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Atheist's Quandary

Updated on December 18, 2016

Introduction

This hub is my humble appeal to some atheists (especially atheist scientists) to keep an open mind and examine the evidence. I am not trying to convert anyone. In fact, it is my believe that faith can only come from within. True believers must come to the conclusion on their own. Science and nature are part of our world but not the only part. There are supernatural happenings that is outside the realm of science and nature. It has occurred in the distant past and it exists today. The quandary of some atheists whether they know it or not is something they must come to terms with.

-Jan. 2015

Background

I realize a discussion about the existence of a "Creator" is a very touchy subject for some people. I do think we need some honest discussion. To get the ball rolling, I would like to set a few ground rules.

  1. Keep an open mind, there are many sides to this topic.
  2. Don't make any assumptions as to motives.
  3. Agree that we don't have all the answers.
  4. Objective is not to convert but to illuminate.

Some Points to Consider

  1. The Theory of Evolution has gaps that are unexplained.
  2. Miracles has been witnessed and documented throughout our history.
  3. Human consciousness is a mystery.
  4. Near death experiences have provided some insight into the possibilities of afterlife.
  5. The Earth's environment is hospitable to human life. (only one in our solar system)

Theory of Evolution

Atheist's main argument against the existence of a Supreme being is the theory of evolution. This is contrary to the idea that God is the creator of all life on earth as described in the Bible. They put all their faith in science and discount any other theories as myth. If this was truly a scientific exercise, I would have no problem with it. Just as when it was postulated that the earth is round instead of flat, and then demonstrated by scientific methods and proven when Magellan circumnavigated the earth. In this case, the creation vs. evolution debate, there is no proof of one or the other. The theory of evolution has gaps which cannot be explained. Also, the dilemma that life exploded in the Cambrian period. Evolution theory requires a slow small progression of changes.

My personal thinking on this topic is coming from a different perspective. As an engineer, I'm always looking for a logical mechanism for how something works. The two biggest problem I have with evolution is the high statistical odds for changes to happen by chance and the concept of irreducible complexity. Many of the organs that have "evolved" require multiple changes in the structure to work. The problem is more complicated than just having small incremental changes to go from A to B. On the other hand, if you are open to the idea that an "intelligent" source is behind the creation narrative, then at least we can explain the dilemma. In fact, one such group called ancient alien theorist, believe that another more advanced alien race came to earth in the distant past and created man by changing the DNA of creatures they discovered living on earth. I am not saying that I prescribe to their theory though I would have an easier task accepting this theory over the evolution theory. It just fits the data better but it would still not answer the "big question" where did the aliens come from?

Ancient Alien?

Miracles

How do atheist explain the Fatima event? This is a modern day miracle that occurred in 1917. It is well documented. Ten's of thousand of people witness the event first hand. Numerous newspaper articles were written about it as it happened. The events that occurred cannot be explained by any scientific or natural laws. The first hand accounts are very detailed and descriptive. The events have been studied and investigated and numerous books have been written. The best one is "Our Lady of Fatima" by William Walsh.

Some people who question the existence of God has told me that if God exists, why doesn't He just make an appearance and announce his presence. Yet, here is a case where a supernatural event happened and yet some people will dismiss it as some mass illusion. My answer is, He has done so on numerous occasions and yet there are always people who will ignore it or chose to not believe.

A more recent miracle happened in NYC in Jan. of 2009. It was called "miracle on the Hudson". A commercial airline with 155 on board survived an emergency landing on the Hudson river in the middle of winter. You can argue that this was something that airline pilots and crew are well trained to deal with such events. However, for all the things to happen on that day to produce the miraculous results of zero fatalities, it would require an extremely lucky break or divine intervention.

