Why do I mock religion?

Recently a creationist commenter posed some questions asking why I disbelieve in his god, questions which were hard to take seriously. I asked others for help on how to answer his comment without being sarcastic, but they were even more harsh than I was, calling it word salad, amongst other things. I did write a post in response to his lengthy comment, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Maybe I’ll still publish it, with his full comment text, but in the meantime, I’d much rather write about how I came to mock religion as I do now.

The idea for this one came to me via a memory, triggered by the way someone reacted to a Facebook post of mine yesterday, a post which led to me sharing this: (I don’t know why the FB embed is not displaying. It worked before publishing and now it isn’t, so I’m using an image instead.)

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Let’s wind back that clock, shall we? The year was 1985, my first year of high school. Standard six, or grade eight as they call it now. I’d had a fairly protected upbringing, by parents who were devout Roman Catholic, and my mother in particular was paranoid about other religions (their youth programs and so forth) being more fun than the Catholic Sunday school and youth programs we attended, which were very much old school.

That alone is ironic, come to think of it. In her own way, my mother recognized the harm of indoctrination, and was worried that my brother or I might be sucked into some other more modern church. (I highly doubt there was much of a chance of that happening to either of us, for different reasons. She should have given us more credit. Mind you, as a parent, I understand.) But getting back to the point, my protected upbringing meant my only exposure to Christianity was though the lens of our weekly attendance at Mass, and Sunday school. She didn’t even like the idea of us going to other Christian churches, which suited me fine because I didn’t much like the idea of that either.

So… imagine my surprise when some twat handed out Gideons Bibles at school and I actually read mine. It was the first time I didn’t get cherry picked Bible verses through the lens of the parish priest, and… wow! What a lot of bullshit! Fucking pages and pages and pages of lineages of men, such as Joseph. It’s like they just put random writings together. Sorry, I can’t refer to which chapter and verse because I’m not interested in looking that up, but clearly whoever made sure they showed that Joseph descended directly from David was unaware that he allegedly didn’t father Jesus. It’s blatantly obvious when reading that, that some writers were quite unaware of the daddy is god and mommy is a virgin claim, and at the time of that writing, Jesus was shown to be descended from David. (The same David who was mysteriously celebrated for taking a ranged weapon to hand to hand combat, and cheating, shooting his opponent before the man could even reach the battlefield. Kind of like taking a gun to a boxing match. That cunt.)

Further, it was blatantly obvious to me as a thirteen year old reading the Bible that it described all kinds of things that never happened. And I do mean never. Where does one go from this kind of revelation? Well, it seems most Christians just put that doubt out of their heads and find excuses to carry right on believing. I tried. I wanted to believe so I told myself that maybe some of the stuff was nonsense but the idea of god and Jesus and the creation and heaven were true. But I did also mock that stupid verse from Revelation. It struck me as hilarious that this was the source of the Beast, 666, and all that as used in various horror movies like The Omen. But actually read it and it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. So I wrote it all over the school desks (along with a couple of other things and drawings that I won’t mention here)… I wrote it along with the chapter and verse, and can you guess how other people responded? They didn’t believe those words actually came from the Bible. Because like me, they had never read it.

So you could say I had a crisis of faith, because I read the Bible. Because I saw it for what it really was. But I tried to hang on, force myself to keep believing, because to my father, being Catholic was very important. It was a strong part of his identity. I went through with my confirmation at age 14, and didn’t speak of my doubt to anyone. By the age of 15 my reasoning went like this: Why should I believe that other people, born into a different religion such as Islam, who believe just as sincerely as we do, will be punished for all eternity? Just because they were born to parents who taught them a different religion to me? Why? Even if I assume a god exists, why would he be so cruel? It’s a birth lottery; nothing more.

I’d lay awake at night wondering about such things. In some moments I did believe, and wonder why this god would punish those other innocent people. In other moments, theirs was the true religion, and I’d be the one to suffer in Hell because their god would punish me for being born into the wrong religion. And then like most people (I imagine), I’d put those thoughts away during the day and focus on other things that teenagers focused on.

