These are collected answers I wrote for sites on Questions and Answers, like Quora. I tried to remove duplicates but some may be left still.
Question: If Jesus’ existence is claimed to be a fact and so are his supposed miracles, why do atheists still choose not to believe in him?
Answer: You don’t need to believe in a thing you know. Beliefs come into play for those things you don’t know, most derived from revelations of a person or a book. I would say it is healthy to keep an open but skeptics mind.
Question: My religion teacher said that there are no atheists because in order to reject God, you must first have a concept of God, and if you have a concept of God, you are not an atheist. In what way is this true, if at all? Why?
Answer: I would agree in some extent. Atheism is a negative position. To that point I would say I am not EVEN an atheist, the same way you are not a-Thor or a-Shiva. Today, to claim you are an atheist is a position against religious ideias that have corrupted the minds for too long.
The ideal position is yet to come. People should not even care about the theistic world view. Absolutely the same way you would not bother to answer me if I claim I have captured a fairy which I keep in a box. You can’t see but you can feel it and be extremely happy if you just believe in it.
Question: If Jesus is the son of God, did God contribute his Y chromosome?
Answer: Wouldn’t it be better to find out if Jesus ever existed, before discussing his Y chromosome?
Question: My eight year old is studying Zen and has an idea related to the “one hand clapping” koan. He says that there really is no “no thing” — even at the edge of space there is the space itself. What do you think?
Answer: In my opinion the Zen strategy to shut up your mind may be beneficial to those who have worked hard their minds before. I’ve met people in zen who just know nothing and think nothing about everything.
Try making him interested in science, reading about biology, evolution, astronomy, and so on.
Question: How do atheists respond to the fine tuning argument?
Answer: It is a question with no clear cut answer, so far. But, different from what Craig Lane and others think, not knowing something is not a good reason to state the existence of a god. (actually it is a very poor argument).
There are some ideas been worked in physics, possible answers. One is the concept of multiverses (instead of one universe). If many universe, with different combination of fundamental constants exists, than we just happen to live in an appropriate universe.
There might also be arguments in the line of evolutionary biology (like, things evolved in the most beneficial way to develop diversity.
Question: If you could delete one and only one thing entirely from this world, what would that be and why?
Answer: Religion, the fear of death and the unknown.
Question: In a universe without God or immortality, how is mankind ultimately different from a swarm of mosquitoes or a barnyard of pigs?
Answer: Well, we share the DNA code, same origin, same life. Bu we have a more complex hardware for thinking and feeling. Most important of all, we humans have the ability to self inquiry, introspection, looking inside and asking why.
This same ability make us fear death, the unknown and because of this we invented a god (or gods).
Question: What is the easiest way to make an atheist believe in god(s)?
Answer: Maybe it is not possible. I would say “show him some evidence”. But, if you have evidence then there is no need for belief.
But there is another answer, more positive: wait until he/she gets really old and scared of death and his/her mental faculties begin to slow down. He/she might believe…
Question: If God exists, why can’t there be multiple gods? Polytheism was once a lot more popular, so if God might exist, why not more than one? And how would they differ from one big Daddy God?
Answer: I think human mind (and brain) is set to find the simplest explanation for all things. There are many colors but the theory shows they are variations of same vibrations of electromagnetic fields. There are many substances but they all are made of the same atoms. Think of the struggle to find an unified field theory for the 4 fields known.
God, and gods are a necessity of human brain (so far) and it would not break the pattern.
Question: In general, why do atheists tend to be hostile to people who believe in God(s), yet demand respect for their beliefs?
Answer: I agree that sometimes non religious people act rude towards religious ones. But I think this is a response because “people of faith” treats badly those who don’t share their beliefs (I mean BAD), specially atheists. Since this topic was never covered before (because there would be no proper place in public to argue against god) this fight may get harsh in near future.
Evangelicals, for instance, can’t see how offensive it is to claim they are the “people of god”, meaning that everyone else will go to hell.
Question: Why do some atheists spell “God” with a lower case, as “god” while writing about the Christian God when it is grammatically correct to capitalize it?
Answer: The bible says no one knows the name of god. So let us clarify: “god” is not a name but a noun. You have god or gods, the same as fairy and spirits. Christians capitalize god in respect to this concept. It IS NOT grammatically correct.
