Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.
Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.
I do not think very many atheist are "certain" there is no god. (Not required for definition of atheist.)
However, I do note, none of the god ideas have ever actually been evidenced.
How certain are you that a rainbow farting unicorn god, that I just made up, does not exist? Are you certain? Why?
Since your god idea, (or any god idea,) is on the same footing as a rainbow farting unicorn god idea I just made up, I can dismiss your god idea just the same as you dismiss my rainbow farting unicorn god idea.
First off, I am not certain there is no god. But the complete lack of evidence supports the notion that any god is fictional. For your information quantisedd, an atheist is defined as a person who lacks a belief in a god or gods. That is not the same as one who denies the existence of a god.
So asking me how I feel knowing there is no god is like asking me how I feel knowing there is no Bugs Bunny.
But I wish to add to this.
I was raised in a christian family, left organized religion in my late teens, and spent the next forty years searching for anything spiritual. Eventually I came to the realization that there was no evidence for a god, and that I was an atheist. And for me, that day was one of liberation.
I was free from the fear imposed by religion. I was free to think for myself, and make my decisions based on better things than what was dictated over two thousand years ago by barbaric tribes. I was free to find a much better level of morality.
There has not been any negative effects, with the sole exception I lied to keep my atheism from my mother. But for every other aspect of my life, my outlook is incredibly positive, I relish each day, and enjoy the company of my friends even more.
And I face death without fear.
I did not intend to be an atheist, I did not seek out atheism. But my decisions were driven by logic and a skeptical outlook, and I arrived at a decision that has improved my life in every area.
Quantisedd, you asked, “Why do atheists feel that they are certain that there is no God?”
I am atheist. I do not feel certain there are no gods. However, if you’re asking about one in particular, please let us know, there are, after all, so very many.
SOME atheists will claim to KNOW there is no god. They are often called 'hard atheists" I have a problem understanding that position due to an issue with the burden of proof. Lots of luck if you want to confront a hard atheist. I've tried a few times, and the person has become really cranky, often saying rude words and casting aspersions on my parentage.
I make no claims, nor do most atheists I've run across. I say only "I do not believe" , which is the single condition for atheism .
The word' atheism" comes from the greek word "theos"= god . and a=without . Atheism is about belief, AND NOTHING ELSE.
I do not claim to know. I call myself an agnostic atheist. This position is also known as 'soft atheism'. Agnosticism is about knowledge; From the greek word gnosis=knowledge a=without
I hope that clears up your confusion.
A word of warning;. Like humans beings generally, atheists tend to get quite peeved when a theist, or anyone else tries to tell them what they believe, or think, about anything. That's probably because atheism is not a belief system, a philosophy or a political position.. AND because ,so far, I've yet to run across a mind reader. So, please do try not to assume things about us ,as individuals or as a group, there's a good chap /chapess.
Ah, the typical supernaturalist assumption that "atheists" are a homogeneous group akin to ants. How tiresome.
First of all, I'm interested in approaching this issue from a rigorous standpoint, and as a corollary, recognise that the question of the existence of a god type entity is unanswered. All the observational data available, informs anyone who pays attention thereto, of this elementary fact. If the question had been successfully answered in the past, there would be no more arguing about it - whatever data leading to the requisite conclusion would have been subject to scrutiny, passed every test thrown at it, and the issue would be settled.
Second, I don't assert that no god type entity exists. I leave the business of disseminating unsupported assertions to supernaturalists. Instead, what I recognise, on the basis of the relevant observational data, is that mythologies are incompetent to provide an answer to this question. Mythologies demonstrably contain assertions about the world that are not merely wrong, but fatuous and absurd - assertions that are manifestly the product, not of a fantastically gifted magic entity capable of fabricating a universe, but instead of semi-literate superstitious nomads.
Third, I also recognise another principle in operation here, namely, that the moment testable natural processes are demonstrated to be sufficient to explain a given class of entities and interactions, then supernatural entities (however these may be defined - I've yet to observe any consensus arising from supernaturalists with respect to a rigorous definition of 'supernatural') are rendered superfluous to requirements and irrelevant. Even an elementary perusal of the five million or more peer reviewed scientific papers extant in the literature, informs those performing this task, that this has already happened for vast classes of entities and interactions, and that the few remaining areas of active research are not yielding any data breaking this precedent.
Fourth, although the combination of mythological incompetence and scientific success rule out infantile imaginary magic men, they do not rule out entities of the following sort:
 Any god type entities that are consonant with, or provide consistent extensions to, the known laws of physics;
 Any god type entities that operate through the application of testable natural processes, including processes of this sort awaiting discovery.
