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Atheists Don't Think God Is Real

Kylyssa is an American atheist with high-functioning autism trying to navigate a mostly religious world with no well-beaten path to follow

Atheists Don't Believe in God

To most people, I expect that's pretty obvious. In fact, it's the only universal characteristic all atheists share. However, if you've experienced Christian proselytizing, evangelism, or even some online discussions between believers and nonbelievers, you've probably bumped into a few people who just don't understand that nonbelievers don't think God is real.

I believe it's actually more common than you might expect. I've encountered at least a few highly-educated Christians everywhere on the liberal to conservative spectrum who have expressed this odd misunderstanding. It surprises me every time because it's all right in the language we use and in the definition of the words themselves. I also find it surprising because it shows that some people have no idea what the beliefs they are trying to change in others actually are in the first place.

Repairing that basic but profound misunderstanding of non-belief is not as simple as saying, "Pardon me, but atheists don't think God is real." This page is intended to help people on both sides of the misunderstanding to see the effect it has on their conversations. After all, it's pretty difficult to have a deep conversation about religion or belief when the parties involved aren't using the same definitions or if either party has no idea what the other believes.

The Evidence Is in the Word Belief

Some Christians try to redefine atheism to suit whatever they think it means, so let's ignore the word atheist for a moment and focus on the definition of the word belief.

The very first definition of belief on reads: "a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true"and it's called a simple definition on the page. It's also a very common definition of belief we grew up with in the secular world.

It's pretty clear to most atheists that believers think that God exists. It's also crystal clear to us that believers think assertions that God is real are true. That's why they are called believers.

Non-believers don't believe God exists; that's what the "non" indicates. Non-believers do not think assertions that God is real are true. That's why they are called non-believers.

Myth: Atheists Think God Is Real and Just Call God Something Else

When I've optimistically tried to just put the statement out there that "atheists don't think God is real" hoping it would be the puzzle piece needed for better mutual understanding, I've frequently gotten responses insisting that I do and I must think God is real, that I just call God something else.

Atheism isn't another religion like Hinduism wherein God has many different names or like Islam wherein Yahweh goes by the name of Allah. We don't think we are Gods, either.

We don't think there's any self-aware, thinking being who created and rules the universe or who requires worship.

So-called "natural laws" are not viewed as God by non-believers, but as observable and predictable patterns repeated in the universe. The universe is not commonly viewed by non-believers as being a thinking, self-aware being, but as the total of everything in existence. Universe is only another word for God to people who believe in God.

Please Consider This Before Defining God as the Unknown Factor or as Everything We Can't Explain

Unknown things are only God to people who already believe in God; they're just things that people don't know or haven't figured out to the rest of us. Historically, many things that were once unknown or inexplicable to human beings have later been investigated and logically explained. The gaps in our knowledge are just human ignorance.

I find it disturbing when the believer who tells me that I think God is real because there are things unknown to human beings is defining God as ignorance.

I don't think most Christians believe they worship ignorance. I don't believe most Christians worship ignorance. My experience with Christians tells me that the majority of Christians see God as a being or spirit who created and rules the universe and who thinks, feels, and requires worship. So no, ignorance is not just another name that non-believing people use to mean God.

I understand the appeal of having something you trust to stand in for the unknown things in existence because unknowns can be frightening, but it's not a universal need. I have no problem admitting that there are many, many things I don't know. That is not to say that I don't fear some unknowns; I certainly do because there's no way to know what the best action to take may be when I'm missing information that may be vital. However, just because something makes me afraid it doesn't mean I actually believe something else that is reassuring instead. I just accept the uncertainty, live with any fear it may cause, and do the best I can with the information I do have.

I see the assertion that God is ignorance as extremely disrespectful to people who believe in God. So please don't go around trying to tell people they really do believe in God because God is human ignorance. When you do so you make your religion appear to be based entirely on fear of the unknown, wishful thinking, and a reverence for ignorance. That's really unappealing and, I believe, a highly inaccurate portrayal of what most Christians believe. You certainly aren't going to convince anyone of God's existence with it and you're likely to offend believers who realize what you mean.

Skywriting is the only way atheists see GOD in the sky.

Skywriting is the only way atheists see GOD in the sky.

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Hey Non-Believers! Here's Some of Why I Think the Belief That We Think God Is Real Is Fairly Common:

If you've participated in religious discussions with people trying to evangelize or proselytize to you or even just in discussions with Christians trying to understand why you don't believe, you're likely to have encountered something called Pascal's Wager.

Pascal's Wager is basically a sort of challenge proposed to atheists to just believe in God on the off chance that God might be real. It is a kind of a cost versus benefits analysis of belief that suggests there's no down side to believing if God isn't real and a huge downside (eternal torture in Hell) to not believing if God is real. The glaring hole most atheists see in Pascal's Wager almost immediately is that it requires you to already think God is real. It's not like a person can "just believe" in something they don't think exists. Also, if an all-powerful, all-knowing being actually existed, it couldn't be tricked by faking belief so the belief would have to be real.

It seems highly unlikely anyone would put forth Pascal's Wager to try to convert people if he or she understood that atheists don't think God is real.

There are also the times when some atheist or knowledgeable believer points out that atheists don't believe in God, only to get responses to the effect that they really, really just do. I've even been told, "You know in your heart that Jesus is real," by people who seem to genuinely believe what they're saying.

Then comes the assertion you've probably seen even more often than you've encountered Pascal's Wager or any of the other oddities I've mentioned above.

Such assertions may be met with wordless surprise.

Such assertions may be met with wordless surprise.

Talking About Belief in God Doesn't Require Belief in God

Another odd thing that comes up again and again is the question, "If atheists don't believe in God, why do they talk about religion and God?"

Atheists don't think God is real but we know that belief in God is real. We can be pretty sure that believers actually think God is real because they say they do and they act like they do. We get all interested in discussing those beliefs of theirs when those beliefs affect or influence their behavior toward other people.

If a Christian group decides to make a law that is based on their members' religious beliefs, why wouldn't we want to talk about the beliefs that lead them to wish to make laws that apply to everyone? Why wouldn't we want to know why they wish to force us to obey the tenets of their religion using the power of law? Why wouldn't we discuss it if we disagree with what they wish to force on everyone?

If you bring your beliefs up and then say they are the reason you are doing what you are doing, of course we're going to talk about it when your actions that you state are the product of your religion seem harmful or illogical to us. For instance, how could I, in good conscience, not want to have a discussion about religion when a gay teen I take into my home has been thrown out of his parents' home because of their belief that being gay is a sin?

Haven't you ever noticed how atheists don't ask you not to do kind things that are based on your religious beliefs?

The truly weird thing about this persistent insistence that we must believe in everything we talk about is that the exact same people can talk about Islam, Buddhism, or even ancient Greek Gods without believing in them.

Poll for Non-Believers

Poll for Believers

This Is a Moderated Guestbook. Off-Topic Comments and Comments Including Swearing, Threats, or Personal Attacks Will Not Be Published.

Victor on July 20, 2019:

I do not tell anyone that I do not believe in god. (Should I be writing the word "God" with a capital letter?) I always see it with a capital letter. I do not believe in the Easter bunny either. The spell check thing, would not let me write Easter without a capital, but it did let me write god with no capital. So , I am guessing it is ok to write "god" with no capital.

If someone wants to believe in god, that is their choice. As long as they do not come and tell me how to live, or how to think, it is ok with me. Choose your belief, and try to find some contentment in this life. Stuff happens to all of us. Some good, some bad, so random and unexplained.

If a god did exist, and he were put on trial, in one of our court systems;, he would surely be sentenced, and do some time in the slammer for failing the human race. Maybe for child-neglect.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 13, 2018:

@Paula - I published your comment, but I'm afraid it's going to go eventually, when I get around to deleting off-topic comments to bring my Google traffic back up again. I've been super-busy with my gardening, book release, and charity work. OMG! You should have seen the book's first Amazon review. The men's rights guys really hate it! By the way, I'll be removing my own off-topic bs as well.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 13, 2018:

I am not Austinstar. I am a separate person.

I go through and groom out all off topic comments over time and sometimes HubPages does it for me. You know you purposely drop links just so they will delete them so can you act like you are oppressed or something. Your obsession with me is creepy. Your desire to share your fantasies about your God torturing everybody different from you (including the mainstream Christians) is just weird.

Suzie from Carson City on May 09, 2018:

Oh, but Tony, you continually present yourself as SO's simply an irresistible invitation. As I said, I knew you would jump right in to give your biblical rendition of my comment.

