The One Minute Case For Atheism

Atheism is the lack of belief

Atheism is the lack of belief in the existence of gods. It is not a belief system or a religion but the denial that supernatural beings exist. There are atheists with all sorts of philosophies and beliefs.

You’re already an atheist

Even if you believe in a god, you probably don’t believe in other gods – Zeus, Osiris, Jupiter, Thor, Allah or Jesus. It’s hypocritical to be skeptical in the holy book, revealed prophets, miracle stories, or holy men of all religions but yours. You are an atheist when it comes to everyone else’s gods, so why give your god a free pass?

The burden of proof is on the theist

Can you prove that an invisible pink elephant is not floating above your head? How does one prove a negative in the absence of evidence? Theists make the exceptional claim that there is a god. That claim requires exceptional proof. The burden of proof is on the theist to prove God exists.

By using reason and science, humans have been expanding our knowledge of the world. Yet religionists continue to claim that there exists a supernatural realm immune to reason. Where is their proof? If a god is needed to create the universe, what created God? Rather than offer proof, mystics have often tried to silence and discredit those who reveal the complexity and majesty of the universe.

There are natural explanations for the universe

What keeps flowers from turning into rocks, or rocks from floating in the sky? It’s not the will of a supernatural deity, but the fact that flowers are not rocks, and gravity keeps things on the ground. The universe operates according to causal principles, without the need for any supernatural power to keep things from getting chaotic.

Morality does not need religion

Religious texts can offer moral guidance, but they are not the source of moral principles. Humans discovered long ago that following certain rules makes life more productive, peaceful, and pleasurable. Morality derives from human nature, not divine guidance. If one wishes to live a virtuous life, it is better to do so because of the earthly rewards of being virtuous than the fear of eternal punishment. Unlike a theist, an atheist knows that one life is all he has, and will try to live each day to the fullest.

Further reading

135 Comments

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135 Responses to The One Minute Case For Atheism

  1. Joe

    Once again, no offense, if i had caused disturbance.

  2. Mr Me

    I just wanted to tell you that claiming that God does not exist or that God does exist is arrogant. Everyone is an Agnostic because they/we do not know nor could we ever. I am an Agnostic Atheist meaning I don’t know if there is a creator but I still reject all forms of theism. Atheism has no content. It is simply the rejection of theism, not the disbelief in God. Hypothetically, if God did exist, He/She would exist with or without your early theistic religions, right? So you see where I am going? I reject all forms of monotheism and polytheism and therefore, I’m an Atheist. I do know if there is a creator nor can I ever know, which makes me an Agnostic. There aren’t that many arrogant Atheists who will boast such a dogmatic view of the universe as to say “there is no God”. I would appreciate a more accurate description on this page of what an Atheist is and please stop spreading bullshit, over generalized lies.

    Thank you,
    -Me

  3. Merlin55

    I’ve actually played this game in the past in which I respond to anti-Jewish statements by ridiculing the Christians. ,

  4. nyima

    love the article!

  5. paul

    “Can you prove that an invisible pink elephant is not floating above your head?””

    Proof is sufficinat evidence to convince. Convince who? You, Me them? I have come to understand that pink elephants exist in the minds of people. So do gods and devils. I never saw a pink elephant. That does not mean it does not exist in someone else’s mind.
    Yes the bricks and mortar that make up the human body is quite real. But what makes up his mind? Is it atoms or chemistry, or is it imagination. and what is imagination? You have it like we all do.
    What is it and where did it come from. was it the big mac that I ate today, that is putting these thoughts into my head?

  6. Christian

    @ Paul

    Somebody made the Big Mac you ate, just like somebody fed you the postmodern ideas your dishing out right now.

  7. James

    James : “The burden of proof is on the theist” This premise is flawed. Christians believe the bible is the word of God and glean everything from these writings. In a court of law when a claim is made (such as with a personal will) and someone contests it, the burden of proof lies not with the claimant but with the one contesting the document. They must prove the document is in error. In other words “Innocent until found guilty”. Christians have nothing to prove. The one contesting does.

    This is a simple falsehood, or at least a misunderstanding of how the court of law works. The theist is making the claim that, to take the Christianity example, the bible is the word of God, and everything in it is true. In the same way, a prosecutor may make the claim that Joe Bloggs committed the murder on Friday at 10PM. It is up to both these people to provide evidence for their claims. There is no contradiction here; “innocence” here is simply the position that the claim is not true, or has not yet been satisfactorily shown to be correct.

