Beautifully essayed, Elise. Your comments are as succinct as they are perceptive. Many of us couldn't even be bothered. If only more people thought like you.
Thanks a lot, David!
The people that took offense to the post or couldn't be bothered to answer (no offense to you) should see this kind of thing as an opportunity. It's not like everyone on this site is an expert in all things secular or have been able to break free of all the things that they may have at one time practiced. This is a perfect kind of exercise for people to think critically about the things that they really think and feel about theism. Some people on this site are new and looking to find reason and logic in the things they read. If we all just stopped to think that our words actually influence people and that just maybe the things we have to say are worthwhile to someone, then perhaps we'd be more willing to open our mouths (or type freely on the keyboard) to share our thoughts and opinions.
That's the thing about this site. We're all looking for people that aren't just like minded, but those who challenge us to think of things differently than we have before. Especially those that are new to non-theism. I spent a lot of my young life following the crowd in regards to religious ideology. Not that I really believed in those things, but I wanted to be part of a group and be accepted. Only I wasn't accepted for who I actually was, but was told to conform to those rules and I would be accepted. If I had been able to find something like this earlier, I could have avoided feeling like an outcast and feeling like I was the only one that has no religious beliefs. On this site we all can feel comfortable being and thinking exactly as we do, but perhaps our words can help those newbies feel at ease finally and open up their mouths as well. :)
True. Xtians and Theists of every variety don't ask these questions because they want honest answers from Atheists/Agnostics/Secularists/Skeptics. They pose these questions as a "gotcha" and because they already picked out answers which they think supports their opinion, and they shut out everything else. They drop things like this on us, then run away, not ever bothering to check back on it for the honest responses they are bound to get. Yes, we could very easily answer to these and destroy this line of baited questions, but we don't have to either. The burden of proof that a God even exists is not on us, but them.
I agree with Denise.
And I have never asked myself any of those questions. And I have already forgotten what they are.
Atheist Nexus is a community of nontheists. The link you included is a website for an organization whose goals are:
Madhukar Kulkarni, are you a non-theist? If not, then I think that you need to remove yourself from this community, or be removed, or explain why you are directing people to evangelical Christian websites. I do not come here to be subjected to people trying to focus my mind and heart on the glory of their imaginary friends.
I also question Mr. Kulkarni's motives, but I suspect we won't hear from him again on this topic. This feels like evangelical spam.
I think he was just posting it here as an interesting bit of theistic fluff he ran into. Plenty of people post Christian nonsense, as a method of pointing and laughing at them.
Although I would expect some additional commentary from him, about his own thoughts on the subject, rather than just posting the link.
This isn't the most inane list I've seen, at least. They're simplistic questions that lots of Children I know could answer (except perhaps #3, because they don't have the history yet), but most theists are so wrapped up in their world concept that they can't see the stupidly simple answers ... and then they don't listen when you tell them.
Yeah I guess it's the lack of commentary that takes it from "look at the silly thing I found on the intertubes!" to spam.
Marx, I don't understand. I interpreted Madhukar's questions as a perfectly reasonable exercise to encourage people to articulate their thinking. Some don't need or want this kind of exercise. I enjoyed it. I don't see Madhukar as an evangelical Christian drumming for theism. I have taken such materials from Republican literature to define how I think about the issues they care about and I am not attracted to Republican philosophy by doing it.
Of course you do not come to his site "to be subjected to people trying to focus my mind and heart on the glory of their imaginary friends." That is just rubbish! If you don't like his questions or his writings, just use the Delete button or the Block. They are easy to do, and you can get onto the sites you find meaningful.
Madhukar does use the maddening strategy of being a "devil's advocate" from time to time and I don't like it one bit. But he seems to think it is a way to get people thinking. Well, it makes me think he is looney, but who am I to judge another. My ideas have been defined as ... well I won't go into that.
I've accepted that some questions will never be answered, and most of the "big questions" may eventually be answered by science, but I will be long dead. And, as CuriousKid said above, religion only answers them with "god did it", so NONE of us have the answers. I'd rather have no answer at all then a false one.
Here are mine:
1. Whether other questions remain unanswered has no bearing to the question of whether or not God exists. So the question is irrelevant to the validity of atheism.
2. See answer to question 1. A need for meaning is entirely irrelevant to the question of the existence or non-existence of a god.
3. When people have embraced religion, the results have ALSO been horrific: Hitler, Torquemada and the crusaders were all Catholics. The extermination of the Cathars was done wholly in the name of religion. When India was partitioned - on the basis of religion - the result was a war resulting in three million deaths. We are now on the brink of war in the Middle East with enormous destructive potential - entirely as a consequence of religion, at several levels. If one is going to posit that religion is a civilizing influence, one has a lot of explaining to do as to why it causes so much evil and suffering in the world.
4. If there IS a god, then the problems of evil and suffering become MUCH more problematic: if God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, he's got a LOT of evil to answer for.
5. The assertion of a non-sequitor fallacy. It is quite easy to judge religions in the absence of a god hypothesis. There are many criteria by which this can be done, and they don't necessarily have to involve a god hypothesis.
6. Another non-sequitor fallacy. Why do we have to have a god to make sense? I can make sense quite readily from time to time, with no god hypothesis at all!
These questions are so silly I would have been embarrassed to put them up on my site. They are so trivially easy to dispose of, I don't know why I am bothering.
John D, I love your answer to #4. That is perfectly spoken. Thank you.