[ExI] No gods, no meaning?

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Wed Apr 22 08:37:36 UTC 2020

On 22/04/2020 01:12, Will Steinberg wrote:
> Atheism is clearly an assertion.  If it wasn't, then "God does not 
> exist"...

You're saying atheism asserts "god does not exist"?

You've heard the saying "Absence of evidence is not evidence of 
absence", right?

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in the lack of gods. 
Completely different things (although many people don't seem to 
appreciate this).

It's normally, in my experience, religious folks who claim that atheism 
is a belief system, in an attempt to 'demonstrate' that even the dreaded 
atheists /believe/ something. "See? Everybody believes! I believe there 
is a god, you believe there isn't!!".

That's not how it works.

I do not say "god does not exist" (Of course, the obvious first question 
in resonse to that would be "Which god are you talking about?", as we 
have records of literally thousands of gods, globally, throughout 
history. I once started counting them, but eventually gave up, after 
passing the 2000 mark, I think it was. Some people say this is 
nitpicking, and they are just different names for the same god. If so, 
it's one hell of a confused and contradictory being!).

I don't even say "gods do not exist". How could I? I don't know that. I 
can't prove that. All I can say is "I don't believe in any gods". That's 
not a cop-out at all. Neither is it agnosticism. Agnosticism is nothing 
to do with belief, it's to do with knowledge (Gnosis). An agnostic 
doesn't /know/ if gods exist. I say I'm an atheist, a more precise 
description would be 'an agnostic atheist', because (obviously) i don't 
know if any gods exist (although I do suspect it's highly unlikely), but 
more importantly, I don't believe they do (again, note that this is not 
the same as "I believe they don't"). But that's more of a mouthful, and 
lots of people just get confused by it, so I just say 'atheist'.

So, no, atheism is not an assertion. It's an opinion, or an attitude.

Ben Zaiboc

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