Below I have presented five questions that I do not believe that atheists will be able to plausibly answer.
1. Despite the culture or era, sane humans have the innate sense of what’s right and what’s wrong and we prefer to do what’s right to help our fellow humans. No matter the major religion, we all are aware of the Golden Rule. We prefer the humble over the braggarts, the selfless over the selfish, and the truthful over the liars.
Cross-cultural sociologists and psychologists and leadership scholars like Hofstede, Trompenaars, House, and Schwartz have found that societies vary in ways inconsistent with our innate morality. For example, not all societies are considered “cooperative or collective.” Collective societies are in Asia, Northern Europe, the Arab region, Africa, and South America. Highly individualist societies are in Western Europe, the United States and Canada. Many societies are hedonistic, hierarchical, and have preferences against gender egalitarianism. So, what we know that we ought to do is often inconsistent with what we are actually doing. How do we know what we ought to do?
Evolutionary biologists have made observations to posit that cooperative societies were better poised for survival and over thousands of years in the distant past, groups fared better than individuals. Yet they haven’t considered that cooperation is just as likely as competition. Biochemist Sy Garte notes the errors in trying to explain human morality with evolution, which he states is only about the diversity of life on earth. Biologists have also made propositions about empathy, yet I have not seen propositions on the survival value of other desirable human traits, such as humility, gratitude and forgiveness.
Furthermore, even in ancient historical times, we have examples of highly individualistic and highly successful societies, such as those in ancient Greece and Rome. Cooperative societies over the past couple of thousand years are not necessarily positioned better for survival, because it has been shown that individualism is more beneficial in some ways. For example, a multitude of global studies have correlated gross domestic product with individualism (Hofstede, 2001). Individualism also corresponds with capitalism, innovation, competition and entrepreneurship. So, why do even individualists know that we ought to help the weak, feed the poor, and be honest, humble, just, cooperative, empathetic, forgiving and loving? Why is it that all societies, regardless of their practices, know what we ought to do? Where did we get this moral compass?
2. What accounts for the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances of Jesus? Roman pagans, Jews, and Christians in Jesus’ time have all have indicated that Jesus’ tomb was found empty – and multiple sources have indicated that second class women made that important discovery. In fact, Paul stated that five hundred people witnessed Jesus over the next forty days after He rose from the dead. Many Biblical and extra-biblical sources have indicated that early Christians preached illegally in support of Jesus for decades, braving beatings, stoning, crucifixions, beheading, and being burned to death.
3. If an atheist’s position is that the universe is the product of chance and necessity (instead of the product of intelligence), how can he or she explain the fact that the universe is structured rationally, logically and with mathematical precision and predictability?
Pope Benedict XVI: “If nature is really structured with a mathematical language and mathematics invented by man can manage to understand it, this demonstrates something extraordinary. The objective structure of the universe and the intellectual structure of the human being coincide.” Further information can be found here:
4. Larry Moran said “According to what we know about the natural world, humans are not special in any way and life does not have a purpose.” Richard Dawkins said “DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” If atheists adhere to the belief that the purpose of human life is merely to procreate and survive, is it possible to determine that human life has any more value than animal life – since animals share the same basic purpose?
5. Why have so many atheists determined that the life of a fetus in a mother’s womb is less valuable than the life of his or her mother? What standard do they use to value human life?
Thank you for your time.
Hofstede, G. (1980; 2001). Culture’s Consequences. Comparing Values, Behaviors, and Institutions Across Nations. Tilberg University, Netherlands. Sage Publications.
House, R.J., Hanges, P.J. Javidan, M., Dorfman, P.W. & Gupta, V. (2004) Culture, Leadership, and Organizations. The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. Sage Publications.
Schwartz, S.H. (1992). Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in Twenty Countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 25. Accessed May 28, 2018 at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.220.3674&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Schwartz, Shalom H. (2012). An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture. 2 (1). doi:10.9707/2307-0919.1116.
Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (1993; 2012). Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business. McGraw-Hill Companies.
10 Replies to “Five Questions Atheists Cannot Plausibly Answer”
Why would an atheist have an issue answering any of these questions?
1. There are a few questions there but it sounds like you’re direct question is Where do we get our moral compass from. and why do different societies know what we ought to do. My best guess is that “in the beginning”, it was trial and error but as civilization evolved, people learned by a system of rewards. For example, you would be welcomed as a friend or into the “tribe” if you acted the way that society expected you to. If you bashed people over the head with a stone, no one wanted to be near you. If you helped discover fire :-), helped hunt, took care of the sick and were a positive member of the “tribe”, people wanted to have you near. I think this is human nature and that is why different societies have similar results. As we moved along in history, there was expectations, rules and laws that dictated what it takes to be a good citizen and many people complied.
