Number 1 personal reason for conviction

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Discussion by: Roedy

I asked myself what in the main reason I do not believe in god? What is the reason that personally convinces me most? I think it is this: There are 10,000 gods, all equally absurd, yet all at some time taken completely seriously by someone. People always champion the existence of the god pushed on them in infancy. There is nothing inherently special about any particular religion. They all disagree. They are all based on speculation. There is no evidence to support any of them. They all conflict with science and common sense. None can show me any artifact that could not have been created by man. They are all parasites on their host societies in other words, cons. At least 9,999 of the religions logically have to be false. They cannot all be right. There is no reason to imagine one of them is any better than the rest, so they are almost certainly false. Even if one of them were the true religion, the odds of it being Christianity would be only one in 10,000. I have studied a number of religions and I would put Christianity at the bottom of the heap in terms of it likely being the true religion. Christians think it is so wonderful only because they have refused to look at anything else. Christians are the most hardened atheists when it comes to any other deity but Jehovah. Christians never give a reason for rejecting the 9,999 other gods, yet demand we atheists jump through hoops to reject Jehovah. They even reject Allah who is just Jehovah with a new name.

 

What is your #1 self-convincing reason, either against or for the existence of god?

144 COMMENTS

  1. I had a friend in my university years, Henry from China. His reason was straight from Pascal’s wager. He admitted the Christian story was probably false, but there still a small possibility it might be true. Eternal hellfire required him to at least pretend to believe the story, and was concerned I was taking such a needless risk.

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      I had a friend in my university years, Henry from China. His reason was straight from Pascal’s wager. He admitted the Christian story was probably false, but there still a small possibility it might be true. Eternal hellfire required him to at least pretend to believe the story, and was concerned…

      I wonder, how would Henry know he believes in the correct God? What if Allah was the correct God? And if there was a God who could read our minds (as Christians believe), surely he would know that Henry is just pretending?

    • If god indeed knows all, (s)he or it will know what’s in your heart & that you’re publicly accepting a religion just in case it’s true.
      In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      I had a friend in my university years, Henry from China. His reason was straight from Pascal’s wager. He admitted the Christian story was probably false, but there still a small possibility it might be true. Eternal hellfire required him to at least pretend to believe the story, and was concerned…

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      I had a friend in my university years, Henry from China. His reason was straight from Pascal’s wager. He admitted the Christian story was probably false, but there still a small possibility it might be true. Eternal hellfire required him to at least pretend to believe the story, and was concerned…

      Well your friend thought he could fool god. So, assuming he had read the bible, especially the bits about omnipotence and omniscience, he was not very wise. Not at all!

    • However, if this god can read minds, as reputed, (s)he/it will immediately detect the deceit & condemn the doubter for lying. Or do you think (s)h/it will grant a reprieve for giving belief “the old college try”?
      In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      I had a friend in my university years, Henry from China. His reason was straight from Pascal’s wager. He admitted the Christian story was probably false, but there still a small possibility it might be true. Eternal hellfire required him to at least pretend to believe the story, and was concerned…

  2. My landlady was an alcoholic. She was active in AA. She credited Jesus with keeping her sober. She was completely convinced without Jesus’s supernatural support she would be drunk. She wore a piece of jewelry that said “WWJD” What Would Jesus Do. She attempted to make life decisions by emulating Jesus. She did a very impressive job, helping out people others would not go near. She wished others would behave as she did, and believed that would only be possible if they believed in post-death reward in a literal solid gold mansion.

    • In reply to #2 by Roedy:

      My landlady was an alcoholic. She was active in AA. She credited Jesus with keeping her sober. She was completely convinced without Jesus’s supernatural support she would be drunk. She wore a piece of jewelry that said “WWJD” What Would Jesus Do. She attempted to make life decisions by emulating…

      WWJD?

      From the scriptures be the go-to man for when the booze runs out

    • In reply to #2 by Roedy:Well, if your landlady did good works, she definitely did it on her own, but good works speak for themselves. If she wants to give Jesus the credit for her sobriety, I guess I’ll let her as long as she doesn’t try to convert me.

      My landlady was an alcoholic. She was active in AA. She credited Jesus with keeping her sober. She was completely convinced without Jesus’s supernatural support she would be drunk. She wore a piece of jewelry that said “WWJD” What Would Jesus Do. She attempted to make life decisions by emulating…

  3. My mother was a life long atheist, however when she got old, she asked me to kill her. I said, “There is no need for that. You are still quite capable of doing that for yourself. There is no need to do that now. There are still years left. I can give you information so you won’t do something stupid.” She threatened to use rat poison if I would not co-operate.

    I asked “Why do you want me to do it? That is illegal, I could easily be charged with murder if word got out or if there was an investigation.”

    She responded “Because suicide is a sin. If you do it, it is not my sin.

    I was flabbergasted. She had no sign of Alzheimer’s. Where did she get this nutty idea? And why was this vengeful god going to forgive “murder” but not “suicide”.

    She died of heart failure a few years later. She avoided the senility she so feared.

    I don’t know where she picked up this strange idea. My mom prided herself on having a wide array of peculiar friends. Think Auntie Mame.

  4. I read a story about an instantaneous abandonment of religion. It was perhaps 100 years ago and a man was traveling on the ship. He asked the captain about navigation. Did it depend on presuming earth was flat or spherical? the captain explained, “spherical. It would be possible to presume flat and still navigate.” He then reasoned, the bible cannot be correct, and he abandoned the whole thing.

    That does not appear to happen today. Errors and inconsistencies don’t seem to bother anyone.

    • In reply to #4 by Roedy:

      I don’t get this story.

      I read a story about an instantaneous abandonment of religion. It was perhaps 100 years ago and a man was traveling on the ship. He asked the captain about navigation. Did it depend on presuming earth was flat or spherical? the captain explained, “spherical. It would be possible to presume flat and still navigate.”

      did you mean “impossible”? Because it makes no sense otherwise. But it’s still wrong on several levels. 1. people have known the world was round for centuries. 2. in what sense can’t you navigate if you assume the world is flat? A rhumb line makes perfect sense on a mercator projection

      He then reasoned, the bible cannot be correct, and he abandoned the whole thing.

      seem to be several steps missing here…

      That does not appear to happen today. Errors and inconsistencies don’t seem to bother anyone.

      since I don’t believe your story actually happened I can’t draw any deep conclusions from it. Who was this “man”? When did it happen? You do know 100 years ago was only 1913? What does a brief discussion about navigation have to do with bible?

  5. I suppose the main reason for my lack of religion ( apart from coming from a family of non believers), is that it seems so silly. When approached by the earnest theist, solemnly proposing a life eternal and the prospect of worshipping some entity forever, I inwardly cringe with embarrassment. The notion goes against everything I know about the world.

    • In reply to #5 by Nitya:

      I suppose the main reason for my lack of religion ( apart from coming from a family of non believers), is that it seems so silly. When approached by the earnest theist, solemnly proposing a life eternal and the prospect of worshipping some entity forever, I inwardly cringe with embarrassment. The no…

      1) Not all belief in god or spirituality reduces itself to the belief you described.

      2) In comparison to the immensity of the universe both in quality and quantity, I would say you don’t know much. No one does.

      • In reply to #146 by Truth:

        In reply to #5 by Nitya:

        I suppose the main reason for my lack of religion ( apart from coming from a family of non believers), is that it seems so silly. When approached by the earnest theist, solemnly proposing a life eternal and the prospect of worshipping some entity forever, I inwardly cringe…

        You’re right, religion comes in many different flavours, each proclaiming to be the absolute truth! Am I correct in assuming that you’re a deist, not a follower of a literal talking-snake, magic-tree sort of religion? Or perhaps the follower of the medieval catholic philosophers that are refered to so often on this particular site?

        I have to admit that I find the sort of vague notion of a creative cosmic force far easier to understand. Why anyone would take the scriptures as being true or even metaphorical is very hard to fathom.

  6. As a kid… I was always told that if I wasn’t good or if I didn’t believe in Santa he wouldn’t come, I have to say the proof of his existence was unequivocal, every Xmas morning there was a big pile of pressies, the minces pies that were left for Santa had gone and so too had the reindeers carrots.

    (Look away now *** SPIOLERS ***).

    As I got older I obviously found out that Father Xmas was not real… and that my belief in him was a mechanism by which a certain amount of control could be brought to bear on me, particularly near to the end of the year!

    I see religion in exactly the same light, “blind faith”, if you don’t believe you won’t go to heaven… if you don’t follow these important rules … there is no place in heaven for you… just a nasty ending in hell!

    I may well have been duped when I was younger … but even then the supporting evidence of getting pressies was very powerful… I’m older and wiser now… Science and common sense have merged to form my current belief.

    • In reply to #6 by GRAViL:

      As a kid… I was always told that if I wasn’t good or if I didn’t believe in Santa he wouldn’t come, I have to say the proof of his existence was unequivocal, every Xmas morning there was a big pile of pressies, the minces pies that were left for Santa had gone and so too had the reindeers carrots….

      I asked my mom why she did not got to the elaborate Santa deceptions with my younger siblings she had with me when I was younger. She said, “Damned if I am going to go to all that work and let Santa get the credit.”

      • In reply to #8 by Roedy:

        In reply to #6 by GRAViL:Oh the hell the oldest child has to endure training inexperienced parents!

        As a kid… I was always told that if I wasn’t good or if I didn’t believe in Santa he wouldn’t come, I have to say the proof of his existence was unequivocal, every Xmas morning there was a big pile of pressies, the minces pies that were left for Santa had gone and so too…

  7. In reply to #5 by Nitya:

    I suppose the main reason for my lack of religion ( apart from coming from a family of non believers), is that it seems so silly. When approached by the earnest theist, solemnly proposing a life eternal and the prospect of worshipping some entity forever, I inwardly cringe with embarrassment.

    When people describe their notion of heaven I ask “How could you possibly stand that, much less desire it?” There is nothing to do for an eternity but sing praises to Jehovah’s massive ego. Big brother demands constant worship. It is Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s The Land of Cockaigne, the fantasy of an over worked peasant in 1500. He imagines what he wants is to be completely idle forever and get fat.

    • In reply to #7 by Roedy:

      In reply to #5 by Nitya:

      I suppose the main reason for my lack of religion ( apart from coming from a family of non believers), is that it seems so silly. When approached by the earnest theist, solemnly proposing a life eternal and the prospect of worshipping some entity forever, I inwardly cringe…

      That’s exactly my response. I usually suggest that the very idea of living for eternity is a threat rather than a reward. This thought has been expressed many times by other contributors.

  8. Number one reason? The claims have no evidence.

    Some people counter-argue that modern physics theories and hypotheses such as many-worlds, string theory etc have very little evidence, but that is quite the opposite of being true… logical consistency is a form of evidence since you need to find evidence of a break in the consistency to have an objection. I’m not saying these examples are true but there is a great deal of evidence in their favour since they are highly logically consistent, regardless of whether they turn out to be true or not.

