Some annoying loaded questions for atheists

So recently I saw this shared on Facebook:

LoadedQuestions

This was the original text:

A close relative from my hometown area contacted me this morning. This person said that they have been watching my page for sometime and have recently had severe doubts about the existence of God. Below is a summary of the questions asked. I thought it would be great if my FB Atheist friends could share their opinions to show the light (so to speak).

Note that all those questions are loaded with assumptions. My friend who shared it mentioned being open to honest questions. Are those questions honest? Maybe I should give the benefit of the doubt and take them to be so, but while they may be honest, they certainly don’t make any attempt to understand what atheism is before asking. (I’m sure that sounds reasonable, until you consider that this is how people debate all the time. They ask us questions and attempt debate without knowing what atheism is. How can you debate something when you don’t have a clue what it is?)

To me, the questions don’t seem to come from someone who has doubts, which contradicts the quote that came along with the OP. My answers below are thus not directed at anyone who has serious doubts about the existence of god… They’re the sort of answers I give when debating someone who strongly believes. Maybe I’m being unfair, but the below is how I deal with people of faith.

Perhaps it is worth noting that I didn’t come to this position overnight. When I was about 16, I stopped believing in god. Letting go of a belief in a soul or afterlife took years. So don’t take this too hard if you are somewhere between belief and disbelief as I was for so long. I try, in my answers below, to address not only the questions but also the assumptions that are loaded into those questions.

As an atheist, what do you believe?

Atheism isn’t a belief system. It isn’t some polar opposite of belief in whatever god you believe in. I don’t believe in any gods, or a soul, an afterlife, or creation, because there is no evidence to support the claims that any of those things exist. Religion makes claims. Atheism simply rejects those claims. As an atheist, I’m standing over here pointing at you and saying, “Nope, that’s bullshit”.

The burden of proof lies with those making the claims. But instead of those who insist that their gods exist making any attempt to prove it (because they can’t), they ask us who don’t believe to explain ourselves. That’s backwards. It’s only this way because religion spreads by indoctrination, by brainwashing children to believe before they are old enough to think critically. So instead of intelligent debate, we get religious apologetics, which seeks to rationalize reasons for believing despite zero evidence, often by bad arguments and logical fallacies or assuming that other things are evidence for god, and we get loaded questions like these, asking those who take the rational approach to explain why they don’t believe what you assume to be true.

What happens when you die?

You no longer exist. There is no evidence for a soul, an afterlife, or a creator. Just because you assume those things to be true does not make them so. As an atheist, I not only do not believe in any of those things, but it’s also not like I connect the idea of a creator to an afterlife. Those things are assumptions you make when you buy into your specific religion.

Not only does the burden of proof mean you need to prove that the god you believe in exists, but also, you need to provide evidence that a soul exists, which means there should be some way of showing that something other than our brains are responsible for our thoughts and awareness. Then, you need to point out why your god is the right one, instead of one of thousands of other gods that were claimed to exist, and establish why worshipping your god is a prerequisite for the afterlife that you assume exists.

To quote Louis C.K.

“What happens after you die?” “Lot’s of things happen after you die – they just don’t involve you.”

Why are we here?

Why should there be a reason? This question is not honest. When faced with difficult questions such as, “Why did your god let millions of innocent people die?”, you tell me, “The lord works in mysterious ways”. So because I don’t buy that, because I don’t accept this magical placeholder for the unknown, the origin of which should not be questioned – unlike the universe – I don’t have a purpose? And you do? What is that purpose?

Just because you claim a deity created you and everything and everyone else, does not give you a purpose. There isn’t a reason and your assumption says more about you as a believer than it does about me as a nonbeliever.

Where do morals come from?

They come from laws, in societies that have evolved where breaking them is detrimental to us an a species on the whole, because upholding those laws is an advantage to our survival. But ultimately they come from us empathising for one another. Ironically, this argument from morality has been made since before man created your god, and will likely still be made at some point in future when belief in some other god is popular and your god has been relegated to myth just like Zeus or Odin.