Miracle on the Hudson

Near Death Experience

Near Death Experience is a phenomenon that has gained attention recently. Numerous books have been published by people who claims to have experienced death and crossed over to the other side. You can be a skeptic and say they are just out to make some money and claim their 15 minutes of fame. However, how do you explain the first hand experience of Dr. Eben Alexander III? A neural surgeon who has dismissed Near Death Experience as explainable by the brain shutting down. After contracting bacterial meningitis in 2008, the deadly infection sent him into a deep coma. After recovery, he became a convert and wrote a book describing his experience in 'Proof of Heaven".

Conclusion

I don't have any special knowledge but as an engineer and a scientist, I do know when the topic is incomplete. There are some scientists who claim that the science is settled even though there are holes and gaps. I don't understand their position. Part of discovery is to be open to new ideas. If new evidence show up, they should be considered. That is how science make progress. History has taught us, the more we study nature and our selves, the more questions come up. As we unlock the mysteries of the universe, we seems to open more doors. That is a wonderful thing. The quandary for atheist is this - if science can explain all that we see, why are some famous scientists still believe in God?


Comments

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    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      FYI -I've created a new hub to learn more about atheism. Here is the link - https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/What-Woul...

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      I now have Hubs. Do you now care what I think?

      JMcFarland said: "Since you have no hubs and have only just become active here, there is no basis for me to care about what you think of me or what you choose to think about me."

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      Oz,

      Yes. I will make a note-to-self not to respond to an anti-theists remarks.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Bizwz

      Join the club. We are a select group! Its impossible anyway to talk to people with shifting/shifty word definitions

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      Sorry Jack,

      I just don't respond well to people that make false accusations and try to slander a person to discredit them. I never changed what I said. I did go back and add some things when I thought of it later, but as you know that is within 5 minutes, so there is not much that I can conspire in that short amount of time, plus what is the edit button for anyway? I am not sure what J is making a big deal out of, but this seems to be par for the course in dealing with her.

      I am also not sure how I can have an "uncanny resemblance" to another Hubber. This is a laughable excuse. As for her saying she didn't accuse me of that:

      "with remarkably identical ip numbers to a banned hubber are both against the HP TOS. Go figure."

      Then she tried to cover it up by saying:

      " I simply made a comment about the HP terms of service, not an accusation at all- you're just taking it that way, and it's curious to try and guess why."

      This shows the kind of person she is. Again, sorry for my part. I hope she can stick to her promise of not responding to me.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Jack, I apologize for my share in that scene, and it will not be repeated on my part. I have no intention of responding further to Biz or his comments.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      msg to TheBizWiz and JMcFarland -

      Can we call a truce and just agree that there was a miss understanding...?

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      reply JMcFarland

      I am fairly new to Hubpages, having been on Squidoo for many years. Thanks for the warning. I hope to encourage civil discussion on these very important topics. There is no room for personal attacks anywhere. I hope all participants will abide by that wish.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      And I think personal attacks in the form of thinly veiled insults and sock puppets with remarkably identical ip numbers to a banned hubber are both against the HP TOS. Go figure.

      Jack, I am more than happy to discuss these issues with you, but keep in mind that hubs can and do get unpublished by moderators when comments on them include personal ad hominem (attacks against the person, rather than their comment) attacks in them.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      JMcFarland,

      First, your first sentence makes no sense.

      Second, I have no clue what list you are talking about.

      Third, I think you have had one too many tonight.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      BizWhiz

      Thanks for your comments re JmcF

      Perhaps such agnostics are hedging their bets, or are too embarrassed to admit they have lingering doubts about their wobbly atheism.

      We can only rely on the honesty of Hubbers regarding their alleged credentials.

      It is hard to have an intelligent conversation with Hubbers who don't use words that are neither logical nor grammatically correct. That is often the reason these discussions don't get anywhere. It also gives certain people a slippery way out of losing arguments (if they are permitted to give a word vague meanings or several different meanings!) Basically theirs is a dishonest way of talking, which I have alleged is a growing problem with New Atheism. Hypocrisy for many of them is the "new black" , therefore dummy ethics are OK.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I seem to have met my quota of rude and dishonest behavior, since you like to edit your comments after posting them. If you need to think that you somehow "won" this exchange, have at it. Thankfully, reality does not base itself on your opinions of complete strangers. Welcome to my ignore list.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      You like to use loaded words.

