Most have heard that Atheists are; “those without any invisible means of support.” A statement both humorous and true, but from the perspective of a religious interpretation of the world.
This phrase has within it the assumption that humans are in need of having invisible means of support. It implies, that as with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy etc., whose existence is dependent on the fantasy thinking of children, that we adults have similar requirements. The religious seem astounded to hear that Atheists reject that assumption. Further more, those with invisible means of support are in doubt that Atheist could be genuine about this.
Definitions in Dictionaries vary but “disbelief in God (or gods)” is a good explanation of Atheism. This means all gods and their spiritual entourage and trappings. Here, we must draw a distinct difference between an Atheist and the non-religious. It is far more than splitting hairs to do so. The state of being non-religious can mean a variety of things. It could be that circumstance of life has not had a religious orientation and the necessary brainwashing has not occurred. It could be that the brainwashing was so intense and accompanied by enough negatives as to have rejection by example taking place. There may be other reasons as to why a non-religious position in life is followed.
The non-religious may be free of the shackles of a traditional type of religion but it does not necessarily follow that they are free of other forms of credulity in accepting that which is not evidenced. New age thinking involves itself in all kinds of mystical beliefs. An endless list of beyond-known-nature world interpretations exists. Though not as damaging as organised religions, they are indicative of the state of desperation of humanity in not wanting to be alone. The need for the comfort of supernatural protection can nullify the need for proper evidence. Natural effects may be misread as super-natural.
If one calls themselves an Atheist, along with that name, comes a responsibility to self, in having very good reasons for doing so. Atheism is not a non-position in life. It is a thoroughly thought out way of viewing the world. Atheists have fearlessly searched out the facts concerning the existence of otherworld identities and found that no credible evidence has ever been produced in support of them.
The process is quite a simple procedure, and so obvious, that one has to wonder about the workings of the brain in this regard. All people reject the Gods of other cultures to a more or lesser degree. Other cultures reject ours in similar fashion. Very easy to write this, and the logic is profound in its straightforwardness, but few religious peoples of any culture can grasp it. And nearly all wars have depended on human non-ability to appreciate such a simple concept.
An Atheist is then lead to closely examine the extraordinary claims of differing religions. After a while, a pattern of intentional deception is discovered and no such evidence in support of the super-natural is ever forthcoming.
Supposed miracles, especially to do with Sainthood, go no-where near the proof required by scientific method and most are so far back in the past as to be totally untrustworthy. There are no genuine reports of visitations of angels, cherubim’s, devils, gods, or dead-people. Strange images appearing on windows, walls, floors, clouds etc., are so subjectively believed as to be no proof at all. Godly interventions in nature, such as producing rain when required or the saving of one person in an air crash, with a couple of hundred dead, are only believed by those with no understanding of coincidence.
Atheists soon learn that infant indoctrination, the power of suggestion, following the dictates of the herd and intentionally heightening the existing sense of fear of death, can create a partial insanity in people. The formula for this has been worked out over thousands of years and of course it works. Why wouldn’t it?
It is true that an Atheist cannot prove there is no God, but neither can they prove there are no Unicorns. The onus of proof is on the believers of gods and Unicorns to provide evidence for their existence.
Atheist can say with certainty that a personal or creator god has not made itself known to humanity. We have the ability to compile evidence and with the use of reason, to come to conclusions. In this process we must take into account any observations that can be verified. We must bear in mind our evolutionary induced susceptibility to believe for no other reason than we want to, as witness to other cultures shows. We must not rely on hearsay evidence any more than we would in a human court of law.
This Atheist would say that there may be a God, gods, a creator, a creative force, a something that words cannot express or even Unicorns at the bottom of a column of turtles that hold the World in its place. This Atheist would also say that we know nothing of the above, but we do know that it, they or whatever does not react to human wants, desires or needs, has never ever exposed itself to humanity in such a manner that could leave any doubt, and is therefore irrelevant to us. Some people are not in doubt, but that it is only some, and because the stories vary so greatly, it is hardly befitting of a supreme being to act so selectively and irrationally with its creation.
If there is an ultimate end result to Atheistic thought it is similar to this: We are not the amoral or immoral lower life forms that the frightened religiously challenged would like to believe and promote. Atheists see themselves as an ever so miniscule part of an enormously mind blowing system that exists. We see that we are a consciously aware incarnate portion of the universe. We accept that the blink that is our life was nothing before and will not continue after our time. We see that we are made of the same stuff as that of the stars and therefore realize that our differences as humans are purely perceptual, unimportant and over-emphasised.
Having an understanding that our needs, fears and hopes are common aspects in all, has us striving to rid the world of damaging factors not wished on ourselves. We claim no righteousness in our struggle and often we will fall, for we are human.
We recognise that Earth is our only home and is in need of proper understanding and respect if it is to support many future generations and us. Appreciation that other sentient creatures have no lesser desires in life than our own has us working towards a time when our utilisation of them is no longer required. We grasp the concept of, and are in opposition to, the indiscriminate environmental destruction, happening directly or through over-population.
If humanity is to move forward and ultimately survive on this planet we have to admit to ourselves that superstition cannot play a productive part in our affairs. Socially, politically and environmentally, civilisation is at the crossroads of success or failure as never before.
We must choose rationalism over wishful thinking.
What is an Atheist? If you are not one now, then potentially, it is you!
By David Nicholls