Edit: My friend Gareth explains the empathising better than I do. He commented the following answer to this question on the original Facebook share: “Evolutionary programming. You feel protective toward babies because you are programmed, and that programming is so deep that you feel the same way toward kittens.

No doubt believers will then credit their god as being responsible for that evolutionary programming? Go ahead and assume that, but know that you just made another claim that isn’t supported by evidence. Also, it’s the same as taking the “works of god” to be evidence that god exists… To take the things that you assume god did to be proof of god is circular reasoning, as the premise of your argument assumes the conclusion to be true.

Furthermore, if a creator was responsible for some kind of objective morality, then all religious people would have exactly the same morals. They don’t. OK, so maybe all Christians since the beginning of the religion have identical morals? Sorry, no. OK, so maybe all Christians in all parts of the world right now have identical morals? Sorry, no.

Just because you credit your god with morality doesn’t make it so. And morality existed before your god’s teachings were written. Of course, in that case you can claim that god-given morals existed before then since “god revealed himself to us”. Really? Well, in that case, we come back to all religions being equal. Why then, do Christians tell me I have to accept Jesus, and Muslims tell me I must accept Allah? If every religion is the result of god “revealing himself to us”, as some of my Christian friends tell me, then maybe they ought to stop insisting other religions are wrong. You can’t have it both ways… As it happens, when you believe in things that contradict each other, and it makes you uncomfortable enough to pretend those contradictions don’t exist, there’s a name for that: Cognitive dissonance.

Why is it that I, as an atheist, have no reason to prejudice against gay people, or transgender people, or people who practice different religions? And also, I have no reason to believe that women are inferior. Even though I’m male, I’m a feminist because there is no reason for everybody not to have equal rights. And even as a white South African, I believe that white privilege and systematic racism is wrong and must be opposed, because it is the decent thing to do. Why is it that without any god, I have better morals than so many Christians? Maybe it’s because I learned my morals from my parents, my peers, and common decency? (Just like the bigoted fucks, but my parents and peers were not assholes like theirs.) Maybe it’s because morality is subjective?

How did the universe begin?

I don’t know, but then neither do you. I don’t pretend to have an answer.

I don’t have a magical placeholder in place of “I don’t know”, call it “God”, and insist that its origin can’t be questioned. How did god begin?

If you insist that god is eternal, then all you have is magic that isn’t allowed to be questioned. It makes no logical sense. You have no more an explanation than I do, but you just don’t know it, and because of indoctrination, you think that belief in god answers everything. It doesn’t. Actually there’s a name for this kind of flawed logic: Special pleading. If everything needs to have a creator (or a cause), but god doesn’t, then your conclusion violates the premise of your argument.

If god doesn’t need a beginning, why not the universe too? It could be a loop. Big Bang. Expand. Cool down after many billions of years. Collapse. When everything in the entire universe has been swallowed by black holes that then merge, there is no longer any mass. Without mass, time no longer exists, and the size is once again minimal. Next Big Bang. The loop repeats. I’m not saying that this is the answer, but the point is, inventing a god that the origin thereof by definition may not be questioned, simply moves the unknown that the god placeholder replaces, into a dogmatic solution that doesn’t solve anything.

Aren’t you afraid of going to Hell?

No, not in the least.

Like the first question, this one is loaded with assumptions. Threatening an atheist with Hell is like telling an adult that Santa won’t give them Christmas presents, only worse. It’s beyond absurd. We see through your religions. We understand that belief in gods does not explain anything about where the universe came from, does not give you better morals, and does not give you purpose. If you believe it does, goody for you! I’m glad that your belief gives you some sort of meaning and that your false comfort makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Just don’t project that shit on me and others like me.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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9 Responses to Some annoying loaded questions for atheists

  1. truthspew says:

    My disbelief started when I was eight years old. Cemented in place by the time I made my Confirmation in the Catholic church. Told the priest at final interview that I didn’t believe in God and couldn’t countenance with the faith thing. They confirmed me anyhow.

