Ten incredibly condescending questions that completely miss the point
My blog was recently followed by someone who is going through the difficult transition from Fundamentalist Christianity to being an atheist. I linked to a blog entry that includes ten questions for atheists. They are condescending and filled with fallacious assumptions but OK, whoever wrote this crap, I’ll answer your questions. In the spirit they were asked.
I also did not edit the questions so misspellings and grammatical weirdness remain.
1. If there is NO God, then there is no Measurement or Standard for morality? Then What will define morality?
What a great start, right? No god = no standard for morality.
So the question begins with a false premise. Why is god needed to provide a standard for morality? Is God the only thing that prevents you from treating those around you decently? Is a quick read of the bible the only thing that is holding you back from murdering your neighbors? If so – please keep reading.
God does not tell us what is right and wrong. If he does, he is doing a shitty job of it. Some very religious people believe that the bible tells us to look down on homosexuals. Other very religious people believe that is incorrect. If God were responsible for defining morality, I’d like to see him/her/it get on the ball and actually fucking define it. Jesus told us to throw out the ten commandments and, basically, just be fucking nice to each other. Did we need God to do that?
I’m pretty sure most of us have figured that out for ourselves. Society defines morality and it is defined because we are social creatures and we need rules in order to live together.
2. If there is NO God, then there is NO meaning or purpose to Life. So without a God, does life have purpose or meaning? Without God, does the Atheist have purpose?
The first statement invalidates the need for the first question. You just told me that without god there is no purpose or meaning and then you asked me if life had purpose or meaning without god. Did you even think about these questions when you were writing them? The second question is pretty much the same as the first question so it is completely unneccessary. I was told there were ten questions but by my count, I’m already up to four. In this case, of course, they are the same question so I’ll say it is only one.
The only meaning or purpose to life is to live it. I can’t even guess at what meaning or purpose the writer assumes god provides. I don’t view worshipping Jesus blindly so he’ll let me live in heaven as a particularly noble purpose. There isn’t anything exciting about that equation. In fact, it suggests that my life can only have meaning if it is given to me by someone else. Why is that appealing?
I’m a comedian. I want to make people laugh. That is my purpose. That is my meaning. God did not provide that purpose to me. What gives my life purpose or meaning? I do.
3. Are you an advocate of New Atheism and Darwinism? If so, then the most extreme and logical form of Darwinism is Eugenics. Would you support this? Why or Why Not?
Oh shit really? You once again are making an assumption that is laughably wrong. The most extreme form of Darwinism (or – as biologists like to call it – “evolution”) is Darwinism. Populations that cannot adapt fail to survive. There is nothing in the theory of evolution that logically suggests you should eliminate a population because you believe it is inferior. Eugenics is not logical so your premise is flawed from the start.
Let me offer a statement that is just as stupid. Are you a Christian? If so, then the most extreme and logical form of Christianity is this:
Would you support this? Why or Why not?
So to answer your last two questions. No, I don’t support eugenics. Why not? Because it is bullshit science, bullshit logic and it has nothing to do with Darwinism. Except in your head.
4. If we are ancesoters/descendants of Apes, then why are there no transitional fossils or species to support this theory?
Holy fuck. Do you even listen when someone gives you the answer to this question?
We are not descendants of Apes. Apes and humans share a common ancestor. At some point and for some reason, our paths diverged. And there are transitional fossils. There aren’t very many because the evolution of humans is farily recent and it takes a long time to make a fossil. You are looking for every fucking step between that common ancestor and modern humans and without it, you will never be satisfied.
How’s about you produce evidence that the fossils found so far aren’t millions and millions of years old? I mean, without completely ignoring all scientific evidence in our possession. Like you did when you asked this stupid ass question.
5. Do you believe in Human Nature? It is Human Nature to believe in God, if so, why do you go against human nature and not believe in God?
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by human nature so I’m going to skip to the second part of the question, which is grammatically messed up so let’s see if I can accurately guess your meaning.
I think you want to ask “IF it is human nature to believe in God, why do you go against human nature and not believe in god?” Or something. I’m just gonna go with that.
I don’t think it is human nature to believe in god. Especially not the Christian god. I think that it is easy to look at the sun coming up in the morning and, lacking any scientific knowledge, decide that some being is responsible for ensuring that mechanic functions. A person drives a car so it is not so unrealistic to look at the sun and decide that someone is driving that as well.
That, however, is a child’s explanation. As a child grows older and learns how the cosmos works, they no longer believe in such things.
