Answering common questions asked to atheists:
Question 1. ‘Are you a moral relativist or do you believe in absolute morality? In other words, do you believe that cultures, or even individuals, can define their own rules on what is moral and what is not, or do you believe that every action has one unique, absolute, and true moral assessment?’
Relative morality is standards of right and wrong which is a mere product of time and culture. I’m a moral relativist and so is everyone, that’s quite evident when you examine how our moral code has changed and evolved since the ancient times up till modern days. During our life span, we had the religious phase or era, where people all over the world were racing to create a religion that will appeal to their people, back then the morality presented in those teachings matched the moral codes of that era, because it was written by people among them who share similar principles and appreciate similar values, so its not surprising that people back then had no problem accepting those religions because its consistent with their worldview, but the main question here are ancient religions consistent with our current worldview??
Nop! – Several civilizations have passed, and our morality has evolved accordingly to the better, our current morality certainly does not match the morality found in ancient religions.
If morals are absolute and are only revealed through god/religion, then can you explain why our morality code today doesn’t match the morality of the religious era? If those holy books are true and divine, then why all religious people feel the need to assess the moral codes in their holy scriptures? And why are believers picking and choosing some teachings that match our current worldview while ignoring the rest? … How did they arrive to such conclusions anyways, the idea that some teachings are outdated and should be dismissed? Didn’t they compare it with the current moral code accepted by all and hence concluded that it just doesn’t fit?… If you think your book is a moral compass, why did you use your own internal compass to judge it & to be able to differentiate between the right and wrong (outdated) teachings??
Clearly religions wasn’t the source of morality, it came from an internal source called- humanity!!
If we haven’t relied on our humanity, and if we haven’t listened to our conscious, we would be a bunch of clueless uncompassionate beasts. All believers would be supremacists, misogynists and sexists. All Christians would practice slavery and stone their children if they disobeyed. All Muslims would stone their women to death if they committed adultery, and all women must be obedient to men because they’re intellectually degraded. All Jews would have no problem cheating, stealing, and killing gentiles…. Why not? All those teachings exist among the other holy scriptures that preaches love, peace and harmony… and they are all the words of a character described as a divine GOOD MORAL GOD, how dare you claim you are a true believer then judge his/her/their teachings?
I really don’t get the hypocrisy of the believers! – They select few teachings that appeals to them while ignoring the rest, then they expect people to judge their religion solely based on the good bits rather than the whole book, which includes insane vile and inhumane teachings. Sorry I think religious people are delusional and biased when it comes to their own religion. They tend to complicate their religion beyond belief, they’re constantly coming up with theories to explain their holy verses, and then at the same time they try to convince you that their books are the words of an all knowing, all loving wise god, pffft!!…. The way I read a religious text is similar to any other book, if something is factually wrong or immoral, I dismiss the book as a whole and the author will be regarded as a non-creditable, non-ethical and a badly informed writer.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted. Only belief in God makes people moral.
Furthermore, if you claim your morals are absolute, communicated to us by a divine power through only one specific righteous religion, then how can you explain those same morals exits among all religions, and it existed before your religion was even ‘revealed’? How people all over the world were able to arrive to similar moral principles? So what makes your religion more right and their religion less right or wrong? ….Moreover, those same morals happen to be followed by all people whether believers OR non-believers. The believers are not all monotheists, there are polytheists, pagan-worshipers and other spiritual believers, for instance there are billions of people who believe in Buddhism, unlike the Abrahamic religions Buddhists don’t believe in a god figure or godly punishment (hell), another example is traditional Chinese religion, which is a belief in ancestral spirits. Japanese, Chinese and Buddhists are billions in total, Are all those people immoral? Or is their moral code flawed and unperfected? Is Ghandi, Buddha, Confucius, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Galileo to name few immoral? or are they few exceptional moral individuals, and its unlikely to have many people who share such principles and worldview?
“There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan’s 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful moral lives… There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominately non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies.”
Simply, there is no set of morals that are absolute, every culture has its own unique set of morals and values, even though we all have basic common moral codes that are consistent within every culture, but we also disagree on few points. What you may consider to be right may be viewed by other cultures as wrong.
Question 2. Where do you get your morals from?
Note: this question is clearly related to the previous one, I’ll add few bits to it tho:
LOL, I love how most believers assume atheists are immoral or they rather don’t appreciate morality as defined and outlined by our culture and society. To them atheist are immoral, unethical and have criminal tendencies because they no real reason to believe in right and wrong, or even to behave kindly and sacrificially toward others.
Based on their perspective can we assume all crimes are committed by atheist, because they have NO reason to be moral?
The idea that atheists have no reason to be moral without a god or religion may be the most popular and repeated myth about atheism. They base their assumption on the belief that the only valid source of morality is a theistic religion, of course preferably the religion of the speaker or doubter.
