Monday, March 23, 2015

Top Ten Misconceptions about Atheists - Part Three

Misconception Number Three -- It Requires More Faith to Be an Atheist than to Believe in God

No, actually it doesn’t require any faith to be an atheist.  All it requires is for you to not believe that “God did it.”  This argument is usually accompanied by a whole bunch of blather about how ridiculously improbable it is that our universe came to exist exactly the way it did and that the only possible explanation is GOD.

I won’t go into all the flaws with the so-called “argument from design” or the “finely tuned universe” (check out some of my other blog posts for long-winded discussions on those issues), but the bottom line is that even if atheists had no explanation whatsoever as to how the universe came to be the way it is and how we came to be in it, that still just leads us to a big fat “WE DON’T KNOW” and not “GOD DID IT.”  Why God?  Why not some as yet undiscovered universal force?  Why not a multiverse? Why not aliens?  And if God, why YOUR God and not somebody else’s God (Allah, Vishnu, Odin, Zeus, etc.)?

I get it, though.  I really do.  Having been there myself once upon a time, I know what it is like to look around the world in wonder and think that it all couldn't have just happened on its own without some sort of intelligence guiding it.  And, since we just happen to have this book of scripture describing exactly such an intelligence, and since billions of people believe in that intelligence, and since all my family and friends tell me how important it is to believe in such an intelligence, well, you'd think that believing in such an intelligence is so blindingly obvious that it would take an extreme act of will to actively NOT believe in such an intelligence, right?

Except, all you’re really saying is that, since you personally (and those you hand around with) cannot understand how it all came to be, it “must” be the way it was described in the particular ancient text that you personally accept as true, despite the fact that there are lots of other ancient text that are accepted by other people that say completely different things. Sure, billions of people believe that the entire universe was created by some sort of God, but they certainly don't all share belief in the same sort of God.  Just because you have the Bible and think that proves what you believe to be true, other people have their Koran or Bhagavad Gita or what have you.  And to those people, it is just as obvious how the universe was created as it is to you, except that they believe something completely different.

No, it doesn’t take faith to admit ignorance, just honesty.  But keep in mind that many of the things that supposedly “can’t be explained without God” are either wholly specious in the first place (such as the supposed “finely tuned universe” argument) or else actually CAN now be explained perfectly well.  We don’t know all the answers, and perhaps never will, but we certainly know a heck of a lot more about the universe now than the desert tribesmen who wrote scriptures thousands of years ago.

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