Atheism: Seven Most Common Misconceptions
Q1. If there’s no God, who created the universe?
The question is not “who”, but “what”. By using the word “who”, you have already assumed that whatever created the universe was/is a living being. There is no scientific evidence for the existence of a divine creator. There has never been any proof, nor is it likely that we shall attain any in the future.
As for the question of how the universe came into being, physicists are currently working on some promising leads. There are no definitive answers yet, but that does not mean that we can fill in the gap in our knowledge with unproven ideas, like the God hypothesis. These gaps must be filled with evidence-backed information, or left empty till such information is acquired.
Q2. How could such a complex universe have come into being without an intelligent designer? Isn’t this complexity evidence for God?
Also known as the fine-tuning argument. If you look at the world around you with its magnificent complexity and imagine that all of it came into being instantaneously, then “yes”, such complexity would require a planner. However, the intricate universe that we see today is the product of nearly 14 billion years of physical, chemical and biological processes. These processes have been guided by the four physical forces without which the universe, as we know it, would’ve been entirely chaotic. These forces are the only “gods” that we know of, and the only “gods” that we need. Their existence makes God obsolete, if not prove his non-existence.
Also, if one argues that the universe is too complex to have come into being on its own, then by the same logic, God is even more complex than the universe hence even more improbable for him to exist on his own accord!
Q3. Can you disprove God?
Also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam, which is a known logical fallacy. Can you disprove it if I claim that there is an invisible monkey hovering about your head, which cannot be detected by any human means? No? So the logical step is to quietly accept this absurd hypothesis to be true? The onus of proof lies on the one presenting the hypothesis in response to a certain conundrum. If you claim that the universe was created by God, then it is you who must procure the evidence for it. One cannot disprove what has not been proven yet! As Christopher Hitchens once said, “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
Q4. Your life has no meaning!
Atheists too have goals in life, except that we make our own. We can give our life any purpose we want: raise a nice, big family; career; travel the world; humanitarian service…it’s for us to decide!
Q5. Atheism is immoral because there’s nothing to prevent you from doing bad stuff!
If that is true, how do we explain the existence of atheist philanthropists who have done more for mankind than most theists would do in several lifetimes? Why is Sweden, a country with 85% of its people atheists, a prosperous welfare state and the fourth most honest country in the world? Why is the proportion of atheists in jails much lower than their proportion in the country? If Atheists have no reason to be moral, why isn’t each one of them out robbing banks and killing people? Morality comes from within us, from a place called, “conscience”. It is not the wholly owned subsidiary of religion.
Q6. Evolution is your religion!
This idea is both laughable and lamentable at the same time. Evolution through natural selection is a well established scientific theory, accepted almost unanimously by scientists all around the globe. Many religious people, including Muslims and Christians, believe in evolution as well.
Q7. The notorious mass murderer X was an Atheist!
This argument is most commonly used for Hitler (who was, in fact, Catholic) and Stalin. Stalin was an Atheist, but he did not commit those crimes against humanity “in the name of atheism”. His reasons related solely to his own greed for money and political power. There is a difference between doing something because of Atheism, and doing something while being an Atheist.