Second Place 2016 Michael Hakeem Memorial College: Arguments for God just not credible: By Alex Reamy

FFRF awarded Alex $2,000.

By Alex Reamy

Religious believers like to pretend that atheism is the result of personal trauma orfrustration with God, but this was not the case with me. I have had heterodox opinions concerning religion for as long as I can remember.

When I was 7, I decided that Christ was most likely an ordinary rabbi and not a god in human form. My reasoning was as follows: “Jesus said he was the son of God, but he also said that we are all God’s children. So, maybe Jesus was not the literal son of God; maybe he was just a mortal man.” The next year, I discarded the doctrine of hell, since I could not believe in a just God who sentenced his creations to eternal damnation.

Gradually, my criticisms of religion became more refined. I observed that thousands of religions have existed throughout history, each with its own pantheon and set of moral teachings.

While studying history, I learned that the bible, which Christians consider a divinely inspired text, contained passages that condone slavery and the subjection of women. I wondered why a loving and all-powerful God would allow millions of innocent people to die of disease and natural disasters. If God created human beings knowing in advance that they would commit evil actions, is he not partly responsible for that evil?

In my junior year of high school, I examined all the common arguments for the existence of God, and saw that they all contain serious faults. Religious apologists claimed that only God could be responsible for the elegant design of the universe; but where, I thought, was the evidence for this design?

Most of the universe is indifferent, if not hostile, to human life.

Yet we are expected to believe that this vast cosmos was created for the sole purpose of fostering human life? If God exists, he must be extremely wasteful or indifferent.
There is also the First Cause argument, which states that everything in the universe has a cause, therefore there must be a first cause, which we label God. There are two objections to this line of reasoning.

First, particle physics has shown that “nothingness” is unstable, therefore it is plausible to imagine a universe in which “something” arose from nothing due to purely mechanical processes.

Second, the argument is obviously self-contradictory. You cannot start from the assumption that everything has a cause and obtain the result that there exists an uncaused cause (i.e., God). If it is true that everything has a cause, then God must also have a cause. If there is something without a cause, then there are no logical grounds for believing that this so-called “First Cause” is the vengeful, jealous God described in the bible. It is equally likely that the universe had multiple first causes, or that the universe was set in motion by some impersonal, natural force.The First Cause argument has several other fallacies, but these are the most blatant.

Casting aside my religious belief was not a slow or painful process, as it is for someatheists. I was raised in a secular household, so I was not punished for questioning the validity of a 2,000-year-old sacred text. If children were taught to value logic and skepticism rather than obedience and blind credulity, religion would quickly become obsolete. This is a goal we should strive toward, since dogmatic religious belief is one of the primary causes of hatred and suffering in the world.

In order to guarantee the survival of the human race in a postnuclear age, we must be willing to confront hard truths, instead of surrounding ourselves with comfortable lies. We must abandon ancient superstitions, and rely on our own intelligence in creating a more rational, humane world.

Alex, 20, lives in Hilton Head Island, S.C., but spends most of the year in Tempe, where he is studying mathematics at Arizona State University. He is a member of the ASU chapter of the Secular Student Alliance and enjoys reading classic literature and swimming with the local masters team.

Freedom From Religion Foundation