    And I recall that I pretty much avoided going to church. Because I made the fatal mistake of stepping back and looking at the pomp and circumstance of the Catholic church and saw it for what it was. A bronze age theatrical production – I mean just look at my parish church, all marble, stained glass, and that huge organ. And then the sencer with the Frankincense and Myrrh. Funny story – the SO brought those two elements home, and proceeded to burn them. My first comment was “It smells like a fucking Catholic church in here.”

    And then there’s my no departed dad – who one time I was in a car with him. I was driving and he mentioned that I never believed in God. I told him he was right, that I could see through the whole clerical support thing and found it offensive.

    And I like to tell people I gave up organized religion for lent one year and never looked back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jerome says:

      I was confirmed a Catholic too. Oddly enough, it happened just when I started to lose my faith. Took me a while longer to let go of it completely though.

      My dad was the one who taught me to be skeptical – never to believe everything I read or hear or see on TV, yet he was a devout Catholic. About 7 years before he died, in my early twenties I told him I didn’t believe any more, and tried to explain why. Since he was the one who helped me learn to doubt and think critically, I naively expected him to be proud. But he was disappointed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pluviolover says:

    I believe lots of stuff. None of it has anything to do with “as an atheist.” After I die, I will let you know what happens. My morals come from the same place yours did. As with after death, the origin of the universe is unknown to me. I will include that answer with my post-death letter. If there was Hell, I would be worried even if I was perfect because every damn religion seems to think all the others are going to Hell simply for what they do, or don’t believe. But there is no Hell, so relax. No Heaven either, but you left that question off. Why are we here? Cuz our parents liked sex. Yes, Jerome, these are the same old tired standard questions. But easy to answer with snarkastic flair.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jerome says:

      Yup… As an atheist, I don’t believe anything. My own brother likes to ask what I believe, as if my position as an atheist implies that I have special knowledge and I should have some equal and opposite claim to theism. So if even he can never get to grips with the fact that atheism is simply a rejection of that claim of special knowledge, then those who ask questions like this are never going to get it… The irony is that they ask the questions, as if those questions aren’t rhetorical – then they don’t like the answers.

      The questions are rhetorical of course; they think the questions themselves “defeat all our atheist arguments” because of the assumptions they load them with… then invariably they don’t like to be shown what those assumptions are.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Some annoying loaded questions for atheists — Skeptical Exaddict – kennethandrebrownsr

  4. truthspew says:

    Like the ones who say you can’t see electricity therefore you can’t see god/God/Gods. Um – you can see electricity if you’ve ever seen a lightning bolt.

    And then there’s the Pascal’s wager – poor old bastard is spinning in his grave for that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gerhard Lemmer says:

    [quote]Atheism isn’t a belief system. It isn’t some polar opposite of belief in whatever god you believe in. I don’t believe in any gods, or a soul, an afterlife, or creation, because there is no evidence to support the claims that any of those things exist. Religion makes claims. Atheism simply rejects those claims. As an atheist, I’m standing over here pointing at you and saying, “Nope, that’s bullshit”.[unquote]
    Nonsense. Let me illustrate with a parable:
    1. Fact: The sun came up in the east this morning.
    2. False. It’s a fact that the earth revolved around its axis. Furthermore, the earth revolves around the sun in an orbit.
    3. False. It’s a fact that the earth and sun revolve around their common mass midpoint.
    4. False. It’s a fact that the earth and sun approximately revolves around their common mass midpoint but that other mass bodies in the solar system also influence them.
    5. False. The solar system revolves around the mass center of the galaxy.
    6. False…

