Here’s the result of an atheism survey, as answered by Pedro Timoteo, operator of wayofthemind.org. It provides another interesting look into the atheist mindset.
My comments follow in bold type.
Without further ado…
Why do you not believe in God?
For exactly the same reason that you don’t believe in every other god than yours.
Hmmm, I seem to recall Mr. Timoteo claiming in his “16 Common Myths About Atheism” that religious believers were “brainwashed”. Is he now admitting that he’s brainwashed, too?
Where do your morals come from?
Empathy, mostly. And reason, and a sense of fairness and justice.
Yeah, but WHERE do those values originate? How about answering the question?
What is the meaning of life?
I could tell you mine, but I can’t tell you yours, or anybody else’s. What, you believe it should be dictated to us by some outside source?
Nice non-answer. Bad dodge.
Is atheism a religion?
No. Incidentally, that question implies that having a religion is something universal, even if it’s “atheism”. That is wrong; it’s like saying everyone has a car, even if yours is “feet”.
I’d like to know where the question implies that “having a religion is something universal.” Thanks for the circular answer. A simple yes or no would have sufficed.
If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
Depends on the kind of trouble. If I can do something about it, I do it. If not, I deal with it in many different ways, which tend to include friends, family, getting slightly drunk, and listening to heavy metal music. Not all at the same time, of course.
It’s interesting that that an atheist considers religion some kind of crutch, but drinking isn’t.
Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?
Yes, in the same way we’d try to convince an alcoholic or drug addict to do something about their addiction.
So religion is some kind of addiction akin to drug and alcohol abuse, but I’d venture to guess that Mr. Timoteo’s use of alcohol to “cope” isn’t considered abuse, is it?
Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?
Hitler and Stalin had moustaches. So, having a moustache makes you a mass murderer! What, you’re saying that their moustaches didn’t inspire their actions? Neither did Stalin’s atheism (Hitler was a Catholic). The Inquisition, on the other hand, was caused by what, exactly…?
What a dumb analogy. The answer is, YES.
Now Mr. Timoteo claims to be able to get into the mind of Josef Stalin and assure us that his atheism didn’t have any bearing on his personal decisions? And we’re also expected to believe that same old tired claim that Hitler was a Christian, when anybody with half a brain knows that Hitler’s belief system was bogus and used to manipulate and control people.
How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?
See: flat earth, geocentrism, demonic posession as an explanation for diseases, slavery, and many other times when billions of people were wrong.
Hello... most of those beliefs were not from Christianity. And the belief in geocentrism didn’t invalidate the writings of the Greek philosophers, did it?
Science has been proven wrong numerous times, but we don’t dump it for that reason. It’s called throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Why does the universe exist?
“Why” is the wrong question. “How” would be better. How, exactly? I don’t know, it’s not my field of expertise, sorry. But I don’t take the easy way out and say “Goddidit.”
But that lack of expertise doesn’t prevent Mr. Timoteo from pontificating, does it? Why does saying "goddidit" make it “the easy way out”, and why does that make the idea of God null and void?
How did life originate?
Again, I’m not a biologist, but I don’t see the need for a supernatural cause there.
Based on what? If he's not a biologist, does that just mean your his beliefs against God are based on personal prejudice alone?
Is all religion harmful?
Yes, because even the most “harmless” ones teach you to replace critical thinking and skepticism with wishful thinking.
Aren’t Darwinists also guilty of “wishful thinking”?
This is hilarious. Mr. Timoteo subscribes to one of the most bogus Urban Legends atheists cite against Christians: that Christians are incapable of critical thought or skepticism. I was just wondering then, if that’s true, why don’t Christians over the age of 5 believe in Santa Claus, and why haven’t Christians swallowed the whole Darwin thing hook, line, and sinker? Oh, that’s right… Christians are “brainwashed”!
So, back to the question: how does this belief of yours prove that religion is “harmful”, Mr. Timoteo?
What’s so bad about religious moderates?
They believe that any religious creed is above criticism, simply because it is a religious creed. So, they protect extremists, and prevent rational discussion of religion.
Excuse me, Mr. Timoteo, I think you just described what is known as dogmatism. Dogmatism is what extremists preach, not moderates. Your statement is incorrect.
Is there anything redeeming about religion?
People may feel better when, after a catastrophe, they somehow still feel that “someone above cares”. But that’s wishful thinking again… and it often keeps them from actually doing something about it. So, no.
Now that is an interesting portrait about the atheist, because Christopher Hitchens wasn’t able to answer a similar question any more honestly than Pedro Timoteo. The correct answer is: yes.
Religion has many redeeming qualities, whether or not you’re a believer. To say otherwise is a lie.
What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?
