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What is atheism?Skriv ut Utskrift
Hvordan er et liv uten troen på en gud? Min definisjon av ateisme.
Engelsk - EssayForfatter:

There are many different kinds of atheists and many definitions offered, but the most basic and accurate definition of atheism is "lack of belief in a god or gods." Atheism, therefore, is not anything you believe - it's something you don't believe.

How can you not believe in God?

Oh, it's easy. No matter how hard anyone tries -- and they've been trying very hard for a very long time -- you just can't come up with any valid or consistent reason to believe in God. It's as simple as that: Without reason there should be no belief -- that is if you care about being a rational person. Sure, people offer plenty of reasons, but they just don't cut it. Belief in God, as it is admitted, is an issue of faith. If faith is required to believe in God, since faith is nothing more than belief without reason, then God's existence is something that could never be demonstrated to begin with. You might say, "Well, God exists beyond our minds' ability to comprehend." Ummm, ok... but if that's true then there is no reason to use our minds to believe in God. Or you might say, "Well, sure, you can't prove that God exists, but..." and then go on to say something nice and sentimental. Super. Say what you will about the nobility of believing something exclusively on faith, I find the capacity to do so an embarrassment to the human condition.

Doesn't the Bible prove that God exists?

The only thing the Bible really proves is that adults in the 21st century still believe fairy tales. Considering how many people believe in the Bible, it's amazing how few people have actually studied it or know anything about it. Reading a few verses every now and then and listening to sermons on Sundays and Wednesdays won't make a scholar out of you. The truth about the Bible is that no one really knows who wrote it. We have some good ideas about a few of the books, but we'll never know for sure. We do know, however, that the Bible wasn't written in a vacuum--all kinds of other religious ideas influenced it; you'll never understand the Bible until you understand the world it was written in. Furthermore, it's littered with errors and contradictions, but this is exactly what we'd expect from a collection of sixty-six books from over three dozen authors written in a prescientific world. It's got plenty of really terrible moral teaching in it, but people only like to focus on the good parts which, as it turns out, aren't even that great. It is certainly a great source for cosmogony (a mythical account of how the universe came to be) such as we find in Genesis, and hagiography (a sacred account of a holy person regarded as representing a moral and divine ideal), such as the gospels. The Bible is, however, a bad source for unbiased, accurate history or scientific information on the origin of our universe. At bottom, it's just the fallible work of superstitious men.

If you don't believe in God then where did we come from?

That's quite an interesting question. In case you were hiding in a closet for the entire 19th and 20th centuries, the data that has been collected and verified through a convergence of evidence across all fields of science has provided us with the theories of the Big Bang and evolution as the most credible answers yet to the question of where we came from. Despite what your pastor or parents might have told you, even the most intelligent Christian scholars and scientists have stopped insisting on a literal interpretation of the Bible and have begun trying to explain how God used the Big Bang and evolution to create us. That's right, the evidence is that strong. The problem is that it takes a slight degree of scientific literacy to be familiar with this data and most people, Christian or not, aren't very scientifically literate. At any rate, saying "we came from God" wouldn't really tell us anything anyway. Since we can't define what God is nor do we know the process God allegedly used to create us, then the two most basic questions--what created us and how did it create us--remain unanswered. Saying "God created us" is no answer, it's just a mask for uncertainty.

If you don't believe in God then what is the meaning of life?

There is a difference between ultimate meaning and personal meaning. We may not have been placed on this earth on purpose and we may have no cosmic destiny to fulfill, but this does not mean we do not determine our own purpose or create our own destinies. Meaning must originate within a mind, and since the mindless universe doesn't care that we're here, if you want purpose and meaning in your life then you have to care. To be certain, atheism does not strip meaning and purpose from life. Instead, we must realize that meaning and purpose are in our hands. Is this really so bad? I mean, what are our alternatives? Let's see... If we can't comprehend God, and if our minds must be subordinated to the will of this God we can't comprehend, and if our purpose in life is to be the pleasure of this God we can't comprehend, then the purpose of our life is to become an abject zombie serving a purpose we don't know for reasons we can't question--wow! Given this option--that is, having an unknown purpose for my life dictated to me by some alien, unknowable being--I don't think choosing my own purpose and creating my own meaning is bad at all. Also, I don't know where we got the idea that life has to be eternal in order to be meaningful. The fact that we won't live forever just means that every moment counts!

If you don't believe in God then where does morality come from?

Quite simply, moral sentiments evolved within the animal kingdom because acting morally within the context of a group benefits the individual. Moral sentiments aren't even exclusive to Homo sapiens. The most basic component of morality is perhaps the recognition of the equality of the interests of others. In other words, acting morally requires not only that one be self-aware, but that one also be aware that others are self-aware. It appears that our self-awareness is located in our pre-frontal cortex while our awareness of others' self-awareness is located in the temporal cortex. Since humans have the most developed temporal cortex in the animal kingdom, humans have the greatest potential to recognize the equality of the interests of others and thus the greatest ability to contemplate moral action. In the end, what we need to get out of our heads is that the only reason people behave themselves is because they're afraid of hell. We may not be held accountable to God for our actions after we die, but we're accountable to all of humanity for our actions while we're alive. We should do the right thing because it's the right thing, not because God will slap us on the wrist if we don't.

If you don't believe in God then what do you think happens when you die?

Essentially, your life after your death will be identical to your life before your birth. Do you remember the 10 - 20 billion years that went by before you were born? I don't either. Our consciousness is a product of our brain. We do not have an immaterial, immortal soul that survives the death of our body. Basic contemporary mind science has demonstrated that nothing mental happens without something physical happening. In other words, once our brain activity ceases, our emotions, desires and personality also expire. In short, once our brains die, our minds die. This means there isn't any other life more important than the one we're living. Accepting death as a part of life is just a part of what it means to be human. We need to be concerned with life before death, not after death. If you find this perspective sad or depressing, that's too bad. You are going to die and you need to find some way to deal with that. I certainly don't suggest making up a heaven to go to. The belief in heaven may be pleasurable, but it's also a fantasy. If beliefs in immortality bring us any consolation, they do so at the expense of truth. (And, as it turns out, beliefs in an afterlife and immortality have caused a lot pain here on earth.) Instead, try enjoying this life while you can and not letting it slip by without doing something you can be proud of.

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