Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Definition of Atheism

Have you ever interacted with an atheist who claimed that they simply "lack belief in God?"  This is a common claim that actually runs counter to the historical definition of atheism. Regardless, it is a problematic claim for numerous reasons, but perhaps the strangest of all is that if atheism simply means "lacking a belief in God" it is compatible with theism!  Dr. Frank Turek explains:

"If lacking a belief in God is the definition of 'atheism'- and not 'there is not God'- then 'atheism' is true even if God really exists.  How is that reasonable? If not 'atheism,' what word should we use for the belief that there is no God?...We shouldn't allow atheists to hide behind their lacking definition.  A true atheist is someone who believes there is no God.  And atheists have the burden of proof to show how materialism is true and reality can be explained without God."1

Indeed.  It seems to me that William Lane Craig gets it right here.  If we define atheism as merely a "lack of belief in God," it is no longer a position or viewpoint, but merely a description of someone's psychological state which says nothing about whether or not God exists.

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Article: Do Atheists Lack Belief in God? by Greg Koukl

1 comment:

Qopel said...

Atheism is not a position or viewpoint, but merely a description of someone's lack of a belief in a god.