    Well. Actually all the above are true from a certain perspective (coordinate system and decisions regarding accuracy and precision) and assuming some more assumptions/theories/principles/axioms/whatever you’d like to call them (like Occam’s Razor and relativistic geometry) are true. Furthermore, you can derive any of the above from any other (with the mathematics of projections), assuming you know enough about the different coordinate systems and about the bodies not taken into account by the earlier statements.
    The point I’m trying to make is that for evidence to have any meaning, you need to make assumptions and these assumptions influences your perspective, without influencing the absolute truth (which must exist since the lack of the existence of an absolute truth is clearly self-contradictory, but wait I’m making an assumption here – can you spot it? – …). In any case, my perspective influences how I interpret my observations. So does any assumptions I make, and I cannot help but make assumptions.
    Therefore, as a Christian I say, please state which assumptions are fundamental to your perspective. Then I’ll try to provide evidence of the existence of God. Obviously you claim not to assume God does not exist. But that only tells me what you don’t assume, not what you do assume. Without knowing what you do assume, it is impossible to provide any evidence you’ll accept of anything except through shear dumb luck. (Of course, you might respond in kind. I’ll respond that I’m busy writing a book on my fundamental assumptions as a Calvinist Christian.)
    You may try testability on me, but I find that Christianity seems from my perspective more testable than atheism. (Since my version of Calvinism requires both miracles under certain special conditions and full consistency between and inside creation and scripture always after God created time and before Jesus’ second coming. The consistency is required even under the conditions where Christianity requires miracles, in the sense that the miracle must either not actually violate the laws of nature or be at least in part meant to provide a test of the godly nature of the Miracle-worker and predicted in scripture before it was observed by anyone. That’s a tall order for the predictions of a hypothesis indeed!) Now you may try using Occam’s Razor on me, but I’ve been using Occam’s Razor on myself since I was little. It doesn’t seem to be applicable to my religion because my religion seems to fit more evidence better than any alternative. Occam’s Razor is only applicable where competing theories fits the same amount of evidence equally.

    [quote]The burden of proof lies with those making the claims.[unquote] I agree. But you don’t even make claims I can try to refute except that you lack evidence of God, but what is your basic assumptions by which you measure and interpret evidence? (Believing is seeing, according to Heb 11 and it is indeed per definition if your definition of belief is your world view.) Do you even know? By the way, if your assumption is that it is better safe than sorry and you should make your assumptions as weak as possible, you should realize that that’s about the only known way to make the no free lunch theorem of machine learning applicable to yourself and it states that the entire universe becomes unmodelable under its conditions. (Actually it states that there exists an infinite amount of lowest error models, one of which is the ideally random model – which I’m sure any one would agree is a terrible model for anything, even itself).

    Again, what do I believe?
    ====================
    Again, I’m writing a book. But you’ll get some part of the answer below.

    What happens when I physically die?
    =============================
    Christ has already paid for my sins. He didn’t do so by dying on the cross. He proved the payment to me by dying on the cross and resurrecting Himself. He also sent His spirit to ensure I would believe in His salvation of me despite my irrational tendency to disbelieve. Since He already paid for my sins it is impossible for me or anybody else or anything else to break God’s eternal love of me. Therefore – even though I might temporarily disbelieve or temporarily hate God and/or my neighbor – I am certain that I will go to heaven. This certainty is based in my trust in God and nothing else, although in His grace, He gives me evidence of His trustworthiness. Heaven is an eternal intimate relationship with God and honoring of God and good beyond any human imagination.
    I realize you don’t believe anything happens to you after you physically die, but I do believe you will go to hell if you still don’t believe at that point. Hell is being eternally fleeing from a God that is everywhere and hating a God that is love and being internally inconsistent and realizing all of this as well as that you are entirely to blame. It is terrible beyond imagination. Can you blame me for trying to save you from that fate by reasoning with you?
    Both I and you deserve hell due to our rebellion against our Creator. (This rebellion, He has of course foreseen but decided not to prevent. He doesn’t need to explain Himself in this regard since He is God, but in His grace He does give us hints which you are going to misunderstand if I don’t explain it more thoroughly than I can do here.) He is just and must punish our sin, but He is also graceful and for some, He carries the punishment upon Himself. He does not need to explain Himself in why only some and again He makes this clear but also give hints regarding His reasons which I’m not going into here.
    I do not need to prove the existence of a soul to claim the possibility of eternal life, since my body itself is resurrected. Problem: The bodies of the first people are spread across the globe and has been part of multiple other people’s bodies. Solution: I’m working on this one. I have more fundamental problems so it’s a low priority, but I’ll try to provide a solution here: My body is copied. My earthly remains are merely a symbol of the eternal death (hell) that awaits sinners and/or necessary to prevent violation of the laws of conservation. Soul is a difficult concept and may seem required in the case of my solution. Perhaps my soul is merely my identity in God’s eyes.
    PS. Although the only evidence the I can give of my own resurrection (namely Christ’s resurrection) is debatable. I at least have evidence. You have no evidence that nothing happens to you after death.