I have mentioned before, a school acquaintance named Meri, from Finland, who prompted me to lose my faith. Perhaps I gave her too much credit, so this time, including the paragraphs before this one, I’m writing the whole story. That was my state of mind – extreme confusion, because I saw everything in the Bible as pure nonsense, and yet I believed, kind of. I clung to that belief with a thread. Then one day, I heard a girl crying. Her name was Meri, and she spoke with a funny accent. No one liked her because she was different. A group of boys were jeering and laughing at her and even my friend Dale, who I thought was a nice guy, was smirking at the absurdity of her not believing in god.

I approached her because I felt bad for her, because I was quiet and shy and different to most people, because I also isolated myself. So I asked her what this was about, and she asked me, “Do you believe in religion, and god?” I said “Yes, I do”, to which she responded, the tears barely dry in her eyes, “Why!? Why do you believe? It’s so stupid.” And just like that, seeing that it was acceptable to doubt, I stopped believing. Because I had no reason to believe. If I’d had the words to answer her in those few seconds before my belief vanished forever, I’d have said, “I believe because I’ve always believed, because I know that god is real. I know it in my heart.” But I didn’t know any such thing. That was the simple fact. The only words I could form were the sheepish, “I don’t know (why I believe)”, but the reality was, my mind was racing – I went from “knowing” god is real to knowing with absolute certainty that this god was made up by men.

I did at one stage believe that mocking religion, or scoffing at the absurdity of it, as she did, might trigger others to think, to have that moment of clarity and change their minds, as it did for me. But it’s never happened. Maybe I was naive to think it could? Most likely I think, it was inevitable that I’d end up atheist – the complete loss of faith was already cemented in my doubts and she just provided the final nail to crucify those beliefs. But regardless, that is only a small part of why I mock religion. At sixteen years old, I still thought that for the most part, religion was a good thing, that it taught useful virtues and values, and that religious people were good people. I was wrong.

I should have known from the way those good Christian boys treated Meri, but I didn’t see it. Not yet. But dear reader, doesn’t my story of her seem slightly familiar? And no, I don’t mean because I have written about her before. Others have made movies using a very similar plot. I’m thinking of Kevin Sorbo with his God’s Not Dead trash. It’s a familiar narrative, one shared by 1000001 edgy Facebook Christians who share their persecution narratives, except in their fiction, it’s atheists who condescend to them and bully them. Let me make this crystal fucking clear: We live in a credulous world where people, the majority are held together by blind faith and magical thinking, where most people are driven by apophenia and take comfort in their fictional everlasting life, where the atheists are the exceptions, and where we are very much at the receiving end of bullying and harassment. It’s been this way for hundreds of years.

Like it’s not bad enough that my parents were like two blind mice in their Catholicism and they made me spend all those Sunday morning wasting my fucking time in Mass and Sunday school, and all those months… actually years worrying about Hell and endless torment; like it’s not bad enough that my son had to be subjected to that bullshit too; we can’t even have Facebook groups especially for atheists without some willfully ignorant buffoons trying to proselytize to us and “save” us.

Your arguments are vapid, full of fallacies, ad hominem, appeals to irrelevant authority, argumentum ad populum, begging the question, and outright nonsense. And no, I don’t need expertise in fucking philosophy to reject your assumption that a creator exists. Philosophy isn’t about that – you’re simply equivocating, hiding behind words that you don’t understand to justify an assumption that makes no sense whatsoever, but is based on what you think you know with your brainwashed mind, not on evidence. And no, I do not need to know theology to understand that it is all nonsense when it is obvious from the outside that studying it is simply a matter of studying the innermost details of the made up shit. I don’t need to smear the shit on my nose to know that it stinks. And I certainly do not need to feel compelled to respond to such presumptuous passive aggressive statements masquerading as questions.

But by the way, there are many people who have studied theology and concluded that it is bullshit. And if you really want to play the argumentum ad populum game, then boy do I have bad news for you.

