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Are atheists really honest that they can't believe in God because there is no evidence?

Are atheists really honest that they can’t believe in God because there is no evidence?

Don’t observant people see it very clearly: isn’t that alleged reason just a cover for whatever other actual motivations you atheists are pursuing, and it is not all about loving life and fellowmen.

Posted: April 23rd 2009

Eric_PK

To answer your questions:

“Yes”, and “No”.

The beliefs that you espouse – that atheists aren’t sincere, that they hate god, that they have an ulterior motive for not believing – are propaganda.

Church leaders have a problem. The problem they have is one of marketing. Theist orthodoxy says that that without a belief in god, one is rudderless, and that faith in the existence of god is a very worthy thing.

But there exist lots of pretty smart people (Sagan, Wozniak, Feynman, Crick, etc.) who are atheists and appear to be functional, productive, and philanthropic members of society.

That’s a pretty strong counter-example to the theist assertion, so to counter it, the churches came up with “they aren’t really atheists”, “they hate god”, “they just say that they don’t believe because they want to act immorally”.

And a fair number of theists believe it, because unlike Christians, most atheists really don’t spend much time talking about their lack of religious belief. Not to mention the fact that religious belief is deeply ingrained in most theists, and they react strongly to anything that challenges their belief.

I used to respond to this question by commenting on the considerable rudeness of theists who assert that they know the minds of atheists better than the atheists themselves do, but after a lot of interaction, I concluded that either theists don’t understand that such behavior is rude, or they simply don’t care.

Posted: May 7th 2009

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

flagellant www

Atheists do not say 'There’s no god’; instead they say either 'It’s highly unlikely that there’s a god’, or 'The evidence for a god is non-existent so the most reasonable position is atheism’. For us, the existence of god is not a 50/50 matter: it’s close to 100% no-god.

However, because ours is a reason-based position, if any evidence were to be found – and by 'evidence’, I don’t mean wishful thinking – we would all change our minds.

Here, on the other hand, are a few examples of religiosi wishful thinking:

Very ancient texts, embellished by devotees, riddled with translation and copying errors, talk about god.

I was taught that faith – belief without evidence – is a good thing.

Someone must have made everything because men make things.

I don’t want to die so it helps to look forward to an unprovable afterlife.

It feels right to have a god, just in case…

Lots of other people believe in god, so I want to be part of the faith community.

I really hope there’s a god because, if there isn’t, my life is meaningless.

It’s all about hope, isn’t it? All the positions summarised mean that you are god-hopers rather than god-believers. Yet, having based your position on one or more of the above pieces of unsound 'reasoning’, you have the temerity to accuse us of dishonesty. Why do you believe in god when there’s no credible evidence?

The truth of the matter is that atheists are outstandingly honest: truth is very important to us. We object to criticism from people whose beliefs are baseless, yet who want to foist their nonsense on us. If you must believe, keep it to yourself: religion is an activity for consenting adults in private.

However, if you think about it carefully and honestly, you may find that you agree with our objections and give up wearing – metaphorically – The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Posted: April 30th 2009

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jonecc www

I’m really not sure this question needs or deserves any answer beyond “yes”, and “no”.

So, yes and no.

Posted: April 27th 2009

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Paula Kirby www

Sorry to disappoint you, but yes, we are being honest when we say that! I used to be a Christian and was perfectly happy as a Christian. But when I analysed my beliefs and why I believed them, I simply had to accept that a) there was no good reason to believe them and b) they didn’t actually make sense anyway. They could not be true. So they had to go.

For a while I clung to the idea that there might be SOME kind of benign supernatural force out there. That overcame the specific incoherences and self-contradictions of Christianity, but again honesty forced me to assess my reasons for believing in such a being – and again, honesty forced me to conclude that there was no good reason to believe in it at all. So that, too, had to go.

Many Christians choose to believe that atheists are simply hiding from the “moral demands” of Christianity, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t live any differently now from the way I lived as a Christian. I simply don’t believe in any gods – either yours or anyone else’s. And I don’t believe because, when you look with open and honest eyes, there is simply no evidence to justify belief.

Posted: April 25th 2009

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Dave Hitt www

I think I’ve gleaned the meaning of your question despite your atrocious grammar. What school you went?

