said that *some* people are predisposed towards belief. I certainly don't think that is the case. Some scientists are currently theorizing that the the human brain is to some extent hardwired towards belief. If that is the case, then every one of us is predisposed that way. I don't believe that some people are more likely to believe than others - all other factors being equal.
-Paul

fisherkristina said...

Can we know anything absolutely?

Are there any absolutes for that matter?  (Believe me, I have discussed religion (specifically Christianity) with many an atheist, and they say there are no absolutes.  In which I ask them, then how do they know God DOESN'T exist?)

Can we know there is a God, for instance, through faith?

What is faith?  (By the way, it is NOT just believing in something for the sake of wanting to, but a supernatural gift you get from God, open to everybody, if they only ask Him.)

Why would you choose to believe God doesn't exist anymore than you would choose He does?  Just curious.

How can the world be perfectly designed and functioning, without there being some kind of creative and orderly God behind it?  Even if you believe in evolution (which does not necessarily have to be incompatible with Christianity), is it not hard to believe something (a Creator) is not behind it?  How are human's bodies perfectly formed?  Why do flowers have five leaves?  Why does a mother's body so perfectly support a baby?  How does photosynthosys so perfectly support a plant?  Can all of this just be a chance happening?

Not sure I have any more space left, so I will sign off for now.  Maybe I will have more comments for you, LOL, b/c I have thought about this A LOT.  This subject is VERY important to me.

Take care,
Krissy -  a Christian - Roman Catholic!  :)
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink    

fisherkristina said...

Comment - Part 2
Okay, so I have some more, LOL!  I told you this subject was important to me:  

Why do atheists say Jesus was a "good man", a "good teacher"?  Jesus to them could not be a "good man", because He said He was the Son of God.  If He said that and wasn't, He wouldn't be a "good man", he would be a BIG LIAR.  How can one be a "good man"  and a big liar and deceiver at the same time?  You can't be both!

What about the historical Jesus?  How can he have effected so many lives???  He is still around today, effecting many  people, in their hearts and lives, changing them, encouraging them to lead a moral life and bringing them peace!  How could one man's legacy live on for so long?

Another thing about the historical Jesus and the crucifixion.  Jesus' apostles were severely tortured their whole lifetime and all were killed but St. John the Evangelist.  This can be confirmed through history.  My question is, why would 12 men be willing to live a severe life, be tortured and die for a hoax?

Are there any atheists in foxholes?

Why are there many Christians around the world today willing to die for Jesus and Christianity?

Why do a lot of atheists appear to be frightened of, or bitter towards Christians?

You asked, Paul, what is the meaning of life?  How about making it more personal, what is the meaning of your life?  Not just your life, Paul, but everybody's life who is reading this.  What is the meaning of each of you all's life?  God has a purpose for each individual's life, giving it meaning and purpose, a plan for each of us.

I am going to go continue on Part 3, LOL

Krissy  - a grateful Roman Catholic Christian!  :)
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink

fisherkristina said...

comments - part 3

Can atheists truly be happy w/o God?

Do atheists realize the God-shaped hole that needs to be filled in their lives?  Can they feel the emptiness?

How can atheists go on w/o having God to talk to every day for comfort?

Why would somebody even want to go on, to live, without the Lord?

What is the meaning of holiness?  Can we truly accomplish it without having grace from God, without being partakers of His divine nature, I mean without having the Holy Spirit within us?  Christians believe that the way to holiness is to be transformed into the image of Christ by yielding to the Holy Spirit within them.  When you become a Christian you become a new creation in Christ.    

How could you have a positive outlook on life, knowing that it could be all over in 70 to 80 years?  We have a lifetime to be with the Lord!

Why wouldn't you want to be in a world so positive that you would know the One who so lovingly created you, knows you, wants the best for you, and will guide you?  The One you can turn to at any moment night or day, who is always there for you.  And yes, even requires you to live a good life, and be responsible, but only b/c He has your best interests and the world's as well.

Okay, I am preachy, but so what! - Hope this was ok, and thanks for letting me share! :)
Krissy -  Roman Catholic Christian - adult convert and glad!
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink    

firestormkids04 said...

Paul, you have a lot of questions in your entry.  First, I am not an atheist, I believe in God.  I believe my morals were and are something built in to me at birth.  I slowly became aware of them as I needed them. Since I know Who created me, I also know where my morals came from. As for the meaning of life, God created us for His good pleasure, our worship is glorious to Him. I can't think of atheism as a religion as I have not heard of them meeting together to discuss their atheist thoughts.  Truthfully, once a man has spoken the name of God, I believe he is no longer an atheist, but an agnostic. An agnostic admits that there may be a God, but deny Him.  I do pray during troubling times and cannot imagine not doing so. I don't think atheist would ever feel the need to convince others that there is no God, again by my belief that once they would start that, they would be an agnostic.  The atrocitities that happened in the 20th century ant back to the birth of Christ have most probably been committed by those who were afraid of such power in the belief in God. Most religions that worship God ie: Christians, Jews, Islamic, Muslims essentially started out with the basic beliefs of the Old Testament yet still commit atrocities. Are some atheist involved?  Most certainly so. see part 2 for more