What atheism is and is not

What it is

First, I’d like to start with what atheism is. Atheism is either a lack of belief in a god or a belief there is no god. There, simple. It is simply whether or not you believe in a God.

What it is not

  1. A reflection of a person’s morality. Just because we do not take our morals from a holy book doesn’t mean we have no morality. Most people seem to have an inbuilt moral code regardless of religion, which suggests that humans evolved it because it was beneficial to our survival. Being an atheist also doesn’t dictate whether we are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ people. Some atheists give to charity whilst others commit crimes, just like any other section of society.
  2. Satan worship. This seems kinda obvious; we don’t believe in a god so why would we believe in a god’s arch enemy? That said, there are Atheistic Satanists, but they don’t believe in Satan as a being, but rather as a description of human traits.
  3. An excuse to behave badly. The logic behind this argument doesn’t really work. It assumes that all atheists are really theists (and usually believe in the Abrahamic God) and just say they are atheists so they can ‘sin’ all they want. This means all atheists are in denial about the impending, eternal consequences of their behaviour. I highly doubt that a significant proportion of the population (about 30-40%in the UK) are happy to burn in hell forever just to do whatever they want. I’m not buying it.
  4. Synonymous with Stalinism/Nazism. I’m not going to get into the argument over whether or not Stalin or Hitler were atheists as there is a lot of conflicting evidence. What can be said is that both used the church to manipulate the population to their own ends and a lot of Nazis and Communists were religious. Again there are good and bad people in every section of society and it is not determined by whether or not you have a believe in a god.
  5. A claim that we know that a god doesn’t exist. This is an entirely different issue of agnosticism vs gnosticism. Agnosticism is the position that we cannot ever know whether or not a god exists. Gnosticism is the position that we can know whether or not a god exists. So therefore, I’m an agnostic atheist, I think we cannot know about the existence of a god but I do not believe in a god. There are also agnostic theists, gnostic atheists and gnostic theists.
  6. An automatic support of evolution. While many atheists do support the theory of evolution, there may be some who do not. All atheism is is a lack of belief in a god or a belief in no god and nothing else.

So there you have it! I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions about atheists and atheism. Have a good weekend!