However, at this point, the question has to be asked, why any such entity that does exist, has been apparently exerting much effort to conceal itself. Though this question, of course, only becomes important, if one presumes from the outset that any such entity would have any interest in us humans at all. An entity completely indifferent to us, would of course be in no hurry to reveal itself, and would, courtesy of operating via testable natural processes, be difficult to distinguish from testable natural processes arising without a god-type entity's activity.
Fifth, since I've already engaged here in several interesting speculative excursions on this matter, the mere fact that I have done so, and presented said expositions honestly as speculative excursions, should be telling you something important. An example thereof can be read in full here. Read and enjoy (or not, as the case may be).
Indeed, the one fact that time and again presents itself to me, is that the one group of people who routinely demonstrate paucity of thought on the matter of the "god question", are supernaturalists. Who routinely assume that the only possible candidate purportedly must be the one asserted to be thus in their favourite mythologies, regardless of how fatuous and absurd the assertions contained in said mythologies are. The mere fact that I've been able to conceive of a better god type entity than those presented in mythologies, courtesy of my own speculative excursions, should be informative here not only with respect to your presumption laden question, but to the likely outcome of any proper, rigorous investigation thereunto. See here for another example of brief musings on the matter.
But that's another aspect of the supernaturalist aetiology I've become familiar with over the past decade or so - namely, the indolence with respect to prior research that is endemic to supernaturalism and its adherents. Most of the specimens thereof who appear here, routinely demonstrate that they never bothered to ask themselves substantive questions, including questions about the validity of their own presuppositions about us and our thinking, many of said presuppositions invariably consisting of repeatedly destroyed canards that we can recognise as such in our sleep, and detect incoming from several light years away. Indeed, one of my own favourite rejoinders upon yet another instance thereof, is "It's petunias time again, folks", which raises smiles among those understanding the Douglas Adams reference.
RE: Calilasseia post.
I feel anyone that can read and truly understand what Calilasseia wrote here would:
1. Not be theist
2. Never have reason to doubt the conclusion to no longer be theist.
However, sadly, people that can read and understand at this level, and take the time to: take this post seriously is a very small percentage of people.
Then. the ability to ignore powerful biases against this idea with a lifetime of indoctrination from likely every important peer the person ever had. One in a million.
My hat is off, in respect, to the rare 1 in a million.
@quantisedd: "Certain that there is no god?" No one has yet defined, explained, or demonstrated a god into existence. We have millions of failed gods. Belief is allocated to the degree of evidence provided. There is no more evidence for the Christian or Islamic version of god than there is for any other version of god on the planet. That does not mean "Atheists are CERTAIN there is no god." Most atheists are certainly certain that all the gods they have heard of are either useless contradictions, ineffective and therefore useless or simply non-existent. If you have a god that you think is real, we would all love to hear about it. Unlike the theist population, atheists are certainly open to changing their minds. All you need do is give us the information to do so.
@quantisedd: Why do atheists feel that they are certain that there is no God?
1. Not a single trace of any event caused by a god in the history of the universe, despite millennia of searching by billions of people
2. Not a single astronomical, geological, meteorological, or biological process requiring the intervention of a god
3. Contradictions, conflicts, and violence among sects claiming to worship the same gods
4. Sinful behavior (murder, theft, torture, rape, child abuse...) by the greatest "authorities" on god, with no apparent fear of divine retribution
5. Trillions of prayers unanswered
6. Churches full of devout worshipers flattened by earthquakes, tsunami, and nukes
7. Not one authentic message from any god in the history of humanity
I see the absence of evidence over such a long period of time as evidence of absence. So I'm what you might call a "hard atheist".
But maybe you can offer some convincing argument to restore my faith. Kalam perhaps? Anselm? Aquinas? You could even pray for me.
Why do theist believe in any god that they can't prove is real? Why can't theist give objective evidence that any god is real? If any god was proven real, what makes you think it's your god?
@quantisedd: Why do atheists feel that they are certain that there is no God?
I don't 'feel certain there is no "god'. I do not believe the claims you make for your god or gods.
If you could provide sure evidence for your (or any) god's existence than I would no longer be atheist.
Re: OP - "Why do atheists feel that they are certain that there is no God?"
(Before reading other responses...)
