What is atheism?

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The meaning of ‘atheism’ is misconstrued a lot. Atheism is the lack of belief in the existence of a god, not a belief that a god doesn’t exist. It doesn’t purport the non-existence of god.

The existence of god is unlikely and more of a hoax rather than being a reality in itself but it can’t be conclusively disproved either, leaving us no option but to be agnostic about it. Let us settle for now with ‘the idea of existence of god’ as the subject of our discussion; that idea of an almighty being that people hold in their mind as infused by religions. In that reference, theists believe in the idea of god being true and atheism is the belief in the idea of god being false. There are a lot of reasons that bring about that ‘belief’ factor on the side of atheism. Most weighty is the scientific basis of how unlikely it is for such claims to be true and other factors are impression of rational thought processes into knowing how ugly the idea of god in itself is, as shown by our history.

I choose to prefer using the latter definition of atheism (belief in the idea of god being false) especially since it helps me bring contrasting references to religions. The former definition of atheism (lack of belief in the existence of a god) which is what non-theists would argue for, is too philosophical to be considered in pragmatic grounds. We live in a world where there are a number of religions that encourage people to believe upon god. Lacking belief upon god requires one to voluntarily reject it but rejecting something on the basis of no evidence is nothing less than what religions do. It is equivalent to accepting something in spite of lack of evidence. Nevertheless, lacking belief in god is a justifiable position when individual freedom is considered since someone might not be convinced of god and therefore lack religious beliefs. However, atheism as an activism deserves to be much larger and shouldn’t be limited to someone’s lack of reasoning to appease that a god exists. Some empirical evidence as an independent basis of rejection of god would make atheism much wider in its essence and scope and help it transcend ideological limits. But since, the question of the existence of god lies outside of the realm of the physical, expecting such out of atheism is limited to a technical level.

Only the ideas of existence of god can be proven to be false and thus offer ground to be rejected. So, atheism is more precisely a belief in the idea of god being false, not a belief in the non-existence of god (because of absence of solid empirical evidence) or lack of belief in the existence of god (because it is too idealistic).

Agnosticism holds the view that the question of the existence of god is far from comprehensible, or that it is unknowable in principle if a god exists. Agnostics simply suspend their judgement. It is true that science has so far not been able to disprove the existence of god or a super-intelligence and may be that isn’t necessary at all since the burden of proof is on those who claim, not on science which doesn’t. But when we talk about the idea of the existence of god as infused by religions, it doesn’t take much time to understand why they make no sense. It isn’t necessary to be agnostic about whether resurrection is real or whether angels can dance at the head of a pin. A little appreciation of science and rationality spices up agnosticism to atheism by going a little bit further into believing stupidities to be false though not provable to be so.

Anti-theists don’t just believe the idea of god to be false but are actually willing to go against the religions which infuses such stupidities. In that sense, atheism is a moderate form of anti-theism. Atheists don’t necessarily need to belittle or ridicule the idea of the existence of god if people are happy to live with those. But they think it is better to limit religious ideals into individuals, just like any other ideals –after cherry-picking the good aspects of it- rather than letting it manifest in our behavior wholesomely.

It isn’t possible for science to disprove the existence of god. The subject should have to be testable in physical terms in order to be investigated by science and god, by its very definition is beyond the realm of the physical. The best science can do is show on the basis of how unlikely it is for god to be existent.

One of the strongest argument in favor of god is the fine-tuning argument. The exact evolution of our universe like this one may be attributed to a miracle demanding the idea of creator designing it. But may be the fine-tuning as we understand is nothing but an illusion. May be our universe isn’t a finely tuned universe but one of many chaotic universes where the fundamental constants can take up any values possible and we are kind of lucky to come up from one that would permit life, its evolution and an anthropic sense like this one. There is an increasing amount of evidence towards the idea of the multiverse. The superposition of innumerable states during observation in quantum mechanics, each state corresponding to a particular universe known as parallel universe is supported by the recent researches in modern physics as shown by the values of coupling constants which would mean a certain number of parallel universes has to be physically existing in order for some scientific models to make sense.

Likewise, virgin birth in mammals like us isn’t possible. The method of fusion of male and female gametes in us is internal meaning that male gamete in the form of sperm has to reach the ova (inside the female body) and successfully impregnate it. Keeping the technical part aside, the claim of virgin birth in animals like frog would have been agreeable given that the method of fertilization is external.

There shouldn’t be a philosophy like atheism because it doesn’t mean anything in itself. If we can think and reason if an idea is helpful and develop a selective method whether to accept or ignore on the basis of what’s good and what’s bad for our civilization, something like atheism wouldn’t have been conceived.

Atheism doesn’t teach us anything in a philosophical sense but it strengthens the very idea of reasoning in our thought processes. Being spurred by religious promiscuity, it encourages us to be thoughtful and rational and never ever settle with faith. It doesn’t impose us to believe god being evil or the idea of god being false but encourages us to think and reason so that we can reach the right answers and make the best decision for ourselves. Atheism strengthens the very idea of being Darwinian creatures by thinking and reasoning like how we made this far in our survival quest.

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