If you claim that something is true, "God exists" or "God does not exist" then you have to substantiate that claim.  It is only fair and only honesty.  You have the burden of proof - it is not about strict proof necessarily.  Getting beyond reasonable doubt is enough.  And you must be open to new light otherwise you have an addiction or dogma not a belief.


One thing the person asking religion to give him or her the burden of proof will get in response is an accusation of scientism.

Science is a major concern in the search for proof or things that are beyond reasonable doubt.  By scientific truth we mean what is beyond reasonable doubt and that can include things that are 100% certain.

Religion hates the belief that only the scientific method proves truth. It insults it by calling it scientism.  The dogma of scientism then is allegedly,  "Accept nothing except what the scientific method proves".  It is said to be contradicting itself for no test is done to show we should believe nothing else.

It is not a contradiction for it is unavoidable.  What else are we to do?  Thus it is a paradox.  A paradox is that which is true but which looks absurd.

So if it is a contradiction then believers do not tell us that we should alter it to, “Prefer that which is shown true by scientific investigation.”  That avoids the demand for proving.  It still leaves the scientism method intact.

Scientism is thought to be refuted by Einstein. It is accused of saying that the only thing that matters is what science shows to be true. But Einstein said that not everything that can be detected and measured matters. So things that cannot be examined and tested matter too - perhaps more.  The fact remains that science is more than just machines and tests. We all do science.  We are scientific instruments.  Einstein was saying love matters more than mere science.  He is wrong - it is science that tells you the other person is there and you need that before you can love them.

We are told, "Scientism assumes that you must work to find out what is real but no test can tell you that you must".  If so scientism presumes there is more to truth than science.  Thus it is more open to love than Einstein realised.  If love is not a scientific truth and say evolution is then it is still scientism if you say that evolution matters 100% and love matters 99.5%.  Nobody says there has to be a stark huge gap.

Science at its best is experimentation.

Those who oppose scientism say that psychology is not a science though it thinks it is so science is not as reliable as we imagine.  Is psychology science for it depends too much on what people claim and say? It depends on observation of others that may be subject to bias.  It is loose science. 

Religion says you cannot use scientism against religion unless you have the burden of proof and met it that the scientific method alone is the best way to truth.  Yet when does it meet the burden of proof that the scientific method is not?  That is an impossible burden for religion to meet for religion is not science and does not claim to be.

If atheism does not make a counter-claim (that this god or God does not exist) then it is basically about seeing no reason to believe in God. Then the atheist does not need to give reasons for having no belief in God It is a lack of belief and not belief that we are talking about. It is not a claim.

The atheist who believes in no God is going a step further and may, according to many, have to give reasons.

The believer in God certainly has to give reasons.

Some beliefs and ideas deserve less investigation and support from evidence than others.
Even if both believers in the existence of God and the non-existence of God must give reasons then which side has to give the best reasons?

Don't limit the question to a God-theory
It is said that the absence of belief in God is not belief in the absence of God. Do they mean it is belief in God? It cannot be! Do they mean it is not atheism? It is if God is an action word. God by definition is about relationship is it is a belief in action word. It is belief about God as action and trying to tap into and be with this action God.  It is about how you live and keep God in everything all the way. The person who has the absence of belief in God is in all essentials an atheist. The argument that the absence of a belief is not the same as the belief in the absence of something does not apply in relation to God when you keep an eye on what God is about - relationship.

Is soft atheism a belief?
Take the person who asserts, "There is no God." This is the hard atheist. And think of the person who says, "I see no reason to believe". This is the soft atheist.


Believers say, "Soft and hard atheism act like beliefs so they are beliefs."
Some say that morality collapses if you say there is no reason to believe in God so saying that cannot be called a mere lack of belief when it has such big ramifications and consequences. A lack cannot do all that.
The argument is that if something is said to be claiming nothing it is a belief when it is treated as one. That is nonsense. We can get too attached to anything. It is human nature.
And also, you lack belief in the toothfairy and this affects your life in the sense that you don't even think about her or worry about her. The argument is total rubbish.  Lacking belief in God has the side-effect not the direct effect of ignoring God and thus denying him that way.  A lack can therefore act like a belief and not be a belief.


Looking at the burden of proof from the perception angle


Atheism is firstly a perception that there is no need for God as an explanation for how and why we exist and how we are to live.  The atheist starts off by perceiving that there is no sign of God. If the atheist believes there is no God then that is an offshoot but not a necessary one. The burden of proof is on the person who says they perceive that there is a God.  The reason is that the person who says they perceive that there are no fairies is taking the default and the person who says they perceive fairies is not. We do not need fairies to explain anything. God is supposed to be an explanation which is why believers need to back that up.

The biggest load?
Non-believers sometimes deny that religion is true and of divine origin or that God exists.
Take the person who asserts religion or God is true.
Take the person who asserts that religion or God is not true.
If both have the burden of proof it does not follow that they equally have it.
Some ideas need less proving or support than others. Some ideas DESERVE less proving or support than others. That depends on how true they are.
Too many faiths are irrational. There is no reality check in them. For the sake of reason, the atheist will have a lighter burden of proof than the believer in God.
Life can be liveable and fine without God and prayer and religion. Thus the burden of proof is heaviest on the believer.
The believer says a suffering baby who nobody can help is not proof that there is no loving God. The God rejecter because he has a lighter burden of proof can say it is. She keeps it simple.

