My Questions To Atheists:

1. Did you ever have any “religious upbringing”? If so what denomination if any?
2. Do you say there is no evidence for God?
3. Do you feel that atheism is a worldview?
4. Are you certain there is no God?
5. If you are a materialist, what makes you think you can trust your own mind?
6. Can science prove that God does/does not exist?
7. Do you believe that Darwinian evolution is true?
8. How do you account for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Thanks for your answers.

God Bless
Brian Mason

21 thoughts on “My Questions To Atheists:

  1. 1. Yes, Catholic
    2. What is meant by god has not been properly defined for me to make a stand on whether such a “thing” can exist
    3. Not in the least
    4. The answer to question 2 applies here
    5. I know that my senses are bound to mislead me sometimes but when this happens, reason should be the arbiter of all truth
    6. Is still tied to what is meant by god
    7. Darwinian evolution provides the best explanation for the development of life on our planet and I understand why it is true.
    8. It’s no accounting. The jury is still out on whether he even existed in the first place

  2. 1. Did you ever have any “religious upbringing”? If so what denomination if any?

    Presbyterian. I was the kid who did all the youth groups and all the retreats and youth choirs and handbells and volunteered at bible school every year. We weren’t literalists, so we didn’t need to try to rationalize biblical difficulties and contradictions, we just cherry-picked the nice lovey-dovey parts. That’s probably why I didn’t deconvert until college.

    2. Do you say there is no evidence for God?

    Well, first you’d have to have a consistent definition of “god”. You could certainly define “god” to mean something that there is evidence for, like the forces of nature, or my cat. If you mean “biblegod” or any other powerful supernatural being that humans have imagined, then I see no evidence for the existence of such a being.

    3. Do you feel that atheism is a worldview?

    No, it’s simply an opinion on the truth of a particular claim people make. It’s not a complete worldview, anymore than not believing in bigfoot is a worldview. Atheists do have worldviews, they just don’t contain any gods. My worldview would probably best be described as Humanism.

    4. Are you certain there is no God?

    Are you certain there is no Invisible Space Pickle? Have you checked the whole universe? How about now?
    Biblegod, if he existed, should have an overwhelming amount of evidence as to his existence (and arguments are not the same thing as evidence). But the evidence isn’t there. And there are many things in the world that are inconsistent with biblegod being real. So I think that makes the probability of that specific being existing extremely tiny. It’s not zero, but is close enough that I round it off to zero for day to day purposes.

    5. If you are a materialist, what makes you think you can trust your own mind?

    I’m well aware of the limitations and numerous cognitive biases that the human brain is vulnerable to. But our brains are all we have to figure things out, so we’re stuck with them. That’s why we have to be extra careful to verify and re-verify our ideas about the universe, because it’s so easy to fool ourselves into thinking that our favorite answers are the right answers.

    6. Can science prove that God does/does not exist?

    Oh, please, you should already know the answer to that. Of course not, but it also can’t prove the Invisible Space Pickle doesn’t either. What it can do is help us verify whether the specific factual claims made about a god hold up. Does belief in a particular god improve the lives of believers in some measurable way? Can special underwear guard you against injury? Did two million Hebrews live in the Sinai desert for 40 years? Do immodestly dressed women cause earthquakes? Does faith healing, or prayer, or whatever work better than a placebo? Those are the kinds of questions science can answer.

    7. Do you believe that Darwinian evolution is true?

    I think that evolution is the correct answer (or the closest to correct answer that we have so far) as to how the diversity of life on this planet arose. Darwin and Wallace had the original insight, and got a lot of the answer correct, and we’ve been learning more and improving on that answer ever since. (Please remember to get your flu shot every year – flu viruses are evolving too!)

    8. How do you account for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    How do you account for King Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone, Robin Hood splitting the arrow, or Santa coming down the chimney every year? Humans are natural storytellers. The early xians had a problem – their “divine” leader had been executed for rabblerousing. They could either forget about the time they had devoted to their new cult, or they could draw on familiar elements from other mystery religions and invent a story about how their leader magically came back to life, was seen by a few believers (but conveniently not by any Roman authorities who might write it down) promised to come back, and then (also conveniently) went up to heaven, which explains why he’s missing. Tell this story for a couple of generations, and by the time people get around to writing it down they think it’s actually true.

