a few FAQ about Atheism…

So after writing that last post on atheism I thought I would share a list of questions and statements that I have heard and that have been asked to me directly over the years… these are just a few and I plan on adding more in further posts…

(Just to say: Many of these questions came from fellow students in my university theology classes where many were studying to be active participants in the church, and where I was often the only atheist. I also saw many questions like these on parenting forums also and by e-mail from my blog)

Ok… first, the basics:

  • Theism: belief in at least one deity
  • Monotheism: belief in just one deity
  • Polytheism: belief in more than one deity
  • Agnosticism (in regards to theism ) the existence of a deity is unknown
  • Atheist: absence of the belief of a deity

If you don’t believe in a god then what do you believe in?

Nothing. Really. I believe that religion is man made. I believe that the notions of gods are man made. I believe that Religion was created to serve a purpose and can still serve a purpose for many. But I don’t believe any of it. Not even a little.

So if you are atheist you believe/worship in yourself?

No. Most Atheists, like myself, don’t worship anything, atheism is about the lack of belief. I see no reason or want to worship anything and it has nothing to do with being self-centred.

However, the notion of an worshiping self is the description of LaVeyan Satanism. Which seems to strangely be often confused with Atheists.

So Atheists are Satanists?

NO! Atheist are Atheists. There is no god.

Satanists are theistic. They believe in a god named Satan (and it could be the Christian Satan or another Satan altogether). There are also Satanists who claim to be atheists, they believe that Satan is a symbol of human traits and therefore worship that. However, they don’t call themselves Atheists, they call themselves Satanists and they follow the teachings of their “religion”and they self-proclaim that they worship themselves.

What do you think happens after we die?

Depends, if we are cremated we are burned and if we are buried we rot. It might be blunt, but it is true.
I don’t believe in a soul, or an afterlife. I do however like to think that we can live on in people’s memories and it is up to us to make our lives memorable. If we have children our bloodline also “lives” on, but that is it. Knowing that doesn’t make me sad at all, but it makes me respect life and want to make a positive imprint in the memories of others and do good because it is the only life I have.

What is the purpose of life then?

Well, we are animals, albeit we are intelligent, have opposable thumbs, and are technologically advanced. But, just like any other living thing, we are born to mate, to procreate and then we die. If we don’t procreate then when we die our bloodline dies. That is a choice to make. And because we have one life to live, we should make the most of it and be happy.

Where do Atheists get their Morals from?

We get them from the same place that everyone does. From society and culture and from our social contracts. Morality is not an absolute and is not based in religion. The idea of right and wrong varies within communities and societies. If it was absolute, a Christian in Canada would have the same morals as a Christian in Africa or India. But it isn’t so.
When you think of it like that then you can see that this social contract is what inspired religious texts. What isn’t the best is that is that is that writings do not leave place for change and for evolution of thought so religious participants are forced to pick and choose the rules that still can apply…

So let me rephrase the question to reflect what I think people are really asking: “If you don’t believe in god then what keeps you from doing bad things if there are no consequences?

My answer to that is that like in parenting, punishment is not the way to get people to do things. I don’t do bad things because I believe in mutual respect and that my rights extend to the point that the rights of others start. It is the same thing I teach my children. Also, in asking that question does that mean that person asking would love to go out and kill and rape and steal if they were not scared of going to hell or being hit by lightning? If that is the case, then I am glad that we don’t believe in punishment as parents because I want my children to do what is right because it is right,  not because they are scared of the consequences.

So, those are a few of the most asked questions that I have gotten over the years, if you have any other questions just ask!

non-belief a threat?

Why is Atheism such a threat? Really?

I was “stumbing” and I stumbled upon an article about Ottawa saying that the transportation board is deadlocked in vote or rejected (depending on the article) an Atheist ad that has run in many cities that was saying “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

…Theresa Milligan argued against the ads, saying that it goes beyond freedom of speech.

