I stumbled on to this commenter treatise on a recent CNN Belief Blog entry about what in fuck God was doing the Aurora shooting. Clear, concise, and without even the kind of nasty shots that I would have written, it covers just about any reasonable Atheist riposte you could imagine.
OK, so maybe there are some nasty shots in there. The following is one of over 10,000 comments at this writing, posted by an individual known only as "Colin" (apparently in response to a post from "Mike.")
Actually Mike, you'll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don't believe for one or more of the following reasons:
The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.
The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.
The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.
We tend to have a good working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe and the idea that a being would create the entire thing - with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could "love them" and send his son to talk about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine makes no sense to us.
The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity - "you have been blinded by your lack of faith" "God moves in mysterious ways" "God is outside the Universe" or "our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God" are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.
The common argument, "well, what caused the Big Bang?" with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, [the Christian] god must have caused it - does not make sense to us. "I don't know" does not equal "god" to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein's equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We're crazy aren't we?
We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.
We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don't think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that "got it right".
We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the time and region.
Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to "wish it away" such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more naive, timid minds among us.
We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call "morality".
"You can't prove God doesn't exist" is not a convincing argument to us, as in inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them. It is almost always impossible to prove a negative in this sense.
When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed - Adam and Eve, Noah's flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, talking snakes, a man living in a whale's belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs - but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what's left.
It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, "I believe Obama is a great man because his biography says so, and the reason I believe his biography is that it is about Obama, who is a great man."
In short, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.
So, the next time you proudly proclaim that you know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, because your parents or priest taught you some comforting stories from late Bronze Age Palestine as a sub-ten year-old, you might like to consider where your beliefs fit into the bigger picture.
There's some hasty typos and whatnot in there, but hey. Sure beats the frothing wild-eyed lunacy coming from the Christian crowd.
Good on you, Colin. I hope you don't have to re-type that over and over again, because that shizz needs to be copy/pasted at the end of every Yahoo News article that allows user comments. Even the ones not even close to being about religion, because some jackhole always manages to twist religion into the mix anyway. Or Obama.
Also, kudos to CNN for finding a solid gold pageview mill:
1. Post three sentences about how SOME people MIGHT think God is MAYBE either not real or grossly disinterested in human tragedy.
2. Wait for everyone to chime in with SCREW YOU LIBERAL MEDIA, FAITH IS ALL I NEED.
"We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool."