Top 10 Reasons We are Atheist
1. If we truly had one creator speaking to prophets, it would do so consistently, not contradictory as thousands of different religions have proven.
2. Living by the means of man helping man, and realizing time on earth is not a practice run, creates an urgency of life that requires fulfilling.
3. I asked my four-year-old daughter where the stars came from. She confidently said “The moon made them.” I followed by asking “Then where did the moon come from?” She strongly asserted “Daddy, the moon is the boss. Nobody made the moon.” This is an unmistakably familiar mindset; and rightfully embarrassing for an adult to hold such similar thought.
4. Demeter, Jesus, Apollo, Horus, Zeus, Mithra, Yahweh, Tammuz, Ganesha, and Allah are only 10 of the thousands of gods recorded in history. An Atheist is not one that refuses to read religious doctrine; it is often one who reads too many.
5. In the technicalities of most religions, there is no difference between a believer that dies before having time to repent, and a nonbeliever that rejected the doctrine altogether.
6. If the Christian god created humans as sinners, how could it rightfully expect us to believe the corrupt messengers it has sent to teach us the way of life?
7. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?” – Epicurus
8. All babies are Atheists. Religions are taught depending on the location and era in which you are raised. Being born in the U.S. in 1974 does not make you right, it most likely just makes you another Christian. That’s no better or worse than the person born in Tibet in 1955, who proudly worships the Dalai Lama.
9. It is better to find your own answers and make an educated decision, than to intentionally remain uneducated and make a fearful one.
10. Only for the sake of argument, if I were to astonishingly find myself face to face with a supreme being, I would expect to be judged on my life as a humanist, and how I treated others, (just as most Christians plan to be judged on character, not on the actual Ten Commandments). If my positive actions were ignored, and I was instead judged on using my intelligence to doubt religious doctrines created by human sinners, I would rather be eternally punished than bow to such an unfair tyrant who made things seemingly impossible for humans to succeed at this horrific game.
11. I simply refuse to be a hypocrite. I refuse to be disingenuous. I refuse to fake it. I could go through the motions, attend the churches, shake the hands, follow the rituals of whichever religion or denomination of Christianity I liked the best, sing the songs, and help with the luncheons. That still wouldn’t make me a believer. It would make me a pretender. I am honest with myself and those around me that these things don’t make sense to me. That doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me an atheist.
The above list was stolen without permission from here.
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence
– W. K. Clifford (1879)
If it is to be established that there is a God, then we have to have good grounds for believing that this is indeed so.
Until and unless some such grounds are produced we have literally no reason at all for believing; and in that situation the only reasonable posture must be that of either the negative atheist or the agnostic.
So the onus of proof has to rest on the proposition.
It must be up to them: first, to give whatever sense they choose to the word ‘God’, meeting any objection that so defined it would relate only to an incoherent pseudo-concept; and, second, to bring forward sufficient reasons to warrant their claim that, in their present sense of the word ‘God’, there is a God.
– Anthony Flew, Philosopher.
No intervening spirit watches lovingly over the affairs of nature (though Newton’s clock-winding god might have set up the machinery at the beginning of time and then let it run). No vital forces propel evolutionary change. And whatever we think of God, his existence is not manifest in the products of nature.
– Stephen Jay Gould
Some philosophers think that religious language doesn’t mean anything at all, and therefore that there’s no point in asking whether God exists.
They would say that a sentence like “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is neither true or false, it’s meaningless; in the same way that “colourless green ideas sleep furiously” is meaningless.
Logical Positivism, or Verificationism
Logical Positivists argued that a sentence was meaningless if it wasn’t either true or false, and they said that a sentence would only be true or false if it could be tested by an experiment, or if it was true by definition.
A more accurate version of this idea can be found here:
Since you couldn’t verify the existence of God by any sort of “sense experience”, and it wasn’t true by definition (eg in the way “a triangle has 3 sides” is true), the logical positivists argued that it was pointless asking the question since it could not be answered true or false.
These particular philosophers didn’t only say that religious talk was meaningless, they thought that much of philosophical discussion, metaphysics for example, was meaningless too. This philosophical theory is no longer popular, and attention has returned to the issues of what “God” means and whether “God” exists.
Note for philosophers
This is how one prominent philosopher put it:
We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express – that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject is as being false.
A. J. Ayer
Ayer actually preferred a weaker version of the theory, because since no empirical proof could be totally conclusive, almost every statement about the world would have to be regarded as meaningless.
A proposition is said to be verifiable, in the strong sense of the term, if, and only if, its truth could be conclusively established in experience. But it is verifiable, in the weak sense, if it is possible for experience to render it probable.