Which one? And what if you believe in the wrong one? Anyway, I believe a good god would prefer a decent unbeliever to a vicious believer… and, as for an evil god, only a coward would ever serve him.
Another non-answer and a poor attempt to dodge the question.
Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
No. Something is either true, or it isn’t. Why such a fear of reality?
Then why should we respect atheism? Simply because atheists claim their beliefs are true?
Are atheists smarter than theists?
Technically, no, but statistically they probably are. For instance, the percentage of atheists among scientists is much greater than among the general populace.
The answer is, statistics suggest smarter people tend to be non-religious. There was a survey done in 1996 to see how many eminent scientists in the National Academy of the Sciences believed in God or an afterlife, and the results, when compared to a similar survey taken 80 years before, revealed that about 1/3 of scientists that are in the NAS have a strong belief in God or an afterlife. Another 15% are agnostic. About 40% are atheistic.
Also, a survey of belief based on IQ revealed that people with higher IQ’s had a greater tendency to be non-religious. The differences though, are more profound among people that have very high IQ’s, which is a very small part of the population.
But does that mean atheists and agnostics are smarter than believers? The studies don’t say anything about the respondents’ upbringing, which has a lot to do with shaping a person’s beliefs.
Also, keep in mind that most pastors are college educated. Pastors in medium to large churches often hold a Masters or a Doctorate.
The jury is still out on the intelligence argument.
Here are 2 links that deal with the intelligence issue:
How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?
If he existed — which isn’t certain — I’m almost sure that it was Paul, not Jesus, who invented the “he died for your sins; accept him as your savior and be saved” thing. In other words: the information we have about the historical Jesus is far from reliable.
The accounts of Jesus are as historically reliable as any other ancient texts. In the opinions of many historians, the accounts of Jesus are more reliable than other ancient historical sources because they can be dated so closely to the time of the original events. Mr. Timoteo doesn’t understand much about ancient history, either.
Perhaps Mr. Timoteo needs to review his Biblical history a bit more. What the Apostle Paul was quoting was what He was taught by Peter and the other Apostles, whom he had contact with. Oops, I forgot, the Bible isn’t a reliable source of history. My bad.
Would the world be better off without any religion?
Oh, yes. Without religion in the middle ages, we would be at Star Trek-like levels today — not just in terms of technology, but of society. Religion is the thing that’s holding humanity back the most, and always has been.
Golly Gee Willikers, Mr. Wizard, just think of how neat-o the world would be if those nasty old religious guys hadn’t slowed down human development! We’d be living on Mars right now!
This is another ignorant belief of the average atheist: that Christians have slowed down human progress (although they really can’t back up their claims with anything resembling facts).
The truth is, clerics from both the Church and from the Islamic faith were the preservers and protectors of the ancient works of Greek and Roman historians, philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. Very little of what we know about ancient history has managed to survive to this day. Without the help of both Christianity and Islam, we’d have next to nothing.
Also, there is no doubt that Christianity was absolutely vital in the development of western civilization and culture, the most technologically advanced culture in the world for most of the last 600 years.
What happens when we die?
It’s over for us, but we can leave memories and deeds, and can have made the world a better place for our children and their children.
That’s the first intellectually honest answer by Mr. Timoteo in the whole questionnaire. Real atheists don’t believe in an afterlife. But they sure do believe all other kinds of funny stuff!
Pedro Timotheo puts in his 2 cents worth by adding:
Now, I’d add a few ones:
Isn’t atheism just hatred of God?
Do you hate Thor? Or just don’t believe he exists or ever existed? Well, it’s the same thing here.
No, it’s not. Atheists love to mock the names of God and Jesus because they know it upsets religious believers. They also bash the teachings of the Bible by referring to God as “evil”. On top of that, they engage in all forms of blasphemy in their attacks against Christians. Whether they care to admit it or not, they do hate God, or at least the idea of a god, and it shows in what they post on the internet.
How can you be sure God doesn’t exist, if you’re not all-knowing?
I’m as much sure God doesn’t exist as I am about unicorns or werewolves, and for the same reason: there’s exactly zero evidence for all of them.
This is the ultimate expression of atheist intellectual dishonesty. There IS evidence for God, but atheists don’t accept it. That evidence is based on historical testimony and observations of nature and the Universe. Mr. Timoteo might want to read about Anthony Flew's change of heart (and YES, we know he's a non-religious "deist"... but there's still hope!).
An intellectually honest atheist says, “I’m not convinced that God exists, based on the evidence I’ve seen so far”, but to say that “There is no evidence” is nothing more than a prejudiced assumption.
Atheism, as exemplified by Pedro Timoteo, is presumptive, condescending, and intellectually dishonest. It’s no wonder that in a university opinion poll, people find atheists less trustworthy than religious believers.