Question: How would you justify/answer the fact that everything came into ‘being’ by itself, without any creator? How did the laws of physics become what they are? Where do the principles of thought come from? Where do feelings come from?
Answer: The answers for these questions (in regard to physics) are not known. Maybe 42! But remember, ignorance is not a good excuse for belief.
Question: Aren’t agnostics the majority?
Answer: Hard to know. Many people, when asked or pooled about their faith, will just go with the larger group in his/her area. This is quite obvious in Brazil where, in doubt, you just say: I’m am a catholic.
Question: Why do atheists try to get agnostics to join their team?
Answer: I see your point. I think of myself as a not-even-atheist. Atheism is a denial of the existence of god or gods. One may as well choose not to discuss this thing. I did not invent the concept (absurd, in my opinion) of god – so I should not be called to decide about it.
It happens, in our times, that there is a fight going on and often you must say which side you favor. In this case I would call myself an atheist. Maybe you are best described as theist (I don’t know). But you DON’T have to take sides, if you don’t want to.
Question: Agnostics: Is it possible to know whether there’s a god?
Answer: I do not know about any god or gods. They may exist or not.
I haven’t seen any good hint they (or she/he) exist. So, why would I devote any of my time to such an improbable concept?
Question: Is the Quran the word of God? Are there any other texts that are the word of God? I heard Dr. Zakir Naik say a text has to pass the test of time in order to be treated as the word of God.
Answer: Can the Quran and the Bible and the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita and The Book of Mormon, and …, and …, be all true simultaneously?
Question: As a non-Muslim, did you read the Quran? What did you think?
Answer: Something doesn’t become true just because a lot of people believe it.
Actually, for most of human history, the majority of things people believes turned to be false. Have you read the bible? The Upanishds? Bhagavad Gita? The Tripitaka?
Question: When will Jesus come back?
Answer: It is said in the Bible that Jesus would be back very soon: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. ” Matthew:24:34. Isn’t it clear enough he will not come back? Actually if you realize he may not even have ever existed how to expect a “second” coming?
Question: I love both science and God, yet people expect me to take sides. Why can’t I choose both?
Answer: I had a similar dilemma… I don’t think you have to to take sides although I believe they are irreconcilable. The decision is hard to achieve so take as long as you need. Everyone is free to believe in whatever they want. They just should keep in mind that belief is not knowledge.
Question: What argument for the Abrahamic God’s existence do atheists consider the most persuasive?
Answer: None, with all due respect. The only argument I ever knew, as a child, was the fear we might be insulting god. Once you get rid of the fear, sincerely, none of these arguments make any sense. That is not the same as saying I know god doesn’t exist. All I know is that there is no compelling reason to bring such a concept into the debate.
I have friends, thought, who say they have a connection of some sort with something, be it the personal god of the bible or a type of Spinoza god. Who am I to say they are faking it or are deluded? (Even if I think they are!)
Question: Is the Abrahamic God responsible for all of the misery caused by natural disasters?
Answer: No, god is not responsible for that and not for anything else.
Question: If the universe is infinite with infinite planets with infinite possibilities, shouldn’t there be a planet with an actual theological god existing right now?
Answer: Yes, the universe may be (and looks like) infinite. But if god of the Bible exists there he would show up here as well (or he is not infinite and omnipresent). The very concept of god as depicted in the Bible is absurd.
Question: Would atheists agree that everyone believes in God, but it is just the definition of God that we all do not agree on?
Answer: Not at all. I am sure you would not agree with most definitions of “god” so it is not a good practice to change the meaning of the world to accommodate atheists.
Question: God made man in his image. Looking at the Earth today, could God possibly be behind the world’s outlook?
Answer: Sometimes even the question is wrong, making it impossible te answer it properly. Maybe it would be more reasonable to ask: “Supposing there is a god, did he make humans in his image?”
I would not have an answer for that either because it sounds to me very alike: “Aliens planted ebola virus on Earth. Should we be prepared for an invasion?”
Question: Are some theists pretending to believe in God, but deep down they know that God doesn’t exist?
Answer: What would you do if you spent your whole life as a priest (or pastor) depending on the church for your living, being not qualified for any real job, and suddenly finding out you don’t believe in god?
Question: To believe in God or not to believe in God?
