Why I’m an Atheist (The Simple Version, for Future Reference)

I get a lot of e-mails and messages on facebook and whatnot from people asking why I’m an atheist. So I figured I’d just give a short and sweet answer right here, so that if anyone asks in the future, I can just throw out a link rather than have to answer the same damn question over and over ad nauseum.

So here it goes…

I am indeed an atheist. This means I do not believe in any kind of god or gods. I also do not believe in any supernatural realm or realms outside of the physical world we’re all familiar with.

I am not an atheist because I think I have scientific proof that there isn’t a god.

I am not an atheist because I can’t reconcile a loving god with the evil present in our universe.

I am not an atheist because I’m “angry at god.” (Probably because that would be every bit as stupid as being angry at Santa Claus)

I am not an atheist because I’m disgusted by religious fundamentalism and the inanity done in the name of religion.

I am not an atheist because of the inconsistencies, contradictions and hypocrisies found within every single faith and/or holy book.

And I’m not an atheist because I think it’s hip or cool.

I am an atheist for one reason, and one reason only…

I have not been shown any evidence for a god.

If you propose the existence of an entity, you must use the scientific method to defend its existence. That is how adults with sense determine what is true and what isn’t. The burden of proof lies on you to provide evidence for your silly beliefs, not on me to explain why I don’t believe in things like talking snakes and Jewish zombies. That burden has not been met, to any capacity.

Until it is, I have no reason to listen to you, to take you seriously, or to suppose that your god is anything more than a figment of your imagination.

14 thoughts on “Why I’m an Atheist (The Simple Version, for Future Reference)

  1. First off, “the scientific method” connot prove the existence of everything that exists nor do we demand that it should. Science cannot prove my emotional state for instance. What I mean by we do not demand that scientific methods should prove the existence of everything which does in fact exist is this, every time we are driving in our cars and we come to a bridge do we feel the need to pull the car over and inspect the bridge for any missing parts or potential weak points? No. Instead we are simply able to use reason such as, observing the fact that considering the rate of traffic on that particular day it stands to reason that many cars have crossed the bridge within the last few hours and considering that the bridge still stands, it also stands to reason that the bridge must be safe. So, there are some things even which may mean life or death that we accept simply by reason rather than by scientific proof. I can appricate someone who insists on reason or logic as evidence for any particular world view. Therefor I suggest you read much much more on the subject and then attempt to write this again. I would challenge you to read Albert Einstien’s views as a deist, Isaac Newton’s views as a Christian, Antony Flew’s considerations as a globally recognized proponent of Atheistic philosophy who, four years before his death, accepted that there was in fact a God. I could continue, but that should be a good start.

  2. This is a stupid argument, and it quite neatly demonstrates the talent many theists have of conveniently nudging their beliefs beyond the realm of rational discourse.

    The bottom line is, if you propose the existence of a god, then it’s up to you to demonstrate a good rational case for it.

    Einstein, as you should know, if indeed you are familiar with Einstein, said quite plainly that the only god he would be willing to accept is Spinoza’s god. Einstein and Spinoza believed that, if you define “god” as the set of natural laws that govern the universe, one would have to be a fool to deny that this god exists. But this god is completely different from the gods of the world’s religions in almost every conceivable way. This god can be shown to exist.

    From what I can tell after having read There is a God, Antony Flew merely adopts the same standpoint, but leans a bit further into allowing the possibility of supernatural intervention. However, he rejects Christianity along with all the other world religions, and pretty much for the same reason the rest of us do. NO EVIDENCE. (eSkeptic had a pretty good overview of his main points and why they fail, if you’re interested)

    And seriously, Newton?! Granted, Newton was a brilliant man, and we owe much of our modern physics and math to him, but for chrissake, he also believed in alchemy. Being brilliant, unfortunately, doesn’t exempt you from being susceptible to silly unfounded beliefs. Newton’s views on Christianity and his arguments for it are every bit as weak as the modern arguments.

    And by the way, a reasonable, logical argument would be good evidence for a god, provided that it meets the philosophical requirements for a good explanation. Namely, that it is consistent, explains phenomenon more precisely than alternatives, is simple, conciliates disparate phenomena, makes accurate predictions, has past explanatory success, and is consistent with our background knowledge.

    “God did it,” fails on every single one of these counts.