Yo, Quantisedd! Quite presumptuous, aren't you? Plus, you might want to define your particular god before asking such a ridiculous question. Just a suggestion. Anyway, for the sake of shits and giggles, I will pretend you are referring to the god of the bible. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) So, with that in mind, while I can not speak for other atheists, I CAN tell you that THIS atheist has never claimed to be certain of such a thing. I simply do not believe in that god. No reason for me to do so until somebody can somehow demonstrate that particular god is real. Just that simple. Period.
Oh, on a side note, by the way... *sniff-sniff-sniff*.... *gag*.... Umph... Uh, you might want to change your cologne. Eau de Gym Sock is not a very pleasant fragrance.
Edit to add: Whoops. Just checked your profile. You must be referring to your precious darling little Allah. Same goes for him, just so you know. (Of course, he's pretty much the same as the bible god, anyway... *shrugging shoulders*...)
@Tin: "Eau de Gym Sock is not a very pleasant fragrance." Sorry Tin, that was sweet monkey feet. Had you read the posts first you would know that I had just walked all over the guy.
Ta-ta for now, off to do laundry.
Wait a minute...
I'm an atheist and I do not claim to know, with absolute certainty, that gods do not exist.
My position is ,that theists have never been able to meet their burden of proof to support their claim that a God exists.
And as long as theists continue to fail to meet their burden of proof, my atheism will continue.
My atheism is a provisional position, not a dogmatic one
Simon, you wrote, “My atheism is a provisional position, not a dogmatic one”
What a wonderful phrase!
Let me add, that I am open to being convinced that a god exists.
All that it would take to convince me is, demonstrable and falsifiable evidence, and valid and sound logic, to support the claim.
But without meeting the above criteria, why should I be warranted in believing a god exists?
"All that it would take to convince me is, demonstrable and falsifiable evidence, and valid and sound logic, to support the claim."
I can't think of any alleged normal kind of proof I would easily accept. However ,I think it was Cog who opined that if a god wanted me to believe in him, he would have no problem providing proof which would convince me.
I'll start by saying that when you say 'no God' I assume you really mean 'no god'. I generally refuse to say "God" because someone who capitalizes god never really means a god in general, they mean a very specific god, one of the various iterations of the Abrahamic god, which goes by the names Yahweh, Jehovah, or Allah, depending on your specific religion.
That said, I'm not absolutely certain that a god, or gods, do not exist. It's just that so far any evidence brought forth for a god, (any god, not just "God"), has never convinced me that said god actually exists. If there's no sufficient or compelling evidence that this god exists, then there's no real reason for me to believe in him/her/it.
I don't know for certain that Darth Vader or Sauron or Cerberus don't exist either. But again, I see no reason to believe that they do.
I'm not certain there is no deity. I'm only certain there is absolutely no objective evidence for any deity. So like unicorns, mermaids garden fairies, the legends of Hercules, and the Loch Ness monster et all, I don't believe the claims they are true.
Do you usually believe things without any objective evidence? If you can't demonstrate any objective evidence for any deity, or list other beliefs that are no part of your religious beliefs you hold without any objective evidence, then you surely can't fail to see the inherrant bias in that single belief.
I set the same open minded unbiased standard for all claims assertions and beliefs, and withhold belief in all claims if there is no objective evidence.
Why don't you and other theists?
In response to the question at hand, "Why do atheists feel that they are certain that there is no God?" I can say that I am about 98% certain that there is no god. The other two percent is the hope that there is no god. That hope is not out of fear of facing some type of god when I finally buy the farm on this life, but it is out of the fear of having someone that is a cruel dictator overshadow my life and one day, my death.
Regarding my certainty that there is no god, I think that we have to realize all that we can do in today's world. We have sent probes to every planet and at least one official dwarf planet in our solar system. We have investigated Mars with terristeral machines (rovers) and looked at many of the numerous moons that orbit other planets in our own backyard. We have even looked at planets hundreds, thousands and even millions of lightyears from our little solar system and been able to predict the atmosphere composition that surrounds those planets. We have searched our own planet and found fossils that do connect us to the genealogy that comes before us. We have also been able to trace a great many extinct animals that once roamed the Earth. What's more is that we've been able to, with a pretty good degree of certainty, tell the age of the Earth along with the universe at large, seen how stars form and how they die. We have satellites that can look down on us from low Earth orbit and tell what just one of us is doing in our backyards along with the outfit that we’re wearing while doing it. Some of those satellites have infrared vision and could possibly tell what just one of us on Earth are doing in our own bedrooms.
From every atheist/creationist/religious debate that I've ever heard to date, they all kind of go the same way. The religious person asks, "can you explain" this or that and the atheist pulls out fact after fact, scientific theory after scientific theory and answers those questions. Then the atheist flips the script and asks the religious person, "can you explain" this or that and the religious person starts to back themselves into a corner to finally say, "well, you have to just accept this on faith." Faith is not fact.
