Everywhere you go, you get to see the same questions from Theists. Whether it’s a discussion happening at the dinner table, at the BBQ Party in your backyard or the Facebook forum, same questions again and again. I thought I’ll compile some of the common questions Theists like to throw and some of the answers that I’m becoming tired of repeating on everyday basis. Hope you’ll find these useful.
1. Why are you an Atheist ?
Different Atheists have different reasons for their lack of Belief, we can not have one universal standard reason that can be applied on all Atheists. Atheism literally means “not believing in the deities”, it doesn’t mean all Atheists actively propagate that there MUST be NO God, it simply means that the Deities that people believe in doesn’t make sense to Atheists the same way one Theist’s Deity doesn’t make sense to another Theist’s Deity.
There is also an urge for Theists to believe that there must be a Naughty Reason why an Atheist is an Atheist or it should be based on Atheist’s Rebellion attitude however in majority of cases this is not true. Atheists reach to their conclusion after a lot of thinking and researching unlike the Theists who are believers (majority of the cases) because of the childhood indoctrination or the lack of capability to apply critical analysis on their Beliefs.
It satisfies Ego of Theists to believe that the Atheism must be based on a some kind of Conspiracy because their argument is based on an Assumption that the Default position should always be based on a Belief of some of kind of God, and any rejection of that belief must involve a Conspiracy. This is merely a Defence Mechanism and based on lack of knowledge about how and why certain people turn into Atheists.
2. Do they believe in Out of Nothing argument ?
First of all, the default position of Atheism is based on “We Dont Know” premise, this is why it’s often too difficult to distinguish between Atheism and Agnosticism. When we say “we don’t know”, we are literally saying that anything is possible including Theist’s forced argument that “a God must have done all this” and “this might have come from nowhere or as a result of a pure accident which means it’s a mere process that might have created everything and not that some intelligent force was behind it”.
Theists then like to Assert that Atheism believes in “Out of Nothing argument”, the answer is Yes and No. Atheism believes in the possibility of “Out of Nothing argument” as much as believing in the assertions of Mayan Civilization that some Aliens must have created this universe.
3. Isnt Universe evidence of God ?
No it isn’t, I wish if it was an evidence and we could have settled down this centuries old debate.
Evidence means something we can directly verify as and when we want it to, which means it also has the ability to be reproduced again and again by using the same set of laws. In case of God as defined by Religions, we do not have any evidence. Hence the argument that the universe exists hence God exists is as valid or invalid as saying the Universe is the evidence of Aliens creating this universe for us and then watching us.
4. Can you disprove that God doesn’t exist ?
No we can’t, neither we need to. Being a Theist you are making Assertions for God’s existence hence its your responsiblity to provide evidence of his / her / their existence. The same way you can’t disprove that there exists an invisible naked boy on your head who walks with you all the time, nobody can disprove your claims for God’s existence too. But the important point here to remember is that you can’t prove your own claims that God does exist the way you define him / her / them.
5. Does Atheism makes sense ?
Everybody’s definition of Sense is different and is heavily influenced by the society this person is raised in, the authors and books this person has read and then the person’s acceptance to the fact that how much sense is possible and what will be the boundary where human logic will cease to make sense.
God’s character is itself an attempt to escape from the harsh reality of limited sense that we can make about things we don’t know. Atheists happily accept the fact that there will always be things we wouldn’t be able to make sense of them, it doesn’t mean we should start accepting the “Blunt Assertions” made by Theists because somehow they have been able to convince themselves that in the absence of true sense all these Assertions are sufficient to entertain human intelligence.
6. Who made it then ?
The whole point is that we don’t know and you don’t either. However painful and insulting this reality might sound, the fact is that nobody knows who made it. We can’t even be sure that if someone must have made it.
This argument itself is based on a deadlock where we say that everything must have been made by someone and yet we reach to the stage where we can’t explain that who made God then ? Ultimately, Theists have to break their own chain of logic and they are required to give discount to the God’s character that he / she / them must have always been there. The same way, you could argue that Nature could have always been there and doesn’t need a creator.
7. What if you were wrong ?
What if you were praying the wrong God ? Considering the number of Gods and Deities that exist, the probability of hitting the jackpot of praying to the correct God is pretty low.
Secondly, try to understand that Atheism is based on the absence of Fear (unlike theism), they do not believe that God exists that needs to be accepted and if you don’t accept him / her / them you will be punished. So this whole argument around making them scared of punishment isn’t going to help either. Atheists demand evidence not the Fear of Punishment.
8. So no Judgement day ?
Quite possibly. Its a comforting thought to believe that at the day of judgement (supposedly) there will be reward and punishment for those acts that were not dealt properly here in this world. However, just because its a comforting thought, doesn’t mean its the way thats the way its going to be. We again have no evidence for this premise.
