I know it is done to death in the past, and this is probably preaching to the converted but it constantly amazes me how many theists (and even some atheists) labour under the idea that “atheism” means believing there is not a God.
On YouTube there is a video from davidbpearson2 (calling himself FireFly515) about Atheists (which I strongly suspect is a joke anyway) which provides a good example of this thinking (I am not going to mention the rest of the nonsense in the video because he is either trolling or doing it as satire). (There are quite a few posts by FireFly515 in which he rants about destroying Atheism and the numerous responses but that is the subject for another post one day).
In a nutshell, lots and lots of the religious propaganda which mentions Atheism describes them as people who believe there is no God.
I don’t think I can agree with this.
I can only speak for myself (remember this is no Atheist Doctrine which tells all Atheists how they can think…), but I personally do not believe in any deities existing and to me this is an important difference. Saying I do not believe in God takes the prior assumption that God exists and makes it appear I am wilfully refusing to accept this.
Saying I believe there is no God is equally weak (again, please remember this is my personal opinion), belief is a characteristic of faith. Atheism is not a faith. I do not hold a belief in the face of evidence. I do not hold a belief on the basis of there being no evidence.
All I can say is, I do not believe in imaginary things, this includes deities, Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, Elves, Faeries, The Grinch, Goblins, Bogeymen, Little green martians, Witches, Ghosts, Hobbits, Treants, Orcs, Mordor, Harry Potter, Angels, Demons, The Devil, dragons and so on. To me a theist is some one who has cut this list a little bit shorter.
It would be interesting to see how others describe their Atheism.