This emailer reminds me of myself 8 years ago...
----- Original Message -----
Subject: [General Question] Query from a confused, soft-hearted skeptic
> Jehu sent a message using the contact form at
> I just finished watching your debate against Comfort and Cameron on
> youtube, and I'm very impressed at the composure Brian and Kelly were able
> to keep throughout (I found myself feeling overly rowdy without anyone to
> yell at.) Afterwards, I visited and perused your site for the first time,
> in which the "Am I Agnostic of Atheist" link caught my eye. Reading it
> provided me at first with relief, but then with confusion, and I was
> hoping I could get some sort of answer or idea from you on a couple
> questions I would like to ask.
> I am most certainly a skeptic. I have never truly believed in any god,
> but I'm not willing to rule it out either. I know that this position of
> doubt immediately puts me under the atheist category. Yet, I don't feel I
> can call myself a real atheist because I have a peculiar belief. I
> personally some reason for the existence of the universe. This isn't to
> say I don't believe in the big bang, I have no real doubt about it.
> However, I'm still curious about what created those original particles
> that caused it. For simplicity's sake, I just assume that some sort of
> supreme being put them there for fun, and that's enough to give me piece
> of mind on that issue. Yet I still have some trouble.
> I choose this surrogate creator idea even though I know there is no reason
> for it. At the same time, there's no explanation for the very beginning of
> the universe either. Though we may eventually find out how everything got
> here, I honestly doubt we will ever develop the methods to do so. Because
> of this, I go on to make the assumption that even if not by some god, there
> is no other rational explanation for the beginning of existence, and
> therefore every single bit of information we extract from the world around
> us is based in the same unsolvable mysteries creation myths come from.
> So, my questions are these: Is the belief that the big bang "just
> happened" any more defensible than believing in some creator? How would
> you respond to the claim that a creator could exist outside of reason,
> though admittedly completely unproven? And lastly, given that I am fond
> of some sort of creator that I know I cannot rationally defend, would I
> really be considered an atheist, or agnostic?
> If indeed someone does address this e-mail, thank you for taking the time
> to read it, and I hope to hear back from you with whatever feedback you
> may have.
This letter you've just written to me is almost the exact same wording in my head about 8 years ago. I am very short on time so please forgive my simple bullet points.
- both you and I succumbed to what's known as an "argument from ignorance." (it sounds bad, but google it)
- Is the belief that the big bang "just happened" any more defensible than believing in some creator?
- Of course. The big bang has numerous pieces of falisfiable evidence to lend credence to it. Is it a sure thing? No. Is it abundantly more likely than any god concept offered by the world today? Of course.
- How would you respond to the claim that a creator could exist outside of reason, though admittedly completely unproven?
- Internally I laugh at the stupidity of such statements. "Reason" is all we've got. If it exists outside of reason we can know nothing about it, and could never make any presumptions as to it's existence. I laugh the same internally when people state that god exists outside of existence. These statements sound deep, really they're just silly. Like the word "supernatural" for example. Supernatural denotes that something is existing outside of nature yet if it exists, it must be natural. The word supernatural is an impossibility. If a god exists, it's part of nature, in fact likely... it is nature itself.
- And lastly, given that I am fond of some sort of creator that I know I cannot rationally defend, would I really be considered an atheist, or agnostic?
- From the sounds of it, you are agnostic atheist with a desire for there to be a god. That desire likely comes from societal norms that you have gotten used to over the course of your lifetime. The word God has become part of your life in such a way that it no longer seems absurd, but instead feels comfortable. How would you deal with tsunamis, hurricanes, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome if this god existed? Would the god that you are fond to believe in be excused from that activity? Pondering the pain, starvation, torture, etc on this planet makes it a little easier to let go of the fondness of God that you feel.
I wish you well on your journey, and I'll post this on our forum so that you can see what others have to say.