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Why I am an atheist

First, what is atheism?

Atheism is simply lack of belief in God. People often think that atheism is a kind of belief because, after all, atheists believe that there is no God. These people will say that belief in no God is itself a belief that requires faith. However, I think this arises from a confusion of words. Once we realize that atheism is simply the state of mind that one arrives at when one looks and fails to find anything that can be called "God", I think we can see that atheism is actually a lack of belief rather than itself a kind of belief. The difference between atheism and naive ignorance is the difference between not believing in God because one cannot find any reason (after thinking and looking) and not believing because one has not been given any reasons. So the proper distinction between atheism and weak agnosticism is that the former is active while the latter is passive.

It's like you're looking for the fountain of youth and you never find it: if your investigation is exhaustive, do you just say, "Well, I don't really know if there is no fountain of youth"? Or do you say, "From my investigation, I conclude that there is no fountain of youth"? Atheists don't just "not know" that there is no God (that is weak agnosticism): most of them have thought about and searched extensively for God, but found nothing. So to say that atheists have a kind of faith is like saying that 'finding nothing' is 'a kind of discovery'.

Now why am I an atheist? I have two reasonsCollapse )