I found this list on godlessmom.com and thought I'd respond to these questions as well. She found the list originally here, and after I read her responses I couldn't wait to get two cents in. I hope this encourages debate among both the faithful and the atheistic and those in between. We know who you are you agnostics, don't keep riding the fence!
1. How would you define atheism?
I would define Atheism as the lack of belief in any god or deity or fate or any such conceivable power or any fatalistic force in the universe. My individual responsibility to myself and others around me is what guides my choices.2. Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack of belief in God)?I don't act in accordance with a lack of a belief in God (I don't make sure to NOT pray before I go to bed, for example), but the lack thereof does cause changes in my worldview. Since there is no God, this one shot life we have is much more important and precious as a result. As such, I appreciate life more. This also makes disasters and loss of human life much more tragic than if you believed they were all 'going to Heaven' for example.
This is not a picture of heaven, either.
3. Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist?
On the contrary, I believe it would be preposterous for someone who lacks a belief in God to not want to show others that he doesn't exist. This is Human nature. Atheists want to be accepted and have their ideas valued just like anyone else. This is why people that do believe also go around and try to spread their ideas, as opposed to 'just being cool with believing what they believe'.
4.How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
As the most reliable evidence currently available is in line with what one would expect were there no God, I am 100% certain there isn't one until there is evidence to support any claim otherwise. Any doubt on my part would be a waste of time, as there is no evidence to support any other possibility.
5. How sure are you that your atheism is correct?
100% certain, as the evidence is what dictates the objective reality. Anything less would be pure unfounded speculation on my part.
6. How would you define what truth is?
Truth is the objective reality that exists outside of ourselves and our emotions. This is mapped out by the laws of physics, and the scientific principles that govern the universe.
7. Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?
Because I am able to justify my position with an impressive body of evidence as well as the lack thereof to support any contrary claim. Also, I do not need to resort to personal justifications that involve feeling or belief in order to make my case.
8. Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?
I am an Individualist. I believe in the awesome power of man's reasoning, and his limitations imposed by society and personal responsibility.
9. Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not?
Atheism is not a worldview in the same way that Christianity or any other form of theism is. However, once a mind is opened to new possibilities, it becomes easier for that mind to be more rational and skeptical, which is why many atheists tend to have a lack of belief in many different theologies and mysticisms.
10. Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?
I have a three year old daughter who I want to be able to live a full and exciting life. She has an inalienable right to do so. Right now, many religious persons believe in some form or another, that the world will end; a staggering number of them believe it will be within their lifetime. Is it really wise to let these people be in control of foreign policy, or nuclear weapons stockpiles? Is it fair to my child, or the millions of other children around the world, if some religious zealot (or person of average religious zeal, even) makes the decision to push the proverbial button? What about all the harm religion has done throughout the centuries? Whether you think yourself that person or not, as a religious person, you are more susceptible to these pitfalls, as a willingness to believe in something without evidence breeds an inability or unwillingness to utilize reason to guide your actions.
11. If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?
I used to be a believer, but the lack of not only sufficient evidence, but ANY evidence whatsoever, overpowered my ability to live in ignorance.
12. Do you believe the world would be better off without religion? Yes.
13. Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity? Yes.
14. Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?
Actually, the lack of a belief in God is really the exception to the rule as far as nature is concerned. Human beings are made with an enlarged frontal lobe, which leaves us at a genetic disadvantage from birth, as an enlarged frontal lobe is more conducive to belief systems and finding patterns where there are none. The fact that Human beings, as self-aware creatures, can break away from their own shortcomings to follow the evidence is nothing short of an amazing accomplishment.
15. Must God be known through the scientific method?
In order for him to be a quantifiable, measurable force in the universe, yes. I will say that, if I were to be approached by God in my living room, that I would probably be made a believer. This does not, however, indicate and objective truth; this only indicates that I have seen something that I cannot verify or prove in any way. So therefore, it may as well not have happened at all as far as anyone else is concerned.
16. If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?
If God is immaterial and can never be defined, then there is no use for me or anyone else to believe in him. Any number of unquantifiable and immeasurable things may be proclaimed, but it is not in my best interest to believe them all just because there is a slight possibility that they may exist. That would just be a tremendous waste of time, and nothing meaningful would ever be accomplished.
17. Do we have any purpose as human beings?
No. No one is born for a reason, no one chooses to exist, and there is no purpose beyond that which you may assign for yourself. This only gives your existence more meaning and freedom, as you are not bound by fate or destiny and you are therefore fully responsible for yourself and all of your actions.
18. If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
Purpose comes from the individual. Whatever that person deems important to do can become a purposeful task for them.19. Where does morality come from?Morality is objective in that things that are moral (or immoral) for someone to do in America are still just as moral in Egypt or vice versa. The concept of morality and actions derived from it exist outside of any one individual.
20. Are there moral absolutes? Yes.
21. If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
Do not do anything that harms anyone else physically or economically or otherwise prohibits someone's ability to pursue happiness.
22. Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?
No. People either make bad choices, or are flawed in such a way that they are incapable of making a sound choice for themselves, and as a result may harm others.
23. If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
I understand that the concept of the Old Testament God is morally bad, in that many acts of murder are either directly attributed to him, or are committed in his name.
24. What would it take for you to believe in God?
Peer-reviewed, independently reproducible results that empirically prove his existence.
25. What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
Having peer-reviewed, independently reproduced findings that prove it.
26. Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what? Yes.
27. Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why?
A society run by Atheists would be one based in rationality and reason. People would strive to make changes themselves instead of leaving things to God or prayer to fix for them. Or better yet, we would take action, as opposed to believing that things will be better for us after our deaths.
28. Do you believe in free will (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion)?
I believe in limited free will. I cannot, for example, make my thumb wriggle itself free from my hand and dance around the room. However, the actions I can take are governable by a morality that is independent of myself and as such they can be evaluated for their adherence to that morality.
© Zbigniew Kościelniak | Dreamstime Stock Photos
My brain is telling me to shoot you, it's not MY fault!
My brain is telling me to shoot you, it's not MY fault!
So, what do you think? Do you disagree? Feel free to share your disagreements below, and if you want to answer these questions yourself, go right ahead!
29. If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
We are self-aware creatures, this much is evident. If I am aware that my actions may be affected by neuro-chemical triggers in the brain, then it behooves me to make sure that my actions are able to be defended morally before I even act. Therefore, if our brains are controlled by a chemical impulse system, we still have the responsibility to make sure that our actions are justifiable and are not impeding upon someone else's right to liberty. This is easily accomplished by using reason to establish an independent morality.
30. If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not? How does one lead to the other?
Evolution is merely a byproduct of the environment and what happens when only certain genes survive as a result of being fit to live in a given environment. If there were a situation in the universe that permitted a species to become pure energy or thought as a result of only creatures with those characteristics surviving to pass on their genes (i.e. not getting eaten or otherwise dying before reproducing) then it is conceptually possible for such a being to exist. Whether or not that being is a 'deity' is merely speculation, as there is no evidence to support such a claim. As far as the universe, there is also evidence to support that it may someday shrink and become a singularity again, or that the big bang that caused our universe to form may not be a singular event.
31. If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?
Nothing is impossible, only improbable. However, if all of the evidence is to the contrary, then there is no reason for me to waste my time seeking to prove established scientific principles wrong.
Chris Baca is a 25 year old father and husband. He lives with his loving wife Audrey, and his amazing and intelligent daughter Ella in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chris is the author of the recently published, “Day In & Day Out” This e book can be purchased at Smashwords here: http://bit.ly/1m2TwdA, or at Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1gHwaLk.