    Why are we here?
    ===============
    I’m here because God created me for the sake of His own glory. God created causality and existed eternally, therefore I can’t ask why is He here.
    You gave an answer here for the atheist. So did I in a reply to .
    The agnostic (my definition) is in slight trouble: My definition is someone who believes that either God doesn’t exist or God doesn’t provide us with evidence of His existence. Therefore God is nonexistent or irrelevant. This however means he cannot unambiguously answer the question because his answer depends on whether God exists or not. The trouble isn’t that serious in and of itself though, since if I only go this far the answer to the question and therefore its ambiguity is also irrelevant.

    Where do morals come from?
    ========================
    My belief system: Morals are approximations to the cost functions or the cost functions themselves of humans and societies. They are quantifications of our qualitative most fundamental goals which are in turn defined by our belief systems. God commands the Christian to honor Him and be an image of Him (goal), more concretely, He commands the Christian to believe in Him and our salvation through Christ and to love (according to Christ’s example of love) Him and our neighbor and ourselves. (Cost function.) God also provides me with “rules of thumb” for how to obey His commandments, which usually works but not always, such as The ten commandments. These rules of thumb are the Christian morals. (The Christian morals are only partial approximations of our actual cost functions).
    I cannot prove God’s existence through morals, but I can verify His existence by checking the consistency and completeness of the goals and cost functions He provides me: For example abortion is complex, but solvable. In the vast majority (but not all) of the cases, abortion is wrong because the mother’s love for her child should require her to sacrifice her life for her baby’s ((0)even trumping for example her love for her husband). I’ll just look at the case of a (1) raped teenager, (2) who’s parents would reject her if she doesn’t have an abortion and can’t take care of herself, let alone a child as well, (3) who is suffering from brain cancer and has a large chance of dying if she doesn’t abort but will live if she does – if she doesn’t abort, the baby will survive despite her health problems. [Note that this is very close to the most difficult possible scenario to defend not aborting. The reason why I weakened point (3) is for the sake of brevity since with a stronger version it becomes much more complex – even if still solvable.] (0) Love for the baby trumps love for mom or her current (if any) dependents since they are not helpless but the baby is. Christ had a choice and He chose to sacrifice Himself for us, who were helpless and had no choice. Furthermore, the body of Christ (“church” but be careful of your definition of the word “church” here) has a responsibility (due to their love) towards mom’s dependents if she dies or her life hangs in the balance. (1) Rape is irrelevant. Mom should forgive the rapist – and in fact if she has the opportunity, she should try to evangelize him. Genetics of the rapist is also irrelevant (though should be taken into account in the education of the child – for example get professional help if necessary) because when it comes to morals nurture trumps nature and mom is a Christian and the body of Christ also has a responsibility towards ensuring the child’s morals are sound. (2) Shame on the parents. However, mom can turn to the church. The body of Christ has a responsibility to her and the child. I’m omitting the case if the church can’t/won’t take up their responsibility, for brevity’s sake. (3) As already stated in part (0), love for the baby trumps love for mom based on the example of Christ. If the baby has a lower chance for survival than mom, the principle of triage complicates matters, but I won’t handle that special case for the sake of brevity. If mom is supposed to abort (in a very special case of the special case of where triage comes into play), but mom believes the Holy Spirit tells her not to abort, matters becomes really complicated, but still remains resolvable.

    Now compare my capability of solving a really difficult problem 2000 years after the principles have been laid down to the extreme difficulty for example the humanist suffers. He gets stuck in a quagmire of ambiguities and vague limits due to the principle of life. As a Christian I can circumvent his problems since I don’t believe in a principle of life, only a “rule of thumb” of life – which confusingly is also called a commandment – based on the more fundamental principle of love according to Christ’s example.

