I stumbled upon a blog post by a Christian. In the blog post, they said there are ten questions every atheist MUST answer; otherwise you don’t get your atheist’s license. I was immediately worried about not passing the test. What if some schmuck has proved the existence of God with questions!? Anyway, here are my answers.
1. How did you become an atheist?
I really don't know what this has to do with anything. Or, well, I assume the question is meant to make us realize that, "Oh my God, I'm an atheist because I'm mad at God. What a child I am." But let me tell you, dear theist, that not a single atheist thinks like that. If someone, indeed, became an atheist after having been a Christian, then that's because said person realized what a bunch of bullshit Christianity (or any other religion) is. It has nothing to do with being mad at God; we don't believe he exists.
Personally, I've always been an atheist, because I wasn't indoctrinated as a child and my brain works. In fact, my parents didn't speak for or against God, at all, so their faith or lack thereof hasn't influenced me in the least. The question seems to imply everyone starts out as a theist, but logically, everyone starts out as an atheist; then the parents force religion into a skull whose contents are not ready to process it critically.
2. What happens when we die?
No idea. You don't know either, dear theist. You think you know, but you don't. No one knows, because no one can come back from death. Yeah, I know—Jesus Bob Loblaw Christ (say it out loud; Arrested Development, anyone?). But Jesus was not the son of God; Jesus was just a dirty Jew. Mind you, he wasn't dirty because he was a Jew; he just happened to be both a Jew and dirty, perhaps because he lived in a fucking desert during a time when one took a bath once a year. If you do have proof Jesus was anything more than a human being, please provide it and don't just deflect.
3. What if you’re wrong?
*Rubs eyes in annoyance.*
What if you're wrong!? Anyone can be wrong, so the question is irrelevant. The question is asked as if it's better to believe in something false in hopes it is right than to disbelieve. But what the party who asks doesn't seem to understand is that there are more than two alternatives; it's not the existence or inexistence of the Christian god that is being discussed, but rather all religions and the possible existence of an unspecified deity. The argument the question tries to force us to acknowledge and accept is that we'd burn in hell if we don't worship the Christian god, so we might as well believe (even though belief is not actually a choice), but Christians risk the same with Allah, Zeus, Thor, Athra (one of the gods from my books), Pringles, Microsoft, rock, water, and basically anything at all. What if you, dear theist, are wrong about your faith? It’s not just a matter of if you’re right you go to heaven, if you’re wrong you cease to exist; you may very well be making a god angry by worshipping your god, so that the true god will punish you in the afterlife.
Yes, I know this seems like a deflection to your eyes, but to answer the question directly: If I'm wrong, I'm wrong; if you're wrong, you're wrong. This basic principle, that anybody can be wrong, is what leads to agnostic atheism; disbelief is the default position for any logical, intelligent person, and then one follows the evidence. There is no evidence for a god, and especially not your specific god. And even if the god Christianity claims is so good does exist, I will never worship a sociopathic, power-hungry dictator.
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
Yet another brilliant question (context → sarcasm). No theist has ever proven morals can't exist without God. Perhaps no one has proven morals can exist without him, either, but let's use some logic, shall we?
First, do animals have souls or a personal connection with Jesus Christ? If they do, prove it. If they don't, logically and even scientifically, morals exist without God. You see, there are animals that care for each other. Some are even altruistic. There are countless documented examples, like how dolphins have helped other dolphins, whales, and even humans, without benefiting from it themselves. It's also been extensively studied whether animals are or aren't capable of "human" emotions, like love. And empathy is derived from emotions; morals come from empathy. I'd like to believe a divine being made for me an everlasting soul, through which I think and feel, but alas, there's no evidence for that. However, while not conclusive, science suggests morals evolved into existence.
Second, intelligence is important for morals. At least it seems so, as the more intelligent animals (mammals, even some birds) are more social, more capable of empathy as a result of being social, and thus capable of altruism. And that's what morals should be about; not obeying arbitrary rules, but to sacrifice oneself for loved ones and even strangers.
5. If there is no god, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape, while good deeds are unrewarded?
Even if there is a god, you are free to do as you please. You have free will, don't you? But to address the question (not by answering it, but by pointing out how stupid it is), wishing something to be true doesn't make it so. Your or my wanting bad people to be punished for bad deeds doesn't in the least validate any crazy idea about an all-powerful being for which there is no proof. And if you need a reward for doing good, you are not being good; seeking reward is a cornerstone of greed.
To move closer to the direct and irrelevant answer to the question, as I answered above, God isn't necessary for morals, so even if there's no ultimate punishment or reward, there are morals—a conscience. From where we got our conscience is up for debate, but only evidence is admissible as evidence, not wishful thinking or fairy tales. Them's the brakes.
