48 Sure-Fire “gotcha” questions for Atheists! (part 5) June 21, 2015Posted by Ubi Dubium in Questions, Responses.
Tags: atheism, christianity, critical thinking, laws, monkeys, morality, Questions, rape, religion, stupidity, Ten Commandments
Stupid questions continue, is there no end?
33. If there is no God, then why do we have laws that govern us, such as speed limits?
Ah, this is a good time for me to talk about the two kinds of things we might be talking about when we say “laws”!
First, there’s the rules that humans make for ourselves to allow us to live together in large prosperous groups. If you live in a small group, say of hunter-gatherers, you’d know every person in the group, and what your relationship is with them. You’d know that if you kill someone, his family will come kill you. You’d have customs about how people usually respond to social infractions, but there’s no need for a permanent code of laws. Laws are needed when people are living in a group so large that everybody can no longer know everybody else. Then there needs to be official rules for behavior and how you treat others in your group, and there can be different rules for how you treat outsiders. These rules have been worked out through trial and error over thousands of years, and we continue to modify them still.
Then there are natural laws, which are descriptive. We observe how the universe works, and figure out the mathematical relationships of the behavior of matter and physical forces. Thus, when we say the law of gravitation is that gravity is proportional to mass and inversely proportional to the square of distance, or when we say the speed of light is a constant, we are describing the way things are, not imposing a rule for the way things ought to be.
34. Do you know where you are going when you die?
Yes, I’m going to stop existing and not go anywhere, and the atoms that currently make up me will go on to be parts of other things in the future. The world will continue, I just won’t be part of it. I don’t expect it to be any different than it was before I was born.
35. Why do we not act like monkeys if it is true we came from monkeys?
First, we don’t come from modern monkeys, we share an ancestor with them. But why would you say we don’t act like them? Have you ever spent any time studying monkeys, or our closer cousins, the great apes? They live in social groups with complex social behavior and communication. Their children are dependent on their parents for a very long time, and parents spend a lot of effort caring for them. Males put on dominance displays, individuals sit around bonding with each other (they groom, we make small talk), members of the group both compete with each other and look out for each other. Chimps make and use tools and make war on each other. How are we so different?
36. Why do we display The Ten Commandments in the courtrooms if you say the Bible is not real?
37. Why should be it wrong to rape if God is not real?
Considering the treatment of rape in the bible, that’s probably not the best question for you to be asking. Why is it wrong to rape if there is a god? The Old Testament is full of rape, but there aren’t any commandments saying “Thou shalt not rape”. The Israelites are commanded by god to destroy everyone in a town, except that they are allowed to take the virgin girls as sex slaves. Or how about Abraham having a child by Sarah’s slave Hagar, and nothing is said about whether Hagar consented. Or how about the verses where the only penalty for rape is a 50 shekl fine, and then the victim has to marry her rapist? And did 13-year-old Mary really have a choice to say no when she was told god was going to impregnate her?
Without religion, we can say we do not wish other people to harm us, so we should not harm other people, and violence against other people should be right out. Remember that humans depend on one another, and are accountable to each other, not to an invisible god.
38. Why is The Passion of The Christ very high on the Box Office?
How old are these questions? It was popular for a little while, but not anymore. If we are using box office earnings as a measure of truth, I’d suggest that we should be following Harry Potter. (He saved us from Voldemort, you know!)
I watched The Passion of the Christ on DVD, to see if it was appropriate to show my children for cultural background. It was straight torture porn, and I got rid of the DVD very quickly. I guess this was a way for christians to pretend to be doing something virtuous and be able to watch torture porn without having to feel all guilty about it.
39. How can America not be a Christian nation if there are way more churches than mosques?
America can be a nation with a lot of christians in it, without being a “christian nation”. Our founding fathers weren’t ignorant of hundreds of years of European history with countless wars over religious differences, and endless persecution and oppression of those who even slightly differ from acceptance the official dogma. They saw how dangerous it was to give the government to power to tell the citizens what to believe, and so wisely built a separation of church and state into our government. Ironically by today’s standards, it was the evangelicals who were some of the strongest supporters of that separation, because at the time they were a small minority sect. If there had been an official religion, it would either have been Congregationalist (dominant in New England) or Anglican/Episcopalian (dominant in the south), and their freedom to practice as they wished would have been suppressed. Too bad modern evangelicals don’t know their own history.
40. How is the bible not real if it’s the most popular book read by man?
It’s a real book, but that’s probably not what you mean. It might be the most popular book right now, but that wasn’t always the case. Back when the Old Testament was originally being written the Hebrews were a small unimportant tribe, and there were lots of other texts that were way more popular. You’d have had a much easier time finding a copy of the Iliad or the Odyssey or the Story of Sinhue. Any Egyptian rich enough to buy one had a copy of The Book of the Dead put in their tomb.
And if the growth rate of Islam continues, the Qu’ran will probably overtake the bible in popularity someday. Would that make the Qu’ran real and the bible not?
One more of these sets of questions left.