  8. In reality, no single religion could guarantee us a place in Heaven. In the end, what matters is how we a treat other people.~’*

  9. DARRYL

    IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAID BETTER – THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON THE THEIST! AS CARL SAGAN SAID “EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE” . THERE IS NO NEED TO ATTACK SOMEONE WHO CHOOSES TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THAT HAS NO EVIDENCE TO BACK IT UP. THEY CAN BE EASILY, AND I DO STRESS EASILY, DISMISSED.

    • Pancake Croissant

      IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAID BETTER – THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON THE THEIST! AS CARL SAGAN SAID “EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE” . THERE IS NO NEED TO ATTACK SOMEONE WHO CHOOSES TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THAT HAS NO EVIDENCE TO BACK IT UP. THEY CAN BE EASILY, AND I DO STRESS EASILY, DISMISSED.

      No need at all to bring in an authority unless you cannot think and write for yourself and use your own words in your own phrasing.

      Pachomius

      • DARRYL

        JUST STATING THE OBVIOUS THAT IS ALL. I WOULD NOT CALL SAGAN AN AUTHORITY ON ATHEISM, BUT THANKS ANYWAY FOR THE REPLY PACHOMIUS

  10. Another great example is Bertrand Russell’s Tea Pot: if someone told you there was a small tea pot orbiting the Earth, you couldn’t disprove it, but it would be absurd to say you should believe it because it can’t be disproved.

  11. actually it doesn’t matter what Religion you may have, as long as you treat the other person right.,`:

  12. religion is a good thing since this is our only connection to a higher being`””

  13. Pingback: God « Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

  14. I don’t believe in air. You claim I need air in order to live and be understood, but I reject your claims. I can breathe for breathedness’ sake, I don’t need your petty Air in order to be a good person.

  15. what matters most is the good deeds that we do on our fellow men, it does not matter what religion you have as long as you do good stuffs -;;

  16. ‘,* I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information .”,

  17. Steve Downing

    This sums up atheism pretty well, but I wonder about this sentence: “It’s not the will of a supernatural deity, but the fact that flowers are not rocks, and gravity keeps things on the ground.”

  18. What impresses me is how incredibly juvenile the argument is. It could only convince someone with no understanding of science, philosophy, logic, Biblical Christianity, etc. In short, it works on an idiot, but any smart person will see through the above claims.

    For an amusing article that you can compare yourself to and see how many points you rack up, see this: http://www.tektoonics.com/etc/parody/fundyath.html

  19. You can’t please everyone, but most of your comments are very positive. Great responses here. Compare your article to the one above though. I wonder what your response is going to be.

  20. Anthony

    Well, my vocabulary and sentence structure isn’t nearly capable of comparing to all of these responses but I figured I’d give “my two cents.”

    I’m an 18-year-old Athiest. I am such because I’ve been taught my entire life to “respect but verify,” meaning I respect what you think, but I won’t accept it as fact until it’s verified.

    If a person walked up to me on the street and said “Hey man! Have you heard of the wonders of Poseidon!” and proceeded to lecture me on all the wonderful things he’s done and why he should be worshipped, I’d laugh and continue on my way; yet when a Christian does it and God is brought up, suddenly it becomes a matter of unquestionable certainty based on very little evidence, often no more than a simple “I can feel Him” or “When I became a Christian my life changed.”

    Well that’s all dandy, but it begs the question, has anyone ever heard of the placebo effect? Studies have been conducted wherein people were unknowingly given sugar pills to cure illness, and in cases it actually worked. Is it possible that you were improved by the belief that you would be changed? Perhaps it’s not God changing people, it’s people BELIEVING that they’ll be cured or changed that really causes the changes in their lives.

    I live a very healthy life. My social life is fine, I work two part-time jobs to pay for my schooling, which is also completely fine and I’m overall happy with my lifestyle. Hell, every night I kick back and spark up a joint to shrug off a long day (call me a criminal). I don’t accept the Lord into my life because I’ve no need, I provide for myself and take full credit for it.

    If people weren’t meant to question their creation, why would we have been given free will in the first place? Is it so we’re able to make the call for ourselves? If so, why are atheists looked down upon for using the tools we were naturally given, our minds?

    *IF* God made us and knows and sees everything including the past, present and future, then weren’t we born pre-destined to be condemned to hell for our radical thinking that was passed down to us by our very creator? That just seems cruel.

