Frequently Asked Questions
What is atheism?
Atheism is the suspension of belief in a god. An atheist is unconvinced that any god exists because the evidence is lacking and therefore, belief is unwarranted. This is similar to how most people don't believe in fairies or werewolves, because the evidence is not there to warrant belief in the creature.
From an atheist's perspective, the belief in god cannot be justified, because there does not exist enough (if any) evidence for god.
Atheism is not the proposition that there is not a god or that there can't be a god. This would require evidence to falsify a god or gods. Some atheists will attest that some gods do not exist, for instance, if someone defines their god to be a triangle with four corners, this is by definition impossible.
Why do atheists hate God?
Atheists don't hate god. To say atheists "just hate God," could be likened to saying that someone who does not believe in Santa (a "asantaist" if you will) just holds a grudge against Santa for not bringing them presents one year and therefore do not believe.
Unfortunately, atheists have also been misrepresented in movies like God's Not Dead. Atheists don't believe that god exists and can't/don't hate something that does not exist. They can't be angry or hold grudges either towards a god or entity.
Are you a strong atheist?
Strong atheism is more properly titled "gnostic atheism," the assertion that no gods exist, that the atheist does not believe and also knows that no god exists.
I find this position untenable – it can't be properly held and defended. It requires additional evidence to falsify god or gods. As such, I do not endorse said position. I remain a "weak atheist" – someone who does not believe, and is unconvinced of any god or gods until sufficient evidence warrants belief.
Why are atheists so arrogant?
Atheists are arrogant because they're human. There are many arrogant people of many beliefs. A longer explanation may be that atheists tend to come across as arrogant because most approach learning with skepticism, backing their beliefs in knowledge, whereas religion, in their minds, does not. So a clash of ideas between an atheist and a religion results in a feeling of frustration for the atheist that the "religion" can claim to have a specific "knowledge" when the approach is so far removed from the atheist's. That is two possible explanations, though the first is simpler and more likely.
How can atheists have morality without God?
First, please never ask an atheist this question. It is condescending at best.
Second, such a question holds within it a premise that the origin of morality resides with God, and only his followers can have access to it. Such a premise has (I feel) been completely dispelled/shattered by atheist quips and retorts such as:
I challenge you to find one good or noble thing which cannot be accomplished without religion. It is impossible. You cannot do it. -- Christopher Hitchens
If you were not holding to any form of higher supernatural power (essentially atheist), would you reject all forms of morality? If so, how does that describe you as a human? Have you no compassion, kindness, understanding, empathy apart from what the "higher power" has told/commanded you?
Premise aside (morality is not a religious invention), there are many books and articles written on the subject. Moral philosophy or ethics is the area of study and can be surveyed without ever involving religion.
An atheist's morals (typically, as I can't answer for every atheist) stem from a desire to treat fellow humans with respect and accord, with kindness, compassion and sympathy. Morality is not an easy subject to pin down in one evening, and many atheists and religious believers alike struggle with many ethical issues.
Do you worship Satan?
No. Atheists don't believe in a higher power, and that includes Satan.
What if you're wrong and there is a God? What will you say to Him?
Firstly, the "betting scenario" -- also known as Pascal's Wager -- flatters no one; it is an intellectually bankrupt and reprehensible argument that merely tries to pretend that proof of God is not the issue but somehow owning up to denial is. The same argument can be made of any fictional or non-fictional power against its detractors. Pascal's Wager is in essence a "red herring."
If, however, I--play along with the supposition that God does exist, die and meet him face to face--I think it very likely I would have little to say. In most circumstances where this question is posed, it is the Christian God (of course) that would be the one I'd suddenly face, and he is all-knowing, judgmental, and just. So my disbelief would compel him to cast me into Hell, despite anything I have to say. In fact, I find Scripture lacking any reference to the sinner being able to give defense. The only "trial" is to look for the person's name in the Lamb's Book of Life.
But the question is really superfluous because I will never experience the encounter. See my post here for more.
Isn't Atheism a religion too? Don't you believe that God does not exist?
Atheism is not a religion. From Merriam-Webster, a religion is: > the service and worship of God or the supernatural [or] commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
Sure, it's easy to find other definitions that atheism fits in, but the important point is that atheism does not use the word "belief" the way the religious do. The way atheists use the word "belief" (in regards to god/gods) is a philosophical position. The philosophical usage of belief is a understanding of what aligns with reality, an idea or position that one can base their life on, that one is thoroughly convinced is real.
For instance, when you walk outside, you don't "believe" in the religious sense that the sky will not fall on you. If that is the case, you would be careful walking outside, still having faith and trusting the sky will not fall, even acting on that belief. Some days would be easier than others to walk outside. Some days, you'd stay completely indoors. A religious belief is not a philosophical belief. The long and short of this, is this: atheism is not a religious belief but a philosophical one, a viewpoint about reality rather than a worship or regiment regarding a divine.
As a side note: I dislike very much the definition that atheism is "the lack of belief in gods," because immediately ants, toads, rocks, and babies fall into that category, which is strikingly absurd.
Do atheists deny anything that is categorized as supernatural?
That is a good question. I can't speak for atheists as a whole in this regard. Generally, the disbelief in god also means a disbelief in anything supernatural, but not all atheists lean this way. I think some may believe in aliens or extraterrestrial life, which could be construed as "supernatural."
On a related note, it was Arthur C. Clarke that said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Something that the religious may classify as "supernatural," might also be classified as a technology we don't understand.
Also worthy to note, we can't adequately define what is supernatural, and I would challenge my reader to find an acceptable definition. Acceptable would be what supernatural is not what it is not. For instance, defining the supernatural to be "that which is immaterial," is defining it in terms of negativity, that which it is not. This doesn't classify as a working definition, because it offers no description of what supernatural is.
How can you believe that "that everything came from nothing," the "Big Bang" in essence?
This question is important because atheism has bounds to its definition. Atheism solely means a, meaning not, theism belief in god; so, strictly speaking, atheism only says that a person does not believe in a god. Where the universe came from, is another picture entirely.
As for the universe's origins, I direct you to the study of cosmology. It is a field filled with physics and math that I have trouble grasping, even when I have some experience with both. My theory is that the ideas behind the Big Bang make sense, from what I can gather from the physicists. I can't lay out a time line of it all or explain it very well, but it's worth looking into. While it may appear illogical to say that the universe came into existence, from my tiny understanding of quantum mechanics, it actually was inevitable that something would be created. However, research it (as I will too).
However, even if the question of the universe's origin was to remain unanswered ("we don't know," essentially), this still does not necessitate a god. The claim of god's existence is weighed and measured on its own veracity.