But getting back to my personal story, things took another turn when I was around 18. By then an atheist but not public about it, I spent a year in the old apartheid army, due to conscription. There I heard preachers preaching a strange brand of Christianity I hadn’t heard before, where they read “purity of races” right into their Bibles. I don’t remember what Bible verses once again, but it doesn’t matter. They were pretty convincing, to each other at least. So Christianity was used to justify racism and white supremacy, and a law known as the “Group Areas Act” back then which forced people of different colour to live in separate neighbourhoods. Since then I’ve heard of others with similar racism, people who claim that black people are the “sons of Nod”, the cursed descendants of Cain who murdered his brother Abel, and they use this to justify their belief that white people are superior.

You had to jump through some hoops for the racism to make sense just the same as you do for those who use the Bible to justify homophobia – where the righteous man, Lot, offered up his two daughters to be gang raped by a group of men who wanted to get to the two angels in his home. That verse is used to justify that the men were gay (because they wanted the angels). But it is OK that he offered them his daughters? Why offer his daughters to gay men? And why is it OK to offer women to be raped?

Speaking of Lot and family, his wife was allegedly turned to a pillar of salt for daring to turn her head. Who turned to witness this? But Lot one day got both his daughters pregnant and that’s not a problem. But by all means, don’t be gay. That’s wrong.

Right now, there are Americans spouting the same kind of rhetoric that the boneheads did in the old South Africa. In fact, they’re super popular among the right wing here. Racist scum, the lot of them!

Here’s a fact that too many people are blind to see: Extremism, while it may well exist only on the fringe, is the truest form of any ideology. Religion is all about elitism, the belief that you are right and everybody else is wrong. Taken to its natural extreme, it’s all about hate.

But just as many Christians are willingly blind and ignorant to the nonsense of their own religious texts, so are they blind to the hatred of their beliefs taken to the extreme. It’s not just that your beliefs are absurd, whether you’re like that commenter with his presumptuous Gish gallop of just asking questions, or you’re one of those edgy “I identify as black” white Christians attacking transgender people, or you’re an American politician hiding behind “traditional marriage” to justify homophobia, or you’re just a normal churchgoing person who turns a blind eye to all the harm that your religion does… I see through you. I mock you along with the subject of your belief, because you deserve it. By failing to open up your mind to reality, by not rejecting religion and all the harm that it does, even if you are not one of those vile evil people I have mentioned, you do enable them.

Now this here is a fallacy

I’ve mentioned this group before. It’ a group of mostly bigots, many of whom are transphobic.

But I’m just posting this as an example of how stupid people can be when debating, and why it’s a waste of time to engage with them.

Regardless of what you think about transgender women, and ignoring that people aren’t numbers in a mathematical equation, this is still a fallacy of composition.

By this lady’s logic (excuse me but I always misgender transphobes), we should be able to take the statement, “gay men are men”, which is obviously true, and reverse it, because according to him we can reverse all true statements just like equations, and thus it must mean that all men are gay. Because mathematics! And science!

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“I don’t know” never means God did it.

This morning my 5:30AM toilet visit was entertained by this status:

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I’m not complaining. I needed some motivation to shit. Thanks, oh enlightened one…

I replied to it with only two words: False dichotomy. Do I need to explain all the faults here? Here are a few of them…

  1. The opposite of creation is not some other kind of creation.
  2. The opposite of “I don’t know” is not creation by an intelligent designer. There is no opposite to it.
  3. The argument from first cause simply moves the problem to a magical answer named god that is assumed not to have a cause, violating it’s own premise (Everything has a cause and the first cause is god, but god does not have a cause), but is defined as something you are not supposed to question. In other words, special pleading.

As with all such arguments, the theist believes he knows his god is real. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That’s literally what faith is. And as long as you are making a statement about your faith, it’s all good. But you shouldn’t pretend to be logical.