“When statements are said that God probably does not exist, this is an implied statement of hatred towards all those who do believe that God exists.”…

Of course, this is not the first time I have heard this argument, but it still mystifies me.

How can saying that you don’t believe in something mean that you hate people who do believe in it?

Especially since they are not even taking a completely atheist stance and are saying that God “probably” doesn’t exist instead of saying that there simply are no gods.

What gets me is the double standard. By saying “When statements are said that God probably does not exist, this is an implied statement of hatred towards all those who do believe that God exists.” this Millagan woman actually blatantly implying that she hates people who believe in a different god than her. She may not believe that but by using her logic, if she doesn’t believe in Krishna or Zoroaster or a different god then the one that she believes in  then she must hate Hindus and Parsis.

The thing is… Atheists don’t deny or hate whatever god. They simply don’t believe that gods exist. Atheists believe that religions and their gods are man-made and it is as simple as that. If religious people have a right to say “God/gods exists” then Atheist have as much a right to say “gods do not exist”. It is a statement of belief and truth on both sides, and neither are meant to be a threat.

When a humanist group says “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”, I really think that they are saying that  life should be lived because it is worth living. It is as simple as that.

As expressed many times on my blog in the past, kids don’t learn right and wrong through rewards and punishment. With rewards and Punishment, children learn how to manipulate and what not do do to not get punished or how to get what they want by doing something but don’t learn the real lesson meant to be taught.

Taking away religion from ones life is taking away the rewards and punishment aspect  in our own lives and instead of doing things based on outward motivation, we are free to live life in the richest way possible and do things because they are simply the right thing to do.

In your gods you may trust…

I started reading and posting on a Yahoo group for Canadian UC and it is pretty much bombarded with “god” talk…. Within a few days that I joined the group someone commented on it, just saying that she had trouble getting though all of the “god talk” and finding the message in the text… I agreed with her saying that I was having trouble doing the same and explained that in trying to find information and gather the strength to fully have confidence in my body I would love to read about how others do the same… However, in going through the archive the majority of the messages about preparation and birth are all full of “I had trust in God”, “I knew He would do what is right”, “I prayed to God to tell me what to do”, “I knew that God was with me”… blah blah blah….

So… what happens when you read this and don’t believe that God even exists.. Well you don’t get anything from it and another learning experience is pretty much thrown out the window. So I explained just that… that I have trouble getting what I personally need when all the trust is in God and not in themselves and that I would love to read how people have gained confidence in themselves. I explained that I am searching for this because I am in the “unlearning stage”… Unlearning the idea that pregnancy and birth is a medical problem that needs medical attention, and relearning that Birth and Pregnancy are in most cases are problem free but have problems due to medical intervention.

The response was the usual.. everyone jumped to the conclusion that because we don’t like the God talk and can’t take anything from it, that we automatically are offended by it and we want it all to stop and we want them to hide their faith or stop believing. Then the “tolerance” issue of “I am not offended when I read Pagan, Wiccan and Atheist birth stories, why are you offended by mine?”… “Read this passage in the bible and you will understand why”… “Are we Christians now going to be discriminated against?”…


I hate it when people jump to the conclusion that when someone talks about their religion and then someone says that they just can’t take anything from it, or can’t relate then they automatically think that we are offended by the “god talk” or that we want them to stop not only talking about it… But it is almost like they think that we want them to stop believing… Why does it automatically become an offensive remark to not believe in the same thing? Are people taught in their churches etc that whoever isn’t with them is against them? That non-believers are out to get them and bring them to the “dark-side”? That Atheists are just out to make them stop believing or that we have pacts with the devil or something?

The devil thing makes me laugh (I have heard this argument before) because an Atheist having a pact with the devil is an oxymoron… the devil is a religious idea and you would actually have to believe in a god to believe in the devil…

I get so annoyed by people assuming that I am offended by them, or think that I am trying to offend them just because I state an opposite opinion. The same goes for aspects of parenting…

“It’s not all about you!!”

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