Archive for December, 2009


Happy New Year to all!

My family and I will be visitng with friends this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so I will return to answering those pressing atheist questions very soon.

Until then, please have a safe, happy, healthy and brave new year!


Would you kill for atheism?

(This is the 5th question in Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge)

Would you kill for atheism?

I cannot imagine a situation where my lack of belief in a god would require me to kill another living being. I wouldn’t kill for my lack of belief in Bigfoot, leprechauns, magic(k), psychic powers, numerology, or astrology, either.

I would kill as an absolute last result in defense of myself or others, and that’s about it.

So, I guess the simple answer is no.


What is the greatest thing that you have done for others?

(This is the fourth question in Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge)

What is the greatest thing that you have done for others?

I’m not sure how comfortable I am answering this question, as it might seem to be too much like boasting, and I’m not usually comfortable with talking about myself in that way.

The only answer I would be willing to give is this: I often do good things for people to make them feel good (or just better). This makes myself feel better, too, so it’s not a completely selfless act.

I don’t feel that this makes me a better person than anyone else, however – there are a lot of people who do a lot more than

“Greatest” seems like a matter of opinion. As I alluded to in my last post, my favorite thing to do for others is to make them happy – through performance, artistic expression, or just by being there for them when they need it.  Whether that is “great” or not is for them to decide.


What is the meaning and purpose to your life?

(This is the third question in Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge)

What is the meaning and purpose to your life?

Some time ago, I discovered a quote from Robert Ingersoll that sums it up better than my own words ever could:

Here is all the religion I have: to make someone else happier, if I can.

That sums it all up, really. That’s the meaning and purpose to my life. I don’t have to look any further. Though, if I happen to find another quote the sums it up even better, or manage to write something of my own, I’ll glady adopt the new one in favor of ths one. I’m not tied to anything, and no one else should be, either.


How are you spending your Sunday? (12/27/09)

(Atheists have Sundays too, we just tend to sleep in. Before I took a hiatus, I made a point to make a post almost every Sunday about how I plan to spend – or just spent – my day.)

It’s the first Sunday after Christmas, so I’ll probably spend some time cleaning up around the house a bit, and playing some of our new videogames with our youngest daughter (I’m really looking forward to trying out Beatles Rock Band!)

Our oldest is visiting with a friend and her family. They are believers, so she’ll probably attend church with them this morning (they may even be there as I type this), and come home afterwards to tell me what happened there.

Yes, you heard correctly – I allow my daughters’ friends to take them to the church of their choice on Sundays (or Saturdays, if that’s when they recognize the sabbath). I think it’s a good experience for them to see what goes on in a church firsthand, and we always have a good discussion about their experience afterwards (even if their experience wasn’t so good).

Usually, their reaction to it is relief that we don’t make them get early and sit through it every Sunday, but our oldest has been pondering the church experience a lot lately. She is particularly concerned about the way that very young children are indoctrinated and told what to think.

And that’s when I was certain that letting them go to church was a good idea.


Why do you accept evolution?

(This is the second question in Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge)

Why do you accept evolution? Explain how you came to your conclusions.

First, I would like to note that my acceptance of evolution has nothing to do with my lack of belief in gods. If I were to change my position on higher powers and begin believing in a god or gods, I would still accept evolution until there was sufficient evidence to stop doing so. Despite anything I have to say, it is a fact that there are believers who accept evolution, and even nonbelievers who don’t, so there shouldn’t be an assumption that I accept evolution just because I’m an atheist.

But for the record, I do accept evolution.

I’d also like to add, before I get around to actually answering the question, that I appreciate Mr. Keane’s use of the word “accept” rather than “believe.” I often hear the question “So I guess you believe in evolution and the big bang?”, and I always make a point of correcting it. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake or misunderstanding, but many times it’s a subtle attempt to try to make it seem like a faith issue.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, on to the answer:

I accept evolution because it is the best explanation that our understanding  of the natural world has for how we and all other species came to be. I accept it for the same reason that I accept gravity as an explanation of why objects are pulled to the earth, and for the same reason that I accept germ theory as an explanation of why people become sick.

We don’t have all of the answers, and it’s doubtful that we ever will – but we can collect all of our knowledge and build our best understanding with it. We’ve done it in other areas of science and medicine – areas that no one has any debate with (as long as they don’t contradict what is in their holy book).

This last part is very important, which is why I saved it for last – I am fully capable of rejecting evolution if new evidence to the contrary was discovered. My acceptance of evolution is not a religion, it’s an acceptance of reality as we best understand it.

And now, a bit of friendly advice. Please take it as that, and nothing more:

If your response to this is “Well, evolution is just a theory!”, then I strongly suggest that you investigate what a scientific theory really is – a statement like this clearly demonstrates that you don’t know the real definition of the word.

Likewise, if you feel the uncontrollable urge to respond with how the theory of evolution doesn’t explain where life came from, why there was a big bang, or something about how it defies the lasws of thermodynamics, you really need to become better informed on the subject before you embarrass yourself further. I’m not a scientist either, but I make a point of being as informed as I can be on issues that I want to discuss and debate with others.


Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge

Earlier this year, a fellow named Brett Keane posted his Atheist Challenge – a series of questions for atheists to answer with the goal of creating a better understanding between believers and non-believers.

Since that is also the goal of this blog, I thought it would be fun to accept the challenge, and answer each of the questions in individual blog posts.

Here are the questions:

1. Where do you get your morality from? Please explain your morality. (This one was already answered in a previous post, so I’m going to skip it.)
2. Why do you accept evolution? Explain how you came to your conclusions.

3. What is the meaning and purpose to your life?

4. What is the greatest thing that you have done for others?

5. Would you kill for atheism?

6. Why are you an atheist and consider your position valid?

7. If you died and discovered that a god exists, what would you say to he/she/it?

8. What religion is the most dangerous in your eyes, today and in the past?

9. Name three peaceful religions that you have no issue with.

10. What would it take you to believe in a god?

11. Would the world be a better place without religion?

12. How do you feel about government/politics?

13. If you could go back in time and kill Hiter or Stalin as babies so they never kill the millions in the future, would you do it if time travel was possible?

14. Why is stem cell research so important?

15. Is abortion evil?

16. What would the circumstances be for you to approve of torture?

17. Should we try to save animals from going extinct?

18. Do you approve of capital punishment? Explain.

19. Do you believe in aliens, ghosts, spirits, souls, or any kind of supernatural forces?

20. Would you sacrifice yourself for a loved one, with the chance that you may end up in hell because you are an atheist?

21. Explain in detail the process of death.
22. Have you ever been dead?

The first answer is coming up, and I’ll try to answer a new one every day or so.

I am an atheist, a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods.

Many people don't know a lot about atheists, and have questions about them. In this blog, I do my best to answer them, to help build an understanding between atheists and theists.

Do you have a question? You can post it in the comments to any of my blog entries, and I will do my best to answer it in a new entry.