However, I never once said, nor even intimated that Jesus is Not God. I know it is said that each member of the Trinity is under the Almighty Title of "God," as one in the same God. In my gross ignorance, your highness, I've known their SUBtitles (so-to-speak) as Creator, Savior & Spirit OF God. Since I do not study Scripture to SHEW myself worthy, of course I found it strange that you referred to Jesus as CREATOR rather than Savior. Thus my comment to you. BUT, again, I made NO claim that Jesus is not God......and how you HATE people who put words in YOUR mouth. Let's see if I can spell, "Hypocrite." Tsk tsk...shame on you, Christian of the highest form. You're forgiven. After all, You're SAVED, Born Again, destined for Paradise...surely you're forgiven.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and all those links, I'll never read. I sure do appreciate your Christian generosity & kindness. Jesus must be so proud of how you spread His messages of love, compassion, tolerance & humility. I cannot imagine why the masses do not flock to you for your vast wisdom and special manner of teaching as Christ did while on earth. You're a wonder, Tony.....and while I know you're told this all the time, I see that the majority don't use the word, "wonder," when professing their opinion of you. (I have noticed, hateful, vile, nasty.etc.) I also know you "couldn't care less." That is a reasonable way for you to feel since you're pretty much going to be the one & only creature in Heaven, according to your measure of everyone else. Amazing.

Now, answer Paladin's question or just be Christian and admit you made that crap up, just to have something negative to say about those vicious Atheists.

And y'all have a wonderful day now, OK?

The Logician from then to now on on May 09, 2018:

Well Kylyssa if you didn't publish Paula's "off topic" comment I wouldn't have made that "off your topic" answer to her comment so your deletion policy is BS.

And here is the answer to Palladin's "off topic" question you published which I wouldn't answer either had you stuck to your own BS policy of deleting off topic comments.

Paladin, yes it was a hub page a year ago or so I think. I was commenting with an atheist who had deleted my comments on another of her hubpages a year or two earlier simply because I proved her assertions about Christianity to be false, I think her name was McFarlane, and Austinstar, another atheist (btw the looniest of them all) chimed in out of the blue imploring the author to delete my comments and bragging how she deletes comments from Christians all the time and how it was her prerogative to delete comments for any reason or no reason and that Mc Farlane should do the same with Christians. Then Mcfarlane agreed with her and said she deletes comments from Christians also just because they are Christians. This is no lie and no surprise, I found atheists delete comments from Christians when they can't refute what is said - it has happened right here.

You used to be able to search for phrases on HP and find a past comment. I'd show you the comments but since HP changed their search engine I can't find the comments by the usual search (and if I could the search only goes back in time so far) - when I use their new search it only allows you to search topics and there is no topic on the search list for anything related to religion except of course "Alternative Spirituality". Doesn't that seem strange to you, that there is no searchable topic of religion or anything connected to traditional religions, only alternative religions? Might as well censor all Christians. And some people claim Hub Pages management has no bias.

I have saved hub pages I comment on to my computer to have prrof of what I said before it was deleted because atheist who delete my comments always lie about the reason they deleted it. But at some point hub pages stopped downloading so my guess is hub pages fixed it so you can't download a hub page from the site.

Aha, seems I did save a hub page with an example of just how the atheists love to censor Christians including some of Austinstar's comments like:

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Austin, Texas Level 6 Commenter

"Link, if I were you, or this crap was being posted on my hub, I would delete everything from Lybrah and toosad. I long ago stopped letting Lybrah comment on my hubs. And if this tsad person tried it, I would delete all of his comments too.

These two people are what I like to call, (expletive deleted)."

I assure you she has said more than once Christians' comments should be deleted. You should read the comment section of that link if you want a real look at how most atheists here behave.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 09, 2018:

Likely the moderators will delete TSAD's off-topic link spam, but I wanted to show readers what he posts that get deleted. The links he's promoting have nothing to do with the topic of whether or not atheists think God is real. The moderators will remove the link spam and he'll make more personal attacks, claiming it's an ant-Christian conspiracy, rather than an attempt to keep Google happy with the articles on this site.

The Logician from then to now on on May 04, 2018:

Well Paula, far be it for me to impose "my opinion" of whether Jesus IS God If you were to refrain, for once, from seizing an opportunity to sneer at me and simply do a google search or consult any concordance of Biblical scripture you would know that there is no question, Jesus is not "just" the Son of God but that he is God, stated so himself, that is if you believe the Bible to actually be His word in which case if you don't, why do you believe anything about Jesus? Maybe this will help...or you could try actually studying the Bible for yourself, just a suggestion.

The thing is, no practicing Christian, and by that I mean someone who studies scripture "to shew thyself approved unto God" (yeah that is a command of Christians) no such Christian would ever even entertain the idea that Jesus isn't God.

Paladin_ on May 03, 2018:

Pardon the interruption, but something the most recent commenter said really caught my eye, and I found it extremely disturbing. He (or she) alleged that other atheists have "boasted" about deleting Christian posts solely because the authors were Christian.

Could you specify WHO these other atheists (plural) are? This is something I haven't seen, and would like to know for myself.


Suzie from Carson City on April 24, 2018:

Far be it from me, a simple, flawed human being to point out a glaring error in your last 5 words, Tony. I know you're a Christian beyond all Christians and know the Bible by rote. BUT, oh master of Scripture.....from ALL that I have seen, read, heard and been told, the "Creator" is God the Father, while Jesus Christ is the "Savior."

No doubt, if I am incorrect you'll be certain to jump in and admonish my lack of wisdom.

Tsadjatko on April 24, 2018:

Well when on my hubpages if a comment was deleted for any reason the author could republish it or delete it forever. Has that changed?

In any event you excuses for deleting posts without posting a specific reason why they were deleted and by whom if it is hp are simply bs.

Other atheists here have boasted how they simply delete comments for no other reason than the poster is a Christian, and I'd wager you are no different, you posted comments long after skipping over mine so it has nothing to do with my alledged impatience and everything to do with your insincerity.

You still haven't given me a real definition of conservative as yours is nothing but a bigot's point of view.

You still have never defined conservatism and as I already

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 24, 2018:

TSAD, once again you personify the bad image of conservative Christianity. I can't understand why you think lying makes yourcase more credible. You know I only delete your off-topic comments and that the HubPages moderators delete every comment with a link and that they also delete some comments for reasons they don't specify. Also, you know no other human can be at your instant beck-and-call every time you want to talk about your fantasies of a God who tortures everyone different from you for eternity.

I was working with a charity that provides feminine hygiene products to poor women, preparing for the release of my piece on homeless periods in an internationally published book next month, and working on my garden two days ago when you posted. It's much healthier than obsessively checking my editorials online so I can instantly publish whatever abuse conservative Christians might be eager to heap on. It's more helpful to my community and relationships, too. Why don't you try doing something helpful to your community instead of sharing your torture fantasies online and obsessing when they don't publish instantly? Just about anything else would be healthier for you. Maybe you should ask your pastor for ideas? The pastors I work with are full of great ideas for helping people.

The Logician from then to now on on April 21, 2018:

Mike, an atheist should be quick to correct you as they "know" you are wrong and delusional to. Eli eve in after life so according to them when you and they die you won't know or find out anything because you will be nothing but the rocks you "evolved" from. Just like Kylyssa deletes my comments atheists simply believe they are completely deleted when they die - they can't even contemplate the truth, that they will die and then spend eternity in hell for one reason, they rejected Jesus, their creator.

Harry Savoy on April 07, 2018:

I found this article very interesting. I was raised Christian, but as the years went on, I found myself rapidly shifting into atheistic beliefs. The idea that a divine creator had manufactured everything, knows how everything is going to turn out, and will take care of you after you die (one way or another) proved absolutely ludicrous to me.

Here's the thing. I am a Christian again. A real Christian, meaning I truly believe Jesus Christ was sent by God to die on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead, something I never fully believed as a "Christian" growing up.

So, why the shift back into theism? Why, you may ask, did lunacy reimpose its ugly head back into my belief system? It was a much slower incline back into belief, whereas my shift into Atheism took a matter of days, my shift back into Christianity took years. But all that aside, my faith began its restoration when I sincerely begged for forgiveness for the bad things I had done. I felt the presence of Jesus, his love, his Grace- when that was the last thing I deserved, I received it. There is no experience more humbling that I have encountered. The gratitude I felt was of the highest form.

