“The very concept of sin comes from the Bible. Christianity offers to solve a problem of its own making! Would you be thankful to a person who cut you with a knife in order to sell you a bandage?”
— Dan Barker, FFRF co-president in “Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist”
“I have never understood why the fallback position to unanswerable questions about the universe is that an all-powerful, all-knowing being intervened. To me, ‘we don’t know yet’ is a fine response.”
—Robyn Blumner, columnist and editor, The St. Petersburg Times, Aug. 8, 2004
“When the stakes are this high – when calling God by the right name can make the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, it is impossible to respect the beliefs of others who don’t believe as you do.”
― Sam Harris, author, philosopher, and neuroscientist
“Why make executions more painful? People were burnt at the stake, drawn and quartered, skinned alive, beheaded and more. None of that has deterred more murders.
We as a society try to execute humanely. Not for the sake of the criminal but for society’s own sake because it is supposed to be about justice and not revenge.” -LaDon Aridge quoted in USA TODAY, May 2, 2014
1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Consequently, the burden of proof is on the theist rather than the atheist.
2. Science has radically altered how we understand the universe, so theism must grapple with the implications of science before offering prescientific beliefs as truth.
3. There is a gap between natural theology and revealed theology. Arguing for a prime mover is not the same thing as arguing for any faith tradition.
4. An atheist is under no obligation to take your theology seriously. It’s your belief, you need to justify it in secular terms. Just as a Hindu or a Scientologist would.
5. The problem of miracles is a serious challenge that must be overcome for any testimony or private revelation of the divine to be taken as verifiable.
6. Faith is not an [sound] epistemology, and the retreat to faith is a concession of the failure of the belief to be defended on rational grounds.
7. The link between theism and morality has been conceptually (Euthyphro dilemma), empirically (evolutionary ethics), and culturally (morality existing without theism) discredited. Thus coupling God with the notion of Good is not only misleading, but trying to own a fundamental aspect of the human condition.
8. Atheism is not materialism. Materialism is a scientific doctrine, while atheism is a stance on the position of gods. Arguing against materialism is not going to make the case for theism.
9. Atheism is a conclusion, not a worldview. Atheism is not an answer to life, the universe, and everything – just the conclusion that theism isn’t.
10. Attack the arguments for what is said, not what isn’t. Though this should apply to everyone – not just theists. Arguing against interpretations not in the text is setting up a caricature, as is arguing against uncharitable interpretations of what is said.
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
—Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize winning physicist, in an address at the Conference on Cosmic Design, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C., April 1999