Perhaps one of the reasons that people seem to fear or discount atheism is that they don’t understand it. One of the reasons I started this blog was to provide some responses to common questions. In some cases, the questions themselves are so ridiculous that I would find it inappropriate to answer. Others, however, seem of reflect a lack of knowledge about atheism. Recently, a commenter on this blog, Joel Justiss, lead me to find an interesting site: FriendlyAtheist.com. The author has posted numerous observations that help show the plight and struggle of atheists (as well as all-too-common examples of religiosity in the United States).
Of particular interest is the posting Keep Them Short and Sweet – a series of questions for atheists. A few examples:
- Why do you not believe in God?
- Where do your morals come from?
- What is the meaning of life?
- Is atheism a religion?
- If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?
The comments section includes many responses, as does Joel’s “Forest Trail” page. Some of my personal favorite responses include:
What is the meaning of life?
The meaning of a person’s life is the message communicated to other people by that person’s words and actions. The idea that a particular message is intended by someone or something outside of that person is a natural consequence of belief in gods, but it implies that people are not responsible for their own lives.
Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?
All people should be respected. Beliefs deserve respect to the degree that they are supported by evidence, not merely because someone holds to them.
Would the world be better off without any religion?
The world would be better off with more focus on truth—without religion or superstition in any form.
While there are certainly no canned or standard answers to these questions, I have found most responses to be well thought-out. And, to my pleasant surprise, it has been rather rare for me to find a comment with which I completely disagree. In the future, I’ll try to develop my own list of short and sweet responses and post them here.