[These days, I don’t have much time to write. In previous years when I was less responsible, I got away with writing in my work time. I can’t do that anymore. Last year, before my son came to stay with me fulltime, I wrote in the evenings, and I don’t have that time anymore. This year, I have been writing in the morning before work, usually between 7 and 7:30AM. But I started gym last month, three times a week, so I don’t even have much of that time anymore. So if you’ve been wondering why there are fewer posts here, now you know.]
This “argument” has been made to me twice in the last month. First on July 24th, after I completed the Walk The Talk in an atheist shirt (in a group), I went to a local shop to buy some bread, still wearing my atheist shirt, and was asked by a cashier if atheists believe that we created ourselves. Then last week, a colleague at work who was being annoying, asked something similar.
Do atheists believe that we created ourselves?
The definition of an atheist is someone who lacks belief in any gods. That’s all, and I cannot speak for others, but something that people who ask this question do not realize is that, by disbelieving in your god, I probably also disbelieve in creation. The question has some issues…
- It’s a loaded question. It assumes that creation occurred. It can’t be answered with a simple yes or no by someone who doesn’t believe in creation at all.
- I don’t even know what to call the fallacy created by point 1. It isn’t even a false dilemma. If it were, it would incorrectly assume one of only two possibilities. This question implicitly assumes only one option – creation. It then goes on to ask if we believe that we created ourselves. Thus it sets up a variation of the straw man that presumes atheists believe they were created from nothing, a meaningless argument to someone who doesn’t believe in creation at all.
- It is an example of psychological projection. You believe in creation. You then assume that atheists must surely believe in some other kind of creation.
Just because you cannot conceive of not believing in creation doesn’t mean that others also believe in it. Just like there is no evidence of any god, there isn’t any evidence of creation.
When I asked my colleague where his god came from, he failed to understand the question. He assumes that everything needs a creator, and the universe was created by god, but god doesn’t have a creator. That’s an example of special pleading. Everything needs a creator, and god is that creator. But god doesn’t need a creator? That violates the premise that everything needs a creator. It’s providing an answer that doesn’t solve the problem… (You refuse to believe that the universe can just exist… It’s too complex. Then you fabricate the existence of a being capable of creating the entire universe, but dogmatically insist that this being’s existence cannot be questioned. That doesn’t make sense. The only reason it might appear to make sense is that you have already been indoctrinated, that is brainwashed, to believe it. All you’ve done in effect is moved the problem to a being you call god, and asserted that the problem is now solved. But it isn’t.) Replace the word god with magic. Where did the universe come from? Magic. And don’t dare question where the magic came from because it is magic, and magic is eternal. Because magic… You see, fabricating an eternal god whose existence may not be questioned doesn’t solve anything. It simply introduces a magical answer.
Arguing with people like this seems pointless. Their arguments are no more elaborate that that of an eight year old child. But when a child asks questions, they might learn from the answers. The adults I’ve been dealing with come up with arguments like those of small children, except they are unmoved by answers. They seem incapable of learning.
So allow me to explain it like I would to a child: I wasn’t created. I was conceived when my Mommy and my Daddy had sexual intercourse. And their Mommies and Daddies before them. And so on. And if you could go back in time far enough, you’d find Mommies and Daddies that didn’t even look like us…. They looked more like apes. If you could go back even further, you’d find Mommies and Daddies that looked more like rats. And before that, there were Mommies and Daddies that could breathe underwater like fish. So not only were we not created as we look now, but there is no point when going back, where a creator was even required. There are mechanisms in nature that we don’t understand… to explain how simple unicellular life evolved into more complex life, and before that, how atoms became molecules and simple life came to exist, out of inorganic molecules. But that was a long long time before any man invented magic (God) to explain what he didn’t understand. Just because you don’t know the answer does mean that it must have been a god. Why does the sun rise and set? God, if you know nothing. Why do bad things happen? God is angry, if you know nothing. But we don’t know nothing. We can answer some questions but not all questions. Just because we don’t know all the answers, does not mean that the answer is God.