Another aspect of this also speaks to me: Charles Mansion was prosecuted and imprisoned for what his followers did... More specifically, his role in what his followers did (Murder, Conspiracy) for which he spent his entire life in confinement until his death in November of 2017. This concept is not only a United States law thing, where we punish the leaders as well as the followers for crimes. After the second world war, numerous members of the third reich were charged, and most were subsequently executed for war crimes. So this is not a new concept. When we apply this same concept to the religious, we get excuses. Over the years, I've heard, "well, you can't blame god for what his followers do." Why not? Especially considering that one of the most violent books in the world is the foundation of this religion.
Numerous accounts of rape, abortion, murder, conspiracy, slavery, cruelty, deceit along with other a whole list of other crimes that would land most people either in prison for life or on death row, nearly all of it with god’s blessing, permission or from the direct actions of the god character. Keeping that in mind, is it really any big surprise that in today's world we find that priests can't keep their hands off of children and now it seems that protestant ministers are following the same path.
Now we can get preoccupied with numerous fields of science that disproves the entire notion of god, including where the christian god even came from, the legends and myths that are older than the christian version of god. But what about common sense and personal experience? What about the things that don't make it into scientific texts? What about the children and sometimes even adults that were raped, beaten, tortured and even sold into slavery? And no, I'm not talking specifically about the middle ages... I'm referring to the 80's (the last case of such that I am aware of in the United States, even though I freely admit that I've not gone looking for more recent cases of this.) What about those people that few ever hear from for one reason or another?
I submit that we should add all of this together, and even more to the long list of crimes against humanity that religion in general, christianity in particular has committed. I submit that we should, as a society, put every religious text where they go, in the library right next to mother goose because all of them are myth, fable, and fairy-tale and regard it as the dangerous thing that it truly is.
Is this going to be another drive by apologist, or will the thread author actually show us the courtesy of acknowledging our responses?
Too many drive by theists lately, simply peddling their superstitious ware with preaching, sermons or trolling with loaded questions. I'm starting to feel an inclination to shoot them down from the off. Perhaps I need a break...
I'm yet to be convinced there is a divine being of any type, I think the descriptions of a possible god are pretty well thought out (classical theism ? ) but I'm yet to be convinced that the logic we use is useful in determining intelligence beyond our own.
But when someone approaches me and claims not only that there is a god, and what's more that same deity wants me to know him personally, wants to put a part of himself in my heart and then claims to have made everything in existence, who is all powerful and all knowing then I'm 99% certain that such a being does not exist.
I think such a deity would be able to introduce himself to me, in a way that isn't exactly the same as no deity !
"But when someone approaches me and claims not only that there is a god, and what's more that same deity wants me to know him personally, wants to put a part of himself in my heart and then claims to have made everything in existence, who is all powerful and all knowing then I'm 99% certain that such a being does not exist."
What is of note they they claim to know the attributes of their god, yet if you ask them a hard question, they suddenly get ignorant with "we don't know god's character" or crap like that. That tells me they are selling a truckload of bullshit and they have no idea about any god, they are just making shit up just to please their personal ideas.
To me, that is one huge tipping point in my determining if they know what they are talking about, or just making up shit. They claim to know, but they don't.
Imo proselytisers of any type are arrogant and disrespectful . How dare they assume to judge me, my beliefs or lack of them.
I pass this anecdote on for what it may be worth:.
I was at a party at the home of a close friend . One of his daughters had recently become a happy clapper, and he was very embarrassed. .Said daughter was present, with a young ,earnest looking young man with a gaze.
I was by myself at that at moment. Earnest looking came slithering over. Fixing me with his gaze, he asked earnestly; "Have you heard the news?"
My response; "I don't know, but if the answer is Jesus ,I'm going to punch you in the face" Unaware I was bluffing ,earnest looking promptly slithered away.
Yes,I know, that was evil and I deserve a good birching. Only other time I was unkind to a stranger was to a Scientologist who stopped me in the street, pretending to take a survey,
OT I have a T shirt with the caption "Grumpy old Man " . That's because I would be promptly ejected if I wore a T shirt with the caption "Cranky Old Cunt" to the local shopping centre,.
My level of confidence in disbelief is directly proportional to the lack of evidence and the paucity of sound rational arguments for any deity. If a deity exists based on religions then it is indistinguishable from a nonexistent deity.
