The number comes from the definition of being a skeptic: that statistical evidence, beyond the minimum of possible doubt could show that an outcome is entirely likely - or in the case of religion, the "power of prayer" the 6,000 year-old Earth, and creation science - unlikely.
Now, many theistic apologists approach us daily and ask us "How can you be sure there's no god?" or the myriad of similar, brainwashed cookie-cutter questions that are identical to the one I just presented.
I have, in short, a response which I find is brief and good to keep in mind for religious zealots, and it tends to offer a hassle-free way to at the very least cause people (who listen, anyway) to question their own beliefs, and hopefully discover that things are not all as they seem when told by a charlatan preacher-person.
To any, and all Christians who have ever wondered why I'm 99.9999% sure there is no god, at all, anywhere... My three main reasons:
The concept of evil. Neurology, psychology and the study of human beings has found we are all equally capable of 'acts of evil', and that evil itself is actually more of an invented concept than a true black-and-white dividing line of morality and ethical conduct. Case in point: the countless scandals in which clergymen have sexually, criminally, or otherwise illegally taken advantage of their 'flock' or members therein, and have been allowed to continue preaching for the 'good lord' by superior clergy. Second on this point, christians claim that "evil cannot exist in the presence of god", but they also insist that "god is omnipresent" and lastly that "god punishes people for sin(s), and does not allow them to continue. Ironically, if "god" is omnipresent, and yet evil cannot exist in his/her/its presence, then how does 'evil' exist? Furthermore, if Susie Q down the road dies in a car crash, as Catholics will claim "because of sin" then why do corrupt clergymen, the wolves in the sheep's clothing of the church go on to live rich, full lives? These statements are not only contradictory, but they prove beyond a single doubt that nothing the testaments say about good/evil/god are true, therefore proving that they are human-made, full of human errors, and describing a man-made "god".
***to tack on to this point, it is also ironic that the supposed exodus of the Jewish people occurred to save a few hundred or a few thousand of "Moses' people", and their magical sky-god intervened to see it through... And yet the holocaust killed hundreds of thousands (and more) of the same people, from the same religion without intervention? Further evidence that the old stories must not have been true. [Addendum plus: the Egyptians were found not to have many slaves to begin with, and relied instead largely on paid workers for many projects. They did have slaves, not as many as people tend to assume when compared to other powers such as China and Rome but I digress here.]
#2, [Buckle up, folks... This one is a doosy]
The biography and life of the supposed "Jesus". This is where I really get a bee in my hat, so much about Christianity (nay, even the name) revolve around the "messiah", and yet the new testament is the -only- bibliographical supposed 'evidence' of his existence! We know Julius Caesar existed, and did the things he did, just as Cleopatra, Marc Antony, Marcus Aurelius, Alexander the Great, King Xerxes, Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, and so forth -because- we have coins minted in their image, there are accounts left behind from these people themselves, descendants who are known through DNA and record-keeping (where applicable), and most imporantly.... Opposition accounts. There are people from history who HATED these individuals, and made equal accounts of their accomplishments, most notably opposing generals and senators in Rome when Caesar crossed the Rubicon river with his personally loyal army of legionnaires! We know when these people were born, we know when they died. In the case of Jesus Christ, there is -no- conclusive record of his birthdate (which you think they would know!), date of death, and virtually no mention of his exploits from any sources that were reliable in the area of Jerusalem, ancient Syria, ancient Jordan, Rome and so on! Apologists love to cite the Tacitus passage that in-passing mentions 'christ' but it's only to define who christians are: "supposed followers of a messiah named christ", and this is well after JC was supposed to have been dead! What's worse is not even the supposed crucifixion stands up to historic tribunal: the 'Jewish court that went against Jesus' didn't even follow established JEWISH LAW, which is something that orthodox Jewish fathers would have never tolerated, even for someone they didn't like! And again, there are no records of courts having even been held, in Roman territory (and the Romans were fairly good at documenting sweeping scandals and large, drawn-out cases). Furthermore, Pontus Pilatus was a governor in Syria, at the wrong time for the trial! And he was known for being ruthless and cut-throat against anyone, supposedly having ordered the massacre of an entire group of people who spoke out against Roman will. Definitely not the "sorry, apologetic and unwilling to be involved" Pontus portrayed in the new testament.... The real Pontus would've killed a would-be messiah for much less! Lastly, Jesus' name wasn't apparently even Jesus. "Jesus Christ" is a name derived from "Yeshewah/Yahweh" who was termed as "being the christ" at some point in the early middle ages, thus "Jesus Christ" was fully adopted... Or very close to that. There are so many people having been listed as sharing those names who lived in the old area of Galilee/Jerusalem/Judea as it is, who lived very average, dull lives to their completion. None of them were messiah's.