Answer: Believe in whatever you want. Just don’t ever forget that believing is not the same as knowing. Believing in god will not cause it to exist, the same as not believing will not cause it to cease existence, in case it does exists.
I don’t believe in god and think there are no serious and compelling reason to care much about the subject. Also I think that people who believe strongly and run their lives (or try to) accordingly to the belief cause harm to themselves.
Question: How does Stephen Hawking prove that there is no god mathematically?
Answer: No one has a mathematical proof that god doesn’t exist. It is not necessary to prove this and it may be impossible to do so. You cannot prove the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or the tea pot around the sun are not real. The point is, can you or anyone else prove there is a god? If not it is just a belief and a tradition. Even if there is a god there is not enough evidence to place it nowhere close to a scientific hypothesis.
Question: What do Christians think happens to non-human animals after death?
Answer: Both the question and the available answers so far make it clear the very idea of a heaven for humans or animals doesn’t make sense. Humans are animals and there are no reason to believe they are so much better they deserve a special treatment when dead.
The evolutionary steps from an furry animal to present day humans are continuous and you can’t say there was a “first man or woman”. When would the soul come into these beings? So, paraphrasing Jack Daniels: ” let us enjoy ourselves while we are here and let us have a good time while alive”!
Question: What are the best quantum theories that support a life-after-death scenario?
Answer: The answer to this question is VERY simple. Quantum theory (not theories) does NOT support life after death. It’s got nothing to do with the subject of spirit, big foots, UFOs, fairies, ghosts … It doesn’t matter if you found a thousand books saying the opposite. We have, so far, no evidence of any link between the quantum theory and an explanation to consciousness (although it may be found, one day…!)
So, why so many authors insist on this sort of connection? First we, human beings, have an urgent need to find a way out of death. We hate the idea that we will be GONE one day. Second, quantum theory is hard to understand … consciousness is hard to understand too … so … voilá they must be related!
Question: Is there an atheist philosopher who is intellectually capable of arguing against William Lane Craig? Craig has done 20+ years of research in the two fields he debates, has published hundreds of academic books and papers on both subjects.
Answer: I guess it is difficult for a religious person to understand you can spend decades over the Bible or other books with religion contents … and it does not mean much. 20+ PHD level on nothing is nothing.
W. Lane talks in soft voice using elaborate words but with little content. Also he picks some points on physics and cosmology but does not show to really understand the epistemology or the inner guts working of science.
To his credit I would agree he is polite and always try to hold the debate on a high level. But just not a match for Richard Dawkings who does not want to debate him because he understands it would be a huge promotion for Lane and pretty much a waste of time for him.
Question: Why is it bad to be materialistic (in a scientific way)?
Answer: I would suggest that the concept of materialism is empty, just as matter itself is made of empty space and fields.
Question: In the materialistic world even spirituality is being treated as a commodity of information, the way it is publicized and marketed that, it is often felt that it can also be purchased at a price. Do you agree?
Answer: I think the word “spiritualism” has no meaning at all, just as we can assign no meaning to the root word “spirit”.
Maybe we can talk about the spirit as being the inner works of humans, their psique, mind, feelings, aspirations, fears … but then I suggest we should not use the word because of its aggregated meaning as “consciousness independent of the body”, something we can not prove to be true.
Question: Can atheists demonstrate without a reasonable doubt that the suffering in our world is meaningless?
Answer: The concept of “meaning for suffering” is purely a human construct, with no correspondence in nature.
Question: Why did eminent scientists like Newton, Einstein, Gauss have a strong belief in the existence of God?
Answer: Many of these scientists studied math and the universe in order to “reveal the glory of god”. That was the mental state in their times and very few people would even dare to think differently. Newton was a great example. He devoted most of his time to study the bible and alchemy. He thought there was a hidden code behind the Bible words to reveal the truth. It happened that, as science progressed no one could find evidence for god. Laplace was asked by Napoleon why he did not mentioned god in his book. He answered: “I had no need of such hypothesis”. Einstein had a very specific notion of god, as some would put, close to the Espinoza view. Not a personal god, not remotely alike the christian god. It is safe to say he would be an atheist if he lived today.
Question: How do atheists explain that 6.5 billion people have evidence for Allah’s existence?
Answer: It is not enough to say they have evidences for Allah’s existence. They have to show that evidence first. Then I would try to explain.