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The Top 10 Reasons I Don't Believe in God

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The following is an excerpt from Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless by Greta Christina. The book is available electronically on Kindle, Nook, and  soon in print.

"But just because religion has done some harm -- that doesn't mean it's mistaken! Sure, people have done terrible things in God's name. That doesn't mean God doesn't exist!"

Yup. If you're arguing that -- you're absolutely right. And the question of whether religion is true or not is important. It's not the main point of this book: if you want more thorough arguments for why God doesn't exist, by me or other writers, check out the Resource Guide at the end of this book. But "Does God exist?" is a valid and relevant question. Here are my Top Ten reasons why the answer is a resounding, "No."

1: The consistent replacement of supernatural explanations of the world with natural ones.

When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on.

All these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

Now. The number of times that a natural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a supernatural one? The number of times humankind has said, "We used to think (X) was caused by physical cause and effect, but now we understand that it's caused by God, or spirits, or demons, or the soul"?

Exactly zero.

Sure, people come up with new supernatural "explanations" for stuff all the time. But explanations with evidence? Replicable evidence? Carefully gathered, patiently tested, rigorously reviewed evidence? Internally consistent evidence? Large amounts of it, from many different sources? Again -- exactly zero.

Given that this is true, what are the chances that any given phenomenon for which we currently don't have a thorough explanation -- human consciousness, for instance, or the origin of the Universe -- will be best explained by the supernatural?

Given this pattern, it's clear that the chances of this are essentially zero. So close to zero that they might as well be zero. And the hypothesis of the supernatural is therefore a hypothesis we can discard. It is a hypothesis we came up with when we didn't understand the world as well as we do now... but that, on more careful examination, has never once been shown to be correct.

If I see any solid evidence to support God, or any supernatural explanation of any phenomenon, I'll reconsider my disbelief. Until then, I'll assume that the mind-bogglingly consistent pattern of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones is almost certain to continue.

(Oh -- for the sake of brevity, I'm generally going to say "God" in this chapter when I mean "God, or the soul, or metaphysical energy, or any sort of supernatural being or substance." I don't feel like getting into discussions about, "Well, I don't believe in an old man in the clouds with a white beard, but I believe..." It's not just the man in the white beard that I don't believe in. I don't believe in any sort of religion, any sort of soul or spirit or metaphysical guiding force, anything that isn't the physical world and its vast and astonishing manifestations.

2: The inconsistency of world religions.

If God (or any other metaphysical being or beings) were real, and people were really perceiving him/ her/ it/ them, why do these perceptions differ so wildly?

When different people look at, say, a tree, we more or less agree about what we're looking at: what size it is, what shape, whether it currently has leaves or not and what color those leaves are, etc. We may have disagreements regarding the tree -- what other plants it's most closely related to, where it stands in the evolutionary scheme, should it be cut down to make way for a new sports stadium, etc. But unless one of us is hallucinating or deranged or literally unable to see, we can all agree on the tree's basic existence, and the basic facts about it.

This is blatantly not the case for God. Even among people who do believe in God, there is no agreement about what God is, what God does, what God wants from us, how he acts or doesn't act on the world, whether he's a he, whether there's one or more of him, whether he's a personal being or a diffuse metaphysical substance. And this is among smart, thoughtful people. What's more, many smart, thoughtful people don't even think God exists.

And if God existed, he'd be a whole lot bigger, a whole lot more powerful, with a whole lot more effect in the world, than a tree. Why is it that we can all see a tree in more or less the same way, but we don't see God in even remotely the same way?

The explanation, of course, is that God does not exist. We disagree so radically over what he is because we aren't perceiving anything that's real. We're "perceiving" something we made up; something we were taught to believe; something that the part of our brain that's wired to see pattern and intention, even when none exists, is inclined to see and believe.

(continued below)
by on Apr. 5, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Replies (31-40):
shimsha
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 2:49 AM


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting shimsha:



You are asking me to condense, or at least pick a place to start, from the past 25 years, lol...of formal philosophy/religion/other humanities studies, my own personal studies, experiences and discussion... all while on a mobile device. Mercy, lol!

