Original image by qimono/Pixabay.
UPDATE: Part II is available.
Over the existence of this website and various social channels it possesses, I have been asked certain questions about atheism, so I thought I compile all of them into memes and post them on the site in the series of posts. This is post number one in this series. This post will be a bit different than the previously published "What atheism is all about in a few memes" because here the focus is more on the answering visitors' questions, instead of making a presentation about atheism.
So, let's get into it.
Q: Imagine I stop believing. Then what?
A: Time to rediscover yourself and the world.
Many people have wondered what really changes if you stop believing. While many people can give many, many different answers ranging from "absolutely nothing" to "your whole world will change", this is my answer. I think that it's kind of naive to think that nothing will change. Many atheists in various groups I have been a part of, describe their experience as liberating - and IMO not without reason. Various religions have certain "rules" what should you think about issues, what is expected of you ... there are also some unwritten rules of conduct such as "respect other religions, but, basically, they are wrong. An atheist does not have to follow these rules and is free to decide for themselves what to think and feel.
Q: What is the atheist stance on ... ?
A: Atheism means only not to believe in any god. There is no atheist stance on anything else!
Next question is kind of in the same direction - what does an atheist believe about some issue? Well, atheism as such tells you absolutely nothing about your beliefs. The only thing that atheists have in common is that we do not believe in any god. That is it. Being an atheist does not mean you also have to be a feminist. Being an atheist does not also mean that you have to be vegan. It doesn't mean you have to be a liberal. Seriously, being an atheist only means you do not believe in any god. If you are looking for a philosophy which might naturally flow from non-belief, you might try to find out about Humanism.
Q: Do you think atheists are smarter?
A: No! We have simply taken the time to look at arguments for god and found them insufficient. You might find them enough. But do try to look. It is more honest.
Kind of an aggressive question, no doubt prompted by the fact that atheists sometimes make fun of religious beliefs, which might make believers feel that atheists think that they are stupid as persons. While some atheists undoubtedly feel that they are smarter than believers, many are aware that they only took the time to learn about various arguments. And while we're on that subject, just because somebody makes fun of your beliefs, that doesn't mean that they are making fun of YOU as a person. There is a difference, if you try to search for it, I am sure you will see it.
Q: Why are atheists so angry?
A: We can get angry, but we’re actually nice people who are concerned. Religion influences politics and politics has an impact on all our lives.
I wrote an entire blog post covering a topic very similar to this. Basically, if we sometimes seem angry it's mostly because various religious doctrines are being pushed into our countries' laws. Considering that those laws also apply to us, it is plainly unfair that they are inspired by religions and not by reasoning based on latest scientific evidence.
Q: Are you saying that believers are not rational?
A: NO. You can perfectly rationally arrive at a incorrect conclusion if you lack evidence or have incorrect prior ideas. We just want to show that some prior ideas do not really stand on a firm ground.
Generally speaking, this is not unique to believers. We all probably hold at least some not well-reasoned ideas and then based on those we rationally arrive at the wrong conclusions. It is not true that we think we are superior. In the matters of religion, atheists are simply trying to show that there are objections to some ideas believers have. Those objections exist and are often deliberately hidden which we consider unfair. That is all.
Q: You are 'preaching' atheism. Aren’t you doing the same as believers?
A: No. We are simply trying to show that reasons to reject arguments for theism also exist. They are often deliberately hidden, so people think they do not exist. It is not preaching from revelation or dogma. It is still up to you to rationally decide.
Ahh, yes, probably the most common question/statement you can see on social media regarding atheism. I feel it occurs partly because people are just not used to seeing atheism that much - yes, yes, if you are in a lot of atheist FB groups you might disagree, but actually think about it - think about the average person who might not be particularly religious, but who has a lot of FB friends that are and are constantly sharing the "like if you love Jesus" posts - when they are occasionally confronted with an atheist argument in their timeline, they immediately jump to conclusion that we are doing the same thing believers are because - well, it's a "religious" post to them, just from the other side of the debate. Well, sorry, but that is just not true.
You will probably agree that you almost never saw a post of the type "Like if you love Richard Dawkins" or something similar. Also, we do not share quotes from a holy book without any argument why they might be true. That is preaching and you are not likely to see such actions from atheists. Atheists mostly share atheist arguments because we feel that you have a right to know about not only affirmative arguments, but also about criticisms of those arguments. It is not a command that you should do it, it is only an invitation to take a look at it and decide for yourself.