articles and opinions on the absurdity and danger of religious beliefs
Written by Tim Sellers
This continues from Atheism : a definition and is a collection of my general thoughts on the subject rather than a structured essay. Comments (see below) are un-moderated (but obvious spam and trolling will be removed).
I am a strong atheist; I am as sure as I can be that no gods exist. I have been accused of being closed minded for not accepting the possibility of the existence of god, and have been told that I would need perfect knowledge of the universe to say without doubt that god does not exist. I don't agree.
The gods from specific religions are based entirely on ancient texts. The bible, to use one example, is nothing more than a self-contradicting collection of myths and legends. It makes absurd claims and doesn't even attempt to back them up with evidence. To state positively that the gods from these "holy books" do not exist is no more arrogant or closed minded than stating that Santa Claus does not exist.
Many people who do not follow a specific religion use the word god to refer to an un-defined universal creator. However, a definition of "universe" is "everything that exists anywhere" and the creator of the universe would have to already exist outside the universe he created . . . but there is nothing outside of everything that exists anywhere. Some people try to get around this problem with talk of other dimensions or different universes, but the question always expands to fill the gaps. If "our" universe was created by a god in another universe, what created that other universe?
I am sure that most people cling onto these god beliefs because they feel that the universe "needs" a creator. However, the first cause argument (the contradictory idea that everything that exists has a cause so there must have been an initial "uncaused cause" to start it all off) is clearly flawed in the same way that the argument from design is flawed - if complex life forms need a creator, surely the creator of these complex life forms would be significantly more complex and itself need a creator?
There are some arguments that I wish non believers would refrain from using though.
The fact that evil exists is not proof that god cannot exist. This would only be true if evil was a force in itself. Good and bad, right and wrong tend to be subjective rather than absolute.
I also wish that people wouldn't use apparently paradoxical arguments to attempt to disprove the existence of gods. A paradox is, more often than not, merely a complication of language. The most common example of this is the question "could god create a rock so heavy that he could not lift it?". Presumably a god could create a rock of infinite mass - the fact that he would still be able to lift it wouldn't mean that he had failed the omnipotence test! The question itself makes no sense. It is as meaningless as wondering if god would be able to create a "square circle" or make 2 + 2 = 5.
Finally, to clear up some misconceptions -
1. Atheism had no connection with any political viewpoint (I have been called a communist because of my atheism many times!)
2. Atheism has no connection with morals. Atheists can be good or bad (although I would argue that an atheist with morals is better than a theist who only does good things because he fears his gods wrath).
3. Atheists hate god (an atheist cannot hate something he does not believe exists!)
4. Atheists believe in god but pretend not to so as to carry on with their debauched lifestyle (that would be foolish - who would we be kidding? And why assume that an atheist will have a debauched lifestyle?)