  3. “1. Did you ever have any “religious upbringing”? If so what denomination if any?”

    Yes, catholic. Though there are atheists from all backgrounds.

    “2. Do you say there is no evidence for God?”

    None I have found that holds water.

    “3. Do you feel that atheism is a worldview?”

    No, atheists are labeled by the one thing they don’t believe, not the thousands of things we do believe. Atheism no more sums up my worldview than not believing in allah sums up yours (assuming you’re not muslim).

    “4. Are you certain there is no God?”

    No. I am also not certain there are no unicorns or goblins. But I have no reason to suppose there are, so I don’t think about it much. Or rather I wouldn’t if I didn’t live in a world run by people who are trying to please the great hob goblin in the sky.

    “5. If you are a materialist, what makes you think you can trust your own mind?”

    I don’t, per se. But it’s not like we have other options. And I don’t see how believing that there’s a god gets around the “what if we’re in the matrix” dilemma. After all you must trust your senses and inner sensations in order to read scripture and reach any kind of conclusion about anything. It’s annoying how general philosophical or social problems are spun into problems for atheism specifically.

    “6. Can science prove that God does/does not exist?”

    Nope. A god, if one (or several) exist, is not a phenomenon that can be studied. It is invisible, absent or non-existent.

    “7. Do you believe that Darwinian evolution is true?”

    Yes, though not because I am an atheist. Atheists simply have no reason to rail against scientific ideas. The idea that evolution is somehow an atheistic idea is a myth, science is not sectarian. Unlike faith based areas, science is based on objective tests, experiments, predictions, so a consensus is possible. If you put every atheist scientist in the world in a rocket and shot it to the moon it would change the percentage of biologists who accept evolution by a fraction of a percent.

    “8. How do you account for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?”

    How do you account for the immaculate conception of alexander the great by zeus’ lightning which struck his virgin mother? I suspect your answer is the same as mine, “I don’t”. I don’t believe everything people said 2,000 years ago, and miracle stories in ancient times were probably even more common (and much more fantastical) than urban legends are today. The so-called historical evidence of the resurrection is a few people mentioning the story who hadn’t been born when it supposedly happened.

  4. Questionnaires. Yippy. Why so you want to know?, I’m interested.

    1) Yes, I was raised in a deeply religious home, and regularly went to church. My father was an atheist, but became a born-again Christian when I was five. I became a born-again Christian at age 18. I left the church when I was about 25-27, I forget. I recognized myself to be an atheist at age 32. My father is now again an atheist after about 25 years of being a Christian.

    Denominations: Dutch Reformed, and His People Church (a part of Every Nation, a non-denominational group of churches)

    2) No, I say the evidence for God’s existence is weak, and insufficient to warrant belief (that is why faith is required). The “strongest” evidences on offer is that people have subjective experiences, a lot of people believe it’s true, and the bible. None of which is compelling. All apologist arguments that I’ve come across, such as the argument from design etc., have flaws and so I reject them.

    3) I *know* atheism is not a world view. It is a position on one topic: the existence or non-existence of a God or Gods.

    Atheists have worldviews, and many share the same worldview. Typically Secular Humanism or Skepticism.

    There are atheist communities. There are atheist movements.

    There is not an atheist worldview. There is no atheist dogma or rituals. There is not an atheist religion.

    4) No.

    Certainty or absolute truth is a useless and dishonest notion.

    5) I’m not sure if I’m a materialist; I’ve not researched the philosophical position. But from a cursory inspection, I’d say I broadly agree with the position.

    I don’t understand the question, “what makes you think you can trust your own mind” in relation to materialism. Maybe I don’t understand the position well enough.

    My understanding is that a materialist believes that the mind (let’s rather say consciousness) is a pure product of natural processes.

