My Answer to “The One Question I Ask My Atheist “Friends”

Here’s a question Melissa imagines is a secret weapon against atheists. 

                 “Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

You can read her thinking here

Her complaints about the ramifications of atheism being true are as follows: [in no particular order]

1: Humans aren’t the center of the Universe. It wasn’t “created” just for us. [Science confirms this]

2: When we die, that’s the end of it. No immortal soul. [No evidence found yet to contradict that prediction]

3: There is no Objective Morality. Societal behaviors will grow and modify over time according to their success in building co-operation and consensus. [High empathy and co-operation were key in man’s elevation and success over other species: See Theory of Evolution. Also, christians don’t seem to understand the meaning of “objective”. For morality to be Objective it must be “grounded outside humanity” or, as Merriam-Webster defines it, “having reality independent of the mind.”  William Lane Craig’s definition for objective morality: “Moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” is framed using this definition and also has the benefit of debunking itself by virtue of the fact that morality only exists “in the mind”. Those who disagree could falsify it by naming an inanimate object that could perform a moral act. 

4: There is no free will. [research is ongoing, some science suggests there isn’t, not all atheists agree ]

5: Without god my life has no meaning. [This is a ludicrous concept promoted solely by the religious, not atheists. Any rational people I know work to make the best of the one life they are given.]

Then she makes an often repeated claim I hear Ad nauseum on social media.  “…a belief system such as atheism..” 

Many christians who make that assertion do so deliberately, knowing it isn’t true. I have talked to others who seem genuinely convinced it’s true because that is the lens they have been trained to view things through.  I’m not sure what category Melissa falls into. So she’s either mistaken or lying. Only she knows.

Atheism is not a belief system, a worldview, a positive claim against the existence of god, or an explanation of the origins of the universe. It IS the *lack* of belief in claims asserting the existence of god(s). It could also be called doubt, disbelief, or skepticism.  

Why claim it is, you might wonder. What benefit would you achieve? There is a benefit, humans don’t generally do things that have no reward. I”ll start by defining what I mean when I use the word belief, and demonstrate its relevance to the claim. 

Theist ideas about faith and belief center around the bible. A key verse they often refer to is Hebrews 11:1. It reads: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Another words, I am persuaded to accept things as true without any evidence confirming it. Faith is a requisite of belief, in church dogma. Belief and faith are interchangeable, synonymous.

Belief Defined: 

1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another.
2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something.
3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.
Nowhere is it stated that belief is reliant on confirmation by fact.  In fact, it is possible to believe something that isn’t true. You mistakenly trust without verification. Something that is true, on the other hand, is in accordance with fact or reality. It can be tested, verified. It is a higher standard of descriptive terminology. The existence of an established fact is independent of faith or belief.  This is where science and religion often fall into conflict. You can believe a metaphysical claim, but unless it can be verified to be true, it can’t be accepted as fact. So the benefit to claiming atheism is a belief or a faith is to confuse descriptive terms. It implies atheism has dogma or tenets. It is chicanery; an easy sophistry designed to confuse the credulous. At best it is an accusation of a behavior dear to the religious.
Atheism is a doubt/disbelief [absence of belief] in the positive claims made by the religious about the existence of god(s).  A good analogy to describe atheism is a jury at the beginning of a trial. They are selected for their neutrality and absence of bias and they have NO EVIDENCE of guilt or proof of innocence. They make a decision *after* receiving information. They can’t be described as having a belief in anything they have no information about, nor do they worship the justice system.
To answer the question, my response is: Atheism hasn’t been demonstrated to be true or untrue. It’s a doubt of your claim. You haven’t provided any evidence your claim is true. The jury’s still uninformed. If you provide evidence of your theistic claims, atheism could be demonstrated to be a baseless doubt.
The world is waiting- 

About Egg Zackly

Retired amateur pundit.
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4 Responses to My Answer to “The One Question I Ask My Atheist “Friends”

  1. Frank Moraes says:

    Just for the record: nothing (Nothing!) frightens me more than the idea of immortality. And if I had more time on earth, that would just make the time I have less valuable. Humans are like that. Regardless, there seems to be more than enough time for my little brain. In 20 or 30 years, I will probably start to get bored.

    • P Yew says:

      I suppose then, that hell for you would be an infinite afterlife in which there would be no activity other than sychophantic adoration of a just god.

  2. john zande says:

    “Atheism hasn’t been demonstrated to be true or untrue. It’s a doubt of your claim.”

    Very well said.

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