Dictionaries contain a variety of definitions for Atheism. Prescribed by religious cultures has many Atheists finding them unsatisfactory. Most people who classify themselves as scientific Atheists consider the following definition to be a good working model:
Atheism is the acceptance that there is no credible scientific or factually reliable evidence for the existence of a god, gods or the supernatural.
No. Religions appeal to a supernatural realm controlled in most cases by a god or gods. Support for a religious idea can be in written form or orally passed down through the ages, supposedly proclaiming the wishes of a supreme being.
Atheists have no written revelations, no god or gods and do not accept the existence of a supernatural realm or a creative super-being as no evidence demands that they do. Atheism is therefore a rational evaluation of nature, whilst religions result from imaginative guessing.
All rules of conduct are human made. They are the result of requirements necessary for cooperation in maintaining social order. The higher animals, including humans have evolved empathetic and compassionate traits beneficial to survival. Our intellect continually refines these, as circumstance requires.
Ask yourself these two questions:
(1) What religious rule do you know about that has not or is not capable of having originated from humans?
(2) If you found sufficient evidence, conclusively proving that a god did not exist, would you develop into an immoral person?
Of the billions of creatures, human and otherwise, that have existed and died, none has returned to report an afterlife. There is no evidence whatsoever that life continues after death. Because we can imagine such a comforting concept, does not make it true. Any wish for extended or eternal life should make us doubly wary of those using such an idea to advantage.
It is not a matter whether an atheist 'believes' in a supreme being or not, it is more to the point that atheists accept there is no evidence for such an entity. That the thought of the existence of a supreme being can enter the minds of humans is absolutely no proof that a supreme being exists anymore than does the thought of fairies make them real.
Religions play on death and escaping from it as a consistent theme. Promoting this on a continuing basis produces an unhealthy attitude to mortality. On the other hand, atheists soon accept that death is a reality of life and therefore spend little time pondering it. Most atheists find that death is a regrettable but natural part of living and have no choice but to accept the reality. No-one wishes to experience the final parting of family and friends but wishing for a better outcome of everlasting life will not make it so no matter how intense is that desire.
Those proposing that fairies, bunyips or gods exist must produce supportive evidence. It must be acceptable to all peoples and not only to the adherents of a particular ‘faith’. Over the last six thousand years, there have been 20,000 religions.* They have all claimed, equally fervently, that theirs is the ‘true’ one, rejecting the other 19,999 as false. Atheists reject, as fabricated, 20,000.
It is the highest form of unreasonableness to expect Atheists to prove the negative of wild unsupported assumptions. Atheists demand evidence but none has been forthcoming over the history of humanity.
*A Guide to the Gods’, by Marjorie Leach.
The hurt that religions do results from the adherent's blind acceptance of fanciful stories and traditions. Most atheists are vehemently opposed to all religions. It is an exercise in futility as well as being a notion steeped in ignorance, to blame the victim of any hoax.
Atheism promotes that young people should not be indoctrinated into a particular theistic system. Children have no intellectual defence against such authorative adult methods. Instead, education about all religions, the harm they create and their unevidenced status, is the only ethically correct course of action. Theistic induction is a form of mental child abuse.
Atheists would support people freely choosing religion as the result of broad information, as this would render it a minority affair. The proviso being, that its practise should only happen between consenting adults and not used to influence politics. Its present form is a consequence of a narrow based indoctrination procedure and/or taken for granted cultural correctness.
Unfortunately atheists are subject to degrees of vilification, discrimination and persecution in far too many places throughout the world.
As a volunteer-run and member-representative body, the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) is unable to provide the resources or expertise to directly assist you in this matter - much as we would like to.
We would direct you to your local Australian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission, to help with your inquiry. A complete list of these is available at Australian Government - Our embassies and consulates overseas.
More details of visas and requirements are available Australian Government - In-country Special Humanitarian visa and Australian Government - Immigration and Visas.
All of these options will need to be taken up with official Australian Government sources (Embassies/Consulates/High Commissions). Please be wary of private bodies offering to "fast-track", guarantee or progress a visa application for a fee - they may not be genuine.
When it comes to proselytising in schools outside of religious education classes, there are a number of contacts and support groups.
For public primary and secondary schools, your local Parents and Citizens' (P&C) Association should be one of your first contacts; they are often the most familiar with the school and can help get in touch with education ministers and Principals on the behalf of concerned groups.
In addition, contact the Education Department - there are a number of links available at Getting involved - useful links for parents. Remember that other religions can be secular allies when it comes to fairness in schools.
There are groups who are dedicated to helping secularism in Australia, with a particular focus on advocacy for schools:
In addition, if you feel bullied or threatened, you should also consider contacting:
And internationally, there is:
This question is discussed on Episode 5 of The AtheistAus Podcast
, and in the AFA member magazine, The Australian Atheist
You can subscribe to the podcast at the link above, and become a member of the AFA at our Membership