Does being atheist mean you [B]believe[/B] with utter certainty that all religions are false?

I’ve heard it described that being atheist means you are absolutely, 100% certain there is no god and all religions are false. This means an atheist has the same irrational certainty that a religious person has, they have “faith” that no such “god-like” entity exists and that what can observed in the natural world is all there is.

We live in a universe that has suspicious elements*, such that a valid possible explanation for it’s existence is that the universe is in fact either artificial or even a form of simulation. (note that I say possible, there are many theories that match the observed data)

So I thought agnostics were people who simply acknowledge the lack of evidence. We don’t have evidence that explains how the universe was created, a “god-like” supernatural entity creating it is a valid explanation among many. The scientifically correct answer to “what created the universe” or “why am I here” are “I don’t know” to both. Same with answers to most other questions.

I thought atheism became widespread as a religion forced upon the people by Communist governments. The State has a motive to teach people to believe that there is nothing but the teachings of the State, and a true believer in the State believes this…

  • Suspicious elements such as the universe apparently spawning itself from absolute nothingness in the Big Bang, and quantum mechanics seemingly causing situations that would allow the universe, if it were a simulation, to treat a group of entangled particles as one entity rather than separately. This would save memory, if the universe were not real. Also, quantum tunneling would occur if the universe were a simulation and there were floating point errors in collision checks…

Weak atheism is lack of faith in deities, strong atheism is an active rejection of deities.
I don’t know if atheism ever really caught on in communist countries. In Russia only 13% identify as atheist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Russia

Compare that to 60%+ in some western european nations.

From what I am seeing, the biggest ‘proponent’ of atheism is a (western or east asian) nation that is wealthy, educated, technologically sophisticated and culturally liberal. Very few of them have a very strong church presense. I don’t think communism works to make atheism a major domestic religion. But I’m just basing that last statement on the fact that the rates of atheism in Russia are far lower than the rates in France or Norway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_by_country

There is not an atheist creed. Personally, I’m 100% certain there is no god (as commonly understood) and all religions (which believe in a deity) are false.

My branch of agnosticism doesn’t recognize a god-like supernatural entity as a valid explanation. It’s more like “we don’t really know how the world came to be, and we don’t give a rat’s ass.”

“Suspicious elements” are the reason God created concealed carry. :smiley:

I’m a fallible mortal and so all my knowledge is not 100% absolutely certain. I just feel no need to declare ‘but I could possibly be wrong’ every time I make a factual statement.

Insisting that I should append ‘but I could possibly be wrong’ to statements about gods/religions seems to give religion an unreasonable amount of deference. I don’t go around calling myself agnostic about bigfoot, unicorns and leprechauns for example.

It’s just semantics, really. Can anyone know with 100% probability that god does not exist? Of course not. That’s why even famed atheist Richard Dawkins says he’s only a 6 on his own 7-point spectrum of atheism.

But then all the religious folk jumped on him for not really being an atheist, which was stupid.

Isn’t that, sort of the same thing as a Christian having 100% faith that there is in fact an entity called God with properties described in some old books?

I mean, if such an entity did exist it obviously could act in a way that no mortal could detect. Not saying any entity does exist, but wouldn’t a rational person believe in
100% - (some tiny number) certainty?

An essential point that your OP does not seem to completely understand is this: for most atheists, their atheism is NOT an alternate religion, alternate to religion, counter to religion or in any way a version of religion.

Atheism is a not, a void, an absence of religious belief. It does not fill the hole left by religion and serve the same purpose.

You cannot, as your OP dances around, argue “your atheism vs. my religion” the same way you can “your Christianity vs. my Buddhism.” An equivalent would be arguing the total void I have under “UK Football Clubs” against your mad love for Manchester United.

No, because God as typically defined is both logically impossible and violates physical law, and is blatantly the fictional creation of a bunch of Iron Age barbarians; it’s pretty much the least possible thing that can be conceived of. God not existing on the other hand is perfectly consistent with everything we know. Believing in God requires the denial of everything we know of reality and of reason; atheism does not.

Does it take faith to not believe in Santa Claus? In Zeus? What about Anu? Why should the Christian god be put in this special category? Especially since the Christian god is less plausible than any of them.