  3. Stupid? Really? I simply mentioned the idea of reason and logic and you respond by calling such things “stupid”. Either you were confused about my statements or I missed the boat way back when logic was abandoned in the pursuit of truth. If you’ll take notice, you may observe that I made no mention of any personal or specific religious god. If you feel that I did, you might point out where I did so. You simply made the exact same point that I made while you were attempting, I think, to contradict or refute my statements. As I said, Einstein beleived that there was a god, and that it was god who was ultimately originally responsible for the universe. Flew also beleived that there was a god. They did not belive in a personal god and I made no claim to beleive in such a thing either. As an atheist you would believe in no such god as Einstein and Flew believed in. And you would say that these men after decades of dedicated study ultimately believed in something that was absurd. As for Eistein’s view of Spinoza’s god, this was mentioned in the book, “Eintsein and Religion” by Max Jammer. You should read it some time, it gives some insight into the extent of Einstein’s veiw of Spinoza. Einstein stated that, “I am not an Atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist”. (Jammer, “Einstein and Religion”) Pantheism was the religion (if you can call it that) of Spinoza. What I am trying to tell you is this, you are in company apart from some of the most brilliant minds that have ever lived, and you just made the statement that reason and logic are stupid. Perhaps you should reconsider.

  4. *facepalm* No, I did not say that reason and logic are stupid. If you’re really interested in having this type of dialog with me or other atheists, it’d be nice if you could demonstrate the ability to listen.

    It’s very simple. Define your god, and prove it. That’s all you have to do. The burden of proof is on you to convince me that whatever permutation of deity you happen to believe in exists. And this holds doubly true if your belief structure makes claims about nature.

    You are not “mentioning the idea of reason and logic.” None of the examples you brought up had anything to do with reason or logic. You’re merely making the age-old argument from authority, as if pointing to a misrepresentation of what a few famous scientists believe(d) does anything to support the case of theism.

    If the extent of your arguments are going to be “read this smart person who believed this” or “read that smart person who believed something else,” then this conversation isn’t worth continuing, especially since I’ve already read and explored all the perspectives you mentioned and remain unconvinced of a sound rational or reasonable argument for a god.

  5. I am not quite sure that you have really so much as dirtied your pith hat throuhought the lentgth of your exploration of my examples, However I’ll ablige you. I’ll begin by offering no apology for respecting and making mention of particular perspectives from men much more brilliant than myself. I believe that these men’s veiwpoints contain enough merit to at least justify tipping them my hat, wouldn’t you agree? When theist supposedly put the burden of truth on the theists, there are three basic questions that emerge: How did life begin, how did the laws of nature originate and how did the universe come in to existence? This is in fact not really placing the burden of proof on the atheists but instead it is the offering of existence itself as proof of god. The atheists claimed it to be bogus evidence, henceforth theists pose the question, if existence is not evidence of a god then what is it evidence of? In order to answer that question, the purpose and origins of life must be explained as the activity of something other than god. So the burden of proof is not really being placed on the atheists, rather the theists are demanding that the atheists support their denial of what is offered by the theists as proof. Now, you know that something cannot come from nothing, so how did existence come to be?

  6. Grammar mistakes forgiven. It happens.

    “When theist supposedly put the burden of truth on the theists, there are three basic questions that emerge: How did life begin, how did the laws of nature originate and how did the universe come in to existence? This is in fact not really placing the burden of proof on the atheists but instead it is the offering of existence itself as proof of god. The atheists claimed it to be bogus evidence, henceforth theists pose the question, if existence is not evidence of a god then what is it evidence of? In order to answer that question, the purpose and origins of life must be explained as the activity of something other than god.”

    Using that reasoning, I can claim that our very existence is clear evidence that space aliens from an alternate universe are responsible for creating our particular universe, and then demand that Christians or Muslims or even atheists provide proof that this isn’t so. Atheists and agnostics (and scientists) have explained many times why that particular brand of “evidence” reveals nothing. You can’t just attach “God did it” to a question that you don’t have the answer to. You need to have a good reason for doing so. First, explain why a god is necessary to explain all those things. Because without that, the default position should always be skepticism.

    “Now, you know that something cannot come from nothing, so how did existence come to be?”

    You’re wrong, first of all. Something can (and did) come from nothing. And it did so without violating any physical laws, and without the help of any supernatural power.

    Second, even if science didn’t have an explanation, that would say absolutely nothing about the existence of a god. All it would say is “we don’t know.” It would be irrational and unreasonable to believe anything extra (like “God did it”), without evidential support.

  7. Oh come now Jeezus! Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss!? Am I really expected to watch this 1.5-hour long video of Dawkins rambling in order to obtain your perspective of the origin of existence? I simply don’t have the time. Can you at least summarize his statements so that I can respond? If he were speaking of quantum physics then I would need you to explain quantum physics and the Copenhagen interpretation of the process by which particles come in to being out of nothing. You would also need to prove to me that the Copenhagen interpretation of vacuum fluctuation is a theory that is conclusively accepted by scientists. I would also need you to explain to me how the quantum vacuum constitutes nothingness by laypeople’s interpretation of the term and clarify any distinction between the black hole of the quantum vacuum and the black hole of the generally accepted concept of nothingness. To tell you the truth, I would rather not get into quantum physics at all, considering the fact that I am not a quantum physicist.

