I found this link on social media and decided to bite.
How Did You Become an Atheist?
I’ve spoken of this before. The short version is that I discovered I had no good reason to believe religion, and several good reasons not to believe in any gods, starting with the lack of evidence.
What happens when we die?
We decay into dirt, like all animals.
What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
What if god only lets atheists into Heaven? Or if Islam is right? Or god doesn’t have criteria but just puts every other soul in Paradise, even if it’s Hitler?
Without God, where do you get your morality from?
Really, the better question is, with god how can you claim to be moral? The god of the Bible advocates lots of things we consider immoral now, like slavery, and the death penalty for homosexuality, and rules against many things we now consider moral or neutral, such as working on Sunday or having sex with your wife when she’s on her period. He also has multiple recorded instances of murder, once killing thousands of people for following his commands (Numbers 14). My nature would not allow such a ridiculous act, and all I claim as the source of morality is evolution. As we observe rudimentary morality in apes and dogs and other social animals, it is entirely reasonable to think there need be no supernatural explanation.
If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
The fact that murder and rape exist means we are free to do those things regardless of whether any god exists. Indeed, a Christian has access to a religion that can justify murder and rape, and has been used to do so, but I, as an atheist, cannot justify murder or rape; both cause suffering and prevent pleasure, which my biological empathy programming says are bad. Further, helping someone be happier is its own reward, as it increases certain brain chemicals that give us pleasure.
If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
I’m not sure my life has a meaning, but I don’t think it really needs one. Is enjoying an ice cream cone meaningless because it only lasts a few moments? If it is, would you give up ice cream for that reason alone?
Where did the universe come from?
I don’t pretend to know. Currently, the most supported theory of the origins of this universe is the Big Bang, but we don’t know why that event happened, and may never know. Positing god as the explanation is nothing more than a god of the gaps problem.
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?
Miracle claims are not unique to any religion in particular, and even a claim of a miracle of exactly the type one might expect if a certain religion is true isn’t necessarily evidence of that religion. For example, a piece of bread beginning to bleed might seem good evidence of Catholicism being true, because the doctrine of Transubstantiation is unique to Catholicism (so far as I know), but it is equally good evidence for a bored pantheon that wants a certain group of humans to think Catholicism is true for the lols. Indeed, the Bored Pantheon Hypothesis also explains miracles happening in all religions, and is not contradicted by the problem of evil in the slightest, so it has a step above every religion that claims a loving god. That’s assuming, of course, that miracles have actually happened, but I don’t believe any have.
What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
I’ve read very little of their works, but so what? They could easily be wrong, just as any human, and I don’t accept anything as true just because they said it.
If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
If the earth is round, why did every society think it was flat? Because they didn’t know any better. Thinking of our evolutionary history, it is safer to assume a tiger in the grass than wind, so we have a biological tendency to assign agency where there is none.
As you may have noticed if you checked out the link, the questions actually come from another atheist’s blog, and he gave his own answers. What answers would you give?