if you are a religious person reading this, i suggest you stop here. i'm going to present some very simple and strong arguments against the belief in a god. i'm not trying to convert anyone. i'm totally cool with you believing in whatever you want and i don't care to cause doubt for you. the only reason i'm writing this is because i feel the need to let it out. you don't have to read this, so just turn back and everything will be fine.
no matter how hard i try, i can't believe in something for which i have no evidence. i've never seen god. god's never talked to me, that i'm aware of, and my life, with or without god, seems the same. who made this clear to me? unicorns and leprechauns (more to follow).
i used to argue that god must exist in some form because it's not a property of matter to self-propagate, therefore, in the beginning, matter must have been created by something and that something, the creator, had to be god. well, it doesn't have to be. we don't know everything about matter or the universe. in fact, we know comparatively little. it's entirely possible that matter is a manifestation of some as yet unknown physical laws, or that time and "beginnings and ends" are not at all the way we perceive them. so, that's not a valid argument.
but, for the sake of argument, let's say that the "creator" justification i just outlined is valid. now, take out "god" and replace it with "leprechauns"...
"...leprechauns must exist in some form because it's not a property of matter to self-propagate, therefore, matter must have been created by something and that something, the creator(s), had to be leprechauns."
if you assume that there is a wide-spread myth that not "god", but leprechauns created the first matter and, therefore, the universe, the above quote sounds plausible. but why? there is just as much evidence that leprechauns exist as there is that god exists. no one has ever seen either one of them. so, why is it ridiculous to believe in one but not the other?
i also used to argue using pascal's wager. briefly, french mathematician and philosopher, blaise pascal argued that it made sense to believe in god, because, if you believe and you are right, you have eternal salvation to gain. if you believe and you are wrong, you lose nothing. conversely, if you don't believe and you're right, you gain nothing, but if you don't believe and you're wrong, you're damned eternally. but the biggest problem for me became the fact that one can't simply make oneself believe something. you're either convinced of something or you aren't. if you dispute this, here's a test: count to three, and, on three, start believing in leprechauns. then, count to three again and stop believing in them. no - really - believe in them - then stop. it's impossible. same goes for a belief in god.
there have been many, past and present that claim to have spoken (directly) to god. of the more notable are the christian apostles, mohammed, joseph smith and others. none of us have ever met any of these people. all we have to go by is what they've claimed. so, why believe one of them, but none of the rest? when it really comes down to it, all you have to go on is the word of people that neither you, nor anyone else has ever met or even seen. why not believe me if i said i had spoken to god and he told me to write his words down? why believe the apostle paul when he said the very same thing?
...then there's the evidence argument. no one has ever been able to show any evidence that they had seen god, spoken to god, or otherwise had any direct interaction with him (she? it?). no one has been able to show that god has directly caused or stopped any physical occurrence. considering there is no direct evidence that god exists, why believe in god, but not unicorns? there is just as much evidence that one exists as the other, but, for some reason, we tend to believe in god, but not in unicorns. what if i created a mythical creature called "Flarf the Almighty", and, even though i had no evidence to suggest that Flarf is real, i told you that he was the creator of man and the universe and that a book i'd written was his word to mankind using me as a conduit. would people believe that? why not, if they believe the authors of the bible?
The most common argument (if you can call it that) for god's existence is "look at the universe, man!" But, the universe was created by Flarf. how do i know? because Flarf is the creator of the universe and the universe exists, therefore Flarf exists, since he created it. there's no evidence that a god exists and you can't just create a character (god), ascribe to that character a certain characteristic (creator of the universe) and then use that characteristic to "prove" the character's existence (god is the creator of the universe and the universe exists, therefore god must exist because he created it).
the unicorns also pushed me directly past agnosticism. an agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in god (in this context) because god's existence can be neither proven nor disproven. but, unicorns' existence can be neither proven nor disproven. wouldn't it seem silly, though, to claim to be an agnostic when it comes to god, yet be a non-believer when it comes to unicorns? i'm calling myself an atheist because i refuse to give slack to one mythical being, while refusing to so with another, even though they're both on the same evidentiary footing. i don't believe in unicorns and, likewise, i don't believe in god. do unicorns exist? maybe. does god exist? maybe, but i can't believe in either one - that makes me an atheist.
the belief in god just became too much for me, as a person who strives for intellectual honesty, to hang on to. so, i'll chalk that up to one more past belief that i've had to toss into the circular file. that file's overflowing at this point.
hopefully, if you read this, and you're religious, you understand that this is a point i came to honestly and humbly. as stated above, it's not my intention to de-convert the religious, or to disturb their beliefs. i'm fine with religion, it just isn't for me.