I am as confident my disbelief in a deity is justified, as I am that the world is not flat or at the centre of the universe. I cannot after all absolutely rule out the possibility that my perception of the worlds rotundity, and its cosmic location, are all part of some elaborate hoax, but as with the existence deities I see no evidence that that is the case, nor am I convinced it's even possible.
Reading Karen Armstrong, and Bart Ehrman and listening to Sam Harris put to rest my shaky Christian belief. I say "shakey" because I was never a die-hard Christian, to begin with. My family went to church more out of a social obligation rather than spiritual guidance. The bible, in our house, was never consulted when it came to moral or ethical behaviors. We, my siblings and I, learned about right and wrong from our parents, our neighbors, and our teachers, especially the bad ones who gave us a living example of what it means to be mean or cruel.
It was not a difficult jump for me to question the existence of an omniscient deity and declare myself an agnostic. I tried to hold out for an all-powerful, creative deity, at least one who was superior to the Abrahamic god of the Hebrew nation, but even that attempt came to naught. What I have settled for is a blend of Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Hence the word "god" is synonymous with the word "devil." They are both human constructions as a means to power.
Yes, terrible things happen in our world and most of them are a direct result of human activity. Good things happen as well, not because a god intervened, but because moral and responsible humans intervened. For example, not long ago I read a story of a young girl who became lost on a hike and fell some thirty feet down a cliff and landed unconscious on a rocky ledge. Her parents prayed to God. She was found by skilled trackers with tracking dogs. Her position was relayed, by GPS, to a rescue base. A helicopter piloted by an excellent pilot hovered over the cliff while highly disciplined rescuers were lowered and managed to lift the girl to the helicopter where she was flown in haste to the nearest hospital and trained, intelligent surgeons operated and saved the girl's life. The parents declared God had worked a miracle. I was stunned. There was no God. If it had been up to a god, the girl would be a skeleton on that ledge. Good, intelligent, responsible humans who cared enough to do the job for which they had trained, saved that girl.
The only god is us. We who strive to learn and understand this incredible miracle of a planet and strive even harder to create and maintain a peaceful world deprived of mythic gods who purportedly tell us to murder each other for their sake.
@Paul: Good, intelligent, responsible humans who cared enough to do the job for which they had trained, saved that girl.
Don't forget the dogs!
Because it's bollocks.
An invisible pan-dimensional wizard, who creates the universe (not proven), created the earth (demonstrably wrong), created humans (empirically proven to be a horse shit claim) and all other of wonderful garbage to make the incredulous feel all warm and fuzzy.
If there was a god, why would there be zero evidence? Why would kids get bone cancer? Etc...
The facts are that we are superstitious moderately evolved primates, that seek patterns in nature and are incredibly superstitious.
No fear of death.
I envy you. I lack the certainly to not be at least a bit fearful.
Like many life forms, I have a powerful, instinctive fear of dying. However, that's not the same as death. Intellectually I grasp that [as far as I know] death is not an experience, but the absolute antithesis of experience; nothingness. I have never feared the eons before I existed. Why should I fear the eons to come when I do not exist?
I still have a niggle . If I'm wrong , I trust that I will be as an ant to a god with absolute attributes. That I might be treated with a kind of benign indifference and neglect . How could I, a talking ape, possibly be of interest to such a being?
It has also helped to discover that the notion of an eternal hell is a christian fabrication.,
Being on various atheist forums over the last decade has helped crystalise my atheist position. I have also been helped by coming across across some thinkers, on forums and elsewhere. ** . Over the last couple of years, I've discovered John Shelby Spong and Bart Ehrman .
Have never liked Hitchens or Dawkins . Perhaps wrongly, it is my perception that Hitchens was a racist polemicist . Dawkins just bores me once he gets away from evolution. Of course, they could simply be far too brilliant for me to understand them.
**Of all the forums I've seen, this one has a couple of quite brilliant minds, imo. Most of the others are simply bright. I continue to learn.
@Cranky Re: "Of all the forums I've seen, this one has a couple of quite brilliant minds, imo. Most of the others are simply bright."
Well, thank you, Cranky! Very nice of you to notice. It's about time I got some credible recognition around this place.
...*addressing forum*... Hah! See that, all you simply "bright" dullards? Cranky called me brilliant! Hell, yeah! And there are only a couple of us, so we will just have to wait until the other brilliant mind reveals himself/herself. Meanwhile, please feel free to bask in my brilliance. There is plenty for everybody! (.... *whispering out corner of mouth to Cranky*.... um, that WAS me you were talking about, right?)