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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Is Atheism Mere Lack of Belief?

I receive a common claim from atheists on debate forums.

When they are told that they are as religious as theists or when they are told that atheism is itself a king of religion, they inevitably respond with the canned answer, “No atheism is not a religion or philosophy. It is simply lack of belief. You obviously don’t understand atheism!”

This is of course a learned and automatic response as opposed to a critically thought out one. Atheists have learned this answer from other atheists who of course learned it from some others on and so on, off of web forums, youtube, younameit, etc.

The most astounding thing about this canned answer is that it isn’t even logically viable.
Babies have no logically definable belief in God, yet they are by no means atheists.
On the contrary, Dr Justin Barrett of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind says that children have “a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose.”
See here

Of course atheists now seek to discredit him – what else can they do? Nothing as usual.

Worse still is when the blind non-thinking atheist throws up this “You don’t understand atheism” folderol.
I mean please, seriously, what’s not to understand? It isn’t hard, it isn’t anywhere near scientific or complicated. So that part of the answer is purely rhetorical codswallop.

Is atheism mere lack of belief? Of course not. It is “lack of belief in god or gods” but it is more than that and the additional pieces are crucial.

Young children, for example, are not atheists.  My cat is not an atheist yet lacks belief. Rocks lack belief but are not atheists.
Of course then we’re talking about a personal mind and free will here – free will is something which the smarter atheists do not even believe in of course but I’ll pass on that for now.  So sure we can barely use cats or rocks to refute the argument by themselves.

Here is the problem with the lack of belief response:
It is not a mere lack of belief.  It is a positive choice not to believe.

The difference is enormous and fundamental.

A positive choice not to believe in a God is NOT a mere – as though passive – lack or absence of belief. It is indeed a choice to refuse to accept whatever evidence for the existence of a supreme being is presented and in most cases – at least 99% of the ones I encounter – to accept that there even is any such evidence! Pretty amazing when you then hear these same people claiming they are “open minded”, “logical”, “reasonable” etc.!

Atheism is indeed a metaphysical, philosophical vacuum.  It is a pretense to knowing there is no God. Merely saying, “I don’t know if there is a god or not but I don’t believe in any” is not really atheism.  Not knowing is agnosticism’s territory – smarter than atheism but little better.

Nevertheless, when an atheist claims he is being rational in claiming there is no God, or doesn’t believe in any god, he is following a self-imposed willful blindness to rationality itself, rather than the openness he claims.
There is nothing rational in atheism for rationality itself cannot be a logical conclusion of atheism.
As CS Lewis pointed out,

If naturalism were true then all thoughts whatever would be wholly the result of irrational causes…it cuts its own throat.
and “Unless thought is valid we have no reason to believe in the real universe.”

Under atheism, all life is a mere accident of a mindless, non rational, purposeless universe. How does any non rational process create mind and rationality?  To pre-empt the typical responses to this problem – such as that we have observations that confirm the reliability of our minds – I add, no you cannot test the reliability of the human mind by using the human mind. A fatal and salient contradiction occurs in the attempt!

Atheism’s pretended “lack of belief” is a mis-definition of itself. And why should that surprise anyone that see through such blatant nonsense? The atheist cannot see any evidence for a supreme being in the universe because no matter what evidence is produced it is a priori denied.

One must choose to be an atheist in spite of all evidence for the existence of God and not at all because of the imagined absence of any evidence. And of course, anyone who pretends to know there is no God is either a certifiable fool or incredibly doltish for if we hear anything from atheists it is that we asked for the evidence or foundations of atheism they themselves tell us there is no possibility of proving the non existence of God! So here they admit to believing there is no God by faith!! Amazing.

Atheism is far more than mere lack of belief.  Indeed, it is a chosen adherence to a specific metaphysical position, a conscious decision, in favor of a refusal to accept any and all evidence whatsoever that there indeed could be a supreme mind underlying all creation.
That is simply logically unsupportable – even by the atheist’s own pretended criterion of reason.

They themselves know that they cannot know there is no God and can never bring anything even close to proof, but are still so sure of it that they call themselves atheists! Then they go all around the web and the world screaming out insults, complaints, obscenities and boorish but gratuitous affirmations that there is no God and no evidence exists!

Like putting on an opaque blindfold and and saying, “I see no evidence for any God”.
If they would only remove their own fabricated-for-the purpose blindfolds they would at last how ridiculous they look to everyone else that is looking in wonder at the obvious design in all creation. Design that must,a priori, be denied and explained away through volumes of scientific sounding sophism.

Worse still is the fact that refuting certain evidence for God’s existence doesn’t bring any evidence that there really is no God!
The atheist’s position is thus illogical and vain and requires far more blind faith than any deist or theist position ever has, does or ever will require!

Atheism is inviable and is clearly more than a mere absence of belief. It must be chosen in spite of all evidence for God and thus for teleology.

It is a humongous web of interwoven self-deceptions based in denial of realities and positions that are testable under logic and/or observation. One such observation is the origin of the prescribed, specified, programmed for a purpose, information dwelling in every living cell – DNA/RNA.

Atheism: Nothing producing everything, for no reason with no purpose is a nonsensical piece of fairy-tale-like tripe.
No wonder atheists have always been the minority in the world and thankfully still are.

*Note: I just now (14-08-2010) found an article on this same subject by noted Christian philosopher and apologist Dr. William Lane Craig here which I encourage you read.  In this response Dr. Craig states,

For the assertion that “There is no God” is just as much a claim to knowledge as is the assertion that “There is a God.”  Therefore, the former assertion requires justification just as the latter does.

This is precisely what I am saying here.
Check out the sequel to this article here.