    To illustrate my point, general relativity has supportive evidence (motion of mercury, gravitational lensing, etc etc), there may have been no direct evidence for black holes in the past but they were a logically consistent result of relativity, so one would need evidence for how such consistency breaks down in order to expect black holes not to exist. By default, the conservative principle should lead people to expect consistency until/unless there is evidence for a break/change in it. Hence many physics theories have a great amount of evidence for them, even when they seem wild and wacky on the surface. (Black holes were certainly considered crazy when first considered).

    • In reply to #10 by conmeo:

      Number one reason? The claims have no evidence.

      Some people counter-argue that modern physics theories and hypotheses such as many-worlds, string theory etc have very little evidence, but that is quite the opposite of being true… logical consistency is a form of evidence

      The many worlds hypothesis, much as it boggles the lay mind, is unusually simple mathematically. Such theories tend to win out over time. Consider that the Copernican theory gradually won out because the math was so much cleaner. Also consider the various formulations of quantum mechanics that all turned out to be mathematically equivalent, so which you picked was a matter of taste.

    • In reply to #10 by conmeo:Besides, you can believe or disbelieve in scientific theories & hypotheses without being threatened with hell.

      Number one reason? The claims have no evidence.

      Some people counter-argue that modern physics theories and hypotheses such as many-worlds, string theory etc have very little evidence, but that is quite the opposite of being true… logical consistency is a form of evidence since you need to find ev…

  9. I just can’t get behind a psychotic, cruel, capricious, and morally bankrupt entity as the all-powerful creator of the universe. My father was an Episcopal priest, but he never tried to jam any party line down my throat. He always encouraged me to think for myself and seek the truth, for which I am very grateful, so he planted the first seeds for my atheism. I wish I could discuss the issue with him now (he died when I was 16) and see where he might have ended up with it because I know as a thinking, compassionate, reasonable man he had a hard time with much of the claptrap of religion.

    I really started bucking religion when I was 12 and my mother told me my Jewish and Mormon friends were going to hell just because they didn’t choose the right brand. That started me on many years of wondering how to reconcile god “creating” people the way they were and then punishing them for it. How was I supposed to worship an entity that didn’t have the moral fiber of a well-taught kindergartner?

    I spent many years tying my brain in knots trying to make up a version of god that I could go along with because I was having trouble letting go of the concept of needing some sort of deity, and then I discovered Christopher Hitchens and Dr. Dawkins (pretty much simultaneously) and they essentially gave me the key to unlock my own cage by telling me it was okay to stop doing that to myself. The concept was violating my reason and my morality and I should heed that.

  10. The no. 1 reason for me is the Bible. The book of genesis in particular. Far too much to detail here but an all powerful god should have done a better job and created a world without suffering. Also a little less tilt of the Earths axis might give us a little better weather

    • In reply to #12 by Nash33:In any case, the OT god was a nasty bastard.

      The no. 1 reason for me is the Bible. The book of genesis in particular. Far too much to detail here but an all powerful god should have done a better job and created a world without suffering. Also a little less tilt of the Earths axis might give us a little better weather

  11. My #1 reason for not believing in God is that he violates the natural threshold of human belief, making it incredibly difficult to believe in him. The natural threshold of belief is repeated exposure i.e. after observing an event several times it creates a feeling of confidence which seeps into our subconscious, and into our habits. God, however, requires belief without passing the natural threshold. What sort of a god would make it incredibly difficult to believe in him? The mental effort required to believe without evidence, i.e. to go against our biology, is so great it usually only happens in cult-like environments where brainwashing overcomes the normal threshold of belief. If God exists, he’s a sadist.

    • In reply to #13 by mralstoner:

      My #1 reason for not believing in God is that he violates the natural threshold of human belief, making it incredibly difficult to believe in him. The natural threshold of belief is repeated exposure i.e. after observing an event several times it creates a feeling of confidence which seeps into our…

      The Christians have us believe God went to extreme lengths to hide all his existence, fake fossils, fake layers of sediment, fake ice cores, fake radioactive dating, no sign of the flood, no ark of the convent, no ten commandments. You would think such a being would want to sign his work so people would know it was genuine and to take his words seriously, e.g. the ten commandments on a titanium tablet, or projected on the clouds, or digitally signed with the same private key as an invariant strand of DNA. If the Christians are telling the truth, God has gone to great lengths to make his work look like a forgery. Odd.

  12. I think it is this: There are 10,000 gods, all equally absurd, yet all at some time taken completely seriously by someone.

    Well, look at that! Great minds think alike. The first time I “officially” called myself an atheist was when I was ten years old. I was probably one before that, I don’t have a recollection of ever believing in a god, but coming to a reasoned conclusion about my non-belief happened at the age of ten. It was the result of a long thinking process, during which I put together the few pieces of knowledge I had at that young age. And what was my primary reason for not believing in a god? The abundance of existing and dead religions! Still today at the age of 28, the amount of religions that are non-compatible with each other is my favourite argument. It’s so simple, it doesn’t require knowledge in theological mind games or logical fallacies to understand it, even a kid gets it. It’s so obvious that I cannot understand who still holds on to a religion after thinking about it. If there is one argument that shows that people have just invented religious myths as they went along, it’s this one.

  13. I think it is this: There are 10,000 gods, all equally absurd, yet all at some time taken completely seriously by someone.

    Well, look at that! Great minds think alike. The first time I “officially” called myself an atheist was when I was ten years old. I was probably one before that, I don’t have a recollection of ever believing in a god, but coming to a reasoned conclusion about my non-belief happened at the age of ten. It was the result of a long thinking process, during which I put together the few pieces of knowledge I had at that young age. And what was my primary reason for not believing in a god? The abundance of existing and dead religions! Still today at the age of 28, the amount of religions that are non-compatible with each other is my favourite argument. It’s so simple, it doesn’t require knowledge in theological mind games or logical fallacies to understand it, even a kid gets it. It’s so obvious that I cannot understand who still holds on to a religion after thinking about it. If there is one argument that shows that people have just invented religious myths as they went along, it’s this one.

    • In reply to #14 by Aztek:
      It’s only recently that I “officially” began to call myself an atheist, although, as a child, I wondered why catholics were the only folks not condemned to hall automatically. I never thought about god much until I was about 12 & then I wanted to become a nun — it seemed pretty romantic at the time to be a bride of christ.

      I think it is this: There are 10,000 gods, all equally absurd, yet all at some time taken completely seriously by someone.

      Well, look at that! Great minds think alike. The first time I “officially” called myself an atheist was when I was ten years old. I was probably one before that, I don’t have a…

  14. Lack of evidence is my main reason for not believing in God or the supernatural. It is just silly to believe in something for which there is absolutely no evidence of any kind, and for which we actually have no coherent concept, an entity that is by definition unknowable. The religionists’ demand for faith in such a being is in fact an admission that they have no grounds for believing in its existence and need to look elsewhere for their own real, though probably subconscious, reasons for believing in it. I can quite happily use the names of the Graeco-Roman gods and goddesses as a convenient way of referring in passing to subtle or complex ideas, as poets and writers have done ever since, without ever suggesting that such gods and goddesses really exist, but it would be impossible to do likewise with the Abrahamic god claimed to be the one and only, necessarily existent Creator, First Cause etc., because the Abrahamic god is claimed to be God, the really existing creator of us and the world we live in, who oversees our lives and judges us to determine how we shall fare hereafter. All such assertions about God and the afterlife are based on nothing but a certain combining and working-together of various ancient myths to form a theological system. It is based on nothing real, nothing evidenced in any way, and it has been used to calm our natural anxieties and fears, as children frightened of the dark are comforted by their elders. To make claims about the real world, such as that it was created by God, one needs evidence to support them. Our inability to explain the existence of the cosmos in no way justifies the assertion that some pretercosmic entity created it. An explanation can only function as such if it is based on what is already known and understood. We know of nothing beyond the cosmos. There is no evidence to suggest that God is there upholding his creation and judging the lives of humans with a view to rewarding and punishing them in a supernatural afterlife. That is all make-believe.

  15. There are many reasons why I don’t believe in any god, but the one that is most critical, and which even few atheists seem to mention, is that there is never any explanation for what god is or how it does the things it is supposedly capbable of doing. I don’t even know what this thing is that people want me to believe in, let alone by what method it created the universe, the earth, floods and hurricane’s, etc.

    It annoys me in debates between atheists and believers when they spend an hour arguing about why would god have done this or that, when the atheist should demand at the start: “What is this “god” and how does it do any of the things attributed to it?” If the believer can’t answer those basic questions, everything that follows is meaningless.

  16. The great number of ‘Gods’ in the world of humans and the lack of evidence for them was the first thing that made me doubt.

    My parents were devout Christians all their lives; my father even studied in his spare time to become a successful Methodist minister.

    Since I was raised in that community I naturally absorbed those teachings and beliefs, until by about 12 to 13 years old I had doubts that I expressed to my parents. Their reactions to my questions were tolerant and kindly, but any explanations they offered only raised further doubts.

    I think the issue that made me leave Christianity finally behind, along with the possibility of any other kind of faith was the crucifixion. Why would God/Jesus have himself crucified? For our sins? How does that work then? So God decides to punish humanity down through the generations, because Eve and Adam were guilty of scrumping fruit in the Garden of Eden after being warned not to.

    And then, finally, God forgives the sin of Adam and Eve by having himself crucified many hundreds of years later. ‘Can this be right?’ Why can’t he just say ‘I forgive you?’

    Now that all our sins (what sins?) are forgiven, why do we still have to ask forgiveness for our sins in church every week in the Lord’s Prayer?

    The whole thing made less sense than any other absurd biblical mythology out there, such as Jonah being swallowed by a whale and living 3 days in it’s belly, or Daniel in the lion’s den and walking through the fiery furnace, David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah, Joseph and.. oh, hang on a bit. I don’t buy any of this stuff; it’s just like fairytales, bedtime stories or 1001 nights of Scheherazade.

    • In reply to #19 by inquisador:

      I had a boyfriend who had a weird metaphysical belief. He thought there was a fixed quantity of good fortune in the world. If somebody got more, it mean that somebody else got less. He would get annoyed if I had too much good fortune, thinking it would somehow hurt his career. There are a number of similar crazy beliefs in the bible.

      There are burnt offerings.
      There is the scapegoat.
      There is human sacrifice e.g. Issac, Jesus.
      There is the mass killing of the cattle, children, wives etc of the defeated.
      Perhaps it would make more sense if we studied why the Aztecs did it on such a wide scale.
      Think of some movie when the tyrant demands a follower cut of his hand to prove loyalty.