So from where atheists get their morals from? Duuh, from the same place believers get it from! We don’t not take our laws from religions, its true several teachings happen to be consistent with our moral code, but our true sense of morality is derived from empathy, social Interaction, and reasoning. As human intelligence and life quality increased, people developed and advanced their means of communication and co-operation, since morality builds and binds. Hence our empathy, social Interaction, and reasoning increased along i.e. our morality evolved with time. When individuals are born, they adapt to the morality of their era, they learn from their upbringing and their surrounding culture.
Live and let Live
Morality is product of Social Evolution and its not divine, it’s evident not only among the human species but also among animals. The most integrated form of societies can be found in the social insects: ants, bees and termites. Human society is much less strongly integrated but much more complex. ‘Social evolution describes the evolution of societies and civilizations based upon selective traits that are advantageous for the entire society to survive as an entity based in the stressors of the environment that the society was built in. Individual Morals are explained through Learning Cognitive theory, which is a fancy phrase for explaining personal choices in psychological development, through studying human behaviour and understanding the thought processes’.
Sometimes it’s clear that this myth about atheists immorality is not offered in all seriousness, some believers bring up this topic to prove atheists are believers-in- denial, because they don’t really believe that atheists can’t care for others. Instead, they are trying to show that because atheists do care for others, then atheists believe in “non-material” things like love and thus they’re not really materialists after all. Clearly here believers fail to distinguish between emotions and a belief in super-natural figure.
Religious belief is not self-correcting. It only corrects itself when it does not agree with the current moral or scientific understanding of the world. And even then, it does not so much “correct” as “ignore” whatever dogma violates the current moral/scientific understanding. And it’s always behind, playing catch-up with the secular world.
The theist version of morality is based in coercion. Be ‘good’ or else, and their definition of ‘good’ is rife with other programming such as ‘being faithful, never doubting.’ …’Be good or else’ cannot produce real morality in a person. Morality at gunpoint is not morality, and can only produce a sort of blind obedience based in fear, never any real moral sense such as empathy for others or unclnditional love. Morality born in self-centeredness is at best, an imago, an illusion, of real morality.
Life is much more beautiful when you start to see it with your mind instead of your fears…When you do something good just because it is good and not for fear of losing your way to heaven, this good deed is doubled in size!!
Question 3. Is absence of proof the proof of absence?
So often science is linked to this question, creationists/believers/thiests ALWAYS argue that the lack of evidence and scientific reasoning does not really mean that god doesn’t exit.
First and foremost, Atheist often rely on science to understand many aspects of our life, however science is irrelevant to atheism. Just because there isn’t any evidence for the existence of a god, doesn’t mean one automatically trusts any science as an alternative.
Atheists don’t have a monopoly on science, and atheism is NOT based on science, it’s based on the lack of evidence instead of the failure of ‘testable evidence’ to disprove the existence of a divine power….Testable evidence is all what science is based on, while lack-of-evidence produces a reasonable line of thought called atheism!
Testable evidence is essential to prove or disapprove any given scientific hypothesis, disapproving evidence is even far more important to prove. Since in this case there is NO testable evidence to prove the existence of a creator, then it is nothing but a hypothesis. If you wish, you can still argue that lack of evidence doesn’t disprove the existence of a god, but I personally do not see the logic in believing in a hypothesis that cannot be proven or disproven at all, why bother??
Every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out, “It is a matter of faith, and above reason.”
– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
There is NO reason to believe in a god who is clearly a horrible engineer and happen to have human characteristics like jealousy, angry and vengeful..etc….The following quote by Epicurus quote sums it up all for me:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
Most atheists entirely reject the concept that ‘absence of proof is not a proof of absence’, which is indeed a very reasonable way of thinking…..However, the way I see it, the concept of god could ONLY be accepted as a “speculative hypothesis” which requires blind faith to believe in, it is speculative because it’s a random unreasonable hypothesis suggested by speculators &/or philosophers who clearly have no scientific background. It also cannot be defined merely as a hypothesis, because a hypothesis is supposed to be a prediction that CAN be tested, if it’s proven correct repeatedly it becomes a valid theory from which we can derive facts from, BUT the ideology of god remains an empty, vague and un-testable hypothesis. Simply there isn’t a shred of evidence supporting the existence of a god!
of course if the idea of god can be accepted as a speculative hypothesis, this of course does not include the concept of heaven/hell/judgment day/after-life/angles/satan which are even much more speculative than the idea of god. ..Frankly all those are fanatic ideas and assumptions promoted in various religions… It’s a pagan-ish concept, adopted by the religious dictators to keep the sheep in line.
Evidence for god verses evidence for religion:
I think one should distinguish between the lack of evidence regarding the existence of god, and the testable evidence that refutes religions as a whole i.e. the teachings presented in holy books.