Maybe some of the other non-believers here can get you started?

oh sorry, didn't mean to put you on the spot, just that youposted such a long article i thought you were really in this post lol well i can look into it myself, i don't know why if its general science, that a non believer would have to point it out as opposed to any learned person.  

anyhow, i just thought you might have a general idea like "dolphins have been found to do that because they know that humans actually create special habitats to protect them" lol obviously not that but just something to counter what seems like just wanting to help for the sake of altruism.

Since i am fascinated by it, especially the dolphin thing, i have looked into it and have yet to find a better explanation, though I will leave my mind open that there may be one, I just haven't seen it and thought you might have come across something specfic that I havent. But I will continue to research for the fun of it and who knows. Thanks for the interesting post mama, i'm off to bed but hope to run into you another time for more interesting and respectful convo :) Have a good night!

Lachrymose
by Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 2:50 AM


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting Lachrymose:



I know exactly what you mean. Too many times IRL, as soon as ppl of faith find out about my non-belief (even though I don't wear it on my sleeve, neither do I hide it) they turn judgmental/rude/drop contact.
I don't have a problem with ppl of faith, but in my experience, most ppl of faith have a problem with my non-faith.
In reflecting about this, I think the reasons are more complex than just a general lack of tolerance.
I am convince that one reason is that I represent someone with the personal fortitude to go against the norm, to question, to think for myself, etc... And many ppl just aren't cut out to "go there." It (not me, but what I represent) makes them uncomfortable, and sometimes I have sensed it is b/c some of the moms really wish they did have it in themselves to strike out of their conformity.

:)  I completely get all of that. 

We have neighbors who are really nice and like-minded and intelligent, etc. but I'm afraid to divulge that little tidbit of information because I don't want it to end up like every other friendship.. and because of that, we kind of hold them at arm's length.  I hate that.  They have been so kind to us.. and I feel like I'm cheating our friendship and in a way betraying them.. and betraying ourselves..

DH and I have been loners for some time now.. and it's getting to me.  DH is content with having his "friends" on Xbox, etc.  But I need more.  I just checked to see if there were any meetups in this area and there are none.. so I might start my own!  Not sure though.. I worry that someone will walk in and shoot up the place.. it is a legitimate fear too!  They think THEY'VE been persecuted.. we are the New Christians in a sense..

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Apr. 6, 2012 at 3:12 AM
Quoting Lachrymose:




I know, right?
I've thought of starting my own meetup group to see who might show up locally, for community, etc but just do not have the time at the moment...b/c I cyber school dd at home. When I was new at it a few years ago, we had some veeeery unfortunate run-ins with believers-deliberately hurtful shunning of my dd, by so-called Christian ppl...all b/c they found out we were not.
So I get the arm's length thing. I also get the desire to have more meaningful friendships. It's a normal human need...
Lachrymose
by Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 3:40 AM


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting Lachrymose:




I know, right?
I've thought of starting my own meetup group to see who might show up locally, for community, etc but just do not have the time at the moment...b/c I cyber school dd at home. When I was new at it a few years ago, we had some veeeery unfortunate run-ins with believers-deliberately hurtful shunning of my dd, by so-called Christian ppl...all b/c they found out we were not.
So I get the arm's length thing. I also get the desire to have more meaningful friendships. It's a normal human need...

We are social beings!!  lol. 

I've considered homeschooling..  the material we would cover!!  I'm very glad they offer cyber school too.  If anything happened at the girls' public school, it's nice to know there is something to fall back on... we live in a rural area and already I've had to say things about them pushing religion.. DD11 just had to read a book with religious references in it but I've just been too pooped out to object openly about it.  They would be flipping out if the book had secular references and yet we have to put up with it.. ?  It is mentally exhausting having to deal with this crap constantly. 


Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 3:59 AM
Quoting shimsha:

what about love? there are many things that go against survival of the fittest. you could rationalize love as an evolutionary trait (i.e. we love our kids so that we can continue the species, we love our spouses to ensure the better survival of our species etc.) but what about just sheer sacrifice when it isn't about continuing your own gene line? like saving the life of yoru parent? or of a stranger? when people just sacrifice? or even more amazing , when animals sacrifice, like dolphins saving humans, it blows my mind, they are smart enough (who knows smarter than us maybe lol) to know that we can present a danger to them, that they are risking their lives to save ours etc. yet it happens. 

