Is atheism more a lifestyle or a set of beliefs?

The one belief that I can garner from atheists is: If God exists then he should stick his head out so we can talk to him. Where are the principles of atheism?

Isn’t atheism just a sub-category in ways to rebel. Why else would atheists try to mock God with unbelief? It seems if someone was totally convinced of the non-existence of God, he wouldn’t waste time on mockery.

Posted: October 6th 2008

Reed Braden www

Atheism is no more a lifestyle or a set of beliefs than not playing badminton is a sport. Atheism has no principles. What are the principles held by all people who do not believe in purple one-eyed people eaters?

Atheists aren’t all rebels. (Some of us, though, really do like our Harley Davidsons and leather jackets.) We don’t mock God since we don’t believe he exists. We mock the concept of a god and we occasionally mock those who believe in a god, but we usually don’t look up at the sky and say, “F**k you, Lord God Almighty!” That would be a major waste of time and energy, although I’ve done it before to make a point.

And don’t confuse actual responses to and critiques of religious claims with “mocking”. I’m only talking about actual mockery.

Posted: October 8th 2008

See all questions answered by Reed Braden


There are no principles of atheism, other than not believing in the existence of god.

Just the way there are no principles to a-easter-bunny-ism.

Personally, I’m a humanist – that’s where my positive beliefs come from. Not from my atheism.

As for mockery, I’m not mocking god. I’m mocking the beliefs of those who think that god is real. Beliefs that have a considerable impact on my life.

Posted: October 7th 2008

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

John Sargeant www

Atheism is a conclusion that there is no supernatural god that can be said to be responsible for our existence. Nor can such a being be invoked to tell other people how they should act or think on earth.

Where you want to go with that conclusion is in many ways up to you. Though I would say you are a rebel with a first cause; religion has no special insight into the nature of truth.

As to mockery:

Humor distorts nothing, and only false gods are laughed off their earthly pedestals. – Agnes Repplier

Posted: October 7th 2008

See all questions answered by John Sargeant

flagellant www

Firstly, there isn’t one atheist position: we do not have beliefs of the sort enunciated in the Nicene Creed – atheism is non-dogmatic. Our views are many, as I suspect the answers you get from other members of the panel will show.

In general, atheist mockery is reserved for the views of people who believe silly things without justification, not for the object of the silly belief. You are disingenuous if you don’t see the difference. If you don’t want your silly beliefs mocked, you shouldn’t have silly beliefs.

If we ask you why you believe in God, your answer is likely to be of the type: 'Because I want to’, 'Because I feel it’s right’, 'Because lots of other people do’, Because I was taught to’, or 'Because the Bible tells me so.’ I personally do not think that such arguments for belief hold any water; religions have, over the years, promulgated unjustified nonsense and it’s about time they were subject to serious criticism. Belief in God/s belongs with other unjustifiable, superstitious nonsense like belief in fairies, astrology, and astral projection.

We further think there is no justification for saying there are special 'religious’ truths and we find it bizarre that, in this modern, knowledgeable, scientific age, people should still cling to works that explain disease, storms, and earthquakes as 'Acts of God’. If biblical explanations of these natural phenomena are untrue, why believe anything else in the work, alleged to emanate from 'God’?

The onus is on you to prove God’s existence; I simply think the balance of evidence is against you. It isn’t a case of our rebelling; we’re just saying it’s about time religion and faith were called to account.

Posted: October 7th 2008

See all questions answered by flagellant

jonecc www

With some questions, the mind tries to engage with the world view that would ask them but retires, baffled.

Atheism is, purely and simply, the belief that there is no evidence for a controlling intelligence which created the universe. It could presumably be incorporated into a rebellious pose, but it is unclear why it would be more suited to it than any other belief system.

There is no agreed set of principles beyond that, because so many beliefs can be held at the same time. It is possible to be an atheist rationalist, and an atheist post-modernist. Atheists can be conservative, liberal or radical.

Even on the vexed question of the promotion of atheism, there are many different views. Some atheists have no interest in promoting it at all. For those of us who do, some actively oppose all religious beliefs, while others are are keen to form tactical alliances with religious people who share their views on the separation of church and state, or science education in schools. Many do both, and see no contradiction in doing so.

The suggestion that atheists 'try to mock God with unbelief’ is transparently self-contradictory. One can imagine the keyboard being hit with some vigour at this point. It is hard to imagine how anyone could meaningfully mock any being whose existence they consider unlikely, and I recall no instance of atheists doing so.

Posted: October 7th 2008

See all questions answered by jonecc

SmartLX www

That atheist “belief” of yours is more of an opinion, which I happen to share. God sticking (pulling?) His head out would indeed be nice if He’s about. And since He’s supposedly omnipresent, He’s definitely about if He exists at all.

Atheism has no principles, no laws, no lifestyle constraints, no taboos or anything like that. This doesn’t mean that atheists have great big holes in their outlook where these things should be. They fill the gaps using entirely different sources: common sense, science, the law, humanism and other secular philosophies, etc.

Atheism is simply a lack of theism. It is not an anti-religion religion, like a Bible with the word “God” crossed out every time. Atheists can’t use atheism as an all-encompassing guide to life (the way theists often try to use their religions) because it has no doctrine or dogma. It’s an absence; the word is a privative, like darkness or peace.

Atheists’ mockery of gods is not aimed at gods (that would indeed be stupid), but at those who believe in them. It needn’t be mockery of believers themselves, though that can happen.

Imagine that your best male friend is about to go out wearing a tie which is uncomfortable and looks ridiculous on him. For the sake of your friend, you make fun of the tie to persuade him to take it off. The tie can’t hear you, but it’s worth mocking anyway because your friend will hear it.

Sorry, but atheists are not all just theists in denial. They are not theists.

Posted: October 6th 2008

See all questions answered by SmartLX


Atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods. Christians are atheistic towards other religions’ gods; atheists just go one god further.

In the country where I live, the majority are atheists, that is, people have no god belief. When I encounter a Christian, I usually do not know that they are Christians as Christians keep their religion to themselves where I live. I usually discover their Christianity when I spy some religious jewelry or when I visit their homes and see a crucifix on the wall.

To be ostentatiously religious in my culture could possibly be considered rebellious, as it would be so odd. In addition, being openly atheistic would be as equally absurd.

In my culture, the lifestyle is secular and religion/lack of religion is a private matter. In general, atheists don’t talk about atheism and theists don’t talk about theism.

When atheists do criticize/mock religious beliefs, they are criticizing/mocking the mere belief in gods, not the gods themselves as atheists do not believe in gods.

Atheists require evidence, not faith, as they do for all beliefs, religious and non-religous. Having non-evidential beliefs is not a virtue, but a vice. Religious people in non-religious aspects of their daily routines, reject faith and demand evidence. It makes no sense that they make a special case for religious beliefs and embrace non-evidential faith for that genre of belief. Such behavior is inconsistent and prone to errors.

Therefore, if god visibly stuck her/his head out and spoke in the here and now so the whole world could hear her/him at the same time, then it would be evidence. If god(s) could be proven to exist, then faith would not be necessary and atheists would accept the existence of god(s), not necessarily worshiping her/him, as they would be more interested in finding out about this god, for example, who made her/him (if this god has gods, in other words).

Posted: October 6th 2008

See all questions answered by logicel


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