Comments on Do you WANT there to be a God?


What part of:

… did you fail to comprehend?

I would suggest that you give every appearance of having come to this forum, determined to find “animosity” among atheists, and unsurprisingly you managed to twist our words to find exactly what you were looking for.

I would further point out that “‘God’ as it would traditionally be defined by Christianity” (my emphasis), by which I interpreted you as meaning an “Omnibenevolent, Omnipotent, Omniscient God”, does not necessarily mean the same thing as ‘God as described in the Bible’ – and that many here, and many atheists more generally, would argue that those are two very different conceptualisations of ‘God’.

If you want to know what the atheists on this forum really think, I would suggest that you first need to leave your Christian preconceptions at the door.

Specifically, I think we need to distinguish between three things:

  1. ‘Animosity’ towards a possibly purely hypothetical Omnibenevolent, Omnipotent, Omniscient God.

This was the sole issue your question was asking about, whether you realised it or not.

  1. ‘Animosity’ towards the claim that this universe was created by an Omnibenevolent, Omnipotent, Omniscient God.

  2. ‘Animosity’ towards the claim that the God described in the Bible is an Omnibenevolent, Omnipotent, Omniscient God.

Christians may see these as part and parcel of the same thing, but atheists see these as three separate issues.

Finally, I would never dare to speak for all atheists (we are far too heterogeneous a breed), but I rather suspect that Stephen Fry speaks for more of us than Thomas Nagel does:


As long as we have this comments thread …

I recently saw a questionnaire, in which one of the question was “Do you see religion as about beliefs or do you see it as about how you live your life?”

I saw it as about how we live our lives. As a teenager, what I took from the gospels was a humanist message, such as “love your neighbor”. I took it as opposed to racism (the parable of the good samaritan). I took from it that we should be strict about our own lives, but be forgiving toward others. I sometimes describe this as being personally conservative but socially liberal.

When I looked at the churches, I saw too many people who had it backwards. They were personally liberal but socially conservative. They tended to be very judgemental of others.

Yes, I would want this to be a world where people practiced the humanist principles that I see in the gospels. Unfortunately, this is not such a world. Whether or not there is a God does not seem particularly relevant.

It seems that many people who consider themselves to be Christian are taking their religion to be about what they believe rather than about how they live their lives. I never did understand that idea of beliefs which don’t affect how you live.

I left Christianity once it became too obvious that people who call themselves Christian were not living the kind of life that I was expecting of Christians. And, too often, they were opposing those humanist ideals.


That wouldn’t happen to be the questionnaire that Jerry Coyne posted a while ago (created by some group in the ‘Science and Religion’ crowd, I think)?

If so, I took it, but had the impression that it had too many ‘baked in’ assumptions to be particularly accurate at measuring my viewpoint.

Yes, it was that questionnaire. And I agree that it wasn’t a very good way of measuring.

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