There’s nothing logical about starting with your assumed conclusion and working backwards. It’s intellectually dishonest. I know this is what’s going on because I used to be a believer. Since the person is indoctrinated, he assumes his god exists, then does not admit it but instead uses motivated reasoning to come up with a pseudo-logical argument that comes to conclude what he assumed upfront. (That was not enough for me. Fundamentally that is why I lost my faith as a teenager.)

Making that leap is equivalent to writing the non sequitur, “One plus one is equal to two. Therefore dogs are better than cats.” There is no logical connection between the two sentences, other than the one in the brain of my hypothetical person in this analogy. Likewise, every argument for a god does exactly what my example does… but usually in a way that jumps through a few more hoops. Bullshit baffles brains and the verbosity and/or apparent sophistication of such arguments fool the ignorant as well as those who make the same assumption. But such “logic” isn’t logical at all and never fools anyone who actually can think critically about the subject.

When you examine the arguments raised in this poll, they are very weak. God is nothing more than an alternative to “I don’t know” and is synonymous with magic. In other words, magical thinking.

What is God? (Baby, don’t smite me.)

Don’t smite me… No duh.

Heeeey, guess what? I’m fine. I can be as irreverent and disrespectful as I want. No deity ever does anything about it. And since I don’t live in a Middle Eastern country or a rural isolated area of Africa, the worst that ever happens is religious people stop talking to me. And that ain’t so bad. As I mentioned last time in the post about reification, the Biblical world where stuff happens such as god coming down and doing shit, is something of myths and fables and the imagination, that we are supposed to accept existed thousands of years ago. It isn’t real.

As much as you reify your Biblical world and your god, it is just an idea. God is an abstraction that explains the unknown and puts it in a neat little black box, a ready-made magical answer to everything. If you’re a believer, you simultaneously know that god is abstract, and forget it, but because you treat this abstraction as something concrete, it remains conveniently undefined and ambiguous. And convenient. Above all, it is a great convenience that your god remains undefined because you never have to qualify what this vague idea of a god actually is. When somebody questions it, it’s easy to turn the tables and expect them to satisfy the burden of proof. But that’s not my main subject today…

Today I want to comment on this stupid Dawkins scale that pops up in every atheist group over and over again:

vyp5iompt1s01

According to every other analysis everywhere:

  1. Positions 1 and 7 are impossible.
  2. Number 6 is left as the strongest possible (in other words rational) atheist position.

But I call bullshit.

I get the drill. I can’t prove that some unfalsifiable god doesn’t exist outside of the bounds of the laws of physics, and I can’t prove a negative; therefore the strongest position I should rationally take is that of an agnostic atheist. According to this argument, the existence or lack of existence is unknowable. But I still don’t buy it.

I also can’t prove that there isn’t a monster hiding under my bed. Maybe it moves when I look there? But you know while reading this that the monster is not real and I made it up.

Here’s the thing… Even in that argument, god is treated as something concrete. It reminds me of the media bias called false balance, where two “sides” of an argument are always treated as equal, even if one side is a fringe view based on outright nonsense. (Edit: That seems to be an example of a fallacy I hadn’t heard of: Argument to moderation.) The two sides here are positions one and seven; certainty that a god exists versus certainty that a god does not exist. Sure, when you phrase it like that, it seems reasonable. But it isn’t. God is nothing more than an abstraction. So god certainly exists, but not like theists think… God exists only as an idea. God is man-made but it is the reified deity that the argument refers to. And thus it is perfectly reasonable to take position seven. I don’t have to prove that a man-made fictional deity doesn’t exist, just like I don’t have to prove there isn’t a monster hiding under my bed.

I’m struggling to express this clearly and reading it back, remain uncertain if I have. Have I? There are multiple claims of gods, and believers often quote the words of their various claims (like the Bible or whatever) but seem to miss on something important: the existence of a claim does not make the claim true. It is evidence only of the belief and not in the subject believed. The fact that many such claims exist only makes it interesting in terms of the need to believe, and the mistake of treating this abstraction as concrete being common. If even Richard Dawkins can bake this mistake right into his scale, it says more about the way the human brain works than it does about an idea, like god, that the human brain came up with. I hope Dawkins would agree with me on this.

