Over at http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-atheist-challenge/ thebiblereader has asked 10 questions for atheists to answer.
Rather than me repeat the questions here, it is probably best you go there to read them. I will post my responses as a reply to his blog as well as in this post. There are already a lot of responses there.
1) That’s not true. No god does not mean no measurement for morality. Morality is consistent with evolution because as a group of individuals develop rules will have to develop increase the changes of the groups survival. Watch groups of animals in the wild and this becomes clear, it is not the anarchy those who believe this would have us believe. There is currently a lot of study in this area and some very interesting experiments and result are coming out of it.
2) Again, this is also not true. Meaning is not placed on us from an external being based on whether or not we believe in him. Meaning is a much more personal thing and is a reasonable result in a species that has developed self-awareness.
3) If New Atheism means the active opposition to religion on the understanding that it causes more harm than good and that accommodation of the religious is for the weak. Then no, I do not subscribe to that and nor do I support eugenics. I accept that there could be an extreme end of the spectrum that sees eugenics as not only acceptable but good. Just because that extreme might exist does not mean that atheism is rotten. Much the same as religious extremism does not in and of itself disprove religion.
4) Transitional fossils exist and are documented. DNA evidence is however far more convincing and has enabled more accurate maps of how species have diverged and evolved. Gaps in the fossil record exist because not every species will leave fossils. For all the millions of animals that have existed, a tiny minority have survived to fossil form. DNA explains the relationships far better anyway.
5) Yes. Even as a Christian the concept of Human Nature was never a problem for me. It is Human Nature to seek a greater purpose, for a long time that purpose was encapsulated in God. That doesn’t make him real.
6) I won’t pretend to understand the beginning of the universe and how it came about. I consider it disingenuous for the religious who also don’t understand it to try and discredit it based on that simplistic misunderstanding. My challenge in response is that it is better to learn about something in order to better understand it, than it is to mock it out of fear for what it might do to our beliefs.
7) Straw man alert! Atheists are not automatically immoral or self-destructing, this is an untruth believed by believers. I’ve been there before so I understand the mentality. Picking those countries as examples of a godless society are as helpful as picking Afghanistan and Iran as examples of a Godly Society. Picking an objectionable extreme to prove a point is never a good idea.
8) I would image I would enter an initial state of panic. After that, I really don’t know. It is not something I worry about becoming true.
9) Having already made the move from Christianity, having considered it right for many years. I would need absolute and undeniable proof. It would have to be a physical manifestation of God that could not be explained in any other way and it would have to happen more than once. Given some of the things I have already attributed to god in my Christian years, this proof would need to be something special.
10) Basically, I was once a YEC and a better understanding of science made me realise how wrong I had been all those years. I tried to reconcile my Christianity with my new found acceptance of evolution but I failed. I now think that it is far more reasonable to say there is no god because that is what the evidence indicates.
- ‘The Atheist Challenge’ (dangeroustalk.net)
- Atheist Answers Questions From a Christian (atheistrev.com)
- Atheists preach to the choir! (imbrocata.wordpress.com)
- Atheists: Really? (simplifiedtheology.wordpress.com)
- It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian (ncregister.com)
- This is Supposed to be a Challenge? (tuibguy.com)
- Was I indoctrinated to Atheism? (theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com)