YouTube is a fabulous resource for nontheists all around the world to learn, connect, debate, and exchange ideas. I’m not ashamed to admit that watching videos on youtube was pivotal in my journey out of Christianity. Without the wealth of information, challenging ideas, and myriad voices found there, I might still be a theist today.

Since I’m still anonymous, I don’t have my own videos to add to youtube (yet?), but I would still like to respond to a survey posted by Bossman103, a theist. He asks atheists 5 questions, and I would love to hear your own thoughts as well! Comment here or post a video response to him on youtube.

1. What in your opinion is the biggest misconception about atheism?, why is it? and what would you do to change it?
One that comes up the most for me lately is that atheists leave previous religions for invalid reasons: i.e. they were never true believers; or didn’t fully understand their religion; or left for personal, not intellectual reasons; or they’re just going through a rebellious, sinful phase. the list goes on and on. Basically, theists claim that atheists weren’t ____ enough, and if they were, they’d still believe in God.

2. Do you think there is extra-terrestrial or extra-universal intelligence?
I suppose it’s possible, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it. It’s arrogance to say that we’re the only beings that exist and matter in this vast universe. But I do not believe that E.T. life has any involvement in our current reality today, no.

3. What in your opinion is the poorest argument for religion and why?
I can never settle on just one. I dislike the arguments that “Billions of people can’t be wrong,” or “It’s really old, so it must be true,” or “It’s too much for me to understand, so it must be God.”

4. What would would be your perfect society? Secular? non religious? Anarchic? Why?
I’m trying to stay practical in this reality, so I choose secular in terms of government. I don’t think we could become a non-theistic humanity in the future, so I’m simply hoping for a secular existence in peace. Personally though, I think of all religions as capable of destruction and the degradation of society, so I’d prefer people choose reason and non-theism over theism, but I don’t think that’s realistic.

5. If when you die Jesus is there how would you justify yourself to him and what do you think his response would be?
I don’t think I would have to justify myself, since he would probably be aware of my actions and motivations and thoughts. But I would want to have a discourse with him if I could, since I’d be surprised to see him. I think his response to my life thus far might be “well, you really ran the middle of the line. You tried to do well many times, and you were selfish and harmed other people many other times.”

If he follows the fundamentalist view, I might still be saves since I accepted him and knew him when I was younger.
If he follows the Catholic view, I might go to hell or stay in purgatory forever since I would have died without confessing mortal and venial sins.

I’m going to stop there since I can’t know which version of himself I’d even meet 😉 And I’m babbling.

Check out Bossman103’s channel here and watch his original video below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS1dZ5_pEGo

(via YouTube user eddygoombah‘s answer video.)

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14 thoughts on “5 Questions for Atheists”

Dusty Smith · May 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm

I get number 1 all the time. I’m just an atheist because I want to sin! What can you even say to that? I normally just tell em “I guess that is possible but if it’s true I am unaware of it, and I think between the two of us if one of us was to know what I was feeling it would be me.”

That usually doesn’t work though. Logic rarely does.

James Tracy · May 11, 2009 at 12:46 am

I agree with your answers. As for number one, there are so many misconceptions. Another common one is that to be an atheist you must be certain that god does not exist. Which just doesn't make sense. We decline to believe in lots of things because of insufficient evidence. God is no different.

    SeandBlogonaut · May 11, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Of course first we have to define what God is 🙂

vjack · May 11, 2009 at 1:05 am

1. I think the biggest misconception is that atheists are 100% certain that no gods exist. This is a problem because it produces confusion about where the burden of proof lies and how evidence works. To change it, we need to continue to educate our readers about the meaning of atheism.

2. Possible but currently irrelevant without evidence.

3. They are all poor, but the worst is what I'll call the argument from morality (i.e., without gods, we would have no sense of right and wrong).

4. Secular.

5. Should he turn out to be real, I wouldn't bother trying to justify anything. But because the whole god thing is logically impossible, I don't see this happening.

