Another “Why I’m an Atheist” Post

I know, aren’t you just sick of those?

My own reasoning goes as follows:

If a god exists, no one has shown it. Therefore I live in skepticism until such a time.

I’ve never seen evidence for any of the following assertions, that A) the existence of the natural world predicates the existence of a supernatural world, B) that a god, if it does exist, is necessarily benevolent, omnipotent, et cetera, or C) that holy books and holy men have anything valuable to say concerning god’s existence, whether or not such a being exists.

A) Every time a religion sets the limits of observable inquiry, we seem to break those limits. After repeated such offenses, religion lacks the credibility to make claims of these kinds, and should stop. The “supernatural world” is simply a convenient mnemonic for “things science hasn’t yet figured out”. It’s an easy way to claim to know what you’re talking about when you really don’t.

B) It does not necessarily follow that a god, if it does exist, is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent.

For example, assuming a god does exist, how do we know that he is omnipotent? Maybe he only knows how to initiate big bangs, and nothing else. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the creator of the universe has unlimited power. Maybe he just has that specific power, the power to create universes. After all, there exist no credible documentations of miracles, ghosts, visions, creation events, or any other such thing. Everything we observe appears to function naturally, without any intervention.

Assuming an omnipotent god does exist, how do we know that he is benevolent? He could intervene in world affairs and then just erase everyone’s memory, could he not? He could be manipulating us all like dolls at all times, while giving us the illusion of consciousness. He could be doing any number of things which contradict his supposed benevolence. And it doesn’t say much, either, that the world is full of pestilence, inequity, iniquity, and war. It’s easy to ask the question, “If I were omnipotent, could I do a better job?” I could. Especially if I had this god with which to judge myself against.

At the heart of it, God’s benevolence, or omnipotence, or omniscience, are assumptions religious individuals make because they jive with their specific religious dogma, not because the idea of a god necessitates them.

C)
The holy books contradict one another and themselves. The prophets and priests contradict one another and themselves. They have no credibility whatsoever. They rely on inherited authority, not earned authority.

I have more philosophical criticisms of the idea of God, but these are just the obvious ones I sort of frame my disbelief around.

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16 responses to this post.

  1. God does exist, not because of what people or books say but because you know he has to exist, i am sure you have had of :that they has to be a most creative peson on earth or in existience ,the smartest, so fourth and so on. number two to judge God based on what humanity and humans do who call themselves servants of Godis false….Reading the bible gives you an idean that Humans and even Prophets who spoke on behalf of God did not know fully what they spoke for its not their words….proof that the world is not a conicndence check at life it self and this universe and this planet and our Genes everything is Engennered its impossible that its all by chance…… i am not here to argue or to prove to you ,,,i am saying this for you to look at the view of God from a view point of a perfect God with no flaw and what may look like flaw to you its not to him…. just like child how throws paint on clear white wall thinks all well but you and i know that its not better is to have the child paint somewhere else than on the perfect painted white wall….albeit the child is doing something wrong…that does not mean you will punish him right away you will warn him first ….taking in consideration that he was warned before he commited the act…..that will not cause a mercifull parent to punish the child but will cause the parent to tell to stop .several things happent the child stops what he is doing ,or he is put into a place where he can do that……. without habing to continue to damage the wall and painting over it….

    Reply

  2. ohhh by the way….The bible is year ahead of its time ….
    if you looked a about hundred years ago ….its was told about washing you hands with running water, the bible even had the best ways to quarantine people so fourth and so on while science has had no clue about it…..just because we have sciennce and can prove how things work does not mean GOD DID NOT MAKE THINGS you have to understand the bible is writen for basic person understanding even a todler almost not sophisticated evidence to scienting albeit if you read enoguh and ask for wisdom adn go with a hummble heart and trully seek the truth you will find that everything makes sense…..
    have you ever though that perhaps “let there be light”
    coudl be the biggining of the possible Bing bang that
    scienting refute using the bible
    and religious people use saying its jumble mumble non sense
    the key is to take everything and find out why its the way it is
    another thing we have hundred of books even possibly millinons that tellstories why does the bible for the last how many years become the number one seller where ever its allowed to be sold “this is to say that even in places where its not forced upon the people its still is number one”
    the books must have a way of conecting to all mankind than any other it think what is happened is that humans have a box full their fact and that want to say that is it

