It almost seems like atheists don't want to believe in God. Do you just simply not want to believe in God because you don't want to give up your own free will?
ADMIN EDIT: Mercedes has left ThinkAtheist.com on her own accord. This discussion will remain, however do not expect a response from the author.
In Mercedes' defense, I believe that her point was that mankind commits awful acts against each other because we are sinners. I don't think she intends to imply that people starve and/or go through other sufferings because they are sinners.
Of course, the point you and others have made still stands. There is a lot of suffering in this world that is not through direct actions of others, to which God seems to have turned a blind eye.
The cherished gift of free will means that God must allow evil acts to occur, but it does not mean that he must let innocents suffer and die from natural catastrophes (droughts, floods, etc.)
You are right, Daniel, about Mercedes' intent. However, it's important to point out that it is unfair to the victims of tragedy that God allows them to be victimized just for the sake of letting the perpetrators have free will. This is a valid criticism of the Christian worldview that she has offered.
And of course you are correct to point out the natural disaster problem as well. Preventing cancer, hurricanes, earthquakes, and AIDS would not deprive anyone of their free will, so why does God allow these types of tragedies to happen?
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?"
-- Epicurus --
The answer to your question, Mercedes, was best articulated by Carl Sagan. Quite simply, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".
The only point I would add, myself, is that atheists do not actually require 'so much' proof. Any proof would do. But there just isn't any.
What is perhaps a better question to ask yourself could be: why do theists require so little proof of (a) god? Or, perhaps more importantly: why do they dismiss the enormous amount of proof to the contrary?
@Ed, yep I know - but yet another thing I could never get my head around, that theists believe, that god made the universe, the galaxies, stars, etc.etc. then decides on one particular place, earth, to put these stupid, testosterone driven species, such petty little beings, put tasks in their way, that he nows they will fail, cause he is omnipotent, then proceed to punish everybody for evermore, because of that first sin. Duh??? How trite for an all powerful being to bother with. Then promises a life in heaven, but only if you believe in him. That one's life will only begin after you die.
My apologies to @Yahweh - if he had been in control of making the human race, it would have been perfect, with loads of fun thrown in.
"Why do atheists ask for so much proof to believe in God?"
They don't. They only ask that those who present a claim provide the evidence to substantiate their claim.
"It almost seems like atheists don't want to believe in God."
Silly sentence...presupposes a condition not in evidence. It is as valid as saying "It almost seems like Mercedes doesn't want to believe in Santa Clause."
"Do you just simply not want to believe in God because you don't want to give up your own free will?"
Do you Mercedes just simply believe in a doG because you don't want to trust your intellect to examine and determine the truth or non-truth of claims made by others?
Hi Mercedes – I am very interested in your proof for your Gods existence. Would you mind telling me which biblical verses prove his existence? Please bear in mind that I am open to instruction as 2 Tim 2:25 says.
Thats it? Acts 9 proves the existence of your God? The story that someone converted becasuse a light flashed in the sky and told him (Saul) to get up and go to the city? Please Mercedes you really need to stop a while and think through your "proofs".
do you know what happened before he converted? He hates and persecuted Christians. His conversion to God is proof that God exists because he was the least likely to ever believe in him. God is with us and in us and he works throughus.
and no thats not it but it was just one example
It is perfectly possible that someone can rationally come to the conclusion that they are causing harm to themselves or others and decide to stop doing so. Frequently a life changing experience can trigger this.
Consider a heavy smoker who has a heart attack. They may well stop smoking and become one of the most vehement opponents of public smoking. Does this mean God gave them a heart attack? If so, why does God choose to kill a large proportion of people he gives heart attacks to? Hardly gives them a chance to mend their ways.
Many people have suggested that Saul had doubts by the time he saw the stoning of Stephen. It's perfectly plausible that after, say, an epileptic fit of stroke, he would change his worldview without any supernatural intervention.
RE: "an epileptic fit of stroke" - I'm leaning a bit more toward a psychotic episode, brought on by guilt, and manifested by hysterical blindness --