I love it every time Christians make this kind of questions for atheists, because they often include questions that they believe are captious or difficult — when answering them I can not shake the idea that some of these believers are really unable to make the mental exercise and put themselves in the place of someone who actually thinks differently.
A few weeks ago, Christian Today posted these ten questions for atheists (some are slightly offensive) and everyon else was answering them, so I decided I’d give it a go myself:
1. How Did You Become an Atheist?
Like everyone else, I was born an atheist. My parents made the grave error and abuse of taking advantage that I could not oppose and had no elements of judgment whatsoever, and enrolled me in the Catholic religion (rather than doing the right thing and waiting until I was of age and had had a quality education to make the decision myself).
After many authoritarian abuses by the directives of the Catholic school, and reading Atheist Manifesto, The Whore of Babylon and God is not great I steeled myself to abandon forever the authoritarian notion of a cosmic magician who worries about what I do with my body and wants me to watch what others do with theirs.
2. What happens when we die?
Our loved ones will suffer and our bodies will decompose (or will be cremated). Regarding our consciousness, nothing: it is a product of biochemical processes that are generated in our brain and, just like it didn’t exist before our birth, it won’t exist either once when we are gone.
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
Then god has a lot to answer for.
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
Mainly from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Since I am convinced that a better understanding of the world contributes to individual and collective achievement, I also try to have my values as scientifically informed as possible — the better I know the reality around me, the better I can cope with it and help those who are close to me.
I have a moral obligation to try to understand reality as best I can because my actions (which are an extension of my beliefs) affect my environment. To waive understanding reality and acting accordingly would be to play with the lives of those around me.
5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
The one does not follow from the other. In particular, I have never wanted to kill or rape anyone. I value life and freedom too much to take them away unjustifiably; also, for me, sex is meaningless if my partner is not satisfied and if she does not desire me. So, besides being an atrocity, rape is stupid.
A review of prison demographics reveals that the vast majority of inmates believe in god, so it is reasonable to assert that believing in god does not deter the commission of crimes, including murder and rape. Atheists represent less than 1% of the prison population. With this information, and the logic with which was raised the question, one would expect they would stop believing in their god.
And I don’t need my good deeds to be rewarded; I get satisfaction from helping others. I do good because I want to, not by the promise of a reward (or, as Bernard Shaw put it, “the bribe of heaven”).
6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
Basically like any other human being: I find the things I love and I like, and try to live as many experiences related to them as possible. You ‘choose‘ the meaning of your life.
The only difference is that we atheists have millions of possibilities, while believers have a purpose imposed onto them (and, of course, that purpose usually accounts for some earthly benefit for a religious leader).
7. Where did the universe come from?
We do not know with complete certainty but, most likely, the universe came from nothing.
8. What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
What about them? By definition, a miracle is the suspension of the laws of nature. There is no evidence that something like that has ever occurred. And miracles have it more difficult, for believing extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence. And much of the accounts for miracles are frauds.
And what about all the people who claim to have a connection with Superman? Many people having hallucinations with concepts with which they were indoctrinated since childhood only proves the power of suggestion and that our senses are quite easy to fool.
That’s why anecdotal evidence is not evidence at all — thus, in order to avoid cognitive biases and heuristics, the scientific method is the gold standard to claim with reasonable certainty that something is true or exists.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
I have my differences with them (Richard Dawkins wastes his kindness being charitable with SJW slags; with Christopher Hitchens I differ with regard to the invasion of Iraq; and I have my differences with Sam Harris when it comes to Buddhism, meditation and profiling Muslims), but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel tons of admiration for each one of them, for their work, their intellectual honesty, their courage to defy political correctness and because with their writings and contributions they have made this a much better world than the one they found.
10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
Each statement has nothing to do with the other: we deny the existence of all gods because there is no evidence to support the belief in any of them. And the truth is not democratic.
Societies have religions because other people’s ignorance and fears have always been profitable. And by the way, not all societies have religions — for example, pirahã society lacks belief in gods.
What would you do answer differently? The comments section is open!