Thursday, June 07, 2007

Atheism is the absence of belief

a brief essay by Butch Bailey

Often when I hear atheism mentioned it's followed by the bewildered statement, "How can you be sure God doesn't exist?" I would like to attempt to clear up a few common misconceptions about atheism. Namely that atheism requires faith, that outspoken atheists are "fundamentalists," and that agnostics are weak or non-committal while self-professed atheists are arrogant.

Theism is an active belief in a god(s), so the lack of this belief is "a-theism." It requires no active belief, neither affirmative nor negative. It is simply the absence of a belief. In the same way Christians lack a belief in Zeus or Hindus lack a belief in Jehovah, the atheist simply lacks a god-belief in general. It is no active affirmation that a god(s) does not exist.

To quote Dr. Richard Dawkins, "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." I would add that we reject belief in your god(s), whichever it happens to be, for essentially the same reasons you reject all those others: because the onus is on the believer to provide proof for their assertion.

Read the rest here ...

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