    while what is needed is to take things in and analyze all than have an attituede of trying to disaprove
    for and the end of the day
    Truth when twised is called a lie
    Good when Twisted is called BAd
    so really is matter of using something for what its meant to be used and letting peace reign in your heart than let war to keep happen just let the Sprit of Peace come and take over…
    perhaps if you even analyzed things from Perspective of wanting to know the truth…with a humble heart just say JEsus please show and teach me have your ways in my life and Conivince me …. saying that will keep you going
    you never know

    Reply

  3. Posted by evanescent on August 26, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Hi Jon,

    there aren’t enough of these posts around!

    I think this is a very good article and very eloquent in its brevity; you covered so much in such a concise way. Well said!

    Reply

  4. Frankly, I’m not going to respond in detail, ask, until you clean up the grammar and spelling.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Count Edmond on August 26, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Nothing to say, really. But before you make claims that holy books contradict itself, you should read them first before hand. The Bible, The Quran, and anything else. Find the contradiction, and post it.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Bad on August 26, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    ask:”God does exist, not because of what people or books say but because you know he has to exist”

    This is… not a very convincing argument. I’m right… because “you all know that I’m right!”

    Count Edmond: “Find the contradiction, and post it.”

    Before anyone does that though, you are going to need to define what you’ll accept as an actual contradiction. And to do that, you are first going to have to explain your method for reading these texts: since they could potentially be read any which way, you need to nail down ahead of time what the passages in question “actually” say.

    Otherwise, you could claim that virtually any selection of words doesn’t contradict itself: there is endless wiggle room.

    Reply

  7. I was going to respond with something similar, Bad.

    It’s no use, in my experience, pointing out the contradictions to most religious people. They have rationalizations for all of them, none of which appear anywhere in the holy book itself. That’s theology for you, though: Take the holy book as fact first, and then shape your arguments around that assumption.

    Reply

  8. Why am I an atheist? Did I count all the contradictions and weigh them against the “proofs”? Did I find a group of religious ideas and attack them with logic?

    Nope.

    It’s far more simple than that, I didn’t deduce that religion is “shaky” and thus I will remain sceptical until proven otherwise. I just opened my mind to possibilities and learned a little about Occam’s Razor, which (to me with a little understanding of science) made a lot of sense. When presented with two theories, go with the simpler one until it fails.

    So is theism a simpler explaination? Not at all, it is a far more complex explanation, but theists don’t agree.

    What are the other possibilities? Well, most of them that I have been open to are psychological. (Before you accuse me of excercising the fallacy of attribution, consider Occam’s Razor).

    There are many sources that have added-up to my current thinking on human thinking, it would be ridiculous for me to attempt to put it all in a comment post … so I will.

    Kidding.

    From some amazing points put forward in the (exceptional) books “Science Of Discworld II: The Globe” (humans are Pan narrans) and “Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch” (the evolution of the Theory of Evolution), to my studies of psychology as part of my Computational Intelligence degree (incomplete), to the fantastic work of Dawkins (and Meme theory), Penn & Teller, Derren Brown, James Randi and many more. The simplest of which is the “Near death experience” as explaind by neurologists – the credible ones.

    If you are not familiar with Derren Brown, he is a mentalist who opens his shows by explaining that he uses showmanship, misdirection, psychology and magic to fool people into thinking that he has supernatural powers of mind control / mind reading and routinely debunks psychic activities, religious experiences, astrology, etcetera while performing entertaining parallels to the paranormal activity he is debunking. There are videos on YouTube (“Derren Brown shows how mediums work” and “Derren Brown voodoo” which is my personal favourite performance – learn how to shut your debating opponent up while you make your point).

