Posted by admin
on Aug 9, 2013 in Atheism
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What exactly is atheism? Do you really know what it is? Is it all about not believing in one god? Or is it about not believing in anything at all? The philosophy behind not believing in one god as atheism can get pretty messed up especially with the premise that if atheists do not believe in a god or in a higher power, then they still have a belief that there is a god. And then there is the Christian belief that says if atheists do not believe in God then they belong to the devil, Satan himself? That is why it is highly important that we take a look at the atheist’s perceptions and understand what atheism is all about and get to know their followers.
The Different Kinds Of Beliefs
There are plenty of people out there who have the wrong understanding of atheism. You can be surprised with just what other people can say about atheists and oftentimes, misunderstood them and fail to understand the value of understanding where they are coming from.
To help us better understand atheism, there are some terms we need to define. First, theism is defined as believing in a god or in many gods. Keep that definition in mind. However theism has many different types and atheism is one of them. See below few definitions of terms that are helpful in our quest to better understand atheism.
Monotheism. This simply means that one believes in the existence of a single god. It does not matter who his god is as long as it is just one.
Polytheism. For those who follow polytheism, it means that one believes in many gods.
Henotheism. Henotheism, on the other hand, believes in multiple deities but practices supreme allegiance to only one.
Pantheism. This is a belief in a non-personal source of reality, which in some sense identified with the entire Cosmos. Thus, Nature is God.
Dualism. This teaches that there are two opposite and equal deities in perpetual conflict. The clash of good versus evil deities drives the Cosmos forward.
Atheism. So atheism then is the belief that there is no god or gods.
Can it Happen?
Many people say that atheism is something that is not possible because a person will always end up believing in a higher being one way or another. In some countries, children are taught about god the moment they were born in this world, making it harder for them to understand the concept of atheism. For others who were raised otherwise, the creation of the universe is a mystery in its own, plus the wonders of space, life, and many others drive them to believe in a higher power to be comforted and at peace, knowing that someone superior is overseeing all these things.
Most atheists became an atheist for different reasons but in most cases, these reasons tend to be personal based upon the specific circumstances of a person’s life, experiences, and attitudes. Note that a particular reason might play a huge role for one atheist but a very small one for another, and absolutely no role whatsoever on the third atheist. So yes, it can happen. One can choose to be an atheist for a specific reason and these reasons varies for one person to the other.
Why Are There People Who Do Not Believe In A God Or Any Gods?
You cannot blame people if they do not believe in a god or gods. There are plenty of reasons why people came to this conclusion. You cannot simply pinpoint one reason and say that it is the reason for all. It all depends on the person who does not have any theistic beliefs. Ask one atheist why he does not believe that there are gods and he would give you his own personal answer. On the other hand, you can go around and find another atheist and ask him the same question. Chances are he would be giving you a different answer from that first one. And you cannot say that they are crazy for believing such. You cannot simply push the fact that you cannot get them to believe in the same things that you believe in.
One thing that is common to most atheists when they answer the question, “why they do not believe in god?” is that there is just not enough evidence for them to convince them that a god definitely exists in this world. In fact, not even those who have really strong faith in their religion can hand them the right proof or evidence for their god. This is one confirmation that keeps atheist in believing that religion is nothing but false hopes and deceptions.
One of the common reasons for atheism however is one’s experience or contact with a variety of religion. In fact, most atheists are born and raised in a religious household with the understanding that their religion represents the “One True Faith” however after being exposed to other religious traditions; one may adopt a much more critical attitude towards his or her own religion and eventually coming to reject all religions and the existence of any gods. Atheists, who grew up in a religious family and community, who see the wickedness of the people around them or suffered abuse from religious leaders in the community are driven to reject whatever beliefs taught to them from childhood. This is the most common reasons but there are also other reasons that led one to become an atheist.
So What Is Atheism Really?
On that note, you can definitely say that atheism is not a religion in itself. It is not some sort of philosophy or something with a higher definition. It is not what a person believes of the world today. It simply means that a person has no belief in theism. In reality, no one is born having a belief. People acquire their beliefs through culture and education. So in truth, it is not up to the atheist to justify atheism rather it is up to the theist to explain why they believe in god. So a better question for people would be, “Why are people theists?”