But let’s assume human nature does exist and it is human nature to believe in God. So what? Is human nature, of necessity, always right? It seems to be human nature to follow charismatic leaders like Adolf Hitler and to do horrible things when that leader tells us to. Had I fled Nazi Germany because I could not follow Hitler, nobody would ask me why I’d failed to follow human nature.
Human nature need not be logical and that means going against it need not be illogical.
6. Can ‘Something come from Nothing’? Doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
I think that it can but if you are asking me how, I don’t know. I’m not a physicist. I can argue the case from a purely philosophical standpoint, however.
Whether I am right and there is no God or you are right and there is, something had to come from nothing for that to be true. Either the universe came from nothing or God came from nothing and created the universe. In both scenarios, something came from nothing so the answer to your question is yes, something can come from nothing and, at least insofar as we understand the universe, it had to.
7. It seems that a society of Atheist are immoral and self-destructing. Why would anyone want a Godless Society, just look at our examples: North Korea, Maoist China, Stalin, & Pot Pol?
Yeah. Because those societies were fucked up because of atheism. This is the most unbelievable question because it ignores dozens of societies that were immoral and self-destructive while also being theistic in nature. How about the Roman Empire? How about any number of English monarchs? The Mayans? Examples of theistic societies that were also hedonistic are all over the place.
You conveniently focus on the few societies we know were led by atheists and equally conveniently ignore all the rest. Besides, atheists don’t believe that god must be absent from society. We believe it should be absent from government.
8. If you were to die, and you were before God. And he was getting ready to pass judgement on you, What would be your reaction or thoughts? What plea would you give him so he does not judge you harshly?
The first part of your question is useless. I’m going to die. No need to make a statement that assumes I might not.
My first reaction? Surprise. I’d be genuinely shocked that the Christian god was real. Then I’d be angry. Because the Christian god is a petty, bigoted asshole. I would tell him that I tried to treat others kindly and tried to atone for my mistakes with the people I’d wronged and if my failure to believe that Jesus was required for salvation meant I was going to hell, fuck him. I wouldn’t beg that god for forgiveness because it is pretty clear that I wouldn’t have a chance of getting it.
You simultaneously believe in a god who loves and yet would also engage in the most vindictive act possible by punishing someone for eternity simply because they didn’t believe in him. Your god is selfish and cruel and if he really does exist, I would not want to spend eternity in his presence.
9. What would convince you atheism is wrong? And that Christianity is Right?
I’ll answer the second part of your question first. Nothing. Christianity makes no logical sense to me. While I’m willing to allow for the possibility of a godlike being, I do not believe there is any scenario under which I would accept Christianity as providing an understanding of that being. Christianity tells us a lot about ourselves. In my opinion, it tells us nothing about god.
What would convince me some form of god is real? Real, verifiable evidence. Something I can see and touch and others can see and touch. Something that does now allow for multiple interpretations. Something that would stand up to scientific scrutiny.
10. Why are you an Atheist? Why do you NOT believe in God? Why do you reject God? (You can be as detailed as you want.)
I don’t reject God. I can’t reject something that doesn’t exist.
I’ve written longer explanations elsewhere but my simple explanation is this: there is no logical, verifiable evidence that supports the existence of god. Therefore, I do not believe in god.
One final statement to the doucebag who wrote these questions. Why do you care? There is nothing that I say that will sway you from your incredibly illogical point of view. Why did you ask these things of me or anyone? They are badly written, badly researched and clearly created just to make you feel better about what you already believe.
UPDATE: You may have notice that I have received several comments from someone who I would define as a Fundamentalist Christian. I’ve been trying to work through my responses to him.
I respond to comment #1 here.
Comment #2 is here.
Comment #3 (evolution) is here.
18 responses to “Ten incredibly condescending questions that completely miss the point”
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Someone once told me that every episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ could be summed up with the phrase, “Nice try, asshole.”
Every question in this list seems to be summable with the phrase “I’ve dreamed up some worst-case assumptions about atheism and I want you to justify them as your beliefs.”
To which I can only say “Nice try, asshole.”
Love your responses and I have a conversation with a few people like this…about every other week. One of the other things I bring up is this –
We only figured out that the Earth rotates around the Sun from Galileo (…well Copernicus really, but…)around the time he was put on trial in 1632 and condemned..
380 years ago….Really? Only 380 years ago! And the church wanted to keep him in prison for life for “going against the church’s doctrine.
I think the main problem for most people is that it’s not comforting to actually think about how ridiculously small we are compared to the actual size of the rest of things.
