Many who attack atheists know little about them, or about atheism in general. Educating yourself before labeling a group of people is important.
Atheists have no moral guidance
Well I am not going to go into too much detail here. You can watch the qualiasoup video on YouTube called “Good without Gods” if you want some excellent explanations for how morality is self-evident without God. If being good didn’t have its earthly rewards and benefit our survival we probably wouldn’t do it. Or perhaps a better way of saying it is that the increased chance of survival and increased happiness we experience from our morality is what defines what good morals are. Dawkins refers to it as reciprocal altruism which is the more scientific way to look at it. If we look at our actions in terms of the harm they cause in this existence, what does commandments from another plane of existence matter? If only the threat of punishment from a plane of existence that only exists due to faith is the reason for you being good then to me that sort of cheapens humanity and is sort of worrying. Does the smile on people’s faces not mean something to you? Does the love you get in return for putting love out into the world not give you pleasure? Does the quality of your life not increase when you treat other kindly and with respect?
If you’re an atheist you must have no purpose in life
Many people feel that with a hierarchal structure to the universe with a creator on top means that all this is for some reason. That there is a purpose to the universe and thus it makes your daily life filled with purpose. Once again, as a species that has evolved to benefit from having compassion for my fellow species, purpose can simply be derived by not only the need to survive, but to survive well. The best chance for me to survive is to work to increase the quality of life for all my friends and family and hopefully beyond if I can. The world is fascinating and amazing and I am extremely fortunate to even exist for a short time in this universe to appreciate some of it. What difference does it make if the universe itself is indifferent? What matters if there is no intentionality to it? What does it matter that no supernatural being cares about whether I live or I die? I experience love now. I experience existence now. I experience. I have wandered no longer for purposes than anyone else in the world. It takes time to find that…for anybody.
Atheists are empty spiritually
This is simply untrue. The dictionary describes spirituality as being mostly being tied to religion, but this I believe is simply because religion has taken a hold of the definition of spiritual. A secondary definition describes spiritual as something that is incorporeal which means having no material body or form. Do I have feelings or moments which are unexplainable, or in which I am overwhelmed with emotion for which no expression captures that moment? The answer of course is yes, and when people of faith describe “spiritual experiences” the essence of those experiences makes me feel like I have those similar moments. I may not feel the presence of an angel or God but I feel like there is some presence so strong I could almost touch it. I can even feel this knowing it is a conjuring of my own mind, because it is very human to have these moments and experiences. People have them of all different faiths, so why can’t an atheist have them too? Because I can explain the chemistry of love does not make me feel it any less. Because I know why I cry, doesn’t prevent me from crying. Being overwhelmed with emotion is natural, and very often a spiritual event. For the record I don’t believe there is actually a spirit, but rather it is a good word which encompasses these moments I have tried to describe.
Atheism is a belief just like any religion
This one bothers me more than any other. As the definition I put part I clearly demonstrates atheism is a lack of belief in a God. Now this of course doesn’t mean that atheists don’t have beliefs. We all do. What it does mean though is that I live my life as if there was no god. The idea of believing in the absence of something that only exists because people believe in it seems strange to me. Let’s use an analogy:
Me: I believe there are mermaids
You: I believe there are no mermaids. Do you have proof of your belief?
Me: Well they are in books, and other people believe in mermaids too.
You: But I’ve never seen a mermaid.
Me. Neither have I, but they are definitely real. I know it.
Truth has to be evident from observation. It shouldn’t require belief. If we took the books about mermaids out of the situation you would just have two people who had never seen mermaids and thus have no reason to believe in their existence or believe in their non-existence. There are no observations of mermaids and therefore one can conclude that there is no such thing as mermaids.
I for instance can believe that gases expand when heated. I need never have experienced it myself, but I could believe that, but still we don’t know if it’s true. Now if you come along and say you don’t believe that, well now we have something that we can actually observe and measure. We would find that my belief is correct and yours was incorrect. Furthermore someone with no beliefs about the subject of the behavior of gasses when heated could walk into the room during our test see what happens to a gas when heated and conclude based on his/her observation that gasses do in fact expand.
An atheist can have a belief about something, but a good atheist will seek out knowledge to test whether that belief holds because ultimately an atheist tries to be inductive in their reasoning and not deductive. Meaning we try to make conclusions based on the evidence. We may think we know what the outcome will be beforehand but evidence may prove us wrong, and any atheist should be willing to change their stance based on new evidence. I do not believe in evolution. The evidence of evolution is staggering thus I cannot help but conclude that evolution is a real process. Nobody had to tell me it is real. I do not believe in anthropogenic climate change. The evidence for it is also overwhelming. Now if new evidence was found that truly contradicted the theory of evolution I would know that a new theory had to be adopted because if a theory cannot explain all the evidence it isn’t a very good theory. A good atheist should make their arguments with evidence and with respect. Next let’s talk about atheists that worry me.