And this led Ayer to dispose of the God question rather brusquely:
…There can be no way of proving that the existence of a god…is even probable.
For if the existence of such a god were probable, then the proposition that he existed would be an empirical hypothesis. And in that case it would be possible to deduce from it, and other empirical hypotheses, certain experiential propositions which were not deducible from those other hypotheses alone.
But in fact this is not possible…For to say that “God Exists” is to make a metaphysical utterance which cannot be either true or false.
A. J. Ayer
Reasons that treat God as a psychological factor
Psychological explanations of religion:
Psychologists have long been fascinated by religion as something that exists in all societies. They ask whether ‘religion’ is actually a name given to various psychological drives, rather than a response to the existence of God or gods.
Such a belief is clearly atheistic.
Religion, to the common man, is a:
system of doctrines and promises which on the one hand explains to him the riddles of this world with enviable completeness, and, on the other, assures him that a careful Providence will watch over his life and will compensate him in a future existence for any frustrations he suffers here.
Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
Religion comes from emotions
Human beings believe in God because they want:
A father figure to protect them from this frightening world
Someone who gives their lives meaning and purpose
Something that stops death being the end
To believe that they are an important part of the universe, and that some component of the universe (God) cares for and respects them
These beliefs are strongly held because they enable human beings to cope with some of their most basic fears.
Atheists argue that since religion is just a psychological fantasy, human beings should abandon it so that they can grow to respond appropriately to deal with the world as it is.
Sigmund Freud tackled religion in great detail and had several ideas about it.
One of his theories was that religion stems from the individual’s experience of having been a helpless baby totally dependent on its parents. The infant sees its parents as all-powerful beings who show it great love and satisfy all its needs. This experience is almost identical to the way human beings portray their relationship with God.
Freud also suggested that childhood experiences caused people to have very complex feelings about their parents and themselves, and religion and religious rituals provide a respectable mechanism for working these out.
Freud also described religion as a mass-delusion that reshaped reality to provide a certainty of happiness and a protection from suffering.
Reasons that treat God as a social function
Sociological explanations of religion
Some people think that religions and belief in God fulfil functions in human society, rather than being the result of God actually existing.
Ludwig Feuerbach was a 19th century German philosopher who proposed that religion was just a human being’s consciousness of the infinite.
He said that human ideas about God were no more than the projection of humanity’s ideas about man onto an imaginary supernatural being.
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), a French sociologist, thought that religion was something produced by human society, and had nothing supernatural about it.
Religious force is nothing other than the collective and anonymous force of the clan.
Durkheim. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.
He believed that religion existed, but he did not agree that the reality that lay behind it was the same reality that believers thought existed.
Religion helped people to form close knit groups, in which they could find a place in society. Religious rituals created mental states in those taking part which were helpful to the group.
To put it another way; religious rituals do not do anything other than strengthen the beliefs of the group taking part and reinforce the collective consciousness.
Religion fulfilled the functions of:
- Giving a meaning and purpose to life
- Binding people together in groups
- Supporting the moral code of the group
- Supporting the social code of the group
- Durkheim thought that this was enough to give people a feeling that there was something supernatural going on.
Since it is in spiritual ways that social pressure exercises itself, it could not fail to give men the idea that outside themselves there exist one or several powers, both moral and, at the same time, efficacious, upon which they depend.
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life
Durkheim said that religious beliefs divided experiences into the profane and the sacred – the profane were the routine experiences of everyday life, while the sacred were beyond the everyday and likely to inspire reverence.
Objects could become sacred, not because of any inherent supernatural resonance but because the group fixed certain ‘collective ideals’ on an object.
Karl Marx’s criticisms of religion
Marx’s view of religion
Karl Marx thought that religion was an illusion, with no real God or supernatural reality standing in the background. Religion was a force that stopped human societies from changing.
A social institution
Marx believed that religion was a social institution, and reflected and sustained the particular society in which it flourished.
He went further. Religion was a tool used by the capitalists to keep the working-class under control.
Religion provided the working-class with comfort in their miserable oppressed circumstances, and by focussing attention on the joys to come after death, it distracted the workers from trying to make this life better.
Religion cheats human beings
Furthermore, it took the noblest human ideals and gave them to a non-existent God, thus cheating human beings of realising their own greatness and potential.
Religion disguises the true wrongs
Marx argued that the illusory happiness provided by religion should be eliminated by putting right the economic conditions that caused people to need this illusion to make their lives bearable.
Religion was like a pain-killer (hence Marx’s famous reference to it as “the opium of the people”), but what was needed was to cure the sickness, not sedate the patient.
