- disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.Originlate 16th century: from French athéisme, from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god.’
Atheism is a faith just like any other faith. It is founded on a belief, not on fact or science. The word “atheism” means “no belief.” However, atheists actually do believe; it is just that they believe in “nothing.” They believe that there is no God. In spite of all their claims to the contrary, atheists must still rely upon the same resources for their convictions as do all other believers: namely, their faith. The only difference is their faith is directed towards nothing. They believe there is no “thing” out there. No God. No supernatural. No Devil. No purpose or meaning to life. Yet, they are no more rational in their beliefs than Christians are in theirs. The atheist’s lack of belief in God is simply an article of faith.
The problem atheists face is that you cannot prove that “nothing” exists. Nothing is the “absence” of some-thing. It isn’t a thing. It isn’t there, so you can’t show it. You cannot prove “nothing” is true. At most, you may find nothing where you are looking, but it does not mean there isn’t that thing somewhere else! For the same reason, you cannot prove the non-existence of God, because then you’d be trying to prove that “nothing” exists, which can’t be done. In fact, even to be an atheist and believe that God isn’t, you must first assume that God is, or you have nothing to not believe in! So, the idea of God’s existence is necessary in order for anyone to not believe in him. Atheists need God to have a faith that there is no God.
By all traditional definitions, God is not material. He can’t be tasted, touched, seen, or felt. He can’t be measured or put under a microscope. You cannot subject him to the scientific method, because you cannot measure by material science that which is Spirit. God isn’t earth, wind, or fire. He isn’t lightening or gravity or the vacuum of space. So, how on earth could you “prove” that God is not? All you can do is point to what you can see, hear, or feel and say, “that is not God,” or “I don’t see him.” You may speak of what you know, but you cannot really speak of what you do not know. And if you don’t know God, how can you speak about him at all, either for good or ill?
The realm of our experience is so limited and finite, all we could hope to say with any certainty is: “I haven’t experienced God.” But just because we haven’t experienced God does not mean he does not exist. We are not omniscient or omnipresent, so our experience is limited and tiny. All we know is in our small realm. For us to assert then, that “there is no God” requires a tremendous leap of faith. Maybe it requires even more faith to believe that there is no God than it does to believe that there is one. Listen to the faith of the atheist: “I, from my limited and tiny dot of existence on this small planet, am certain that there is no God. Even though I have not experienced all the vastness of the universe, I am certain I am right because I am so perceptive that I know what the rest of the universe holds.” Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that is just what the atheist is asserting when he declares that there is no God. My question is always, “How on earth could he know?” The truth is, he can’t. He is acting in faith. If faith is your only evidence, then you might as well believe that He is as believe that He isn’t!
I realize that many people are driven to the conclusion of unbelief because they are grieved over the evils of this world, or the death of loved ones, or by a thousand other causes of private pain. I cannot answer the pain with reasons why. It is beyond me. But the fact God does not put a stop to human freedom or suffering proves nothing about whether he exists or not. At most, we might wonder about his compassion, but his lack of action does not prove his non-existence. For instance, if I choose not to go to work tomorrow, I may be missing from my office and others may not see me, but it doesn’t mean I’ve ceased to exist. In the same way, we cannot prove God’s non-existence by his apparent inaction.
In the Old Testament, the Jews didn’t even have a word for unbelief or doubt. The word they used was lo-Amen, or “no Truth.” (Deut: 32:20) A person who doubted or did not believe was a person who lacked the truth. It wasn’t until the Arabs came up with the number zero that we were able to take this nothing, this lack of truth, and make it into a something. A zero is a symbol that represents nothing, but we treat a zero as if it represents something real. A zero represents the absence of something. In the same way, atheism is built upon the zero, and so, we make atheism into something when it is not. It has no reality in itself, but it pretends to be something. It can never be proved and it can never be affirmed. It is the belief in nothing, or, as the Bible says, it is the absence of the truth.
Atheism cannot exist without God, just as a lie cannot exist without the Truth. The only difference, then, between the Christian and the atheist is not their faith, but in what they believe. And Christians have a better ground upon which to stand, for they have encountered the God of the Universe. They base their faith on something, or rather should I say Someone they have experienced; not on something they haven’t. They have heard God speak to them, so their faith is based in unmediated knowledge. How do we hear from this God of the Universe? Well, that’s another story …
Right. And Easter-Bunny-Atheism cannot exist w/o the Easter Bunny. I love the logic. As long as someone doesn’t believe in Thor, The God of Thunder, he must exist.
As an atheist, I do not believe in nothing. I believe in science, I believe in the laws of nature, I believe in truth, I believe in logic, I believe in common-sense. I believe in reality, not fantasy.
You believe in Quantum physics even though the actions of electrons violate the laws of cause and effect? That electrons move from shell to shell without passing any point between and without the passage of time? That they appear here and then there without any time in between? You accept that as true even though you cannot experience it nor make sense of it. It defies common sense and Newtonian physics. There is much to reality that is not reducible to human understanding; but that doesn’t mean it is fantasy. It just means the human mind and sense experience cannot grasp it.
The material world, you assert is true, but by definition, the material world is more space than atoms; yet you don’t experience the world as space but as constant friction.
Einstein posited a 5th and 6th dimension that probably makes the narrow experience of our 4 dimensional universe seem quaint. Yet the common sense of natural laws is probably just as limited in terms of reality as Newtonian physics are to Relativity.
