Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


SHOULD WE ASSUME ATHEISM UNTIL WE GET EVIDENCE TO TELL US DIFFERENT?

What does God mean?

Is atheism the null or default?

What does that mean?

What do you mean by atheism? Atheism as in the position or belief that there is no God? Or atheism as in just not believing - with this there is no assertion that there is no God?

Atheism is the orientation that there is no God.

For some it is also the denial that there is a God.

What is the difference?

These are the questions we are going to look into.

GOD

God means the one who made all things and who is perfect love and so deserves all our love.

DEFAULT

What does the null or default mean? It means for a start that it is where you start with. If you list all the things about religion people can believe such as God or gods or nature spirits then atheism could be the 0.

A default that has hidden assumptions that imply bias is not a default at all. For example, you don't say the null position about the tooth fairy is not denial of her existence but merely the absence of belief in her. What is wrong? You are assuming her existence is an important question which it is not. You are assuming she SHOULD exist not just COULD exist for she matters. So it is with God. You are making her important and why her and not leprechauns and even creatures you cannot think of? It is almost as if part of you believes already.

For the same reason, a real agnostic cannot assume that God could exist - the agnostic thinks you don't know if he could or couldn't or does or doesn't exist. But the agnostic needs to think of higher power which is more inclusive. If an agnostic has a menu of atheism or belief in a specific kind of God then why is he putting a specific idea of God forward like that as if it matters? What about other versions? He is actually promoting a specific God despite his agnosticism and that is not agreeable with the neutrality that agnosticism is supposed to encapsulate.

With the tooth fairy there is a bias meaning your default is not as neutral and honest and truth-seeking as it appears. And the same with any agnostic who can't keep it simple - its being neutral about the supernatural or the natural. It is not a real default.

SURPRISINGLY THE TOOTH FAIRY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE GOD QUESTION

God by definition is the only being who ultimately matters. So as we seen, the tooth fairy is not an important question. God then is an important question not just for explaining where the universe came from but because he is so perfect and loving and deserves all our love.

See what is happening here? "God is that which alone matters therefore the God question is of absolute importance." That is begging the question. It is illogical for you can just as well argue, "God may not care what I think of him so the God question is not of absolute importance".

There is more. The tooth fairy is as good an answer as God as a creator for the doctrine is about the magic of a thing coming from literally nothing. Nobody understands anything about that. She is not an important question but God is even less so for you don't need to beg the question about her but you do for God which means God is a terrible suggestion.

TREATING ATHEISM AS TRUE

The default of atheism means that you treat atheism as true even if you are not convinced or think it is not true. It is like the way that if you don't know how much money is in your bank you will have to assume the lowest amount you could have.

DOES IT HAVE TO BE STRICT DENIAL OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD?

Atheism may not necessarily be saying there is no God, we are told. Simply not believing counts as atheism too but that sounds like agnosticism. However simply not believing is a denial in its own way. To say you withhold belief in the being who alone matters is a roundabout way of denying he is real or is anything to think about. Treating God as absent or dead or fictitious is a form of denial. It is an indirect denial. This is our answer to those who say that those who say the null position is atheism are thinking of agnosticism not atheism.

Beliefs show up in your actions and reactions. Orientation is more ingrained and more part of you than belief is. So atheism can be an orientation rather than a belief in this case. Living without reference to God is atheism in that sense.

"There is no God" is strict denial. It is direct denial.

The others are indirect. Denial being indirect does not mean it is any weaker than direct. Sometimes an indirect denial is a louder and more resolute one than a direct one.


SO WHAT IS THE DEFAULT?

1 God?
2 A vague supernatural whatever?
3 Atheism as in denial of God?
4 Atheism as in implied denial of God or supernatural?
5 Agnosticism as in there being no supernatural or a supernatural and saying one must be neutral?
6 Agnosticism is in the context being between God and the natural?

What then is the minimum one?

4 and 5 are the real contenders for that. It is 4 for there is something biased about saying you will keep the contest equal between supernatural and non-supernatural. That is refusing to take the right one as the right one.

So we conclude that your default is that the non-existence of God as indirectly affirmed by you. Indirect denial of God is enough. The default is choosing not to believe and as this shows you indirectly say there is no God this is all you need to be atheist, this kind of atheism is the default.

Treating atheism as true is like flour to the loaf. Belief in atheism is like something you don't have to put in such as salt unless the evidence tells you to. We are talking about direct belief that atheism is correct.

It means you treat atheism as true until you get good enough reasons to believe in God or something that is not atheistic.

It means atheism is the null position. Unless there is a zero there can be no numbers. Atheism is the zero. A zero does not mean there is any other number.

Atheism is often defined as the position of having no position. In fact it is a method and a starting point and not a position. If it were a position its role as a method and starting point would matter more than it being a position. Its being a position could be seen as collateral or a side-effect. The position of having having no position describes dogmatic agnosticism not atheism. The agnostic is meant to be open-minded not settling for a position that they are taking no position on atheism or theism.

Atheism then is about evaluating. All evaluation is an atheistic job.

At its core, atheism is about evaluating and treating the non-existence of the magical (the non-existence of God is too narrow - its is about more than that) as a fact.

Atheism is the null value or the default and is not direct belief that there is no God at this stage though it is indirect unbelief.