A Common Misconception About Atheism (Spoken About in a Somewhat Different Lens)

There are plenty of people, like Ray Comfort, who do not accept the category of atheism, saying that all people know in their hearts that there is a god.  If we were to accept Comfort’s premise as true, we could then envision an argument between Comfort and an atheist, which ends at a breaking point in which the atheist finally says that they don’t believe in god (the god of the Abrahamic faiths) because they are angry at him.  This, of course, is not the case.

Atheism, as we know, is the lack of belief in a deity or deities.  People come to atheism for one reason or another, but the general reason I have seen (and one which I share) is that there isn’t sufficient demonstrable evidence that points to the existence of deities.  That point seems to get lost on many people.  Many outspoken atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Neil deGrasse Tyson have bolstered their arguments denying the existence of deities by pointing out the absurdities found in the Bible and are tenets of the Abrahamic faiths.  Many people ignorant to the true nature of atheism may see their arguments as an expression for their distaste for the god of the Abrahamic faiths and will extrapolate from their books, speeches, and debates, that they are angry at god.  I realize this is a logical fallacy, but many do not.

I don’t want to knock any of these men for their work; I think their arguments are absolutely stellar and reflect a large about of study and work in order to form.  There is just one thing that I feel needs to be clarified concerning atheism.  It boils down to this: the lack of belief in the existence of deities does not have anything to do with what we believe are the moral successes or failures of the deity(ies) in question or the religious systems they are attributed to.  There are religious systems that atheists may find to be morally sound and there may be others they may find to be morally reprehensible, but this is irrelevant in atheism.  Even if I were to like all of the philosophical teachings of a religious system, I still would not believe if the deity(ies) without demonstrable evidence of their existence.  I may like the teachings from the sermon on the mount, but that does not, in turn, compel me to view Jesus of Nazareth as a divine being.  On the same end, I do not like how the god of the Abrahamic faiths is said to impose hereditary guilt on people, conceivably sending five-day old infants who die to eternal punishment for lack of repentance, but that does not compel me to view the god of the Abrahamic faiths as real.  It doesn’t work that way.  Dawkins, Hitchens, and deGrasse Tyson have not spoken about the absurdities in the Bible out of hatred for a god: they spoke about the absurdities because they are absurd.  They do (or did) not believe in the existence of deities because the arguments for their existence are not good, not because the deity is not good.  The moral character of the proposed deities is ancillary when it comes to speaking about their existence.  So, in short, our opinions about how good or bad a religious system is are not relevant when it comes to judging their veracity.  They simply don’t matter.


“If you won’t listen to reason, there’s always…Towanda.”

1 thought on “A Common Misconception About Atheism (Spoken About in a Somewhat Different Lens)

  1. This is yet another post which I think confuses non-belief with world view. In my world view I can appreciate the good in a system of beliefs yet not belief the deity is true. My world view is influenced by belief or non-belief but is not defined by it. Two different world views can be almost identical save for belief in a diety. Atheism is not part of the world view… not in this respect. It only serves to inform the world view not define it.

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