      You said "How is that forcing my view on anyone?"

      I never said you are "forcing" your views on anyone. I said you are trying to "convince". Big difference, but you seem to know how to use propaganda.

      You said "Furthermore, I do not have a crusade to outlaw or remove religion.."

      I never said outlaw or remove. That implies that I said you are trying to make it illegal or forced out, which I didn't. I said end, which implies convince people not to practice. Big difference.

      "How, then, do you think you are qualified to make pronouncements about me, my motivation, my past or my intent?"

      I read your hubpage and it is littered with anti-Christian hubs. You have the right to that opinion and I have never said you must take it down, but I also have the right to my opinion also.

      "Since you have no hubs and have only just become active here, there is no basis for me to care about what you think "

      So because I don't have a Hub yet, my point is not valid? I see you have chosen the route to ignore my post about the laws. You seem to have met your better.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I don't think having conversations with people of varying beliefs qualifies as preaching. Unless everyone who discusses any given topic is thereby preaching it. You are a complete stranger to me. How, then, do you think you are qualified to make pronouncements about me, my motivation, my past or my intent? I never tell anyone that they should become an atheist. How is that forcing my view on anyone? In case you failed to notice, this is a website that is open to comments from anyone about anything, and people have greatly different points of view on any number of topics. It's not possible to force someone to become an atheist. Sharing my thoughts and experience is no more forcing atheism on someone then the writing of this hub is forcing me to become a Christian. If you cannot abstain from false assumptions and ridiculous pronouncements about someone you know nothing about, I'm really not interested in conversing with you. Since you have no hubs and have only just become active here, there is no basis for me to care about what you think of me or what you choose to think about me. Adopt a slight air of respect, and you might find that your interactions with those of different beliefs are much improved. I commented on this hub to open a dialog with its author which I have done. That did not include an unproductive and meaningless exchange with you, so to that end, I'm done.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      BTW, I might or might not be wrong about you having an oppressive religious upbringing, but I can say that you are a person of extremes. You went from studying to preach to people about your views when you were a believer to now preaching about your non-belief. Either way you are obsessed with religion and still a preacher at heart trying to convince others to think like you.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      My dear, we are not a theocracy, but we are a democracy which means the majority usually wins out unless it infringes on minority rights, but how and when can we draw those lines? For instance, I can legally slaughter a sheep and eat it, but not a dog. Is a dog's life more important than a sheep? No, but we do have many laws like this that are not based on ethics, but based on morals. Ethics is the study of right and wrong. Morals are what a society or culture considers right or wrong (i.e. the majority). In some cultures it is moral to eat the deceased. In ours it is not. Is someone in the US that wants to eat their deceased parent having their rights trampled on? No. The majority of US citizens think it is immoral to eat another human being dead or alive.

      The majority of the US is religious, mainly Christian. What you are asking is for them forget what morals they were raised with to bow down to your wants. I have no clue which those are because you didn't specify.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      No, I did not have an oppressive religious upbringing. You're just making false assumptions here. Furthermore, I do not have a crusade to outlaw or remove religion.

      What I want is for religious ideologies of some to not be made legal over all others who do not share them. For example, I would oppose the outlawing of pork for everyone simply because a Muslim or jew is not allowed to eat pork. Please stop making these huge, false assumptions about me. You do not know me.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      reply to JMcFarland -

      I’ve been thinking about your comments.

      I have read a bit about the difference between agnostic and atheism.

      Not all people agree with your classification.

      If by your definition -

      People of faith - Believer in God.

      Atheist – absent of belief in God (for lack of evidence)

      Agnostic – is not knowing

      Perhaps to use an analogy in math – the number system.

      Zero is the absent of a number - a place holder.

      Some people don't think zero is a number -

      http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1633/is-z...

