The author says:
These questions are not meant to be show stoppers. They are only for research purposes so that I might better understand atheism and its adherents. Some questions are similar to others, while some questions are designed to elicit more thoughtful responses. I’ll be adding to the list periodically. If you are an atheist and would like to respond, please copy them to an email and send whichever ones you want to respond to, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
I’ll answer a few, though I’m not writing a book. Keep in mind that the bar for Christians is set at “faith like a child”, so anything above that level of sophistication is bonus on both sides. ;)
- How would you define atheism? No belief in any god, as well as (for some) belief there are no gods.
- How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
- How sure are you that your atheism is correct?
- Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold? I believe it’s justifiable because there is a god-shaped hole in the evidence. That is, where we would expect to see a god, based on the claims of various alleged followers of various types of gods, there is typically a naturalistic explanation or else the absence of any explanation (including a god one).
- Are you a materialist, or a physicalist, or what?
- Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not? I wouldn’t necessarily call it a worldview anymore than I would call lack of belief of unicorns a worldview, except that in contrast to everyone else who does have a theist worldview it becomes one. Yay social constructs!
- Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity, but for those of you who are, why the antagonism? It’s really difficult to ignore or be friendly to Christianity when it is constantly antagonizing my private business.
- If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence? I let go of those beliefs out of necessity, because I lacked the evidence to support belief. There are a lot of things I can’t force myself to believe in, even things I’d like to believe in, such as that clapping my hands will keep fairies alive. I can clap and clap and hope and wish and close my eyes really tight and think really hard, but I can’t force myself to actually believe fairies are real. I just can’t.
- Do you believe the world would be better off without religion? Possibly, though I could conceive of a non-antagonistic religion that would be compatible with the future of humanity.
- Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity? Probably. Christianity is too anti-compassion and anti-equality, unless one completely re-defines the religion (as has been done throughout the past couple millennia).
- Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder? Nope. And frankly, I’m insulted on behalf of those with mental disorders at such a comparison.
- Must God be known through the scientific method? Mustn’t anyone? My relationship with my partner depends on verifiable, repeatable scenarios with him. People around me can test his personality and verify that it exists. Our trust for each other is built upon the evidence of past experiences, and if those experiences did not continue as expected, there would be a naturalistic explanation for that too.
- Do we have any purpose as human beings?
- If we do have purpose, can you please explain how that purpose is determined?
- Where does morality come from? Our evolved minds. We are not the only species with morality (reference other primates, and indeed many other mammals), and lower-complexity species have lower-complexity morality. Of course, as we’re never done evolving our species, our morality is never done improving. I for one am glad that what humanity has to offer isn’t our best, because that’d be disappointing. I mean, look around. Even those who claim to answer to the most perfect (supernatural) moral authority leave so much to be desired.
- Are there moral absolutes?
- If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
- Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?
- If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad? Genocide after genocide. I’m sure the internet is full of explanations for why genocide is morally inferior, so I’ll defer to those, lest I write a book here.
- How would you define what truth is? Emperically verifiable, falsifiable, and repeatable.
- Is atheism true? Most likely.
- What would it take for you to believe in God? A God who can answer that question for me to greater success than I could answer it myself, such that I would commence believing.
- What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
- Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc. or what?
- Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why? Don’t know. Christianity isn’t the only source of morality/immorality.
- Do you believe in free will? (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion). I find this question irrelevant.
- If you believe in free will do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices? I don’t believe we have sufficient evidence to answer this question, though the path the evidence is leading us down seems to be indicating a completely physical explanation for all thought.