Diverse fields such as evolution, genetics, biology, archaeology, geology and astronomy, along with the estimated age of the earth and fossils, the age of minerals like oil, and the estimated life span of different species ALL refutes religious texts – which suggests that life on earth was initiated by an eternal force only 6000 years ago, and earth was created in 6 days. (Note unlike the bible the Quran does not state the age of the earth but it does also state that the earth was created in 6 days)….In fact the earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, which evolved repeatedly to reach the current form. Also how did this god create days before the universe was created? The length of a day differs from one planet to another, it is determined by the distance of planets from the sun and the orbit of the planets, i.e the length of a day must have been determined after the universe was created. Some believers like to assume that god’s days differs from human days! So why he didn’t bother to make that clear to us in his holy book or at least mention the age of the earth and the universe…how can you make such vague assumption to cover up god’s errors?
The most absurd of all is the idea that all diverse species descend back to only two kinds of each species which survived with Noah, in fact we all descend to a stock of people who lived in Africa, probably 50 or 100 people or even thousands. It has been genetically proven that we do not come from one male and one female ancestor.
There are allot of obvious scientific, mathematical and historic errors in holy books which contradicts simple facts known to us today!
Nevertheless, one can still argue that such evidence can only be used to examine and assess written religious doctrines, however its irrelevant to the hypothesis of god, I kinda understand the agnostic perspective here, that there is no sufficient evidence ‘yet’ to refute or prove the idea of divine power, and hence some people feel safe to ‘believe’ in the hypothesis that god exits. It’s their choice and I’ll respect it…. Personally I really don’t think its logical to believe in a man-made assumption, its completely irrational to do so!
That’s why I am atheist rather than agnostic tho the latter is a far more attractive concept to most people who begun to realize that religions are products of man, because they can still speculate that there will be a better life after death and you’ll get to meet all your loved ones, family and friends, its really a beautiful illusion hard to give up, I wish it is true, tho I prefer to accept reality than live in denial and dream of fantasies. Simply the denial involved in such an assertion is unworthy of science and philosophy, and even contradicts empirical logic.
Evolution vs. Creationism:
Here is an example of believers who support both religion and evolution. Professor Kenneth Miler (a cell biologist and a professor in Brown university) speaks for evolution and he acknowledges that belief in god is merely a faith that is not testable and cannot be scientifically explained.
Evolution verses Abiogenisis:
I’ve met very few rational believers who have actually read about evolution before attacking it, however the reaction of those who read a little bit on this topic lead me to realize that they’re extremely biased in the way they interrupt such topics, because they tend to ignore all the evidence and cling into one vague argument. Many will come up with such arguments: ‘There is no scientific explanation for the origin of life. If the evolution theory was correct there would be multitudes of new life begin created that could be proved repeatedly under scientific scrutiny. As it exists this has never been observed so therefore I reject it, if you think of it logically”.
The Evolution is NOT a science that studies or explains the origins of life, research about ‘Abiogenisis’ if you’re interested in such studies. Evolution just explains the diversity of life not its origin. In the field of Abiogenisis, there are allot of theories about the origins of life being investigated and various evidence are still being collected on the matter, there is no need to rush or to make up vague assumptions.
This video explain evolution in the simplest way possible
“Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. After a population splits into smaller groups, these groups evolve independently and may eventually diversify into new species. Ultimately, life is descended from a common ancestry through a long series of these speciation events, stretching back in a tree of life that has grown over the 3.5 billion years of life on Earth. This is visible in anatomical, genetic and other likenesses between groups of organisms, geographical distribution of related species, the fossil record and the recorded genetic changes in living organisms over many generations. To distinguish from other uses of the word evolution, it is sometimes termed biological evolution, genetic evolution or organic evolution@- (Hall, B. K.; Hallgrímsson, B., eds. 2008)
First of all, Evolution proves modern life is a product of successive generations that evolved repeatedly with every passing millions of years, modern day species descend to ancestors who lived millions and millions years ago. Every form is a transitional form, because it’s part way between what its distant ancestor was and what its distant offspring will be, so we are transitional forms as well, we’re not the final form of the human species, we continue to evolve, this is quite evident in genetics studies that examines the genetic mutations of individuals all over the world…..Yet creationists claim they’re being rational, and they demand scientist to create life within a year or so to prove evolution, LOL. It takes millions of years to see changes observable to the naked eye.
Every single fossil we have ever found is a transitional fossil. To be more specific we have dozens of transitional fossils relating to human evolution. I can provide you with several examples, however you can actually find this yourself by simply going to wikipedia and typing in ‘human fossils.’
Mirco-evolution verses Macro evolution:
Many believers who have actually read about evolution support micro-evolution while denying macro evolution. Which is really laughable, the only difference between both is TIME, the more times passes by, more changes occur, and the more it becomes observable.
Micro-evolution is not different from macro evolution. If you believe that micro-evolution happens, is it not natural to see that something resembling what happens on a larger time scale?
Micro to macro: Apes to Man- how are bones structure evolved
The Journey of Man: watch this brilliant documentary “that talks about our evolution, our recent history, and how we came to be to the way we are today. It looks at the Y chromosome, that’s passed down from male to male, and tracks the marker mutations to map our ancestors’ journey. It’s how we conquered the Earth in just the last 59,000 years.”