So if you think at all about God, and do some research, and go to Church, you will come across some very powerful philosophic arguments FOR the existence of God. The big questions are listed below, often listed on a religious website. These are powerful arguments, well though out, and on the surface, very compelling.
But, I ask you to think for yourself, and consider what they say. Your minister/preist/rabbi… will tell you what to think, and for many people, it is easiest if they just follow orders. But you came here and so you are more inquisitive than average. I know you will see the true meaning of these arguments for God’s existence, and
1-If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered, so how do we answer the following questions: Why is there something rather than nothing? This question was asked by Aristotle and Leibniz alike – albeit with differing answers. But it is an historic concern. Why is there conscious, intelligent life on this planet, and is there any meaning to this life? If there is meaning, what kind of meaning and how is it found? Does human history lead anywhere, or is it all in vain since death is merely the end? How do you come to understand good and evil, right and wrong without a transcendent signifier? If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong? If you are content within atheism, what circumstances would serve to make you open to other answers?
JS: Being able to ask a question that no one can answer is not proof of God. I have studies most all major religions, and not one of them can answer this question either. Think about what you were taught about your God. Have you ever been shown why there is something rather than nothing? Who created God? Why was God created?
2– If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault? These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes. The crisis of atheistic meaninglessness is depicted in Sartre’s book Nausea. Without God, there is a crisis of meaning, and these three thinkers, among others, show us a world of just stuff, thrown out into space and time, going nowhere, meaning nothing.
JS: Being an athiest is not a chrisis. Life has much more meaning when God is out of it. Too many people think the real good things come after they die. I feel sorry for anyone who is waiting to die so they finally can experience joy. To us who take responsibility for ourselves, life, and everything around us, life is exhilarating. We don’t blame God, demons, or lack of faith when things go bad. We take responsibility – and control. Prayer makes some people think they are helping others, but we atheist know we actually must DO something if we want to help. Does a believer really think that life has “meaning” when they are told they are a wretch? Most all the people on earth do not beleive in the same god, so is life really that rewarding to those that think most everyone else will burn in hell for all eternity?
3-When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific, as in the regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who saw religion as the problem and worked to eradicate it? In other words, what set of actions are consistent with particular belief commitments? It could be argued, that these behaviors – of the regimes in question – are more consistent with the implications of atheism. Though, I’m thankful that many of the atheists I know do not live the implications of these beliefs out for themselves like others did! It could be argued that the socio-political ideologies could very well be the outworking of a particular set of beliefs – beliefs that posited the ideal state as an atheistic one.
JS: This is simple too easy. Anyone who studies history knows believers and atheists are on both sides of the horror stories. Books are filled with the crimes and horrors commited by the Catholic and Protestant churches. Remember inquistions? Witch burning? America was settled by people thrown out of their coutries because one religion in one country would not tolerate the faith of others. Slavery and the slaghter of so many native people were done in the name of God. It is absurd to propose the notion that beleif in God makes people kinder and gentler. History does not show that. Neither does logic. I believe I am responsible for my actions. Not the devil. Not God. Nor do I do things in God’s name. It is the atheist you can trust more often to do the right thing, because he/she is not going to wait for God to settle and injustice.
4-If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer? Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable. It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort. Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?
Suffering proves there is no god. No prayer ever gets answered. There is no sign of divine justice. The men, women and children in Bible Belt of America get crushed by tornadoes every year as they pray for God to protect them. When you look at suffering, much of it is due to people putting their faith in God instead of rolling up their sleeves and taking control. Look around the planet at nations or peoples that believe in your version of God. You will see they are no better off than the religion next door to them. Most religions teach that God helps the believers. There is no evidence of this, so one could say it is just fine to choose whatever God feels good to him. Or, think about it a bit more. You could say there is no divine justice and every one suffers the same because… we created God and He does not exist.
5-If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique religions and religious people, so whose opinion matters most? Whose voice will be heard? Whose tastes or preferences will be honored? In the long run, human tastes and opinions have no more weight than we give them, and who are we to give them meaning anyway? Who is to say that lying, or cheating or adultery or child molestation are wrong –really wrong? Where do those standards come from? Sure, our societies might make these things “illegal” and impose penalties or consequences for things that are not socially acceptable, but human cultures have at various times legally or socially disapproved of everything from believing in God to believing the world revolves around the sun; from slavery, to interracial marriage, from polygamy to monogamy. Human taste, opinion law and culture are hardly dependable arbiters of Truth.
Since mankind first stood up and walked, we have had no trouble figuring out our standards. With thousands of gods and thousands of religions, it is silly to assert that any one of them is right. Where do standards come from? Well, we make our own standards. Look around at the religious standards. The believers will say that they are of highest quality. But take the time to study them. Most are poor, and many are horrible. Here is a small list or terrible ideas the faiths of the world embrace. The fact that we need morals and standards is not proof of God. The fact that most every religion is terrible at resolving moral dilemmas proves there is no divine force behind them. Look where their ideas came from and you will find that they came from men.
6-If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent? How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty? Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?
Another easy one. Most people are indoctrinated from birth to need God in their life. The psychological and emotional attachments to religion are very powerful. I hope my book can help break them, because once you realize all the reasons why epople believe, you will understand these emotions and be able to walk away from the whole notion of God. It is hard for a believer to appreciate this fact, but it is very true: once you become an athiest, you feel so much better about yourself and about life. Live is much more fulfilling as an atheist than a true believer. When you are a believer, nothing you pray for ever happens. You never actually see any evidence that your version of god is any better than the God in some other country. You’re left feeling very empty. Except you will have a huge support group telling you it will be ok. The warm fuzzy feeling the beleivers have is not “fulfillment”. It is a self-righteous indignation towards all others who believe in some other god or none at all. I’m not fulfilled by indignation, and do not feel empty at all.