2. “What accounts for the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances of Jesus?”. This is kind of a sticky question. If you are a Christian, you are likely to believe the empty tomb and resurrection narrative. The only sources of information is from the New Testament. Do we have testimony from those 500 witnesses? Was the tomb really empty? or was the body removed? It was common at that time to remove bodies from tombs to show ones “Divinity”, it is said, Alexander the Great had planned to have his body removed for this very reason. Other religions do not give credence to the Empty Tomb/Resurrection narrative.
“Early Christians preached illegally in support of Jesus for decades, braving beatings, stoning, crucifixions, beheadings, and being burned to death.”
People of many religions (and non religions) have suffered similar punishment for worshiping what they believed (or didn’t believe).
3. “how can he or she explain the fact that the universe is structured rationally, logically and with mathematical precision and predictability?”
Is this an atheists position? or a Scientific position? Atheists may side with the scientific position because it better explains the universe other than “god did it”. I’m not so sure the universe is structured rationally or logically. Maybe you need to expand on this. (as well as mathematically and predictability). Mathematics was created by man, who more or less have analyzed things such as the time it takes for the sun to revolve around the earth, the circumference of the earth, the distance to the moon and stars..etc. WordPress may not be the best avenue to get your answer to this question. Hopefully you used the Evolution/Big Bang tags.
4. Procreate and Survive… sounds pretty good. I could add a few more but let’s focus on the question at hand which really has nothing to do with Atheism. A Vegan may answer that there is no difference between human or animal lives. I’m on the fence about it. You will get the same differing answers whether someone is Christian or Atheist.
5. Again, this has nothing to do with atheism, it has to do with ones view on abortion. As we know, Christians also have abortions. When they do, how do they determine which life is more valuable? Technically it is up to the person who is having the abortion to determine which life is more valuable. For me directly, if I had to make a decision, it would depend on the scenario. Is the mothers life in danger? fetus in danger? both in danger? Was this the result of incest or rape? as I mentioned above, is it the result of a medical condition.
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1. We conceptualize moral compass. Morality is a concept, and without beings with evolved enough minds (which are a brain function) to conceptualize morality, there is no morality (or any other concept for that matter).
2. If the man we call Jesus did exist and was indeed killed as a human sacrifice (not here to debate that, because I can’t possibly know and I’m not well versed enough to argue either way), then perhaps he was not all the way killed, and was able to leave the tomb by either himself or the help of his friends or others (historian language interpreters currently agree that the word “tomb” does not mean what we think it means, it does not refer to a cave in that context, but that’s neither here nor there). How is a stone-age book written by barbarians who think virgins can get pregnant a solid source of historically accurate information?
3. The atheist position is not that the universe is a product of chance and necessity, I’ve never heard an atheist or anyone for that matter make this claim. It is not atheist’s job to know somehow what the origin of the universe is, we can’t possibly know that at this time in history; that is scientist’s jobs to figure out, not atheist’s.
4. It is most certainly not the atheist position that “the purpose of life is to procreate”; and as far as surviving, EVERY species with a central nervous system and brain seeks to survive. That isn’t special to humans. Human life is NOT more valuable than the lives of other species.
5. Atheists hold the position that the human species are not special or somehow divinely planned to exist, and therefore it is ethical to abort early term fetuses who can not suffer or have conscious awareness. The ethical issue with abortion is suffering, not species of the fetus; and if the pregnancy is early enough that the fetus is not developed enough to suffer or be aware, then it’s ethical to abort it.
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Quite common questions that I have seen so many good answers to that I shouldn’t try to cpme up with something better.
I am not even sure why you address it for Atheists since it has nearly nothing to do with atheism.
I only see a god of the gap argument and that isn’t a good argument for me.
If God exists and affect our world she should be detectable.
How can we test if God exist?
If she is not detectable, why worship?
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The usual nonsense. Every single one of your questions have been answered by atheists numerous times. The fact that you are ignorant of these answers speaks to your inability to check sources other than theological ones
1 Morality is a consequence of the function of certain evolved, adaptive brain structures, primarily mirror neurones. A morality appears in all species that act socially. Morality also adapts, consider it was moral for Abraham to marry his half sister, for slavery to be just, for human sacrifices to be performed to please Jehovah and for rape victims to be forced to marry their victims
2 The earliest Gospel (falsely named Mark) does not mention an “empty tomb” Paul and Hebrews do not write about a physical resurrection (indeed there is a very good argument that they were only writing about a Cosmic Jesus. The later Gospels mentioning an empty tomb are contradictory and seem to take their details from OT scripture.
3 Puddle fallacy. Any universe in which life of any sort appears will seem to be uniquely suited to life. Additionally for the vast majority of the universe’s existence It was NOT suited for life and for the vast bulk of time following this epoch it will again be utterly inimical to life.
