1. In your view, what is responsible for the existence of the universe? Where did the world come from? How did it come into being?- Pretty sure multiple advances in quantum and particle physics are answering this question as we speak. It is only a matter of time. I do think the Big Bang occurred many many billions of years ago.
I also consider the theory of evolution and abiogenesis to be wholeheartedly true, though with so much evidence supporting it, it should not be a question of ‘believing’ it is true. Yet for some people, sadly, it is. One thing that irks me incredibly is how creationists often mix up the layman and scientific contexts of ‘theory’. You remind them that the theory of gravity is a theory, yet you don’t see many of them doubting that theory.
2. What are the basic elements of your belief system?- I believe we are all innately moral, in one form or another, and that we do not need to derive our morals from religion (certainly not from books which advocate misogyny, rape and genocide as perfectly acceptable).- If you are religious, suit yourself, fine. But I am of the mindset that religion should be kept behind your house doors, I don’t know why people want to flaunt their religion out of their home. – I just find religion fairly irrational in many aspects, and I find that what people do in the name of religion utterly baffling and ridiculous. – I am what one might term a humanist. – I see no reason why we should ‘respect’ people for their religious views. It’s not something you have achieved, it’s not something in my eyes to be remarkably proud of. We can discuss views on politics, on various moral dilemmas, and other things, but the minute we start discussing religion, oh nooooo the horror! No, that is not fair, and I see no reason why I should give anyone ‘respect’. Respect has to be earned for me, and merely having a faith in something is not worthy of respect in my eyes. Having said that, I am mature enough to realise in certain situations (such as in the workplace), one must keep their views to themselves, and especially as a doctor, you must treat everyone in the same way – you cannot pick or choose who you treat (not that I ever would, it is horrifically unethical and if a potential doctor were to consider doing that, they should not go into med school at all).
3. Explain to me in which religion you were raised by your parents, if any. How did your parents approach religion in the home (strict, lax, etc.)?- My family are Hindu. It was fairly strict at home, but things have certainly relaxed whilst I have ‘come out’ as an Atheist.
4. What events in your past affected your beliefs about God’s existence (e.g. – I studied biology; comparative religions or anthropology; or I met a boy/girl I liked and was influenced by him/her)?- I am a very scientifically-minded person. I consider Atheism as a sort of null-hypothesis position, which has yet to be disproved in my eyes. – Growing up, I considered it incredibly useless, all these poncey rituals and prayers. From a young age, I felt the whole lot of it was complete crap. I did not understand what gratification they give people, aside from some sort of placebo effect.
5. What are your main objections to belief in God’s existence (e.g – suffering; pluralism; hiddenness)?- Hm, where to start? Lol. For a start, there are so many inconsistencies in the philosophies of various religions, not to mention the amount of hypocrisy. I think prayer is utterly and completely futile, with having an effect that is at best a pseudo-placebo effect. The idea of a ‘personal god’ (one whom you pray to and expect to be answered) is so, so ridiculous. If there were a higher power, I highly doubt he would be sitting there, answering people’s prayers. Pretty sure he has other things to do in this universe he supposedly created. Not to mention the HUGE amount of suffering and inconsistencies in this higher power’s reasoning and logic. If he were to actually exist, he is a sick, deranged, misogynistic, murdering genocidal psychopath. Too many reasons to list here, those are only some, but I think this quote by Epicurus sums it up for me succinctly enough for this question:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?Then he is not omnipotent.Is he able, but not willing?Then he is malevolent.Is he both able and willing?Then whence cometh evil?Is he neither able nor willing?Then why call him God?”
6. What is your purpose in life, and why did you choose that purpose? Is it just yours, or for everyone else too?- My purpose in life is to be of the greatest use I can be for humanity, and to enjoy my life. So I am applying to med school this September. I chose this goal because it’s a job I feel will incorporate many things I want in life into one neat package as it were.
7. What happens to a person at death?- Depends on how you’re disposed of. If you’re cremated, you turn into ashes. If you’re buried, you slowly rot in the ground, deomposing, and being used as food for other organisms and therefore continuing this natural circle of life. http://thankgodforevolution.com/node/1960 I feel this sums it up for me very nicely.
8. How important is your belief system to you in terms of your decision making process? How does it enter into the ways that you establish priorities and goals?-Doesn’t really affect my decision-making process. Rather, my Atheism IS a result of my decision-making processes (in the sense it is a carefully calculated conclusion reached after rigorous thought and analysis).
9. If you could say anything you want about what you perceive to be the Christian community, what would you say? What are the problems with the Christian view of reality? What do you like/appreciate about Christians? What do you not like or appreciate?- many of the moderate Christians I have met do not seem to read a lot of the Bible. A lot of them have admitted to ‘skipping out’ the foul and disgusting parts, and merely focusing on the good parts. Whilst I admit the Bible might have some nice pieces of advice, I don’t see how someone can merely pick and choose as a part of their faith. -As for the fundamentalists I have had the dire misfortune of meeting, I have often left the discussion incredibly inflamed, disgusted, horrified, or a mixture of these feelings. They have an incredibly skewed view of reality, which is absolutely revolting at the best of times. -I do not appreciate how many of them consider themselves to be the ‘chosen ones’ and if you are not a Christian, you are immediately going to hell/a horrible person with no morals. They also seem to think their religion is the one true religion, based on what the Bible says/what they have been taught (which in itself raises several questions, which they never seem keen on answering for some reason). -I think many Christians are skewed in their view of the world, of the people that live in it and the various other faiths that can be found. I also think they are skewed about how horrible the Judeo-Christian god actually IS, the acts he supposedly commits throughout the bible are atrocious to say the least.
10. Is there anything else you think I should know about atheism from your perspective?- I’m an Agnostic Atheist, which means I am 99.999999% sure that there is no higher power of any sort, but there is always a tiny room for gap. – I do not understand the point of faith – for me, there is no logical basis in saying ‘Because I believe it so’. Sure, it might give some people ‘strength’ in hard times, but I know there are many people who do just fine without faith. I guess everyone is different. – It also irritates me when people ask to prove that a higher power does NOT exist – THEY are the ones making a claim, they should be the ones proving it.
11. Please include a little about yourself, for example: age, gender, worldview affiliation, occupation, education level, married or not, etc.- I am 20. I am female. I am a student, I am in my last year of studying Philosophy and Psychology, and I am applying to medical school in September. I consider myself a humanist, which this definition by the British Humanist Society: ‘Throughout recorded history there have been non-religious people who have believed that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They have trusted to the scientific method, evidence and reason to discover truths about the universe and placed human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision making.’ It enables me to be responsible for MY actions, instead of attributing everything to some ridiculous ‘divine plan’ or higher power. My failures are my failures, my achievements are MY achievements. I’m not married, but I am in a new relationship (he is an atheist too).