Beyond that, I looked into it. I researched. I read the Bible. And to my surprise, there is a fair amount of evidence which points to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ to be true and accurate accounts, which includes eye witness testimonies.

The truth is, putting the evidence aside, it comes down to a deep level of understanding and ultimately, Faith. I have Faith. And I'm so grateful for it.

I'm not here to convince you, I actually only have one point, I just wanted to explain my history so you get a sense of how my Faith was born.

My point is, I disagree vehemently with you and other atheists who make the statement that believers are either superstitious or fearful of death or the (presumed) afterlife, and that fear is what provokes their belief. In my case, and many other Christians I know, our Faith is not born of fear, but of Love.

True Christians believe that our kingdom is not of this world, but is the kingdom of heaven, and so we do not put too much stock into our limited time on earth, because eternity awaits us. That doesn't mean that we neglect the world or don't care about it, to me it simply means not being preoccupied with material things, wealth, power or sex; things which are of the world.

My view of Atheists is that they are generally of high intellect, more or less good people, but more than anything, they are 100% "of the world". Meaning, their lives are consumed with the world, entrenched in it, saturated in it. So, while their minds may be high above, their existence is of a very base level.

I'll end with this, you may be right and you may be wrong, just like I may be either right or wrong. But I choose to put my Faith in Jesus Christ and strive to live a life that will bring him glory - even if I'm wrong, in the end, I would be glad to know that I lived a life to the highest possible ideals, not a life that was confined to the tactile and small nature of the world we inhabit.

Readmikenow on April 03, 2018:

One thing believers and non-believers have in common is death. Some day all the words we exchange will be meaningless as we will leave this world and know the truth. I have relative that are atheists. I am a devout Christian. I don't discuss religion with them as they have none. It would be pointless. Yes, there will come a day when we leave this world and know what is true.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 03, 2018:

Dear A B, I believe in something far greater than myself - existence, humanity, life itself, the universe... I could go on. I don't really understand why you can't understand the concept of not thinking something is real, because you don't think lots of things are real. For instance, you don't think any other peoples' Gods or Goddesses are real. Now try to think of me as a person with thoughts and feelings similar to your own and imagine me not thinking of Thor as real like you do. You don't hate Thor or secretly think He's real, do you? I don't, either. That's how I think about your version of Yahweh. The biggest difference is that nobody has ever thrown a young person out that I've taken in because Thor hates gays.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 03, 2018:

TSAD, we al know you're the snowflake. You get upset because nothing you can say takes away the wrongness of tens of thousands of religious conservatives abusing and throwing out their gay kids. You haven't taken in a single one to teach him his parents aren't real conservative Christians, have you? We both know loving acceptance of a gay child just as mainstream Christians believe their God made him isn't part of conservative Christianity. Nor is allowing homeless people to exist.

State after state that has passed laws against giving homeless people food and created public features like spiked benches to keep homeless people awake have done so under the control of conservative leadership. The same applies to the people who fight against private charities, even religious charities (mainstream Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish) serving homeless people in any way. Hoping homeless people die off iff you cut off food, shelter, and medical care is the Republican Conservative Christian way.

Fighting against birth control and sex education to increase abortions, poverty, and sexually transmitted diseases is another action American Conservatives perform. That affects me because I am human and have empathy. It doesn't affect my ability to not think your God is real, but watching Conservatives do that to people is horrible.

Why would I want to believe in your God who approves of beating gay teens and throwing them out, approves of legally enforcing starving, medically neglecting, and exposing homeless people to the elements when other people are using their money and work trying to help them? Why would I want tobelieve in a God who shows love by torturing you forever if you don't convince yourself He'sreal? Why wouldn't I want to believe in the mainstream Christian God, whose worshipers work beside me in shelters, clinics, pantries, and Habitat for Humanity projects, instead? I'd love for their God to be real. Yours, not so much.

I take offense at beating lgbt children and tossing them out in the streets to be hurt in any number of ways. Conservative religion is responsible for that in America. It's responsible for their parents escaping consequences to their immoral and illegal behaviour. If everyone who is offended by abused, neglected, discarded teens is a snowflake, then that's the good thing to be.

Angie B Williams from Central Florida, USA on March 24, 2018:

As much as you don't believe, I believe that we will all face Creator God someday.

Like the words of the song, 'I can only Imagine', I don't know what my response will be.

I fall so short, so often and I am sure that my shortcomings will be my focus, as my life choices flash before me.

From all I've learned about my Heavenly Father, my imperfections will be insignificant. My good works and good deeds will take a backseat and none of that will be God's focus.

I will be facing God, as a Believer,

one who believes in something far greater than myself. One who believes that God came to earth in the flesh.

I cannot get you to the place, where I exist, I can only share what I believe with you, it is up to you to accept it or not.

The Logician from then to now on on March 24, 2018:

Kylyssa, explain to me what laws have been passed that affect your belief that God isn't real? You seem to still know he isn't real.

Or is it that what you are really afraid of is that God is real and you don't want to concede that if he wasn't real 80-90% of Americans, wouldn't believe in him. That is a tough one to deal with, I can see, but how has your freedom to believe whatever you wish been infringed upon by any law? As a matter of fact there are countries where you could be put to death for not believing in a god, but that's not here. You should be happy you live in a country that has the laws we do, even if they are based upon God.

You can't even define conservatives, and wake up call:

"People who self-identify as conservatives are conservatives. The people who've fought against every charity organization I've helped out have been conservatives."

Is not any definition of conservatism and it is appalling and revealing that that is your method of defining any person's ideology.

You obviously exhibit the personality that has come to be known as a snowflake, a person who takes offense at anything. That's not someone who has conviction in their belief God is not real, that is someone who knows in their heart God is real and just can't deal with it because to believe in God means you can't be God, you are a sinner and you need a savior - yep that's where it all leads Kylyssa, you can't hide from it, your attempts to make yourself out a victim will not save you. What it really boils down to is you wish God isn't real so you just want to shut him and any inkling of him out of your life. Can't be done.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 23, 2018:

Jack, you know you intentionally hurt me. I posted about my grief in the forums and you decided to start an argument and bash my character instead of just doing nothing. Everyone is fragile the very days surrounding the death of someone they love. Don't pretend it's irrational to be upset by personal attacks made during fresh grief over a family member when those remarks were made as some sick response to a post seeking human decency to help me feel better about what I still have after a string of deaths and other losses.

You know what you did and why. It was rude and disrespectful. If you believe raw grief is the time to attack people's beliefs and character, you aren't a nice person. Even if you were just trying to get page views, it wasn't cool. Don't try to frame me as a delicate flower because you and I both know the death of multiple family members and loved ones is supposed to render normal people a bit fragile for a little while. Normal people also don't see grief as an opportunity to tell their personal truths to others in ways they know aren't nice.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 23, 2018:

Tsad, one can conclude you do nothing but sit in front of your computer all day waiting for people to respond to you if you expect your comments to be posted instantly. I check this content farm for comments a few times per week. If I didn't moderate this guestbook, it'd be full of threats and swearing in no time.

Tsad, please explain which laws believers in unicorns and Santa Claus have passed in your country and how they've affected you. It isn't equivalent when the believers in the imaginary thing you don't believe in aren't doing anything to hurt anyone. Also, please tell us how many times someone has knocked on your door this month to harass you for not believing in unicorns.

I feel I have to prove I don't believe in God because people approach me and insist I must. You serve as further proof of conservative rudeness when you respond to slow moderation with personal attacks. If you must know, I was busy writing content for a charity website and living my life (starting thousands of seeds for spring planting under led grow lights) while you were bashing me.

People who self-identify as conservatives are conservatives. The people who've fought against every charity organization I've helped out have been conservatives.

There's nothing intimidating about a scrutinizing discussion. If I were intellectually dishonest, that would mean I think God is real. That would make me the stupidest Christian ever, because you guys believe denying God gets you tortured forever. But that would be silly, because I believe death is real, but Gods are not.

Spend some time away from the keyboard and get some sunlight and you'll feel less angry at people who are different from you. I recommend volunteering with your charity of choice.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on March 23, 2018:


I did not intentionally hurt you. I merely state my opinion. If you are so fragile that you take every thing personal then I can’t help you. As a conservative, I believe the truth is more important than feelings. Everyone wants to feel good but sometimes the truth hurts.

We can disagree on policy and argue or debate based on ideas. I never bring personal attacks into these forum.

