The Short-Answer Atheist Survey

An interesting set of questions from the Friendly Atheist.  The key here is to have short, concise, honest, and meaningful answers to the questions.  Here goes:

  • Why do you not believe in God?  Because there is no evidence indicating God’s existence and I have never had an emotional experience that inspires me to believe in God in the absence of such evidence.
  • Where do your morals come from?  Christians call it “the Golden Rule,” but the idea is found in nearly every society and every religion in human history.
  • What is the meaning of life?  It’s about being happy and helping other people be happy, too.  “Happiness” is not the same thing as “pleasure.”
  • Is atheism a religion?  No, but the law sometimes has to treat it like one.
  • If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?  I hope.  I worry.  I seek comfort with my friends and family.  I try to do what’s right and what’s best.
  • Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?  No.  You need to figure out that the supernatural world doesn’t exist for yourself; I can’t do it for you.
  • Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?  Yes, but their acts weren’t motivated by their atheism.  Christians and Muslims have committed atrocities, too, both because of and in spite of their faiths.
  • How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?   They were wrong about the Earth being flat and evil spirits causing diseases.
  • Why does the universe exist?  That question doesn’t make any sense.  It’s not a question of “why,” it just does.
  • How did life originate?  Science doesn’t have a definitive answer to that question… yet.
  • Is all religion harmful?  Sometimes a “little white lie” is not particularly harmful, but that doesn’t make it true.
  • What’s so bad about religious moderates?  Nothing.  They’re generally nice people who happen to disagree with atheists like me about religion.
  • Is there anything redeeming about religion?  Sure.  It helps some people arrive at morality, inspires people to be part of a community or to create great works of art, and it gives some people pleasure.
  • What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?  I’ll have to rely on my lifetime history of doing what I hope is mostly good behavior.
  • Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?  No. You wouldn’t take people who claimed to be Jedi Knights or Thor-worshippers seriously, would you?
  • Are atheists smarter than theists?  No.
  • How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?  The same way I would “deal with” Charlemange or King Tut.
  • Would the world be better off without any religion?  Yes, there would be a lot less violence.  9/11 would not have happened without religion.
  • What happens when we die?  You’re gone.  And you’re not getting a do-over or a sequel.


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.