    I just believe living a virtuous lifestyle is reward enough, I don’t need the concept of heaven. When I die, I’ll be put in the ground, all consciousness will stop, and that will be the end of me. I’ve accepted that and honestly don’t see why people *need* reassurance that there’s more.. Yes, that would mean that our existence is nothing more than a series of random events with no true purpose, but again, why do we need a bigger purpose?

    We’re alive. Although the reasoning behind it is shrouded and intricate and without a doubt confusing, being here is enough for me and it seems greedy and arrogant for one life time to not be enough for some people.

    Sorry if this is really long, I decided to put a bit more than two cents because I’m actually bothered by the staggering number of people that blindly buy into fairytales simply because they require a sense of meaning in their lives, when an open mind is really all you need.

  21. Jon

    Come on, there are better arguments for atheism than this.

    Firstly, the idea that to believe in one god only is hypocritical is entirely illogical. It implies that the believer has no reasons to believe what they do. It is certainly not an argument that there isn’t a god. The argument is effectively saying that because people have many different opinions on x, then we must conclude that x doesn’t exist. To state it is to see how false it is.

    Secondly the burden of proof is equally on the theist and atheist. What is and isn’t an exceptional claim is in the eye of the beholder, and in fact exceptional claims don’t require exceptional proof, they require the same proof as anything else: proof is proof. Most people throughout history and even now, it seems, regard atheism as the more exceptional claim. The burden of proof is on everyone except those saying “I don’t know”.

    Thirdly – well, that’s just not an argument against there being a god at all.

    Fourthly, again that’s not an argument against there being a god. As it goes, though, I don’t agree with the statement, but it’s a long argument. Morality does need some kind of god if it is to be absolute, and if it’s not absolute then I fear it doesn’t really deserve the title ‘morality’ at all – it just becomes ‘what we agree to do’ or ‘what I think is good’.

    • @Jon:

      “The argument is effectively saying that because people have many different opinions on x, then we must conclude that x doesn’t exist. To state it is to see how false it is.”

      That’s not the argument. The claim is that we *ought to be equally skeptical* of all religions. Most religious people apply the credibility test to all religions except theirs. If people simply applied the same logical criteria for excluding other religons to theirs, it would fail the credibility test. But what they actually do is reject other religions becuase they are clearly irrational – but accept their own “on faith.”

      “Morality does need some kind of god if it is to be absolute”

      This is just a assertion you make, and it is false. Morality is based on human nature, not words written in a book.

      “if it’s not absolute then I fear it doesn’t really deserve the title ‘morality’ at all”

      Morality is defined as the a set of principles by which one acts. How one derives those principles depends on which moral philosophy they follow. You cannot define a ethical theory as something else merely because you disagree with it.

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  23. Pingback: The One Minute Case Against the Cosmological Argument | One Minute Cases

  24. I AM GOD

    Proof- Science and most atheist require it to believe in something. Organized religion is hypocrisy at it’s best. Judge not lest ye shall be judged…
    Faith is not something I respect unless that faith is based upon proof. I have a friend who’s father just had a heart attack and is on the verge of death. She keeps praying to god and asking others to do the same. Why not take her dad to a church instead of the hospital? Is it because she really lacks faith that some invisible superhero will save her dad?
    Don’t believe anything you read, see or hear (even if I said it) unless it agrees with your own common sense and logic.
    The reason many atheist get frustrated with those that have faith is because they can’t/won’t turn their faith off for a minute. I was raised Christian and then grew up and stopped believing in invisible imaginary friends that love me no matter what. I am free now and much happier for it, although I wish others would open their eyes so we can continue to evolve as a race.
    I worry about the future children of our race- religion is just another inclusion/exclusion system in our society. You are Christian like me? Great! Oh, wait… you are a Muslim? I am sorry that you are going to hell. You should think the way I do although there is no way to prove anything I believe is true. ***Just because you believe something- it doesn’t make it true***
    Trying to use the bible (or Quran or any other human literature) to prove that god exists is like me using a comic book to prove to you that Superman exists.
    I have recently been researching Einstein. At the end of his life, he defined himself as a Pantheist. All of nature is god (or deity). I believe I am an energy and that that energy will continue to exist after my death. Energy can not be created nor destroyed, only transferred or changed (in a closed system). This doesn’t mean I will be a self aware cognizant energy though- I have no freaking clue, no one does. So quit lying to people (especially little kids) and telling them about heaven and hell and what happens to them after they die. You are full of shit and atheist call you out.
    Just because you can’t explain it doesn’t mean an invisible superhero did it.

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