As many of you may have gathered by now, I happen to be an atheist. Let me explain what that means. It means very simply that I do not have gods. That includes your god, the Christian gods, the Jewish god, the Muslim god, the Hindu gods, Norse gods, Greek gods, Roman gods, Zoroastrian gods, Native American gods or any other gods I’ve failed to mention. The word “atheism” comes from the Greek word “άθεος” [atheos] which means “godless.”
Atheism is not a religion. It has no doctrine, no scriptures, no dogma, no traditions nor rituals. It does not require a belief in supernatural apparitions like devils, angels, souls, ghosts, spirits, demigods, dragons, unicorns, faeries, elves, talking snakes and talking donkeys. Atheism does not rule out the “possibility” of gods, but only their “probability.” If you could “objectively prove” the existence of you particular god, then I will believe in it willingly. But then, if you could objectively prove your god, none of us would need faith to believe in their god. That’s what faith is; a belief held without objective evidence or proof. Atheism is not a faith or held by faith. It is the opposite of faith. It is the absence of faith or belief; it is disbelief.
Atheists do not “hate” god. To say that “atheists hate god” would be like saying “you hate Santa” because you don’t believe he’s real. Neither do atheists hate believers in god. To misquote an oft used cliché thrown in my face by theists: “I love the believer, but hate their beliefs.” A few atheists attack a believer’s belief in god. I’m not one of them; such an argument is an exercise in futility. My arguments always revolve around science fact and law. Each person is entitled to his or her own beliefs and opinions, but not his or her own separate set of facts.
Modern science facts always trump 3,000 year old superstitions and holy tales. We aren’t goat herders living in tents and driving camels. We drive modern conveyances created by the science of internal combustion engineering, and communicate, not by shouting across the desert floor, but with contraptions created by the science of electronics; cell phones and computers. But one of my biggest pet peeves has to do with the denial of science as truth, especially biological evolution, that many theists employ as part of their belief system.
Evolution — the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations — is both a “fact” and a “theory.” To further explain, a “scientific theory” is “an overall explanation based on facts we already know to be true and correct for a real phenomenon or effects that have been observed in the natural universe.” It is not “a guess”, not even an educated one. It is an actually reality defined by all we know about it. And the more we know about it, the better that explanation gets.
Science is not a “baseless assumption” about a thing. Science is a structured unbiased effort, not only to understand the natural universe, but to harness nature and natural laws for our use and betterment. The very fact that we can use these scientific theories to fly, to communicate across miles, to manipulate genes and manufacture medicines that save lives are all daily proofs of the accuracy and veracity of those scientific theories.
Every time you place your trust in your family doctor, you are placing your trust in the Theory of Evolution; the basis of all biological study which includes medicine, the biology of human health. Every time you board a plane, you are putting your trust in the Theory of Fixed Wing Flight. When you protect yourself from falling it is because you trust the Theory of Gravity is factual reality.
I understand the reason these theists deny science. They cling with faith to an untenable belief that their god actually wrote their holy scriptures “perfectly” through imperfect human vessels, and that their god told them no lies. That everything from the first word to the last is a literal truth. It’s unfortunate for them that some of these “truths” happen to address beliefs about the origin of the cosmos and the origin of life, of the many species of plants and animals that populate our world, and physical laws and properties of our world; the very realms of scientific inquiry and understanding.
Science, unfortunately for them, proves these “truths” of theirs to be false. In the literalist’s mind that makes their god out to be a liar; or worse, it proves that their god –as they have defined him– isn’t real. They want desperately to believe, but rather than change the definition of their god to fit the facts as we now know them to be today –to make their god the relevant creator of the Nature that science discovers– they would rather deny those damning facts to cling to their faith and their errant definition of god.
It’s not enough to point out to them that they don’t actually worship a “real” god –an infinite being of spirit that is beyond their ability to define and greater than their minds can comprehend– but that they worship a book. They worship a false idol of ancient human invention; made of bound leather, thread, glue and pages of wood pulp decorated with letters made with mineral-based ink. They also worship and venerate the technologically ignorant human authors who wrote those words in that book. They have made themselves the very idolaters their second divine moral law rebukes.
So if you are one of these theists who find their god too small to encompass the facts of science, then maybe you need a bigger god, a greater god; a god that can’t be denied by reality.