Todays question comes from Rachel who says…
Message: Hi there, I wanna start off by saying that I don’t call myself a Christian because let’s face it, people who claim to be Christians have given Christians a bad name. So, I call myself a believer in God. I just have a couple questions when it comes to what Atheists may believe. I’m not here to argue or convert anyone, I just wanna ask some questions.
If you say you don’t believe in God, what are your reasons for that? Do you believe people have a moral compass that is aligned with the Bible, even though they don’t believe in God? Do you feel religions not just Christianity, have had a positive or negative affect on humanity? Do all atheists believe in evolution?
I don’t know these are just some questions that I have been thinking about. I’m curious to hear your response!
Well Rachel those are all great questions, and most have already been answered here, so feel free to use the search box in the upper right corner if my answers aren’t enough for you.
Why each atheist doesn’t believe in a god is different from atheist to atheist. Some don’t believe because they haven’t been convinced. Some don’t believe because they’ve never been introduced to the idea. The only thing one atheist has to have in common with another is a lack of belief in a god or gods. How they get to that point is their own personal journey.
For me though, it’s because I have a love affair with the truth. I believe that the hardest thing for anyone to do, is to see things as they are and not just how they wished they would be. This means that when faced with the truth of something, even if that something is unpleasant, I am compelled to accept it. My problem with the evidence that people bring to me of their gods is that it always violates how we determine everything else exists. I think I explained it best in this post here where I said…
First of all. Before we evaluate any claim. The first thing that we need to do is define the type of claim. In the case of theism the claim is that a god exists. This is a claim of existence. The next thing we do is we look for a criteria, or in other words a method, with which we can evaluate the claim. When it comes to existence, the only valid criteria is the objective one. For a claim to be objective, it must produce the same results every time. For example if I hold out a rubber ball to you and say to you, “This is a rubber ball” and you understand that a rubber ball is a spherical object made out of rubber, you will naturally accept my claim. Then, you can turn to another and do the same, and so on, and so forth. You can do this over and over and each person will say “That is a rubber ball”. However if I were to approach you with my empty hand held out and told you that “This is a rubber ball” you would see that not only is there nothing in my hand, but that the nothing is neither rubber, nor a spherical object, and it becomes easy to dismiss my claim because it can not be objectively evaluated. We use this criteria every day to determine what exists and what doesn’t exist. It’s how we know when someone has a mental illness and claims that they see elves or pixies or tall 6 foot invisible rabbit named “Harvey”.
So when someone comes to me and says that they know their god exists, and their evidence goes against the criteria that we all use every day to determine existence, I tend to dismiss it. I believe that if there is a god, that he would want us to discover him using the criteria that he set up to discover everything else. To do otherwise would be like saying that the only way to get into heaven would be to study math your entire life but then at the end he gives you a history test. This to me would be deceitful and unless the god in question is a trickster god, I find it hard to accept.
Now as for morality, I think you have it backwards. I think the bible is a reflection of mans moral compass at that time, not the other way around. I explain it in this video…
Do I think that religion has a positive or negative effect on humanity? I believe it’s mostly negative. Whenever you have a belief system that insists that you deny facts it’s going to be bad no matter how much charity work is involved with it. Religion has set back medicine, has denied people basic rights of equality, has started wars, etc. I don’t believe that people help others because of their religion, I believe they do it despite their religion. They do it because they recognize the value of helping others and because it makes them feel good inside. We are social animals, and giving help to others is a great way of furthering the social contract that I described in the video above.
Do all atheists believe in evolution? That’s kind of like asking if all atheists believe in gravity. It’s not a requirement to be an atheist or anything so I suppose there might be a few out there who don’t. I guess those atheists who have never heard of a god or evolution would obviously not have a belief in it. Usually though it’s religious people who can’t accept facts that fly in the face of their religious beliefs that don’t accept the truth of evolution.
Well Rachel I hope that answers your questions. If you have further questions feel free to ask in the comment section below or use the search box to find similar questions and join in on the comments there. Thanks for stopping by!