“I have found it an amusing strategy, when asked whether I am an atheist, to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I just go one god further.” – Richard Dawkins
“Bottom line: Most atheists I know believe it is highly likely that aliens exist in the universe outside planet Earth. So do a lot of scientists, some of whom may be atheists.” – Barry Hampe, lifelong atheist answering at Quora.com
A funny thought occurred to me the other day, when I was not thinking particularly about atheists, aliens, or gods: Are atheists so sure there are not gods?
Perhaps they shouldn’t be. Let’s argue from their own premises, which are remarkably aligned on points like this.
First, they maintain there are no gods, including a God. For the sake of discussion, I am conceding that there is no God.
Second, they maintain that the probability of alien life in the Universe approaches certainty. Check the Quora.com page – they’re barely hesitating. So we will firm up the premise and say: Life exists elsewhere in the Universe.*
Third, evolution occurs everywhere in the Universe. The argument for other life, after all, is that it occurred here, it’s bound to occur elsewhere. Well, if evolution occurred here…
Fourth, it is at least possible that there is advanced life in the Universe. This ups the ante from #2, but many atheists seem to take it for granted. (Not I – I am moving from 2 and 3 to #4). They find humans hopelessly mired by their own miserable nature and they are sure that beings of greater enlightenment are to be found somewhere. The multiverse, by the way, makes this inevitable.
Conclusion: Gods exist.
Huh? Oh, right…#5…
Fifth: A sufficiently advanced being is indistinguishable from a god – not to be confused with God.**
Now, will the atheist suggest that there is almost definitely alien life, and very likely advanced life, but NOT life so advanced as to be confused with godliness? Be honest – that line is arbitrary. You’re drawing it because you don’t like the implications.
In fact, I take this argument to suggest that the gods – Zeus, Apollo, Aman Ra, et al – do exist, or at least did at the time they were alleged to have been seen. There is no reason to think a sufficiently advanced alien being could not, for all intents and purposes, be Zeus.
And the atheist has given us enough reason, by his or her own judgment, to think the gods do exist.
*Amusingly, as we shall see, many of them compare the odds of alien life with the odds of the existence of gods, and declare them most favorable.
**Nothing can advance to becoming God. You are or you ain’t.