Atheist Questions - and Answers

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Atheist Questions - and Answers

The following questions were taken from a website meant for "witnessing Christians" and directed to be used as a challenge to atheists. I intend to convey that these questions are both misguisded in their intent and simple to answer.  PLEASE forgive any factual errors or misunderstanding I present below, I will correct my responses as I am presented with more thorough understandings.

..1) If we live in a purely material world then how do we account for the many supernatural experiences that people have, such as encounters with God, ghosts, spirits, etc (obviously, exactly what all of these encounters actually are are all interpreted by different people in different ways but the fact remains that people encounter things that do not fit a purely naturalistic world view). Are we really to conclude that all of these people are delusional, deceptive, or mad? Or could it be that people are having real encounters with real supernatural beings not explainable through purely scientific mediums?

Answer : First of all, super-natural means "above nature". Anyone examining the seemingly common phenomena of supernatural experiences absolutely cannot use a scientific method, for such human experience is, by definition, outside of laws of science. Therefore, to attempt to logically or systematically break down such experiences would be violating at least several fundamental principles of physics, mathematics, and earth sciences. What then can be said about supernatural experience? Most psychologists and cognitive scientists regard supernatural beliefs as bi-products of the human mind. As evolution progressed humans into the complex machines we are today, our brains must also have essentially developed complex brains capable of outside-the-box thought. Unrealistic beliefs in things such as gods, ghosts, or after-life experiences are primarily a human attempt to fill in holes in our understanding with what might seem to be easiest and most plausible to accept. Of course people who believe in such trivialities aren't to be regarded as delusional or deceptive, they should appropriately be considered ignorant of the more complex mechanics of the universe and our world. Remember, however, a majority of people who maintain firmly held beliefs in ghosts, spirits, or other non-theistic phenomena are rarely taken seriously by any legitimate scientific organization. The only concept of supernaturalism that isn't widely ridiculed is theism, which is only ignored because it has historically (and necessarily) maintained a wide scope of influence. If such phenomena were truly occurring outside of the laws of science and outside the boundaries of the human mind, at least one major branch of science would have acknowledged these experiences as more than occurrences which are separate from conscious human emotions.

Counter Question(s) : Do you, as someone who apparently considers extraordinary claims things that should be taken seriously, believe that animals have similar metaphysical experiences? If so, what are some examples of how we can observe animals experiencing something such as an out-of-body experience or a close-encounter with a ghost? If not, why should humans be subject to a different set of laws regarding our experiences here on Earth?

..2) Where does all of the incredibly complex information come from that is stored within DNA? Information doesn't just appear by itself. Someone has to put it there.

Answer : The above is a fantastic and very typical example of a Christian's ad hoc reasoning. Just because you have a lack of understanding regarding any given scientific subject, there is no reason that someone must have caused or created the information that you don't have. Just because information contained within the DNA helix is incredibly complex and difficult to decipher, there is absolutely no grounds to assume someone places the information inside DNA at any point. Really, such a logical fallacy renders my answers useless because your disinterest in scientific reasoning and factual deduction is utterly apparent.

    Understanding DNA's structure and function is something that is much more difficult to discuss than you might imagine (or that I am capable of). If you had even a minor understanding of how DNA operated, it is unlikely you'd ask where its stored information originates from, because there is a fairly simple answer. The "data" within an organisms genomes is actively stored and sequenced by encoding amino acid residues using genetic code. The backbone of the DNA double-helix carries four base molecules, and the sequence of these four bases is what sets the foundation for that information storage you're wondering about. Such information is even outside the realm of my complete understanding, but I am certain that science has a firm and constantly developing understanding about DNA.

..3) Why does humanity seem to have an innate desire and need to worship something, or someone? Why is there such a universal religious sense within humanity?

Answer : Such a question is based in the "God-of-the-Gaps Argument". Why humanity seems to have a need to worship is because there are aspects of our world that we do not understand, and it is easier to assign a god or a deity to these things than it is to work out their complex origins and the systems of their operation. Is it easier to understand how a sunset works, or is it simpler to assign its origins to something that doesn't typically require much logical consideration (such as a god)? The universally religious sense within humanity can be attributed to the energy and power within human belief. When humans believe in something, we tend to hold that ideal very strongly in our hearts and minds. Beliefs, especially those of religious origins, tend to be powerfully uniting but equally separating forces. I speculate that the reason religions and beliefs appear to be so powerful is because most beliefs and religions abandon logic and reason in favor of emotional appeal. And, when humans step so far outside of logic and reason, such a position must be passionately defended using an equal amount of abandon. Worshiping is much easier than understanding, in my opinion.

Counter Question(s) : Why do you think it is so hard for humans to see the power of their own being without attributing their greatness to something higher than themselves? Why, when we fail, don't we use what we worship as the source of our failure?

Additionally, why don't animals appear to have religious understandings of any kind?

..4) Isn't it a bit extreme to assert "God does not exist"? To make such a statement you would have to have complete knowledge and to have been everywhere in the universe. Maybe God dwells somewhere in the universe you don't know of or have not been to? Is that possible?

