What does atheism mean?
disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. synonyms: non-belief, non-theism, skepticism, doubt, agnosticism, godlessness, freethinking — "the poet was accused of atheism and exiled" — Google definition
Atheism is simply the lack of belief in, or rejection of every one of the world's religions. It doesn’t attempt to claim no gods could exist. Rather it’s simply just that the religious options are incompatible and inconsistent, and therefore it makes the most sense to not believe in any of them. So what happens when you become an atheist? Honestly, it’s liberating. For a majority of your life you live under the impression that you’re being watched. That every choice you make could factor into whether or not “god” lets you into his heaven for eternity, or if your stuck in hell for eternal torture. What sort of a life is that? So when you give up the idea of “god” and religion, you can immediately shed that guilt and fear. Not only that, but now whenever you do good things you know they are coming from you and only you. You’re not a puppet for the all powerful god, you’re a human being. And you make decisions all day everyday. And you choose to be good, or bad (but be good)!
Generally, atheists reject existing religion's gods based on a lack of evidence and support. More simply, atheists don't believe that gods exist. Atheism is often seen as the opposite of theism. However, I don't think many atheists intend to hold the view that it's impossible for a god to exist. Rather, they just see the idea of blind faith unappealing and identify as atheist.
Here's an interesting way to think about atheism that can appeal to you even if you're a religious person: A majority of the world identifies with a monotheistic religion. Historically, the world was much more polytheistic, but over time we have lost interest in polytheism and now mostly believe in just one. But monotheists who can agree that polytheism is incorrect would have to agree that they are "atheists" with respect to religions they don't believe in. So almost everyone knows what it feels like to be an atheist. But people we actually label "atheist" tend to take it one step further, leaving the monotheistic ideas behind as well.
For some reason atheism is seen as taboo in today's world. And people often hold back on discussing these types of topics. Sort of like how you might not bring up politics, you might leave religion out of most conversations. Yet, it dominates in popularity across a majority of the world. According to the Pew Research Center in 2012, they found:
|Religion||Total population||% of Earth's population|
These are huge numbers. We're talking about a topic that affects so many of our friends, family, colleagues, and other humans. These conversations matter, they make up our future. So, let's get down to business...
Why should you be an atheist?
Given the fact that many religions conflict with one another, and most lack most or all evidence to support their claims. Aside from 'sacred texts', religions offer little to support itself with. At the center of many religious debates, you often find the religious person claiming that there are specific beliefs that are simply based in faith. But when you leave the realm of scientific analysis like that, you lose the credibility to make truth claims because there can be no scientific investigation. Therefore, it appears that maintaining an atheist outlook on life seems more logical than blinding following beliefs that have been passed down for centuries, translated, modified, and hand-picked.
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” ― Charles Bukowski
Be sure to check out our page about what it means to be Agnostic.