5 Common False Reasons for why People don't Believe in a God

let's not pretend that every atheist understands this
let's not pretend that every atheist understands this | Source

Relative Information

This one is a response to my hub '7 Common False Reasons for why People Believe in a God'

There are many reasons for why people do not believe in a God. Here are 5 common ones that I have personally heard of, that I think are false.


Are you people, or sheeple ?

sheeple
sheeple | Source

1. Everybody else does

Much like for the reverse argument, the question "how do you know there is no God?" often hears the reply "everybody knows that he doesn't exist." Family & friends don't believe in him, the scientific community doesn't believe in him, even Bill Gates doesn't believe in him! So why don't we just go along and agree? Because we are not sheeple!

Doing what everyone else does might be a quite good way of streamlining the decision processes in our day to day lives. It might be a safe assumption that the scientific community knows better than you on certain topics, and some of us just don't have time to sit and think about difficult existential topics such as this.

But that is not to say that you can firmly assert that you are correct about anything. Argument from authority is a very commonly acknowledged fallacy in argument, and as such is unacceptable reasoning.

It is much like being asked what your favourite football (soccer - for those on the other side of the pond) team is, it might be easier (and safer!) to just say what all of your friends think or the most popular one in your area, but that doesn't mean that yours is the best one.

Additionally, upbringing comes heavily into it and being told that "God isn't real" and "God is a stupid concept" by parents will of course lead children to believe that this is true.

The day that we all decide to listen to exactly what our authorities say without thinking about it ourselves is the day that either 1. Our society is perfect or 2. We have all been broken. Free thought, I believe, is essential to our survival as a species. 7 billion people actively thinking about issues will much faster reveal the correct one than a select few of elected "elites".

Keeping fallacies like Ad Populum (argument from number of believers) and Argumentum ad verecundiam (argument from authority) out of our points will lead to friendlier and more progressive debates

Do not fear, sunday-sleepers.
Do not fear, sunday-sleepers. | Source

2. If I did, I would have to do more

A lot of people simply say that believing in a God means that they have to go and follow lots of rules and live in a particular way. "But I don't want to go to church every sunday, it's boring" or "but I like my foreskin" are phrases that I've personally heard in response to "why don't you believe in a God?"

It seems to me that what some people do not realise is that God and Religion (and their respective moral guidelines) are not inextricably linked! A God is not restricted to religious beliefs. It is just the concept that someone created the Universe. Some people I know refer to The Big Bang Theory as an act of a God from which everything else occurred without his intervention.

Therefore, an air of caution must be thrown at what a God is, and what people actually mean when they say they believe in one. Perhaps there needs to be a distinction between a 'god' and a 'creator' but either meaning leaves no room for thinking you would have to do more if you believed in one's existence!

Believing in something doesn't mean you have to do anything.

There's always the chance that the big man's upset with you
There's always the chance that the big man's upset with you | Source

3. Bad things happen to me

"A god can't exist because bad things happen to me" but that is to say that a god has to be benevolent! There are actually many gods who are believed to be cruel & evil and are actually trying to kill us off!

Many people forget that there are more definitions than the most popular one used in Islam, Christianity and Judaism's: the almighty, all knowing monotheistic god. This does not mean however that this the most correct definition (point 1).

It might be that we haven't discovered the correct god(s) yet and so simply don't know their appropriate descriptions. We must resist the urge to think that whatever God is or isn't out there should be a nice one. People forget that we are searching for the truth, not just a nice idea that we hope is true.

For instance, our universe could have been created by a god that simply wanted to see what organisms he could create, and what they would do after they were created. He may not have been omniscient, just had the power to create particular things and watch and see what happened. There are endless possibilities and we just don't know which is the right one.

We can look to the past to see the future
We can look to the past to see the future

4. Science is modern, Religion is stupid

Science is new but religion is antiquated. That is seemingly a fair point, cars, technology and partners are usually preferred newer than older! We see that with time, things get better. But we are not dealing with just technology, we are dealing with history. The history of our creation.

Yes, new knowledge such as the theory of evolution disproves literal ideas found in religious texts that feature gods. Dinosaur fossils and fossils that show evolution at work provide us an idea of what didn't happen. But they do not point towards what occurred at the very start, far before organisms even came into existence.

There is always the chance that all of these religions were not made out of necessity (to control the masses etc.) but instead were a result of something that lead to the belief that there really was a god in existence. Perhaps our religions are just a failed description of what we thought we saw. So we can say now that science has shown us that we didn't get it right, yes, but the possibility of a god is without a doubt not ruled out.

Richard Dawkins argues that bringing a god into cosmology is unnecessary and brings about more questions. This is certainly true, but it doesn't mean that the possibility isn't there. Apparently, we are close to creating a theory of how the universe came about (and I hear that Stephen Hawking is content with stating that we already have, anyone with knowledge of this please comment) without the need of a god to push the start button, but until then a god is indeed a possibility.

I think something went wrong
I think something went wrong

5. We are but animals!

Now that we know that genetically, we're not that different from a chimp or a banana; we share a lot of alleles (genes) with other species, there is often the speculation that we are as obliged to worship a god as a field mouse or a rhinoceros.