Regardless, my biggest point on #2 is that Christians don't even know when their supposed savior lived and died! The guesswork is between the years of 6 B.C.E. - 4 C.E. and 32 C.E. - 42 C.E. ... That's a gap that is way too big to even begin wanting to be accurate, and yet it's suggested that the 'messiah is absolute'. When I ask what JC's supposed birthday was, and Christians say "christmas" that isn't even remotely accurate, either - - - The 'savior' Jesus was supposedly born in spring, as well as executed in spring! Mentions of this guy don't even show up until around 200+ C.E., when people actually wrote things down about him. So the people who supposedly wrote about him (Paul/Mark/John, etc.) didn't even write on him! Scribes in about 232 C.E. came up with the apostles' names, so that the apostles -would have names to begin with-. This is another huge reason I doubt the divinity of anything the bible has to say.
I even very seriously doubt that Jesus was a real human being, and suspect he was instead an invention of necessity to make a "more appealing god" so that the Hebrew branch-off religion could then survive as the new fan-dangled belief system: Christianity. Should I ever find/see/stumble across or be shown substantial evidence showing that he was, in fact, a regular-Joe human being who was either a lost Buddhist or a super-hippie then I would reconsider, but that would not make him anything close to 'divine', and I'm positive his name would not be "Jesus Christ".
#3, my biggest and final reason to stand behind my lack of belief.
Everything portrayed in the Bible, the Koran (or Quran, whichever), the "Book of Mormon" (which is total, absolute, garbage-ridden bogus, even by religious standards!) is definitely, beyond a doubt, HUMAN.
If we had a 'creator god' who was better than us, superior in every way, infallible, ultimately all-powerful and invincible.... That deity would not be human. And yet the god portrayed in every text is very much human in every way.
The bible alone: "He" (Helium?) gets angry, jealous, vengeful, regretful (for making man, after being happy about it?), happy, etc. etc.... These are emotions that only human beings can possess, in such a range of manners. Based on these emotions, their 'god' also supposedly makes mistakes! Having "known all that will be" and "all that is", then why would the same deity get angry for those things transpiring? Or allow them to transpire and then become angry about it? The contradictions mount up so high that it is obviously, undoubtedly a work of fiction by human hands, using human concepts and human language. Therefore.... That's all it ever will be. And why I'm 99.9999% sure there is -no- god(s) as presented by the religions that have existed thus far on Earth. People also believe that prayers will be answered.... Just as people might write a wish-list to Santa Claus, or ask a Genie to fulfill their owed 3-wishes for finding a standard metal oil-lamp with a magical Djinn trapped inside. Prayers are nothing more than people talking to themselves about what they wish to happen, and studies have shown that prayer can actually hurt medical patient's chances MORE than when nobody prays for them.
"...patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested." (Carey, Benedict, NY Times 2006)
Besides, as Penn Jillette pointed out something along the lines of: "Prayer is the most blasphemous thing anyone can do: you assume that an all-knowing, all-planning god who set all things in motion.... Would suddenly change that big plan, drop everything and spend time for an insignificant mortal to help her get her puppies back, and at the same time refuse to help good people with mortal wounds to recover, when their family needs them more than the girl needs her puppies?"
Bonus: Buddha is not a god, and instead teaches as a teacher would: by pointing out that strength is individual, not granted by a fictional deity or ancient text (Buddha himself was supposedly credited with saying ancient religious texts are not to be believed as facts). I'm not a Buddhist, but if I had to be anything... That's what I'd choose.
As a skeptic, I can admit there is the 0.00001% chance that there could be a "larger power" out there in the universe, hell even a sentient one. But I can guarantee with 100% certainty that it would not be anything as presented in any religion that has ever been established, ever.
The christian god is like a superhero... Invincible "because!" ... powerful "because!" ... and so forth on the same assumptions and 'faith beliefs'.
On the same theory, it almost legitimately surprises me that more people don't die in house fires waiting for Superman to come and rescue them, instead of fleeing the house and waiting for the Fire Department. To me, Superman and god are one in the same:
INK on paper, and nothing more.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a good week, Atheist Republic forum goers!
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