Dave’s Mailbag: Why do you deny the existence of God?
I received the following from “Anon Imity”:
Hi Dave,I came across your name on the CS website where you scored 100% on a religious quiz. I only scored 94%,I missed two questions. Anyway, it made me want to know a couple of things about what you believe and why.
-I am curious to know why you deny the existence of God. What makes you so sure that God does not exist, andabove all, what if you’re wrong. Please tell why you are convinced, and what evidence you may have that makesyou willing to bet your eternal destination that you are right. It has to be pretty compelling, eternity is a long timefor any of us to be wrong.
-I know that you’re probably very busy, but I really would appreciate it, if you would take the time to reply to me.I just want the best arguments for your denial of the existence of God. I truly am looking forward to hearing fromyou. I hope you take the time to write.
Thank you for your email. I appreciate you taking the quiz and hope you enjoyed it.
I wouldn’t say that I deny the existence of gods. I’m simply not convinced that any gods actually exist, the same way that most people simply aren’t convinced that unicorns or Santa exist. If I were to be presented with good evidence that a god or gods exist, I would readily change my stance. Despite years of searching for such evidence, I haven’t found anything that I consider even remotely convincing.
I would never make the claim that God does not exist – I have no way of knowing that! I think that is a common misunderstanding of what the word “atheist” means. Atheists do not claim God does not exist; rather, it’s a question of what we believe.
As far as wagering eternity, I would say to you that you too are wagering eternity. If you are a Christian, you are wagering that Islam is not true. If you are a Christian and Islam is true, you are going to the Islamic hell. If you are a Muslim, you are wagering that Christianity is not true. If you are a Muslim and Christianity is true, you are going to the Christian hell. And so on and so on for many other religions.
To quote Stephen F. Roberts, “When you understand why you dismiss all other gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” Or another good one from Richard Dawkins: “We are all atheists about most of the gods humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
As far as the best arguments for the non-existence of gods, I think the single best line of reasoning is simply that god is unnecessary to explain the world. Science does an excellent job of that. In the past, before we had the scientific method, it may have made sense to attribute certain things we didn’t understand to gods – lightning was caused by Zeus throwing down lightning bolts, or Thor striking his hammer, for example – but now we know where lightning really comes from and we no longer think a god did it. It’s the same for every mystery throughout history so far and we have no reason to think this won’t continue.
I hope this has been helpful to you. I encourage you to continue asking questions, and feel free to keep the conversation going if there’s more you’d like to know.
If you’re looking for reading material, I recommend the website http://www.godisimaginary.com, and the book “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. The aforementioned website has 50 simple explanations of different reasons we can feel confident that there are no gods. “The God Delusion” is quickly becoming a modern classic and is a favorite among American Atheists’ membership.
Thanks for writing!
- Dave Muscato
Public Relations Director
Until next time,
Dave Muscato is the Public Relations Director for American Atheists based in Cranford, New Jersey. An atheism activist, blogger, and public speaker, he is also a board member of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday; twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard, and monthly or more on SkepticFreethought.com. His website is http://www.DaveMuscato.com
and don’t forget… other SASHA members! We are here for you, too!
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