Atheists: What single argument / piece of evidence / observation do you find most compelling?

The title pretty much captures the essence here. I should explicitly point out that I’m not asking for proof of any sort nor your ideas on what logical debate tactics are most effective. I’m simply curious as to what idea most influences you in your disbelief of omnipresent, omniscient, supernatural beings. Feel free to mention subjective, non-logical items if you feel that is the case.

Yes, I know that we are all atheists because there is no evidence. But I’m looking for more specifics. There has to be something that pops out of the field that makes the idea of a God completely ridiculous to you whether it’s the problem of evil, televangelists being greedy bastards, or even that you’re convinced solipsism is true.

My answer to this is the size of the universe and the amount of it that we take up. I think very few people actually have any proper mental conception of the scale of astronomical distances and the sheer number of stars and galaxies out there that are indistinguishable from ours. And I think any sane person who can even mildly wrap their head around this reality cannot possibly believe we occupy such a privileged position of having the universe created for us. So whenever I’m in a position where I start to feel emotionally swayed into thinking actually there might be a God, I think about this and it passes.

So, anyone else? I figured IMHO is correct since I’m looking for opinions, not debate. Though that may be inevitable.

Um, the idea of a omnipresent, omniscient, supernatural being?

Well, for me it really is the lack of evidence. The universe, as you say, is a wonderfully huge and complicated place. And the development of that universe was just part of a very lengthy, very highly complicated and improbable chain of events that gave rise to life as we know it.

How much more complicated and improbable, then, would the chain of events have had to be that would lead to the creation of a conscious entity with the capacity to create a whole new universe/life/and so on? We have excellent evidence for the chain of events that led to our existence - we are, after all, here, and our explanations for how we got here seem to be useful tools for predicting and manipulating the world around us. We have no evidence whatsoever for that far more convoluted chain of events that would have led to the creation of a deity.

Parsimony demands atheism, in the absence of the additional evidence.

ETA: Or, to put it with some flash: Occam’s Razor slit God’s Throat.

Can you clarify on why the idea alone is sufficient for you to reject it? Is it that you think it’s logically impossible? Wildly improbable? Boring?

I don’t think you can get more specific than “there is no evidence”.

Physics. Occam’s Razor. Simple logic. Any number of things.

I just can’t get on board with a story. You can’t tell me “God works in mysterious ways,” and just leave it at that and expect me to give it the time of day. One cannot explain the unexplainable; therefore, I’m not going to accept an explanation of it that consists of, “just because.” I’d rather go with “I don’t know,” than, “here’s a bunch of stuff that could never happen in the real world, but it sounds good to me.”

It’s fantastical. If I accept that, then I need to accept the possibility of all of the Greek Gods existing, along with Cthulhu and the FSM.

I’ve never felt like the ‘no evidence’ was a compelling reason for me to not believe in God. I felt like there not being actual evidence for it pails in comparison - as a reason not to believe - to the general feeling I have that it just seems far too unlikely. So unlikely that it almost annoys me that people should even consider it worth finding evidence for.

Occam’s Razor wins the day for me, too.

I don’t disagree with anything here, but I’m not looking for explanations that neatly summarize why you are an atheist.

Put another way, suppose there actually is visible evidence for a western-religion-like deity. What one thing, if unchanged from reality, would make you say to believers, “Yeah, I know there are good reasons to believe, I’m just really reluctant to do so because…”

For me its the complete and utter inability of finding any difference whatsoever between believing in god or believing in something else equally ridiculous like vampires.


Edit: I would go further as to say that I don’t consider lack of evidence to be compelling enough to not believe in things - as a general rule.

There is no evidence that there’s (or was, or will be) a planet, similar to ours, but in a different galaxy, inhabited by lime-skinned tripeds with tool-making abilities. But that doesn’t mean such a place definitely doesn’t exist (or won’t exist, or never existed). It isn’t impossible a thing to contemplate. The idea of an omnipresent, omnipotent sentience is very close to improbable as to be worth, for the sake of not being pedantic, declaring impossible…

Do try to avoid believing in Cthulhu, though, even if you do someday become religious. Madness isn’t as much fun as it sounds.

Given that it was unlikely for life to develop in the first place, doesn’t that make the development of a god even less likely?

But it isn’t unlikely for life to develop. Lacking knowledge on the subject I am at a point in my belief where There is enough time, space, and planets in the universe for life to actually be quite likely to develop in at least a few places and times.

It Makes sense in my head for life to spring up in places and times in the universe. It makes NO sense for there to be an all-powerful all knowing being.

And this is without expending the mental energy to find more specific reasons to be highly sceptical of the existence of a God or Gods.

Here’s where you question falls flat for me. If there is “visible evidence for a western-religion-like deity” I would accept it. That is, if it truly is verifiable, no bullshit about it, according to Hoyle evidence. On the other hand, if I woke up tomorrow to find Jesus Christ standing at the foot of my bed, I’d probably chalk it up to an hallucination.

Essentially, I don’t disbelieve Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, or any other religion just because they piss me off. I disbelieve them because they are unbelievable.

Human suffering is pretty much my stumbling block.

Omnipotent + omnibenevolent + omniscient = murder/rape/genocide/AIDS/natural disasters/torture/mental illness?

Um, no.

The fact that everything (Christians) know of God comes from an ancient book that:

[li]has sections in it that have supernatural stories as implausible (talking snakes, a flood that could cover the world, parting a sea, staffs turning into snakes, etc.) as those of other belief systems — roman, norse, egyptian — that have become dismissed as mythology over time.[/li][li]has pesky contradictions that any editor worth their pillar of salt should have caught.[/li][li]has little corroborating evidence for the claims it makes; rather, the more we learn about the natural sciences, the more its veracity is damaged.[/li][li]has been authored, compiled, edited, revised and translated several times over by people whom we don’t even know. [/li][li]is troublingly vague and easy to misinterpret for what is supposed to be such an important book.[/li][/ul]

In short, it reads like a product of it’s time(s), rather than something composed by one who is above such things.

But if there were evidence for a god, I might not be an atheist. How can I answer that?

I’m scratching my head at this question. It feels very loaded to me.

It’s hardly the only reason, but was my first clue as a child; the sheer number of multually-incompatable religions. With believers that, from the outside, seem equally convinced and sincere in their faith. And all with the same level of ‘evidence’.

If nothing else, it’s proof that humans are really, really bad at picking religions.