  17. in part it’s the same as yours, there are too many gods to pick but ultimately whichever i pick, if i did, or any that i was even able to make up by myself would require me to accept everything i’ve learned about reality is fake. now that might be true, and if i’m wrong about gods then it is true but the reality i’ve come to accept, get’s stronger with everything i learn and is the best method of making day to day decisions i have.

    i could read horroscopes if i wanted to be cheared up but would have to accept that instead of the chaotic existance i observe, there are things that are somehow fixed, such as positions of planets at any given time, which have no influence on me other than their gravitational (less than the last cyclist who went past me) or the light they reflect (usually invisible to me).

    all irrational beliefs require a human to administer. so much easier to accept humans are capable of coming up with no end of bullshit that bears no relation to reality and other humans are capable of forgetting all the reality they’ve experienced to make way for incoming bullshit. usually out of a desire to be liked by the bullshitter.

    the problem with the gods that have been invented is one way or another they’re all as pathetic and needy as the apes who claim to speak for them

  18. I enjoyed reading your post. If your position as an atheist is the true position, then it is surely wasteful and pointless to spend any time thinking of your reasons for being so. Something tells me that you’re still searching for deeper spiritual meaning to your life.

    On the matter of the being 10000 gods. I don’t think this is correct. Forgive me for not remembering the details, but I think at least one Eastern Religion has at least one god per person (i.e. a personal deity). Therefore, there could be millions of gods. I say this not to prove a point, by the way, it would simply strengthen your argument – and I don’t believe there are millions of gods, either.

    Regarding your singling out of Christianity, I respectfully say that your comments are misguided. I don’t want to be critical, but the New Testament, taken together as a whole, teaches that to be a Christian is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I know you will have heard (and rejected) this phrase before. However, just because you might dismiss it as a ridiculous concept, that does not change what the New Testament says. Therefore, as a Christian, I am in such a relationship. It is a profoundly spiritual thing that extends beyond human reason, and is something that satisfies the deepest longings of the soul, again, which mere human logic fails to do.

    On the basis that it is a relationship, it is not appropriate to dismiss Christians as having no reason to reject the other 9,999 gods. In a similar way, there is no reason why a man or woman should try out every other woman or man before they decide who they will marry. In other words, even as the quest for love is not a scientific investigation, so when a person encounters Jesus Christ, who said “I am the way, the truth and the life”, there is something in their spirit that knows, deep down, that his claim is true. I completely understand the atheist’s position that this seems ridicluous and that Christians apparently accept absurd statemens without investigating them. However, what may be difficult for you to accept is that it isn’t ridiculous when you’ve experienced this for yourself.

    Dismiss this if you will, but I most respectfully suggest you are speaking from a position of ‘not knowing’ rather than of knowing. I’m sorry if that sounds rather direct.

  19. The great Omar Khayyam ( persian poet, mathematician ) wrote:

    And do you think that unto such as you

    A maggot minded,starved, fanatic crew; _

    God gave a secret, and denied it me?

    Oh Well well – What matters it ? Believe that too !

    I think if there was a god the evidence would be everywhere. By evidence I mean empirical. For theists the evidence lies in the unexplainable things all around us, which actually now are explainable to a great extent. In essence their evidence is the non existence of evidence. I am unable to accept this line of thought. If this was implied to everything, then justice, liberty, equality would mean nothing. Imagine a court of law, judge cross examing a murder witness – ” Did you see him killing the victim?” Withess – “No i didn’t. But i have a firm belief that he did. I swear on Jesus/Mohammad/Moses/Buddha/million hindu gods”. For me all things necessary for our survuval, important for us to shape our life should be based on evidence, data and not in absence of them. Hence no god for me, until proven.

  20. growing up i was taught to believe in whatever made me happiest. when i was 13 i finally made friends. they were christians. i started attending church 5 days a week. when i was 16 i started dating an athiest. he planted my first seeds of doubt. as i became older, i became more and more disillusioned with christianity, there were too many inconsistencies and hypocracies. ive read the bible cover to cover at least 5 times, as i got older, the lies became more and more glaring. i abandoned christianity in my early 20s but still held onto spirituality. i tried a few different brands but nothing fit, nothing seemed right. this year, i started reading and researching athiesm and the reasons it were true. finally something clicked, it all felt right, all this evidence against the existence of god/gods formed a mountain that i could climb.

  21. The people who believe in a God versus those who don’t. In then end, I like atheists more than I like believers, and their arguments make sense.

    A particular discussion comes to mind. A devout Christian assured me once that he “knows” God exists. When I asked him how, he replied “it says so in the Bible”. How can anyone take these people seriously?

    In their defense, there are lots of Christians that are smarter than this fellow, (and smarter than me I might add). The problem is they always have to employ weasel arguments to get around the fact that there is not a single shred of evidence for the existence of a deity.

    • In reply to #27 by john.wb:

      The people who believe in a God versus those who don’t. In then end, I like atheists more than I like believers, and their arguments make sense.

      seems an odd way to decide if something is true or not; “do I like this person?”. I get along with religious people ok. I know people who believe in astrology and crystal healing too.

      A particular discussion comes to mind. A devout Christian assured me once that he “knows” God exists. When I asked him how, he replied “it says so in the Bible”. How can anyone take these people seriously?

      religious people who stop me in the street (that makes them fair game- it’s cold calling- physical layer spam) often use that argument. When I respond with “I not going to be convinced by one particular religious book” they respond with “oh, I’m not religious I’m a Christian!”. I’ve not come with a good answer to this one “yes you are “, “no I’m not”, “yes…” isn’t very productive. I’ll have to try and get them to define “religious” and explain why the people at the local mosque /are/ religious while the person I’m addressing isn’t. [because (my brand of) Chistinaity is TRUE!]

      In their defense, there are lots of Christians that are smarter than this fellow, (and smarter than me I might add). The problem is they always have to employ weasel arguments to get around the fact that there is not a single shred of evidence for the existence of a deity.

  22. My parents were both atheists, but they inoculated me against Christianity by giving me, before I could read, a 12-volume encyclopedia of myths aimed at toddlers through scholars. I was particularly drawn to the Norse and Greek myths. The Christian ones were lame in comparison. I naturally treat the Christian myths as just another set of stories, not nearly as exciting, except for a few like David and Goliath. When Christians showed contempt for other religions, my response was, “You stupid asses, they are way better than yours. You have never even read their myths.”

    • In reply to #29 by Roedy:

      My parents were both atheists,

      I suggest herein lies the foremost reason for not developing any foolish beliefs. You didn’t have to “unlearn” the dogma presented to you, right from the start.

      • In reply to #33 by Nitya:

        In reply to #29 by Roedy:

        My parents were both atheists,

        I suggest herein lies the foremost reason for not developing any foolish beliefs. You didn’t have to “unlearn” the dogma presented to you, right from the start.

        That is almost correct. My Dad was extremely hands off. His view was religion was something I would have to figure out for myself. He was careful not to impose beliefs, though of course I had his example. My mom was contemptuous of Christians. Christian == hypocrite.

        The problem came when my mom accidentally enrolled me in a Christian private school. I took everything at face value. I can still remember being taught the parable in Matthew 13:3-8 about the thorns. I recall vowing to myself to be good ground. I also recall being taught Matthew 7:12-14. I remember thinking it unfair to punishing someone for choosing the wide gate, the one you were obviously supposed to use. That just made no sense. The result was more a fear of Satan and black magic than a belief in Jehovah. That probably came from overexposure to fairy tales, particularly The Snow Queen.

    • In reply to #29 by Roedy:

      My parents were both atheists, but they inoculated me against Christianity by giving me, before I could read, a 12-volume encyclopedia of myths aimed at toddlers through scholars. I was particularly drawn to the Norse and Greek myths. The Christian ones were lame in comparison. I naturally treat th…

      exactly the same with me. Though I’m not sure there was any intent on my parents’ part. I was discouraged from reading the Norse Myths as the book was felt to be too difficult (I think my mother just found it tedious). The discouragement not going so far as to prevent me. The rule was “if it’s in the house, you can read it”. This unfortunately precluded comic books :-(

  23. I admit I am terrible at debating with Christians. I want to punish them, humiliate them for their stupidity, Converting would only be permitted after them groveling for forgiveness for being such a xxx head (in particular for persecuting gays).

    Since I am not prepared to let them save face, they have no choice but to defend their crazy beliefs.

    But lets say my goal were purely deliverance from superstition.

    What arguments would work best and allow the Christian to save face?

    What arguments, though devastating in their logic, do not work.?

    • In reply to #31 by Roedy:

      I am not sure it is possible to counter Christians’ arguments and spare them the discomfort of losing face, since they invariably speak from the viewpoint of the morally superior missionary bringing you divinely revealed Truth in order that you may be saved from your iniquity. I have always found it best never to accept a quotation from the Bible as part of an argument in any discussion with Christians; instead, I always point out that quoting the Bible merely indicates what they believe but offers nothing to indicate its truth or falsehood in reality. Their saying that the Bible is the word of God is itself merely an expression of what they believe without offering any reason for believing it. Their whole belief-system floats in their minds without any real connection with the world that actually exist. Pointing out firmly that the Bible is not a legitimate basis for arguing for the truth of anything usually leaves them unable to hold forth about their religion, and some of them may even start to realize that what they are saying has no basis at all in reality. This usually shuts them up, for no-one likes to sound deluded or stupid.

      • In reply to #48 by Cairsley:

        In reply to #31 by Roedy:

        I am not sure it is possible to counter Christians’ arguments and spare them the discomfort of losing face, since they invariably speak from the viewpoint of the morally superior missionary bringing you divinely revealed Truth.

        I found it so amusing and frustrating that Christians offer biblical quotations as evidence for the truth of some other biblical assertion. They truly don’t seem to understand how absurd that is. They postulate that the bible is 100% true and a perfect transcription of God’s words. If there is any error or inconsistency the fault must be your perception or understanding. They are as fanatical as mathematicians in applying this. It enables them to completely ignore biblical inconsistency. Basically they argue “I don’t believe my lying eyes, my brain must be malfunctioning if I perceive error. I am a mere worm. How could you expect me to understand such mysteries?”

        If I ask, “Why you think god had anything to do with writing the bible?” They look at me as if I had asked something like “How do I know you exist?”

        • In reply to #54 by Roedy:

          If I ask, “Why do you think god had anything to do with writing the bible?” They look at me as if I had asked something like “How do I know you exist?”

