(Frequently Asked Questions)

A number of questions are repeatedly posed to me in various E-mail messages. I have avoided answering such questions when they become too personal (and I reserve the right to continue doing so; my sex life, my childhood, etc. are none of anyone's goddamned business!). However, some questions are asked so often that I grow tired of answering them, so I will attempt to answer them here. Note that these are questions, not creationist arguments. For common creationist arguments, see the Arguments section.

Q: Why are you doing this?

A: Because I want to help inform people about what is going on in the political (yes, political, not scientific) debate about evolution. I also have a certain personal stake, in the sense that there is political pressure on school boards across North America to bow to religious forces, and I have children in school. And finally, I have grown rather fed up with the constant complaints of the Christian supremacists, who try to portray any encroachment of secularism upon Christian supremacy as an assault upon the Christian faith.

Q: Why do you try to make all Christians sound like ignorant hatemongers?

A: I don't. It's really just the fundamentalists who are ignorant hatemongers. Unfortunately, the fundamentalists believe that they stand for all Christians, so that an attack on fundamentalism is an attack on all Christians.

Q: Why do you hate Christians?

A: I don't. See above.

As an aside, I stayed in a church college when I went to university. I've met plenty of Christians that I liked (I even married one). But while Christians are fond of saying "Hate the sin, love the sinner", they seem rather reluctant to accept someone saying "Hate Christianity, love the Christian". I guess they figure what's good for the goose is not good for the gander.

Q: What are your own religious beliefs?

A: I am an atheist. I am not an agnostic, I am not a Marxist, and I am not merely a rebellious Christian. Agnostics think that it is impossible to know whether God exists, rebellious Christians only call themselves atheists in order to express their anger against God (CS Lewis is a good example), and Marxism is no more related to atheism than it is to mathematics: the fact that the Marxist accepts atheism (or mathematics) does not mean that the atheist or mathematician is required to accept Marxism.

I grew up having no real opinion on the existence of God, not having been indoctrinated in the concept except through the general culture. For most of my formative years, I was under the impression that Christianity was a basically kind-hearted and charitable ideology, characterized chiefly by the motto "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "turn the other cheek". For a time, I even became curious enough about the faith to explore it more thoroughly, so I read the Bible. What was the result of this investigation? Let's just say that if you want to turn an unbeliever against Christianity, nothing will work better than getting him to read the Bible. I quickly discovered that the most horrible sentiments coming from the mouths of fundamentalists were indeed all contained in the Bible. And the more I learned about the history of the religion, the more revulsion I felt.

But none of this has anything to do with the reason I reject the existence of God. When I was a child, I first heard the story of Noah's Ark and complained that it made no sense. I was told to accept it anyway, because God can do the impossible. Naturally, I concluded that the Bible's stories could not be literally true for the same reason that Albert Einstein (whose own made-up idea of God has been woefully misrepresented by those who wish to misrepresent him as a Christian) came to an identical conclusion: because those stories make no sense and are totally unsupported by science and empirical evidence.

Q: Why are you an atheist rather than an agnostic?

Because the non-existence of God is a perfectly valid logical conclusion. The agnostic believes that you cannot know whether God exists. But as many scientists and philosophers have pointed out, the agnostic fails to make the same statement about the Greek goddess Athena, or Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, or an imaginary flying spaghetti monster. Yet in all those cases, the reason for declaring them nonexistent is the same: the whole idea is irreconcilable with science and has no supporting evidence. So why should God be treated any differently, when the concept of God not only makes no sense, but cannot make any sense by definition because it is explicitly defined as that which cannot be understood with logic?

Q: Why do you associate religion with opposition to the homosexual agenda? There are atheists who oppose homosexuality too.

Yes, I am perfectly aware that there are some atheists who dislike homosexuals, for the same reason that I myself once did: there is an instinctive feeling of revulsion at the concept. This instinctive feeling comes from our gender-role programming, our early socialization, and our genetic instincts (which include a desire for conformism due to our nature as social pack-animals). Human social ethics, however, are much more complex than simply following our instincts. I grew out of that adolescent attitude after studying ethics and examining my own attitudes. Conservative religious ideology suppresses that mechanism by telling you that your instincts are from God (so you should trust them completely) while clever logical arguments against those instincts must be from Satan (so you should reject them even if they seem to make sense).

Last updated: July 31, 2007