Are You Really An Atheist?
It has been estimated that only about 5%, a small fraction, of the world’s population question or denies the existence of God. Historically, the belief in supernatural beings is a universal ingredient in all human cultures, whether they are highly technical like the United States or primitive like the Australian aborigines. For most, the issue isn’t whether or not God exists but what is that God like? Or, are there more than one?
Atheism is probably an ancient belief, but as a philosophical movement it is relatively new. Polytheism dominated much of ancient Greek thought and theism dominated the medieval Christian view; however, atheism has had emerged modern times. Early philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle did not deny the existence of an eternal being, they simply questioned and were at time unsure of what that God is like or how He interacted with the human world. Late philosophers like David Hume or Immanuel Kant laid much groundwork for contemporary agnostics and atheists alike. In fact, most atheistic arguments stem from these two men’s writings.
An atheist is a person who denies the existence of a God. This position, however, is indefensible and is frankly arrogant. Virtually, the only way anyone can prove no God exists is to be a god themselves. A person would have to be omnipresent and omniscient to have enough information to know that no deity exists. Ironically, these are the very attributes that a God indeed would posses. Therefore, it is quite plausible that no finite being can prove that God does not exist because God may very well exist beyond one’s comprehension or experience.
Many alleged atheists are actually agnostics, ignostics, or antitheists. Some atheists do not concern themselves with proofs or absolute truths therefore the idea of God is unknowable or doubted; this view is basic agnosticism. Gnosticism is actually a more tenable position and is less arrogant for the finite. Ignostics feel that the question about whether or not God exists is meaningless and thus do not care to discuss it at length. Antitheists are just generally against God or divine things in general, thus they do not necessarily have to be an atheist. It is easy for antitheists to posit emotive arguments based upon bitter pasts. Atheists typically assert that they either “know” God does not exist (Strong/Hard Atheism) or that they simply believe that God does not exist (Weak/Soft Atheism). The former is the most arrogant whereas the latter is simply blind faith, which ironically is accused of believers.
Atheists attempt to assert that the believer has the burden of proof, rather than an atheist bearing the burden of proving God does not exist. When Christians state that God exists and offer evidences to support this claim, they have moved the debate into a new arena—an arena in which atheists must prove that the Christian evidences are erroneous. The theistic argument is historically the principle belief and general arguments have been asserted in time affirming this belief. Therefore, since atheism is relatively new it bears the burden of proving its assertion. Sadly, the person who claims that he does not have to defend his position normally does so because he has no evidence to support his view.
When an atheist does argue they usually have a myriad of arguments. These arguments are varied and more nuanced as you observe them closer; however, atheistic arguments are typically Non-design in the Universe, Argument from Evolution, Theological Non-Cognitivism, Incoherency Arguments such as The Problem of Evil and The Argument from Non-Belief, and more.