Arguments for Atheism - Living without religion, with a clear conscience


The Argument from Lack of Empirical Evidence argues that there has not been any reliable, testable evidence to support the hypothesis that God exists despite many attempts, and it is therefore not rational to believe that there is a God. If God interacts with our universe in any meaningful way, then the effects of his interaction must be detectable and measurable, but no such interactions have been reliably demonstrated.
I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.
- Thomas Edison (1911)

As has been noted elsewhere (including the section on the Argument from Miracles), extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and hard evidence is thin on the ground when it comes to religious claims. Religions, almost by their very nature, make some very extraordinary claims about disembodied, universally present beings with magical powers, which fabricated the universe out of nothing; about eternal souls that survive the death of our bodies; about miracles and resurrections and virgin births, etc, etc.

The scientific method was developed centuries ago to prevent the assertion of unproven or unprovable theories: first a hypothesis is formulated as an explanation of a particular phenomenon, based on observation or experimentation, and then that hypothesis must be tested repeatedly to provide firm evidence for its truth (sometimes requiring in the process the refinement of the original hypothesis) before it can be accepted as true. Unless repeatable empirical evidence can be presented for a claim such as “God exists”, it remains an unproven hypothesis in which belief is unwarranted.
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
- Richard Dawkins (1992)

Christians, Muslims, Jews and others happily disregard the gods of the ancient Greek, Romans and Egyptians as mere figments of an overactive imagination. Atheists simply argue that there is no more evidence for the Judeo-Christian God than there is for Zeus and Apollo.

Using Christianity as an example, Christians can offer no evidence for one of their most important claims, that faith in Jesus Christ procures eternal life, and can not point to a single proven case of this prediction coming true. Even if it could be proved that Jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead - and these extraordinary claims are far from proven - it still would not follow that belief in Jesus somehow saves us by granting us everlasting life.

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