Challenge to Atheists 1
Atheists answer why atheism is a good way of life.
Atheism is a logical way to live one's life. It compels a
person to take responsibility for his own actions and not to
blame it on God, the devil or other spiritual forces. Since an
atheist believes that this physical life is all there is he will
try to make the best of it and not suffer insufferable conditions
in the hope of some imagined afterlife.
If all peoples were atheists there would be none of the conflicts we see today that are fueled by different belief systems. Atheists are as upstanding in general as any Christian, Jew or Buddhist. You don't have to believe in God to be a moral person.
Having said all those nice things it is now time to take a shot at the smug atheist worldview. The atheist thinks he has it all figured out. Atheists can point to the contradictions in the Bible, the track record of the Christian church, the conflicts produced by competing religions in the world, and of course science is on their side when it comes to evolution - the fossil record will prove evolution except to the most enthusiastic creationist. Science also supports the view of a very old universe - no surprise there.
Now here is the challenge: Does
becoming an atheist make a person a better human being? Does not
believing in God prompt or inspire a person to positive actions.
Christianity (and other religions) can point to many, many people
whose lives were changed for the better by adopting the faith.
Can atheism make the same claim? Can atheists point to examples
of people who have had their lives positively changed?
Have any drug addicts given up their addictions as a result of discarding religion? Have any thieves stopped stealing and started earning an honest living as a result of becoming infidels? Have any abusive husbands stopped beating their wives as a result of abandoning a belief in God?
In short, if atheism is such a positive way to live what real good has it done? Can it even be called a "belief-system"? (After all it is really about a lack of belief - isn't it?) If you would like to comment on the positive effects of atheism (if they indeed do exist) then E-mail me your views and I will post them below.
Proving that the Bible is flawed only proves that either the
Christian God does not exist or that he has a high tolerance for
incompetence and error in his sacred book. Pointing to the
performance of the Christian church and other religions over the
ages only proves that those organized religions were flawed and
perhaps do not actually represent the Creator.
Pointing to the evil in this world, the pointless deaths, the triumph of evil men, the violence in nature - this does not prove that God does not exist - only that he is absent from the scene or that he does not wish to intervene.
Evolution does not necessarily pre-empt God - he could easily have used that method to produce the life diversity that we see on this earth. It could easily be argued that life is designed to evolve on its own most of the time and yet be subject to intervention as God desires. Debunking or criticizing religion is mostly a negative activity.
It is a positive effort only when it frees people from a strangle-hold placed on them by too-authoritarian beliefs. After the chains have been broken - then what? A void has been created. Is the person really any better off than before?
Atheism is an incomplete worldview. It does work in many day to day applications because it often does look like there is no God. The question is does God actually not exist or has God just gone off somewhere? Is God there but not intervening? Please feel free to offer your comments.
Printed below are responses to this challenge. (see part I) I present them as is with no comment. I only use first names, last initial and don't ask for e-mails, I don't release them. I present this page only to induce thought, not as an attack. Send in your response to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will not post obscenities.
Hi, I like your web site! I have some comments about A Challenge to Atheists.
I am an atheist. However, I don't think I "have it all figured out," nor do I think I have the "correct answer." I simply don't have any god(s) in my belief system.
"Atheism" means "without" god. I'm not anti-god, and I don't assert that anyone can prove that God doesn't exist. God just isn't part of my belief system. I don't disbelieve in god(s), but I have a belief system that is "without god."
Please don't assume that all atheists think alike. There are at least as many kinds of non-theism as there are types of theism. More, probably, since atheism has no "pope" who dictates what we should believe! ;^) Lacking an authority figure to speak for us, though, we are generally defined by our "opposition" who paints us as angry and anti-theistic. That's a silly and inaccurate generalization.
I am writing in response to the article titled "Challenge to Atheists". I agree that atheism is an incomplete world view, and that its claim that God does not exist is erroneous.