Well, it IS true, we are not obliged to. Though since we seem to be the only animal that is capable of such higher thought, much like we were not obliged to find the truth about how an engine could work and propel ourselves beyond our natural capabilities, we tried to do it anyway...

Humans are naturally curious and so It follows that we would try to prove concretely that a god exists or not.

Perhaps you might be thinking "well why are we worrying about God when there are children starving and animals suffering" - I couldn't agree more. In fact, I agree so much that I wrote a hub on the matter: 5 reasons it doesn't matter whether God exists.

Concluding that our being no different from a purportedly simple animal means that we shouldn't act any differently from them is a disturbing version of the "Tu Quoque" fallacy wherein one argues that it is okay to do or not do something because others are doing exactly that already (though this is not usually used with animals!)

We should use peacocks and spiders as examples of how not to live.

No matter what beliefs you adhere to, believe in the beauty of life :) - n'awh.
No matter what beliefs you adhere to, believe in the beauty of life :) - n'awh. | Source

All in All

All in all, although I believe that there may be correct reasons for not believing in a god, I think that these 5 are the common false ones that people use day to day:

  1. Everybody else does
  2. If I did, I would have to do more
  3. Bad things happen to me
  4. Science is modern, religion is stupid
  5. We are but animals

Just to mention once more, this is in response to my other hub "7 common false reasons for why people believe in a God"

If you have any other reasons or complaints about the ones given, please go away.

Erp! I mean, please go ahead and give me your opinion*!

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

Cranfordjs 5 years ago

I can stomach a Deist argument, but man made religion is rather silly. Man made religion loses creditability when you have to be born into it. Even if we knew for a FACT one of our so so many religions were correct, we would still be left with a problem. Which one would it be, none aren't anymore credible than its adversary. Maybe Zeus is the truth!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

I agree with you there Cranfordjs! That is one of the 6 reasons in my hub 6 reasons religion is dying!


Steve Orion profile image

Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Another good Hub, but I'd say the first one was better thought out, or maybe I don't hear these as often. "We are but animals" is, I would argue, more of a reason not to believe than you claim, in my opinion. We are organisms just like any other, and have no reason to think that, due to our consciousness and greater intelligence, that we have any divine purpose or significance. Overall, thoughtful Hub and rated up!


jenubouka 5 years ago

I thought the hub was great, you forgot jail again:()

I am kidding.....


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

@Steve Orion,

I would agree, but I think it might seem less thought out because the reasons, to me, seem a lot more subtle, do you have any qualms with any of them other than the animal one?

And I agree with you that it does not give us any more divine purpose or significance that we have consciousness or greater intellect, but the point was that it doesn't discredit the hypothesis of a God that we are but animals ^^

Thank you for your kind comment too :)

Have a good evening,

Philanthropy,


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

@Jenubouka!

Don't panic me! I spent about 5 minutes thinking about how it jail could make people believe there is no God until I read the second part of your comment on the actual hub page :'( You got me :L

Thank you for your positive comment too :D

Philanthropy


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I like your balance. The illustrations knocked me out. They were all spot on. We put too much faith in science. They fill our text books with theories taught as fact. The big bang sounds like something you would think of on mushrooms. We don't have any idea if the universe is expanding, contracting or going in circles. We can’t stand to have loose ends, so we settle on something . . . even if it is tripped out. The ads on this page are tripped out.

When I was kid . . . it was the elongation of the elliptical orbit of the earth (around the sun) and a tilting of the axis of the earth that brought on the ice age. Now it is meteor and volcanic activity that blocked the Sun, and it is compared to nuclear winter (which has never happened). No one stops to think that a cloud layer would actually raise the temp, like on Venus, or the tarp on the swimming pool, or the solar water heater. You better answer right or you’ll flunk the test. Once it has been subliminalized, it is fact to your brain, which is now thoroughly washed with the knowledge of Pre-fab-ylon.

I prefer Native American explanations to modern “scientific” theories. They are more beautiful, and a lot more fun. When it comes to the reality of God, our theories and opinions are meaningless. The Bible says that God has a name that only he knows. That is the one I want to call the Great Spirit by.

God isn’t shook by smart people thinking.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

Thank you WD Curry! I do take great enjoyment from finding fitting illustrations. Yes, we often do put too much faith into what is purported as science, as my latest hub suggests (just published), I believe that we must focus on the practical sciences, medicine, education & healthcare rather than even attempt to contemplate where we came from. No matter what our God is, I am sure that he would want us to sort ourselves out before we start considering him.

Sheeple are every growing in number and it is very dangerous. Free thought and creative thinking should be encouraged at all times, not laughed at.

Have a great evening WD,

Philanthropy,


Seek-n-Find profile image

Seek-n-Find 5 years ago from Illinois

I've heard some people say, "Because you can't see God, he isn't real." I don't think that is a good reason at all. We don't see energy or gravity or the wind but we know it is there because we can see the affects of it. Many religions do claim various ways that God appears or is seen. Perhaps this can be number 6? Thanks for making a Hub part 2!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

@Seek-n-Find

That's definitely a terrible reason in my eyes, has it been common in your life?