Hard and soft
The hard atheist asserts that there is no God but also asserts that he sees no reason to believe. So he would agree with the soft atheist that there is no reason to believe. He just goes a step further. Hard atheism then stands on soft atheism.
The burden of proof cannot apply to the soft atheist. You do not have to prove the tooth fairy does not exist to be able to say that you see no reason to believe. It is the same with God.
The burden of proof does not then repose on the soft atheist.
The soft atheist and the hard atheist are closely related. How? A hard atheist describes a person who is a soft atheist but who goes a step further. The hard atheist like the soft atheist says she has no reason to believe. But she adds that there is reason to reject God as well. Soft atheism then is the foundation for hard atheism. Hard atheism appears in the soft atheist framework as a possibility. It is allowed for. The hard atheist is still as much of a soft atheist as the soft atheist is. There can be no hard atheism without an underlay of soft atheism.
For the hard atheist, it is more important for him to see no evidence for God than for him to get evidence that denies God's existence. The lack of evidence for God is more basic. It is his foundation. The denial of God is built on that foundation.
So we see then that the hard atheist in so far as she is a soft atheist is free from the burden of proof too. It is only the bit of her that is a hard atheist that has to worry about the burden of proof. But in the big picture, it does not matter much.
We conclude that soft atheists are free from the burden of proof. Hard atheists are free too in so far as they are soft atheists and they are always more soft atheist than hard atheist.
Guilty Until Proven Innocent?
Some say that as believers in God say he exists, it follows that it is up to them to back this claim up and they need to produce satisfactory evidence and perhaps proof - if proof is available. This allegedly presupposes that belief in God is to be considered guilty of credulity and lack of concern for evidence until proven innocent.
Asserting that God exists is being guilty until proven innocent.
Atheism, asserting that God does not exist, is also guilty until proven innocent.
Which one is the lesser "crime" though? Atheism as in the assertion that there is no God.
The believer wants to say there is a God and says God is, so to speak, innocent of not existing until proven "guilty". In other words, he is also all-good until proven bad. A God that is not good is not a God - but a bully called God. But innocent until proven guilty does not apply across the board. If the president is accused of being about to send the world into Armageddon, you have to assume he is guilty and shoot him. Innocent until proven guilty does not apply in extreme cases. It does not apply to God who lets babies suffer horrendously. There is a lack of rapport and empathy in the person who thinks it applies.

The atheist baby
An atheist sticks with the basics of atheism and does not claim God does not exist but simply says she has no reason to believe. She lacks belief in God but does not say there is no God. If that is all it takes to be atheist then is it the case that your budgie is an atheist as well? Or if that is too silly then is each baby an atheist?
Atheists answer that you need to be more than a baby to be able to form beliefs, unbeliefs or to have lack of belief either way.
A creature that can form beliefs for or against something can suspend belief too.
If atheism at its root and in its basic form does not claim that there is no God but is a non-claim and is based on the absence of evidence for God then Christians say it cannot be an identity marker. It seems that you cannot call yourself an atheist for an identity is based on what claims you make for yourself. But why not? You can call yourself rational and if atheism is an area of rationality then why not call yourself atheist? What you claim, what you do not claim, what you deny can be part of you. The argument that there are no atheists if atheism is not a claim is bizarre. Christians use it for they want to dehumanise atheists and ignore their self-identification.

True or false
It is said, "Only a claim can be true or false".  If something is not true or false then it is meaningless as in, "The dog ate the non-existent cat." If atheism for many is not a claim, it is claiming nothing, but a lack of belief or the absence of belief in the existence of God then atheism is unable to be shown true or false.  Believers argue then that it is incoherent meaningless nonsense.
If atheism says that it does not believe God is real or exists there is nothing wrong with that. It could be right to not believe God is real. So is true or false is not the point.
To say that one does not think God is real is not like saying, "The dog ate the non-existent cat." The argument is full of distortions and lies that are meant to try and make atheists look stupid.
Is belief that there is no God a lack?
Some seem to think that claiming there is no God (hard atheism) is a lack of belief in God! It is a claim. It is a lack in a sense. It is more a claim than a lack and it is a lack in the sense to believe anything is to fail to believe in its opposite. But it is not wholly a lack. The following certainly is a lack: "I see no reason to believe in God so I will not acknowledge God."
Suppose to say, "There is no God" involves a lack. Then that bit of it does not require a burden of proof! How does that affect things? It matters a little. But it is balanced out by the fact that to say that "There is a God" involves a lack of atheism. So it does not matter then.
Burden of proof for a loving God is on believer for there is a mystery of evil and no such mystery exists for the atheist. A more accurate label would be a "burden of support" — the key is that a person must support what they are saying.

The duty and need to demonstrate that something is true or probably true arises when a person asserts something as true. The atheist is always largely basing her atheism on the lack of evidence for God. Thus the atheist does not and cannot have the burden of proof in so far as she is not asserting anything. The burden of proof to show God exists rests on the shoulders of the believer. It is not true that those who say that God exists and that those who say he does not have an equal duty to prove. The burden is heaviest on the believers. Atheists are entitled to not bend the knee to God just because they see no evidence.
The lies and distortions coming from Christians on the subject of the burden of proof is disturbing.
Every religion has the burden of proof of showing that it manifests the will of its version of God. That entails showing its God probably if not definitely exists.

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