COSMOS Family doesn’t understand Atheism

And they’re not alone.

Here’s an image they seem to have created (or pinched) in order to illustrate what they think atheism is and what its ‘problems’ are.

Let’s take it apart bit by bit.

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Following the arrow then, by numbers….

1. Defining Atheism.

In its broadest definition atheism simply means to be minus belief in god. ‘A’ – a prefix meaning ‘without’ and ‘theism’, meaning belief in god. So, in its most encompassing atheism is just ‘I don’t believe in god/s’. That is all. That is its sum totality. It is not ‘less’, it makes no assertion, that is all it is. Absence of belief.

2-4. Is Reality Godless?

As the column says, reality is subject to investigation. However, it is not rational to believe ¬†something just because you might find it. You can’t prove a negative, you can prove a positive. There are innumerable examples of how this works including The Invisible Pink Unicorn, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Russell’s Teapot and oh so many more. Reality may or may not be godless, the problem is that there are a huge number of possible god concepts and while a huge number of them can be disproven there’s always some other claim coming along from a weak deistic god to Deepak Chopra’s vague and woolly woo-woo idea of cosmic consciousness. ¬†What matters then, what we discern on is whether there is positive evidence for a claim. There isn’t, hence atheism.

It is a question, but atheism is not an hypothesis, a doctrine or a claim. Yes, many of us do say ‘God does not exist’ but this is really just shorthand – easier to say, requires less explanation and to all intents and purposes it’s true. The idea of a god being real – without any evidence for it – is so remote as to not be worth considering until/unless evidence turns up.

Without evidence this is the ONLY rational position to hold. Ref 1, Ref 2.

5-7. Belief?

Atheism is not a belief. This is very hard for people who are entangled in a belief so ‘important’ to their life as god to grasp. It is, rather, the absence of belief (or rather faith) in a god. Again there are huge numbers of examples of what this means. Atheism is a belief like off is a TV channel, like bald is a hair colour and so on. It may help to think of it this way, the absence of an apple is not a fruit. A disbelief is not a belief. There’s no equivalence.

8-9. Rational Reasons to be an Atheist

As covered above. The total lack of evidence for a god is sufficient for atheism as it is not rational to believe in things without evidence for them.

Personally, I would also include the fact that naturalism provides a far better (in that it is more effective and has testable results) model of reality.

10-11. Belief/Disbelief Statement

These are irrelevant to atheism and the chart thinks belief and disbelief are part of the same thing. There are strong atheists who would positively assert ‘I believe there are no gods’ but these are rather rare, I’ve only met a couple.

12-14. Causes and Effects

So what are the genuine causes and effects of atheism?

Well the causes can be many and it varies from person to person. Again speaking only for myself it is because a) there is no evidence for any god and b) naturalism offers a more complete and effective understanding. You’re reading this on a turing-complete electronic processing device, not a prayer-box, there’s a good reason for that.

The effects of atheism?

In and of itself nothing, just that the person who is an atheist doesn’t believe in god.

Some of us take it further, campaigning for secularism, against religious irrationality and hatred, against religious indoctrination and so on. This is beyond simple atheism however and is contingent on beliefs, rather than disbelief.

Summary

Misunderstanding layered on misunderstanding and without a correct foundation everything built upon it is false. Even if it were corrected to attack a particular manifestation of anti-theism or secularism it would still be problematic because it assumes atheism to be as irrational as theism – which I hope I have demonstrated above. Given that there is no rational reason to support or go along with theism it can only be rational to oppose its corruption of society.

 

Faith is a Synonym for Batshit Loco

Faith is belief without evidence.

A (combined) definition for a delusional disorder is:

“A fixed false belief held without and or against evidence.”

Considering the nature of religious beliefs it’s pretty obvious to anyone not suffering from cognitive bias that this is essentially the same bloody thing and ‘revealed knowledge’ or ‘personal experience’ ain’t going to cut it as evidence.

Is Atheism a Religion?

How would you define a religion?

Let’s go to an easily referenced source, even though it gets the definition of atheism somewhat wrong. Dictionary.com defines a religion in its primary definition as:

A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

That pretty much covers, within it, the later definitions as well, so it’s a good point from which to start. Remember, the definition for atheism used in this blog, and by most atheists, is:

The personal statement ‘I do not believe in god/s’

So let’s break it down…

1. Is atheism a set of beliefs?

No. Atheism is the lack of a singular belief. A lack of belief in a god or gods.

2. Does atheism say anything about the cause, nature and purpose of the universe?

In and of itself? No. Atheism just says we don’t believe in god/s. Many atheists also give the thumbs up to naturalism and materialism (not in the money-grubbing sense) but you can’t conflate atheism with these other things, however much the Venn diagram overlaps.

3. Does atheism reference a superhuman agency or agencies?

Other than to say we don’t believe in a god/s? No.

4. Do atheists have devotional or ritual observances?

No. There are no atheist prayers, devotionals, holidays, observances, washing of the feet, praying to Mecca (or, indeed CERN) or anything else.

5. Does atheism espouse a moral code?

Atheism? No. Atheists will tend to pick up a moral code from somewhere. Some look to nature and the altruism present in social species, others to philosophy, others to game theory. A few are nihilistic, true, but atheism in and of itself says nothing about a persons morality or lack thereof. Statistically speaking though, atheists tend to be less likely to be criminals, though the reason for this correlation is unclear.

Personally speaking I mingle some game theory, some epicureanism and some utilitarianism to come to my moral code.

Summary: Is atheism a religion? Is it bollocks. It fulfils none of the criteria that define a religion.