I've Moved!

Atheist Morality is now West Coast Atheist at Wordpress. Stop on by and feel free to comment over there!

21 March, 2011

What Is An Atheist?

I got my first question in the comments section of my last post. The user asks, "What is an atheist?"

A simple dictionary reference is insufficient and often-times misleading. Many dictionaries name an atheist as "A person who doesn't believe God exists." That definition itself assumes that something called God exists and that there are people who don't believe in its existence. The definition is actually more simple than that. In fact, it should be the default position and not have a label at all. The reason that atheists are labelled as such at all and have come together to form a community is because theism has been the majority world view for the entirety of human history.

Think about all you know about the Christian God. (I'm directing this post to the Christian God but, these same points are valid with any deity). You first learned about God from church; people told you about God. You learned about his history and qualities by reading the Bible. Along the way, you've no doubt changed your perception of God if you are a person who has switched denominations at all. Some things one church tells you doesn't sit well with something you've already been told and so you either adapt or discard the new information. Nothing is constant, even among Christianity. There are over 3,000 different denominations and sects of Christianity and none of them agree on even the basics.

So to take a step back from what all these people have been saying about God and the nature of God, the atheist takes the position that whichever one is right has to prove that their position is true and correct. The first thing they have to do is prove that God exists at all. God is invisible, highly inconsistent at answering prayers and goes against the observations that scientists have made about the natural world. If something exists, it must be observable and measurable, because that is how we've determined everything in our world to be. "Extraordinary claims call for extraordinary evidence."

That God exists is the hypothesis, therefore, the null hypothesis is that God does not exist, the basis at which we start our investigation. There are many philosophical arguments that theists use for the existence of God, including but not limited to:

The Cosmological Argument

The Ontological Argument

The Teleological Argument

Evidence from Scripture

And many more, however, they fail to stand up to not only philosophical scrutiny, but the scientific method as well. Therefore, until God shows up, the atheist does not accept the claim "There is a God" as a true statement. Could there be a God? Of course. Anything is possible. Of course, if it were true, it would make our Creator out to be quite a faulty being, but that's a theological argument for another day.

So that's an atheist. A person who rejects a hypothesis. The thing is, we don't label people who don't believe in homeopathy ahomeopathists or people who don't believe in Nessie alocknessmonsterists. So really, an "atheism," "darwinism," etc, aren't really anything. The reason that atheists get together and form groups and speak out against religion, and even in the belief in God itself, is because religion is so good at undermining secularism, controlling politics and nations, and causing a lot of harm and wars along the way. The first 1500 years since Jesus supposedly lived is a great example.

Of course, I don't speak for all who don't believe. There are atheist religions, such as some sects of Buddhism. There are atheists who don't form groups or speak out. There are people who call themselves atheists because they are mad at their God without ever really looking at what they do or don't believe and why.

Is atheism a religion? No. Is atheism a movement? Perhaps. Is atheism bad? Not at all. Is atheism trying to make everyone believe the same? No, many don't care what you believe as long as you keep it out of our lives, our schools, and our laws.

I hope this answers your question. If you'd like to ask more, feel free.

1 comment:

  1. So Atheist believe that if there is a God he/she must prove his/her existence. No faith in a supreme being is accepted without evidence. That is rather simplistic. I thought it would be terribly complicated. In conclusion of thought, when Jesus comes back (in my belief, faith, religion, spiritual being) and he shows you who he is, you will then have the solid evidence you need to understand he is real beyond faith? Yes? That seems to be the rational of thought in this post. I respect your belief Katie. You have put much thought into your decision. I am grateful for our talk the other day. I am grateful I can have my beliefs and you can have yours with a mutual understanding, and respect for each other. The posts you are making these days comparable to prior seem to show your belief instead of condemnation of other peoples beliefs. I think that makes you much more credible in your search for your truth and your stance.