          The divine authority of the Bible is an amazingly deeply inculcated presupposition in the minds of fervent Protestants. Among fervent Catholics the corresponding presupposition concerns the divine authority of the Church with its priesthood and sacraments. But in both cases it is the same kind of utterly unfounded assumption, i.e. superstition, regarding a supposed revelation of God’s mind and will. This is what needs to be called into question in any discussion of religion with Christians. The questions of the existence and nature of God are a waste of time: what a rationalist would call incoherence or wishful make-believe is what a Christian would call transcendent mystery, and discussion would go round and round in circles if it went anywhere. But the kind of question you posed – like “Why do you think God had anything to do with writing the Bible?” or as I have found myself asking in this context “What makes you think so?” – is just the approach needed to challenge Christians to face up to the unexamined presuppositions on which their religious beliefs are based. The need for such questions may seem obvious to us, but I too have seen how impertinent some Christians regard them.

      • In reply to #48 by Cairsley:

        In reply to #31 by Roedy:

        …no-one likes to sound deluded or stupid.

        1 Corinthians 4:10

        We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured!

        You need to read the context to see it, but Paul is criticising them for their worldly (tainted, impure, non-orthodox) wisdom and (similar) world-perceived honour. I’ve seen even moderate Christians use this verse in conjunction with the idea of “being too clever for your own good,” etc. To be fair it’s certainly possible to become conceited and consumed by your own awareness of how clever you are (or think you are). On the other hand, it’s a big leap from that to the idea that all cleverness and logical correctness (or at least that which conflicts with unevidenced conviction) is like that. Still, people make it, and not just Christians.

    • But lets say my goal were purely deliverance from superstition.

      Well I can agree with that statement.

      I can’t say I want to heap scorn on Christians though. But to be fair I have not being effected negatively by religion. Christians I know are just people , normal people .

      I can see that being gay can give you another perspective on things though. You got people with explicit prejudices to deal with.

      Anyway, Re: your point on deliverance from superstition , have you read Carl Sagan’s , The Demon Haunted World?
      It’s dense , pompous at times but it’s absolutely heroic as well.

      In reply to #31 by Roedy:

      I admit I am terrible at debating with Christians. I want to punish them, humiliate them for their stupidity, Converting would only be permitted after them groveling for forgiveness for being such a xxx head (in particular for persecuting gays).

      Since I am not prepared to let them save face, they…

    • In reply to #31 by Roedy:

      I admit I am terrible at debating with Christians. I want to punish them, humiliate them for their stupidity, Converting would only be permitted after them groveling for forgiveness for being such a xxx head (in particular for persecuting gays).

      I think you need to learn to relax. According to new Scientist thinking nice thoughts about people is actually good for you (something to do with the vagus nerve). Even beefs up the immune system. So you get your revenge on nasty christians by thinking good thoughts and outliving them.

      Since I am not prepared to let them save face, they have no choice but to defend their crazy beliefs.
      what?

      But lets say my goal were purely deliverance from superstition.

      that’s a toughy. The best I hope for is to give them a moments pause for thought. Shifting belief systems is like moving mountains with a teaspoon

      What arguments would work best and allow the Christian to save face?

      like none?

      What arguments, though devastating in their logic, do not work.?

      most of them? People don’t arrive at belief systems by logical means. To change your belief system means you have to admit you were wrong. People don’t like to do this. Most people read a newspaper that is broadly in agreement with their political opinions. Its called Cognitive Dissonance.

      Just try and make them think. Just for a moment. Maybe one night they’ll wake up and say “good grief. maybe that crazy man was right!”. Depth charges in the benthic depths of the unconscious.

  24. Well I’m not much of an intellectual. When I look at the world around me, it’s quite evident that there are no supernatural forces at work, especially a caring designer and builder of the universe, who lets some 30,000 children die every day from poverty related issues.

    If there is a God, and there isn’t, it never does anything ! A useless and impotent deity ! I’m reminded of that old limerick

    As I was going up the stair,

    I met a man who wasn’t there.

    He wasn’t there again today,

    I wish to hell he’d go away !

    • In reply to #32 by Mr DArcy:

      If there is a God, and there…If there is a God, and there isn’t, it never does anything ! A useless and impotent deity !
      I’m reminded of that old limerick

      As I was going up the stair,

      I met a man who wasn’t there.

      He wasn’t there again today,

      I wish to hell he’d go away !

      My goodness, are you quoting Shel Silverstein…Bless youy heart

  25. Hi Roedy,

    I asked myself what in the main reason I do not believe in god?

    I would never ask myself that question. To me the word god, on its own, is incoherent. To be meaningful – to be worthy of my attention – it would have to be defined. As a noun, I would expect the word god to be explained by some evidence. So far: worse than zero. Worse because I get less information than is contained in, say; blood, therefore green rock.

    You could argue that the above is actually quite good evidence – of possible mental retardation for example. But that doesn’t feed back to your question.

    As I have no personal experience, and as I have received no evidence, for what people call a god or gods the question never comes up, so I never need convincing.

    There are 10,000 gods, all equally absurd, yet all at some time taken completely seriously by someone.

    That’s their problem.

    Of course, you could take the view that these believers then attempt to impose the will of their god(s) on the rest of us – so that there is no escaping the fact that we have to address why people want us to take their personal fantasies seriously. Perhaps I’m just lucky but, so far, that hasn’t resulted in my having to answer the question: For what reason do I do not believe in their god?

    People always champion the existence of the god pushed on them in infancy. There is nothing inherently special about any particular religion. They all disagree.[etc. etc.]

    All fascinating stuff I’m sure. As I say, it’s their problem.

    What is your #1 self-convincing reason, either against or for the existence of god?

    Not applicable.

    Peace.

  26. The CBC Confessions did a story about a Mormon woman who left the church. She was required to wear garments, a cotton tee shirt and bloomers that reach to the knees as undergarments. There is no provision for menstruation. You are not supposed to put anything between the skin and the garments. You were supposed to just make a mess. It occurred to her that she would not have to deal with these ugly, awkward garments, or how they control possible choices of outer clothing. She bought some sets of sexy, colourful underwear. Removing the garments was like removing Mormonism.

  27. Claims that don’t reject the null hypothesis have little practical value for me. That’s it in a nutshell for me.

    Mike

    (PS: I am writing this on a Danish train where I have very good reasons to accept that I’ll reach my destination on time. However, there remains to be seen a reliable schedule for any “transportation” to an After-life. I suppose if a claim doesn’t contradict the null hypothesis you could have a very weak proposal on your hands, but very weak indeed.)

  28. I could hardly imagine anyone having the gall to remain a Christian after hearing about the terrible things the nuns and priests did who ran the residential schools for BC native children. Sexual abuse by both nuns and priests. Torture with an electric chair. Beatings. One story particularly burned me up. A nun ruthlessly beat a young boy because he stood beside his father’s coffin as native tradition demanded rather than kneeling beside it as Catholic tradition demanded. It was not a few bad apples it was every last one. Thousands of kids killed and hidden in unmarked graves.

  29. I have enjoyed reading your initial post and the subsequent comments. If your position as an atheist is the true position, then it is surely a waste to spend any time thinking of your reasons for being so. Something tells me that you’re still searching for deeper spiritual meaning to your life.

    On the matter of the being 10000 gods, I don’t think this is correct. Forgive me for not remembering the detail, but I think at least one Eastern Religion has at least one god per person (i.e. a personal deity). Therefore, there could be millions of gods. I say this not to prove a point, by the way, indeed it would simply strengthen your argument for saying it’s all nonsense.

    Regarding your singling out of Christianity, however, I respectfully say that your comments don’t really address how Christians think. The New Testament, taken as a whole, leads to the belief that to be a Christian is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I know you will have heard (and rejected) this phrase before. However, just because you might dismiss it as a ridiculous concept, that does not change what the New Testament says. Therefore, as a Christian, I am in such a relationship. It is a profoundly spiritual thing that extends beyond human reason, and is something that satisfies the deepest longings of the soul, again, which mere human logic fails to do. I would suggest that this is not contrary to human reason, but reason on it’s own cannot attain to it – hence the intellectual problems it presents for people who do not believe the Gospel.

    On the basis that it is a relationship, it is not appropriate to dismiss Christians as having no reason to reject the other 9,999 gods. In a similar way, there is no reason why a man or woman should try out every other woman or man before they decide who they will marry. When a person has found what they are looking for, that IS the reason to dismiss alternatives. In other words, even as the quest for love is not a scientific investigation, so when a person encounters Jesus Christ, whom said “I am the way, the truth and the life”, there is something in their spirit that knows, deep down, that his claim is true. Most of the comments about there being no evidence, are really just reflections of the interpretation of the evidence and the eye of faith sees it more readily that the eye on non-faith.

    Dismiss this if you will, but I most respectfully suggest you are speaking from a position of ‘not knowing’ rather than of knowing. I’m sorry if that sounds rather direct.

  30. OP: ….. I asked myself what is the main reason I do not believe in god?

    As a life-long non-theist I’ve always found that ‘I had no need for that hypothesis’. There has been no occasion when I thought any god had any infuence in any event. I’m rather fortunate that all those man-made myths have never had any direct effect on me.

    That said, many myth-followers have had negative effects on me, thus I’m very anti-theist. Blinkered, ignorant, immoral and dangerously infectious faith-heads are the worst examples of humanity, and are blindly hastening the end of civilization – virally supported by the ‘liberal’, ‘moderate’, ‘sophisticated’ cherry-pickers of unsupported fables…. Mac.

  31. anything that is “predicated” on FEAR and my AGREEMENT is obviously a tool for manipulation.religion, like psuedoscience is superfluous – existentially it is VERY SERIOUS, because they “use to” burn people alive for saying things like we are saying. Why. Mostly for economic reasons. Recently there was a christian sect in a remote country; where cannibalism was part of previous, pagan varieties – a neighbour, probably some kind of enemy of the family, was blamed for the death of a child, the townspeople stormed past police and tore the person limb from limb, and then proceeded to eat them; though there is a tragically ironic dark side to this —because this was a staunch christian community–we see it it for what it is–avowed ignorance—and ultimately major moral transgression—and insanity—-they synthesized the most brutal and sadistic past “religious behaviours” into what can only be described as “Collective Madness”.(2013 – Dipak Gupta – Path to Collective Madness: A Study in Social Order and Political Pathology {original CT: Praeger -2001)—http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3792332?uid=3739400&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21102422398881

    various pages from this great book

    spraguelle

  32. What started me on the road I’m on …..

    As I aged I looked around me and I started to realise that there is a hell of a lot of bullshit and opinion in this world. Very much diverse and contradictory. So I grew sceptical , not in a paranoid way I would hope. There’s a lot of good people in this world and a lot of them talk sh*t. I think it’s the nature of humanity and society. So I looked more into area’s such as psychology and history and health and something started to emerge for me. Life was what I make it , I couldn’t see anything supernatural in terms of a deity , it was really a battle of the wits , life was beautiful and cruel. Then I studied a bit. And,
    wallah , I’m a non believer

    So I definitely had the philosophical change of heart first. Reason , logic and the rest came later.

