Atheism: unbelief in God or deities: disbelief in the existence of God or deities
Agnosticism: view that God's existence is unprovable: the belief that it is impossible to know whether or not God exists
In the past few years I have become quite annoyed with how atheists have allowed themselves to be bullied into playing the semantics game. Although I have nothing against academia; it is the academicians need to name and classify everything that is at fault. Before I get into that let me start by clarifying what this post is all about.
If you glance at the top of the page you will see that I have taken the time to define the words atheism and agnosticism in their simplest form possible. To state that one is a theist is to say that he/she is a believer in God or gods etc. But if you add an “a” in front of the “t” then the word takes on a negative meaning and asserts the opposite position, that you do not believe in God or gods of any kind. It’s as simple as that!
There are times when I surf the web looking for new blogs or atheists communities that have interesting content and articles to read. Every so often I come across an atheist who is ashamed to call himself an atheist. He calls himself a freethinker, agnostic atheist, etc. The big problem with this is that instead of making your position clear it further obfuscates your beliefs or in the case of atheism, your non-beliefs. The moment you state that you don’t believe in God or gods etc. you are an atheist no matter what you choose to label yourself.
I’ve read academic posts where the author refuses to be called an atheist because it has such a negative connotation. Really, well it is a negative assertion about the existence of God, so what is wrong with that? I’m an atheist and proud of it! Just because theists and some others may have misconceptions about what it means to be an atheist does not mean that we should go around like chickens with our heads cut off looking for an alternative term that won’t be so offensive to the ignorant masses. Just because someone doesn’t accept my position doesn’t mean that I have to modify it to make it more palatable for them. I’m not selling a product nor looking for customer support. I am simply stating a position which I happen to think is a very rational and valid one.
I have read blogs where they state that the most rational position is agnosticism since we don’t have any way of disproving the existence of God or the knowledge to rule him out definitively. Well, it is not the job of the atheist to prove the existence of God, the burden of proof sits squarely with the theists who not only state that he exists, but that he exists absolutely and undeniably.
Here is the way I see it. Once you come to the conclusion that God or gods do not exist because you don’t have enough evidence to convince you that he does, then that is the end of the story. Abusing philosophy to try to rationalize an irrational concept is in and of itself irrational. We don’t sit around racking our brains trying to figure out ways to disprove the existence of Santa Clause, Buddha, Krishna, Zeus, Odin, etc. We treat them for what they are myths. Why should Judaism, Christianity, and Islam be treated any differently? What gives these three faiths the right of exclusion? In my view, nothing does.
I like to say that today’s myths were once yesterday’s religions and I feel that this statement applies to all religions that involve the existence of supernatural deities. Christians particularly like to ask the question about why we exist. Well, if you take the view of the scriptures, our sole purpose on this earth is to worship and glorify God. Your prize for being faithful to God while in this world is that you get to do it for all eternity in the next world and bathe in his “holy” presence. Sin is what God says it is yet he can do as he wishes since he is God. Sounds a lot like something you would expect to come out of the mouth of a tyrant such as Adolf Hitler. The divine empire is a monarchy with God as King and Jesus as the prince of the kingdom. The biblical deity demands from you love, worship, and absolute obedience (which by the way is impossible). These are all the hallmarks of a tyranny that is not much different from the relationship between a slave and his master.
The fact that in my opinion the gods, and I mean all the gods are the creation and invention of man is proof enough that they don’t exist. I find meaning in life by giving of myself to those I love and helping out others who I may be able to assist. My life is fulfilling to me and I find joy in being a good father to my girls, a great husband to my wife, and a good son to my parents. It’s absolutely true that “little things mean a lot” especially when we are aware of the frailty of life. I don’t bet my life away on the hopes of another life in some other realm where time ceases to exist and life becomes eternal.
In closing there is no need to be ashamed to call yourself an atheist. Sure, we may disagree on many things but the one thing that we all agree on as atheist is that God or gods do not exist. The matter of proof is not our problem to solve. It is our job though to demand it if you make the assertion that the existence of God is true and expect me to bow down beside you and give away my life, my freedom, and my right to think as I please.