Atheism is not a system of values

Atheism doesn't tell you what you "ought" to do. It is simply a lack of belief. Naturalism on the other hand is an epistemological position, i.e. "I don't see evidence for the supernatural, which includes gods"

One can be an atheist and be a great humanitarian or a mass murderer. Atheism is not a system of values. My lack of belief does not inform my values in any way.

But then I am not merely an atheist any more than a Christian is merely a theist. Christians are theists who specifically believe in Christ. They do not for example worship the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli, and thus they do not rip people's hearts out on altars as part of their worship of their deity.

I am a naturalist, a person who does not see any evidence for a supernatural dimension and therefore does not believe in gods, and I am a humanist.  Humanism is an ideology that is predicated on the notion that we should increase human well-being and diminish suffering to the greatest extent possible.

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Comment by Asa Watcher on February 3, 2014 at 2:13pm

I’d agree with ALL  of you IF we could just get into the habit using the word “faith” instead of the word “belief” or “believe”.

What separates atheists from theists is faith, not belief.

I “believe” the sun will appear over the eastern horizon because I understand the organization of the solar system, and that our earth rotates on its axis.  I don’t need to exercise “faith”.

I “believe” that if I drop a brick, I should move my toes. I do not engage “faith” in the acknowledgment of gravity.


Most atheists share 99% of their “beliefs” with theists.

What they don’t share is “faith” .

I’m not saying that in day-to-day conversation the two words shouldn’t/can't be generally understood as  interchangeable, but when we are discussing the topic itself, it is good to use the right word when we are referring to that one very thing which separates an atheist from a theist. . . faith

God is not something you “believe” in.

God is an exercise in faith, not belief.

There is no reason to “believe” in god.  One can only exercise “faith in the existence of a supreme being".

Comment by Craigart14 on January 30, 2014 at 9:47pm

My atheism influences my values.  It would be pretty hard to be a secular humanist with those pesky religious beliefs in the way.

Comment by Michael Penn on January 30, 2014 at 8:03am

Wyatt, I see no evidence for a supernatural dimension. I find it appaling that so many people do, and yet they want to claim atheism. That's like saying I don't believe in Jesus or Thor, but I know that faries are popping in. My grandmother's ghost bit me but yet she had no teeth.

I think we need more rational atheists.

Comment by Loren Miller on January 29, 2014 at 10:45am

Agreed.  Atheism, in and of itself, is plainly and simply the disbelief in any form of god.  The problem has come with those who map their own agendas and value systems on top of atheism, such as Atheism-Plus, which is a mistake and a bad one from where I sit.

Rational atheism is the product of rational, critical thinking, or it was in my case.  Certainly, other mindsets may come out rational thinking, but necessarily associating them because of a common root cause is IRRATIONAL to me.



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