  33. For me, I’d realised in my mid/early teens that due to the sheer inconsistencies in all the different forms of Christianity (a loving God that will forgive you of your sins, yet sends you to hell just for starters) that if there was a God/Goddess/Gods then he/she/it/they certainly did not exist in the form recounted by scripture and I saw no better evidence from any other religion. I didn’t discount the idea of a God entirely, just reasoned that if such a being existed we couldn’t know the nature of it and so just carried on my life as if there wasn’t one (I suppose about a 5.5-6 on the scale). As I studied science more and more in my later teens I felt that I could understand why people proposed the idea of an intelligent designer, but it just didn’t make sense to me – the more we found out, the less we needed a God to explain things, unless from a purely deistic point of view – especially when I started to see some pretty bad design flaws. But what clinched it for me was the realisation that had a God never, ever been proposed in any form before then anyone trying to explain an unanswered question using one would be laughed out of any science convention and that the only reason it was persisting was a typical case of people being loath to abandon a previously commonly held viewpoint.

  34. Secondary reason, my personal inversion of Pascal’s Wager. Since most religions send you to hell for believing in the wrong god, it is better to believe in no god at all rather than risk offending the One True God by wasting your life upsetting him by worshipping one of his (many) rivals.

  35. I don’t think you can possibly provide one answer to this question, there is no one reason why I don’t believe in any god and I’d be surprised if anyone else could truly say there was one reason. I think you can only answer this question by answering another question as well, “How did you come to not believe in god?”

    Beliefs are after all formative and cumulative, and everyone will answer this question differently based on their upbringing. Even if you can hone in on one overarching logical excercise that sums it up for you, it took you time to come up with that, and you likely did not believe in god long before you came up with that argument. If your reason for not believing in any god is truly based on just one logical argument, then I’d say that’s a pretty weak philisophy.

    So, how did you come to not believing in god?

    For me I’d say it was a combination of two main experiences in my life. Growing up I was exposed to plenty of Christianity, Methodist to be precise, in the form of sunday school and then participation in cub scouts, at the behest of my father. But I was also exposed to many other mythologies and fantasies thanks to my mother who was an avid fan of egyptology and science fiction. My favourite movie growing up was Stargate, a fantasy adventure with the concept of destroying a false god. So this exposure, to myths that are widely regarded as nothing but fantasy, and this one myth that seemingly was not, was incompatable with my world view. Why was Jesus real while Ra was not? I also don’t recall ever being upset about Santa Claus being a lie, probably for the same reasons. In addition to this, growing up, I like many young people, was looking for answers to all of lifes big questions, why this and why that, why me. Religion ultimately failed to provide any satisfactory answers, and I was drawn more to science as an overall provider of explanations for the worlds mysteries. This is turn led me to the likes of Sagan and Dawkins, and all of the philisophical arguments that al of us on this board are familiar with, Pascals wager, Epicurus, and so forth.

    • In reply to #53 by LinguisticApe:

      My number 1 reason would have to be the time God appeared to me in a dream and assured me that He didn’t exist.

      I had an experience of this form. I was pondering the question of does life have a purpose and does the universe have a purpose. I heard a heavenly choir respond. “No it doesn’t, but good news, you get to assign your own.”

  36. As others have noted there is a multitude of reasons why I do not believe in a god or gods.

    Among others:

    1) It simply seems incredibly childish to believe in an all seeing, all mighty entity or entitities, it is blatently superstitous claptrap with no more credibility than Hansel and Gretel or Jack and the Beanstalk.

    2) Despite all the altars, churches, temples, statues, icons, dogma, prayers, sacrifices, cermonies and other bullshit over the ages, there is still not one solitary, credible, scientifically proven piece of evidence to suggest valid supernatural explanations for anything in this world or the universe in which we live.

    3) The only consistencies in religious doctrines and their prescriptions is the guaranteed sheer inconsistency and fallibility of same. It defies rational thought that a being so intelligent, so omnipotent as a ‘god’ would be the ‘author’ of a load of contradictory, badly written crackpot nonsense such as, for example, the bible or koran.

    4) Religious texts are so obviously the product of the humans living in the times they originated. Any study of their history reveals an obvious construct of human origin that has ultimately been channeled by humans in order to control other humans, gain resources and wield power.

    5) Who is this god character anyway? A summary of christian texts suggest a character not unlike a greedy, irritable, snotty nosed big kid in a sandpit bitching, whining and picking fights with the smaller kids. Why would a god, given the requisite wisdom, knowledge, intelligence and power this alleged ‘creator’ must have, give a flying proverbial about engaging with mere humans. It would be akin to a human attempting mutually satisfying discourse with an amoeba.

    In short god and religion is complete and utter bollocks and feeble minded mortal that I am, I cannot fathom how the hell, in this day and age, all the fucked up religious mumbo jumbo has such a massive, ongoing impact on this planet. It continues to ruin millions, nay billions, of lives on a daily basis – how much better and more productive would mankind and the planet be, were we unshackled from the suffocating constraints of religious belief.

    Here endeth the sermon…

    • In reply to #56 by ireligious:

      As others have noted there is a multitude of reasons why I do not believe in a god or gods.

      Yes, though it took me until I was in my late 40s to admit they were right. So for me, the question is not so much why I don’t believe in God, but why I believed for so long – or said to myself and others that I did.

      I think, in my case,, I kept hearing the little murmurs of doubt, but kept ignoring them. Looking back, my theistic [Christian] ‘phase’ (actually from my mid teens to later 40s ie over 30 of my 57 years!) was characterised by the opposite of mindfulness – mindlessness if you like, in which prayer, hymns, services, the bible, religious discussions kept up a stream of distraction from an honest view of my feelings ie doubts. I think I was ‘contemplative’ that I was wrong for some time during that phase – indeed, had a couple of years of loss of faith only to return after a kind of conversion experience.

      I am unable to entirely divorce all this from a parallel denial that ran alongside my theism – namely, that I took a long time to accept another reality about myself – ie that I was really gay as well as atheist. In my case ‘coming out’ about both was a simultaneous event.

      So for me the reasons for now being atheist, while connected to science, philosophy etc ie rationalism, also have strong emotional and psychological links.

    • In reply to #56 by ireligious:

      As others have noted there is a multitude of reasons why I do not believe in a god or gods.

      Among others:
      4) Religious texts are so obviously the product of the humans living in the times they originated. Any study of their history reveals an obvious construct of human origin that has ultimately been channeled by humans in order to control other humans, gain resources and wield power.

      This reminded me of a book I found on how to be a good housewife written in the fifties. It was like the ten commandments for pleasing your husband, such as placing a peeled onion on the counter if you haven’t started cooking so your husband will, when coming home from a hard day’s work think you’ve been in the kitchen for hours. Never challenge your husband when you have company in the house, that would be disrespectful. And how to never have a run in your stocking by looking in the mirror many times before husband arrives home. The bible, housewife etiquette….it’s all the same. Do this, don’t do that – obey the man and make him happy and you’ll be rewarded.

      The big wake up to the propaganda and lies for me was realizing that as a woman I was easily repulsed by a male-personified god and male-dominated religion. As if I am going to call a guy Father, Reverend or His Excellency or take seriously a man who thinks he has the power to dictate to women and girls how they should behave, just because he falsely considers himself a special agent for a god. And capitalizing the h in him/he is just stupid. I could go on…

  37. In the middle ages, I think Christianity and Islam were more like teams. Each team had a team story. Your loyalty was more about a loyalty to a sports team. It was not that you examined the stories and decided which was the least ridiculous. Weaning people off Christianity may learn most from sports team loyalties than from logic and inconsistency.

  38. Hey… I am new to this site and I am quite interested on the kind of topics discussed here. That is one of the main reasons I Signed up to add some of my view points to this thread. After reading the main post and most of the comments posted, I noticed that most you all are saying that you can not believe in one religion because there are so many religions.

    This fact exists not only in religions but in science as well. For example Newton first explained the theory of gravitation. At newtons time all of them accepted that as the truth. Then Einstein had his own view point on gravity. The explanation of gravity by both these scientists hugely differ. As intelligent people who should we believe in ? Einstein or Newton ? I suppose we can not give a definite answer.

    Likewise my point is that we can not argue that all religions are false because of that there are so many religions. There maybe 1 true religon or there maybe many. And its up to us on which one we should believe in. In my opinion belief can not be reasoned out.

    Thank you…

    • Hi user123.

      There is no fight in the scientific community about whether Einstein or Newton is right. Einstein was proven right. There are not two waring scientific camps arguing about this subject so your comparison fails there. Things like gravitational lensing in photos of galaxies and the orbit of Mercury and the bending of light around the sun confirm Einsteins ideas, along with a whole host of other examples.

      And the question is not “There are other religions, so why don’t you think every religion is false”. The question is, why is your religion different from any other? And to this point in my life, I haven’t heard a very good answer to that question.

      In reply to #60 by user123:

      Hey… I am new to this site and I am quite interested on the kind of topics discussed here. That is one of the main reasons I Signed up to add some of my view points to this thread. After reading the main post and most of the comments posted, I noticed that most you all are saying that you can not believe in one religion because there are so many religion.. This fact exists not only in religions but in science as well. For example Newton first explained the theory of gravitation. At newtons time all of them accepted that as the truth. Then Einstein had his own view point on gravity. The explanation of gravity by both these scientists hugely differ. As intelligent people who should we believe in ? Einstein or Newton ? I suppose we can not give a definite answer. Likewise my point is that we can not argue that all religions are false because of that there are so many religions. There maybe 1 true religon or there maybe many. And its up to us on which one we should believe in. In my opinion belief can not be reasoned out.

      • Ya currently Einstein is considered as right…but can we be 100% sure that he’ll be right forever ??? If not how can we surely say that he is right at this very moment.

        Also I disagree on the part that all religions are of same nature. Consider Buddhism for instance…It is completely different compared to other religions. It in its very nature is completely logical and reasonable.
        In reply to #61 by Ryan1306:

        Hi user123

        There is no fight in the scientific community about whether Einstein or Newton is right. Einstein was proven right. There are not two waring scientific camps arguing about this subject so your comparison fails there. Things like gravitational lensing and the orbit of Mercury and the ben…

        • Einstein didn’t throw out Newtons laws, he explained them in a different way. Many of Einstein’s predications( predications that are ridiculously precise) have been confirmed. You should read up on the subject, I think you’d be surprised how much humans definitely know about the universe.

          And I don’t know who said all religions are the same, I didn’t. The question is, why is your religion different, why is your religion true? I’d be very interested to hear your answer to this question.

          In reply to #62 by user123:

          Ya currently Einstein is considered as right…but can we be 100% sure that he’ll be right forever ??? If not how can we surely say that he is at this very moment.

