In reading your replies, I cannot make out your belief system or your method of reasoning.
how do you think the universe occured?
how do you think the universe could exist if there was not certainty in physical systems?
if you are aware of the structure of the universe, where could a heaven be located?
since the universe is billions of years old, and man is maybe 6-8 million years old, why do you think a man-made religion of any denomination is in any way related to a deity?
can you envision a universe created by a force or power that is not related to the man created idea of an earth centered deity?
where do you think morals originated?
what rewards does one receive by being atheist?
I think most atheists rebel against morality and the imagined concept of an old man in white robes who lives in Heaven. I see no particular advantage to the life of anyone who has made this transcendent discovery. I think the reasoning process stopped a little too soon.
You have many questions, so I will answer you briefly and hope that you ask for clarification where needed.
My belief system: In a nutshell, I believe that scientific methods provide the most likely explanation for observed phenomena. I see no compelling evidence for the supernatural.
My method of reasoning: I’m not sure I understand the question. In general, I have a system I call “the two questions” that I apply to any philosophical or metaphysical system. Given any topic, I ask, “Does my philosophy contradict itself,” and “Would I condemn another for reasoning as I do?” If I can answer “no” to both questions, then I consider the philosophy worth investigating. My morality is generally based on these two questions and self interest.
How the universe came to be: If you mean our universe, then I think it most likely was the result of a natural process. If you mean the continuum of all things that possibly exist (including universes before or outside our own, if there are any), then I can’t conceive of it having a beginning. Something infinite seems to be logically required, so it might as well be all of reality.
How could the universe exist without certainty in physical systems: I don’t say that our universe could exist under these conditions, but I see no reason why another universe couldn’t. And if you get right down to it, it’s possible that we don’t exist in a universe with stable physical laws. Perhaps they only shift infrequently and the universe hasn’t been around long enough for this to happen?
I’m not sure what you mean when you ask if I am aware of the structure of the universe. If you are asking whether I have the answer to how all physical processes occur, then I do not — nobody does (that’s why theoretical physicists are able to keep busy).
If Heaven existed, it could be anywhere God wanted it to be — another planet, another dimension, another universe. (Assuming a deity exists, of course.) This is an odd question to me. Perhaps I am misunderstanding?
You continue with a complex question: “since the universe is billions of years old, and man is maybe 6-8 million years old, why do you think a man-made religion of any denomination is in any way related to a deity?” If you are saying that religion is completely man made, then you are defining it as having nothing to do with a real deity, so your question answers itself. If you are not saying this, then if there were a deity it could reveal religion or inspire it, or all religions could be human interpretations of an experience of the divine that we are not able to fully comprehend. So far as I can see, the age of the universe (and of humanity) doesn’t seem to impact the question.
You ask if I can imagine a universe created by a deity other than a man-created Earth-centered deity. You’re loading your question again with the phrase “man-created.” The universe couldn’t have been created by a man-created deity — it’s not logically possible. Can I imagine a universe created by a metaphysically real deity that is not Earth-centered? Sure, I can imagine it. Sounds like deism to me. And just to be clear, I can imagine that our universe was created by scientists in another dimension, too, but my imagining it doesn’t make it any more likely.
Where do morals come from: I’d say morals are at least in part a social contract, but may have an instinctual base (that is, they may have, in part, evolved).
What rewards does one get for being an atheist? Any “reward” there might be to atheism is irrelevant. It’s like asking what prize I get for concluding that the Earth isn’t flat. After decades of research, atheism is the only metaphysical system that makes sense to me. I have no choice but to be an atheist. That being an atheist fills my e-mail with hate mail, stops some people from letting their children play with mine, and makes some assume that I’m untrustworthy doesn’t have any impact on the facts.
Some atheists are, as you say, people who are rebelling against specific religious beliefs. I don’t much care for that kind of atheist in that they are not generally philosophically rigorous. In my experience, atheists aren’t rebelling against morality in general — although there are some that don’t like lists of moral rules and such, I see no “atheism means murder is fine” movement.
You seem to say you see no advantage to the life of an atheist. So what? I don’t choose my philosophy based on its convenience, and I hope you don’t choose yours that way, either. If I am understanding your statement correctly, you come across like a white person walking up to a black man and saying, “Why are you black? What’s the advantage in that?”
If, as you conclude, you think my reasoning process has stopped too soon, then please tell me how you think it should continue. I feel that I have been pretty rigorous on these issues.
In: Anti-atheist, Evidence, Personal question