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5 Common False Reasons for why People don't Believe in a God
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 God (or gods). Here are 5 common ones that I have personally heard of, that I think are false.
Are you people, or sheeple ?
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 is so because it does not actually provide any reasoning concerning a given question - it merely points to someone else's belief.
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. Indeed I am sure everyone will have heard a child explain something is so 'because my mummy/daddy said it is'.
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, naturally, has been and continues to be essential to our survival as a species. 7 billion people actively thinking about issues will much faster reveal the best solution than a select few 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Everybody else does
- If I did, I would have to do more
- Bad things happen to me
- Science is modern, religion is stupid
- 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*!