    If the question is, “how do you know your consciousness is not also a product of something supernatural that can live on after the body is dead?”, my answer is, I don’t know that. But, I don’t believe my consciousness can survive death, because there’s no reason to think there is a supernatural realm. I’ve never seen a mind out of a physical form. Also, evidence from brain damage victims suggests that consciousness is purely a function of the brain.

    With regards to the question of how do I know that can I trust my mind. I don’t. I could be a brain in a vat. There is no way to disprove it. But solipsism is not useful in any way, and even if it’s true, it doesn’t change anything.

    6) Can science disprove God? For belief that God doesn’t exist, yes. For knowledge that God doesn’t exist, no.

    Can science prove God? If God, being supernatural (and hypothetical), chooses to interact with the natural world, yes. If God chooses not to interact with the natural world, no.

    7) Yes, I believe evolution is a fact. I don’t understand people who do not; it doesn’t even disprove God, so I remain baffled by people who won’t accept it. The scientific theory has amassed a phenomenal amount of evidence; more than Darwin ever hoped for. The theory–the only theory we have to explain the diversity of life–has withstood over a 150 years’ worth of vigorous attempts to disprove it, and it has matured. The vast majority of scientist accept it, and the research into the topic reveals that denial of the theory is a remarkable claim to make. To disprove the theory is virtually impossible at this point, and extraordinary unlikely. Kind of like the theory of gravity.

    8) It can’t be proven definitively that Jesus the man even existed. He could have, and probably did. But there is no evidence that he violated the laws of nature and death. It’s not very likely, is it? I don’t account for his resurrection. That’s the believer’s job.

    That was fun, have a good one,

  5. 1. Yup. Was raised Liberal Roman Catholic.

    2. I say there is no good evidence that I have seen for a god or gods existing.

    3. Not as I understand the word, no. Atheism is a single position on a single issue that could be, and is, a part of many different worldviews.

    4. Depends how you define the word ‘certain’. I am as certain that there is no god as I am certain there are no aliens abducting people and mutilating livestock. Both positions are, of course, open to changing depending on new evidence.

    5. I don’t know if I am a materialist. I trust my own brain pragmatically, as I have little other choice, and look for confirmation from other minds to see if there is disagreement. If there is, I investigate to see if I can find the reason for that disagreement. It’s a very loose kind of trust.

    6. Depends on the claims about said god. If a person makes a claim about a god that science can test, then science can test that claim.

    7. I believe that evolution is true. Saying “Darwinian” implies many things. But as the science has changed significantly since Darwin’s time, I have no compunction to attach his particular name to the solid scientific theory that is evolution.

    8. I do not believe there is good or sufficient evidence that it ever took place.

  6. Usually, these innocent question posts end up the equivalent of asking “When did you stop beating your wife?”, but what the hell, I’m up early and waiting to climb…
    1. Southern Baptist to age 14, non-religious believer into my 20’s (spent the better part of a decade trying to save God).
    2. Do you mean, do I think induction can lead to a conclusion about an a priori metaphysical postulate? In that case, um, no.
    3. I don’t think atheism is a worldview (What the hell is a worldview anyway?). It is a position on the compatibility of a certain metaphysical postulate with one’s other necessary commitments.
    4. I am certain that I cannot make sense of dualism except as a bare assertion (on some level).
    5. I don’t trust my own mind! I’m stuck with my sensory experience, though – language and identity are utterly dependent on it, even in all but the most extreme rationalism. It gives me my conception of consistency, however approximate and incomplete my knowledge may be. My capability for knowledge is limited.
    6. No, as you should surmise from what I’ve said already.
    7. Evolution is the best available explanation for our observations regarding the development of and relationships within biology. It is not philosophy or theology and if your philosophy or theology is dependent on the scientific validity of evolutionary theory, then I’m sorry, but you are an idiot.
    8. I’m afraid I don’t see how that could actually happen as presented in the biblical account. Count me with Thomas.

