1. How Did You Become an Atheist?
I was raised mildly religious, I actually didn't even realise that you could choose not to believe in God until I was about 11. When I did realise this I started to question much of what I believed, and found that most of my religious beliefs were in many ways incomprehensible or otherwise contradictory. I slowly became more and more certain that there is no such thing as god or gods.
2. What happens when we die?
Our bodies break down and continue the cycle of life. We are only here for a short time, and for some it is much harder than others. I am thankful that I am happy in the short span of time that I have.
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
This is called Pascal's Wager, and it is a stupid question. Which heaven should I believe in? Or which hell? To really illustrate how big a gamble you are making you should take a look at the infographic at the following link i.imgur.com/aVSVQ.png
If you take a look at the infographic you'll see that by choosing atheism I nearly have the same chances of going to heaven or hell as the rest of you.
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
I have in fact already made a fairly long written answer to this question, if you are interested take a look here, aatheist.deviantart.com/art/Th…
Another interesting fact is that religion does NOT appear to make people more moral. In fact a recent study suggests that religious children are often LESS kind and more punitive than their counterparts. A synopsis of the study can be found here. www.theguardian.com/world/2015…
5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
Absolutely not. Whether I believe in God or not does not change the fact that all actions have consequences. Murder someone and that person is dead. However you believe we got our morals the fact remains that in the main we are a very moral species, we do have empathy for not just our fellow man, but also for all the wonderful examples of life around us.
6. If there is no God, how does your life have any meaning?
What do you mean by meaning? I exist, I am happy, what more meaning do I need? How does God give your life more meaning than mine? From what I have personally read of religious texts there is very often no reason for god to have created us. We are not an experiment, we do not collect additional data, we don't change the anything about the universe through our simple existence. How does God give your life meaning?
7. Where did the universe come from?
Good question. Wish I knew the answer. The best explanation I have so far seen for our current theories can be found on YouTube by searching the phrase "A universe from nothing." Which is a great talk by physicist Lawrence Krauss.
To return the question however, why do religious people think they can ask this question, but then ignore the question, "Where did God come from?"
8. What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
This is a difficult question to answer in just a couple of paragraphs. There are many parts to the question that should really be addressed individually. If I can ever be bothered I may actually write up a full and proper answer, So, in short.
There are many answers to this question, and many of them are both correct and seemingly contradictory, but different people have different reasons for expressing things and different reasons for their beliefs. As such there is no single answer to this question. So some of the answers are;
People are delusional.
People are lied to.
People can experience things (vividly) that they believe to be true, but which in fact are not.
People can interpret events in a manner which are consistent with their world view, but which may also be interpreted differently.
People want to believe.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
They have made some mistakes. I think Hitchen's was one of the best, because he seemed to dislike everybody, rather than just religious people, and was perfectly happy to shoot people down in flames, even if they were agreeing with him, but were doing so for the wrong reasons.. Dawkins has spent far to much time arguing with people that he thinks are delusional or stupid. This has made him arrogant, and dismissive, which is a shame because a lot of what he says makes a great deal of sense, but could certainly be phrased better. Harris I think concentrates on certain subjects at the expense of others. He is generally correct in what he says, but will often try to convince emotionally invested people using purely logical arguments. I am not saying that emotionally invested people are necessarily wrong, or that you cannot get them to change their minds, but you often have to try and find an emotional argument to do so.
10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
For primitive cavemen and early tribal societies believing in god or gods can in fact help survival. If you are walking through a jungle and a bush moves, you can ignore it, or you can try and interpret why it is moving. Often the easiest way of doing this is to imagine another intelligence is moving the bush and trying to guess why they would do this. If you ignore it without trying to figure out why it is happening, you could be correct, or alternately you could get eaten by a jaguar or similar. The people who believed in another intelligence would survive better and therefore procreate more, creating a situation where their young are more likely to believe in another intelligence. This is actually a very hotly discussed topic and this theory and a couple of others can be found at the following link. theconversation.com/caveman-in…