The Logician from then to now on on March 23, 2018:

How can anything you say be respected when you delete my questions which were absolutely on topic. One can only conclude you are insincere and intellectually dishonest or are just intimidated by the prospect of a scrutinizing discussion.

The Logician from then to now on on March 23, 2018:

Kylyssa, what is your definition of a conservative? Do you even know? Or do you simply judge all conservatives by anyone you know who says they are conservative and then paint all conservatives with that brush? Sounds like that is what you do. I know people who call themselves conservative whom I know are not.

The thing about believing in God when you don't believe in God as an atheist there is an interesting phenomenon here. I don't believe in Santa Clause or Unicorns or other make believe entities but I don't spend one minute trying to convince anyone I don't believein them or that they don't exist. If God is just a figment of people's imagination why do atheists, why do you, feel you have to prove to aonybody you don't believe in him or that he doesn't exist?

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 23, 2018:

Because the conservatives I personally now behave as such. Can I assume a person in charge of aconservative Christian church's homeless outreach program might be a Christian conservative? Because that's who dropped out of the feed the homeless program in Kalamazoo when other participating churches did not support their desire to pass homophobic bathroom laws.

Because you, Jack Lee, read a post of mine in the forum talking about my deep grief over the deaths of loved ones a while back and chose to makes attacks on my character while I was down instead of behaving like a decent human being and just saying nothing. You self-identify as a conservative Christian and the evidence of how disrespectful you are is online. You chose to cause pain in your God's name because you have hate in your heart instead of compassion like the many other Christians who said kind things to me instead of cruel ones in response to my grief.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on March 23, 2018:

Why do you assume Conservatives are such and behaves as such...?

Where do you get this impression? Do you know any conservatives or you just assume it?

Not all conservatives think or act the same just as not all liberals...

Don’t you see the hypocrisy of your own statements?

As I wrote in one of my hubs, there are different atheists as well. Some I have no problem with and they are some of my relatives but the activist is the one I have issues with. They are open minded only when it suits them...

I include the ACLU, the American Humanist society...

I do agree with one thing you said. Life is not easy for all of us...regardless of our faith or lack of faith.

It is how we deal with life’s challenges that separate us.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 23, 2018:

Of course you didn't read it, because you'd have to consider that other people believe different things and come to terms with the reality that not everyone thinks your God or Gods are real if you actually did. My life is no more difficult than any person facing the same challenges. My Christian, Pagan, Jewish, and Muslim friends and family members have life no easier. Conservative Christians treat them like atheists (which is to say disrespectfully and rudely), anyway.

bruce on March 17, 2018:

didn't bother reading it. your life must be really difficult.

thoran on October 05, 2017:

In my experience, Theists who make this mistake are the most belligerant, closed-minded people I've ever come across. There is NO getting anything through their thick skulls. One even called me a gnostic Atheist AFTER I already made fun of him for not understanding what a Weak Atheist is.

I think it's part of the whole "Faith" thing. They think questioning things is bad and ignoring new information is good. They don't even understand that they are not psychic and therefore they can't argue with people about what the other person thinks.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 21, 2017:

Your comment is off-topic. Why not explain why you believe everyone believes in God as asked instead of just going off on a tangent about Buddhism?

To answer your question, Buddhists aren't trying to make any laws in my country and they pretty much just do charity work here when we see them. Often, they are pacifists. Asking why we're OK with Buddhists is really kind of silly, they have virtually no political power and don't try to oppress anyone in my country. If one person shot the friend of your Sikh friend in the face and another gives food to the poor every week, who would you be more likely to want to live near? If one neighbor flies a Confederate flag, uses the N word to describe your friends, and throws out their gay kid after beating the crap out of them and another donates time teaching underprivileged children, shovels the old peoples' walkways in their neigborhood in winter, and brings you food when you aren't well, which one would you like better?

Atheist don't have to believe what Buddhists believe in order to respect the way they act in comparison to the way many other religious people act in my culture.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on June 20, 2017:

Why do you think so many atheists adhere to or approve of Buddhism?

Buddhists have gods and angels, practice prayer, have temples, believe in reincarnation and see all people as potential enlightened beings etc.

Does this perhaps reveal an underlying need in all people for a spiritual Feeling as opposed to science?

Usually atheists seem to zero in on right wing fundamentalists to define why they don't believe in God.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 15, 2017:

I know. I got so tired of trying to explain that atheism has no gods to believers, I wrote this whole page just so I could direct them to it instead of explaining again. I once literally had a fan hound me for about a month, telling me I must be a believer, because I wrote a character who exclaimed "Oh, God!" during a sex scene in an erotic fiction story.

Thoran on June 14, 2017:

We don't call God something else. The theists who say that are getting us mixed up with Pantheists, but Pantheists don't do that either. They don't call God something else, they call something else God. But, honestly, the main difference between Atheism and Pantheism is more semantics than Science.What they call "God" I call a bunch of rocks and gas balls spinning around.

In fact, I completely reject any attempt to claim mythical things are real just by re-naming things. No, "whatever started the Big Bang" was not God. No, "whatever you are obsessed with" is not a god. No, the carrion-eating masupials of Tazmania are not actual demons.

docclay from Bugtussle, USA on January 19, 2017:

I just wanted to compliment you on such a well written, well reasoned essay. I just came across this site researching something else and saw your article. I really enjoyed it.

It's not often that I read something that offers so much clarity on a subject. Sort of like when my brother finally was able to explain NASCAR to me. I asked people for years to explain peoples fascination with that "sport" to me. I don't begrudge others for watching it. I figure that's why they make chocolate AND vanilla, not everything is for everybody. But from my perspective, it's cars driving around in a circle, for hours. If there were a Watching Paint Dry Network, then I'd understand better, maybe, but I truly didn't "get it".

I finally got around to asking my brother. His take was that the fans of NASCAR tended to be "gearheads" and this was the demographic served by racing. I remember thinking, 'now was that hard?'

Just like my brother and my NASCAR quandary, your essay brought me some much needed perspective and clarity. Were it left up to me, and I were pressed on the matter, I'd probably conclude that organized religion was a crutch for the mentally weak and feeble minded. The problem is that my father (one of the most brilliant people I've ever known) and my mother (smarter than him with a way higher EQ) are both theistic.

What I would say, on their behalf, is that they both strove to look for deeper meaning and understanding of what they were reading. Not to take some superficial interpretation of the bible in order to explain a world they just don't understand. And I wouldn't begrudge theists their attempts to oversimplify a world they find overly complicated and scary if they didn't feel like they needed to force the rest of us to submit to their dogmatic interpretation of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. I may have them pegged all wrong, but every time I hear one of these people speak on issues of faith, that they feel like they have the market cornered on morality.

I wish I could say that I had met more people like my parents, rather than people who I wouldn't trust to add a column of three one digit numbers without taking off their socks, but I can't. I heard it said once that if they outlawed being a christian tomorrow, most people would never be convicted for lack of evidence. I always think of that when I hear one of these theists wax poetic about morality.

Or I could be wrong. Anything's possible. Could they ever say the same?

Wild Bill on August 05, 2016:

I read an essay about a scientist who pretended to be an atheist so as to be accepted by his colleagues. He said that was quite common in academia. I guess people from all walks of life can feel peer pressure, so I am sure that is not relegated to just academia.

The numbers of believers is extremely higher, so naturally peer pressure for religion would be more common, but like I said, nothing is 100%. In either case, I don't think the percentage is anything to make a ripple or cause concern.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on August 05, 2016:

Lots of people pretend to believe in God for safety's sake and to avoid discrimination in the workplace, at school, in the doctor's office, and in business. So pretending to believe in God makes a lot of sense, but pretending to not believe in God really doesn't.

What is the point for someone who thinks God is real to pretend they don't? Why would someone who thinks God is real choose to do something that would bring them harm and disadvantages in real life and, since they think God is real, they'd probably believe Hell is real and believe they'd spend eternity there if they pretend to be atheists in life. Maybe there are people who wish to practice such self-harm but I'd bet they are incredibly rare. Even masochists have limits.

Wild Bill on August 02, 2016:

You are right; a true Atheists does not believe in God. Does that mean 100% of people claiming to be Atheists are? Nope. I am also sure that not everyone who claims to be a believer is one.

I guess we just have to take people at their word until proven otherwise.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 30, 2016:

Austinstar, There is no mental gymnastics needed here. God is Supreme and we as humans don't always comprehend his motives. Also, God uses common events for ulterior purposes to change people's hearts and direction. I am reminded of the story in the Bible about the life of Daniel. God used him to affect the course of history of the Jewish people. The same can be said for Moses and Job and David many others...

