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.
Take a look at this chart, a “Periodic Table of Atheists and Antitheists”:
One of my basic principles is Truth in Advertising, that whenever you illustrate something or state something, that depiction or statement must be as accurate as possible. This is one of those cases in which that principle has been violated.
Carl Sagan is on the list, at the 11 position. So is Neil deGrasse Tyson, at position 3 and Charles Darwin at position 38. But all these are or were NOT atheists, but agnostics. To understand the difference, just look here:
But there are striking omissions from the table. Where is Ayn Rand??? By all accounts and appearances she WAS indeed an atheist. She should have been listed among the philosophers for her founding of the Objectivist movement. Likewise, there are no leaders of the Communist movement either, not even Karl Marx!
This chart is a lie and it needs to be taken down and replaced with a more accurate one!
This is the direct sequel to https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/atheism-is-a-dogma-get-over-it/
Prior to the 1990s, it was clear to me what atheism, atheists, agnosticism, agnostics, dogma, and fanaticism were. That’s because we had clear and logically consistent definitions of those words. They were found in reliable dictionaries like Webster’s New World Dictionary. Here are the definitions I found in the 1975 edition, which I still own and use.
atheism: “the belief that there is no God”. (That’s the ONLY definition in the book.)
agnostic: “a person who beleives that one cannot know whether or not there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena.” (The ONLY definition in the book.)
dogma: “a positive, arrogant assertion of opinion.” (One of several definitions, and it is not implied that dogmas must always be religious in nature.)
fanaticism: “excessive and unreasonable zeal” (Again, it is not specified that only religion can produce fanatics.)