Q and A on Atheism
1. Question: “Why do you not believe in God?”Answer: Because I’m honest.
2. Question: “Where do your morals come from?”Answer: From existence.
3. Question: “What is the meaning of life?”
Answer: Meaning is a property of concepts and symbols. Perhaps the questioner meant to ask, “What is the purpose of life?” In that case, broadly speaking, the purpose of man’s life is to live and enjoy it.
4. Question: “Is atheism a religion?”
Answer: No. Atheism is an individual’s absence of god-belief.
5. Question: “If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?”
Answer: I use my mind and deal with the situation. Those who choose to pray to an invisible magic being are simply announcing with this action the fact that they have given up on their own minds and are seeking a substitute to do their thinking for them.
6. Question: “Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?”
Answer: Not necessarily, and here’s why. That one is an atheist does not mean that he ascribes to or promotes a rational worldview. Many atheists hold to a worldview which is little more than a secularized form of religion, a worldview which is built on subjectivism (the primacy of consciousness), mysticism (anti-reason), self-sacrifice, “duty,” the primacy of the state, etc. Such individuals are in no position to provide a suitable alternative to the irrationalism of religion. Now if the atheist happens to ascribe to a rational worldview, he will likely have an interest not only in educating others about this prize possession of his, but also be eager to model it to others in his own choices and actions. Such an individual recognizes the facts that every individual has the right to govern his own mind according to his own conscience, and that no individual can be forced to believe or disbelieve anything. He also does not give primary importance to what others believe or not believe. His own life is more important to him.
7. Question: “Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?”
Answer: I don’t have a list of 20th century atrocities by rankings. But again, atheism is neither a religion, nor a worldview. That one is an atheist only tells us what he does not believe. It does not tell us what he thinks is true. The atrocities of the 20th and other centuries were committed by individuals whose worldview sanctioned the initiation of the use of force against other individuals. I know of no religion which can consistently prohibit this, and many secular worldviews, themselves influenced by religion, likewise fail to prohibit the initiation of the use of force.
8. Question: “How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?”
Answer: Quite easily, in fact. The billions of people who have subscribed to one form of god-belief or another have been let down by the philosophers, who should have recognized and understood the fundamental distinction between consciousness and its objects, and consequently the distinctions between the real and the imaginary, the factual and the fictitious. Without understanding of these fundamental distinctions, expect a lot of errors in one's philosophy.
9. Question: “Why does the universe exist?”
Answer: This question commits the fallacy of the stolen concept.
10. Question: “How did life originate?”
Answer: By a causal process.
11. Question: “Is all religion harmful?”
Answer: Yes, very much, particularly if one attempts to practice it consistently. Fortunately few in the west try to do this. But this does not lessen its threat to man.
12. Question: “What’s so bad about religious moderates?”
Answer: That depends on the individual case. But a so-called “religious moderate” is likely to stand for very little, and when more serious religionists assert their numbers, moderates are usually the first ones to yield. They are less likely to be philosophically consistent in their views, and thus more likely willing to strike a compromise on serious issues. It is also important to keep in mind that every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator.
13. Question: “Is there anything redeeming about religion?”
Answer: Not that I have found.
14. Question: “What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?”
Answer: I’m not wrong.
15. Question: “Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?”
Answer: This is like asking, “Shouldn’t all lies be respected?” The answer is a most resolute no.
16. Question: “Are atheists smarter than theists?”
Answer: I don’t see it as an issue of intelligence so much as it is a matter of choosing to be honest to reality.
17. Question: “How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?”
Answer: The stories of Jesus that we find in the bible are legends.
18. Question: “Would the world be better off without any religion?”
Answer: Simply ridding the world of religion would not be enough. Human beings still need a philosophy suitable to their life on earth (and anywhere else in the universe for that matter). That is why I promote and defend Objectivism. The alternative to Objectivism is some form of subjectivism, of which religion is the chief model.
19. Question: “What happens when we die?”
Answer: Typically someone buries us.