Faith is just that simple.If someone has it, no proof is needed. Lack of faith, no amount of proof is good enough. There will always be the doubters...

Paladin_ on July 30, 2016:

Jack, as I suggested before, it's all a matter of how extraordinary the claim is.

You cite an excellent example with your mention of Hitler killing himself in the bunker. Based upon what I know of his personality -- as well as his own quotes at the time -- from the accounts of those who lived and worked with him, I'm inclined to accept this official explanation.

That said, the legend of Hitler's suicide isn't actually that extraordinary. Suicide and mental illness have been a part of human existence for as long as history records. And given Hitler's particular situation and the extremely violent and chaotic environment of Berlin in April 1945, it's even more plausible. In the end, I think there's enough evidence to find it reasonable that Hitler had finally accepted that the end was near and, desperate not to be used as a living propaganda tool by the Soviets, ended his miserable life.

The problem with both the Old and New Testament stories is that we have NO first-hand accounts upon which to rely. The earliest OT manuscripts are dated centuries after the events they supposedly describe.

And the earliest known versions of the New Testament Gospels were composed at least four decades after Jesus died. And Paul, the presumed author of much of the rest of the NT, never even met Jesus! Worse, the oldest NT manuscripts we have are -- at best -- copies of copies, handwritten, with notable mistakes and revisions.

It would be problematic enough if the Old and New Testaments described ORDINARY events. Even then, the questionable quality of the 'evidence' makes their veracity dubious. But they describe EXTRAORDINARY events, unbelievable under any circumstance outside religion -- the creation of a universe, talking animals, global floods, virgin births and resurrections, to name a few. These sorts of claims require extraordinary evidence.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 30, 2016:

Paladin, your right of course. However, do you personally have to experience this or if someone else who is credible witness it, would that be sufficient? If the latter is true, then I say Jesus already did that. We accept many things not based on first hand account. We know man landed on the moon but we didn't have to see it in person. We know from history that Hitler died by suicide in a bunker. I wasn't born then and yet we all believe it.

Paladin_ on July 29, 2016:

Jack, I'll answer your question by returning it to you --

What exactly would you need to be convinced that Brahma exists? Or unicorns? Or leprechauns?

There is a significant difference between an ordinary claim and an extraordinary claim. For example, if you tell me your name is "Jack," I'm inclined to believe you. After all, there are plenty of people named "Jack," and under normal circumstances, it's fairly ordinary, and doesn't stretch credulity.

However, if you also tell me that you have invisible wings and can fly to the Moon, I'm going to need more evidence to believe you. A LOT more evidence. It's simply too outrageous to accept without some very compelling evidence.

This is the problem with your claim that Yahweh exists. His story is so extraordinary and supernatural that it takes an enormous amount of compelling evidence to convince anyone who's truly objective.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on July 29, 2016:

Apes, monkeys, elephants, and dolphins have been studied most frequently. The most relevant studies to this day that represent self-awareness in animals have been done on chimpanzees, dolphins, and magpies. Self-awareness in animals is tested through mirror self recognition.

And your 'trinity' is IMPOSSIBLE to understand because it makes no sense whatsoever. A god gives birth to himself and has himself tortured and killed in order to save the world that he created? When ALL this god would have to do is freaking say the words, "I forgive you". And that would be that. But he has to split himself into 3 pieces and become just as psychotic as you have to be to believe in such craziness.

Please explain the mental gymnastics you have to do to believe in talking snakes, donkeys, zombie saviors, and world genocide in order to have 'faith' in a god that cannot save his own creation with a simple phrase.

BTW, that world genocide thing? Someone needs to tell your god that it didn't even work. He slaughtered and drowned men, women, and children all for nothing.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 29, 2016:

What other species are self aware? Please enlighten me.

The reason Jesus can be killed is because of the Trinity. I explain this in "the power of three". God is 3 person in One. The Father, the Son (Jesus as Man) and the Holy Spirit.

It is a hard concept for people to understand. The Trinity is One God but in three forms. Similar to Water, Ice and Steam (H2O) molecules.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on July 29, 2016:

jacklee - we are NOT the only species that is self aware. And yes, it would take a personal appearance from a god that would never be convicted of sedition and tortured to death (even though he allegedly came back from the dead which isn't proven).

If you god can be killed at all, why do you consider him to be a god?

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 28, 2016:

paladin, What exactly would you need to be convinced that God exists? Should Jesus appear in person and show you his wounds? as Thomas requested? I really want to know. A common complaint I hear from unbelievers all the time. "why doesn't God just appear to all and settle the issue?"

Guess what, he already did 2000 years ago... If people are not willing to accept Him then, no amount of proof will convince some people now. For a believer, I see miracles happen every day. In fact, the biggest miracle is your own brain - as CS Lewis explained in his book. We are the only species that are self aware. Scientists even today have no clue as to how it works...

Paladin_ on July 28, 2016:

Jack, what I DIDN'T miss is all the "first-hand accounts" from Fatima that seem to describe completely different things, as well as a supposed visit from the "virgin" Mary that -- despite the presence of approximately 70,000 adults -- only three children could see and hear.

As for your comments on faith, I'm afraid you're 100% wrong when you assert that, for unbelievers, "no amount of evidence will suffice." The 'problem' -- and it's really only a problem from the viewpoint of an apologist -- is that we require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. It's not that we won't accept evidence. It's simply that we examine it ALL with the same level of objective scrutiny.

And let's be completely honest, here -- it's the same sort of evidence YOU would demand for a claim of Muhammad flying to Heaven on a winged horse, or of Thor sending lightning down to punish wayward humans. The only difference is that, when it comes to claims of Christian miracles, you set your skepticism aside, and will accept anecdotal 'evidence' of the sort you've mentioned.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 28, 2016:

Paladin, that is the definition of faith. You may not find this a help but I offer it anyway. Miracles happen everyday, big and small. Just as Jesus walk the earth 2000 years ago. For those of us with faith, we see it. For unbelievers like yourself, no amount of evidence will suffice. It is the apostle Thomas who doubted the resurrection...The term doubting Thomas came about from the Bible. Whatever you think about Fatima or some other super natural events, the point is, science does not privide the answer.

Btw, did you miss the first hand account at Fatima where in a matter of minutes, a storm that rained minutes earlier were dried completely by the dancing Sun...

Paladin_ on July 28, 2016:

Jack, I've seen the photos from Fatima. They show nothing but a crowd of people and a cloudy sky. As for what people there 'witnessed,' there appears to be a great amount of confusion regarding that, but it mostly seems to be that the sun did something strange in the sky. Some miracle.

As for the 'predictions' of the children, it's my understanding that they were never revealed until AFTER the 'predicted' events had already supposedly happened. In my book, predicting something AFTER it happens doesn't qualify as a prophecy!

Still, as you say, people believe what they want to believe -- even if there's not one shred of evidence to support it.

Oztinato on July 27, 2016:

What about entanglment? Will it be a miracle until it is explained? Are such"explanations " merely rationalizations? Are rationalizations rational or just convenient?

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on July 27, 2016:

Miracles are based on beliefs and anecdotal evidence.

Facts are not anecdotal - they have substance and can be measured in some factual way.

Your photos would be facts, because they can be measured (examined). But what do these photos show?

Predictions are just guesses, they are not facts. A prediction may happen because of coincidence or conclusions of evidence, and there is no way to prove that the prediction is what 'caused' the result. The result may occur whether or not anyone 'predicts' it. Or it may not occur, whether anyone or not 'predicts' it.

So, define 'miracle', then put your examples to that test.

My definition of miracle is - something that happens that is IMPOSSIBLE. Like the regrowth of a severed limb, the cure for every disease, a supernatural god proves himself/herself to be real by regrowing severed limbs (or other impossible thing).

When I see the impossible happen, then I will document it as a 'miracle'.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 27, 2016:

Paladin, I believe that a super natural event occurred at Fatima. One that cannot be explained with science. This event was witnessed by thousands of people for a few hours. There were eye witness testimony and newspaper articles written with photos... In addition, there were numerous prophecies given to the 3 children and later came true... I am a believer of miracles. For those who don't believe, it is fine with me. However, God gave man free choice. To choose to belief or not has consequences.

Paladin_ on July 27, 2016:

Jack, what do you believe happened at Fatima?

From what I can tell, three precocious children managed to con a whole lot of adults into believing that the "virgin" Mary was speaking to them. Conveniently, she appeared and spoke only to these three children, even though there were an estimated 70,000 people present on the final day in question. Photographs even exist of the "event" which -- of course -- show nothing out of the ordinary.

