An answer to CARM's Questions for atheists.

Today +Rob Minnaert shared a set of questions posed by +matt slick of CARM. These are nasty questions that stink of piety and condescension, but I decided to answer them in kind.

I thought these questions special because they follow a new sneaky tactic I have not yet encountered. The major assumption that you smell after reading these questions is... well I'll let you see, and then tell you what I think.

1. How would you define atheism?
Lack of belief in gods.

2. Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don't believe in (lack belief in God)?
It doesn't require me to act in any specific way.

3. Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who "lacks belief" in God to work against God's existence by attempting to show that God doesn't exist?
No, because it is merely pointing out the evidence or lack thereof.

4. How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
How sure are you that your theism is correct?

5. How would you define what truth is?
The truth is "what is definite and accurate". Read a dictionary?

6. Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?
Why do you believe theism is a justifiable position to hold? How can you judge my way of life by suggesting that it is unjustifiable and asking me to defend it.

7. Are you a materialist, or a physicalist, or what?
Maybe a naturalist, not that labels matter much, I am more complex than a label.

8. Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview?  Why or why not?
In the context of majoritarian belief it is a world view. In a world built on reason it is a default, and wouldn't be considered a world view.

9. Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity, but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?
Replying in kind I guess. If you can't stop meddling and "praying" for us, talking down to us, repressing science and social progress, then you should expect a push back.

10. If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?
Evidence points the other way, to the non-existence of god.

11. Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?
The world would be better off without dogma, and religion is a type of dogma, so yes.

12. Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?

13. Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?

14. Must God be known through the scientific method?
No, but it would help his cause.

15. If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?
I will answer anyway. Material evidence is not the problem, it is philosophical and logical inconsistencies that make the idea of a god absurd.

16. Do we have any purpose as human beings?
I sense another loaded question, but I will answer anyway. We have a purpose if we choose to have one, and that is the purpose we choose to have. Predestined purpose makes no sense.

17. If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
By ourselves, because we don't need a baby sitter. The stuff in our skulls work just fine.

18. Where does morality come from?
It is a neurobiological trait of the human brain that likely resides in the frontal lobe. Damage or malfunction of the human brain has been proven to have direct causal effects on moral reasoning in psycopaths.

19. Are there moral absolutes?
This is another loaded question, but I will opt for "no". It is okay for a policemen to shoot a dangerous criminal pointing a gun at him, regardless of the "thou shalt not kill" rule for instance.

20. If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
There probably aren't any so no.

21. Do you believe there is such a thing as evil?  If so, what is it?
Yes. There are evil acts, but not evil people. People are a consequence of their biology and upbringing.

22. If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
Killing everyone except Noah is a start. This should be obvious.

23. What would it take for you to believe in God?
A miracle, and no not a reported miracle, a scientifically verifiable miracle. Rabbit fossils in the Cambrian maybe.

24. What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc. or what?
In the definition of god being omnipotent and omniscient the paradoxical nature of god makes his existence logically inconsistent. I don't actually know what it would take, but all of the above would probably be a good start.

25. Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer?  Why?
Neither. Society should be run by well meaning people secularly. There are many dogmas besides religion that could corrupt a society. The misleading element of atheism today is that it is often adopted by intelligent liberal thinkers. In that context if the leadership today were to switch to the atheist thinkers we have today the world would be a better place, because liberalism is generally stronger amongst atheists, and so is higher levels of education.

26. Do you believe in free will?  (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion).
Yes, although your mind is not a completely free agent. It is bound by it's neurology. What sometimes seems like free will is actually a short circuit. There is no homunculus spirit driving the human body, the brain is final frontier.

27. If you believe in free will do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
As previously stated, we live only under the illusion of free will. It is however materially unimportant that we do not have free will from outside agency, because we still have the ability to assimilate information and change our minds.

28. If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal, and thereby become "deity" and not be restricted by space and time?  If not, why not?
Is it probable? I don't know. If I had to guess I would say we are confined to die when spacetime ends if we manage to survive that long.

29. If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren't you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?
Even if I did say yes then it doesn't make that a god by the definition of that god being omniscient and omnipotent. It would just be a very advanced being.

That smell is self righteousness. The questioner seems to make the assumption that if we cannot answer any unanswerable question, then god must exist. This line of reasoning was present in the days of moon gods, sun gods, and all the other gods of the elements. Here it is just related to the cosmos. It's clear that the questions are aimed at trying to lead an atheist to doubt the validity of atheism itself because nobody knows all the answers. Question 6 is despicable!


i have but one solution to this guy. just turn the questions around to mean a muslim god or hindu god or a cargo cult god (especially the questions that relate to christianity, bible, old testament, whatever), for example, the idiotic question 12 would become, "Do you believe the world would be better off without Islam?" or "Do you believe the world would be better off without Hinduism?"...once you do that, administer the test to the same nutcases of CARM, and i think the defence can rest!