Fallacies of relevance: The redness of your red herring doesn’t make your irrelevant statement relevant

Following up on yesterday’s post, a factually correct but irrelevant statement is fallacious. Its factual correctness doesn’t make it suddenly relevant.

Yesterday the example I used was “Islam is not a race”. My original Facebook post, featuring only the meme, led to many responses. Almost every one of them amounted to “But it’s true!”

Yes, it is true that Islam isn’t a race. But that statement is almost always used by people who have made racist statements against people who happen to be Muslim, right after they get called out for their racist statements. Therefore it is irrelevant.

In the example given, the fact that Islam is not a race has nothing whatsoever to do with the gross generalizations made by the person about other people, generally members of a Middle Eastern country seeking asylum, or immigrants who are already in their country.

This really isn’t difficult to understand.


Astute readers may notice the connection between the last three posts. Maybe I should tag them all fake news?

Another post worth writing is about the misuse of the word “egalitarian”. Claiming to care about all rights as an excuse to deny equality to women and attack feminists is common – almost fucking trendy nowadays.

Even skeptics have blind spots when arguments agree with their beliefs? (On an argument stating that addiction is a disease.)

Well, this sucks. I shared to disagree with this bad argument the other day, only to find that some of my friends, who are atheists and skeptics, agreed with it.

ChoiceStrawman

Now consider this:

People who think Jesus is not God

You’re simply incorrect. It is not an opinion or debate because Jesus has been known to be god since about 50AD. The facts have disagreed with you for nearly two thousand years. You are not a priest and your Facebook rants have no merit because the theological community views Jesus as the True God. Pick up the Bible and Jesus will be there. It is a theological FACT that Jesus is God. Believing otherwise is literally delusional.

It is irrelevant whether or not addiction is a disease, although I believe it isn’t a disease and I’ll make my case further on for interest. The point I want to get across today though, is that this is a poor argument.

  1. Nobody claims addiction is a choice. That’s a straw man. I chose to use meth, not to be an addict. Addiction is a bunch of things, including being chemically dependent on a drug, being psychologically dependent and convincing yourself that it being difficult to stop means you can’t (hence falling for the “you were powerless” claim of 12 step programs is easy), and the behaviours associated with the effects of the drug on your brain, including denial of having a problem.
  2. How long something has been believed doesn’t make the claim true.
  3. Not all doctors, psychologists, or neuroscientists accept that addiction is a disease. Cherry picking only literature that agrees with you is an example of selection bias. The lines are blurred… I can’t do an online search and easily find where the dogmatic NA/AA info ends and real science begins, or determine how much bias there is in science that presupposes 50 years of 12-step type dogma to be right. There are published papers that support both conclusions and I am not qualified to read most of them. (But keep point one in mind – nobody is claiming that addiction is a choice and real arguments against it being a disease are more nuanced than this meme will have you believe.)
  4. Asserting that those who disagree with you are delusional while not even considering what their actual arguments may be, but instead arguing against the “addiction is a choice” straw man argument, is a great way of dismissing contrary views without knowing what they are. It’s also ad hominem. (You are delusional if you don’t agree with me… Seriously?)

I found it shocking that some of my fellow atheists and skeptics could agree with such a terrible argument. I’m disappointed.

Whether or not addiction is a disease is not the point today, but just to clarify my views…

I chose to use drugs. Then I became dependent on those drugs, chemically and psychologically. My behaviour and brain chemistry was altered by the drugs, but not in any way that wasn’t expected. My argument is simply that every effect fell within the expected and predictable neuroscientific effects of methamphetamine on my brain. So addiction is nothing more than a name for a bunch of symptoms and behaviors around something that is quite normal, a brain responding to adverse conditions. Stop the drugs for long enough and all those symptoms disappear. So if this is a disease, it is one that can be treated effectively by doing nothing at all, which has worked very well for me by the way. Next month I’ll be clean for five years.