And it seems all theists actually want to murder. Is this just a misconception of mine, dear theist? I and a lot of atheists infer from what you say that only God and his perfect book full of plot holes keep you moral. In essence, this doesn't make you moral; it makes you a pawn, especially since the morals you get from God are often downright evil. If you say we got our morals from God, then provide evidence. If you can't do that, can you at least explain to me why the objective morals you go on about are so subjective? For example, please explain to me how LGBT people are immoral, without saying it is because God doesn't like it. You see, God's dislike (or actually your dislike) of something doesn't make it immoral. Morality is decided by the consequences and intent of our actions, not our nature or how we were nurtured.
6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
Why would a god's existence give life meaning? If your meaning is to serve said deity, then you are no more than a slave. It's barely a purpose. And if humankind's purpose/meaning isn't to be God's slaves, then what purpose has he provided for us? How do we actually mean anything? And what is God's purpose? Why does he exist? You can't point to unknowns, like what was before the Big Bang, to invalidate science, but then not do the same for your dogmatic beliefs.
My point is that meaning is subjective; we create our own meaning. In fact, the argument that life would have no meaning without God can be used against your religion, dear theist. First of all, as I've said before, your wish for life to have meaning doesn't make your beliefs true. Second of all, humankind has always been obsessed with our meaning. In this quest for meaning, we've made up many religions. You must concede to this, because if you don't, what reason do you have to believe any religion other than yours is wrong? How did these false religions come to be? And if all other religions were made up to fill the need to answer life's greatest, most arrogant questions, why isn't yours? Furthermore, theists make the critical mistake of assuming there MUST be a meaning to life, centered on humans, of course. But meaning is not a prerequisite for existence. What meaning could vicious parasites possibly have? What is the meaning of earthquakes?
In short, life (most likely) has no meaning at all, but, subjectively, my life has meaning in my happiness and the happiness I give to others. If you need more than that, fine, go ahead and smoke the soul weed. But provide proof before you arrogantly try to put humankind on a pedestal in a cage owned by God.
7. Where did the universe come from?
No idea. That's one of the big mysteries. In no way do you know either. Not knowing doesn't change the answer, so the fact that science doesn't have all the answers does NOT invalidate all other science, nor does it validate your specific religion of all the ones out there. If you think you know the origin of the universe, provide proof for your claim. And also, provide proof for the origin of the place from where the universe came. Everything must have a cause, you so lovingly say. What about God?
8. What about miracles? What about all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
Yeah... uhm... has anyone heard of brain damage? Mental illnesses? Drugs? Chemicals in the brain? Dreams? Sleep paralysis? Gullible fools? Self-delusion? All those things are my counter-argument against miracles and people who see things that don't exist. Oh, and what about people who claim to have seen aliens? What about those who claim to have a connection with the aliens, said connection being an anal probe? What about those who have a connection to any god other than yours? And miracles don't exist; they are coincidences and things we don't understand. I know you don't feel comfortable with random chance, but consider this: If there is free will, then everyone's actions will have ripple effects, which will affect others, which will be random. You can't have free will without coincidences, and you can't have free will with a predetermined plan.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris?
Don't really know what this question is for. Am I to infer that the theist who asks this means I worship them as gods? In the eyes of theists, it seems that everyone must believe in some bullshit and worship something. This makes absolutely no sense: we're not born to serve; it's not in our nature to serve. What I will say is that I admire some people, or see them as role models, as they are good at what they do. But I don't worship anyone or anything.
10. If there is no god, then why does every society have a religion?
I've already answered this in my previous answers, but to repeat it: We crave meaning, so we make shit up. Humans share the same genetic makeup and are therefore equally stupid. Humans crave answers, but when they are out of our reach, we invent them. Or we used to do this, before our actual understanding increased. Religion simply exists because we didn't have the means to understand our world and we fear death. Also, this is the dumbest argument for Christianity I've ever heard, because other religions oppose Christianity. The question should have been, "If God doesn't exist, why is Christianity so popular?" To that, I'd say, "Because people have the same genetic makeup and are therefore equally stupid." Religion also indoctrinates (brainwashes) children and punishes those who think differently, not to mention that humans have a need to fit in (a survival instinct, perchance). To put it in terms you might find intriguing: It's not by random chance that the Christian world sires Christians and the Muslim world sires Muslims.
So that was those questions. I imagine they're supposed to get atheists to think and realize that the one true god must be the Christian one. It amazes me that theists can't see how stupid these questions are when used as arguments for Christianity (or any religion). Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it: the theist who asked the questions always wrote "God", with a capital letter, but if one speaks of undefined gods, not a specific god (such as God), then it should be all lowercase. If you wrote "goddess", would you use uppercase then, too?
Finally, I'd like to say that three questions ("what happens when we die?", "from where do morals come?", and "from where did the universe come?") are not bad questions; it was just the way in which they were used that was bad. We ought to search for the answers to big questions, but we can't use questions to point to a lack of knowledge in science to prove that a religion that "has the answers" is true. You see, this is why science isn't religion: religion claims to have all the answers, without any evidence; science perpetually searches for answers and evidence. Not that I expect KenHamists will understand. There are two kinds of idiots in this world: true idiots and those who keep banging their head against the wall. I suppose I am the second kind.