Atheism: Certainty or Doubt?

Atheism is a religion like “off” is a TV channel – Anonymous

Whoever wrote that, summed it all up rather eloquently. But do allow me to elaborate on that..

For a person to say, “God definitely does not exist” may be a bit of a faith-based position. For something, the absence of which we cannot verify, it’s rather unwise to say with complete certainty that it does not exist. Even for notions that are seemingly absurd, such as “there are dragons living in the center of the earth”, it’s impossible to deny them with 100% certitude.

I’m not one of such Atheists, for these are the ones who have assumed their stance not on the basis of knowledge, but an anti-social attitude. It’s their special way of holding up a middle-finger to the society that is becoming increasingly fanatical. Assuming such a stance is close to a rational one, but not fully logical.

The kind of group I belong to, and I believe a majority of my fellow “heathens” belong to, is the one with the stance, “God probably does not exist”.

Before the theist readers get too excited, I’ll quickly expand on what I mean by “probably”. Our knowledge of Physics and Biology tells us that the odds of an omnipotent being existing and controlling everything are astronomically low (and even less so for a particular version of God, like an Abrahamic one). In fact, our universe seems to be operating in precisely the way one would expect it to operate in the total absence of a divine controller. The only “gods” we know are electromagnetism, gravity, strong and weak nuclear forces.

But I would not resort to the expedient of completely dismissing the God Hypothesis, because it has technically not been disproved either. I will, however, acknowledge that the odds of this hypothesis being true are so low that they’re not even worth considering!

For example, it’s possible that you’ll get struck by lightning five times tomorrow. It’s definitely a possibility, albeit a highly unlikely one!.In fact, so unlikely that you’ll lose no sleep over it!

A reader not too familiar with the realm of the godless would likely be asking by now, “Doesn’t this sound like Agnosticism?”.

Agnosticism is a broad class of fence-sitters with varying inclinations. The usual Agnostic position is that the existence of God (or the probability of His existence) is unknowable, because human knowledge and reach is way too limited for such a task.

The position I belong to (and so do popular Atheists like Richard Dawkins), is that even though we cannot strictly rule out the probability of God’s existence, we can safely say that it is very, very low indeed. So low that worrying about spending an eternity in hell is just about as reasonable as a person strapping an armadillo’s shell onto his noggin to protect himself from the influence of an alien mind-control device. Again, it’s a possibility (since it cannot be disproved), but a very unlikely one.

So if you’re a definitive Atheist, your position is fairly rational in the sense that you may be rounding off the probability of God’s absence of 99.99…% to 100%. That makes sense, but to avoid falling into the same zone of blind certitude as the theists, it’s advisable to rethink your stance.

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  1. Well said Nayeem, well said. Militant atheism and militant theism is a bane.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 17th, 2011

    I don’t have any issues with the “militant atheists” (once you understand that the word, “militant” in this context simply denotes active criticism of religion, and not violence).

    I discussed this matter in one of my previous posts. Not all extremes are equally dangerous for humanity.

  2. At present time it cannot be proven that God doesn’t exists because Science hasn’t proved any Theory of Everything but neither anyone can prove that God exists. But one can say for certain that Religions are man-made chauvinistic ideologies and need to be discarded or moderated. What I find funny is that currently more people in this world believe in entity called God whom no one has seen but when an Atheist says that there is no god, they despise them.

  1. January 25th, 2011

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