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Atheism is a belief

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Matt Dillahunty from Austin Atheists discusses Atheism as a lack of belief, the nature of science and evidence, as well as his own view on whether there is a God.

Is Atheism A Belief?

No.

Is "bald" a hair color?

Is "not collecting stamps" a hobby?

If you no longer believe in Santa Claus, do you call yourself an "Anti-Santa-Clausian?"

Is there some doctrine you follow pursuant with your non-belief in the existence of the tooth fairy?

Atheism is a lack of belief in god(s).

Theists often claim that atheism is a belief. They use this characterization to claim among other things, false premises such as:

  • It takes just as much faith to not believe in god as it does to believe in god

Wrong.

It takes no faith to not believe in something. Do you know what the definition of faith is? It is believing in something in the absence of evidence. In other words, it's the opposite of coming to a conclusion based on something real and tangible. The non-existence of something is not a belief. It's merely a base or fallback position one naturally comes to in the absence of contrary evidence.

Is there a large pink elephant sitting on the toilet in the bathroom at your home right now"?

No? Why not? So you take it on faith that there isn't a large pink elephant sitting on the toilet in your bathroom at home? Do you think your lack of belief in this concept requires faith, or maybe it's the other way around? You only require faith to believe IN something that defies the laws of logic.

  • Atheists have no morals or world view or any behavioral guidelines, and if they do have any, they must be supernaturally given so they're not really atheists in the first place because morality comes from a higher power

Hogwash.

This claim, which is very often made by theists is insulting to all intelligent people.

First and foremost, as was mentioned earlier, atheism is a lack of belief, which theists often compare in the same terms as they do their beliefs, which do constitute a World view. The problem is, atheism is not a "world view". It's not a set of rules, regulations, dogma, scripture, beliefs or any other idea that is universally accepted among people. There is no atheist bible. There are no rules which all atheists are expected to follow. The lack of belief is not indicative of a recommended way of living ones' life.

Atheists do have world views; they do have a sense of morality; they do have ideas on what is and isn't acceptable and moral behavior. However, these "beliefs" are not derived from theology, nor are they derived from any atheist manifesto, nor are they consistent among all those who choose not to subscribe to religious mythology. There are many other sources for world views and morality, not the least of which is Humanism which is typically embraced to one extent or another by all people regardless of their faith or lack thereof.

We won't even get into the ludicrous assumption that god has any consistent idea of what is and isn't moral behavior. That's an exercise in hypocrisy best left to its own section, which you can find in the Theological Criticisms area.

The bottom line is that regardless of what magical sky fairy you do or do not believe in, there is ample evidence to indicate there are basic moral guidelines that all humans have an instinctive nature to follow. The most obvious involves avoiding unnecessary harm to other creatures. By doing so, we reduce the likelihood of unnecessary harm being inflicted upon ourselves, and you don't need to believe in god to recognize that pain and discomfort is something worth avoiding wherever possible.

For more information, see Definition of atheism for origins, and Atheism for further details on categories of atheists.


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