  7. 1) Yes. Catholicism. Even have been an “altar boy”, my mom even suspected that I might become a priest then.

    2) Yes, I would say that.

    3) No, for a world view it contains not enough. It’s the lack of belief in any god(s), but it does not entail anything else, so it’s not enough to be a complete worldview. It’s a view on a specific question about the world. But “worldview” is not quite well defined, so it’s a little bit of a grey area.

    4) Nope. I am also an agnostic, but just because the god idea is not falsifiable. God shares this “quality” with invisible flying unicorns, so for me this quality doesn’t make his existence likely.

    5) Either I can trust my own mind or not. If not, then thinking about this question doesn’t make any sense, as I cannot trust my thoughts. So I assume I can trust my own mind, because the alternative (even if it may be true) doesn’t lead anywhere.

    6) The pure theistic idea of “some divine being”? Nope. As I mentioned, it’s not falsifiable (“God works in mysterious ways” -> Everything is possible). The Christian god? Yes, it can prove that he doesn’t exist, at least in theory. It already proved that the literal interpretation of the bible is nonsense. It is possible, for example, that science finds proof that Jesus did not exist but was invented by some fraudster (just an example, I don’t think that this is true, personally, I assume that were was a guy in that age on which the legend of Jesus was based – I Just don’t believe that he would recognize himself if he read the texts written about him after his death). This would seriously disprove Christianity and the aspect of god that is Jesus. So it’s possible (theoretically) to disprove any religion that makes specific claims about its god with science, yes.

    7) I accept that it is true. To use the word “believe” here is comparing a scientific theory, based on thousands of facts, thousands of pieces of evidence with religion, something you have to take on by faith, without evidence.

    8) If I write a book in which I tell about the resurrection of my pet hamster, Harvey, how would you account for that? Same way… Either the author lied, was deceived, is an idiot or crazy. Chances, that it really happened are pretty slim.

  8. 1. Did you ever have any “religious upbringing”? If so what denomination if any?
    When I was younger, BAPTIST, but as I got older non-denominational
    2. Do you say there is no evidence for God?
    I would say it is better to say…”There is NO GOOD evidence for God.”
    3. Do you feel that atheism is a worldview?
    no, I call it a conclusion
    4. Are you certain there is no God?
    Atleast no christian God…. from there I usually conclude, since there is no evidence of the christian biblical god. What reason/evidence do I have for believing in God, and the answer is or what I usually get. “God of Gaps.” But we all know that is not real evidence.
    5. If you are a materialist, what makes you think you can trust your own mind?
    I like the way descartes put it…”I think, therefore I am.” I could be crazy and out of mind, but I doubt it. and so do eveyone else around me.
    6. Can science prove that God does/does not exist?
    Without a clear definition of God, there is no way to prove god does or does not exist. And every definition of God is either contradictory or meaningless
    7. Do you believe that Darwinian evolution is true?
    No, but I am only being technical in my answer. Darwin, believed in spontaneous evolution. That when forms of evolution take place, it took place quickly and rapidly, and plateaued for awhile. He was wrong. Evolution is true, but not the way the original theory of it of how it was written by Darwin.
    8. How do you account for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
    it never happened. there are NO EYEWITNESS accounts, and all historical non-biblical accounts are hearsay and written a full generation after Jesus died.

  9. 1 – yes, evangelical pentecostal
    2 – I say there is no credible evidence for any god
    3 – Atheism is not a world view.
    4 – I’m as certain there is no god as I am that there are no invisible giant purple frogs that follow me around
    5 – the shared experience of others. In the end it is all there is. You must trust yours to believe in a god.
    6 – There is only one thing that can be proven beyond question – and it takes god showing up to prove himself. Everything else is a question of possibility an probability. While it is possible there is a god, the probability is so low as to be curtly dismissed with impunity.
    7 – Evolution is true. There is no need to mention Darwin. The theory has been bolstered since his efforts.
    8 – the story of the ressurection of Jesus is just that, a story. There is zero evidence for it. What most call evidence is the actual claim itself.

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