Questions

I’ve been reading Friendly Atheist a bit recently and came across a set of common questions that get asked quite frequently when I’m bothering the God Squad.  I’d be interested in hearing your own answers to these questions or rebuttals if you are faithfully a faithful follower of a faith.

  • Why do you not believe in God?
  • Where do your morals come from?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Is atheism a religion?
  • If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
  • Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
  • Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
  • How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
  • Why does the universe exist?
  • How did life originate?
  • Is all religion harmful?
  • What’s so bad about religious moderates?
  • Is there anything redeeming about religion?
  • What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
  • Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
  • Are atheists smarter than theists?
  • How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
  • Would the world be better off without any religion?
  • What happens when we die?

In related news, The Hildy says that I take the God issue far too seriously but as she packed me off to work this morning with the tender phrase “Bugger off, it’s the first day of my holiday” I’m not listening to her today.

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14 Comments

Filed under Keen Scimitar +2, You decide

14 responses to “Questions

  1. er, are we expected to answer these?!

  2. What? It’s not as if it’s Monday morning or anything!

  3. well, i get confused about God. I mean, somthing or someone created Earth and the stars and things…. and also i like to think that there is something, you know… ‘after’ but as for the main man himself, i’m just not so sure.
    Everyone knows that the meaning of life it 42…and if it’s not that then i like to think that all you can really do is get through life to the best of your abilities, being nice to and helping as many people as you can along the way.

    As for maybe being wrong, well if i am, then isn’t God meant to be all forgiving and things? In which case, there’s nothing to worry about, eh!?

  4. Interesting thoughts, if slightly muddled. Why does anybody have had to create Earth and stars and things? We have perfectly servicable scientific explanations for these that don’t require a man on a cloud making sure it all works. As for an afterlife, isn’t that just wishful thinking? The whole point of it is that it excludes those not of the “right” religion. I find this awfully harsh considering the 10,000 or so established religions in the world.

    Your core philosophy is good though even if it is stolen from Bill and Ted: “Be excellent to each other” 😉

  5. oh well yes, that’s why i say ‘somthing’ created it…. i like to think it’s like Hitchhikers Guide and mice built it..

    and the afterlife…no one being excluded, well that’s what i’d like to think anyway… if there is a ‘God’ surely being so wonderful and all, when it gets to that time, he wouldn’t turn anyone away?

    Bill and Ted were indeed right.. unless you’re the King or someone, there’s not much more you can do than your best

  6. I still don’t see the need for a creator something. There were enough physical forces at play during the formation of the universe without involving any sort of intelligence.

    There are plenty of people I’d exclude from an afterlife if it were to be the paradise that the advertising claims it’s going to be. I wouldn’t want to share with Hitler, Genghis Khan or Maggie Thatcher now. Anyway the point is moot because an afterlife is really just what you hope could happen, there’s no evidence to even suggest that anything happens to us when we die other than the natural processes of decomposition. Wishing it weren’t so doesn’t make it happen. Although if I am totally wrong I hope I get your fluffier god than the wrathful Christian one.

  7. I have insomnia… you are having a full post to tire me out 🙂

    * Why do you not believe in God? – I do, kinda. Just not any of the Major Religion Gods. I got my own thing going on…
    * Where do your morals come from? A sense of what is right and wrong instilled through parental discipline as a kid, going to a school that only just stopped shy of beating, and treating others as I expect to be treated.
    * What is the meaning of life? Whatever you want it to be. I have stopped lying awake thinking about it now. We’re sorta here so may as well just get on with it and stop thinking about it so much.
    * Is atheism a religion? No. But they hate being categorised, don’t they?
    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times? Blog… 😛 No, seriously, I go to the sea and think. I guess I kinda chat to Whoever is upstairs, but not in a traditional sense of the word pray.
    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God? They can do what they like, freedom of speech and all that. Lets be honest, there are enough people standing on traffic islands in London spouting the Bible so it’s all fair.
    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists? Yes, and so some of the worst that weren’t committed by atheists were committed by God*-fearing men (*which God, I refrain from stipulating, varies).
    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God? How could billions of people think that the world was flat? Well, they were still wrong. I am not saying that the billions that believe are wrong, nor that those that don’t are right. Many believe in aliens. Billions of people believe it is ok to beat their partner. Lots of people believe that Tin Tin ought to be King (although I suspect not billions).
    * Why does the universe exist? Can I take a contact name and telephone number and I’ll get back to you on that? Basically, why not?
    * How did life originate? Fluke
    * Is all religion harmful? No. It often brings people together just as much as it separates them. Religion is a very effective way of controlling the masses though…
    * What’s so bad about religious moderates? Nothing. Why make a decision when you can keep your options open? If God does exist then he must understand that it is the nature of today’s society, and He gave man the brains (or lack of) to get here so it is his own doing…
    * Is there anything redeeming about religion? One of the biggest teachings revolves around looking after your fellow man. And some of the architecture is way cool. But then again, some is horrendous. What was “gothic” about?
    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)? He won’t mind, being the All-Forgive God that He (supposedly) is. Besides, if I am wrong about something I never mind saying “Christ, I was wrong” (and how fitting that opener may turn out to be).
    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected? So long as respecting one set doesn’t involve killing a bunch that respect another set.
    * Are atheists smarter than theists? It’s all swings and roundabouts. You get stupid people everywhere, from all backgrounds. It’s a bugger.
    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity? Jesus existed. He was probably a very nice, very good man. Probably so good that they tacked all these great ideas onto him after he was dead and buried. No quips about resurrections please…
    * Would the world be better off without any religion? Impossible to say, really.
    * What happens when we die? Well, this is where I come unstuck so I will leave you with what Bestie has to say on the matter: that is that our body is like a box and our eyes and senses are windows to the soul. When the box is broken, the windows close and the senses no longer work. The soul is trapped inside the box, never to escape. Ever. She’s such a cheerful monkey isn’t she?!