      In the Decimal integer system:

      0

      1,2,3,…

      10 where ten is a number (requiring a 1 and a zero)

      ...

      However, infinity is not a number but a concept.

      Therefore, let

      0 = atheists

      1…. = Belivers

      Infinity = Agnostics (1/0)

      In this scenario, Perhaps, you are just waiting for the “1” to appear.

      Something to think about.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      BTW jackclee lm,

      This is a very insightful Hub! I once saw an atheist that believed in Astrology. On one hand, she claimed religious people were sheep and that she would never fall for such a trick as religion since there was no proof that God existed. On the other hand, she was quick to tell a fortune or say how your day would turn out because of when your birthday was.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      So you had an oppressive religious upbringing? No surprise then that you are on a crusade to end religion.

      As for no religion affecting your life , you are suggesting the impossible, because that means Christians should not be involved in government.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      BIZ- does it not occur to you that just because I am an atheist now doesn't mean I always have been? I got my degree in theology and religious studies at a Christian college because I was at the time a Christian, looking to become a missionary as my parents were. That study began my journey to atheism.

      As for why many atheists spend so much time discussing something we do not believe in, the answer is simple. As soon as no religion affects the lives of those who do not adhere to it (civil rights, equality, education and law) I will have no further need to discuss it.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      Oztinato,

      I also noticed the same convenient use of the word "belief". I thought I was the only one! lol

      I have seen several atheists on Hubpages with advanced degrees in religion (our friend here and t swan for example). I find it amusing when someone devotes so much time to religion, yet does not believe in it. I have an MBA because I believe in business. I have never met a biologist who does not believe in Biology or a history professor that does not believe in History. Go figure.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @jackclee

      Very true words! It's as if most atheists suffer from a kind of spiritual blind sight.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Oz, I've told you before, I'm not interested in your comments and they will not be addressed. Your blatant attempts at obtuse obfuscation are not worth my time. I am agnostic because I don't know whether or not a god exists. I'm an atheist because I do not have a belief in a god. Two questions, two positions. Easy, it seems, for everyone but you.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      JmcF

      once again I find your words laden with contradiction: " Atheism is not a belief" vs "Atheism/theism addresses belief." vs "I'm not dishonest in my own belief". There is a clear hypocrisy in your statements regarding the very basic meaning of "belief". You want it both ways but it doesn't fit.

      Just say you are an agnostic and be done with it. Why the back flips and convoluted contradiction?

      Please do not follow up with a huge apologetic diatribe, just keep it succinct.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Joe, thanks for checking in. I always believe that faith has to come from within. There is no amount of evidence that will suffice for those who choose not to accept.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      Interestingly enough, almost all atheists admit that there is evidence for God. Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris for instance don't deny it. They just claim that, in their opinion, the evidence is not convincing enough.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Some conversations are very productive, I agree. But there are certain types of people who are simply impossible to converse reasonably with. I'm glad that you don't seen to be one of those people. If I can clarify anything else, let me know. The difference between agnostic and atheist is simple, they are positions in two different questions: one relating to knowledge, the other to belief.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      I'm glad you explained yourself. This is new knowledge for me. I never knew you can be both agnostic and atheist. I will have to study this further. I will need to learn the difference between agnostic and atheist. Some of our miss communications may be due to our miss understanding of words and concepts. I will keep an open mind. I'm not sure some other atheists will admit to the same things you say. By the same token, not all people of faith believe in the same way. It is unfair to lump all people in one category or another. That is why discussions like this will illuminate the issues. I read some of your hubs and I don't think it is no-win to have open discussions.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      No, I'm not dishonest in my own belief. Atheism is not a belief, it's a lack of one. I do not believe in any God. Period. My lack of belief is not the assertion of the opposite. I do not assert that no gods exist. I simply don't believe in any due to a lack of compelling evidence for any God proposed. That is not dishonest. Furthermore, I'm not sure you understand the difference been anisotropic and atheist. They are not mutually exclusive because they address two different wisdoms. Agnostic/gnosticism addresses knowledge. Atheism/theism addresses belief. I am an agnostic atheist because I lack a belief in a good and do not have any knowledge sufficient to prove one.

      http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Agnos...

