An Atheist Response

This is the first video I’ve ever created. I taught myself enough Adobe Premiere this morning to put it together. All the shots are from an old $20 web cam I got several years ago.The video is also available on YouTube.

I created this video because I saw so many atheists’ posts which seemed to be filled with the bitterness and arrogance that many atheists have fallen into. This video is a response to another YouTube video in which a Christian asks several questions about atheists and their personal experience with atheism. I also go into the positive aspects of atheism. (Though I don’t go into nearly enough detail on each of the subjects I touch upon.)

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The style I used emulates the one used by ZeFrank.

Here’s a transcript:

Hello, I’m Al. I’m an atheist, I actively believe that supernatural gods, including the Abrahamic God, don’t exist.

I’m really excited because this is my first video and I get to do nothing but talk about myself for several minutes. This is a response to Firefly515′s video “To All Atheists On You Tube” where he asks several questions to atheists about their atheism.

The first question is how did you become an atheist?

Well firefly I’ve always been atheist. My parents weren’t religious and didn’t bring my sister or I up in any religious tradition. So I approached all religions without viewing any one of them to be an automatic truth.

After seeing so many civilizations throughout history believing in so many different and mutually exclusive things, I assumed that religious belief was a system used to encode cultural values and provide explanations for natural phenomema that couldn’t be explained scientifically at the time.

In my mind, Enki, Marduk, Zeus, God, Shiva, and Aji-Suki-Taka-Hiko-Ne all held the same mythical status, and I didn’t believe in existence of any of them.
The fact that millions of people believed in these gods before didn’t phase me because millions of other people believed in completely different gods.

In the third grade I learned they had a word for people who didn’t believe in any god: atheist.

Next firefly brings up that both atheism and christianity require faith because you can neither prove nor disprove the existance of God.

But the problem with this argument is that you really can’t prove or disprove the existance of pretty much anything outside of abstract areas like mathematics or predicate logic.

You can’t prove that werewolves don’t exist.
You can’t prove that Invisible Pink unicorns don’t exist.
You can’t prove that carniverous humanoid underground dwellers don’t exist.

Technically this means we have to be agnostic about the existance of invisible pink unicorns and everything else. But we’d feel rather silly if we had to admit that there is a remote chance that Santa Claus really does exists building those wooden toys that no kid ever gets for Christmas.

The issue here is who has the burden of proof.

If I told everyone that I saw a UFO land in my backyard, the burden of proof would be on me to produce evidence that this actually happened because I’m the one making the sensational claim.

I don’t have to prove that invisible pink unicorns don’t exist because I’m not the one making that claim. The burden of proof rests with the unicornians.

This is why I consider myself an atheist even though technically I can’t disprove the existence of the Christian God. If you claim that an omnipotent God sent his son to be crucified so he could rise into Heaven and provide salvation for mankind, you’ll have to produce sufficient evidence if you want me to believe you. Otherwise I’ll simply believe that that isn’t the case.

Besides, most people don’t have a problem with being atheists with regards to the gods of other religions, like Zeus or Aji-Suki-Taka-Hiko-Ne.

Furthurmore there are a lot of things written in the bible and other religious texts that don’t make any sense, or have been scientifically disproven or are even self-contradictory.

(aside) How can unicorns be pink if they’re also invisible?

This seems to suggest that these texts had misinformed or multiple human authors who sometimes overlapped and contradicted each other. Or there have been errors made reproducing these texts over time because they’re copies of copies of copies of translations of translations of translations. Either way it doesn’t seem like the work of a divine creator.

Next firefly states the obvious truth that humans are imperfect, and nobody can really argue with that. Then he states that because God is perfect, we should all follow God since his wisdom and morality are faultless and absolute.

The problem with this argument is that it assumes God exists in order to show that God exists and is the reason you should believe in God.
But the atheists state that religon and the concept of God were created by humans. This doesn’t disprove God’s existence, but it would explain the contradictions and cases of outdated immorality found in religious texts like the Bible.

And since religion is a product of humans, it’s just as likely to be imperfect as people.

Firefly515 also says that science is also flawed. This is true, and science doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. But the scientific method is set up to correct itself as new evidence is discovered and empiracle observations are made.

If a scientific theory can be improved or made more accurate by the availablity of new information, the theory is altered to include this new information. If a scientific theory is disproven by new evidence, then the theory is dropped and a new one that can account for the new evidence is made.

Most religions don’t have these self-correcting processes because they’re suppose to be taken as an inerrant literal truth. Which is why you can find so many examples of outdated morality in the Bible such as women being forbidden from speaking in church or those who work on the sabbath should be stoned to death.

