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This is just a group of 4 questions I came across a while ago in my discussions with theists. Feel free to answer them yourselves it would be interesting to see what others come up with.

1. Why is there something rather than nothing?

I’ve always thought it strange that almost every theist I’ve ever had a discussion with asks this question. Why do they think that atheists have an answer to this question? I know theists have an answer: god. My answer
is simple; I don’t know. Maybe the universe came from nothing? Maybe the
universe has always existed in some state or another? Maybe the answer is
something we haven’t yet been able to conceive of? Maybe the answer is impossible to know? Maybe
an intelligent civilization in another or prior or dying universe caused this
universe to begin? As intellectually fascinating as this question is at times
it really has no bearing on my practical life whatsoever. The fact is I’m here
and I’m going to be here until I’m not. While I’m here, I like practically
everyone else on this planet, would really like to make the best of it.

2. Is there any ultimate purpose? If so how do you reconcile your atheism with that?

I don’t think that the universe or life began with any ultimate purpose. Purpose is defined as the reason which something exists. I think we can give ourselves or others or certain objects purpose but in the
grand scheme of things the universe exists because it can not for any ultimate

3. Were you raised in a religious environment? Do you think that had any impact and how?

I wasn’t raised in a particularly religious environment however religion played enough of a role in my life for me to think that people were supposed to be religious. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
Eventually I came to realize that there was nothing wrong with me and that’s
when I finally embraced my atheism. (As much as you can really embrace a lack
of a belief anyways.)

4. End all goal of atheism activism? What is the end all goal of atheism activism and does it serve any ultimate purpose.

Atheism is the lack of a belief in god or gods so what is there to be activist about? The answer that comes to mind is that atheists are activist about the same things that anyone could be activist about. Many of us
are activist about secularism, about the free flow of knowledge, about being
treated equally under the law, about the attempted marginalization of certain
scientific theories by people who know little about science, about treating the
environment better than a dump, about our rights as human beings, about beliefs
being reality based and so on. The goal of atheists being activist is the same
goal as anyone who is being activist. It’s to get their views recognized, convince
others of their views, and perhaps get a view recognized by the law.

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Comment by Manning Bartlett on April 2, 2010 at 9:32pm
An alternate argument for the value of atheist activism is that it also can satisfy the basic human need for community.

For all of its logical, moral and philosophical faults, religion has often served to satisfy this basic human need.
Comment by Jared Lardo on April 2, 2010 at 9:31pm
1. Why not? Seriously.

It seems intuitive that there should be nothing unless that nothingness is acted upon by an outside something, but, of course, that something's got to exist, right? Thus, I would pose back to the theist (really just a deist at this point) "Why is there a god instead of no god in the first place to do the creating?"

More comprehensively, what if it's just impossible for there to be nothing? Certainly if there was no universe at all we would not be aware of the fact, but that's incidental. Really, the original question is worthless, being just as valid as my response "Why not?"

2. No--for a variety of reasons that each overlook the fact that the question's very existence is grounded in a misconception: that such purpose might or could exist and that such purpose is even conceivable as a purpose and not as something else that's simply being referred to as "purpose" by common convention.

3. Not so much. If I had been raised around sure-sounding fundies, then I might have ended up a sloganeer like them; though, it was the ignorant-of-the-evidence overcertainty of people around me in my life as it actually has gone that pushed me to my scientific mindset, which I like think includes my atheism.

4. To get Faux News and their counterparts abroad to quit being butthurt.
Comment by Jennifer Lovejoy on April 2, 2010 at 9:05pm
1. Maybe we are all plugged in to a computer, like on the Matrix, or our entire universe is in a locker, like on Men in Black. lol!!!!
Seriously, I don't get why people ask the question. We are here, wherever "here" is in an unmeasurable space. I've heard the whole "god created us and our universe" and my question was always, "who created god then?" I don't think there will ever be an answer. Truth is, I don't care how we came to be. I'm thankful to be and plan to enjoy every moment until my time is done.

2. Purpose??? Everything has a purpose, good or bad. For me personally I believe my purpose is to be a good mother, raise and teach my kids to be productive and enjoy life. To be a good citizen, give back, be kind. To live my life to the fullest. When my life is no more I hope to still have a purpose as a donor, whatever is left can go to science.

3. My father, whom I have spent the majority of my life around is agnostic. He worries about people knowing I am atheist. He is afraid someone will burn a cross in my lawn or harm me. =) My biological mother, who I lived with for serveral years as a young child, is a penecostal christain (snake charmer is what I call her). She dragged me up in front of her church on a regular basis, convinced I was the daughter of the anti-christ. Her and her husband routinely beat me, starved me, and even performed an exorcism on me more than once. As a young child I was confused and scared. Now, as a grown woman, with children of my own I am a little saddened at her obvious and many mental disorders. I am still fearful of christianity (religions as a whole) and would prefer if my kids didn't associate with them too regularly. So yes, it definitely had an affect on me. On the same token I believe my expiriences made me a better parent. I (and my hubby) have worked hard to teach our children tolerance but yet stand up for what they believe is right and good. I believe ALL religions are a cult that use fear to control, manipulate, and use their followers. It's sad how many people buy into the lies!

4. My goal as an atheist activist is to bring understanding and acceptance. Well that is my PC answer. My ultimate goal: a better society without fear and terrorism brought about by religious zealots. A world without hunger and where all children receive an education and are afforded the ability to thrive. A world where my children can play a school sport or attend a public functon without having to pray to a zombie or some other nonexistent being.

Liked this, thanks!
Comment by Ian on April 2, 2010 at 8:34pm
1. If there was nothing, you wouldn't be here to ask the question. There doesn't need to be a reason for there to be something; however, there there does need to be something in order to ask why there is something. In simple words, this question ignores the fact that where there is nothing, there is no question. It also fails to define 'something.' Does it mean matter, time, space, some combination of these, energy, motion, reason, carbon based bipedal lifeforms on a water covered planet?

2. Define purpose. I'm serious, without more information on what they mean, it is not possible to answer this question. If we use a dictionary definition whereby purpose is "function, what something is used for" then the answer can easily be no. Why should the universe be 'for' something? This is another anthropocentric question. Purpose is a human construct that has helped Homo Sapiens model their environment and apply their large cortical processing powers to forming plans and methods to achieve goals. It is a sort of species arrogance to think our constructs exist beyond our brains.

3. Yes. I was sufficiently informed to make a decision if religion was a realistic view of existence or a bunch of late stone aged myths from some goat herding tribes in the middle east.

4. You hit that nail out of the ball park, and managed to do so without mixing any metaphors.

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