Tuesday, October 12, 2021

On Medium: Do Atheists Have or Lack a Belief In God?

Read on about atheism’s implications, the indifference to God, and whether atheists can dismiss theism or whether atheism amounts to the equivalent of a religion.


  1. Atheism isn't a religion, but atheists can be religious in their zealotry -- I think that's what theists may be trying to say. Why continue harping on about an entity you claim to not believe in? It's a fair question.

    An interesting thing I've observed is that the most outspoken atheists are usually those who have no religious background -- they were never religious themselves & grew up in secular households. Meanwhile, formerly devout theists who lost their faith tend to be more supportive of religion rather than hostile. It perplexes me because it seems so counter intuitive. It's the apostate who ought to be bitter & hateful, not the infidel. But this is what I see.

    1. Yeah, being passionate isn't the same thing as being religious, although "enthusiasm" used to be tied to religiosity, I think. The question of why atheists would bother to talk about religion is easily answered, and I address it in this recent series I'm doing on atheism. The key point is that atheists aren't talking directly about God, but about religious people and institutions, which do exist. The social, political, historical, and literary importance of religion is what can fairly interest a philosopher and an atheist. It's a matter of understanding what makes much of the world go around. So we talk about the delusion of God for the sake of argument, to help explain the real phenomenon of theistic religion.

      If the pattern you detect in your second paragraph is real, it might be partly because those who switch from theism to atheism never fully leave their religion behind, especially if they were raised in that religious tradition. They'd go easier on religion because they have more to lose, namely their memories of their childhood, their relations with family members, and so on.