    [quote]No doubt believers will then credit their god as being responsible for that evolutionary programming? Go ahead and assume that, but know that you just made another claim that isn’t supported by evidence. Also, it’s the same as taking the “works of god” to be evidence that god exists… To take the things that you assume god did to be proof of god is circular reasoning, as the premise of your argument assumes the conclusion to be true.[unquote]
    I thought of taking evolutionary programming as evidence years ago and rapidly realized it’s a terrible argument, for more reasons than just what you give – but they’re good enough. By the way, now at least I know that you do accept there to be sufficient evidence for evolution. You even gave me some information about what you specifically believe could happen due to evolution. We’re getting somewhere with your giving me the information regarding your faith that I can try to provide you with evidence of the falseness of your conclusions (that God doesn’t exist), but its not nearly enough yet. It only indicates that you’ll probably accept evidence based on arguments based on natural scientific principles and additionally you might accept arguments found in information theory or the laws of thermodynamics or perhaps (though probably unlikely) in genetics. However, I still don’t know which specific assumptions to rebut.

    [quote]Why is it that without any god, I have better morals than so many Christians?[endquote]
    Is this still Gareth’s argument or is it back to Jerome? Anyway, I refer you to . Also. What exactly does “better morals” even mean in the context of an assumption of the nonexistence of at least an absolute standard for measuring moral systems against?

    [quote]Why is it that I, as an atheist, have no reason to prejudice against gay people, or transgender people, or people who practice different religions? And also, I have no reason to believe that women are inferior. Even though I’m male, I’m a feminist because there is no reason for everybody not to have equal rights. And even as a white South African, I believe that white privilege and systematic racism is wrong and must be opposed, because it is the decent thing to do.[endquote]
    1. As a Christian I must love the homosexual that crosses my path. That love requires me to explain to him that in my belief system homosexuality is an illness just like depression is an illness and that homosexual behavior and -relationships are sin and that consequence of sin is death. This doesn’t make me prejudiced against him. Although I definitely should not only tell him this. It’s depressing at best – assuming he’ll believe me. So my love requires quite a bit more of me. This chapter of my book is already written and 15 pages long, but needs reworking.
    2. Neither do I see myself as prejudiced against transgenders (the very few that are born transgender). The Bible doesn’t say anything explicitly about transgender. It seems obvious that the Christian world view is against purposely tampering with your gender if you are born either male or female. I’ve had it on my todo list for several months now to figure out the morality of someone born transgender in detail. I have a chapter about transgender in my book, but the chapter currently contains a heading and some comments to myself regarding sources regarding the genetics of transgender and that’s it. ;-). If you can ask me some questions it might help me get started, though. This is important to me not only because I and my readers may need to know how to treat a transgender crossing our paths but also because it seems to provide a rare opportunity to *really* stress test the consistency and completeness of my Christian goals and cost functions.
    3. I have one prejudice against people who practice different religions I’m aware of. If your religion is obviously internally inconsistent, then I see you as unacceptably irrational. Apart from that, I’m not as far as I know prejudiced here, but I am prejudiced to prefer my own religion and – for your sake in my eyes – convincing you of my religion. I think we have much in common here (if you are Jerome).
    4. I’m neither a chauvinist nor a feminist. The Bible consistently states that men are equal to women, yet different from them. Any difference from this view point is consistently regarded as a consequence of sin, which has further consequences. Jesus pointed out several times to the pharisees and to His disciples that this is also the point the Old Testament makes and they consistently had to concede His arguments.
    5. I’m also “a white South African, [that] believe that white privilege and systematic racism is wrong and must be opposed [but so is black privilege and systematic racism], because…” but note that my morals are more balanced – less prejudiced – than yours. My motivation also differs. It is that Jesus commanded me to love my neighbor as myself and “defined” neighbor as whosoever crosses my path no matter how much xenophobia there exists between our cultures in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Furthermore, Jesus sacrificed Himself for all nations, otherwise why would He have ordered His disciples to evangelize “all the nations”?

