I'm an atheist, or more accurately, an atheist-leaning agnostic. I won't completely rule out the possibility that something created the universe. Some people ask where the universe came from if there was no creator. However, this begs the question of where the creator came from. To me, it makes as much sense to say the universe has always existed (or something larger than the universe that we don't know about) has always existed as it does to say a "god" or gods created the universe and that god has always existed.
Then you get into the religious dogma that I have a lot of issues with. I was raised as a Baptist, but had friends of various Christian sects. Even as a kid, I always privately questioned religion.
Some things that I asked myself that made me question Christianity:
- If a person grew up in a predominantly Hindu country with Hindu parents and was never taught much about Christianity other than it was a relgion they believe in "over there", wouldn't that person likely believe Hinduism was the one true faith? It seems morals are relative to where you are born as well. As an old Grace Slick song goes, "what is right and what is wrong all depends on where you're from".
- If a baby dies before it has a chance to accept Jesus, does it go to Hell? If it does, how is that fair to the baby? If the baby goes to Heaven, why does it get a free pass while the rest of us have to be tested and have our sins forgiven?
- If only the soul goes to Hell, how can it burn if there is no physical matter to burn? And wouldn't you get used to the pain of Hell eventually? See "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus for an insight into this line of thought.
- Are Christians supposed to fear God or love God? They can't seem to agree. Or maybe it is both. Comedian George Carlin has an excellent commentary on this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o
- If an atheist leads a moral life, but doesn't believe in God, he or she gets sent to Hell, but if a Christian leads an immoral life, but repents and believes in God, he or she gets to go to Heaven. This seems perverted to me and the height of arrogance.
- How do those that "talk to God" know that they aren't hearing their own mind and their own wishful thinking?
- If you went to Heaven, would you retain your memories? If so, wouldn't you be sad about the loved ones that didn't make it to Heaven? If you lose your memory, then I don't see Heaven as really being any better than being worm food.
These are just some of the questions that led me to making the choice to become an atheist. In my opinion, religion was created by primative people who used it to explain what they could not otherwise explain. Over time, some people realized they could use these beliefs to cause fear and control the masses. The stories became more and more elaborate and those that opposed the religious beliefs were persecuted. Through tradition and rituals, people are sort of brainwashed into believing that their belief is the one and only true belief and that people with varying beliefs are "heathens" or "infidels".
BTW, I don't mean to pick on Christians, that is just the religious tradition I am most familiar with. I don't claim to have the answers. There is so much about our universe that we have yet to discover. I believe the theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory are probably correct, but I'm open to the possibility that it is wrong, but even if they are wrong, it doesn't mean that God exists.