As any YouTube user knows, the site watches what you watch, and makes recommendations based on the kinds of things you like to watch. In my case, YouTube steers me to a lot of aviation videos, some firearms videos, and a few World War 2 videos, but mostly to videos about the unending debate about the existence of God. Some of these videos are responses to opinions and statements on both sides of the debate. One day I came across “Response to Five Questions for Atheists” (although there are many different subsets of questions), and I decided to compose my own set of answers…
- What evidence would it take for you to believe in God? Real, quantifiable, logical, concrete, specific, scientifically verifiable evidence.
- Is there anything I can do to convince you of the existence of God? No, not from a religious standpoint, since religion willfully fails to prove that God exists. “Faith” is not proof.
- If you did discover that God exists, would you choose to have a relationship with him? Of course. It would be wrong of me to deny the existence of something that has been proven to exist.
- Have you met Christians whose religious beliefs led them to behave morally? For the most part, good actions and bad actions in the people I meet are governed by forces not connected to their religious beliefs, but, like the actions of atheists, are governed by cause and effect, i. e. by what works.
- Has the presence or lack of the presence of such a person had an effect on your life? I live my life with my eyes open, and I hope that by this point in my life I am able to cull the good from the bad in the people in the world around me on a case-by-case basis, not just because of labels like “Christian” or “liberal” or anything else.
Here is another completely different set of questions from the same topic:
- What in your opinion is the biggest misconception about atheism, why is it, and what would you do to change it? That atheists are immoral or hedonistic. The Abrahamic religions in particular are inclined to look down on atheists as a group of people who cast off religion so they can behave without its moral restraint and guidance, when in fact those who do not believe in God are capable of being very moral people in any important sense of the word “moral.” To change misconceptions about atheism, I live by example, as an atheist who lives an ethical, moral, practical life.
- Do you think there is extra-terrestrial or extra-universal intelligence? I believe that the farther we peer into the Universe, the more obvious it becomes that the Universe is capable of sustaining an unimaginable number of life forms, and that logic dictates that some of it be intelligent. It would be incredibly arrogant for us to think of ourselves as the center of everything, or unique as an intelligence in the Universe. That said, the second part of the question is out of place, because it asks an entirely different question. Extra-Universal intelligence is absurd, since by definition is is outside of everything, thus outside of existence. The question is a silly attempt to trick the reader into admitting the possibility of the existence of God.
- What in your opinion is the poorest argument for religion and why? This one is easy: the poorest argument for religion is the emotional testimony of converts who say they were “moved” by an unseen force and they “know” it exists without even trying to prove it.
- What would be your perfect society? Secular? Non religious? Anarchic? Why? This question is more political than religious. It implies that the only way to govern morally or even practically is under the aegis of a God-based moral structure that is unchangable and above reproach. Oddly, this has never worked out particularly well, since religion-based governance is rife with conflict, almost always unnecessary. (Google “Sharia Law” to find out more.) I believe as the founding fathers of the United States believed, that the government should operate neutrally, so that all beliefs could flourish, unlike the religious tyranny the Pilgrims fled. It’s really a shame, though not unexpected, that social conservatives find it so difficult to understand this obvious concept.
- If when you die Jesus is there how would you justify yourself to him and what do you think his response would be? This is kind of a silly question, but I’ll answer it in classic atheist form: the same thing would happen to me as would a Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Animist or Buddhist and every human being who lived prior to 2000 years ago would: I would go to hell for all eternity. Ooops. Christianity doesn’t let you make excuses after you’re dead. I once asked a fairly narrow-minded Christian what would happen, after they died, to all the people who were never exposed to Christianity. He told me, “The Holy Spirit will find you one way or another.” It was one of the top ten all-time lamest answers I have ever heard.