Pope Benedict’s argument shows his ignorance (and yours) of the multiplicity of mathematical languages. I suggest you read “Godel, Escher, Bach”
4 Please define “purpose” in a coherent and non-contradictory manner. Note that according to your holy book the ultimate “purpose” of Christian existence is to act as mindless drones singing the praises of an insecure deity. The Purpose of the rest of humanity is to go to hell and be eternally tortured.
Of course your query begs the question by ignoring the idea that no purpose is needed and humans, if they so desire, can make one for themselves
5 Ah, yes, the abortion argument, the actual purpose of your ignorant and ill-considered screed. Every cell and agglomeration of cells live, from every sperm (is sacred) and ovum to every cell in the HeLa line why should they not be allowed to live? A fetus is NOT human and cannot even feel pain until about week 22. It is not viable and cannot survive without massive medical intervention until about week 30
Then there is the most obvious flaw in your argument – God is the greatest abortionist of all. From every failed implantation, to every ectopic pregnancy through to every “natural” miscarriage it is your God who is the abortionist
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1) Are you aware that there are multiple versions of The Golden Rule? Also, are you somehow trying to suggest that we know the ethic of reciprocity inherently? We know it because we are taught it.
The ethic of reciprocity that exists in the Bible essentially boils down to the “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” language. And yet, that’s a clearly substandard version. A better version is to do unto others as they would have you do unto them. I shouldn’t treat you the way I want to be treated (the Biblical version); I should treat you the way you wish to be treated. Incidentally, this ethic existed in multiple societies before the Bible was written.
2) Yawn. Paul stated that 500 people saw Jesus. Can you name any of them? Does Paul? Would you believe me if I told you that 500 people in Des Moines, Iowa saw my grandfather walking around a couple of days after his funeral?
My guess is that you wouldn’t, which leads to the question of why you think this story suddenly becomes more believable when it takes place in a pre-scientific culture from a book written decades after the alleged events. A much more likely answer to the reason the tomb was empty–provided such a tomb existed and was found empty–was that the body was moved. A mundane solution will always be more likely than one involving magic.
If I walk outside and discover my car is missing, which is more likely, that my wife has gone out with it or that the car has gained sentience and driven away?
3) As far as I know, this isn’t “the atheist position.” The atheist position is that there is insufficient evidence to believe in the existence of a god. Everything else is something else.
4) This question is clearly equivocating on the word “purpose.” My life does not have some sort of ultimate purpose that has been imbued. Any purpose my life has is imposed by me. That I value human life in general more than animal life in general does not mean that the universe does.
5) Once again, this isn’t specifically an atheist position even if many (or most) atheists hold it. There are plenty of religious people–lots and lots of Christans–who accept abortion and atheists who don’t.
I can, however, tell you why I am pro-choice. The answer is simple: bodily autonomy. In our society, we grant bodily autonomy to all members of society. What this means is that you have no rights to my body and vice versa. We extend these rights to corpses. If I am not a registered organ donor, doctors cannot harvest organs from my body even if they would save the lives of multiple patients. Because my express permission was not given during my life, no one has the right to my organs after my death.
We can take this further. If my daughter is stricken with a disease and the only way for her to survive is for me to give her a kidney, I cannot be forced to do so. It may well be morally superior for me to do so and for my kids I would be willing to do so, but this is not a legal requirement. If my child needed to be connected to me via machine for six months to stay alive, I would again be under no legal obligation to undergo that procedure. While I may feel a moral (or other) obligation to undergo this procedure, I am in no legal way required to do so.
What this means is that a woman who is pregnant must consent to allow the fetus to us her body, and consent can be withdrawn at any time. If you deny this and thus force women to remain pregnant, you are literally–not figuratively–giving more bodily autonomy rights to a corpse than you are to a living woman.
I know you don’t like that argument because it demonstrates clearly how terrible your position is. I don’t care because there is no legitimate argument against it.
Have a great day.
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The fallacies, falsehoods, and fictions preclude rational acceptance of deity claims, thus the very questions you presented cannot be answered rationally in the context of religious notions.
Why don’t you ever post a Youtube video or blog article responding to any of the hundreds of responses made by Atheists that answered both your original questions and your second set? Why do you keep saying these are questions Atheists can not answer and continue to ignore the huge volumes of answers already posted publicly?
Also, why can’t you see that posting more of these “unanswerable’ questions without responding to the answers already directed to you makes you seem, to be polite, rather dishonest?
The answers I’ve seen are less than sufficient for almost all of the questions. An exception is on my consciousness question. I was on the Non sequitur show where I debated these, and I’ll likely respond to Aron Ra soon.
Perhaps then you could suggest how these answers are “less than sufficient.” I answered all of your questions. “That’s not good enough” doesn’t tell me where or how you’d like a different answer.
I don’t think you’ll answer how my answers weren’t sufficient, because you’ve consistently demonstrated a significant amount of intellectual dishonesty.
So how ’bout it? Where have I not given a sufficient answer?
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