Atheist FAQ

This page is an evolving work and will be added to when I find time.

So, Atheists Don’t Believe in Anything?
When I’ve had this “question” asked of me it was in in a very snotty way with a big fat emphasis on the “anything” part. The vagueness and ire made it pretty clear it wasn’t supposed to be answered . A better question would be:

What Do Atheists Believe?
Ah, a clear question. Well, theism is the belief in the existence of a god or gods. A-theism would be a rejection of theism (no belief in a god or gods). There really isn’t anything else attached to it. Atheism is not a moral philosophy. To find that out, you would have to ask a specific atheist. Myself, I’m a Humanist.

Are Atheists Moral?
-Of course we are. But, some people have a hard time accepting it because of their definition of “moral”. There is a certain faction of the religious that assume that all morals come from their god; therefore if anyone does not share their god belief, they do not think that they can be moral.
For those people, I would ask them to think about the morals that they get from their god. List them (excluding the actual belief, of course). What are they? Knowing it’s wrong to murder? Knowing it’s wrong to steal, or hurt another human being? Atheists share these morals. At least the ones that I know.

Researchers have found that monkeys and apes have a sense of morality as well.
They even appear to honor obligations. We, as humans, may have the ability to think more complexly about our morals philosophies, but that is only because of
our larger brain. The basic drive behind altruism appears to be present to more that just humans.

Why do Atheists care about religion?
We care about religion because it is so strong a force, and often for the wrong reasons. We see gays being discriminated against because of religious belief; we see science teachers purposefully withholding information from children because of religious beliefs. I believe these to be amoral acts and driven exclusively by religion.

Why pick on Christianity?
Because I live in America. If I lived in Iraq, I would be picking in Islam. But, really,we don’t care. All religions are false.

But you can’t prove that god(s) doesn’t exist.
During a debate, god becomes a mystery that cannot be studied, therefor not disputed. But, while preaching, suddenly god becomes very concrete and specific. This is a dishonest technique. Argue for the god that you actually believe in. If you don’t believe in a vague amorphous god that takes in part in human life, don’t argue for that god.

So, you believe the universe came from nothing?
The Big Bang theory is not saying that the universe was created from nothing into something; That’s a religious viewpoint (creation ex nihilo). The Big Bang is a model to explain the development of the universe based on the current observational data we have available to us. The universe seems to have an expanding nature that brought it from a dense small package to a large large mostly empty package.

If you are asking more, I think most people with a rational or scientific view point believe it’s ok to remain agnostic about the origins of the universe until we have further evidence.
Creating a hypothesis without adequate data would be some sort of philosophy, not science, and even modern philosophers tend to steer away from that. It’s just plain sloppy.

But, I don’t’ believe it came from a god’s breath (or “a mighty wind” -depending on translation). I would rank that as quite low on the scale of probabilities.

How Could Life Come From Non-Life?
Natural selection, of course, doesn’t apply here. There are folks working on it. I think the Miller – Urey experiments were pretty promising, and there’s been quite a bit of renewed interest in them. The Wikipedia page on abiogenesis outlines some current models pretty well.

Does Evolution Justify Selfish Behavior?
The term “Survival of the Fittest” started being used as a metaphor for the theory of evolution by natural selection but, as it turns out, the term misrepresented the theory and caused confusion. It doesn’t mean best, baddest, or meanest, just most suited to the ecological niche at the time.

Another greatly misunderstood aspect of the theory is that it is an “explanation”, not a “justification”. It doesn’t justify being mean or cruel to other people (or animals for that matter). Natural Selection is meant purely to explain the adaptive process of life on the planet. It is not a moral philosophy.

Does evolution obey the second law of thermodynamics?
Yes. There is nothing in evolution that violates the laws of physics or chemistry. In fact, the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not even apply since the earth in not a closed system.

Have You Ever Read The Bible?
Yes. Cover to cover. From what I’ve seen, atheists, in general, are usually quite Biblically literate. Not that they need to be. But, as I’ve always said, the Bible as the world’s best atheist maker.

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