What makes you think humans are perfectly rational about that, when they're not perfectly rational about anything else?

We share genes with other species too, just not as many as we share with humans, and we share genes with all humans, just not as many as with those we're related to.

glitterteaz
by Ruby Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Awesome read and I by far agree whole heartedly!

momtoscott
by Platinum Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 8:14 AM

 Great, I loved this.  Thanks so much for posting!

OkieMom2673
by Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM
1 mom liked this
Have you read the book The Case for God? It's about a non believer that tries to scientifically prove there is no god and becomes a believer. It's very good.


Quoting florajane528:

I'm not saying I don't believe in God. But when I do doubt him to my christian friends no one can help me see right again. I pretty much agree with everything the lady wrote yet at the same time I disagree with her. I want to believe in God. The reason I don't fully is because I can find no one to give me actual proof He exists. They always end up just quoting scriptures to me and that doesn't help give me answers. It's the bible that made me doubt him in the first place.

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Ednarooni
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 10:17 AM


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting Lachrymose:



I know exactly what you mean. Too many times IRL, as soon as ppl of faith find out about my non-belief (even though I don't wear it on my sleeve, neither do I hide it) they turn judgmental/rude/drop contact.
I don't have a problem with ppl of faith, but in my experience, most ppl of faith have a problem with my non-faith.
In reflecting about this, I think the reasons are more complex than just a general lack of tolerance.
I am convince that one reason is that I represent someone with the personal fortitude to go against the norm, to question, to think for myself, etc... And many ppl just aren't cut out to "go there." It (not me, but what I represent) makes them uncomfortable, and sometimes I have sensed it is b/c some of the moms really wish they did have it in themselves to strike out of their conformity.

Very sorry to hear this..

I think you would be surprised at how many people "within" their own religions disrespect and judge people of their own faith  Even Jesus cautioned the pharasees who "adamently" used scriptures to "tear" Jesus down at "every" turn.  I guess it's easier to  judge verbally than just be a "good" neighbor,..  I've even wondered for some people of faith if it's easier to say "I'll pray for you" when they see someone in need  instead of actually" giving them a hand or something they need.. 

We don't have to agree with our neighbors life styles, choices or beliefs.. but we shouldn't disrespect them... (imo)  I think we tend to forget about "agape" love. The term from what I understand extends to the love of one’s fellow man..  .I think we all have "enough" common sense to know the difference between who we think could be a person "who" might necessarily hurt someone that we should avoid and/or just someone who has a different belief and/or life style..which does not mean "they" will hurt you (general you).  (imo)

. Look at the parable of the Samaritan (sp)..we don't know what kind of a man the good samaritan was and/or the victim..we don't "know" their personal lives..just that one came upon the other and "helped" him.. But you noticed who passed the man by..supposedly "religious"  people. I think there's a very strong message concerning that parable..

Sometimes when I talk to people (even within my  family and friends) and/or read replies  I just want to say "here, Jesus offered up these..that's the least I can do for you"..

But then, I've been guilty of being heartless..I've been guilty of "judging"..I've been just as guilty as they are..so I have a rock pile that's "just" for me. So I don't  always say it when I hear judgmental attitudes and trust me, I see those opportunites "way" more than I care to...and I believe the majority of these people are "good" at heart, just misguided and  "hardened" on some subjects.   Compassion is a funny thing..do we just have "compassion" for certain people..or should we have compassion/agape love for everyone..even the people who look down upon other people..  It's a frustrating "cycle" for sure. Sometimes I wonder if I should make up some "rock" cards..and say "here..have a rock on me..my pile is low..but I can afford to lend you one"..lol  None of us are free from this rock pile..at least not the Christians..(imo).

Again..I'm sorry that you have felt like that..

romalove
by Roma on Apr. 6, 2012 at 10:22 AM
2 moms liked this

 I enjoyed this read, thanks. 

I know there isn't a God, but even more than that I hate religion.

I think much of the evil has religion at its source.

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