Secondly, every religion itself has contradicting views on the concept of Judgment Day itself. The central theme in most of the mainstream religions regarding the day of judgement is around the belief in one particular God of that particular Religion and the Reward / Punishment for your Good / Bad Acts takes a back seat. So, even if you were doing good things but believing in the wrong God you will still be punished at the judgement day.
9. But so many people believe in God
This is a logical fallacy. Larger number of people believing in something doesn’t make it true. Secondly, there are thousands of Gods that different people believe in, if it was that simple we could have easily held some kind of elections throughout the world and whoever had the majority could have been declared the winners of identifying the correct God.
Fact is that Theism is a product based on Fear and the lack of capability to apply critical thinking over beliefs. The societies where education and freedom of thought as well as expression is increasing the Atheism is also increasing on parallel bases in those societies. Hence, the number of people believing in one thing or disbelieving in another thing does not make that belief right or wrong.
10. Atheists believe in Evolution
Yes and No. Not all Atheists believe in Evolution and not all Atheists care about knowing much about Evolution. However, the Theory of Evolution has become an established faculty of Science now and the Scientists are happy with the amount and quality of Evidence(s) that support the theory. Theists are most welcome to reject the theory and get left behind in the world of science.
On the other side, Theist’s rejection of Evolution is based on the fear that if they accepted Evolution it will basically mean that their Religious theories and stories around creationism will be proved wrong, so the rejection is a mere Defence Mechanism at its best.
Another interesting point to consider is that not all Theists reject Theory of Evolution. Some Theists even claim that the theory is absolutely compatible with their respective Religion. Some went even further and came up with a complete theory of Intelligent Design where God and Evolution were working closely together.
There is no one standard when it comes to the belief or disbelief in the Theory of Evolution by either Theists or Atheists.
11. Whats your purpose of life ?
Different people have different purposes of life and most of the time there are more than one purposes, in fact the purposes keep changing with time and age. Whether we like it or not, the basic purpose of humans as well as other animals remains to survive somehow in this world for as long as possible.
All the other purposes are self assumed and man-made purposes. It also depends on each individual’s nature and interests as well, some people like spending time and effort on Sports, some on literary works, some like to learn and some don’t like to do anything at all. Some find it comforting to give back as much as they can to the society while some enjoy making as much money as possible and live a good life.
The evidence suggests that Atheists take their life pretty seriously and thats how the so-called Godless Societies have worked quite hard to make their lives heaps better during last few centuries. While on the other hand, pure Religious Societies have struggled for long enough to take responsibility of their own life and they would rather keep praying to their respective God(s) to make their life better.
12. What Morality you follow ?
Its unfair to link Morality with Religions. Morality has evolved in human history as a result of desire to not only survive on this planet but to live happily here. Humans want to do good so that they can save themselves from the evil of others, this basic necessity has forced humanity to come up with the list of Moral Values and then constantly update those values as the time changes and so our requirements.
Religious Moral Code is generally based on Rigid and Unchangeable ideas that came from Ancient times. Those Moral values could have worked well for the people back in 1st century or 7th century but not necessarily for the ever-changing human conditions of today’s societies.
Some Theists have tried to introduce flexibility around Moral Codes dictated by God(s) and tried to make them compatible with current times and this is welcomed by the Godless sections of Societies which indicates the possibility that Theists and Atheists can even live together while maintaining their own view on Morality.
13. Why don’t Atheists practice Incest ?
Atheists don’t practice Incest because thats what they have learned from the society they grew up in. Some Atheists still practice Incest and so do some Theists, it doesn’t suggest anything about whether or not they were Atheists, they just practiced it because they wanted to do it same way there are Thieves or Rapists in this world regardless of the fact what beliefs they have.
Some Atheists who were raised in Muslim Societies don’t see Cousin Marriages as Incest while those who were raised in Western Societies see Cousin Marriages as a very bad practice and consider it as Incest. It all depends where you grew up.
Its also interesting to note that most of the mainstream Religions have had links to the stories related to Incest at some stage. Most of the Creationists accept that Adam and Eve made their kids marry each other, same goes for the Noah’s story after the Great Flood. In another interesting story Prophet Lot (Loot in Arabic) had sex with his own daughters. Most of the Religious figures have also been involved with Children which is considered Pedophilia today, a crime punishable by the law.
This is why we said earlier that the Morality has evolved with time instead of being revealed from some higher authority.
14. Atheist until you’re dying
No, not true. The point to understand about Atheism is that its the natural phenomena and not some kind of intentional act to avoid believing in Deities. With this proposition, Theists are literally implying that being a believer or a disbeliever is something you control yourself. While the reality is that it’s a deeply complex thought process and most of the Atheists can’t believe because those beliefs don’t make sense to them.
Different people react differently at the time of their death, some people may have had frightened experiences and might have started believing in God(s) out of an extreme fear of death. While others may have maintained their view on God’s existence and died as Atheists, Christopher Hitchens was a recent example, an outspoken Atheist who knew he was dying from Cancer and yet maintained his disbelief.