Atheism is sometimes defined as the belief that there is no God of any kind, or the claim that a God cannot exist. While these are categories of atheism, they do not exhaust the meaning of atheism, and they are somewhat misleading with respect to the basic nature of atheism. Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief it is the absence of belief. An atheist is not primarily a person who believes that a god does not exist; rather, he does not believe in the existence of a God.
Atheism is disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods, they reject religion as apart of not only a rejection of ignorance, but also a rejection of their religious family and association of religion itself, says Catherine L. and Caldwell-Harris who are published in the Department of Psychology for Boston University, Lesley College,University of Haifa, and Trinity College. This is a stark contrast to theism, which is the belief in god and is the case for many Americans. This demographic is about 83% of America’s population, according to the most recent census. About 16% of the population, or about 34,169,000 people are of an unaffiliated position, which would include Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and those of no religious stance. This number has only increased since 1990 which was about 14,331,000 in 1990 (United States), and will only continue to grow as more and more people come out as the nonaffiliated in the coming years (Caldwell-Harris).
One of the most common misconceptions about atheism is that it is determined by a personal belief. People mistakenly attribute a position founded in theological knowledge to be a product of ‘believing’ something, which would be entirely contradictory. In order to clear up the misunderstanding, you have to fully understand atheism at its core. We must also have a sober understanding of the things that distinguish atheism from the other two theological positions: theism and agnosticism. Once we make clear exactly how the three theological positions are mutually exclusive, we will be much more properly equipped to form a full and correct definition of atheism.
In an article titled “10 Reasons Why Atheists Do It Better”, number 4 on the list is Self-Esteem and Self-Reliance. Atheists have an indirect benefit of having more confidence and self-esteem. “ Atheists are not being told that they are guilty and sinful, as is the case with many religious teachings. This leads to higher self-esteem and a feeling of control over life’s events. As atheists do not expect a deity to help them solve a problem, they will address it personally and directly. When there’s no wheel of life, reincarnation, heaven or hell, the responsibility for made choices lies with individuals.” (Ratner) Additionally, in a study conducted by Gallup Data and World Happiness Index in 2010 and 2016, the world’s happiest countries are also the world’s least religious countries. “This year’s winner (2016) was Denmark, followed closely by Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway” as compared to 2010’s winners Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, which were not much different.
Throughout our short time on Earth, a very common thought and feeling that many people have is, “What’s out there? Why are we here? What made us?” etc. This natural human tendency to ask these questions lead some people draw conclusions that may or may not be there. A belief I’ve held for years is the atheistic one. Christians, as well as many other moral institutions would refer to an atheist as someone who doesn’t believe in God. Where this may be the case, I feel as though this definition is a lazy and non-intellectual one. Rather I tend to believe that atheism is the lack of a belief in a given higher power. To that, I will reference a quote from Richard Dawkins, “I am an atheist with respect to around 2700 Gods, you (a christian) on the other hand are an atheist with respect to around 2699 Gods.” This is a quintessential and distinguishable difference between the two beliefs, or lack there of. What’s interesting in what Dawkins was saying was that you could infer that with this definition, Christians are statistically about as atheist as atheists are. Now with that being explained, one would start to bring in to frame the probability and the odds that maybe in fact the Christian God is the one real God vs. the chances that maybe another factor has been played into this belief.
It is no secret that the question or arguments for God’s existence arises in the minds of most individuals, but how does the one who believes so emphatically in the existence of God, respond to the one who insistently believes there is no God? In the article entitled, “On Being an Atheist,” the writer H.J. McCloskey makes his claims for atheism by disparagingly pointing out what he deems as contentions with Theism. He believes it is more comfortable to be an atheist than to believe in a God. It is quite possible for many to read this article and be agreeably overwhelmed by the many points McCloskey makes, however, for the minds and hearts who are strongly opposed to such remarks against theism, a response is necessary and even imperative to
Theology is an intentionally reflective endeavor. Every day we reflect upon the real, vital, and true experience of the benevolent God that exists. We as humans tend to be social beings, and being so we communicate our beliefs with one another in order to validate ourselves. Furthermore atheism has many forms, three of the most popular atheistic beliefs include: scientific atheism, humanistic atheism and the most popular one being protest atheism. Scientific atheism is the idea that science is the answer for everything and god is not existent. The humanistic approach states that society is self-sufficient; therefore God is not needed for survival. Therefore how could he exist? The position that I will argue in this paper is the pessimistic idea of protest atheism.
When it comes to the study of religion, there are certain methods and protocols that must be followed in order to analyze a tradition or practice from an objective standpoint. This is why most scholars who study religion utilize the functionalist approach in order to look for a particular function that religion plays in society. One of the key components of this approach is Methodological atheism, or remaining suspicious of supernatural claims. In addition, the functionalist approach breaks down religious claims into social functions and focuses on what purpose a religion serves for the insiders who practice it. This approach involves asking questions such as who is making a claim, about what, and what purpose it may serve to the society that implements this claim.
If you look at any standard definition of atheism, as a movement or as a commonly-accepted worldview, it's usually something like 'the rejection of theological claims of the existence of a god or gods'. Atheism is probably the most unapologetically 'scientific' worldview, as it uses the scientific method as its starting point - that is, the burden of proof is upon those making the hypothesis (the positive claim about the nature of the universe), which in this case is the particulars of the existence of a god or gods. The atheist position is that no such definitive proof has ever been forthcoming, from any religion or holy book, components of which are often debunked by actual scientific and historical research (which in the sciences would
H.J. McCloskey wrote a journal article in 1968 called “On Being an Atheist” which denounced the existence of the Intelligent Designer. He uses different tactics to try and prove that there could not be a God. McCloskey shows that his argument for atheism is not sound as the evidence he proves in his article can be combatted with well-thought responses provided by philosophers and Christians in order to show there is the possibility God exists.