Furthermore, the standard way of treating addiction via 12 step programs is nothing more than a placebo. I don’t care whether or not you believe in god or a higher power. I don’t, but even if we were to assume that this god exists, the “relationship” that you have with it is one-sided. It’s all in your head. And so is the way treating addiction works. As I see it, addiction treatment is all about bullshitting yourselves into thinking you are actually doing something about your addiction, even though you are not. In reality, you are doing nothing, just like me, but thanks to the placebo effect, you think you are actually working on your addiction. Bullshit baffles brains.

Thanks for reading.

A reminder: Atheism isn’t about the belief that we were created from nothing. (Again.)

I can’t believe I’m writing this again, but more posts on this subject will hopefully get one or two curious believers to read one of them…

Yesterday, on a flat Earth Facebook page of all places, I once again rebuked the claim that atheists say we came from nothing, and someone argued with me. He argued that both Dawkins and Krauss have stated it. Your quote mining (without the quotes???) doesn’t change what atheism is.

Atheism is the disbelief in god(s) due to lack of evidence. It is the rejection of the claim that a god or gods exist; the rejection in the claim of creation. (Creation from what, by the way? Nothing? Then the “nothing” argument applies to theism, not atheism.)

The only argument relevant to us atheists is the requirement for evidence that your god exists. We make no claims. We do not propose some alternative argument to creation. We simply reject your claims. The burden of proof lies on the claimant to provide evidence to support the claim.

I’ve argued several times with people who insist that atheism makes some alternative claim. It does not. And no matter how many times you insist that it does, it still doesn’t. Just because you start with the assumption that what you believe is true does not exempt you from having to provide evidence. Projecting your belief of creation onto atheists and insisting we believe in creation from nothing is a straw man argument. When you base your entire argument on this, it also avoids the issue of your lack of evidence. Just because every argument you have is like this and every argument is about as logical as a child who insists Santa is real, does not change the facts.

Insisting that we atheists need to give some answer to where the universe came from is another example of avoiding the issue. We don’t. I’m quite satisfied with “I don’t know”. That doesn’t mean I have to accept your answer, an answer that doesn’t answer anything. It just inserts a placeholder called “god” at the beginning, and by definition that placeholder was always there. Insisting that god doesn’t need a creator is an example of special pleading. If god doesn’t need a creator, neither does the universe.

Gap of the gods

I don’t have anything to write, other than my swapping the words around in the title, which I couldn’t resist…  just wanted to share the excellent image I saw on this article

I love this because it’s a great parody of those arguments from personal incredulity/complexity, AKA god of the gaps. The image speaks for itself, so I don’t need to write anything further here.

creationist_wheel_of_misfortune

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.

The “works of god” you see rising before you do not prove the existence of god

I’ll try not to make a habit of posting these kinds of screenshots, but I see this kind of poor logic so often, and this example is so fucking funny, I can’t help sharing it.

GodRising

It is a claim made in this case by a Muslim, that God exists, because something he observed proves it.

This kind of observation can be broken down as follows:

  1. You start with the assumption that god exists.
  2. You take an example of something that you believe this god caused. (Usually it is the observed “works of god” – something that you assume this god created. In this odd case, the man assumes that god causes his erection.)
  3. You then assert that god exists, because he caused this thing or created this thing, that you assume he created.

The statement is a long winded non sequitur, because the conclusion does not follow at all from the premise given. It is also a fine example of circular reasoning.

This one is a silly example, albeit amusing. I have read the same kind of logic made my people less stupid than the person in this example… that is, I have read statements just as ridiculous, made by intelligent people.

Come on… your assumed “works of god” do not prove that god exists. They only prove that you assume god was responsible for those works. I struggle to understand why so many make these kinds of logical errors… Such statements do not prove what you think they prove… The prove only that the person stating them made an assumption… not that the assumption is true.