The title says it all. I realize there may be other threads of this nature but if the administrators don't mind, I'd like to create my own so that I can better involve myself in this community. It is intimidating to post in a thread that has already developed into many many pages for you never know if you're repeating something already extensively covered unless you read the entire thing.
First off, I am an Atheist and a hardcore one at that. I despise religion with a passion but I can respect any argument you wish to impose. I will address absolutely all religious comments even if all I have to say is, "That's a good point. I can't argue with that."
I'll start off by providing the bases of why I choose Atheism over religion. Note that I focus on Christianity. This is only to save time and I assume most, but not all, of the religious viewers of this thread will be Christians
Consider this.. when you were born, you had know idea of who or what the godly figure of your religion is. You are told this by your environment. In other words, you family, friends, church, or neighbor are the key source in determining the religion of most people. It is nearly un-head of that a young child would deny the teachings of its environment until they are old enough to consider their options for themselves. I was a Christian until the age of thirteen. With this in mind, we can assume that one of the biggest factors in determining the religion of an individual unless they reconsider their options later on. MOST people stick with what they've been taught and if this applies to you, let me ask you this... How is it that you are so confident in your religion when the only reason you are of affiliated with your particular religion because of the environment you were born into? If you were born in China wouldn't it be likely that you would be a Buddhist? And wouldn't you be just as sure your religion (if Buddhism can be considered a religion) is the truest religion out there? If you "A" were born into a Christian family and was taught Christian beliefs and than at the same time, the same you or you "B" was born in China and was taught Buddhist beliefs and than both you "A" and you "B" were put in a room, would you both not be completely convinced that your religion was the correct one and the other wasn't correct as you? Do you really think your faith is greater than the faith of another individual? I'd have to say it would be naive to think so.
At this part.. many Christians defend themselves by telling me those other people of other religions don't always go to Hell because they don't know any better. But honestly, that's not the point. We're questioning if you religion is true, not if its ok for those other people to be doing what they're doing.
So, to have faith in your religion you must not only have faith in the existence of a god, but that you somehow landed yourself into the correct religion out of so many. The most common factor in religions is faith. Faith seems like a big chance to rely on if there is so many different faiths, all equal in degree, but all very different too. Many Christians would than tell me that they have more than faith. They see miracles happening every day and many of the things in the bible have come true. But the flaw in that is simple. You are stilling relying on faith that your religion is the cause of what could possibly be many other things... like science or natural cause and effect. Don't people die just as miraculously? Do you deny that things might just happen because it in nature to happen? That's still relying on faith. But than, one might tell me they have felt the presence of God. Just as many theists have personal evidence that the being they worship exists, so many atheists have personal evidence that such beings do not exist. That evidence varies from person to person. Furthermore, without wishing to dismiss your evidence out of hand, many people have claimed all kinds of unlikely things -- that they have been abducted by UFOs, visited by the ghost of Elvis, and so on.
Before I continue, nearly every time I start to debate what is below, Christians ask me why I can talk about God if I don't believe he exists. The thing is, people talk about things all the time even though they know it doesn't exist. Santa Claus for example does not exist but we know a lot about him. We even know what he looks like and what he wears and even the name of his reindeer. But when someone talks about, elves for example, that doesn't mean they believe in them or that elves exists. It is pure purposeful to refer to something you don't actually think exists especially when you're debating why it doesn't exist. If I wanted to prove to a child that Santa Claus doesn't exist (and I wouldn't ) it would be unfair to disable me by tell me that I can't talk about how Santa couldn't possibly visit every child in the world on Christmas because I don't believe. So, just try to keep that in mind.
Early mankind guessed wrongly about so much in the world that it is ridiculous to think that they guessed correctly about the origin of mankind. Christianity for example has many flaws and implies that its creator was no god at all but a creation of mankindís ignorance in explaining the world around them.
According to popular belief, God is said to be an omniscient, omnipotent, perfect being. Anything less would not be defined as the Christian God we know. But it is also a claim that God gave us free will and the ability to make choices. Now, I won't get into scientific evidence against free will for that may just veer this discussion in the wrong direction. But there is a fundamental flaw in this logic. A omniscient God knows all that is going to happen which means.. it will happen. In other words, what is going to happen.. will happen, and God just so happens to know what will happen. Before God created the world we live on, he knew precisely how things would play out. He knew that creating the fruit in the Garden of Eden would be eaten by Adam and Eve. He knew that Adam and Eve would eat this fruit before he even made them and that man-kind would be cursed. He also knew that by creating Lucifer, the angel would rebel and eventually bring about Hell. He also knew, even before he started creating everything, that millions and millions, if not billions, of people would be cast into Hell to suffer forever. The most common response to this is that God gave us free will and the choice to make our own decisions. But God created us.. and he created us just the way we are, after all, he is a God. He knew that by creating us the way he did, we would ultimately be sent to Heaven or Hell. He knew, even before creating us, that by creating us with certain flaws and in a certain way, which is the exact way we all are, we will make certain choices and he knew that by creating each of us in the way he did, we would already be destined to spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. Not only did he allow for the creation of Hell, he knew it would be created and this perfect, omnipotent, omniscient God allowed it knowing that many many people would have to suffer for the rest of eternity in Hell if they don't pass regulations. God created the test (our lives) the passing grade (Heaven or Hell) the participants (us), and the IQ of the test taker (he creates each and every one of us in a certain way already knowing that by creating us that certain way we would be sent to Heaven or Hell, or.. pass or fail the test.)
Some Christians would than tell me that we would just be robots without the ability to commit a sin. Than wtf is Heaven? Can we commit sins in Heaven, if not, according to those Christians, we would be nothing but robots in Heaven. So why does this perfect benevolent being let things like Hell and sin exist if everyone could just be in Heaven? He wanted us to worship him? And to choose to do so without clearly letting us know, hence faith? Not only that but, he already knows that by the way he creates us he knows precisely the consequences of the flaws he puts in us and knows before creating us that we will pass regulations or not. Are you Christians just the lucky ones that God decided to create a certain way that would consequentially lead you to Heaven and its just too bad that I was created in a way that God knew would send me to Hell forever? How in the world does a finite sin that God not only allows, but creates the sinner in the exact way they are, deserve a infinite punishment? Do you realize how long infinity is? It can't even be defined by time. How can a perfect being allow all of this?