      "Obviously, based on these definitions, the terms atheist and agnostic are not mutually exclusive. One can be an agnostic atheist, meaning someone who doesn't claim to know whether or not a god exists (agnostic) but doesn't find belief to be justified by evidence or argument (atheist)."

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      reply to JMcFarland

      I get where you are coming from. I don't think you get my point. I am not arguing in a court of law. I am giving my perspective. Please re-read my hub. You are dishonest to your own belief. It is one thing to be an agnostic but if you declare yourself to be atheist, it implies that you have made a choice and you based that choice on some evidence. Hence my title - atheist's quandary. You need to come to terms with some of the things I sighted. I'm glad we are discussing this and that is the whole point of my hub. We can all learn from each other.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @JM

      Until it can be demonstrated that God did not create life, there is no need to disprove the claim or accept it. This is a basic principle of logic and debate.

      Ex: Evidence Santa Claus cannot exist in reality - http://bit.ly/185Tf1D

      Now go and try to do the same with our Creator.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Jacklee

      I agree with a lot of your points. I have set out many such points in my Hub on atheism : particularly the "blame God paradox" whereby atheists blame a god for terrible events yet they say god doesn't exist!

      There is enormous hypocrisy in modern atheism and when its pointed out there is a lack of logic to explain it.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      How am I being dishonest, exactly? Logic and philosophy dictate that the person making the positive claim has the burden of proof. Until it can be demonstrated that a god created life, there is no need to disprove the claim or accept it. This is a basic principle of logic and debate. In a courtroom, for example, the prosecutor bears the responsibility for proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. All the defense has to do is provide doubt, and sometimes they don't even have to do that. If the prosecutor has not met the burden of proof, the case can be thrown out. If you're going to make assertions and suggestions like this, my recommendation would be to study logic, debate and logical fallacies if you want to be taken seriously by those on the other side of the fence. Saying I'm being dishonest for adhering to logical principles isn't going to help.

      http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Burde...

      Quote from the reference I provided:

      Burden of proof is the position, in argumentation theory, that the individual making a claim that something is true is required to support the claim with evidence or sound argument sufficient to warrant acceptance of the claim by the other party. If the claimant cannot provide sufficient evidence, the other party is allowed to disregard the claim without having to disprove it.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      I think you are being dishonest. What ever you choose to believe is fine with me. I just think we need to understand the science and back it up. Just because you don't believe in a creator does not mean you get a pass for how human life came to be. I'm not trying to proof anything here. I am offering my opinion and I provide my insight. I just don't think evolution explains what we see.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      That's the thing, though. As an atheist, I don't have to propose other ways that life could have happened. If you're asserting that a god did it, let alone a specific god, the burden of proof lies solely on you. You have to prove it, and you cannot do so by utilizing one logical fallacy after another.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      I welcome any comments to further the discussion. I am open to any argument on how else life can happen. I only offered 3 possibilities. I have a lot more to add but perhaps it is better addressed in my other hubs. This one chapter is only part of a book I'm writing. Please check out my other hubs and give me feedback. Thanks for checking in.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      As an atheist, I find a few problems with what you've put forward as an atheist "quandary".

      First, evolution doesn't seem to be what you think it is. It does not address the origin of life whatsoever, it addresses the evolution of life on this planet once it already existed. As such, your paragraph about creation and design is based on a straw man fallacy of what evolution actually addresses, which makes your argument fallacious. You also use loaded words. Of course "designed" implies a designer, this is simply another version of the apologetic watchmaker argument. Saying it must be a god because you can't imagine how else it would exist is simply an argument from ignorance - another logical fallacy. Furthermore, as an engineer, you should be well aware of the fact that irreducible complexity was debunked. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_1.html

      http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Watch...

      Shall I continue?