Atheism on Trial

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07/27/2015

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Hi DrSarah,

Thanks for your comment! When you wrote, "I found none of the evidence to be convincing", I'm curious as to whether or not you mean evidence for the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible or the existence of some kind of god or gods in general. And when you say you found none of the 'evidence' convincing, I'm wondering what evidence you considered or to flip that around, what did you consider as evidence?

I'm also not getting how your argument logically follows, but let me make sure I understand it correctly first, and if I don't have it right, please correct me:

Premise 1. I feel comfortable not believing in fairies (or in ghosts, or vampires, or witches, or take-your-pick) because they appear mythical to me even though I cannot disprove their existence.

Premise 2. I feel comfortable not believing in God (or a god or gods) because they appear mythical to me even though I cannot disprove their existence.

Conclusion: If I can feel comfortable not believing in something because it seems mythical to me, then God does not exist even though I cannot disprove his existence.

If I understand your argument correctly, what you've given is an argument based on your feelings of comfort. In other words you base your unbelief in something on whether or not it seems mythical to you. Here's another way I think I could state your argument:

1. Even though I cannot disprove their existence, I feel comfortable not believing fairies (or in ghosts, or vampires, or witches, or take-your-pick) because they appear mythical to me.

2. God seems mythical to me and even though I cannot disprove his existence, I feel comfortable not believing in him.

Conclusion: Since God seems mythical to me and I feel comfortable not believing in him, he does not, therefor exist.

What I'm trying to say (and probably not very well, so please forgive me) is that your argument is subjective based on your feelings, comfort, and whether or not it seems mythical to you. I think I've at least gotten that part right. Again, please correct me if I'm wrong.

I hope I've given you something to think about and that you'll give me some feedback.

Greg

Well, if it helps, here's why I became an atheist...

I was an agnostic for twelve years, on precisely this basis (I didn't see how the existence of a god could be disproved, but I found none of the evidence to be convincing, so I couldn't honestly believe in one either - so I figured that had to leave me as an agnostic).

Then, I was talking to my future husband, an atheist, on the subject, and I asked him curiously how he could count himself as an atheist when he couldn't prove that God didn't exist.

And he replied 'Well, do you believe in fairies?'

And I had a lightbulb moment when I realised, for the first time, that my reaction to any other creature for which all the evidence looked similarly mythical was - quite simply - not to believe in them. None of this 'Well, I can't see any evidence for the existence of fairies, but I can't prove they don't exist so I'll remain agnostic on the subject'. I felt comfortable not believing in fairies. No-one else complained that I couldn't say I didn't believe in fairies (or in ghosts, or vampires, or witches, or take-your-pick) because I couldn't prove they didn't exist. In being an agnostic, I was treating the idea of God differently than I treated the idea of anything else that appeared to be mythical.

So that is why I now count myself as an atheist rather than an agnostic. Not because I think that definitive proof of the absence of any kind of god exists, or could exist; but because 'I don't believe in X' is generally in all other circumstances considered a valid response to 'X appears on all available evidence to be a myth', and I could see no good reason to make an exception for deities.

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Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
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