Original image by qimono/Pixabay.
Time for part 2 of our Atheism Q&A. If you did not read Atheism Q&A Part One, starting there is suggested, although it is not required as the questions and answers are not in any particular order over the article series. Still, starting there might be good as part one deals with questions asked more often.
This post will be a bit different than the previously published "What atheism is all about in a few memes" because here the focus is more on the answering visitors' questions, instead of making a presentation about atheism.
So, let's get right into it. Note: There is a small explanation below every image.
Q: Are you saying I am a fool for believing in God?
A: No. you were likely told only one side of the story. Many atheists are ex-Christians, Muslims, Hindus ... we were not fools. We lacked information.
Ok, I have to admit - some atheists do think this. I have seen this phenomenon online many times. But in my opinion, most atheists do not share that sentiment. We are aware that believers - as we were - are indoctrinated into religion from childhood as simply have not had the time to look at the arguments for religion seriously. Religion tells you only one side of the story and discourages asking questions. It's really quite difficult and requires a lot of time to think about these things. Not everyone has had the chance. And even those who had - they might not be aware of some of the objections to the arguments of religion. Most atheists understand these things and only make fun of religion itself, not those who practice it.
Q: How does atheism even make sense? nobody can disprove god.
A: Not all atheists say there is no God. Some only say they lack belief. This is 'soft' atheism. Others claim that some of the supposed characteristics make god impossible like a square circle is impossible. this is 'hard' atheism.
There's a lot, A LOT more to say about this question but I think this is the essence - atheism does make sense, as all atheists are not the same. Some have only concluded that religion has failed to satisfy its burden of proof and as a result, they do not believe in a god. That kind of atheism makes sense. Others think they have found an argument that indeed disproves god - or at least god as usually portrayed. That kind of atheism might not make sense if their arguments are bad or wrong but that conclusion does make sense to them. They could be wrong, of course.
Q: Why atheism? Why not agnosticism?
A: Theism and atheism are about belief. Gnosticism and agnosticism are about knowledge.
If you lack a belief in God but do not claim to know, you're an agnostic atheist. This corresponds with the soft atheism we talked about earlier.
If you are inclined to believe there's a God but do not claim to know, you're an agnostic theist.
However, some philosophers define agnosticism as the position that we CAN'T know. This all just goes to show you how definitions and labels are sometimes not enough and that we should be careful to express our meanings clearly.
For a more detailed discussion of this issue visit the previous post - Here's who I am, part III: I am an Atheist
Q: Ok. I don’t believe. What’s next?
A: You will probably be shocked to discover that many of your ideas about right and wrong came from theology. When confronted with an ethical question, you’re now free to decide. More than that, everything is now open to question.
When you stop believing in a god, it is very possible that you will be re-examining some of your other beliefs as well, because they have been most likely influenced by your belief in a god. If that belief is not on firm ground, then other beliefs are not so solid as well. But do not be afraid. There are many alternative answers and philosophies out there. You simply have to find them.
Atheism does not force you to believe anything. You're free to decide. If you're looking for a life philosophy that might somewhat naturally evolve from a lack of belief, check out humanism.
Q: Why do atheists sometimes write ‘God’ and other times ‘god’?
A: Because we cannot be bothered to correct the autocorrect. :) We mostly write ‘god’ because for an atheist it makes sense to say 'your god wants ...' Instead of 'God wants ...'
A bit of fun at the end, but true (for the most part) nonetheless. We do not do it as a sign of disrespect but it does not make sense for us to think in terms of one, capital G 'God' anymore. Sometimes, though, we will intentionally write 'God' to reference a specific god - the god of the Bible.