However, I have problems with bringing up the question of whether or not people's lives have been positively changed as a result of non-belief. I can't think of any circumstances (except of course the existentialists who gave mankind the kick in the ass they needed). Sure, drug addicts and abusive husbands have claimed to have changed as a result of their particular belief systems, but are they really just replacing one obsession with the other, leaving themselves out of the picture, hiding behind God, demons, or deities?
Just food for thought...
((Sure, drug addicts and abusive husbands have claimed to have changed as a result of their particular belief systems, but are they really just replacing one obsession with the other, leaving themselves out of the picture, hiding behind God, demons, or deities? Just food for thought... Respectfully, Kate ))
Reading this post made me stop and think about my experiences with Christianity. I was HEAVILY involved with the non-denominational Protestant groups in my high school and on my college campus. At first they (the leaders and other members) made Christianity seem as living a life free of sin and paying homage to God with my life - what some would call just being a just and loving person. Looking out for your fellow man, etc. But the deeper I got into the Bible studies and weekly meetings, the leaders started to encourage incorporating Jesus into EVERY aspect of my life - asking Jesus how I should handle every single situation and interaction in my day to day life.
I soon found myself in the car talking to Jesus, talking to nonChristian friends meanwhile thinking about how Jesus would want me to try and convert them. Like Kate said in her response, maybe those ex-druggies are exchanging one addiction for another. I've seen with friends! of mine and myself, that it doesn't take much for obedience to God to turn to 24-hour addiction. Looking back at it, it was extremely unhealthy. I was an extremist. I saw the world through black and white colors. The people in the groups I belonged to were encouraged to "give up our own identities and put on the identity of Christ."
Although none of them will admit it, it can be said that the group was breeding clones. Everything you do and everything that happens in life, and I mean EVERYTHING, is a matter of God and the devil wanting it to happen, and demons influencing your actions. The average person's mind was consumed with thoughts of the supernatural on any given day.
I'm sure what I've just written does not apply to every Protestant Christian group, but if they are anything like mine was (and I've visited many similar groups and churches - they are like this) then Kate has it right on the money - it's just an exchange ! of obsession.
Now here is the challenge: Does becoming an atheist make a person a better human being?
No..Just a more serious one...
Does not believing in God prompt or inspire a person to positive actions.
No. Usually it results in extreme compensatory righteousness...Right?
Christianity (and other religions) can point to many, many people whose lives were changed for the better by adopting the faith. Can atheism make the same claim?
Dont know really..History blanks out the atheist...But I do think history amply describes people who found religion and made life worse for their fellow human beings...
Can atheists point to examples of people who have had their lives positively changed? Me for example?
Have any drug addicts given up their addictions as a result of discarding religion?
I know plenty of Catholics who love "wine"!
Have any thieves stopped stealing and started earning an honest living as a result of becoming infidels?
The prisons are full of Christians. Any atheists aboard? Probably not in the same ratio...Right?
Have any abusive husbands stopped beating their wives as a result of abandoning a belief in God?
Dont know, but I bet alot of them got to church...
In short, if atheism is such a positive way to live what real good has it done?
What good has religion done except divide and curse humanity?
Can it even be called a "belief-system"? (After all it is really about a lack of belief - isn't it?) It isnt a belief system!!!!!
If you would like to comment on the positive effects of atheism (if they indeed do exist) then E-mail me your views and I will post them below.
Oh gee...thanks for your opportunity to defend myself...Im "blessed"!!!...Heres the rub dude..Dont really care what supernatural hocus pocus you believe in...You can inject whatever moral values you want into the dogma that defines your existense but it all comes down to 3 things that defines religion in this ol' USA today 1) what can it do for me (money, power, heaven?), other people's sex lives, and how can we shove our relion down other people's throats...No?...Dont know any atheists who even come close to this kind of obnoxious, insane behaviour as I read about and experience everday in this land of "freedom"...
So it begs the question: Does becoming an theist make a person a better human being?
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