To quote the immortal words of the Bard, it was much ado about nothing.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on July 20, 2016:

Well, BobC, I've got to use a boatload of synonyms to avoid getting edited for "keyword stuffing" on this site. Nobody I know offline refers to atheists as non-theists or non-believers, either, but we do what we have to please the people paying the server fees.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 20, 2016:

So how do you explain Fatima? Check out the detail acounts by live witnesses and numerous newspaper articles...

BobC on July 20, 2016:

"Please share how you explain your absence of belief when someone insists you actually do believe in God in the guestbook below."

I would never say "absence of belief" because only a wimp would say that. I'm 100% certain gods are not real because they are completely impossible.

Link10103 on April 01, 2016:

It seems really silly if not completely ignorant to me to say that because no one lost their life as a planes engine failed and landed in a river, its somehow a supernatural occurrence/divine intervention.

Just ignore all the crashes that left planes as huge fireballs with hundreds dead in it wake...

Outside of that, I can't really think of anything nice/not overly sarcastic to say about people with views like that. Mums the word.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 01, 2016:

I don't see coincidences and preparedness as miracles. How many other planes crashed and how many other people died before this extremely unusual occurrence and after it? When there are many possibilities and billions upon billions of things happening, some of them are going to be unlikely or unusual. Why would the pilot have ever learned any of the techniques he used and why would they be taught if they have no possibility of working? If something is possible and it happens, why does that automatically make it a miracle? Why aren't all the other possibilities, even the bad ones, also miracles if they happen?

If I toss a coin a thousand times and it lands on its edge just once in all those tosses, do you see that unusual way of landing as a miracle or as just a possibility that occurs rarely? Does it have anything to do with the way I toss the coin, the levelness and stability of the surface I toss it onto, the construction of the coin, or the wind or lack thereof or is it a miracle? If I learn how to toss the coin to make it land on edge more frequently, would it still be a miracle? I believe that our actions and the conditions around us affect the things we experience and the world around us. I believe the pilot learned how to maximize his potential for landing an out-of-control plane, much like the hypothetical me with the coin flipping obsession might learn how to get that coin to land on edge more frequently. I believe the rescue people were trained, compassionate, and competent and on that day, they had enough small things accidentally go their way to heroically save everyone.

By claiming the pilot and everyone else who did an excellent job of reacting to an emergency had nothing to do with the lack of casualties you are diminishing the value of each and every one of them as human beings.

You seem unaware that evolution isn't incompatible with belief in God. Worldwide, most Christians accept evolution and don't see it as something atheist. Christians who accept evolution don't worship a God so limited that He couldn't imagine a universe and create everything in that universe using the natural processes He created. I don't believe in their powerful, all-knowing God any more than I believe in yours, but I think it's healthier to believe in something truly intelligent beyond comprehension rather than in something that has to resort to magic tricks to create people.

Paladin_ on April 01, 2016:

Indeed, if someone is determined to believe something, NO amount of evidence to the contrary will suffice!

For example, someone who is determined to believe in miracles will single out anomalies like the "Miracle on the Hudson," ignoring the countless disasters where there wasn't such a fortuitous convergence of amazing coincidences, where people suffered horrible deaths. They'll find one survivor in the aftermath of a tornado and call it a "miracle" from God while ignoring the hundred neighbors whose lives were blown away in the storm (apparently, freak deaths don't qualify as miracles).

As for Dr. Schroeder's book, I can't say I've read it, but there's an interesting review of it on the very excellent NCSE (National Center For Science Education) website:

It appears that the crux of Dr Schroeder's arguments rests upon his own personal estimations of the mathematical odds necessary for evolution, though he reportedly mentions natural selection only once, in a passing reference to Dr. Dawkins. It seems odd that someone determined to convince people of a creationist viewpoint would fail to address the predominant scientific explanation for the diversity of life!

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on April 01, 2016:

You are missing the point of the miracle. It is not that the pilot was well trained which we know they are. The miracle as documented by eye witnesses who were there is that no lives were lost, not one. In that freezing water, the coincidence that rescue boats were only minutes away from the landing site... You can also read about some of the survivors. They have written about there experience that day... I know I can't convince you and I won't try. To people go faith, no proof is necessary, to others, no amount of proof will suffice.

I have studied evolution theory for years. You might want to check out "the Science of God" written by a physicist Gerald Schroder. It is eye opening.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 01, 2016:

So you truly believe the pilot's training, skill, clear thinking, and courage and the clear thinking, survival instincts, and courage of the passengers plus the training, skills, clear thinking, and courage of the rescue workers had nothing to do with the outcome of that near-tragedy?

Evolution only addresses the way lifeforms have changed over time and has nothing to say about the origins of life. If you are looking for scientific theories about the origin of life, you'll want to investigate molecular biology instead of evolution.

If you think the chances of evolution occurring by random mutation plus natural selection are astronomical, you'd likely benefit from learning about evolution. I doubt you'd ever consider reading it, but the very best explanation of how changes add up over millions of years I've ever found was in The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. He does a great job of explaining the math and the science in multiple ways in such a way that it's entertaining and very easy to understand, but not condescending.

The logical conclusion is that when a wide variety of things happen many, many times, some of those things will be be flukes or freaks.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on April 01, 2016:

Interesting. It sounds like you are open to being convinced if you witnessed or experienced a miracle or supernatural event personally. That is different response from most atheists. From my experience, no amount of evidence will suffice. I am not talking about something that happened thousand of years ago. Miracles are happening today all around us. Checkout miracle on the Hudson -

It's funny how some put their faith in science and yet when the statisticsl odds are computed, they reject the only logical conclusion.

BTW, the same can be said about evolution and mutations. The chance of life originating by random mutations are astronomical...

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 31, 2016:

I've never witnessed a miracle nor have I ever seen any credible evidence of one so I don't believe in the existence of miracles, either. I don't believe in anything supernatural.

Here's how I explain miracles: I believe that when billions and billions of things happen, some few of them may seem extremely unusual and religious people will call all of the positive or beneficial extremely unusual things that happen miracles usually while not bothering to acknowledge the extremely unusual negative or detrimental things.

I see positive extremely unusual occurrences as flukes and negative extremely unusual occurrences as freak accidents. When there are a wide variety of possibilities and many, many things are done and many lives are lived, some people are statistically likely to encounter extremely unusual occurrences and outcomes.

There are over seven billion people on the planet. Some of them will die in freak accidents or from things that just aren't likely to kill people. Some of them will get far better results than usual from their cancer treatments or survive things 999,999 people out of a million wouldn't. The vast majority of them won't experience either extreme.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on March 31, 2016:

I get it. You don't believe in the existence of God. But how do you explain miracles?

Eldon Arsenaux from Cooley, Texas on March 19, 2016:

Here's an additional thought: An atheist can still believe in the power-of-symbols. Power approaches belief, because actions bespeak. After all, the biblical equation is God=Word.

As an atheist I'm still a symbol-user. Belief has power, thus, so does God, regardless of our temporal reality. Perhaps you've heard this argument before. It may be re-worded thus: If, God as a physical entity does not exist, 'it' finds existence in unifying concepts, or an elemental image, immediately reversible from "the highest to the lowest orders".

Parenthetically, I do not credit atheism as the legitimate beholder of pure rationality. Atheists, as I see myself and others, are oft equally constricted by another's language. Once this game is going, the interjection of new rules requires we change the board. It is like two people at chess: the rules are in place, and all possible moves are charted out before the game gets going. Both play the game using different pieces, different moves (ideas, within the same overarching discourse, as our metaphor works). Despite who thinks they may have won it, the game is then reset. It is a constant shift of perceived winners-and-losers, with neither side admitting any summary defeat. A game again.

This is not to say that the mere insignia of God demands reality; rather, our use of symbols (abstracting upwards from positive reality to Ultimate Terms) points to an intellectualizing organization, an Upward Way, or entelechy, that ends at a precipice, or God, who organizes. This is not the God of all worlds, but the God of all Words.

Truth is based in belief. Facts, if we take them to be Universal Truths, run on another mathematical belief-system. However, where facts are falsifiable, so goes God, though agnostics can claim no absolute certainty, because of the broad spectrum of unknowns. So what is known. What is so intrinsic to modern life that we feel we will not be able to live without it (much like God)? Money. It is symbolic of life. The monetization of God. God, in this sense, is not the creator of wealth, or the shaping-hand of reality, but a set of various organizing principles behind property. Perhaps that example is too obtuse.