Anyway – Not sure if I’ve posted this before so, if I have, I apologize. But the site does bear looking at –
He’s a guy who had a vision where god came to him a told him god didn’t exist.
It’s a great read…
A few other favorites are –
Thanks for the good read!
Thanks for the links!
Glad I can contribute!
…and because I was just going over J. Huger site again, inspired by your post, I found these – A few “other end of the spectrum” questions.
Q: How can you be absolutely certain there is no God?
A: I don’t need to be absolutely certain there is no God to be an atheist, I just have to be reasonably certain that when people pray that I get hit by lightning, they’re really just talking to themselves.
Q: If you’re not certain there is no God, doesn’t that make you agnostic?
A: Sure, in some pointless, bullshit, technical sense of the word “agnostic”. I’m also that kind of agnostic about the Earth being round.
Q: How can you be “reasonably certain” that when people pray that you get hit by lightning, they’re really just talking to themselves?
A: Well, for one thing I haven’t been hit by lightning. For another, I had a vision where God told me He didn’t exist.
Q: That doesn’t make any sense; how can God tell you he doesn’t exist?
A: You’ll believe in talking snakes, a magic cracker that turns into godmeat that’s extra-special magic god meat because it still tastes like a cracker, and even that 1 + 1 + 1 = 1, but you just can’t cope with something that acts without existing. Interesting.
Q: So you believe in a creative “force” that acts without existing?
A: It’s either that or visions aren’t a reliable source of information. I wonder which it could be?
Q: If there is no God, where did all this come from?
A: I could tell you what I’ve read about evolution, the big-bang, super-universes, quantum foam, and all that stuff. Eventually you’d ask a question I can’t answer, then I’d have to go look it up. Even If I had the time for that shit, in the end you’d ask a question science hasn’t answered yet. So let’s save time and skip ahead to “I don’t know.”
Q: If science doesn’t know where this comes from, then couldn’t it be God’s doing?
A: The only difference between that kind of thinking and the stereotype of the savage who thinks the Great White Hunter is a God because he doesn’t know how the hunter’s cigarette lighter works is that the savage has an excuse for his ignorance. The assumption that anything we don’t understand must be the work of supernatural forces is superstition, pure and simple.
Q: Doesn’t it take more faith to believe all this “just happened?”
A: It might. If I ever meet someone who thinks it “just happened” I’ll ask them. Meanwhile, scientists will be spending their time figuring out, in minute detail, exactly how it did happen.
Q: If you don’t believe in God, why do you spend so much time talking about Him? You don’t spend time talking about the Toothfairy or Santa Claus.
A: The people who believe in the Toothfairy and Santa Claus don’t vote, neither do they threaten to beat the shit out of people I care about. When people start beating my friends for not putting teeth under their pillow, or there’s serious talk about defining marriage as between one man and eight tiny reindeer, I’ll start complaining about that.
Q: Why do you use offensive language?
A: To offend a certain kind of people. I reference sexual and excretory functions; the people I’m mocking reference hellfire. Out of fucking, taking a shit and being burned alive, which is on your avoid-at-all-costs list for this weekend?
I have to admit, that I couldn’t finish reading this post. Not because I don’t love your answers, but because I can stand to read the questions. I hate it when the religious trying to use logic in what is a matter of faith. That’s why it’s called faith.
I am in the same boat. I really want to bevliee there is a God and I would like there to be a continuation of my soul. I become very depressed when I think about God. I am 61 years old and have struggled with this since I was about 17 years old. When I start obsessing about this I consider suicide as good idea. At my age I have learned not act on that decision. However, I cry when I realize I do not bevliee in a spiritual world. I can love nature, family and considerable more ideas. I want to bevliee in a greater inteligent power/source. I want to know how and please do not say Just have faith:. I want to know how other non-bevlieers cope. Thank you
On Question 1
“God does not tell us what is right and wrong. If he does, he is doing a shitty job of it.”
God DID tell us what is right and what is wrong…WE do a cruddy job in following what he defined.
“Some very religious people believe that the bible tells us to look down on homosexuals.”
The Bible tells us that homosexuality is wrong. The Bible also tells us to love the sinner not to hate them or look down on them.
“Jesus told us to throw out the ten commandments and, basically, just be fucking nice to each other.”
This is incorrect. Jesus was asked which was the greatest of all the commandments. Jesus responded to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” This is from Matthew 22:36-40.
