I have always understood atheism to simply mean: A lack of belief in gods. Or for the sake of simplicity and cultural context – God.
Until recently I’ve never bothered to investigate it beyond this point and I would certainly never assert: ”There is no God!” Although some do, apparently.
But why on earth, after explaining my position on this do almost all theists I encounter – and once again, for the sake of simplicity and context – Christians regularly insist I must provide evidence that God does not exist?
It is at this juncture that the entire theist /atheist thing needs to be dialled back. Right back to ….
On an African plain a long time ago a couple squat next to an open pit.
”Ug!” Points to a cloud-covered volcano some ways off through which a growing column of smoke can be discerned.
”Ug!!” That’s where the god of the mountain lives. He is all powerful and he is the one that sends the rains and the lightening and thunder.
”Ug2!!!” Rubbish! I have no belief in your assertion. Provide evidence for this claim.
”Ug!” Well something makes the lightening and thunder and the rain. So it must be the god of the mountain. And I’ll bet he is also the most powerful god ever so we should call him God with a capital ‘G’ because if we don’t fear him he’ll fry our brains.
Ug2. (Ug’s wife) ‘He’. Really? (Shakes her head and laughs out loud). Why don’t you climb the mountain and bring back evidence that your … God? exists. Go on, off you go. I’ll get busy skinning this mammoth while you’re gone.
”Ug”. Right I will!!
Some time later ….
”Ug2!!” You took long enough. Dinner’s almost cold. So, evidence?
”Ug!” He was there all right, but he couldn’t come down because of a gammy leg. He did say if you don’t accept my word for it he’ll send plagues and famine and lots of other horrible things to make your life a misery.
”Ug2” Oh yes? Well I’ve got you, so how much more miserable could it get!
Ug …. thinks. Hmmm, I need to invent religion and metaphysics. Oh, and if she doesn’t stop bloody nagging me maybe make a sacrifice of her to the mountain god … God.
And now we have Christianity and the bible and so-called sophisticated theology and religious philosophy to make sense of it all.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll risk having my brains fried for my lack of belief. Or until Ug brings back evidence, that is.