I’ve been an atheist most of my life, and I find it very strange when people don’t understand.
So, this article will try to explain why I am an atheist.
First, we need to define what a “god” is. Incredibly, this first step annoys some people! When I ask people what they mean by “god”, they say things like “well, you know…” (no, I don’t), or “what do you mean?” (was I not clear?).
Let’s define a god based on the most common christian beliefs:
- Can create a whole universe in 7 days.
- Can create itself.
- Created life.
- Cares about every individual human that worships it.
Each one of these criteria is incredibly unlikely.
Seven Day Creation
The first one, “Can create a whole universe in 7 days right down to animals” is easily disproved.
By simply looking at the night sky, measuring the distance of stars and how the further stars are from us, the more their light is shifted to the red, we can measure the age of the universe pretty confidently to about 13.75 billion years.
That’s not 7 days. And if the religious apologists reply by starting “well when the bible says ‘days’, what it means is …” – stop right there. If the bible said “days”, then the bible meant “days”. Otherwise the bible is incorrect.
Next, we have “can create itself”.
Obviously, it is possible for something to come from nothing. This is self-evident.
Things that exist either existed forever, or they came into being from nothing.
The idea that everything that exists has always existed was believed for a very long time, but it causes a load of unanswered questions, such as why, after an eternity of existence, everything is not either compressed to a single un-moving point, or spread out to a completely uniform volume.
The idea that things can come from nothing causes a few questions as well, such as “how?”.
Combining the two, modern science shows that something can come from nothing, through a quantum effect called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and yet the sum total energy still equals zero. In other words, the universe is both eternal, and yet its material can have emerged a set length of time ago.
On the religious side, Christianity does not believe in an eternal universe. If the universe is eternal, it does not need a creator, and therefore there is no need for a god.
Christianity believes that something can be intentionally created from nothing. They say that God created himself from nothing (example 1), and then created the universe from nothing (example 2).
So, based on two explanations of how things can come from nothing, we have a choice of which to believe.
- God intentionally created God from nothing.
- God then created the universe from nothing.
- The universe emerged naturally from nothing.
Occam’s Razor suggests that when given the choice between two explanations, you should choose the one that is the least complex.
Even if there were no God, the universe would have created itself from nothing anyway. Quantum mechanics ensure this.
We do not need to invoke a god to create a universe.
Creation of Life
According to the bible, God simply created life one day. As simple as that.
And then after all of the animals were created, a human male was created. From clay.
And then a human female was created. From the male’s rib.
Compare that to the idea of evolution, where simple molecular reactions “evolve” over time through competition to eventually become the hugely diverse life-forms that cover the planet today.
I don’t even know why I need to explain this one. Seriously – created from clay? And a rib?
Evolution is the only viable explanation for life and its huge variety.
Everything else is fairy-tales.
Selectively Infinite Caring
Priests say that “God loves us, every one”, and then they claim that you will go to hell if you don’t worship him.
As an aside: in 1999, Pope John Paul II changed the Catholic church’s stance on Hell, demoting it from an actual place to a mere state of being. This changed 2000 years of supposedly infallible truth that Hell was a place.
I guess “infallible” doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does to them.
Anyway – apparently, God sees everything and knows everything, and cares for all of his children, but only those that worship Jesus.
This means that, if the christian God exists, then every person that has never heard of Jesus, or that doesn’t believe he is the son of God, will be punished eternally.
Personally, if I created a universe (for example, a computerised simulation), I really don’t care about the individuals. I might find the civilisations interesting, but the individuals are not interesting.
Similarly, for someone studying ants does not find any individual ant interesting, but the colony would be fascinating. Even if they do focus on an individual ant, it’s not that specific ant that they are interested in, but the type of ant it is (soldier, queen, worker).
And even if any individual was interesting, why is their belief somehow a criteria for whether they should be rewarded or not?
Well, there it is.
So, I don’t believe in gods for the simple reason that I don’t see any compelling evidence that gods (of any type) exist.