Silly Theist Logic

Devoted Atheist Dave reader “Andrea” added a decent comment on my post from 2 April, Prayer is Futile, but then followed up with the inane I don’t believe you’re an atheist. You wouldn’t be spending this much time writing about a Person whom you claim you don’t believe in.

By this incredibly well-thought out religious logic, we can conclude that:
J. R. R. Tolkien believes Middle Earth and hobbits exist.
J. K. Rowling believes Hogwarts and the wizarding world are real.
George Lucas believes wookiees and Jar Jar Binks exist.
– Jim Davis thinks bright orange talking cats who love lasagna exist.
– Walt Disney really believed in talking mice, dogs, and ducks.

And so on, and so forth.

The point here is that a lot of people write or talk about things they don’t believe exist. This is entertainment, baby. It’s called “make believe.” You, as a theist, should know about making believe all too well. It’s all right, I had imaginary friends when I was a kid, too. I even believed in Santa. But I grew out of all of them. That’s another one, by the way: parents, especially around Christmas, seem to talk about Santa Claus an awful lot. Does that mean they believe he exists?

As far as what I would or wouldn’t be doing as an atheist, who are you to say? The only thing you know I will not be doing, based on my being atheist, is believing any gods exist. That is the only thing my atheism tells you about me.

I didn’t think I’d have to point this out, since my audience is made up primarily of atheists, nonbelievers, agnostics, and rational thinkers (surprise, I’m not actually trying to [de]convert anyone – I have a feeling it’d take more than a blog to do that). But let’s see if this helps you understand:

Sometimes when I make a post specifically talking about the Christian god and pointing out its logical inconsistencies and flaws I will assume, just for the sake of argument, that said god actually exists. That’s a literary device. It’s akin to saying, “Okay, if your god exists as your Bible describes it, then we know these things about it…” That doesn’t mean I believe it exists. For the sake of simplifying things I omit the disclaimer at the end of every post, but I’ll provide one for you now.

Disclaimer: I do not believe in a god or gods, nor have I as long as this blog has been active. If I ever come across as though I do believe in a god or gods, just remind yourself that I do not believe in a god or gods.

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Atheist Dave

That’s me, I’m Dave. Then again, this blog is not supposed to be about me. In fact I hope to have multiple regular contributors who are not necessarily also named Dave. First and foremost of those contributors is my wonderful and beautiful wife, Holly. Despite this blog being about atheism, religion, science, philanthropy, and a cornucopia of other subjects I have decided to name it after myself and my atheism and so think my readers ought to know at least a little bit about me. That said, this first post will be my attempt at giving a brief history lesson about myself, as I hope all of our contributors will introduce themselves before getting into any “heavy posting.”

Without giving away too much incriminating information, I live smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, in one of the most conservative, religious counties in Texas. Though not born here (I am happy to say I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a mere 80 miles from the home of the Freedom From Religion Foundation), this is where I have spent the majority of my life. I grew up here with my mother, a Catholic, and my father, a Baptist.

I was baptized as an infant at a Catholic church; after moving to Texas I regularly attended Catholic Mass with my mother and brother, received my First Communion, and was Confirmed while still young. I’m hesitant to say I really was a believer back then since children don’t have that great a concept of life, the universe, and everything, but I think I may have been. In any case, within about five years of my Confirmation I was an atheist.

What led to my atheism? It could have been a number of things, and I think all of us atheists can relate in some way to what I was feeling as an adolescent. First, there were all the fossils. Fortunately I hadn’t been indoctrinated yet to the point where I would shut my eyes and ears to what we rational thinkers can see as outright evidence that the creation story did not happen. I was fascinated by dinosaurs, like any child, and I took the initiative to learn as much as I could about them. That’s where my knowledge of fossil evidence came from. So now I knew that one of the most important stories in the entire Bible (Genesis) was an outright falsity. That, coupled with the unlikelihood of the Noah’s Ark story, made me highly skeptical.

Second was probably God himself. Without having ever heard of Epicurus, I was already having some very Epicurean thoughts in my early teens:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?

God, in all his supremacy, still allows life to be lost, crimes to be committed, tears to be shed, and hearts to be broken. God in the Bible was constantly smiting people, burning entire cities, commanding people to rape and murder, and condoning slavery. A “perfect” god did not make any logical sense to me.

And so I realized none of it made sense. And so that’s me.

Dave