          Also I disagree on the part that all religions are of same nature. Consider Buddhism for instance…It is completely different compared…

        • In reply to #62 by user123:

          Ya currently Einstein is considered as right…but can we be 100% sure that he’ll be right forever ??? If not how can we surely say that he is right at this very moment.

          Also I disagree on the part that all religions are of same nature. Consider Buddhism for instance…It is completely different co…

          Buddhism is frequently not categorised as a religion due to this very fact. It does contain some elements in keeping with a religion, such as the notion of reincarnation , though I believe a Buddhist is not compelled to go along with this aspect.

        • In reply to #62 by user123:

          Also I disagree on the part that all religions are of same nature. Consider Buddhism for instance..

          It is the least objectionable of religions. It has some problems.

          1. though does not mandate belief in reincarnation, they use it to justify social injustice. The evidence for it is quite weak. I went for a past life regression and discovered I was once a leprechaun.

          2. Its meditation practices have measurable effect on the brain, as claimed.

          3. the Dalai Lama is congruent with the teachings. You don’t see him calling for beatings.

          4. Enlightenment is a pretty slippery concept. It has a whiff of bamboozlement.

          5. There is a fair bit of hinting about miracles, levitation, heating wet blankets, but it is always pooh poohed as unimportant, not as myths.

          6. It creates a huge drone beggar class, which is quite a drain on a third world society.

      • In reply to #61 by Ryan1306:

        Hi user123.

        There is no fight in the scientific community about whether Einstein or Newton is right. Einstein was proven right.

        I think you mean “Evidence shows Einstein’s equations predict experimental results to X decimal places.” That will not change unless somebody blew the experiment. What could change is the fine tweaking math needed to get more decimal places or to predict results under extreme conditions quite different from those tested.

        In the same sense, Newton is still right.

        • Your right. I thought about that after I posted it but I knew some smart person would come around and correct it. Thanks.
          In reply to #75 by Roedy:

          In reply to #61 by Ryan1306:

          Hi user123.

          There is no fight in the scientific community about whether Einstein or Newton is right. Einstein was proven right.

          I think you mean “Evidence shows Einstein’s equations predict experimental results to X decimal places.” That will not change unless somebody blew the experiment. What could change is the fine tweaking math needed to get more decimal places or to predict results under extreme conditions quite different from those tested.
          In the same sense, Newton is still right.

    • In reply to #60 by user123:

      Then Einstein had his own view point on gravity. The explanation of gravity by both these scientists hugely differ. As intelligent people who should we believe in ? Einstein or Newton ?

      Both – Newton 99% under Earth conditions and Einstein’s up-date to make further adjustments for relativity.

      I suppose we can not give a definite answer.

      We can! – and have the calculations which can be tested and which work.

      Likewise my point is that we can not argue that all religions are false because of that there are so many religions.

      That just points out the contradictions, but it is the lack of supporting testable evidence which undermines religious claims.List of deities

      There maybe 1 true religon or there maybe many.

      But there is no evidence for any of them.

      And its up to us on which one we should believe in.

      But only if you choose to discount scientific evidence and rational deductions based on this.

      In my opinion belief can not be reasoned out.

      Nor can unevidenced “belief” be reasoned in. (Objective reasoning starts with testable evidence) It is like belief in fairies, leprechauns, alien abductions, magic charms etc. – simply notions or delusions, dreamed up in the human imagination past or present with fanciful re-telling of stories.

    • In reply to #60 by user123:
      As intelligent people who should we believe in ? Einstein or Newton ?

      First of all, Einstein’s equations and Newton’s give the exact same answers when the bodies are moving at “normal” speeds.

      They only differ significantly when bodies are traveling near the speed of light. Einstein’s laws are a tweaking to get you the fine decimal places under extreme conditions.

      If you are a scientist/architect desiging a football stadium you would use Newtonian mechanics. If you were designing a GPS system you would use Einsteinian.

      Here is another analogy, if Google came out with Google Floor, that let you wander about the floor plans of any public or private building in the world, except for a few blocked ones like the NSA building, would that mean that Google Maps was “wrong”?

      Sometimes scientists simply make mistakes. In trying to figure out combustion, they thought when iron burned leaving rust, it was a sort of ash. Something must have been been burned away. They called that stuff “phlogiston”. Then they discovered to their embarrassment that phlogiston had negative weight. Joseph Priestley discovered a gas he called oxygen that behaved like negative phlogiston. They realised that all would be much simpler if you presumed when iron burned it combined with oxygen to form rust.

      Though the phlogiston theorists were wrong, they were not wrong in the religious sense, of just making something up with no evidence to support it. Their theory was the best explanation for the data of the time. It was not nearly as wrong as people imagine. They had it all right except for the “sign”. Further when a better theory appeared, they adopted it.

  39. I’ll post this for Richard Feynman as he isn’t here to do it himself.

    “It doesn’t seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil – which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.”

    • In reply to #65 by mmurray:

      I’ll post this for Richard Feynman as he isn’t here to do it himself.

      “It doesn’t seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all…

      The essential problem with this is that there are plenty of “religions” that do not beleive god created the universe to watch our play. There are other religions beside judeo christian ones. It’s surprising that this is not pointed out more often.

  40. Would a god worth worshipping allow so much suffering in the world, especially of innocent children? Why would he create sentient creatures using such a cruel, savage and wasteful system as evolution?

  41. Main reason….Fossil evidence all around us of ancient humans for millions of years

    Only Insecure and ignorant human minds could have invented god….anything they didn’t understand was explained as – god….but now we have all the real and scientifically checkable evidence as to how we and the universe got here…..God is simply a Tool – in the imaginations of religious people…..

  42. I was never actually religious as a child. Neither of my parents are religious and they left me alone to make up my own mind. I was unsure what I believed for some years though I was never very impressed with that I saw of religion or heard from the occasional bible basher who crossed my path. When I was about eight or nine I told my mum that I was a heathen, I meant atheist but had got a bit confused. For a long time I just had a gut feeling that religious ideas did not make sense, but I wasn’t sure why. What solidified my unbelief was a rejection of the idea that the body and soul were separate. If an infection or injury to a persons brain can cause changes to their personality or their abilities and changes in hormone levels can change people’s mood or behaviour then how could our mind survive death? If life after death is logically impossible then religion really does seem pointless.

  43. It’s very hard for me to pick out ONE reason for not believing in god. There are so many… If I had to go with one, maybe I’d go with how inconsistent it is, with itself and with what science has unveiled.

  44. My reasons for not believing in god today are different from those that first shook my believe during early adolescence. When I was a boy, perhaps no more than eleven or twelve, the thought of everlasting life astounded me and, later, made me afraid. To think that one can exist for a billion years and have this expanse of time not even add a trickle to the infinite ocean of a life is quite terrifying if you contemplate it at all. I come from a religious family and to experience everlasting life as so pervasive a concept yet having such a resoundingly positive effect (although not particularly potent) on every religious person that I knew made me suspicious. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t more shaken (from worry as much as awe) by the promise of an existence that would never end. I came to the conclusion that most people didn’t put much thought into the matter and this led me to question other aspects of religious belief.

    Today, it is the complete lack of empirical evidence that maintains my conviction that god doesn’t exist. It’s funny, but people seem to forget that a belief had to come from somewhere. If you pull apart the history of any belief and find nothing of substance (in terms of that belief actually being true) then the only reasonable thing to do is to discard the belief. I feel fortunate that I was able to do this considering my early exposure. Some people seem to find it much harder.

  45. I don’t think I actually have a reason not to believe in god. I think it just grew on me around 7 or 8 that I didn’t believe. The Big Guy With White Beard became increasingly implausible. I was also starting to apply logic to things like “is there a special part of heaven for cave men? (obviously I wouldn’t want to share heaven with grunty hairy people (and no doubt vice versa)). This aparteid heaven eventually collapsed under the weight of its own logic.” With a bit more imagination I could have marketed this.

  46. There was never a time in my life that “God” had any point or purpose, so no convictions needed or involved either way.

    Besides my dad gave me more and asked for less than this deadbeat skydad. Which is why, in my head where both now live, I love one and not the other.

    • In reply to #88 by phil rimmer:

      Besides my dad gave me more and asked for less than this deadbeat skydad. Which is why, in my head where both now live, I love one and not the other.

      This statement was so beautiful and powerful, I had to read it several times. Thanks for sharing this, Phil. I feel the same way about my father, whom I’m fortunate to still have, and in the only world we will ever share.

  47. I became an atheist around 8 or so. We were studying the American Indians in school and all week we spent making cardboard tepees and bringing in feathers to make those head thingies. We were immersed in studying them and by the end of the week I had come to love these people who seemed so happy and peaceful — at leaast until we started killing them and stealing their land. Anyway, Friday of that week we had a presentation and we each got up and told a story about what we had learned and what it meant to us. After one kid got done speaking, the teacher said, “yes, they were wonderful peoples but they’re all in hell now. Too bad they didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.”

    I was horrified! I pictured all these people burning in hell and it seemed so unfair to me. I really struggled to reconcile this and rationalize it and justify it. After much thought, I realized it was all bullshit. It just had to be. I continued to go to church of course because my family went every Sunday but my ears were then open. I began listening with a much more critical ear. The more I heard, the more truly abhorent it all began to sound. I began to see the church for what it was… a business. Making money off people’s fear is what it is all about. I feel so glad I’m free of the BS.

  48. As a child of 8.. I asked everyone – Why is god a man and more importantly who made god ? – No one ever answered to my rational satisfaction especially religious people….and therefore My instinct told me that god was a Tool and insulting to women …constructed by manipulative men to control everyone…..but I would not be controlled by them ever….Resist…Do not Submit….Do not accept…Do not believe…when I began to gain scientific knowledge…. everything fell into place….

  49. The existence or non-existence of god is an irrelevant argument to me and it should be to any educated human being. If god exists to be observed directly or indirectly than it can exist to be known. But the problem is that religion claims to know, while never producing any means of knowing that is inseparable from make believe or that can be determined for truth much less from its falsity. All scientific evidence indicates that it’s very highly improbable that there is a God, “we” are the product of the universe, the composition of our human body proves it. Religious people prefer to argue that one of the 10.000 deities must have created our Universe, therefore in their opinion this must be the explanation why our body is composed of 93% star dust atoms.

    (Our body is composed of roughly 7×1027 atoms. Now it turns out that of those billion billion billion atoms, 4.2×1027 of them are hydrogen. Remember that hydrogen is big bang dust and not stardust. This leaves 2.8×1027 atoms of stardust. Thus the amount of stardust atoms in our body is 45%. Since stardust atoms are the heavier elements, the percentage of star mass in our body is much larger. Most of the hydrogen in our body floats around in the form of water. The human body is about 60% water and hydrogen only accounts for 11% of that water mass. We can conclude that 93% of the mass in our body is stardust).

    I seriously doubt that any religion has the truth or the answers for life. I can see that religious traditions each contain some tiny bits of truth based on human experience and reality, but not in sort of way the way that they claim. I think it does injustice to the natural world our universe and to humanity to attribute all that is good and delightful in the world to supernatural causes. Because my reasons for not believing in God goes far beyond the injustices in the Bible or the travesties that have been carried out in the name of religion. But the main reason for me that god does not exist is, that his revelations, claims, grounds of existence goes against the laws of physics which apply to everything in our universe and of course logic. What I find most puzzling and illogic, is the notion that God needs humans to do his biding, not once has he spoken for himself, and whenever he did speak, he spoke to a peasant from antiquity in private to give him the ten commandments inscribed on two stone tablets on a mountain. Surely, God could have come up with a better solution than presenting conflicting knowledge about how he created the world, us and not to forget his ten commandments who he chose to inscribed on stone tablets, come on this goes against all reason, he is supposedly the creator of time, the universe and approximately 450 billion galaxies after all. He could have done much better, right? People’s uneducated & blind believe in a doctrine written by humans for humans 2600 years ago is the living proof that religion is just a tool to keep people in line and brain wash them, and I find it sad that humans still buy into this! As the late Christopher Hitchens said: “I can only urge you to take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way”.

  50. I wondered if this pragmatic argument might work. I think many Christians may be persuaded it applies to Islam.

    Clergy work like sheepdogs to ensure the flock are funneled into thinking
    identically. The congregation all come to believe the identically false things.

    A society with only one religion naturally stultifies, since everyone thinks alike and eschews any new idea.
    Only people without any religion are open to innovation. They are the engines of new thinking.

  51. It is not even theoretically possible that more than one religion is correct. Even if one of those religions is correct, there are so many of them, you have only about a 1 in 10,000 chance of picking the right one. Further, it is certain that all religions are false because there is nothing about any of them to distinguish them as scientifically accurate. There is still a slim chance a god exists. It is just certain that no religion got the science of how his universe works correct.

    Go ahead, believe in the microscopic odds of some god existing, but give up the notion that your religion is infallible.
    It could not even get basic science right.

  52. The main reason is that there is no evidence. There are many other reasons not to believe but they rank much lower. So if distribute all the reasons on a scale of 1 to 100… the no evidence reason take up about 95% of scale.

  53. In primary school, we had our daily dose of Bible readings. Now, reading the Bible can have the effect that you stop taking Christianity seriously. For me, it was the Genesis story. How can you have a ‘day’ before you create the sun. And so on. It’s all nonsense. Not that I had taken religion all that seriously since the pre-school stage anyway. In later years, I’ve learned that it’s ‘metaphorical’. Unfortunately, the metaphor makes no sense either.

  54. Been having a rethink on this topic. Perhaps my understanding of the world as an atheist, is determined by my education and western background. People make observations of events around them and interpret them according to the knowledge handed down by their parents and their culture. If we see a baby die, we attribute the fact to an infection or genetic abnormality etc because that’s the framework for our thinking. If a child dies in Papua New Guinea the observers see the evidence of sorcery. Even when the community has been instructed in the importance of hygiene and the knowledge of germ theory, sourcery is still a better fit as it chimes in with everything they “know” about the world. It’s much harder to unlearn something than to learn it in the first place.

    After being exposed to a sound education (particularly in science), its hard to interpret observations in any way other than scientific terms. I know there are plenty out there who manage to pull off just such a feat, but it must require a tremendous effort of will on their part. Atheism, on the other hand, is easy. No special effort required, just eyes and a brain.

    • _In reply to #98 by Nitya:

      If a child dies in Papua New Guinea the observers see the evidence of sorcery.

      Not many people live in isolated tribal societies. What’s the excuse for having supernatural beliefs if you live in Dallas, Rome, Cairo, Tel Aviv, or anywhere in the global village?

  55. I only need one reason for “conviction”; I’ve never seen a sound or even acceptably passable case be made for thinking that anything that could even remotely be called, if only for provisional purposes, a “deity” or “god” so much as could exist, let alone that it does exist.

  56. Brought up CofE, with a grandmother soaked in man-with-grey-beard-sitting-on-cloud, unthinking, simplistic, uncharitable, intolerant, racist, blind (I could go on) protestant christianity. As an example of a “christian” she was not a good advert. Then came my truly appalling confirmation classes, with examples of bad logic and blunt indoctrination from a pompous snob of a vicar. I was confirmed in Llandaff cathedral not believing a word of what I said. Nothing I have seen or heard since has contributed an iota to the possibility of believing any of this hogwash – it’s all on a par with the tooth fairy, Harry Potter, the Eatser Bunny and fairies at the bottom of the garden.
    Incidentally, I make a point of not putting a capital C at the beginning of christianity. Childish, maybe? Ok then, let’s write “Atheist”.

  57. My number one reason is based on observation. I just look at people around me, or in the news, or on the internet. What I noticed is that the more religious they claim to be, the more their acts are silly or useless (in my opinion). Prayer is an example that puts the light on what I just explained.

  58. I think that for me it’s an ethical conviction. I have seen a great deal of suffering caused by people who believe without evidence. I have seen self-delusion destroy lives time and again. I feel that I have an ethical responsiblilty to doubt my own thoughts and to hold in mind the posibility that my beliefs are wrong.

  59. The Bible is absolutely true. There are an infinite number of substantive and compelling reasons for its infallibility, but, let us consider, first, the 300 plus Messianic prophecies of Christ, in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 are clear and undeniable pre-figurations of Christ’s death and sacrifice for justified and redeemed people. I could give you a thousand more.

  60. The big reason for me was this ‘just and merciful god’ which was clearly neither. Most kids are force fed religion because their parents were, and their parents, and on, and on. I’m very much proud to say that I broke that cycle with my kids. They certainly knew about religion (from grandma), but I was more concerned that, (my favorite quote) “Think for yourself. Question Authority.” One of my kids believe there’s a creator, and the other two thinks otherwise. Although they knew exactly how i felt, it was completely their choice.

  61. The unbelievable complexity of the human body. It is a physical chemical machine with intertwining systems and multitudes of single point failure possibilities. Yet it all works with amazingly low failure rates. Seriously, how does stereoscopic vision evolve? The human body contains trillion of living cells. All the collective intelligence since the beginning of time has not been able to construct one single cell that lives for 5 seconds. Kind of puts the credibility of evolutionist intellectuals into question, don’t you think? They purport to tell you how everything transitioned from primordial soup to the human body (all on its own) with 99% certainty, yet lack the knowledge and understanding to produce one single living cell of any kind in the lab. Someday, no doubt, it will be done through APPLIED INTELLIGENCE. That is my point entirely. It takes intelligence to produce a machine as complex as the human body. A machine that can adapt in order to survive; a design feature often cited by evolutionist as evidence of their claims. Belief in evolution is nothing more than a belief system. Religion if you will. To sum up, Richard Dawkins is basically talking out of his ass. When he constructs one living cell in the lab, I will listen. Until them, he simply lacks any kind of credibility to talk about how life came to be. Simple as that. The emperor has no clothes, kids. I feel compelled to say to the deluded: DON’T DRINK THE COOL AID!

    • In reply to #111 by RCTennis:

      Dogs not allowed in heaven — one of the trillion reasons why I know there is no God, and religion is man made (ancient man made).

      I think someone should write a kid’s book NO DOGS IN HEAVEN. Hundreds of thousands of tots and six-year-olds will be slamming down books in anger. School posters will line Catholic school halls protesting this injustice. Seven-year-olds will be refusing their first Communion wafer unless their dog gets one too. NO DOGS IN HEAVEN would quickly rise to become a classic motivating generations of ity-bittys to wake up to the fact that someone is trying to pull one on them.

      • In reply to #112 by QuestioningKat:

        In reply to #111 by RCTennis:

        Dogs not allowed in heaven — one of the trillion reasons why I know there is no God, and religion is man made (ancient man made).

        I think someone should write a kid’s book NO DOGS IN HEAVEN. Hundreds of thousands of tots and six-year-olds will be slamming down books…

        That’s a great idea – but should be titled (you know for the young ones) “Things You Will Not Have In Heaven”

    • In reply to #113 by Rjdekko:

      Infinity cannot be defined and cannot have a definite will, else it ceases to be infinite.

      Take a class on set theory and you will get very rigorous definitions of infinity, including the fact that to paraphrase the Smiths “some infinities are bigger than others”

  62. I find the carnival barker style of preachers extremely offputting — and in this I include Dr. Martin Luther King. Even his speeches were a jumble of biblical references. There was no clear meaning. They carefully avoid clarity. It is though everything that they wanted to say were expressed by singing some popular song. They try to get me to believe a certain way simply by repeating the same thing over and over, without elaboration.

    Whereas the impression the great atheists give is they are not trying to persuade so much as to explain. They want me to understand, to dig deeper on my own.

    Whom do you trust, someone with a patter like a used car salesman, or someone like your dad, trying to answer one of your many questions?

    In my teens, I was curious about Christians and used to sneak out (Mom forbade) to interview Christians. I decided they have not the tiniest clue why they believed as they did. Their belief system was a great bowl of mush, hardly persuasive.

    A reasonable way to select a religion might be because you admired an adherent and hoped it would shape you similarly. I reasonable way to reject a religion is because you don’t think much of the adherents. You could do that without a spec of study.

    • In reply to #114 by Roedy:

      I find the carnival barker style of preachers extremely offputting — and in this I include Dr. Martin Luther King. Even his speeches were a jumble of biblical references. There was no clear meaning. They carefully avoid clarity

      That pretty much sums up what I think the biggest fault of the New Atheist movement is. New Atheists can’t seem to understand that what works for them may not work for everyone. I’m not talking about reason and superstition. I agree on those things, they always work (and never work respectively) and if you think otherwise that’s just a flaw in your understanding. I’m talking about emotions and style. I like Dr. King’s speeches. If I’m in the right mood they still give me goose bumps sometimes.

      And when you are motivating people for political change, at least what history shows so far, you can’t do it just on reason. I think that is part of the problem. My guess is most New Atheists have never actually tried to do any real political work. They want political change to happen because we are right and Dawkins gives great arguments that can’t be refuted so what more is there to do? Why aren’t we done yet?

      We aren’t done because motivating people to make political change takes inspiration as well as reason. It takes emotional appeals as well as logical arguments.

  63. I don’t believe in god for the same reason I don’t believe there is a million dollars in the shoebox under my bed*. Every time I look inside it, I don’t see a million dollars. I’m damn nearly convinced I’m not a millionaire, now. (Actually, I was pretty sure even before I looked in the box.) But, does anyone think I need a better reason to think there isn’t a million dollars in my shoebox?