(Consider my continuing an apology)

'It' is not a man in the sky, but rather a concept, which all humans use innately when describing the dialectic. Science, as I see it, disperses with 'the old gods'. Yet, we must lookout for 'new gods', that insidiously insert themselves onto present symbol systems.

Thanks for this Hub. It got my gears going, though hopefully I didn't run too long with the railroad without questioning my own discourse along the track-way,


Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 10, 2016:

It's really about what people do, rather than about what they believe. When people beat and then kick out their gay child due to their religious beliefs; I hate the beliefs because of what they caused those parents to do.

If people use their religion as the reason they are introducing a law to make bullying legal so long as the bullying comes from sincerely held beliefs, I'm going to hate that part of the belief responsible.

If people vandalize my car with the words "Die Atheist C^&*" because I'm an atheist, I hate that their beliefs lead them to believe they are above the law.

Hate the particular belief, not the believer.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 10, 2016:

What I don't understand is Atheist hatred for someone they do not believe in. I don't believe in anyone else's professed god but since I don't why would I get so made about it and hate them? I can live my life around other people's beliefs. I just ignore it.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on February 15, 2016:

Thank you.

I, too, have noticed that some people become less and less aggressive trying to convince others of their beliefs with age. I have also noticed that some people develop a midlife or late life fervor for converting people.

If your nephew has made it through six years of seminary without losing his faith, he's likely to keep it. Seminaries seem to turn as many people into agnostics as they turn into ministers.

McKenna Meyers on February 13, 2016:

I think as one grows older you become less inclined to try to convince anyone of anything. I have a nephew who's in his last year of seminary school (6 years total). I think it's great for him and I would never say a word against what he so strongly believes. He doesn't try to change me, either. It's acceptance and respect. We're both on our own journeys -- our beliefs based on our own life experiences. I love that everyone is different. If I could possibly make myself believe in God, I would because there are many health benefits for believers. But, as you write, you can't make yourself believe something you don't. Great hub!

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on February 11, 2016:

Most people believe in at least one god. It is because they were raised that way. They are afraid to challenge that belief, because nasty cosmic repercussions could happen, either in this life or the next.

Having recently lost my faith in God due to flashbacks from inadvertently joining a cult, I find it easier to simply not discuss the matter. If anyone tries to convert me, I calmly say that I've heard it all before, having attended a Christian school, and I'm glad it works for them. End of argument!

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on February 01, 2016:

Thank you for your insightful and rational answer.

I don't think saying you feel everyone has a God-shaped hole in them is the same as saying everyone believes in God at all. Humans all have needs and wants and it's clear that belief fills important needs and wants in many people. All you're really saying when you say we all have a God-shaped hole in us is that human beings have a lot of the same basic needs and desires, we just fulfill them in different ways.

For instance, believers might be able to soothe feelings of guilt for things that are beyond their control by setting down their feelings of responsibility for those things and putting them into God's hands, as it were. A non-believer might just use an awareness that logically, she's not responsible for things beyond her control to talk herself out of illogical feelings of guilt. Both approaches are healthy and fulfill the same need. Both God and rational thought can fill that particular hole. I think we've all got a lot of holes in us and we can only fill them with things we think are real, believer and non-believer alike.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on February 01, 2016:

I think you are on to something here. "A god shaped hole"! And what is even worse is that the hole is impossible to fill because there is no god to fill it, other than empty prayers, wishes, superstitions, "feelings", and illogical beliefs.

One thing I don't understand is how a "perfect" god could have created an "imperfect" universe. And just suppose that if a god had written the genetic code for humans, why is so much of it imperfect?

It's analogous to a writer/creator writing a sentence. If the sentence is off by a few letters, the writer/creator would simply fix the errors - not erase the whole sentence (as in destroy all humans in a flood, only to allow the errors to continue afterwards). To me, this is proof that a god doesn't exist, and certainly not a perfect god.

There are thousands of more anecdotes for showing that a logical/perfect god not only does not exist, but cannot exist as postulated.

But those with the "god hole" cannot comprehend that they are using platitudes, mythology, repetition, indoctrination, and faulty logic to fill those holes.

sketch on February 01, 2016:

I promised I would explain my believers answer of " something else, I will explain."

I think that nonbelievers still have what believers would call the "God shaped hole." The God shaped hole is that yearning for deeper meaning in life.

Believers fill that yearning with a belief in God and find fulfillment in all the trappings of their religion or simple security in the knowlege that there is something beyond the visible world.

Non believers have the hole but fill it with other feel good things. Many believers wrongly think that void gets filled by Science for the nonbeliever, but that is incorrect. Science is empirical fact. Facts don't fulfill, they just are. Believers can believe facts too (let's leave evolution out of this for now). The non believer will fill up the hole with things that are fulfilling: helping others, being a "good person," even drugs and alcohol. These things, while they feel good, and may even be wholesome things to engage in, don't ever seem to be enough. Like the hampster in the wheel, they have to keep moving and doing these things in order to feel good.

The believer may appear to be doing a similar thing with continual observance of religious trappings, but not every believer does them or does them in different ways. Consider the believers who say "I believe in a higher power and that is good enough for me" then don't engage in any religious practice whatsoever. This category of believer still finds peace and fulfillment.

So really the God shaped whole can be filled without formal religion while still being filled. "Spiritual but not religious" is often the term they apply to themselves.

In conclusion, this "God shaped hole" is experienced by everyone. Atheists fill theirs even without belief in any sort of deity/higher power. The Atheist's use of good actions (or even bad, really) to fill the hole will lead a believer to wrongly state that the atheist is a god unto his or her self. However, that conclusion actually ignores the believer's own code. What a believer calls "sin" isn't just breaking the rules. Technically, it is making oneself a god. Anytime a believer sins, he or she places the self in the throne they claim to reserve for their deity by ignoring the rules of that deity. So ironically, believers commit the sin they accuse atheists of on a regular basis. Everyone has the hole. How we fill it will determine believer/nonbeliever status. How we screw that up is everyone's problem regardless of deity/nondeity.

Titen-Sxull from back in the lab again on January 30, 2016:

The number of people identifying as non-religious is the fastest growing religious demographic in the world at 16% of the world population but the number of those who are actually identifying as atheists is difficult to pin down.

Far from being "in" or 'hip' to be an atheist in most places around the world it will get you ostracized by your family and community and in many places it could even threaten your life. I think it was last year that several atheist bloggers in Bangladesh were killed. I also can't imagine what it's like for those living in Muslim countries who begin to doubt their faith.

On the internet however atheists are free to express themselves which is what leaves many religious people thinking there are so many atheists and it must be some new fad with the kids.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 30, 2016:

The proper term for people who believe in a God but not a religiously defined, interested-in-humanity God is actually Deist. Since people where I live call everyone who isn't a conservative Christian an atheist or a Pagan and I've found quite a few people online who have experienced the same phenomenon elsewhere, your friends are probably just saving themselves some headaches trying to explain.

I've never met a Deist who identifies themselves as atheist but then again, most of the atheists I know (face to face) are closeted and let people think they're Christians so they don't have problems on the job or in their communities. I'd guess Deists would likely do the same here because they'd just get lumped in with atheists anyway.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 30, 2016:


If you don't like stereotyping you could stop doing it by not saying things like that atheists say they are atheists to because it's an "in" thing to do or that they're confused. You could have a third party listen to and read a few days worth of your words and they could help you by pointing it out when you are stereotyping. It probably wouldn't take long for you to catch on to when you are doing it.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 29, 2016:

For the sake of argument, many of the atheists I've spoke with do believe in what one might term God; it's just that this force is so far removed from mainstream religion, it's just easier to identify as Atheist.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 29, 2016:

I just told you: to mask their embarrassment and confusion.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 28, 2016:

It's the same thing. People are individuals some are confused more than others while others go with fashion. I don't like stereotyping.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 28, 2016:

@Oztinato My beliefs are based on what I think is real rather than what I think is cool. Believing all of the loved ones I've lost weren't really dead but just hanging out in paradise with the creator of the universe instead would be COOL. Unfortunately, I don't think that is real. They're all actually dead and no longer exist as any sort of thinking, feeling entities; I wish I could believe they weren't just dust and memories.

It's not fun or cool or in to be an atheist.

Link10103 on January 28, 2016: which is it Oz. Are atheists trying to hide their agnosticism, or are they just confused about what to believe and choose atheist to be cool?

