Answers From Atheists

You got questions, we got answers.

Below are common questions that Christians have asked atheists.

What is the difference between an atheist and an agnostic?

Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. That’s it. “Theism” is the belief in a god(s) and with the prefix “a”, which means “no”’, you get atheism: no belief in a god(s). Atheism makes no claims, it contains no creeds, and provides no guidelines to base worldviews on. No wars have been fought over the lack of belief in a god and atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby. An atheist is not a person who denies, hates, or rejects a god. An atheist is simply a person who does not believe in the existence of a god.

Gnosticism is the having of knowledge in reference to a god(s) and its existence. With the prefix ‘a’ which means ‘no’ you get agnosticism, no knowledge about a god(s). Agnosticism is about knowledge and atheism is about belief. All honest agnostics are also atheists because one who has no knowledge of a god, has no reason to believe in a god.

Why are atheists so active against something they do not believe in?

People are not outspoken because of their atheism, they are outspoken because of their humanism. As a humanist they see the need to take a stand against the harm which results from dogmatic systems like Christianity.

What is humanism?

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. Humanists hold that ethics are consequential, to be judged by results. This is in contrast to so-called command ethics, in which right and wrong are defined in advance and attributed to divine authority. “No god will save us, we must save ourselves.” wrote Paul Kurtz in Humanist Manifesto II (1973). Humanists seek to develop and improve their ethical principles by examining the results they yield in the lives of real men and women.

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Doesn't no God mean that no one will be held accountable for their own actions?

As a society we have determined what is not acceptable and what kind of community we want to live in. We have also set forth a judicial system to make sure people are held accountable for their actions. A Christian may argue that a person could rape, steal, and murder then die and not be punished. But how is that any worse than Christianity claiming that a person can rape, steal, and murder then accept Jesus just before they die and not be punished, but rather get rewarded?

What about Pascal's Wager?

This wager states: If God doesn’t exist, you lose nothing by worshiping him. If God does exist you gain everything by worshiping him and burn in Hell if you don’t. So why not just worship him?

The most obviously problem with this wager is that it assumes there can only be two options. What if one of the thousands of other god stories were true? Sure, if you are wrong about Christianity you’ll suffer in Hell. But if you are wrong about Zoroastrianism you’ll suffer in the Chinvat Bridge, about Zeus you’ll suffer in Hades, about Islam you’ll suffer in Hell, about Hinduism you’ll suffer in Samsara, or about Tibetan Buddhism you’ll suffer in The Bardo.

Also, if you are wrong about an invisible train track running through your bed room you’ll get killed. And if you’re wrong about the invisible train track in your kitchen and go to your kitchen to avoid the possible invisible train track in your bedroom, you will get killed. THE POINT BEING, if we based our lives around all that is unproven we will be running around in circles avoiding every impossible imaginary scenario. Thus we should only make decisions based on what HAS been proven, not by what has NOT been proven.

Secondly, you lose a lot by being a Christian since Christianity is false. You would have wasted your life, your window of opportunity, invested in a lie and working towards a non-existing reward. Not to mention all of the harm towards others that you would have contributed to by supporting a collection of false claims.

Why don’t you just give God a try?

Christians often tell people who do not believe in the existence of a god to “just give God a try.” Would such Christians ask a judge to not worry about a lack of evidence and just “try” believing that the defendant is guilty? This request is not based in honesty.

Why don’t you just ask God to talk to you and reveal himself to you?

Many Christians credit the “voice in their head” as God communicating to them. They often suggest that others should “ask God to talk to them” and listen to what that voice says. That voice in our head however is nothing more than unfiltered thoughts. It is the same “voice” that speaks when people talk to other gods, or when children talk to their imaginary friends. For a Christian to suggest that someone should listen to that “voice” is them asking a person to discard all rational thought and reframe from thinking.

Also, if God existed why would his communication abilities be limited to the same level as imaginary friends? In the Bible God speaks aloud, either projected from a bush, through the mouth of a donkey, or even face to face.

Where do morals come from if there is no god?

The basics of morality derive from our evolutionary instincts as a community based species. There are mutual benefits from working together, making it a favorable trait for natural selection. Humans, taking morality one step further, worked out the way we want to live and concluded that we don’t want to be in a society where it is okay to steal or rape. Morality is subjective and constantly improving as we examine the results and determine what causes the least amount of harm to one’s self and others. Some of us are below or above the wave of moral standards but we are all far ahead of our biblical ancestors like Moses and Abraham. The change in our moral standards is driven by improved education and expressed in the news, television, speeches, novels, and judicial reason.

Isn’t the idea of universe not governed by a god scary?

It is actually better without the existence of gods. This awe inspiring universe is exactly the type of universe one would expect to see if there were no gods. Everything in it is governed by natural forces, meaning there is no god intentionally causing floods or earthquakes when he or she feels like it. Living in a godless universe is what allows us to make predictions about nature and use our knowledge of its functionality and limitations to both protect and improve the lives of future generations.

Godlessness is the freedom to make positive changes in the world. Godlessness means that your lives are not scripted.