    Yay, now I am tired! zzzz

  8. M

    God isn’t important.
    Whether or not he/she/it/they exist isn’t important.

    What is important is the relationship between people and their belief; and the actions they perform to appease their faith. Society has a generally commonality between that which we define as “good” and that which we define as “evil”; however, some aspects of faith can have a different approach out of line with “the accepted norm” whereby actions the general populace consider wrong, or inacceptable, are considered a defining force of the faith.

    The end of the day, higher power or not; fabtabulous paradise and afterlife rewards or not… we are judged by that which we do here and now. We judge ourselves. We judge those around us. Ideal world, we treat everyone as equals and make the world a better place. Reality, we get into petty squabbles that blow out of all proportion; wars start, poverty still exists, people are exploited.

  9. oh yes….. if i lived near the sea like soupy did, i would just go and stare i think. but then i worry that i might be going a bit insane… i get like that sometimes

  10. Living near the sea took a great chunk out of my life. Too much time spent hypnotised by the bobbing waves. Whatever you do, Pinky, don’t do it!!

  11. at least the Boy would know where to find me
    “where’s Pinky wandered off to?”
    “She’s gone to stare at the sea”

    I think the sea in Spain is different, it’s something about the sea in this country, all dark and cold

  12. Oink

    Oh you’re always harping on about God… 😉

    * Why do you not believe in God?
    It doesn’t make sense to me. I believe that it’s all man made. I have seen no evidence of divine inspiration. If religious texts have all of the answers, why have interpretations and emphases varied so much historically? And how can cruelty and hatred be justified in the name of religion, when others emphasise peace and (apparently) tolerance? I don’t need a father figure or to be manipulated by talk of heaven or hell. I don’t believe a word of it. I don’t believe in a personal god that watches and judges me, and I’m not convinced by talk of how ‘God works in mysterious ways and so we don’t have to explain the injustices and horrible fates suffered by many in the world’.

    * Where do your morals come from?
    Society. The same place yours came from 2000 or however many years ago. Yours were written down whereas mine have been perpetuated in other ways, by word of mouth, etc.

    * What is the meaning of life?
    There isn’t any. Just try to be happy and do no harm to others.

    * Is atheism a religion?
    No. There is no god.

    * If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
    Work out for myself what to change rather than pray to another that they will.

    * Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
    There’s no de facto harm in having a religion. There can be, however, in the way it is used.

    * Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
    What difference would this make? Some of the worst atrocities have also been committed in the name of religion. This doesn’t mean that there is or isn’t a god – that’s a separate debate.

    * How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
    Same reason why fish don’t know about water.
    * Why does the universe exist?
    Why? Not applicable. How? I don’t know. Some sort of maker, however, doesn’t have to equate to a personal, judgemental and determining god that watches over our lives.

    * How did life originate?
    Various forces coming together to create primeval ‘soup’, I assume. I don’t entirely know this. This still doesn’t mean there’s a personal god.

    * Is all religion harmful?
    Many beliefs are harmful. Many aren’t. This depends how they’re used.

    * What’s so bad about religious moderates?
    Nothing particularly. Nothing more than there’s something bad in me for not being one.

    * Is there anything redeeming about religion?
    I don’t know.

    * What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
    There isn’t. Why are you always trying to put fear into me about ‘hell’? It’s so manipulative.

    * Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
    No more than any other kinds of beliefs should or shouldn’t be. If however ‘respect’ means stifling debate, questioning or criticism, then I’m afraid the answer is no. Debate is healthy.

    * Are atheists smarter than theists?
    No. Just different.

    * How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
    He was a man. Just a man.

    * Would the world be better off without any religion?
    Doubtful. Other ideas would just take its place, which could be just as harmful or positive, depending on how they’re used.

    * What happens when we die?
    What happened before you were born? Nothing. So that, then.

  13. Sioned

    *stumbles in, looks around, stares at questions…* Ummm.. no? That’s my answer. Does that help?

  14. M

    There are no wrong answers dear Sioned, just differences of interpretation of the question.

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