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!