As a young theist I ran onto lots of people saying they were atheist. Mostly they annoyed me or made me angry. None of them could really back up what they believed.
Some would claim they could not believe in god because god would not allow people to suffer. Others might claim a real god would not allow their grandfather to die. I came to believe that many were using the “atheist excuse” simply to avoid religious subjects because this was unpleasant to them. Possibly something left over from childhood that they did not want to believe in.
We break it down as “a” and theos” from older languages. It means without god. If I have arrived at a point in my life to be atheist, I am a person with an absence of belief in deities. It simply means I do not believe in god for lack of evidence. Belief in god involves belief in the supernatural which means “something” beyond the natural. Belief in the paranormal means there is “something” beyond the normal. There is no evidence for belief in either of these last two ideas. If you have no empirical evidence then it does not exist. You are somewhere in the wind here to say otherwise.
So, you are an atheist and you believe in spirits. You have an atheist friend who believes in life after death. What have you been smoking? Other atheists believe in ancient aliens, sasquatch, vampires, séances, and advice from the beyond. Where is the evidence? There simply is no evidence other than ways of fooling people changing as years go by. If you believe in any of this bullshit then you might as well believe in god! There is no evidence on any of it.
Trust me here please. The dead do not bite or scratch you. They cannot move and after a time have nothing to hold their bodies together. They cannot speak to you because they have no voice box. How would they communicate with you? If they do so it’s only because you have become one of the gullible.
Back now to where I started. Are you a true atheist? Leave comments here.
Karl, your response:
" I'm open to the possibility that what we refer to as "supernatural" might one day be found to be quite natural"
Is a reasonable one, and I am sure many atheists share your open-mindedness. My difficulty occurs when believers in a supernatural god knock on my door, intrude upon my time and space, and expect me to be polite. A polite "No thank you, I am an atheist" seems to invigorate some and that gets my tea kettle singing.
The even stronger difficulty I have is when believers want to put creationism or intelligent design into science classrooms of public schools.
A minor provocation is seeing religious symbols on public property. I also am provoked when I see atheist signs on public property. I would much prefer to see an open space dedicated to free speech, with all speech allowed, even the things we don't want to hear. Better yet, a round table with chairs, a drinking fountain, some comfortable chairs, and people with different opinions sitting, talking, expressing their beliefs and listening to those who do not agree. The only ground rules to be free speech and no violence, physical, mental, or emotional.
If one day, the "supernatural" were ever to be discovered and understood, it would no longer be supernatural, but merely extraordinary.
Karl - I wish I could have said it better, my exact thoughts.
This feels to me like the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. As others have said, we who call ourselves Atheists can have little in common with each other than the fact that we don't believe in deities.
I identify myself as a 6.7 on the Dawkins scale, but other atheists are closer to a 6 or even agnostic atheists taht are closer to a 5. I find it completely acceptable that I am not going to agree with everyone who calls themselves an atheist. On another forum, I encountered Atheists who were Satanists. Did they believe in an actual Satan? It was my understanding that they did not, but they bought into the "religion" or rituals of Satanism. I also met a couple of Viking Atheists. Did they believe in an actual Odin, Thor, Loki, etc.? Again, it was my understanding that they did not. But they followed the rituals of their ancient Viking heritage, including sacrificial rituals and the pouring out of libations. Would I do that? No way. That sort of thing seems silly to me. Yet, they are atheists who do not believe in the real existence of any gods.
I am absolutely convinced (after almost 40 years as an Evangelical and 15 years as a minister) that there is not and cannot be a god. But much like Dawkins, I feel I must leave room for the things that we can't say for sure. How did the Big Bang occur? I find it probable that we live in a universe that is self-perpetuating, but so far there is no proof of that. Was there a clock-maker being? I find it highly unlikely, but as of yet, we can't know what was on the other side of the Big Bang. Was it a collapse of a prior universe going back into eternity? Was it a bubble that formed when the membranes of a multiverse collided? I don't know. As far as I know, no one can know. But as human knowledge expands more and more, those "gaps" will narrow further and further. It may be that some day, some form of future humanity will one day have all the answers. IF our race doesn't get wiped out by some cosmic event first.
I also agree with Karl's response that the supernatural could one day be found to be natural. Although I'm fairly convinced this will not the case.
It is arrogant to say that all atheists have to believe the same way about existence.
I'm firmly convinced that there are no deities that exist or have ever existed.
Erxomai , Sounds right to me
Satanist atheists would be a real hoot to me. I would call it absolute confusion about ones beliefs.
Dennis, my goodness, they would need a steel compartmentalized brain.
What I meant by Satanist atheists being a real hoot, Joan, is that they would appear to be casting god aside and taking on another bible charactor to worship called Satan. There is no valid evidence for the bible or any of the charactors in it. Doing this would appear more than ignorant to me.
I'm reminded of the theist who finds you are atheist and they ask you who do you worship if you don't worship god? Immediately they want to know if you worship Satan. This is almost like asking if you prefer Superman or Spiderman. Batman or Robin.
Dennis, having no-god, and no-worship, what do we have?
Freedom, questions, doubts, inquiry, investigation, exploration, experimentation, research, sovereignty, unfathomability, spontaneity, informality, enigma, wonderment, awe, naturalness.
I'd say a-theism is a good bargain over theism.
Exactly correct, Joan.