I recently came across a post from a fellow that calls himself The Friendly Atheist (on his blog), which was a video made about Atheism. He shared it because the source youtuber does not normally talk about the subject (Atheism), but they decided to make a video clarifying what the word means. At least to them.
It is a good little video, an explanation of the philosophy of Atheism. Near the end it gets ideological (not unsurprisingly), but over all it is a good explanation video.
However, as I was watching, my mind was doing what it usually does, analyzing and inspecting the incoming information in all sorts of ways. And one of the things that my mind latched onto, was Atheism as currently/commonly defined. A lack of belief.
Let us explore.
Atheism is a position. When someone says “I am an Atheist”, they are telling you that they do not believe in any deity(s). The word lacking does not fit.
I am currently drinking some cranberry herbal tea. I do not take sugar in tea. And this tea has no caffeine. So it is lacking sugar and caffeine.
When it comes to my belief in many super natural phenomenons (deity(s), ghosts etc) I neither believe, nor do I disbelieve. Such phenomenons get what I call the open window policy.
Things like gravity, mathematics and evolution are easily proven or demonstrated. Thus they would have a closed window. Even though I have not mastered everything there is to know about any of the 3 listed (and many other things, like everyone else), others have. One does not need to be an expert in any one subject in order to acknowledge its authenticity. That is WHY we have experts in many differing areas of study.
Either way, shared human knowledge and learned life experience knowledge is proven, so there is no need to waste thought on it. I know that 2+2=4 and that it hurts to touch a heated element or a flame.
However, I do not know if such things as a deity(s), ghosts, goblins, dementors, or anything else out of folklore or the supernatural realm are existent. No one does. As such, I leave these things on the back burner. They likely will never be proven OR disproven in my lifetime (or ever), but that does not matter. Its a mystery, like the location of MH370.
I have been criticized for viewing things in this manor, told that one has to put closure to these things (I still have trash that has not yet been taken to the curb, to quote one fellow). On the topic of mythical creatures, this is when they would start listing them off and asking if I see them the same way.
And in the case of the deity debate, this is where the Atheist’s would bring out the “There is no middle ground!” trump card.
They are all idiots.
It does not matter if it is Allah or the 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf, I do not actively believe in ANY of the above. I do not actively disbelieve either, because that would require proof, and that would be stupid.
I have concluded that there is a void of evidence, and moved on. Because it does not matter. Nothing mythical or supernatural affects my life, nor human civilization in general. Hence I try to focus on other matters. I emphasize the word TRY, since its difficult to just be undecided in a secular community dominated by close minded ideologues with an echo chamber education.
Moving on, as is demonstrated, lacking does not make sense for me in the context of former religious beliefs of any kind. Though I hold stances that are somewhat controversial, the word STILL does not fit, under most any context.
If you started with belief A and you went though a mental evolution arrive at conclusion B, you actively purged your mind of the old content. You do not lack belief or faith in a deity, you reject it.
And here is where I find myself getting into it about Atheist babies, due to this stupid definition.
I come across many memes (and Atheists making the argument) that all babies (or Animals and unconnected tribes) are born Atheist. They they are born lacking a belief. Some even extend this Atheist status to inanimate objects such as rocks and tables. As defined, its undeniable that it fits. But both are stupid arguments.
Lets start with babies/tribes/animals etc.
Indeed, all babies are born lacking religious belief, as are animals and unconnected tribes. But babies, animals and isolated tribes are not just ignorant of religion, they are ignorant of EVERYTHING.
Atheism as a philosophy is a part of our cultural context, which is knowledge that gets passed on and taught. It is not default. If religion is spread by indoctrination, than the absence of religion would mean the absence of this subject, period. You are not inheriently Atheist in the absence of any knowledge of beliefs.
Claiming such makes about as much sense as making up a term for babies and other organisms that lack the knowledge or belief in clowns, or rainbows, or polar bears.
As for inanimate objects, of course they lack a belief in deities. They do not have the consciousness to conclude ANYTHING!
Whether your dealing with conscious entities that are ignorant of our current human knowledge, or entities that lack knowledge PERIOD, it does not make sense to use the Atheist label. In fact, if anything, it comes across as religious and intolerant.
And to conclude, the definition of Atheism (lacking a belief in deity(s) ) does not make sense or fit the context (ANY context) in my opinion. It does not make sense for current members of the Atheist community (whom rejected faith and religion to embrace the philosophy). Nor does it make sense in the context of entities without knowledge of ANY human knowledge (notably religion).