    [quote]Furthermore, if a creator was responsible for some kind of objective morality, then all religious people would have exactly the same morals. They don’t.[unquote]
    Easy rebuttal: If a universe/nature was responsible for some kind of objective laws of physics then all scientists would have exactly the same theories. God created laws which only He can break (but that nobody knows fully), namely the laws of nature. He also created laws that we can break and also don’t know fully, namely morality. However your point does show how weak religious arguments based on morality usually are since they often do contradict the claim that the religious can differ in their own moralities.

    How did the universe begin?
    =======================
    You don’t know, I don’t know, so let’s ask God. Well. Even if He does exist, He’s still unlikely to tell us in a thundering voice from heaven. So until the end time comes (assuming it does) or I physically die and go to heaven (assuming I do), I’ll need to consult His revelation in stead. His revelation in creation seems a much better fit for trying to solve this problem than His revelation through scripture. So if I wonder about the problem, I’ll study Nature before I’ll study the Bible.

    [quote]If everything needs to have a creator (or a cause), but god doesn’t, then your conclusion violates the premise of your argument.[endquote]
    Actually the conclusion doesn’t violate the premise since God created time and logic, but that way lies madness. 😉

    [quote]If god doesn’t need a beginning, why not the universe too?…[endquote]
    You make some good points in this paragraph. I came to a similar conclusion via a different argument when I was 9. See my reply on . The question “How did the universe begin?” is meant to expose the obviously inconsistent assumption (made by many of the more irrational atheists, but obviously by no where near all atheists) that nothing (the thing – or lack thereof – called “nothing”) created the universe.

    Aren’t you afraid of going to Hell?
    ==========================
    No, not in the least. But I am afraid for your sake that if you continue to believe as you do you will go to hell. That said. I can understand how you can answer that you are not afraid of going to hell. Your answer, though, troubles me a bit – assuming it is honest. A significant subset of the set of all agnostics (my definition) are afraid of going to hell in my limited experience of agnostics. So you do not believe in God because you don’t have evidence of His existence, yet you are apparently completely certain that you won’t go to hell. Is lack of prove and your assumptions that lead you to conclude Christian agnostics are shifting the burden of proof sufficient for such certainty. I might either have a lead to an inconsistency in you faith system or a significant amount of information about the assumptions in it. But I have so little experience with atheists as rational as you seem yet capable of simultaneously showing your conclusions, that I still have no idea what your world view actually is despite this significant amount of information about it. May be sleeping on it will help, since it’s now almost time for a new day already. (Hey, nobody’s completely rational and depriving myself of sleep when I discover something interesting is an irrationality I definitely tend to be guilty of occasionally. :-))

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    • Jerome says:

      I didn’t read the whole thing as it’s a bit long. I’ll try to get to more of it and your other comments when I get the chance.

      But to address your first point: I don’t make any claim. I reject the many claims for the existence of gods, due to lack of evidence. Atheism is not a position that makes any claim at all. I do not replace the belief in god with some other belief, but have noticed that the assumption that I do is common to theists. My brother has even suggested I believe in “creation from nothing”. I am happy to admit that I don’t know where the universe came from, but reject explanations for it that are based on primitive superstition that has been handed down through indoctrination.

      I feel that there is a fundamental misunderstanding about atheism from theists, and we can never get anywhere in a debate as long as theists make these assumptions about the beliefs of atheists, because we are really talking about it from such different perspectives there is nowhere to meet in the middle. (Does that make sense?)

      To clarify and try to reiterate it differently in the hope that we can reach an understanding, rejection of a belief system does not itself make a belief system. I have no religion. I don’t only reject god, I reject the idea of creation, a soul, an afterlife, all things spiritual, supernatural and paranormal, karma, astrology, psychics, and so on.My disbelief in astrology doesn’t make me some other kind of astrologist, so why should rejecting religious belief also be a religion? Likewise when children grow up and reject the belief in Santa Claus, they don’t become some other kinds of Santa believers.

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