Essay Non-Fiction posted October 1, 2019 Chapters:  ...46 47 -48- 49 


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...and some answers

A chapter in the book Miscellaneous stories

7 Questions to Ask an Atheist

by CD Richards


This morning I came across an article with much the same title as the one I have used here. I presume it was originally created by a theist of some persuasion, so that like-minded people could have a set of "talking points" with which to engage non-believers in conversation.

I believe the questions are very reasonable and non-loaded. I also think that asking civil questions and receiving civil answers from those with a different viewpoint helps to increase understanding.

With this in mind, I've set out my answers to the questions asked. I've tried to do so in a non-confrontational manner and been as brief as I thought I could be in giving a straightforward, but complete, response. This is not meant to be a learned exposition of atheist philosophy, just a simple response to simple questions. No evidence or proof is offered, as in this article, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. Of course, I cannot speak for all atheists, and these answers don't attempt to do that. They are my take on things, and other non-believers will undoubtedly answer the same questions differently. If it helps theists get some insight into possible atheist reactions to these questions, then I consider it "mission accomplished". So without further ado...

1. Why don't you believe in God?

I don't see any evidence for the existence of a god or gods. To put it another way, I don't see any anything in the material or non-material universe which is not equally as well explained, if not better, without the existence of a supernatural being or beings.

2. Do you pray?

No. Since I don't believe in God (any gods), to whom would I be praying?

3. What's your source of hope?

In terms of hope for humanity and the future of life on our planet, I don't hold out a great deal. All the evidence points to the likelihood that humans will destroy themselves and most, if not all, other life. I believe this will happen sooner than many expect. There are some signs that a portion of the world's population are becoming aware of the perilous situation we are in. I think it's too few, too late. I sincerely hope I'm wrong. Even if I believed in a God, I don't see any reason my beliefs in this regard would change. I could believe any number of crazy things about what the future holds and fill my head with visions of any number of utopian paradises, but hoping for things doesn't make them reality. I try to avoid believing something just because it gives me hope or makes me happy.

4. Do you consider atheism your religion?

No, and I take exception when someone tries to insist it is. Atheism is simply non-belief in God. I also don't believe in fairies, unicorns or bigfoot, but no one calls my lack of belief in those things a religion. No one insists my non-belief in Zeus is a religion.

5. Do you think religion can be a positive experience for certain people?

I think certain things people might derive from their practice of religion can be positive experiences for them. For example, a sense of belonging, when surrounded by likeminded people; a sense of purpose, if their religion gives them goals to strive for; happy emotions from communal singing, and so on. However, I believe such experiences can also be obtained outside a religious environment, and are better experienced that way, especially when they don't involve questionable assumptions.

6. What are your views about an afterlife?

I don't believe in one, again, because I don't see evidence to indicate such a thing. I do believe that the "stuff" from which I am made has existed from the beginning of time and will until the end of time. I also believe that bits of me will eventually form parts of rocks, trees, insects, even, potentially, other people. That's a kind of eternal existence, right?

7. Where do you find guidelines for good values, moral and ethical behaviour?

I believe good values were instilled in me by my parents. I think somewhere along the line, our species has evolved a thing known as "empathy", which is present to some degree or other in most of us and is the basis for all the various forms of "the golden rule". To the extent we possess and embrace empathy, we live a moral and ethical life. It really doesn't need to be more complicated than that.

 
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I would appreciate it if, when reviewing, you rate based on the quality (or lack of it), rather than the extent to which you agree with the conclusions. That's just my hope, how you choose to evaluate is, of course, up to you.

Thanks for reading.
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