    Reply

  9. Posted by person on October 2, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    I’m just wondering. what is the atheist view of how the world was formed?

    Reply

  10. Posted by person on October 2, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    and also. how people and creatures were first formed

    Reply

  11. I’m just wondering. what is the atheist view of how the world was formed?

    and also. how people and creatures were first formed

    What do either of these have to do with atheism?

    The first is a question of chemistry and physics. The second is a question of biology.

    Reply

  12. Posted by Jack on November 10, 2007 at 3:15 am

    “What is the atheist view of how the world was formed?”

    It’s a big misconception that atheists try or have a need to try to explain the origins of the elements, matter, energy, the universe, man or anything else. I’m sure many do have opinions, but what you’re implying is that in the absense of something better, “God” is just as plausible, if not more so, than any other explanation.

    In truth, I don’t know if life emerged from a primordial sludge, was brought here by a meteorite or if you, me and the computer I’m sitting in front of are all created by artificial intelligence a la “The Matrix”. What I do know is that ANY of those are more plausible than an omnipotent being sitting on a throne who created everything.

    More importantly, what is it about “God” that you admire so much? If you’re a Christian, was it when he stood by and watched when David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, and then had him killed on the front lines of battle so he could have her to himself – all so that “God” could teach his progeny a lesson? Perhaps it was when he let the devil do unspeakable things to Job, like killing his wife and children, in order to win a bet? I mean really…what are the lives of some good Christians worth in the face of “God”‘s pride? I wonder if went double down and killed some other poor shmuck’s family too for bigger bragging rights.

    I can’t speak for other atheists, but the phrase “Thanks but no thanks” applies here. Even if “God” does exist, why would I worship a being who committed such atrocities? Think about it…you worship a being who watched the events of Mai Lai unfold and was so inhuman that he did nothing to stop it? Frankly, I can do better than that. I may not have been able to stop it (since I wasn’t born yet), but at least I’ve made it known (here) that I abhored the actions of the soldiers that committed those crimes against humanity. Your supposed all powerful “God” not only hasn’t made it known, for all his power he only managed to get one prosecuted…and then let Nixon pardon him.

    And speaking of other ridiculousness…do you honestly think that crucifiction is any worse than say, being tortured to death over weeks and weeks or floating in the ocean for days on end while sharks eat your shipmates and then eventually you? Many people have faced a much worse death than “Jesus” ever did, and I don’t recall “God” making a big deal out of that. Maybe he’s too busy preparing for judgement day and patting himself on the back for his genocidal exploits like the magic flood which contained more water than the ocean and atmosphere combined. You know the one, from the Epic of Gilgamesh…oops, I mean “Holy Bible”.

    Long story short…religious people can do whatever they please, but when your religion is based on the most ridiculous premises ever invented by the minds of men (and I assure you, they were invented by the minds of men), it’s probably not a good idea to infer that atheists need to come up with plausible alternatives for anything.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Michael Wolak on February 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Bravo!

    Reply

  14. Yep. There is no “atheist” view on anything, because atheism isn’t a worldview. It’s the lack of a particular worldview: i.e. theism. Different atheists take all sorts of different positions on all manner of things, because we are not a group that all have common beliefs: we are only a group because we do NOT share theism.

    Reply

  15. Posted by ryan on March 4, 2008 at 6:58 am

    ditto. well said. i love theists who say oh u cant take the bible as literal truth, but the ‘creation of the earth’ in genesis thats real. the idea of god is so broad and subjective that people can find anywhere and interpert what they want. god- the subconcsious of human fear. no i cant prove that he doesnt exist (i would feel so ashamed if that was the only argument i could make in defense).

    Reply

  16. […] did change today.   I posted a few thoughts on a “Why I am an Atheist” blog entry (see Sum 1 To N).  Nothing grand or epiphanetic (if there is such a word), just some simple points.  I […]

    Reply

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