The Doctor (He doesn’t say, ‘of what.’) claims that he just wants to ask some respectful questions of Atheists – no trick or gotcha ones. He wants to amass the information, and sift and sort it, to produce a published report. When asked when he might submit it, and to whom, he was delightfully vague.
He and his wife were Atheists, until each of them had a revelation from the Christian God, and they became Jews For Jesus. His questions natter on and on – and on, full of presuppositions and leading statements. Another blogger graciously simplified the list, although I included part of his number six, for context and clarity. I thought I’d have a go at them.
- Is Your Atheism Based on Study or Experience? …
Yes!, to both. As young as seven or eight, I regarded stories that started with “In The Beginning” to be no more believable than those that began, “Once Upon A Time.” I didn’t realize until I became an adult myself, that other children, and adults, took them seriously. I became curious enough to begin a long-term investigation. I spent a great deal of time looking at arguments for or against God’s existence, and eventually had to conclude that there just wasn’t any evidence for God that stood up to examination.
- Do You Have Purpose and Destiny? …
Yes. I have had many ‘Purposes,” and will probably have more before I die, but each of them was created and affixed by me, or those close to me, not by some supernatural entity. I believe that I have a destiny. It’s just that I am not enough of a fortune-teller to see far enough into the future to get a clear glimpse of what it might be.
- Does God Exist? …
This might seem a strange question to be asking of Atheists. In the original long-winded version, he wanted Atheists to provide total, complete, 100% proof, that there was absolutely no chance that God exists. This is the philosophical equivalent to home invasion. There are almost no things that can be utterly proved not to exist. He appeared to want a tiny gap, where he could wedge his definition of God into. I consider the possibility of God existing, only slightly more likely than the existence of a married bachelor.
- Can Science Explain the Origin of Life? …
Science has explained the origin of life! There is one major, largely-accepted (by biologists and related scientists) theory, and a couple of minor variations. They all entail the chemical soup present in early Earth seas, with geothermal energy and solar radiation fueling and mutating the chemical reactions, until self-replicating RNA strands evolved upward to cells and DNA. All that free energy powered the increasing DNA complexity.
- Have You Questioned Your Atheism? …
Constantly and continuously! I have never been convinced that I can’t be wrong. Over the years I have done considerable reading and study. Now, with YouTube, I can watch debates and lectures. Atheism is merely the lack of belief in God/gods – the failure by theists to provide sufficiently convincing evidence. (See above) With all the research and investigation that I have done, I continue not to be convinced that God is guilty of existing.
- Are You Materialistic? …
Are you completely materialistic in your mindset, meaning, human beings are entirely physical, human consciousness is an illusion, and there is no spiritual realm of any kind?
First, a pedantic language lesson, I think that phrasing should be ‘are you a materialist?’. ‘Materialistic’ refers to someone who prioritizes obtaining money and possessions! I believe that humans, and all else within our Universe, are material. I don’t think it makes much sense to say that consciousness is an illusion. I think a more accurate phrasing of the materialist position on consciousness would be that it’s the product of material things/physical laws. I continue to see no evidence of a spiritual realm of any kind, except in the hopes and dreams of the gullible. I do not believe in tarot, Ouija boards, crystals, ghosts, mind-reading, fortune-telling, or a miracle-producing God.
- Would You Be Willing to Follow the God of the Bible?
It depends which part of the Bible you’re talking about when you say ‘God of the Bible’.
From reading the earlier part of the Old Testament, I remember a god laden with petty jealousy, orchestrating hideous mass deaths, with archaic views on rape and slavery and some strange gaps in his scientific knowledge. The existence of this god would be bad news.
In the later part of the Old Testament, I glimpsed a different and better kind of god; the god of Ezekiel 18 and similar passages, expecting us to take personal responsibility but also willing to see our virtues and our efforts and to judge us fairly. The existence of this god would be good news, and, yes, I would follow and honor him.
In the New Testament, we get the most hideous god of all; the one who condemns all non-Christians to an eternity of torment, who blames the Jews for sticking to the laws that He himself strictly instructed them to keep to forever, who expects us to overlook the ways he acted back in the early books, and who tries to convince us that all these things are really signs of great love and concern on his part. The existence of this god would be terrible news. And, to answer the question, I could never honor such a god, and while I suppose I’d follow him because ‘Or burn in hell’ isn’t really much of an option, it would never be willingly.