Using the Easter Bunny counter-argument is called the logical “fallacy of many questions.” It is committed when someone proposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved — i.e., a premise is included which is at least as dubious as the proposed conclusion. For example, the statement that walking in the woods alone at night is unwise because fairies are likely to bewitch unsuspecting individuals, presupposes that fairies exist — a dubious proposition.
This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda.
My point is that by ignoring the major proposition and alluding to a dubious minor, you are ignoring the first cause to try to make it seem a ridiculous argument by forcing a decision about derivatives. The existence of God has been a major premise throughout the world and philosophy. Fairies are a localized and regional sub-premise.
Whether or not fairies exist is irrelevant because it creates the logical fallacy of the illicit minor and the converse fallacy of accidents. If Fairies exist, it would not prove or disprove the existence of God. If they don’t exist, it would be the same result.
My initial argument relates to the entire metaphysical structure of the universe, and is a major premise. If God, then can we either prove or disprove his existence by material, empirical means. Since, if God, God is not subject to matter but the creator of matter, by what means can you measure that which is infinite and subject it to a finite test?
Most proofs against God are an exercise of hubris. They commit the fallacy of faulty generalization and specifically, the biased sample: “I have not experienced or seen God. He makes no sense to me: Therefore, I conclude, God does not exist.”
The “I” is the problem in the sample. From finite experience, a short life span, and limited knowledge of things beyond even our own planet, and in many cases, our own country or state, a person makes a sweeping generalization about the structure of the entire universe: that God cannot or does not exist. The statistical sampling and the selectivity of the data is too small to be of any value empirically.
A corollary of this approach is also hubristic: If there is a God, I demand that He prove himself to me and show me miracles.
If someone demanded I show up in his office tomorrow to prove I existed, I am not likely to show up on command. I find it completely unnecessary to prove I exist; nor would I want to submit to someone’s arrogant approach to my person. On the other hand, if someone asked for my help because they were truly in need, I am much more likely to come willingly.
As an atheist, I do not believe in nothing.
You believe there is no God. Since you are not omniscient and since you cannot prove that God does not exist, you accept it on faith. You believe there is no God. It is an article of faith.
If you were to approach this problem from an empirical standpoint, you cannot devise a test to test your theorem; especially since the proposed nature of God is not material but extra-dimensional. For God to have created a relativistic universe where time and space are bounded dimensions, God would be beyond our causal, Newtonian universe, and the laws of creation would be subject to Him, not the other way around. Even if God were existing in a 5th or 6th dimension posited by Einstein, we have no measurements by which we can encompass those realities or subject them to exhaustive examination. So we cannot know all the facts.
So, rather than believing there is no God, a more rational approach would be agnosticism. Since you do not “know” there is no God, and cannot know that since you are not omniscient, then agnosticism is a more reasoned approach.
If you counsel me to agnosticism about God, shouldn’t you also at least be agnostic about God Allah and God Vishnu? By your own advice rather than believing there is no Allah or Vishnu, a more reasoned approach to be agnostic about them both, would be appropriate, would it not?
My other question to you is, why would you separate Fairies or Thor by excluding them, contrary to your own advice? Exempting them for reasons of a fallacy looks like a cop out.
You seek to promote the fallacy of the irrelevant conclusion: instead of arguing the fact in dispute, the arguer seeks to gain his point by diverting attention to some extraneous fact. The fallacies are common in platform oratory, in which the speaker obscures the real issue by appealing to his audience on the grounds of popular sentiment, that since no one believes the Easter Bunny is real [except children], therefore God also must not be real, and therefore, belief in God is as ridiculous as belief in the Easter Bunny. Therefore any argument in favor of agnosticism regarding God must also result in agnosticism about the reality of the Easter Bunny.
The whole argument is specious.
However, once you enter into competing claims of revelation, whether that be Muslim, Hindu, Christian, or otherwise, you are no longer in the realm of empirical verification and you must evaluate the claims by other means. That is another topic.
God is the Axiom: the Unconditioned Ground of Being
Emmanuel Kant wrote of the unconditioned ground of being. The idea that something is infinite means by its very nature that you cannot subject it to the laws of cause and effect, because what is caused is finite, by definition, and not infinite. It is conditioned: dependent upon something else for its existence.
In morality, he wrote that you cannot provide an ulterior motive to make someone value the good. It must be valued for its own sake. In other words, if you say, you should be good because you will get a reward: money, power, fame, eternal life, etc. then the reason the person does what is good is not because it is good in itself, but because of self-interest. The selfish motivation taints the purity of the reason for the good. So, the idea of the good is axiomatic to morality, and a person ought to want to do the good because it is good in itself and for no other reason.
In the same way, the idea of God is axiomatic. What cause can cause the existence of God? If there is a cause, then by definition, God is not God, but would be created by some other agent. But God, by common definition, is uncreated and infinite. Since the empirical method can ONLY measure things by using the law of cause and effect [things that are created by causes], the very tools by which it attempts to measure, are incapable of measuring God and incapable of proving or disproving the truth of God’s existence. They cannot measure the uncaused Cause of all things. The very means of empiricism would try to subject the infinite to the finite. It would be trying to prove an axiom, which by definition cannot be proved but must be accepted. If one accepts the axiom that God exists, then all else can follow. If one does not, then nothing one says, would prove the case, for the case relies upon the first premise: that God is the uncreated Creator of all things.