Aren’t you afraid of death?

Response/ I imagine death to be what it was like before I was born. Didn’t mind it then, won’t mind it again.

Two quotes are especially helpful here:

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” – Mark Twain.


“I’m not scared of dying, because I’m an atheist. I won’t even know I’m dead. You know why? Because I’ll be fuckin’ dead.” – Jim Jeffries.

Also, death is the ultimate fear of the unknown. No one who has ever died has come back to life. No one knows what it’s like. Heaven becomes a guessing game used by religious people who fear that unknown. It’s ridiculously comforting to know that a wonderful, exquisite world of endless joy and bliss awaits you when you die.

Which brings up an interesting point: Why does any Christian fear death? Why, when a Christian person is dying, do they not get excited and refuse all medical treatment?

My answers to these questions include (1) perhaps Christians aren’t as confident in their god as they think they are, (2) they’ve all lived horrifically sinful lives and aren’t convinced they’ll get into heaven, (3) they don’t believe in the heaven that is taught to them for some reason, and (4) so on.

It’s kind of a fascinating thought, though. I understand not wanting to leave your love ones behind, but when there is nothing but unbridled, unapologetic, awesomeness ahead of you, why the fear?


But isn’t it safer to believe in god? So you go to heaven?

Response/ Pascal’s Wager.

Pascal’s Wager is the philosophical notion that it’s safer to believe that god exists and live your life accordingly in order to get into heaven than it is to believe he doesn’t exist and risk spending eternity in hell. There is one major flaw with this: the idea that God is all-knowing, which is a belief Christianity subscribes to. If God is all knowing, then he would be aware of the thought process that went into believing in him and I’m not sure an all-knowing, all-powerful god would be content with “well, it’s either this or hell, so. . . .”

Aren’t you scared, knowing you’re going to end up in hell?

Or, alternatively, “Wouldn’t it be safer to just believe in god so you won’t end up in hell?”

Response #1/ I don’t believe in hell, so I’m not afraid of it.

As an atheist, it is hard if not completely impossible to believe in things that require such beliefs without proof. If I don’t believe the Bible is the word of god, don’t believe that Jesus magically cured people of otherwise cure-less ailments, and don’t believe in heaven, why would I believe in hell? Logic says I wouldn’t. And because I don’t, I’m not afraid.

My god exists because the Bible says so.

Response #1/ Circular logic is a logical fallacy and can’t be used to explain god’s existence.

Circular Logic

More simply stated, god exists because the bible says so. The bible exists because god spoke.

This sort of logic is circular and is a fallacy because it doesn’t end up proving anything. It’s the equivalent of saying “I exist because I say so. And as proof, I can say so because I exist.” While this seems to make more sense, what I am doing it using a thing to explain itself into existence. Even simpler, it’s saying that “cows eat grass because they eat grass.” Yes, cows eat grass. But that doesn’t explain why or how they eat grass. Only that they do it. It’s the same as simply stating the Bible exists, which is true, but that’s not the argument here. The argument is what the Bible represents – god’s existence, (explaining why the cow eats the grass). The Bible claims something (god’s existence) and a religious person is saying that the claim is true because the Bible claims it. Which makes absolutely no sense.

Generally, when showing a religious person this argument, they generally say something along the lines of “the Bible is god’s word,” which is why it’s proof of god’s existence. Here is the argument to use against that.

A bad religious experience caused your atheism.

Response #1/ No bad experience. I realized that there is no proof that god exists, in any form, and thus cannot devote my life to one.
Response #2/ [This bad incident] was so overpoweringly awful, that I realized no existing god would allow it.

This statement can be both accurate and exceedingly offensive.

Accurate if there was, in fact, a specific instance that made you realize that god did not exist. Offensive if your atheism came about through years of struggle, with both your family and friends, insane amounts of soul-searching and reading and thinking things through in a logical manner. Because it undermines everything you went through.

The struggle from religion to atheism is generally an uphill battle, met with nothing but resistance and threats of eternal punishment. For that reason, many deconverters make the journey alone. And to suggest that it was a bad sip of wine or a nasty look from your priest takes away all that you’ve accomplished.

There’s a saying in the atheist community that a Christian becomes an atheist once he or she has read the Bible and, further, that the Bible is the atheist’s best evidence to show that religion is wrong and god doesn’t exist.

There’s fact in these statements. Not only is the Bible full of contradictions, but the Christian god is not an all-loving, all-forgiving god, either. As higher-functioning animals, humans are capable of logically developing a scientific process that eliminates what seems trivial or untrue. Logically, the idea that a god exists at all is irrational because there is not a shred of evidence (aside from the Bible) that says otherwise.

Also, the religious person who says this can also be suggesting that a lack of personal convictions. I think it would be safe to assume that it would take more than a single, small incident for someone to completely give up their faith in god. Ask the religious person what it would take for them to give up god. I’ve generally found the answer is either “nothing” or “strong proof to show the Bible was fabricated.” Then explain how you feel you’ve found evidence that the Bible is fabricated and why the stories don’t make sense. That you logic’ed it out.

Lastly, if you’re getting into a debate about religion v. non-religion, how you came about being an atheist is completely irrelevant. You could have decided to become atheist from choosing the option from a hat. That’s not the issue. The issue is whether you can form coherent arguments against religion.

You have no morals, then.

Response #1/ Yes, I do. My morals come from empathy.
Response #2/ Yes, I do. My morals come from law and society.
Response #3/ Yes, I do. My morals come from [some other definable place].

Or, alternatively, “you can’t have morality without religion.”

The Bible lists a series of things the religious are or are not allowed to do. It’s viewed as the end-all to any morality argument: if the Bible says it’s allowed, it’s allowed. If the Bible says it isn’t allowed, it isn’t and you’ll go to hell for disregarding it. Further, some religious people think that atheism is the equivalent to immorality because without a specific text explaining what it right and wrong, humans are not capable of distinguishing the two. In essence, we regress into a pack of murdering rapists.

However, religion’s assertion of morality is not the only way to live a moral life.

I’m not going to define morality in philosophical terms; this is not the place for an intense, philosophical debate. Rather, I’m going to explain where else morality can come from.

(1) Empathy.

Defined as the ability to recognize and, to some extent, feel what another person is feeling.

I do not want to be murdered. I would feel devastated if someone I loved was murdered. I would not be able to live with myself if I murdered someone. So, I will not murder.

The same logic applies to everything from holding the door open for someone, to not being a raging asshole whenever the opportunity presents itself. I think about how I would feel if someone did something to me. If I wouldn’t like it, I don’t do it to someone else.

I can also look at it objectively: Even if it doesn’t bother me when someone does something to me (say an angry driving flipping me off), if it’s possible that someone else would be offended, I don’t do it.

(2) Laws and Society.

We also get our morals from what society perceives as right and wrong, even those that have a basis in religion. The laws of the US don’t allow for murder or rape. As a citizen who bears the benefits of living in a particular country, I will naturally abide by the laws therein. Even those I disagree with (and there are quite a few). If I find the laws of a country to be particularly oppressive or offensive, I have the opportunity and right to move to a country that has laws more in line with my beliefs. Or I could mount protests and other advocacy efforts to repeal unfair laws.