RtPt · May 11, 2009 at 1:52 am

1. Lack of morals…there is nothing to be done to change it.

2. There is life in the universe…intelligent life is possible, but it would not matter because we would never know of it because the universe is too vast.

3. Pick an argument…they are all weak.

4. Secular socialist government…I could care less if people want to dance around trees to imaginary beings.

5. He would need to justify himself to me.

Jesuspoet · May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm

For number 5 I'd like to think that if Jesus is really one of the triune of a loving God then I'd hope he'd understand that I made an honest effort to examine the evidence and I would be allowed to avoid the lake of fire that apparently exists if he does…

Arthur Brash · May 12, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Dusty Smith, perhaps this answer to your dilemma will help: "The atheist realizes that every selfish or cruel act and its consequences would remain uncomfortably remembered by himself, believing that no divine forgiveness is available to assuage the pangs of a guilty conscience." Frank Swancara is credited with the line, and I tend to agree.

renebenthien · May 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

Extra-universal intelligence? Seems like a logical impossibility considering that the Universe encompasses everything in existence. If there was extra-universal intelligence, it wouldn't be extra-universal anymore would it?

area man · June 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Regarding #5: as Bertrand Russell once said when asked what he would tell God if God asked him why he didn't believe, "Not enough evidence God, not enough evidence."

fabrulana · September 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Hey pretty kickass – I like your answers

Wee Lil Jessi · January 15, 2011 at 12:58 am

A few variations I’ve heard a lot are “All atheists are immoral hedonists because they only want to be accountable to themselves.” I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean, like all we do is get high, gorge on chocolate and masturbate all day… I always respond with “Don’t worry, my conscience actually holds me to pretty high standards. Since when does being accountable to oneself mean that you’re not accountable for anything? Would you let yourself off that easy?”

Another one I hear too much and makes me shudder is “Why would you bother not doing evil things if you believe nothing matters after you die and that you won’t go to hell?”
First of all, just because I believe that my existence ends with death means it won’t matter to ME afterward, but my actions on earth will survive me and matter to everyone who is still alive. And I’m not dead yet, so it matters to me now. After all, I have to be able to live with myself (because I actually DO hold myself accountable). Since I believe my lifetime is all I have and not just a preparation for death, isn’t it all the more important to make sure I live it well?

As for #5, if I discovered there was a God or an afterlife I’d be surprised. As long as I felt I’d been a good person I wouldn’t feel the need to justify myself, and if God was a wise and benevolent being then I probably wouldn’t have to. If it was the sort of God who would punish me just because I didn’t worship him then I would feel his priorities were skewed and he didn’t really care whether you were good or not. And if it turned out to be Fred Phelps’ version of God, I would rather go to Hell than be the kind of person he wanted me to be.

greengeekgirl · March 7, 2011 at 4:28 am

Very interesting questions!

1. What in your opinion is the biggest misconception about atheism?, why is it? and what would you do to change it?

I think that one of the biggest misconceptions about atheism–and I’m at a loss to describe *the* biggest misconception–is that, deep down, we really are theists who are pissed off at God for one reason or another. “There are no atheists in foxholes,” they say, and I think this more than most things causes a stickiness because it leads them to be ultimately dismissive of our position, and us. To change it–just like we change any perceptions about us, try to become a positive force and reinforce reality rather than fiction. Our darling Hitch, as much as I hate hate hate what he is going through, is courageously facing his illness without converting back to theism out of misplaced fear; I hate it so much, but I’m glad that anything positive might come of it. He is a very public atheist in a foxhole, a very notable example that, yes, our positions are true and we are not just people who deny gods out of anger or spite, we truly don’t believe.

2. Do you think there is extra-terrestrial or extra-universal intelligence?

I think it’s definitely possible, and I’d say it’s even probable, given the enormity of the universe. I don’t think we’ll ever meet any intelligent life from other planets, though–our ability to travel and communicate at those distances may never come to fruition (I doubt they will, at least).

