Occasionally I receive emails from believers asking my perspective on religious matters / matters of belief. I try to be has helpful as possible to aid them in understanding the atheist perspective. The other day I received one from a believer and fellow author, Dick Gist. We have exchanged two email discussions thus far. This is Part 1 of a two part discussion.
I am posting our exchange here to solicit your active input as to whether or not my answers represent my readers' positions. Since atheists do not share anything in common except having no belief in God or gods, I am always cautious in providing input that may be mistaken for "doctrine" or "dogma", since we have no such thing. I'm hoping you will share your thoughts, objections, agreements, alternative views so as to give Dick (and I) greater insights to atheist thought.
PLEASE, share your input on my blog page by clicking on "COMMENTS" located at the end of this article on my blog site. Or by clicking on the following link (or copying and pasting it into your address bar) which will take you to this article's comments page. It would be greatly appreciated by Dick and I. Thanks in advance.
Dick Gist here "You don’t understand the Bible because you are Christian" is my most current book. I have a question I hope you might respond to. And as I ask I realize there probably is no one answer. When an atheist says he/she does not believe in God, does that mean the theistic god of Judaism and Christianity (a lot of we believers reject that one), or does it mean an atheist believes we are alone in the universe? I’m reminded of Buckminster Fuller’s words, “Sometimes I think we are alone. Sometimes I think we’re not. Either way the thought is staggering.”
Busy here, and enjoying periodic give and take with the fundamentalist element, one a relative who recently grieved that I’m on my way into eternal darkness. Almost enough to tempt one towards atheism.
Hope you are well. I suspect the colors might be beginning to change there.
So nice to hear from you. I am familiar with your book and have read some excerpts. Nicely done. Having read the Bible more than once myself, the KJV and NIV, and after years of debate with Christians, your premise that they don't understand the Bible because of its Jewish roots is dead on. In fact, very few have even opened its cover, by my experience.
To your question: I 'd say there is one answer, and it's relatively simple - atheists do not have belief in ANY God or gods, period. I'm comfortable speaking for atheists when I say we take all gods to have been inventions of man - made in man's image, one might say - with all of man's most malevolent attributes (i.e. jealousy, anger, hostility, vengeance, barbarism) and some of the good ones too...albeit with an even more intense level than the emotions and attributes of man... supercharged so to speak.
I have also yet to meet an atheist who does not totally dismiss the supernatural as well as God/gods, although nothing in the definition of atheist / atheism prohibits one from believing in ghosts, faeries, demons and leprechauns, et al, aside from one's common sense and innate skepticism.
As for being alone in the universe I can only speak for myself and most atheists I know. It is highly unlikely, in my opinion, for earth to be the lone planet to sustain life among the billions and billions of planets in the vastness of the universe. The very fact that earth supports life is evidence that life can exist elsewhere, given similar conditions. Thus, no...we are not alone, in my opinion. [Note: this is much different than believers in God / gods, who believe God/gods exist based solely on faith, with no observable evidence or supporting examples.] Whether that life / life form is more or less advanced than us is any ones guess.
Hope that answers your question. If you do decide to "come to the dark side" as we freethinkers like to joke, be sure to let me know so I can be among the first to congratulate you on your final stage of evolution toward modernity.
Yours in reason,
AKA Dromedary Hump, "The Atheist Camel"