Atheism is ‘lack of belief’? Sequel

I’ve been told over and over again, and in the most passionate if often vehement fashion, that atheism is not a religion but simply the absence of belief.   I wrote an article refuting this claim here.  In debates with atheists on the subject I am always being assured that newborns are essentially atheists because they are born without any beliefs.  I’m told that atheism, being lack of belief, means that newly born babes qualify as atheists.  Of course that is ridiculous and in fact rather anserine.

Today, I came across this article on the web entitled Children as young as four to be educated in atheism.

My, but my atheist antagonists ought to be embarrassed at this!

Surely even the most ignorant and incompetent atheist can see that there can be no need to educate young children into atheism if atheism is truly their inborn lack of belief! They are born atheists, according to them!

Isn’t it amazing how atheists contradict themselves at every turn? If newborns are already atheists why in the world would they need indoctrination in atheism? Surely just being left alone would suffice to leave them atheists. Ah, but the atheist will claim they will be inundated with theistic or deistic ideas during their lives so we must protect that innate atheism! Really? Why?

Atheism is an idea that doesn’t matter. It leads to no good, it helps no one and it tends to either universal anarchy and chaos or totalitarian despotism (remember the more than 170 million killings under officially atheist regimes in the 20th century alone).

If, by atheist reasoning, the universe really created itself out of nothing (the atheists only origins option), and if the universe consequently really has no meaning, no purpose, no good and no evil, why should anyone care what anyone else believes anyway? Why are atheists so adamantly evangelistic on making sure all remain, as they allege, “atheists from birth”.

Obviously they feel they need more.  Should theists now start using PANIC HEADLINES of the atheist genre?

Atheists, now they’re coming for  your children!

– to mimic the Times article on Dawkins’ latest drivel “Creationists – now they’re coming for your children” , on which I commented here.

Of course, this kind of headline would be entirely justified in this case, if only because they want to preach their inane religion in public schools (as though they don’t already under the guise of science and secular humanism which possesses the entire public ed system in the West). These people are fanatically against teaching any kind of religion in schools and even having any kind of religious symbol displayed in any public place, yet here they come! They now want to indoctrinate kids in schools into their religion, all while claiming kids are naturally atheistic!! Can you say HYPOCRITES!?

We now know that children are born as intuitive theists (Barrett, Bloom, Kelemen, …), not atheists at all.

“Intuitive Theists”?: Reasoning about Purpose and Design in Nature”
Children’s Attributions of Beliefs to Humans and God: Cross-Cultural Evidence
“Religion is Natural”

Now here I will quote Dr Michael V. Antony, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Haifa, Israel. Dr. Antony addressed this “lack of belief” argument thus (my bold):

It is often said by atheists that atheism is not a positive position at all – a belief or worldview – but merely a disbelief in theism, a refusal to accept what the theist believes, and as such, there is no belief or position for there to be evidence for. Evidence is not needed for ‘non-positions’.

While the word ‘atheism’ has been used in something like this sense (see for example Antony Flew’s article ‘The Presumption of Atheism’), it is a highly non-standard use.  So understood, atheism would include agnosticism, since agnostics are also not theists. However, on the common understanding of atheism – no divine reality of any kind exists – atheism and agnosticism are mutually exclusive. Some insist that this non-standard sense of ‘atheism’ is the only possible sense, because a-theism means without theism. But if that were a good argument, the Space Shuttle would be an automobile, since it moves on its own (mobile=move, auto=by itself). Ditto for dogs and cats.

Yet none of that really matters, for even the non-standard sense of ‘atheism’ does nothing to neutralize evidentialism’s demand for evidence. As we saw, evidentialism applies to all ‘doxastic’ attitudes toward a proposition P: believing P, believing not-P, suspending judgment about P, etc. Therefore evidentialism says, with respect to the proposition God exists, that any attitude toward it will be rational or justified if and only if it fits one’s evidence. Now it is true that if one had no position whatever regarding the proposition God exists (perhaps because one has never entertained the thought), no evidence would be required for that non-position. But the New Atheists all believe that (probably) no God or other divine reality exists. And that belief must be evidence-based if it is to be rationally held, according to evidentialism. So insisting that atheism isn’t a belief doesn’t help.

Mere absence of belief is not a position.  It’s a passive psychological state.  Atheism is position, it is a chosen position, not the natural one.  Atheism, as denial of reality, is a form of insanity, therefore it is doubtful we will ever cease having to deal with atheist nonsense.  Will we ever see the end of this blatant insanity?

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