    Now as to your mention of aliens. Must I really comment on this? You know, Dawkins actually left this idea of space aliens open for consideration here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8

    Now, to even entertain the thought that aliens from another universe created an entire adjacent universe to their own creates a never-ending trail of arguments. You see it was atheists who originally questioned a cosmic designer based on the naturally following question, “who designed the designer”. You might say, another cosmic designer, but then who created that designer? Notice, you can already see this logic bending into a circle. Aliens or no, existence of any kind from any universe would ultimately require a being who is not kept by the laws of any universe. Now, you may be calling god an alien. Call him what you want, if he, she, or it created us then I will worship it as God for the sake of my very soul.

    • I gave you a link to the Lawrence Krauss lecture because you insisted that something cannot come from nothing. Indeed it’s a little long, but the physics involved in the formation of the universe is quite complicated, and this is the only lecture I’ve seen where a physicist has been able to properly explain, as simply as possible, (1) how matter comes from non-matter, (2) the model that resulted in this, (3) the evidence that supports that model, and (4) the accurate predictions that have been made using this model.

      There are a few books that deal with this subject, but quite frankly, if you don’t have time to watch an hour-long summary, I doubt you’d be willing to read any of this material (especially since it undermines your case). Is this something we know with 100% certainty? No. Is it well-supported? Yes. A god hypothesis is not only unnecessary to explain how everything came into being, but it is needlessly superfluous as well.

      The clip you posted is from Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It never ceases to amaze me just how shamelessly IDers quote-mine this particular interview. Richard Dawkins was merely pandering to Ben Stein’s question. He said that, if we were to suppose that life were intelligently designed, one possibility would be that aliens from another planet could have done it. But he spent the entire interview (which is uncut on YouTube somewhere) being clear that this is an extremely unlikely scenario, though not as unlikely as a supernatural entity having done the designing. You did seem to notice this subtle distinction, but a lot of people completely miss the point and think that Richard Dawkins actually thinks aliens created life. He doesn’t.

      I never posited the “Who Designed the Designer?” question. The “God did it” explanation is stupid and pointless for many other reasons, which I’ve already listed, but not because the designer requires a designer. Although, if you begin your logic with “something cannot come from nothing,” then it pretty much begs the question. However, I’ll let it slide.

      My point remains. Define your god and prove that this god in particular was necessary for the creation of the universe and life. Don’t just say, “We don’t know, so it must be God.” That isn’t an answer. Until you have some sort of objective reason to support this claim (i.e. evidence), I remain unconvinced.

      People who do not believe in fairies don’t have to justify their lack of belief to those who do.

  8. I’m going to post this debate on my blog just for fun. I will keep your words exactly as you’ve written them; however, I will have to fix some of my grammatical errors… You understand.

  9. I absolutely loved it. I read these off to my religious rommate. . . Needless to say, he quickly shut up and I haven’t heard another peep from him about religion or how it’s his duty to lead me to “salvation”. Thank you.

  10. I came across this and to be honest it made sense to me. I thought to myself here is a guy that is stating clearly why he doesnt believe in God. OK good job. That was until you started that rant at the end…..how disappointing.

  11. lol, I don’t know if it’s actually possible to have a simple logical debate between a religious and a non-religious person. It’s as if 2 people who speak different languages are trying to communicate. I think, statistically speaking, people who still choose to follow traditional, ancient religious dogma just don’t follow science or rational discourse much. Or maybe it’s a fundamental personality difference: people who prefer to simply react to visual stimuli and proven scientific hypothesis r completely different from people who like to use intuition and have an emotional experience of life on this planet & “feel” things rather than analyze them with their minds. I think the need to get into arguments with scientifically aware people while being completely scientifically unaware illustrates an inner insecurity about their faith–if I can’t convince this smart guy that god makes sense then I might have to admit to myself that God doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, the scientist who enjoys disassembling people’s spirituality may have a superiority complex. I’m not sure that science & religion can ever speak on like terms. Science by definition examines the physical realm of our universe. Religion or a belief in God or some entity responsible for our universe is a feeling, just like me saying “I feel happy today.” Scientists don’t use intuition as support for their theories and I don’t think religious people can use logic for something they might feel in their core. I think it’s pointless and impossible for these 2 separate types of groups to try to debate.

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