Most of you probably knew this about me. I haven’t exactly been hiding in some theistic closet or anything, but I thought maybe I should mention it again — somewhere other than the little blurb at the bottom of the page, or on my Facebook profile.
So, that’s pretty much it. I’m an atheist. Any quest–oh, wow, really? You do have questions? You, the fictional person I just made up to ask me these questions that I conveniently have right here, harvested from memories of questions I’ve been asked repeatedly. Okay, let’s do this.
What is atheism?
You’ll get a different answer for this question from every atheist you ask, it seems. To me, personally, atheism is simply being without religion, without beliefs in a higher power. That’s all.
Is atheism a religion?
No. It’d be rather odd to define something as a state of being without religion and have it be a religion. Just trying to wrap my head around that is like, well, this:
Why do you not believe in God?
I’ll skip the typical ‘which god is that, exactly?’ retort and go straight to answering. I see no reason to believe in a higher power, whatever name that higher power goes by. And none of the reasons you’d list would be reason enough for me. I see no ‘design’ in nature or the universe. What you see as evidence of creation, I see as a misunderstanding on your part. Yes, nature is amazing and wonderful and awe-inspiring and all those descriptive terms, but where you see the hand of some divine being intervening, I see something interesting that needs puzzling out a bit. I see something I want to learn about.
There’s likely a fundamental difference between the sort of person who asks this question and myself. If we were to watch a magic show together, you would get your wonder from the tricks themselves, whereas I would attain gratification by seeing if I could see how they did it.
So you believe there is no God?
No, although some atheists do. Personally, I see no need to waste energy on actively believing that something does not exist. Instead, I simply lack that belief either way. I don’t know either way; furthermore, I don’t care.
I’m not even sure I care enough to explain the difference between “I don’t believe in god” and “I believe there is no god.” Either you understand, or you don’t.
What keeps you from stealing or killing, because you can’t be ethical or moral without God? Where do your morals come from?
This question never fails to disturb me. The idea that there are people out there who feel that, if they were to find that there are no consequences after death, they’d just go out and rape babies or whatever because ‘why not?’ is…unsettling. I don’t really like to talk to people who ask this sort of question.
It’s a stupid question, though, with a very obvious answer. What keeps me from doing these things? Disregarding the fact that I don’t have any urge to just steal things or murder pe–well, okay, sometimes I very much feel like killing people, but it’s illegal. There are laws against these things, and, if I don’t want to be inconvenienced with the consequences of those actions, I don’t act on those feelings. And the consequences are very, very inconvenient — much worse than ‘God will be cranky with you and punish you at some future date after you die.’ These are fairly immediate, life-altering consequences…even if the homicide is ruled justifiable.
What about what happens when you die? Aren’t you afraid of that?
Not really. I don’t know what happens after I die, because I have never died. Those who have died haven’t exactly let us know, either, so…there’s really not much to say on the subject.
Why do people exist? For what purpose were we all brought into being? What is the meaning of life?
Why? Purpose? There is no ‘why’ or ‘purpose’ to evolution, not in that obnoxious, bullshit philosophical sense you’re looking for. There is no ‘why’ or ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ but what you make for yourself.
What’s your purpose, then? Why don’t you just kill yourself?
My purpose? Right now, it’s writing this. Later? I don’t really know. I’m not a long-term kind of person. As for suicide, believe me, I’ve considered it very seriously at times, but that has nothing to do with atheism.
Honestly, though, why the fuck do people ask that question?
Without God, how can you have hope, or inner peace, or comfort in times of crisis?
I find it in more tangible things — people I trust, who’ve helped me through things before. Also, my cat.
What about souls?
What about them? Do I believe in them? No. And don’t trot out that silly experiment with the scales and the people dying, because that’s not exactly evidence of anything.
So, what, do you go around trying to spread the good news about there not being a God?
No. It’s my way of doing unto others as I wish to have done to me — I leave you alone, you leave me alone. It’s none of my business, just like it’s none of yours.
Darwin recanted on his deathbead.
No, he didn’t. Stop using that shit.
Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
This isn’t a game you want to play. Even if you do find an atrocity connected to someone who could be proven to be an atheist, the list of things done in the name of God is likely to be far more impressive.
How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
Also not a game you want to play. First, it’s a fallacy. Second, you don’t get to play, because you’re only inclusive of other beliefs when you’re trying to argue against someone who doesn’t believe.
Why does the universe exist?
…because it does. What are you, three?
How did life originate?
I don’t know. There are several hypotheses, but I don’t really know much about them. And, really, it’s irrelevant.
Is all religion harmful?
What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
Well, if he’s the vindictive, petty bastard that some Christians portray, I guess I’d be fucked. Not that it matters, because I’m not going to pretend to believe just to be safe. Even if I were to meet up with the pettiest, spoiled-brat of a higher power, I think I’d be much safer being honest than trying to cover with falsified faith.
Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
Respect is earned, and it’s earned by people.
Are atheists smarter than theists?
Some might be, but, since they’re both varied groups of individuals, who fucking knows?
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?
I don’t know. I’d be worried about those people who apparently need their Sky Snuggie to keep their dicks out of children.
…and that’s about all I’ve got. I’m bored with this now. I’ll try to post something else — possibly something more interesting — in a few days.