And you're welcome :) you inspired part 2!


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

You are right about what we should focus on. That is real science, and I can get on board with anyone who will lend a hand to solve all of these problems instead of adding to them. It is well within our reach, why is it not in our grasp? Regardless of our beliefs, God isn't going to do it for us. We have to pick up the slack ourselves. You take it easy bro, or sis, or whatever.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

Philanthrophy, these are, indeed, false reasons for not believing in God. Well done.

As for science, I consider it a great strength -- not a weakness -- that it often gets things wrong. The greatest power of the scientific method is that it CONTINUOUSLY seeks better answers, challenging and discarding old explanations that no longer prove viable. It has proven itself time and time again as the most consistently reliable method for improving our understanding of the physical universe.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

@WD Curry 111,

I agree with you, and proof of my agreement is in the hub I published after this one yesterday called "5 reasons it doesn't matter whether God exists or not" which is a hub about how I think faith should stay, but all of the efforts put into it following religions should be put into fixing humanity ourselves. It is what God would have wanted after all.

Similarly intellects who spend their days pondering the existence of humanity might want to put their brain power into working on practical solutions instead.

Thank you,

Philanthropy,


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

@Paladin

I agree, it has been the most useful thing for us, it encompasses so much after all, all invention is accredited to it. We should not stop challenging the status quo, but we should definitely direct efforts into particular fields, prioritise, medicine, education & technology to name but a few :o


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I long for the days of the freedom of the First Nation. We had all the technology we needed and our health was superb. We had fun and knew how to entertain. We had a tradition of success in North America. We flourished here among our kindred (plants and animals). Migrating birds blocked the sun. A squirrel could jump from tree to tree for a thousand miles.

Now we have trends instead of tradition. We have an artificial existence of concrete steel and glass, apart from the natural world. Your science is the knowledge of Faust, who sold his soul to unlock the secrets of alchemy.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

WD Curry, I take your point. But I would argue that what you are talking about is politics, science has prevented everyone from dying of malaria in North America. Science has also housed the population in North America.

It is capitalistic ideals of production that deforest areas and it is the media (& so politics) that destroy traditions and make trends.

Is the story of Adam & Eve not a prime example of how humans will choose information over blissful ignorance? We differ from other animals in the sense that we want to know how things work, we derive great satisfaction from knowledge. It is as John Stuart Mill will tell you, a greater pleasure than feeling warm or eating a good meal.

Have a nice day,

Philanthropy :)


zzron profile image

zzron 5 years ago from Houston, TX.

I would suggest to someone who doesn't believe in God. To read the Bible to get some sense of what it is talking about. Sense the Bible is the word of God, I would suggest visiting a Bible-based church or even more than one to get a feel for what it's all about before they made a decision not to believe.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

But zzron, we are all atheists, some of us have gone one God further.

Are you saying that before you decided that the Hindu Gods were not real, you read their scriptures and visited their holy places?

Of course I would recommend learning the basics of what all of the others are, but I think committing to reading the bible and visiting the holy places is far too much to expect of people. It would be purposeless anyway, the time could have been much better spent.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

ZZron, aside from Philanthropy's excellent point, I would add that many -- probably most -- atheists are non-believers precisely because we HAVE read the Bible. It's a real eye-opener for those who approach it with an open and objective mind!

(Of course, I'm referring to atheists who live in societies where Christianity is the prevalent theology. I imagine quite a few ex-Muslims are now atheists because they read the Qur'an.)


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hi Philanthropy,

Just a quick thank you for the mention in your hub. I found the debate on that issue broadened my own communication as well. Sorry not to respond sooner.

cheers


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

No problem, in fact you mentioning this has reminded me to link your name to your hubpage so you sound like a celebrity ;D

Happy hubbing :)

Philanthropy,


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

@Philanthropy2012, a delightful romp through false reasoning. Interesting and funny!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Thank you very much LoneStar :)


Ryan-Morgan 4 years ago

@zzron, reading bits of the Bible put me off religion in fact. I've only declared myself as an Atheist recently, and I was open to the idea of a God, but I'm perfectly happy without one.


Gentle Fist profile image

Gentle Fist 4 years ago from Serbia

I agree with you on this very much Philanthropy! I am glad that I came across a person who has this point of view and who acknowledges that truth should be of our main concern and if it includes God - then let it be so! Nice work!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Thank you very much Gentle Fist! I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks that either!


tiffers 24 4 years ago

God loves you even though you don't believe. He answers prayers. So you think when.someone dies. You will nvr see them again? you will in heaven if you love God and believe! :)


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Hi Philanthropy2012 There is just one thing I like a lot that connects the theory of the big bang and the bible. That is when God said " Let there be light, and there was light"

Well, right after the big bang anyway.

Voted up.


helpavisitor profile image

helpavisitor 3 years ago from Germany

This is a thing to really think about. I cry for Africa.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

question- how can something,( like the universe) come from nothing?

Answer- Something cannot come from Nothing. Nothing=Nothing

The earth cannot come from nothing.

The universe, the earth was created. Hope that makes sense, should have written it better.

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