Wow, that’s fucked up.

But because religions don’t want to be seen as fallible, these parts are at best ignored or at worst believed, and seen as justification for barbaric behavior.

Next firefly mentions that the big bang and evolution are just scientific theories and not scientific facts. But this is a misunderstanding of how scientists use the word theory and how the average person uses the word theory.

The average person uses the word theory to be synonmous with opinion or speculation. This type of theory usually relies on anecdotal evidence or just a guess of that person.

But when the word theory is used in scientific publications or research papers, it’s a proposed explanation or model of some natural phenomama which can be experimentally reproduced and is falsifiable. This sort of theory requires evidence to back it up, but allows that new evidence could come about that requires a change to the theory.

For example, the theory of gravity is a theory but isn’t considered “just a theory” in the average person sense.

(Drops pen.)

And even though it is a theory we still treat it as fact because there is so much evidence for it. We can use this theory to design airplanes that won’t fall out of the sky.

Evolution and the big bang also have a lot of scientifically gathered evidence, and you can find it online or at the library.

Firefly wraps up his video by saying that if he’s wrong about his Christian faith, he doesn’t lose anything but if he’s right he gets to chill out with Jesus in Heaven for all eternity.
But if the atheist is right then they don’t gain anything and if their wrong they have to go to Hell, and Hell isn’t fun because the bathroom lines are always long and you’ll also be on fire.

The french philosopher blaise pascal stated the same thing 400 years ago and it’s known as Pascal’s wager. He concluded that you might as well beleive in God because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

But Pascal’s Wager is flawed thinking because it doesn’t factor in the costs of religious belief in your life. Like what if you chose the wrong god to believe in, then you’d go to another religion’s hell.
Or maybe be reincarnated as a dung beetle.

But religious belief in life does have something to lose. Maybe it only means you spent your sundays listening to warm and well-meaning sermons. But it could also mean that you’ve been a jerk to dudes who have boyfriends because of a line in Leviticus that you interpretted as God’s holy word. And in the worst case scenario you’ll commit acts of violence against other people because they don’t share the same religious beliefs that you do, when the gods of both your religions didn’t exist in the first place.

Wow, that was a lot of talking about atheism. In fact, a lot of people criticize atheists for always critizing religion without bringing any positive beliefs to the table. So I’d like to talk about the good things that atheism can provide.

Firefly says people need a strong foundation for life, and even though that’s vague as hell, I agree.
People get their moral behaviors from a lot of sources:
Religion, parents, friends, teachers, philosophy, the law, influential role models.
It’s important to be ethical and treat others the way the way you’d like to be treated, because society can’t function if we all stole and murdered each other.
Many people believe that because atheists don’t fear eternal damnation, that they don’t have a reason to act ethically. But I don’t like this theory.

It implies the only reason religious people act ethical is because they expect to be rewarded and want to escape punishment.

I don’t believe that. Even if the bible didn’t tell them to act that way, I think most Christians would be moral anyway because they’re just good people.

But I think atheism is important because it demands that we hold a high standard before we believe in something. This helps protect us from people who’d like to trick us into believing something even though they can’t prove it’s valid.

There’s a whole host of people who’d like us to think their herbal remedies can cure disease or make our penises longer because they make a lot of money off that belief.
Or there are also people out there who honestly believe in really whacky things.

(speaking off camera with a mug) Well, maybe the holocaust really didn’t happen. (sips from cup) That’s really good kool-aid.

Atheism also teaches us not to accept beliefs that we have evidence against.
You might believe that finding a used condem in your boyfriends apartment isn’t a sign that he’s sleeping with another girl because that belief is comforting.
This sort of evidence might not be a smoking gun, but it does tell you that you should look into the issue more.
But if you don’t want to investigate furthur because you’re afraid of discovering an uncomfortable truth, you might end up hurting yourself even more in the long run.

And these uncomfortable truths might not be so bad after all.

I don’t believe in God, so I also don’t believe in an afterlife. That means that when I die, I’ll just cease to exist.

That really sucks.

But it also shows me how precious our short lives are. And that we should probably spend our lives helping other people who might not be as fortunate as us.
Blowing an entire weekend getting hammered with your buddies is wasting the only time you’ve got.

But blowing your entire weekend putting together a video to get rid of common misunderstandings of atheists and agnostics isn’t a waste of time, and hope you’ve enjoyed the time you’ve spent watching this.

So go out into the world questioning the assumptions that you’ve always taken for granted, and don’t be afraid to find out any ugly, beautiful truths.

Thanks for watching.

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