I know you weren’t addressing me, but irreligion can have many many flavors.

Weak atheism, strong atheism, agnosticism, secular humanism, apatheism, post-theism, etc. are all different forms of rejection of theism.

As to the statement of whether god exists, I can say with near 100% certainty that I have had nothing in my life make me believe a loving god exists who interacts with the world on a regular, meaningful level that deserves worship or allegiance in this dimension. This life is full of suffering and injustice and deities are either unwilling or unable to do anything to help. As as result one comes to beliefs such as apatheism, which is basically like saying ‘even if god were real, why does it matter’. Even if someone could prove with 100% certainty god exists, I can prove with near 100% certainty that god doesn’t do much to help us do things that actually matter like fight disease, poverty, famine or injustice so why would god matter? It isn’t just rejection of deities, (strong vs weak atheism) there is also the argument of why does any deity deserve to be acknowledged or followed?

I view atheism as not having sufficient evidence that a supreme being exists.

So what happens if, at the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter says, “Why didn’t you believe in God?”, I’ll say, “Lord, you didn’t give us enough evidence.”

I consider myself philosophically agnostic and functionally atheist. That means to me that I have no evidence to prove supernatural entities, but would be open to such. But I live my life as if there are none.

I’m sorry, but I’m currently too busy having a panic attack over everyone’s cavalier lack of concern over the very real possibility that gravity will turn off on Saturday to worry about the arrogance of atheists.

I don’t believe *anything *with 100% utter certainty.

And I think agnosticism is really just a form of special pleading for theism. It holds the existence of a deity to a higher epistemological standard than the existence of any other hypothetical entity. No one has any trouble saying fairies are imaginary. They don’t need feel the need to qualify that statement because they can’t be absolutely 100% certain there isn’t a fairy somewhere that we’ve overlooked.

100%? No. God? Pretty close, but you have to define god. Some people define god in a way which is unfalsifiable. Human religions being wrong? Pretty close.

Tsk on you for the old Communism canard. Communism, as practiced, has many of the characteristics of a religion. A near supernatural set of principles. Saints and relics of saints, like Lenin’s tomb. And a nasty habit of doing nasty things to heretics. Communists didn’t like religion in the same way as the governments of England in the days of Elizabeth I didn’t like Catholics. One center of power is comforting for rulers.

But let’s look at first principles. Say you want to ab initio, hypothesize about a god. Which god will you take as your working hypothesis? Without any evidence, this is impossible to determine, since there are thousands or millions of possible gods. So, the only plausible default hypothesis is that there is no god, and to falsify it you must find evidence for a god. (People tend to use the god they grew up with, or which the majority believe in, as the default, but this is logically incorrect.) I’ve seen no good evidence for any particular god, and plenty of evidence that claims of god are false.
Have you got any? If not, the default hypothesis of atheism is the only logical one to hold.

No, it doesn’t. Atheism is a lack of faith in gods, and certainty is not required.

No. It is not so much about belief as it is a lack of evidence. I have seen nothing that will allow me to accept that all religions are not false. There is a difference between belief and acceptance (there is always a ‘lie’ in belief).

I’d label that agnosticism, myself. You’re leaving the possibility that evidence will pop up and completely change your beliefs, rather than dismissing the notion of a supreme being on rational grounds.

And off you’ll go to hell for plagiarism, Bert Russell giggling all the way.

As an atheist, how can I claim that all religions are false, when many encourage love and respect towards others and teach important life lessons? For me, I try to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, not because it appeases God - but anyone trying to be a good person is okay in my books. It is only when people use God as an excuse for being dicks that I get annoyed.

I am open to the idea of a deity, if only some valid proof were to present itself. I also believe that if a God exists, he cannot be omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent (as various brands of Christianity teach). First off, omnipotence and omniscience are mutually exclusive: can God imagine a hotdog so big that he can’t eat it? The concept of benevolence has changed over the centuries, shown by the once acceptable practises of owning a slave or lobotomising the mentally ill. So whilst I do not believe all religions to be false, I do believe that many core principles that are taught are false.

You might call me agnostic, as I do not dismiss the idea of a deity, but the great thing about atheism is that anybody can label themselves with it! None of this baptism malarky

As with all generalizations about large groups of people: some do, some don’t. Next question?