Answer : It is a bit extreme to state that "God does not exist", only because it is infinitely more extreme to believe that a god "Certainly does exist". The burden of proof is on the positive claim. Therefore, anyone claiming that a "God does exist," maintains the burden of proof. Most atheists and skeptics would probably say, "God most likely does not exist," leaving the burden of proof on the theist, who absolutely must believe that god exists beyond a shadow of a doubt. Of course it's possible that god exists, as it is at least equally possible that he does not exist. However, scientific knowledge has come so far that belief in the positive claim that a god does exist is becoming more and more difficult to defend.

Counter Question(s) : Is it possibly improbable that there is no god of creation, or any deity governing existence? If so, doesn't admitting possible improbability devastate any positive theistic claim? If not, aren't you claiming that a god definitely exists?

..5) What about the evidence of design in all of creation? It is obvious that anything that is designed has to have an intelligent creator. For example, a computer never came about by mere accident, but had to have been thought out and planned by an intelligent designer. It is the same with creation, and more so, as the natural world is far more complicated than anything humanity can create.

Answer : I will omit any lengthy and fact-filled answer to this question, as Intelligent Design is just pseudo-science. There is absolutely no evidence for design that doesn't originate in biblical or fallacious reasoning. I could go into physics, biology, geology, but it would all serve no purpose. I'll save my hypothetical breath. David Mills' book, Atheist Universe makes an exemplary argument against every facet of the ID movement. After reading his book, it would be difficult for me to take anyone who studies ID seriously. If anyone would like to discuss Intelligent Design and its theories with me, drop me an e-mail.

..6) Where does all the matter in the universe come from?

Answer : The law of the conservation of mass-energy can be simplified to answer this question. This law states that energy (all matter is comprised of energy) cannot be created or destroyed, but can be changed from one form into another. This extrapolates into the idea that there must be a single substance from which everything in the known universe is made. This single substance has come to be called "mass energy", which many quantum theorists and physicists postulate as the origin of all matter. Interestingly enough, Dr. Stephen Hawking and his incredible team of cosmologists have expanded on the above concepts and further solved the mysteries of cosmic origins. Hawking and his team have been able to describe a natural phenomena known as "vacuum fluctuation", where matter is created out of empty space. However, matter created out of vacuum fluctuation cannot ignorantly be misused as an example of god's works, for there are still electromagnetic oscillations within the vacuum fluctuation of empty space that are considered "vacuum fluctuation energy". Therefore, even spontaneous creation out of empty space coincides perfectly with mass-energy conservation. All matter most likely comes from mass-energy, which must have always existed in at least its most basic form.

..7) How do you explain the changed lives of millions of people throughout history who testify to a life changing experience with Jesus Christ?

Answer : My life changed many times through what I thought was the Christian religion. Improvements and detriments in my life were attributed to my Christian beliefs. Then, when I began to understand more about existence, it became clear that God, Jesus, and my "Christian strength" was in my mind. Lives changed and impacted by Jesus Christ are all examples of the power of the human brain. We can literally defy logic to believe in something that satisfies our most selfish and unreasonable emotions. Anyone who has "converted" to a naturalistic world-view from a theistic one will be able to come from a simpler place to explain that any relationship with a god is just what seems necessary to the human conscious at the time it's occurring.

Counter Question(s) : How do you explain the changed lives of millions of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and so on. Furthermore, what can you attribute to the enlightening and amazing experiences atheists experience?

..Cool How do we account for the historical Person of Jesus Christ? He has made such an impact upon history that we even measure our calendar by Him. 2000 years on and millions still follow Him.

Answer : Another ignorant simplification. First of all, the most used calendar in the world is the Gregorian calendar which is a modification of the Julian calendar. It is named after a pope, who approved of its dating system. Of course a calendar decreed by a pope will have a Christian influence. Additionally, there is an Islamic calendar, a Jewish calendar, a Hindu calendar, a Chinese calendar, and others. The Gregorian calendar is not used for Christian purposes, but for civil purposes.  Regardless, there are multiple calendar systems in wide use today, the Gregorian calendar only being the de facto standard

Millions don't follow Jesus, billions do. Billions follow Allah as well. More than a billion people don't identify with any religion, millions are Hindus and Buddhists. Jesus isn't by any means the only person that people have widely followed. If we must account for the historical person of Jesus Christ, who I really feel no need to account for, we must also describe the religious influence of every other leader in the history of the world. And we all know no Christian wants to do that.

     Hopefully my answers have illustrated that, with a very basic scientific and logical examination of the world, most of the silly questions Christians ask can be answered and thrown away by appealing to understanding and knowledge, rather than to emotion and subconscious opinion. Organized religion and faith-based belief is pointless and can even be destructive in many instances. My atheism has led me into a period of new understanding, in which the world is more beautiful, life more special, and existence more excellent than I had ever imagined with religious belief on my side.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Christians, if any of you EVER read this I would LOVE responses to my arguments sent to me. I will NOT publsih them without your permission, I'm just curious to see what any of you might have to say.  I'm not looking for debate yet, as much as conversation in general. 

The above questions were used without permission from There was no contact information available, and to appropriately answer the questions I had to possibly step outside of the fair use agreement.