    * I don’t keep it under my bed, so forget it! Besides, it’s empty.

  64. I am new to this forum so I am looking forward to some healthy intellectual criticism.

    The one stumbling block I always come up against when interacting with the existence of God is the world and the cosmos as we know it. I must accept one of two possibilities. The order that we see in the cosmos is the result of random luck or the result of a God acting to create (keep in mind I am interacting with the need for a God, not what he might be like). Admittedly, this is a fairly naive and simplistic view but I am not sure how else to rationalize the order and structure that we see in our universe. I am left wondering, what are the mathematical odds of our universe randomly evolving to what we have now? Add this to the mathematical odds that each organism evolved to where they are now. (Not sure how to figure this out, hopefully some math specialist can figure this out)

    The secondary stumbling block stems from that atheist point of view outlined repeatedly below that states (forgive the paraphrase), you have no empirical evidence that God exists therefore we are right and you are wrong. The flip side of this argument is that there is no empirical evidence that God doesn’t exist therefore theist at right and atheists are wrong. Both statements are fatally flawed in their logic yet atheist willing accept the former while discounting the latter.

    My third stumbling block is that atheist tend to focus on the abuses of human behavior to negate the existence of God. All the abuses that riddle human history (theist and atheist institutions alike) show us is that given the chance evil people will act in an evil manner. I should interject that I am often left questioning why people purport to represent a God while perpetrating horrific evils on society’s most vulnerable. But the answer to this question does not negate the existence of a God.

    Look forward to your feedback.

  65. There was a comment that I believe was on this thread earlier from someone asking the odds of getting this universe from random chance and asking why people blame bad things that people do on god. The comment seemed good natured and wasn’t the least bit preachy. Maybe I’m wrong about which thread it was on but I can’t find it scrolling back on any of the comments of the day. I hope it wasn’t deleted by the mods, because if believers can’t ask questions like that then this site is just going to turn into an echo chamber, and we’re going to look like we’re afraid to debate . My sincere apologies if I’m wrong.

  66. No, you are not wrong. I posted the comments/ questions earlier today and was disappointed to see that they had been removed. For a first time contributor is was mildly disheartening. The sad reality is, I was serious when I invited other to critique my ideas and comments. How else does my thought process get challenged/improve?

    Thanks for having the intellectual integrity to address this on my behalf.

    • Hi samtyem. Glad to see you still hanging around. I remember the bulk of your comment and I’ll give it a whirl tomorrow, I’m going to call it a night. Take it easy.

      In reply to #121 by samtyem:

      No, you are not wrong. I posted the comments/ questions earlier today and was disappointed to see that they had been removed. For a first time contributor is was mildly disheartening. The sad reality is, I was serious when I invited other to critique my ideas and comments. How else does my thought p…

  67. “Please note that we will never remove comments simply because they challenge ideas, whether that’s atheism or evolution or anything else that most people on this site are in agreement about.” (Terms and Conditions)

    I find several things intriguing.

    The first is that I can direct my questions/comments (see original post that was removed) specifically to the question at hand, “What is your #1 self-convincing reason, either against or for the existence of god?” and still have my ideas censored.

    The second is how quickly you are willing to censor one of your own when they attempt to challenge your actions.

    The third is how quickly you are willing to abandon your own “terms and conditions” when it suits your purposes.

    Finally, I am not an academic. I’ve spent my entire career in manufacturing. I know I asked some fairly rudimentary questions but they were sincere and honest. Why can’t we have the discussion?

  68. I think any intelligent/rational human will always self-wean themselves from religion.
    I remember being attracted to all the emotional, heartstrings pulling stories about Jesus, Apostles, etc.. as a kid.
    (same emotions brought forth by many hollywood movies I watched)

    But then your mind absorbs/expands and you realize is a well constructed narrative to elicit these emotions.

    In other words — FICTION

  69. I know there is not a God because if there was a God then I would unambiguously and undeniably know along with all other creatures on ITS earth.
    Therefore, It is a weak and ineffectual entity who shows favour to only a small group of gullable individuals and who would wish to devide humanity…..?

    • In reply to #128 by shawwzy:
      If you extrapolate this logic, anything that you do not know or cannot know does not exist. You have set yourself up as the benchmark for what is real. A scary thing to do and a scarier place to be. My sixteen year old read this and shredded your argument from a logical perspective. Stick to scientific empirical evidences. When we resort to this level of rhetoric we become no better that what we propose to despise.

      I know there is not a God because if there was a God then I would unambiguously and undeniably know along with all other creatures on ITS earth.
      Therefore, It is a weak and ineffectual entity who shows favour to only a small group of gullable individuals and who would wish to devide humanity…..?

      • I see where you are coming from but the you miss the point I was trying to make. That is…..with all the power any deity is supposed to have, a simple and unambiguous message to everyone would be rather simple.
        In reply to #129 by walking monkey:

        In reply to #128 by shawwzy:
        If you extrapolate this logic, anything that you do not know or cannot know does not exist. You have set yourself up as the benchmark for what is real. A scary thing to do and a scarier place to be. My sixteen year old read this and shredded your argument from a logical…

  70. Because I don’t need to. “God” is just a word for ignorance, a label for “I don’t know”. Our ancestors dreamed up gods to explain things they didn’t understand, before they devised tools and thought processes to improve their understanding. I don’t need to assign a label to the things I don’t know or understand; it wouldn’t serve any useful purpose, and could be dangerous.

    When I assign a label, it implies that I have some understanding of the thing. If I assign a label to something I don’t understand, it would dull my desire to understand it better. If I accept judgement of a thing “because God said so”, then I would render myself blind to contrary evidence, and deaf to contrary reason – because I would’ve accepted ignorance as my standard of judgement. I would become the tool of those who say what “God” told them was “good” or “evil”, and those people may not have noble intentions.

    I don’t need any of that, and I don’t fear the hypothetical consequences of non-belief presented to me by people who have confused their own ignorance for knowledge.

  71. In reply to #131 by shawwzy:
    Perhaps the “deity” did provide this message and we were to addle minded to understand/interpret it. I have the ability to successfully argue either point from a philosophical perspective (which is why I don’t necessarily like philosophical answers to a scientific question). I enjoy having the scope of my scientific knowledge and understanding stretched. This is why I like this web site and why this particular thread intrigued me. I am more interested in wrapping my brain around empirical evidences than philosophy. So allow me to reword the original question, “what is your # 1 scientific evidence against the evidence of a deity?” This is the question I am being asked most often.

    I see where you are coming from but the you miss the point I was trying to make. That is…..with all the power any deity is supposed to have, a simple and unambiguous message to everyone would be rather simple.
    In reply to #129 by walking monkey:

    In reply to #128 by shawwzy:
    If you extrapolate thi…

  72. I am not a religious person myself but I give all my respect to the people who are either against or believe the existence of God. I truly think people should stop being judgement because no one knows if God exist in this world or not. Yeah the basic concept is that it is scientifically proven that God don’t exist but there might be something beyond that. However I don’t think people should depend on God to make life decisions, we pray in need to receive peace and justice but certainly not passing our life over. http://www.3dcourse.org/

    • In reply to #133 by jealousgurlz:

      I am not a religious person myself but I give all my respect to the people who are either against or believe the existence of God.

      Which god? There have been and are thousands of them.

      I truly think people should stop being judgement because no one knows if God exist in this world or not.

      We can be pretty sure that all the thousands of conflicting gods cannot all exist. Most believers deny the existence of everyone else’s gods. The poblem is with the bigoted and destructive actions of followers in the name of their gods.

      Yeah the basic concept is that it is scientifically proven that God don’t exist but there might be something beyond that

      Science cannot prove that gods, fairies, gnomes, invisible dragons etc cannot exist. All it can do is show that, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

  73. When I was 4yrs old my 7 yrs old brother and I were sent off to Sunday school at grandmas request. (demand).

    Approx 12-16 kids sat obediently on the church floor and atop the alter in a chair authoritatively pressuring down upon us sat a nun – wagging her finger at us and telling us that god was a grey-haired old man who ‘sits on a cloud’.

    Well! Up shot my 4yr old hand, ..”oohh…oohhh miss..?! “That can’t be right, if he sat on a cloud he’d fall through when it rains and die!”

    Quite besides my unconquerable, unpolluted 4yrs old logic, the mere fact that she had assumed such a deliberate dominant seating position ‘above’ us – was more than enough for me to see through her crap. They never got me, nor any of my 5 brothers and sisters. (I saw to that).
    When I got home that day, I marched straight up to mum and dad and, straining up to meet their eyes so high up and far away I stomped to NEVER go back to be made “to listen to such lies again!”

    Granny lost that one.

  74. I believed for the same reason everyone does. I was born into it. It was all around me. I was told by my parents that god was real even when they themselves did not go to church. It took me many years to break free from these lies.

  75. I have a distinct remembrance of questioning having to go to church on Sundays: I hated doing it. I hated getting dressed up wearing a tight collared shirt, tie, and suit. But mostly I hated the service. The standing and kneeling and praying and chanting. Also, in my youth the service was in Latin and as such totally incomprehensible. On this day that I was complaining my dad said “It is the least you can do for your god”. That made me think: why would god need me to do this? Now, if you asked me my age at the time I would be hard pressed to respond but I would guess I must have been around 5 or 6 years old.

    That was the start of my disbelief. By the time I was twelve I had no interest in religion because everything about it smacked of Santa and the Easter Bunny. I didn’t go to a religious school but I did go to after school religious classes up until I was twelve. What I remember about those times was being in direct mental conflict with everything we were taught about the religion. Not the moralistic stuff like do not kill but the rest of it. It just didn’t make sense. One day I questioned why we weekly studied the pamphlet section titled “God’s chosen people: the Jews” asking why we Christians believed and followed this god if the Jews were his chosen people. As you can expect I got in a good deal of trouble for this sort of vocal demonstration. For me it all went downhill rather quickly from there. I thought the whole ASH on the forehead ritual was stupid so I washed it off in the holy water, and as you can expect I got in trouble for that as well. Then my parents were told that I didn’t have enough of an understanding of, or belief in, the religious dogma so I would not be confirmed and would need to spend another year in study. As I was graduating to Junior High that year I told my parents they were crazy if they thought I was going to after school religious classes while in junior high. My parents moved me to a different religious school that promised I would be confirmed that year but my attitude, beliefs, and disruptive questioning were such that they quickly realized it would be best if I didn’t attend. The resolution was that I would just show for confirmation and no longer come to class. That was the final nail in my belief for me as I immediately understood that money was the driving factor.

    This was also at a time when evolution was just being taught in public school. I remember in grade school my teacher making a big issue and statement about how this was the first time children were going to be taught the subjects she would be presenting: evolution and the big bang theory.

    It took many, many years of learning and changing my mind to get to the point where I am today.

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