A religious website posed ten questions for atheists to answer; then, a friend of mine, finding no way to respond on the site itself, copied the questions and answered them on her blog. When I saw my friend’s replies, I got excited and wanted to follow suit; so I, too, copied the questions, "poor writing and all," from the original post, and now I'll attempt to answer them.
Before I start, however, here is a picture of the forbidden fruit:
1. How Did You Become an Atheist?
I became an atheist the same way that God did – by being born human. In other words, I became an atheist the same way that Jesus did – by acknowledging that I am divine.
My opinion is a paraphrase of William Blake’s: “God only acts and is in existing beings and humans.” I think that it is good to honor individuals in proportion to their genius.
2. What happens when we die?
I can’t remember what happens when we die. Maybe everything continues as usual.
In his poem 'Song of Myself', Walt Whitman writes, “Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her that it is just as lucky to die...” That sounds good to me.
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
If I’m wrong to say that heaven & hell are simply figures of speech – if I’m wrong to say that heaven & hell are only aspects of this present existence – in other words, if it turns out that heaven & hell are actual, physical places where one might spend one’s life after one has already spent one’s life, then I hope that I end up in the most pleasurable zone (or I hope that I find a way to escape to a zone that is even more pleasurable), of course.
4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?
I prefer to avoid morality altogether; but, if I absolutely must “get” morality, I suppose that it will come from my own intuition.
5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
I suppose that we can do whatever is possible to do, with or without God; but not everything that we want to do is possible, and that is why certain things cannot be done. (What I am trying to say is that impossibility, not morality or God, is what bars us from acting in any particular way.)
“Are we free to murder and rape?” —A person might find that it is possible to murder and rape; but I think that most societies have outlawed these acts, so I would not say that one is “free” to commit them. Incidentally, I find it disturbing that you ask this question in the way that children ask “Are we free to go play now?”
And good deeds are their own reward. (The concept of rewarding a good deed seems vulgar to me – I shudder to think that someone ever entertained such a thought.)
6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
I love the fact that my life is meaningless. I regret only the fact that an almighty God does not exist; because, if such a God were indeed to come into existence, my life could mean even less.
7. Where did the universe come from?
The universe came from its father’s womb – not exactly the same womb, but similar to the womb that brought forth the notion of God.
8. What about miracles? What about all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
“What about miracles?” —Again, I agree with Walt Whitman: A mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
“What about all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus?” —All humans do indeed have a connection with Jesus: for Jesus was, as all humans are, more or less divine.
“What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?” —‘Saint’ is a title that humans confer upon other humans, so it is not surprising to me that saints are able be seen; and I do not doubt that people have seen them. Regarding ‘angels’, the word simply means ‘messengers’; and, since any human who delivers a message is a messenger, I’m inclined to believe that people have seen these beings as well. Not only have I myself seen genuine messengers in the flesh, but often I personally partake in the act of delivering messages; therefore, perhaps somebody might call me an angel and behold me.
If a person claims to have seen a spiritual being who was sent on an errand by THE ONLY GOD, however, then I do not doubt that that person possesses an imagination.
9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
My view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris is at least partly cloudy – I generally like them all, on account of the fact that they are people whose ideas I have not yet grasped; but if you were to quote any saying that any of them expressed, I would feel free either to agree or to disagree with it.
I wish that more people would think, talk, write books, forgive wrongdoings, and listen discerningly.
10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
I was not aware that “every society has a religion”; but, since that is a fact indeed and proven by God, I suspect that “If there is no God,” then the reason “every society possesses a religion” is that lovable humans tend to invent that type of stuff. (Sometimes it’s fun to be alive.)
Hidden bonus reading
Here I read a passage from my book Rumors of Sarah. If you insist on purchasing a copy, the text can be found in this collection or on its own. And, if you do not see a transcript of the text directly below, please pray to your local fire hydrant.