Today’s post is part II of Presuppositional Questions by Christians. I found it originally on Godless Cranium and the questions come from Carm. I’ve combined like questions for cogency and brevity. Some of these questions are good ones for atheists to consider, free of the baggage christianity assigns them. One of the more frequent memes I see on social media concerns purpose and morality. The following illustate them in various ways. As previously, I’ll identify the presupposition and find the correct question.
Do we have any purpose as human beings? [and] If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
Why does something or someone have to determine life purpose? This is a popular canard from christians in an attempt to justify adherence to their bronze age goatherd mentality. We don’t look at the myriad of life around us and assign purpose and meaning to it. Life begins, endures, then dies largely at the whim of environment, circumstance, and genetic predisposition. We remember emotionally significant events, but they are a small percentage of a lifetime of experiences that pass unremembered and unremarkably ordinary. They are a duplication of the same cycle and the same events with different people across spans of time. When mankind has gone the way of the dinosaur, will there have been an evident “purpose”, a grand plan? I don’t think so.
Presupposition: We were created specifically to be the obedient slaves of a petty and vengeful god, get with the program.
Correct question: How can I appreciate the life that I have, with all its ups and downs?
Where does morality come from? [and] Are there moral absolutes? [and] If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them? [and] Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?
See next question.
Presupposition: god is the source of morality.
Correct question: What is the definition of morality?
If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
This question belongs with the immediately previous questions, but is so flawed that I’m going to deal with it separately. What is said about this can also be applied to them.
How is the god of the old testament different from the one in the new? Seems a silly postulation considering it is “one book” asserted to be inerrant and the written source of the moral authority of the “one god” christians would like us to believe. I have to imagine that whoever thought this question up must have bumped their head pretty hard that morning. Or this could be proof there are actually stupid questions in spite of the homily, “there are no stupid questions”. This presupposes A: that god is the only source of morality, and that B: where there are no other sources of morality, god must be the standard used to judge the “morality” of the old testament, and C: god is the source of all things, good and evil. I would encourage christians to make a list of all the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” and then compare them to the “historical” accounts in the old testament. [I could do this here, dear christians, but I wouldn’t want to rob you of a valuable learning experience] God fails every one of his own morality laws. It is inexplicable to me how a believer would make this mistake unless they hadn’t read the bible. Surely they’re not lying…
The better question is: How does my morality compare to others who don’t share my beliefs?
What would it take for you to believe in God? [and] What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence? [and] Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?
Presupposition: Why won’t you dang atheists stop insisting on evidence based viewpoints?
Correct question: Would you mind if I took an opportunity to demonstrate the validity of my metaphysical claims using empirical evidence?
Do you believe in free will? (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion). [and] If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
Presupposition: god is the source of free will. The bad news for christians is the biblical doctrine of predestination. An omniscient being knows all events and outcomes. They are predetermined by that knowledge. Free will, if it exists, is very limited in scope. For christians, it is an illusion. I could share the naturalistic view of free will, but again, I wouldn’t want to rob christians of a learning experience. They should first deal with their own scriptural authority.
Correct question: Can individual autonomy be credibly demonstrated?
If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not? [and] If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?
The final bumped your head question of the day. The expansion of the universe and evolution are two separate things. Nothing in evolutionary models predict any pressure to evolve in such a way. Technological advances and/or global extinction events would certainly outpace evolutionary changes in any case. [See why dinosaurs aren’t gods today.] Most atheists don’t assert there is no possibility of a god. Some would admit to an ineffable deistic version being possible, but unprovable as of yet.
Presuppostion: There is a formless, timeless, thing we call god that I can’t prove and reason just isn’t reason enough to believe.
Correct question: Will humanity find a way to survive its destruction of the planet? Or was that its “purpose”????