3. What in your opinion is the poorest argument for religion and why?

The ol’ standby–“The Bible says so.” *gnash teeth* I will grant any theist that I don’t know if there was a deity that created the universe or not. It will never be possible in my lifetime, I imagine, to see so far back that we can trace the universe back to–what? whatever was the beginning, if there was a beginning. I can’t say. What drives me crazy is not theism itself, but the idea that millennia-old books written by people who were barely literate, re-translated hundreds and thousands of times, not only hold the ultimate truth in the universe but that we should all be subjected to them!

4. What would would be your perfect society? Secular? non religious? Anarchic? Why?

I have to agree that a society based on reason would be pretty freakin’ sweet. My ultimate desire is not to convert all of the theists but to be left alone to live my life without the influence of religion. I think this may happen one day far in the future, but I also think that humans are not rational enough for this to be a quick process; it’s far too easy to appeal to any human emotionally, regardless of religious belief or non-belief, and that more than anything drives human ignorance.

5. If when you die Jesus is there how would you justify yourself to him and what do you think his response would be?

Hrm. I’d give Jesus the ol’ Bertrand Russell line about evidence, and then, if I had occasion, I’d ask him to justify himself to *me*. My life is a product of my experiences; if he or God had control over my experiences, why not lend a hand when I needed it most? Not that I’m pissed off at God for not helping, or whatever–obviously, I can’t be pissed off at what doesn’t exist, and that I never see His hand in anything is one of the things that led me to stop believing in God. But, if I found He DID exist . . . . well, Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do.

Al Stefanelli · April 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

1. What in your opinion is the biggest misconception about atheism?, why is it? and what would you do to change it? That it is a religion and that atheists cannot me moral. Stay the course. Write more articles, investigate more stories, write more books.

2. Do you think there is extra-terrestrial or extra-universal intelligence? I think it is highly likely. Whether or not we will ever see, meet or interact with intelligent beings from these places is highly unlikely.

3. What in your opinion is the poorest argument for religion and why? Adults with imaginary friends are mentally ill. There are no limits to the levels of ignorance that a person can exhibit once they come to
the conclusion that god exists

4. What would would be your perfect society? Secular Humanist, because it is the only system that can foster true morality.

5. If when you die Jesus is there how would you justify yourself to him and what do you think his response would be? I would ask him why he failed so miserably to convince so many people that he existed. Failed in his venue, failed in his representatives, failed in his presence, failed in his uniqueness. I would have no idea what his response would be as I have no belief in heaven, hell or the afterlife.

Susi · April 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

1. What in your opinion is the biggest misconception about atheism?, why is it? and what would you do to change it?

The biggest misconception I’ve run up against is that just because you are an atheist you can’t possibly care about anything, can’t have empathy or compassion for other people’s troubles or just aren’t capable of doing anything remotely good in this world. They are just ignorant and/or brainwashed to believe that we are the scum of the earth. The way I continually try to change that is to just show up to those things that need attention, be the force for good when it’s required and point out where the those that would criticize me are actually lacking in their ability to be helpful.

2. Do you think there is extra-terrestrial or extra-universal intelligence?

Anything is possible, but when it’s more than just a tv show, I’ll believe!

3. What in your opinion is the poorest argument for religion and why?

“Just look around you, how can there NOT be a god?” It bothers me more than any other because of the person’s inability to question or lack of wanting to discover the answers. They CHOSE to remain ignorant.

4. What would would be your perfect society? Secular? non religious? Anarchic? Why?

The perfect society for me would be one without religion. And frankly, lately, I’m beginning to lean more towards a society where I would be isolated on a deserted island away from all of it! lol

5. If when you die Jesus is there how would you justify yourself to him and what do you think his response would be?

I guess he would owe me a huge facepalm and I would owe him a “oops, my bad!” If all is true about what should occur for my disobedience, I guess I’ll be licking the flames with Lucifer.

Comments are closed.

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