P Z Myers wrote an essay for the Washington Post that reads as follows:
Atheism is the default position. You don’t have to do anything to be an atheist, but you have to work awfully hard to not be one…..
I consider this to be a falsehood, based on my own personal experience. I was raised in a conservative Protestant family, so I naturally adopted the basic Christian beliefs of my parents and other relatives. It required no work at all to simply believe in God and to accept the Bible as the Word of God. So for me, evangelical Protestantism WAS the default position; it was not until I was attending college that I decided to stop believing in God and it was at the end of a long internal struggle that involved some emotional wrangling that I never would have experienced had I simply chosen to ignore the contradictions I had discovered and remain a Christian. Thus I had to work very hard to deprogram myself and think freely from the dogmas of any religion. And I had to undergo this process TWICE, since I later was seduced to join the Baha’i Faith and then deprogram myself from that as well.
From a universal perspective, there cannot be a default position on religion, politics, or any other subject involving dogmas (and yes, atheism is properly classed as a dogma). There are only defaults with regards to family upbringings. The only way atheism can be a default position is if a child is raised in a family of atheists.
I think you’re just talking about different timelines – he is talking about before you were converted and you are talking about reverting back afterward.
Maybe if you were referring to my conversion and later de-conversion from the Baha’i Faith. But my original religion was Christianity and I do not ever remember NOT believing in the god of Christianity before I left that religion at age 20. I was taught to believe in it from the beginning. Had my parents been Muslims or Hindus, I would have followed their religion as a child.
You originally had no religion at all. Yes you don’t remember this time in your life but it was there all the same.
Correct, but having no religion at all (because you have no knowledge of such) is not the same as being an atheist, because to be an atheist you must understand the concept of theism and reject it. The claim that they can be the same is a failure of logic on the part of the New Atheist movement that makes it a laughingstock among those who are not atheist.
It depends what you mean by atheism. Most atheists take it to simply mean non-theism. I do not have to know what a unicorn is to not believe they exist. I do have to know about them to claim to know they do not exist, but most atheists do not claim to know there is no god because you cannot prove a negative. Also let us not conflate atheism with anti-theism.
(Dale Husband: I am aware of the recent popular trend among many atheists to state that atheism and non-theism are one and the same, which should make one wonder why two separate terms, both originating from Greek, would even be used at all. And actually, you DO have to know what a unicorn is to not believe it exists, otherwise you would make no judgement on it at all. Even declaring that something may or may not exist is making a judgement, just as refusing to make a choice between two competing political parties in an election is still a choice. Agnosticism is also a choice regarding theism, as much as atheism is. And your assertion about how atheists operate is not consistent with how I have seen them operate across the internet; they frequently assert, “There is no god” as dogmatically as any religious fanatic would assert his claims. But you are right that you cannot prove a negative, therefore, you can never prove there is no god. All you can do is state that there is no empirical evidence for theism. This I do and nothing more.
The historical definition of atheism that was commonly accepted, even by atheists themselves until the 1990s, was that atheism was the dogmatic denial of the existence of any god, which some now call “strong” atheism. See my earlier blog entries (along with their comments) about atheism which detail how communication about the concepts of atheism and agnosticism were derailed in the name of ‘political correctness”. I am opposed to this just as I am opposed to any other form of dishonesty.)
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h… nd gnstcsm S NT bt blf. t’s bt knwldge. Y cn b n thst nd gnstc. Y cn b strng thst nd gnstc. Y cn b vn b blvr nd gnstc. gnstcsm s bt KNWLDG, nt blf.
(Dale Husband: I am not going to waste my time merely repeating most of what I said previously over the years on this blog regarding the recent misdefinitions of “atheism” and “agnosticism” in response to a closed minded fanatic like you. As far as I am concerned, you are no better than religious bigots in your total disregard for the actual historical facts behind those terms.)
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