In part 5 we get to the good stuff: god himself. Because after all, that's what this is all about and that's what this is all leading up to. Let's see if Phil's questions can rattle my atheism.
1. If you ARE God’s creation, isn't it true your present attitude is unfair to Him? Insulting, actually? And you thus have very good reason to deny His existence because you deserve punishment for your utter disregard?
So let's say the Christian god is real, like it was empirically proven to me. I'd be fucking pissed. It would mean that I'd have to live under a celestial tyrant who is so insecure about himself that he demands constant admiration, devotion and worship. Yet he's somehow perfect. I would not be able to deny this truth. Why would me being god's creation make it required to worship him forever? Honestly, even if god did exist, I would not be able to bring myself to love him. Love cannot be forced, it must come natural. The only possible way that I'd respect god, would be to avoid his wrath, but then I would technically only be doing it for my own selfish purposes. And why should I deserve punishment for my disdain of god's personality? Am I not entitled to my own opinion under his rule? If not, then god is a tyrant as I said before.
2. Are you willing to follow the evidence where it leads, and consider the “cumulative case” for God’s existence? If not, why?
I suppose the "cumulative case" for god's existence are the cosmological, teleological, moral and ontological arguments. If so, then yes I am willing to follow the evidence, and it has lead my right where I started off - atheism. The cumulative case for god amounts to nothing more than the "leaky bucket" approach. Each of these arguments are saddled with holes and so no matter how many you pile onto one another, they still amount to a bunch of leaky buckets that cannot hold any water.
3. Are you right about God? How do you know?
I am confidently sure that the god of the Bible - or better yet - the god of Abraham does not exist. How do I know? Because that god is logically impossible. Now could I be wrong? Perhaps. Could I be wrong that some other god cannot exist? Yes, there might be some sort of deistic god, or an evil god. But without any good evidence, I have no reason to believe in any of them.
4. If you are not right about God, do you know how to GET right with God?
It depends on the god. But why should I assume the Christian god is more real than the god of Islam? What evidence is the Christian offering me that's better than what the Muslim is offering me? Both gods are taken on articles of faith that requires huge leaps of logic and reason.
DISBELIEF IN GOD
1. What do you consider to be the single most compelling reason to believe God does NOT exist? Why?
Implied here is the god of the Bible since it is not specified. So since this is the deity in question, I know this god does not exist because I can use the ontological argument against the theist. According to the ontological argument, god is defined as the greatest conceivable being. So all I have to do is conceive of a being greater than Yahweh, and *poof* Yahweh cannot be god. If you agree with the logic behind the ontological argument, then you have to agree with the logic here. So that's why I know the atrocious biblical god is a complete fabrication. Aside from that, the eternalist view on the nature of time that we can derive from relativity and quantum mechanics rules out that our universe came into being ontologically. So if it always existed, then there's no need for a creator.
2. If God does exist, do you have a subjective desire that He not exist? Why?
I am admittedly an antitheist. I would not want god to exist. Although, I would be OK with a deistic god existing. The reason I don't like theism, is because I do not want to live under the kind of god that is described in various holy books like the Bible or the Qur'an. Considering the angry, wrathful, and jealous character of such a deity, who would want to live under the power of such a tyrant? I think at some level, one has to be a masochist in order to want that kind of god to be real.
3. Are there any practical benefits to atheism? If so, what are they and why?
Atheists are allowed to employ the unrestricted use of reason and evidence to compile the most accurate description of reality as possible. We can also use this to weigh in the pluses and minuses of various moral issues bereft of any dogmatic stances that could constrain our thinking. Once science divorced itself from supernaturalism, we have no longer resorted to magic in order to explain things, and this has allowed us to discover things that rely on natural mechanisms that we would have never discovered if it weren't for methodological naturalism.
4. What would it take for you to believe in God’s existence?
100 million dollars wired to my bank account with a receipt saying, "From God." No, seriously. For me to believe in god at this point I would need empirical proof. God, if he exists, could easily and without any effort, be able to convince everyone on earth that he is real and what his one true message for us is. A worldwide miraculous event would certainly convince me.
5. If you found the Biblical God does indeed exist, would your life change for the better or worse? Why?
I would immediately become depressed. Not only would I have to live under a tyrant, the reward for submitting to this tyrant, is to get to worship him in heaven for eternity. That sounds like hell to me. But one thing about Christianity is that you are saved through grace alone and not through works, so at least I wouldn't have to do anything. I'd more or less still live my life as always, which is decent and moral. But, there's no way that I'd adhere to the ridiculous morals in the Bible even if I knew that god was real, because if I'm saved though grace, it wouldn't make any difference whether I was a good Christian or a bad Christian.
1. Have you ever actually read the Bible?
I've read parts, mostly in the beginning and some of the New Testament. I've never read the Bible cover to cover, but I get the jist of it. The more of the Bible I read, the more I'm generally appalled by it.
2. If the Biblical God DOES exist, could a lack of Biblical knowledge explain good atheism?
I'm not sure what is meant by "good atheism" here. If what is meant here is atheists who behave good, then no, it has nothing to do with lacking biblical knowledge. If what is meant is the spread of atheism itself due to lacking biblical knowledge, then I am doubtful of that too. Reading the Bible can make one an atheist, because most "Christians" have never even read the Bible, or they have only read the parts that sound good in the context of our modern world, and once the nasty parts are read, it can produce negative reactions.
3. Would you be willing to read the Gospel of John, just once, as if it were true and Jesus was smart?
Why the gospel of John? Why not Mark whose gospel came first and whose gospel all the others are based off of? And why do I have to pretend Jesus is smart? This makes it seem like he's really just dumb and fanatical to the point where I have to pretend that he's smart. I'm not particularly moved by the gospel accounts other than that I see them as hideous renditions of a human sacrifice for the charge of blasphemy. To believe John is true also opens up other dilemmas. If John is true, then:
- Mark is wrong that Jesus was executed after Passover.
- Mark, Luke and Matthew are wrong that Jesus didn't carry his cross the whole way
- Mark, Luke and Matthew are wrong that Jesus' tomb was visited by Mary with other women
- Matthew is wrong that Jesus' tomb was not rolled away
- Mark is wrong in that the women who visited the tomb told people