This page was originally born from an idea of Hemant Mehta’s at Friendly Atheist, and the naïve perspective of both of us. Mehta’s idea was to set up stations on college campuses on a particular day (April 13th) to field any and all questions anyone would want to ask of atheists, and in like vein, I simply created a standing page here for the same.
The naïve part is, very few people actually have any questions about atheism – most of them just assume they know all about it, often based on either armchair psychology, or information provided to them from their uber-religious sources (because, naturally, no bias would ever be found from such sources.) Some percentage of those same well-informed people also feel that any contact at all with atheists is some taint upon their soul, which must be remarkably fragile, but regardless, the offer isn’t seized upon often. Still, here it is, so fire away if you like.
Bear in mind that this will only be, naturally, one person’s perspective (though if any others want to chime in, they should feel free,) and thus should not be taken to represent the unified front of Atheism, Inc. – there is no such thing. Opinions may vary.
Also, short questions sometimes require longer answers, so have at least a little patience. I was going to throw in the caveat that the questions be honest, something that you actually want an answer to, but you know what? That’s not necessary – if you think you can stump me with a “deep” question, throw it down!
If your question doesn’t show within a few hours, send me an e-mail through the Contact Page – it probably got snagged as spam somehow, and I’ll correct this.
You may also want to look at some of the things I’ve posted in the past, which may answer the questions you have. It’s not necessary – I’ll link to them if they fit your questions ;-). But it might save us both some time:
But How?, an ongoing series of posts dealing with what a scientific standpoint can tell us about aspects of belief and behavior; Many of the posts in the Reference category, because these usually address common arguments and should be found easily; But what if I’m wrong?, a post about Pascal’s Wager – see also the follow-up, Bigger stakes than that, and the follow-up to that, But what if the third time is the charm?; On belief, part one, part two, and part three, examinations of what forms religious faith seems to take fairly often; Science and religion, and why the debate about compatibility is ill-advised; Does science lead to atheism? A common question that isn’t as simple as it sounds, and the answer follows suit; Evolution issues, which examines why evolution seems to be the whipping boy among a significant majority of religious folk; Changing the rules, illustrating why many atheists find discussions of religion to be too narrow in focus; Not as I do, on accommodationism and stridency; Hooray! I scored a “Not Negative!”, about the curious concept of negative evidence; People actually study this?, examining the approach of virtually all theology; On the plus side, response to a challenge to name the positive aspects of atheism; What would prove evolution wrong?, an examination of how scientific theories work and why we use them.
Otherwise, fire off your question in the comments below!
To get things started and illustrate the format, the first question is simply a repeat of an extremely common one that, amazingly, still gets asked.