With apologies to Danielle Bunten Berry.
To address these points in reverse order for no particular reason:
“Just out of curiosity.”
Bullshit. Feel free to prove me wrong, though.
“If the Bible never existed, would you be more likely to believe in a creator?”
You mean like all the other religions, including the ones that predate the Bible? Bear in mind your Bible is only one component to a whole host of religions, themselves broken up in to varying sects and denominations. Bear further in mind that your Bible is a product of editing-by-committee, a collection of letters and essays reordered and recompiled over the centuries by multiple parties of only the loosest associations.
We are pattern-seeking creatures. It’s part of our survival instinct, how we learned to tell predators from prey, what plants to eat and avoid, and how we ultimately managed to micromanage those things into a working model commonly known as civilization.
So, let’s take one particular plant we like to eat, chosen entirely at random… apples. Apples are delicious, and contain more than a few essential nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial to our health. They are relatively easy to grow and can survive a wide range of climates and weather patterns. What’s more, each one comes with a handful of small seeds from which more trees may grow one day should an increase in their numbers be desired. Surely, one may have thought once upon a time, that such a thing must have been made (dare I say designed) for us and us alone, to benefit us exclusively… then he saw a horse eat an apple that fell on the ground, looked up to see a bird pecking at one on another branch, and while distracted was promptly stabbed in the back by a member of a rival tribe whose own apple harvest came up short. As he lay there on the ground, his blood forming a circle under him, he likely didn’t have enough time to fully formulate the thought that he may well have this arrangement backwards. Maybe he lives long enough for the stars to come out, giving him one last, and hopefully more obvious reminder, of how mind-numbingly insignificant he really is.
Back to the backwards botany (part of the reason for this inverted investigation of your inquiry), what if I told you that the apple tree wasn’t made for you, but rather that you (and most other carbon-based life-forms) were in fact made for it? Think about it. The apple bears fruit in order to spread its seeds that they may grow up into big strong healthy trees that will undoubtedly spread more seeds. There’s a problem, though. If the apples fall too close to the tree, that new tree isn’t going to grow in the best situation. It’s going to be literally in the shadow of its predecessor. If it’s lucky maybe it will overtake the previous tree, as the nutrients in that particular radius of soil can only provide for one tree adequately, but then you’ve got one dead tree and one living tree. That’s not a very efficient way to spread seeds. After all, that previous tree could well have lived for another several decades. The solution to this problem then is to get the seeds out far and wide. How do you do that? Well, given trees can’t talk (in any language we can understand) and the natural order is all about give and take, it sweetens the deal with those strange creatures that aren’t rooted in place. It surrounds the seed in a ripe, tasty lump of sugary fibers. The animals will then eat the fruit, go about their merry little ways as they are wont to do, and eventually that seed finds it way into the ground through the fascinating, if outwardly repulsive, process of digestion and defecation. Surely, some tree somewhere must have thought (you don’t know if they do or don’t, and neither do I), such incredibly useful and helpful creatures must have been made (dare I say designed) for it and it alone, to benefit their reproductive cycle exclusively… then it got chopped down for blocking the light into an upstairs window of a farmhouse. Maybe it will get sent off to a mill that will make it into paper, upon which a book like the Bible will be printed.
Congratulations, you’re a coke mule (figuratively speaking) for a seed spreading operation (literally speaking), is my point. Simply because something looks like it’s tailor-made for you doesn’t mean that it is. When water gathers in a small spot of earth to form a puddle, was that particular spot made for the puddle to exist? Is it coincidence? Is the water simply able to adapt to any particular form it falls into with the help of gravity, viscosity, and its own molecular state as a liquid?
The real problem with what this portion of your question proposes is one of theological noncognitvism. You’re using extremely broad definitions and loose models to make a case for a very particular interpretation of a particular religion’s deity. Imagine if Obi-Wan Kenobi gave his speech about what The Force is, then instead of handing Luke his father’s lightsaber, gave him a copy of the Bible and told him to accept Jesus as his savior in order to learn the ways of The Holy Ghost and become a Jesuit like his father who art in hea—wait a minute. Hopefully you can recognize the absurdity of such a leap from an energy field that surrounds us and binds the universe together to a Late Bronze/Early Iron-Age Middle Eastern deity conceptually appropriated from neighboring religions and later revised almost beyond recognition a few hundred years later, with said revisions continuing well into the last hundred or so years.