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 28, 2016:

There's really no point trying to make sense out of it.

Link10103 on January 28, 2016:

It would be one thing if he said some believers or actually closested atheists, or that there are simply closeted atheists out there. There are a variety of reasons for people to be closet atheists, some including death.

Except that Oz said there are atheists actively trying to hide their agnosticism. Like wtf is the point of hiding THAT if people already know you're an atheist lol..

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 28, 2016:

I don't atheists are ashamed about their beliefs just understandably confused about what to believe in. People want to be fashionable and "in" so for a few years it's cool to be atheist.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 28, 2016:

Yeah, Christians and Muslims need to get over their fear and hatred of non-believers.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 28, 2016:

Some theists think atheists are ashamed of their disbelief because some atheists are still closeted. Some atheists still feel the need to be closeted, not because they are ashamed, but because they live in places where being outed as a non-Christian could result in job loss, harassment, or other negative consequences.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 28, 2016:

LOL Link! Yes, what would be the point of hiding a disbelief in anything? Do theists think atheists are ashamed of their disbelief? Quite the contrary. No more so than being ashamed of a disbelief in Ra, the sun god, or a disbelief in Quetzalcoatl. I also don't believe that planets are created in 6 days! That makes me a scientist, not a bad person.

Link10103 on January 28, 2016:

...and what exactly is the point for an atheist to (uselessly) hide their agnosticism.

Paladin_ on January 28, 2016:

Actually, contrary to an earlier assertion (by a Hubber who's notorious for being wrong on a great many things), most atheists are NOT "closet agnostics." Most atheists I know (including myself) are OPEN agnostics.

Unfortunately, most people are still confused about the literal meanings of "atheist" and "agnostic," erroneously believing that "agnosticism" is some 'wishy-washy' half-way point between believing and not believing.

In reality, the two terms refer to two completely ideas. "Gnosticism" and "agnosticism" refer to what someone KNOWS, while "theism" and "atheism" refer to what someone BELIEVES. Thus, one can be an "atheist" (not BELIEVING in God) AND an "agnostic" (not KNOWING whether or not God -- in whatever relevant form -- exists). It's been my experience that this is the case with most atheists.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 28, 2016:

Hardcore atheists try to hide the fact they are actually agnostics. After questioning you find out they like a bit of Buddhism, a bit of meditation and are hedging their bets about God. This is called closeting.

Link10103 on January 28, 2016:

What the heck is a closet agnostic? The average atheist lacks belief in God and is by default an agnostic atheist, nothing hidden about it.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 28, 2016:


I believe it usually comes from a place of concern that something real and bad is going to happen to us. The idea of their God torturing people they care about for eternity is certain to be horrifying to them. My ex-husband used to have bouts of what I can only call terror thinking about the both of us being burnt over and over for eternity because he's gay and I'm an atheist. His concern was genuine and it touched my heart even as it made me feel sad for his distress.


I also think many people don't really understand what agnostic actually means and think it means doubting rather than realizing it's the opposite of gnostic. They think being an agnostic atheist means being a doubting believer rather than being a person who is open to empirical evidence of anything. I didn't get into that in the piece because it would pull the page off topic with theists arguing over the definitions. I didn't use a dictionary definition of atheist because some Christians feel they get to define what other people believe their way and would argue with it.


My observations have been similar. I notice you also live in Michigan, though, so our experience might be regional in nature? I've met plenty of people who refer to Catholics as Pagans and refer to moderate and liberal Christians as atheists and I've been told it's likely a regional phenomenon. Maybe extreme cherry-picking is, too?

Maybe a lot of people really want to follow all the Bible, like the ones putting out petitions to legalize murdering gay people and so on, but they are obeying the laws of the land as Jesus tells them to in the Bible?


Lots of the ignorance or gaps people tend to label as God seem to eventually get filled in or bridged with knowledge once people study the issue long enough. I think theists tend to think in terms of humanity being some apex of creation rather than being very intelligent animals who haven't learned an awful lot yet.

We've only just created the scientific framework for investigating reality in the last few hundred years. We've done amazing things within our limitations but we're nowhere near done with our self-education, yet some theists expect us to either know everything or believe God is in the gaps.


Actually, atheists believe lots of things are real, just not Gods.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 28, 2016:

How is it stereotyping to say some Christians seem to believe atheists think God is real when you've said so yourself? Saying people say things they've actually said to you isn't stereotyping.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 27, 2016:

I have put it on record on HP that most atheists are closet agnostics so you can't stereotype what some of us theists think.

Eldercurk on January 27, 2016:

IN a sense, Atheists believes in something but they would rather have scientific or logical proof. The scientific proof has been revealed already in the creation of the universe but they ignore it as evidence that there is a divine intelligent creator behind it. I n a tragic event of something, they will sometimes bend and call on God for help.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 27, 2016:

Yes! Remember when everyone BELIEVED that thunderbolts came from Thor? Well someone did not Believe that and proceeded to figure out where thunderbolts actually came from. That's the way atheists think. THEISTS BELIEVE a god/being created the universe, except people are waking up to the fact now that that's not how it happened. We are discovering that the universe (and everything in it) is all natural, no god required. Just like thunderbolts.

Paladin_ on January 27, 2016:

I think Titen hit the nail on the head. I think the presuppositionalist approach is responsible for most of the confusion regarding non-believers.

Not too long ago, I noticed a comment by a believer in one of the HubPages questions that she'd "never met an atheist who didn't fear God." I had to shake my head, bite my tongue and let it go, because I hate trying to use the format in those question pages, where it limits your word count. But I really wanted to educate her.

I actually have an hypothesis regarding much of religious belief. I suspect that much of it is actually belief in BELIEF, rather than actual belief in God (or gods). It seems sensible to me that, if people truly -- I mean genuinely -- believed in God (as described in the Bible), they would lead lives VASTLY different from those they currently live.

At the risk of being inflammatory, I must honestly observe that, in more than a half-century living on this planet, I've never met a believer who hasn't adapted their belief to accommodate their own circumstances, and not the other way around.

It's my understanding that belief in God is an all-or-nothing proposition, that one must accept ALL of his dictates without question, and not merely pick and choose those which don't offend our own human morality or convenience.

If you're going to honor the Sabbath, you must also stone to death any witches or homosexuals you might meet. If you're going to turn the other cheek, you must also kill any child who curses their parent (as Jesus himself reportedly admonished). If you truly 'love' Jesus (and believe that he 'loves' you), you must follow his instructions to trust in God to provide for you, and to not take any care for the morrow (including productive employment) -- and to let the "dead" (those of us not destined for Heaven) bury their dead.

These are dichotomies that that are undoubtedly uncomfortable for those who believe, but are simply UNSUSTAINABLE for those of us who used to believe, and I suspect that's the primary difference between us. Once the façade is abandoned, belief is no longer possible.

I recognize that my comments have essentially reversed the topic, from non-believers to believers, but I hope they've shed some light on the larger issue of how we tend to think so very differently.

kbdressman from Clinton Township, Michigan on January 27, 2016:

I think some of the problem is that people confuse atheists and agnostics. Believers divide everyone into people who believe and people who don't, when in reality there are three groups: people who believe, people who aren't sure if there is a God or not (many in this group think we can't know for sure), and people who believe God doesn't exist. By lumping agnostics and atheists into the same category and responding to both groups in the same way, believers can look pretty ignorant.

Snakesmum on January 26, 2016:

Very interesting and logical discussion.

You say : " I've even been told, "You know in your heart that Jesus is real," by people who seem to genuinely believe what they're saying. "

Perhaps the basis of this is fear and they cannot stand to think that there is a chance that God does not exist.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 26, 2016:

We're blaming BELIEF in God for stuff. If a teen's parents throw him out for breaking with their religious beliefs, I don't blame God, I blame their beliefs. Belief in God gets used to justify all sorts of misbehavior. Why shouldn't we blame the belief when the people committing the acts claim they are just following what God told them in the Bible?

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 26, 2016:

Then why do atheists keep blaming God for stuff.

"If I was a believer I would blame God for stuff" is not even a good rationalisation.

Also many atheists admit to having agendas of political anti religious activism: it's called gross religious intolerance.

Finally if you disagree with them they then stifle free speech.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 26, 2016:

Thank you for your insight, Titen-Sxull. You make an excellent point about presuppositionalists. Since they can't conceive of anything except God existing without being made by an intelligent designer, perhaps they also can't conceive of anyone else being able to do so, either.

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