Just what does it mean to be an atheist? Richard Dawkins proposed a sliding scale of theistic probability:
I, like Dawkins, would describe myself as a 6.9 on this scale. Why am I not a 7? Because evidence can always change a thinking person's mind. There is no evidence for God, and there is no way to falsify the proposition that such a thing exists. But unfalsifiability is not the test of a good argument. It is the hallmark of a conspicuously weak argument. The religious apologist's argumentum ad ignorantiam is wearisome. It is not upon the atheist to disprove a supernatural claim. The burden of proof rests with those who assert the extraordinary claim that there is a deity. The fact that we can not disprove that the universe was set in motion by delicious, extra-dimensional, cream-filled, sapient chocolate cupcakes of ineffable power and wisdom does not prove the proposition.
I am willing to entertain the possibility that gods exist inasmuch as I entertain the possibility that fairies exist, which is to say that I think it highly improbable. However, if overwhelming, objectively-verifiable scientific evidence were to start pouring in for gods or fairies, I would revise my opinion. I am not 100% certain there is no deity, but then I am not 100% certain that I see the same color of blue as others do. I am not a global skeptic however. 100% certainty is not necessary to be sufficiently certain about some propositions. Global skeptics will dismiss notions of real or true because we can not be 100% certain that what we perceive as reality is indeed an accurate representation of what is actually there in the universe. But then, universal skepticism is absolutely useless; it is anathema to the inquisitive mind, for if we dismiss any notion of true or real, then we dismiss the whole epistemological enterprise. A position of global skepticism might make it easier to accommodate the fatuous claims of cultural or epistemological relativism, but this is not an "anything goes" world. Some things can be sufficiently known. Knowledge can often mean the difference between life and death, e.g., giving a sick child life-saving antibiotics instead of blood-letting, administering leeches, or offering propitiations to a character from mythology. As for the God hypothesis, Stenger may have been right when he said that absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence when the evidence should be there but is not.
And even if we were to grant, for the sake of argument, a deistic god, how would we get from that to the petty, vindictive, all-too-human theistic gods we have invented in our brief history on this planet? As for Christ, I find the story decidedly unoriginal, perhaps even consciously modeled on Socrates.
I believe Hitchens once tried to get the term "anti-theist" into currency to distinguish himself from atheists who wished there were a god but just couldn't see any reason to believe in such a thing. Hitchens went one step further, maintaining that not only is there no evidence for a god, neither would he wish there to be one. The idea of living in a divine police state, an Orwellian world where one could be punished for "thought crime," did not appeal to him. I think it fair to say that he had the Judeo-Christian god in mind, and I sympathized with him.
"[Religious belief] is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you - who must, indeed, subject you - to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life - I say, of your life - before you're born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you're dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? I've been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president, Kim Jong-Il is only head of the party and head of the army. He's not head of the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-Sung. It's a necrocracy, a thanatocracy. It's one short of a trinity I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can fucking die and leave North Korea!" (Christopher Hitchens)
We know so little about the universe still. But I do not exalt in the mysterious, rather I see new areas to explore. We may eventually find the Grand Unified Theorem, or we may find that the horizon is ever-receding. Professor Hawking suggested in "A Brief History of Time" that for the moment, though we have several theories to explain phenomena at different levels, we may still be optimistic yet that we will arrive at a grand theorem. Regardless, it can not be denied that we have made an astonishing amount of progress in science in the past few hundred years. I submit that engaging our cognitive faculties in an honest attempt to understand our universe is preferable to ceding our reason to the authority of others or a collection of Stone Age myths.