That the world looks like it was made especially for you, therefore Christianity is the one true path toward meaning and purpose in life, is exactly how narrow and ill-conceived your notion sounds. If you still don’t see it, look up a list of other religions and then swap out their name with “Christianity” in this paragraph’s first sentence. If you still don’t get it, then either you don’t fully understand your own religion, or you work under such an incredibly loose and malleable definition of it that it’s all the more absurd you’d use such specific terminology as “God” and “Bible.” I mentioned you were welcome to prove me wrong, that applies to this dichotomy I’ve laid out as well, as I fully acknowledge it’s likely not the whole story.
“just because the God in the Bible is fictional, that it must mean there is no way a creator exists?”
You’re looking at this from the wrong end, which is partially why I’m dissecting your question(s) backwards. Atheism is not exclusively critical to Christianity, nor does it have origins as a direct response to it. It only looks that way because your sacred text of choice has a handful of passages discussing persecution, spinning it as a form of validation. In skeptical circles, this is known as the Galileo Gambit, also called the Association Fallacy. To paraphrase Carl Sagan, people laughed at the notion of shopping online, and they also laughed at the stand-up comedy of Martin Lawrence. That’s not to say Martin Lawrence isn’t funny, only that being laughed at is not a good gauge of a business strategy outside of the realm of comedic performance.
Remember how I said the Bible is used by multiple sects and denominations of what’s broadly referred to as Christianity? The fact is not everyone interprets the Bible the same way, and some do not hold it in the same regards as you might. There are those who take it 100% unambiguously literally (except when it conflicts with common sense because beliefs aren’t a cake) and there are those who view it as a kind of quasi-philosophical guidebook of broadly-applicable life advice and there are those who rather simply view the religion as a kind of lifestyle or social contract with a particular community (a happenstance excuse to get together, to put it more plainly). How do you regard these other Christians who don’t hold the Bible in the same regard or interpret it the same way as you? Are they apocryphal or blasphemous? False prophets? Deluded? Sheeple? More importantly, how do you think they see you?
That I regard the Bible as fiction does not inform my atheism, though it hardly helps in proving wrong my convictions. Rather, among other things, it’s the lack of a consensus on the interpretations and extrapolations of what’s supposed to be the inerrant and absolute word of an omniscient cosmic engineer capable of forging existence itself from literal nothingness (who also gets really hung up on what days of the week a few weeks out of the year you are or are not supposed to eat meat). Seriously, isn’t that a little weird that one follower of a religion says I most certainly will be cast into a lake of fire for my lack of belief while another follower of the same religion says God’s actually really understanding and/or laid back about allegiances and therefore I’ve got nothing to worry about if I’m proven wrong?
“why all atheists believe”
You’re being narrow again. Just as not all Christians practice their Christianity in the same way (is it too late to bring up Judaism? I think it’s kind of obvious, but I’m starting to wonder about you at this point), not all atheists came to the same conclusion in the same way. In fact, we don’t even share the same conclusion. Atheism is simply defined as a lack of belief in a deity or deities. It is not a direct denial of the existence of one, though there are flavors of Atheism like Antitheism which are defined as a direct opposition to the belief in a deity. I’m what’s known as a practical atheist, sometimes compared to Ignosticism or Apatheism (though with some distinct differences I won’t bother to outline here for the sake of brevity), a notion best outlined by the writings of Bertrand Russell or maybe even Baruch Spinoza. I don’t make the claim that no god or gods exist. That’s not how the burden of proof works. At most, I would speculate that if such entities exist, they would not fall in line with any of our interpretations of them.
At that point, as a practical atheist, I have to ask the question, “What is the difference between a deity or whole pantheon of them who do not wish to be acknowledged or worshipped or otherwise regarded in any way by us mere dust mites on a hot mud ball in the outer spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy and no such entities at all?”
Jesus died for my sins? Well, Prometheus stole fire for you. Buddhism practically says as its primary mission statement, “Yes, the universe was created by some deities, but you don’t need to worry about that. Just focus on achieving Enlightenment.” Spinoza said virtually the same thing and he was Jewish. What’s going on there?
Can you be a little more specific?
Kind of funny how all this complexity emerges from such simple elements, isn’t it?