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feelings of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The Marxist analysis of religion was principally aimed at Christianity as Christianity was the dominant faith in the industrial societies which Marx was criticising.
God is not apparent
God is Loving
This is one of the more unusual arguments used to show that God can’t exist:
God is perfectly loving
God knows that human beings would be happier if they were aware of the existence of a loving God
So if such a God existed, he would make sure that everyone knew it
There are lots of people who aren’t aware of the existence of a loving God. Therefore such a God does not exist.
5 More Reasons to be an Atheist
1. The Bible is ridiculous.
Have you read the Bible? I mean really read it and not just flip around to the pages that your religious leader told you to or watched some mini-series on television telling you their version of the stories. I don’t know why, but those shows always leave out the best parts. Where are the zombies? When Jesus is crucified on the cross the Bible says that there were earthquakes and zombies (Matthew 27:50-53). What television producer in their right mind would leave out the most interesting part of the story? The thing is that the Bible is filled with this stuff like when God sent two bears to maul 42 children for calling a guy, “bald” (2 Kings 2:23-24).
Unfortunately, aside from the surprisingly large number of hilariously ridiculous stories like these, the Bible is pretty boring and that is probably why so few religious believers have ever actually read it. Let me just say this: There is a reason why the Bible is the most recommended book by atheists. That reason is because it is boredom peppered with ridiculousness.
2. We don’t need no stinkin’ deities.
Ever since the enlightenment, religions have been fighting a losing battle against science. God has moved more and more to the gaps of human understanding. There was a time when if humanity didn’t know the answer to one of life’s questions, then God was that answer. That time apparently is still the present but fortunately, science is learning more and more answers. Interestingly enough, God seems to be the answer to less and less questions.
Evolution has explained human origin and the Big Bang explains the origin of the universe. So what role did God play? As we learn more about evolution and the universe, God’s role will no doubt get even more marginalized. The fact is that there really is no role for a deity to play at all. We can just factor out the deity and come up with the same scientific answers.
3. The Problem of Evil
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
— Epicurus (341-270 B.C.E.)
Epicurus asked those questions a long time ago and we have yet to hear a valid response from religious leaders. My alleged “Free Will” doesn’t cause hurricanes, earthquakes,and tornadoes, nor does God’s alleged “justice” justify any of the horrible suffering and death that people face around the world on a daily basis.
One doesn’t have to go to Africa to see children starving needlessly. Did those kids offend God in some way? Perhaps those kids need to suffer horribly and die to teach us something important. That truly is egotistical, isn’t it? What about all the people who have cancer? Does God have his reasons for torturing them? I would very much like to know what those reasons could possibly be. The Problem of Evil continues to be a pretty good reason to be an atheist.
4. Oh, Hell!
The concept of Hell is probably one of the most disturbing religious ideas ever conceived by man. It was great to strike fear in the hearts of evil doers back in the day, but today our morality has evolved quite a bit. We no longer view women as property nor do we consider slavery a valid business model. Most people recognize that torture is wrong and yet we are expected to believe that some deity will torture us for all eternity if we don’t believe he exists on insufficient evidence?
Many Christians in the 21st century have woken up to the fact that the concept of Hell is barbaric and these Christians, to their credit, don’t believe in the concept of Hell. That’s a great start. But Heaven is kind of Hell too when you think about it. That is especially the case if not everyone goes to Heaven and those who do have to live out eternity knowing that their loved ones are being eternally tortured. But assuming we all do go to Heaven regardless of our beliefs or lack of beliefs, than what do you do in Heaven? From what I understand, you sit around worshiping God for all eternity sometimes with a set number of virgins. I don’t know about you, but eternity seems like a pretty long time to me and worshiping some deity doesn’t sound like much fun, especially after all the virgins are gone.
5. You just don’t know.
Let’s face reality here for a moment. There is no valid evidence for any deities. If there were valid and compelling evidence, then we would all be on the same page. There wouldn’t be a million sects of each religion and there wouldn’t be a million different religions. There would be one sect of one religion and God would make his presence known to us in a way that was so obvious that it couldn’t be disputed. We would be able to see him, hear him, smell him, touch him, etc. There would be no atheists because we would have no choice but to believe. After all, he’s God and he could do that kind of thing. No, that doesn’t affect our alleged “Free Will.” I know that Kim Jung-Un exists, but you don’t see me worshiping him.
The fact is that we are all agnostics. We don’t know whether any deities exist. There is no evidence for the existence of any deities. There is no good reason to believe that any deities actually exist. So without any valid reason to believe that any deities exist, I don’t believe any deities exist. You shouldn’t either. Because we are agnostic, we should also be atheists.