Archive for May, 2012

An imaginary conversation

“Why are you an atheist?”

“Why not?”

“C’mon, I’m serious!”

“So am I. That’s not a flippant response, it’s an entirely serious one.

See, it’s like this: Take a look at this room around us, and the walls of the room. What’s holding them together? I don’t know, since I haven’t looked closely. But while it’s hypothetically possible that what’s holding the walls together is a bunch of tiny invisible elves holding hands, I don’t think that’s what it is.

And I’m guessing that you wouldn’t demand that I explain myself, that I provide some reasoning or logic for not believing that tiny invisible elves are holding the walls together. On the contrary, if someone did come along and say they thought the walls were being held together by tiny invisible elves, you’d ask them what made them think such a thing.

Likewise, let’s say there are two people — could be you and me, could be two other people — and both of these people agree that the physical world exists, and that people live their lives in this physical world.

But one of those people also believes in some other stuff — they believe that besides the physical, natural realm, there’s also a supernatural realm that we can’t see, and that this realm contains a supernatural being whom we also can’t see, and that this supernatural being gives us a supernatural life that continues after our natural one.

In my view, it’s not the person who merely believes in the physical world we can see, and the natural life we lead, who’s got some ‘splaining to do. If we’re going to ask anyone why they believe what they believe, I’d say we should be asking the person who’s bringing all the invisible supernatural friends to the party.

So like I was saying, why not? Why not be an atheist? What’s your argument?”

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