The basic premise of the question is where do you get your sense of morality? If there is no eternal punishment for wrong doing then what is the point of doing good? For what is the point of telling the truth, when there are no consequences? Besides if society defines morality then societal morality will shift all of the time. Take for example gay marriage. In 2003 only 40% of society support gay marriage. Now this number is between 47%-54% give or take. So…10 years ago society states that gay marriage is not moral…now…it is moral. That is the argument that you are making.
On question 2
“I’m a comedian. I want to make people laugh. That is my purpose.”
And what happens when people stop laughing? Do you lose your purpose? Do you lose your meaning? What about someone who derives purpose from hurting others as opposed to making them laugh? I know you wouldn’t support that, but would you deny that person to seek their purpose?
On Question 4
“At some point and for some reason, our paths diverged. And there are transitional fossils. There aren’t very many because the evolution of humans is fairly recent and it takes a long time to make a fossil.”
Probably the better question is, where are the living evolutionary forms of pre- homosapiens. One could (and should) argue that the same pressures that would have caused the evolution of monkey to human still exist and will always continue to exist. Why would the evolution of mankind apparently stop?
“How’s about you produce evidence that the fossils found so far aren’t millions and millions of years old?”
Carbon dating does have some flaws. Enough where some question whether or not it is reliable for scientifically dating fossils. Here is a prime example.
On Question 8
“You simultaneously believe in a god who loves and yet would also engage in the most vindictive act possible by punishing someone for eternity simply because they didn’t believe in him.”
Is it vindictive when a judge punishes a thief? God is a perfect judge. When you stand before Him you will be judged on the standard of the 10 Commandments. This is His law. Everyone will be found guilty because there is no one among us who is perfect.
That being said, would you call a judge selfish and cruel for imposing punishment to a criminal? But can you imagine standing before that judge and then someone else stepping in and saying, I’ll take Petsnakereggie’s punishment? That is what happened.
God is just because he condemns those who break the law. God is loving because unlike our own judges, he provided a way for you to avoid the punishment.
On Question 9
“Christianity tells us a lot about ourselves. In my opinion, it tells us nothing about god.”
It tells you everything about God. It tells you who he is and it shows you how much he loves us all. Christianity is about the sacrifice of His Son, for us. While it does focus on our sin’s it also demonstrates that we are completely incapable of living up to God’s standard. Thus the need for Him. It is a demonstration of God’s grace that He offers something that NO ONE on earth can provide…total forgiveness.
“What would convince me some form of god is real? Something I can see and touch and others can see and touch. Something that does now allow for multiple interpretations. Something that would stand up to scientific scrutiny.”
Fortunately, it is there. All of God’s creation serves to demonstrate who He is.
On Question 10
“I don’t reject God. I can’t reject something that doesn’t exist.”
Sure you can. According to definition “to refuse to have, take, recognize”. You refuse to recognize God is real, therefore you reject Him. In the same way…I reject evolution. I have no problem saying it even though it isn’t real.
Ah, willfully ignorant Christians and their circular “logic.”
I find the following ridiculous: picking and choosing arguments from a 2000 year old collection of personal anecdotes written by MEN about a man, collated by an Emperor who used the particular stories he liked best as political propaganda to unify his empire, later heavily edited nearly 1000 years later by a King (again, political propaganda) and perpetually used to justify hatred, genocide, slavery, and generally stomping down anyone who doesn’t fall in line.
Indeed, that’s JUST the sort of religion that provides credible moral authority (see my sarcasm?). The thing is, people have been around for what, 75k years or so? Christianity is about 2000 years old: there have been many many religions before, during, and since the height of Christian rule: I don’t think any of them are “the one” way. How could they be? I tend to consider people who attempt to force their belief on others as the “one right way” to be so insecure in their own beliefs that they need justification, and being that scared all the time inspires pity, not agreement.
One of my favorite quotes is “Evil done in the name of good is still evil, and vice versa.” I don’t give a hoot if a person believes in God, Gods, Goddesses, or nothing, as long as s/he tries to be a decent person to his/her fellow humans on this rock.
“6. Can ‘Something come from Nothing’? Doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?”
This argument is based on entropy and the fact that a complex/evolving/growing system needs input. It tries to argue that life just keeps going on this ball of rock floating in space because god.
It also ignores that the Sun constantly floods Earth with energy. So our system *does* have input.
See: “Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight” by Thom Hartmann
and (na klar): “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins
I think this is one of those JAQing questions, like… all of the other questions in this list? (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/JAQing_off)