In response to this blog’s creation, a friend of mine queried thus:
what actually convinced you that there isnt such a thing as “god” anyways?
i just don’t see any sufficient evidence for either side anymore, and i want to know how you can call yourself an “athiest” when i can’t leave the viewpoint of an “agnostic”.
i wish i could believe in a “god” like i used to, however i’ve grown too much in the past four years… from someone with blind faith to someone too logical to even know how i feel about the word “faith”.
This is a legitimate question that a lot of agnostics pose and I’m glad she brought it up because I feel it’s worth addressing. First off, I’d like to define Atheism.
–noun a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. (emphasis added)
Many people forget that atheism can mean both active denial or a simple lack of belief. In this second sense, agnostics can also be accurately described as atheists. So to be clear, there is no way to disprove the existence of a supernatural being, making me in the strictest way, an agnostic. I choose to identify as atheist because while we may never be able to say conclusively one way or the other, that does not mean that both are equally probable propositions.
There is no way, in principle, to unequivocally disprove the existence of countless things. We must all be, strictly speaking, agnostic about invisible unicorns, faeries, flying spaghetti monsters and celestial teapots, but we do not take the inability to disprove these things to mean that they are as equally probable to exist as to be fabrications of our human imaginations.
So on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being 100% sure of the existence of a deity and 10 being 100% sure of the nonexistence of anything “supernatural” I must firmly remain a 9.999. I am a naturalist who sees no evidence for any kind of intervening being, benevolent or otherwise. With our present understanding of the universe, the only room for a “creator” is in gaps of knowledge with regard to the “beginning” of the universe, but I find that kind of deism to be wholly unfounded and intellectually dishonest to the methods of science.
On a final note, I would like to add that “atheist” is not my favorite way to describe myself. It’s useful if I don’t have time to engage in a productive conversation because it quickly establishes my position in the minds of most people. However in an ideal situation I much prefer to identify with more positive terms, rather than to be defined in opposition or lacking of something. Humanist, naturalist, secularist, and non-theist are more descriptive and the first three describe active beliefs and morals instead of just describing the beliefs that I lack.