You’re evidently one of those theists who just can’t stand the thought of people disbelieving in your brand of sky-daddy, so rather than accepting that reality you’ve chosen to vilify our motives. It’s a very common and unimaginative approach.

Love of life and fellowman has nothing to do with atheism. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods. It’s an easy mistake to make, because we are a generally cheery lot, but it’s perfectly possible for an atheist to be a grumpy misanthrope.

Posted: April 25th 2009

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George Ricker www

I not only see no convincing evidence for a god’s existence but also can find no compelling reason why one should.

Actually, I think most observant people probably would agree with the absence of evidence. Of course, the nature of the evidence required depends upon the nature of the deity under discussion.

There is no secret agenda. The Evil Atheist Conspiracy does not exist. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Hah!

Seriously, are you kidding me? Many atheists have joined with other secularists to attempt to remove the promotion of gods and religions from governments. There’s nothing secret about it. We are joined in that effort by other people who do believe in gods but don’t believe government agencies should be in the religion business. We don’t want our government dressing itself in the trappings of religion or putting religious slogans on our money or our public monuments or in our pledges and oaths. We don’t think it is appropriate for government to give money to religions or to endorse religious concepts and practices.

Contrary to what is claimed by religionists, we do not seek to “drive religions from the public square.” We only seek to get religions out of that portion of the public square that is owned and operated by our government and paid for with our tax dollars. However, we welcome all ideas to the open marketplace where they may be considered and evaluated without the artificial support of government agencies. In that marketplace of ideas there are no sacred cows permitted and the debate may be raucous, strident and downright messy. Religionists have every right to state their case. But they don’t have the right to claim an exemption from criticism.

As far as humanistic values like “loving life and fellowmen (sic)” are concerned, those have nothing to do with atheism at all. Atheism does not furnish one with a list of values to cultivate. The atheist must seek those from other sources.

Posted: April 24th 2009

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SmartLX www

The fact that some individual atheists may have ulterior, unspoken reasons for rejecting gods and religions does not invalidate or even affect any of the rational, defensible reasons they do give. Neither does it relieve religious people of the responsibility of supporting and defending their own positions rationally, as atheists have.

Posted: April 24th 2009

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logicel

I do not see myself as an atheist in terms of it being my primary focus. If it was not for the egregious aspects of organized religion and personal god belief (theism), I would not be outspoken with that small aspect of me, of which is an atheist. It seems my atheism is much more important to you. In my secular community, I hardly ever mention my atheism (or do theists mention their theism, they just get on with it in their own private lives.)

I am sorry, but there is no sufficient evidence to have god belief (Extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims). It is your right to have it (as an consenting adult), and as I have said previously, many atheists would fight for that right for you.

Ah, love. Well, I can’t say that is my focus in terms of relating with people. I find it revoltingly intrusive when perfect strangers claim they love me because of their religion or their humanism. I am very discerning about whom I love. Perhaps that is why the refrain that somebody’s god loves me carries no weight as it does not seem very discerning (also the god being supernatural with no evidence for its existence does not help either.)

Love is not a force, a magical system that confronts everything that is bad. It is just an emotion, like anger, hate, disgust. Bad things can come from love and good things can come from hate. Emotions are what get us up from the bed in the morning. Without them, we would not be motivated to do anything. Our emotions are our own.

Many religious believers and non-religious people support secularism. Secularism simply requires evidence for decisions made that affect the tax-paying public sphere. Many religious believers support seculariam because in a theocracy, their particular religion may not be allowed.

Though I am not profligate with my love, I am so with my empathy. And that empathy, strong with me, from my earliest memories, is the basis why I support civil and human rights for everybody throughout the world, regardless of their culture, gender, sexual preference (again consenting adults), race, and religion.

In France, I live in a secular culture. Of the three countries in which (I carry an American passport) I lived, I would say that America is the least kind and empathetic (and safest) one. I am much happier in Europe not because atheists have realized their secret agenda, but that their openly public one of civil/human rights and social justice/support is more directly focused on than in America. Many European religious believers also support that agenda.

The fledgling atheist lobby in America has a public and open policy of secularism. No secret agenda there. It may be an agenda you do not support, but it is not clandestine.

Posted: April 24th 2009

See all questions answered by logicel

 

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