For more than a generation now, atheism has influenced people’s culture. Atheists in government and the courts caused that God be banned from the schools. Consequently students were no longer accountable to anyone. Moral restraints were out. Self-gratification was in. Fornication became routine, marriage deemed unnecessary. Virginity became the butt of ribald night club humor. Movies first derided the traditional family, then maligned its Judaic-Christian roots, then depicted it as a psychopathic arrangement to be avoided (Cline 9). Perversion in entertainment steadily increased to slake the media’s thirst for sensationalism and its lucrative ratings. Non-marital births, once stigmatized, later proliferated. Babies conceived in these promiscuous circumstances were thus not a joy, but a cursed inconvenience. The immediate solution was to abort (Cline 10). For atheists, it was not enough for abortion to be a choice. They pushed to make it a right, and then a law.
Abortion developed into a booming industry. Many children, even though not aborted, still are found in unhealthy environment. These enter the public school system, where anti-family dogmas are drummed into their heads. Sex issues dominate the educational agenda, warping children’s perspective of the world they live in, and crowding out all character-building literature. In high school they are indoctrinated with the notion that their bodies and minds are not in the image of God— but merely a random collection of chemicals and hormones. They are taught that promiscuous sex is an expected part of puberty, and that to kill any babies resulting from fornication is perfectly acceptable (Cline 15). Nevertheless, sexually active girls are three times more likely to take their own lives than those who are abstinent.
Boys are eight times more likely. Two thirds of teens who have committed moral transgression wish they could go back to innocence again and desperately wish they had waited. Starting at appallingly early ages, youth are told that drugs will fix everything, whether it be poor academic performance, physical unattractiveness, or any other form of unhappiness (Anderson 2). In time these children come to believe that human life, including their own, is utterly worthless. Then for some reason atheists are shocked when these morally deformed youth murder their classmates, their teachers, and often themselves. These youth might have been spared this misery if their parents had taught them the Word of God. The commandments of God are like signs along the road of life. They keep you out of the danger zones (Anderson 4). The mists of darkness have now gone on to invade cyberspace. Pornography, violence, and immorality are now epidemic.
Of all of the problems that atheists might experience with their families, those involving their own children are perhaps among the most emotional and difficult to resolve. Many people honestly believe that children require religion and God in order to be raised morally and properly — so if atheist parents don’t offer that, they will feel compelled to intervene and replace what they believe the parents are failing provide (Penre 3). If both parents are atheists then the situation will likely be easier, because they can come to some arrangement about what to do and present a united front against meddling from their respective families (Penre 4). If only one parent is an atheist, however, complications may be multiplied if each partner has different ideas regarding the role of religion and theism in a child’s life.
In addition to the various arguments for God’s existence, there are a number of arguments against it. There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of argument for atheism: a priori and a posteriori. A priori arguments for atheism claim that there is some logical contradiction in the theistic conception of God, and so that it is impossible for such a being to exist (Franklin 5). A posteriori arguments for atheism claim that the world is other than it would be if God existed, and so conclude from it that there cannot be a God (Franklin 7). Other arguments for atheism are of the second kind, claiming that the concept of God is incoherent, that there are logical problems with the existence of such a being, and that God therefore cannot exist.
There is a multifold philosophical justification for atheism. Many atheists feel that the idea of God as presented by the major religions is essentially self-contradictory, and that it is logically impossible that such a God could exist. Others are atheists through skepticism, because they see no evidence that God exists (Matthew 3). There are a number of books which lay out a philosophical justification for atheism, such as Martin’s “Atheism: A Philosophical Justification” and Smith’s “Atheism: The Case against God”. A few such books are in the document listing “Atheist Media” (Matthew). Of course, some people are atheists without having any particular logical argument to back up their atheism. For some, it is simply the most comfortable, common sense position to take.
In addition, to be an Atheist one would have to be omniscient knowing all things having a perfect knowledge of the universe, to say they absolutely know God does not exist. For one to do this they would have to personally inspected all places in the present known universe and in all time, having explored everywhere seen and unseen. Things of there are matter or things invisible to say unequivocally God does not exist (Cline 4). Another possible piece of evidence for the likelihood of the absence of gods is precedent (asktheatheist.com). As Tim Minchin says in his brilliant beat poem Storm, every such mystery which has been solved has turned out to be not magic. Evolution explained the diversity of life brilliantly. Therefore the evidence is the appearance that there is no such evidence for gods. If it did exist, and were substantive and available, it would be paraded around the world. Whichever god it supported would be vindicated. So it’s very unlikely that evidence is available and substantive and yet appears as though it’s not there.
Atheism poses challenges to the society and to other faiths and religions. They are showing the people that religion is not that necessary to have a prolific and wholesome life. They exemplify that life would become better and fitted on the social norms even without basing on the beliefs of gods and goddesses – their ways and perceptions of life and behavior. A mature atheistic philosophy should have the quality of being non-reactionary, which is to theism. A philosophy or a world view that centers on a denial or a rejection of one principle or one thing is usually only at the beginning of its evolutionary process (catholic-church.org). Consequently, in so far as some atheists sought to merely negate God and the divine or spiritual principle in the various branches of philosophy, they had not as of yet matured their thought. Those who sought to propose new
ethical systems and social philosophies, for instance, were in fact encouraging the maturation process towards an atheistic world view.
The challenge for atheism is to be a whole, not simply the rejection of God, but to be a world view which simply has no God and seeks no God. In many forms of atheism, a situation has occurred whereby God usually understood as the Christian God. Atheism has never fully matured philosophically and it would seem that as it would start to investigate its own and yet final questions it would find itself at what might be considered to be premature forms of theism. Maybe, the fear of such questions and the challenges posed by other philosophical systems has led to the refusal of many atheists to more open discussion (catholic-church.org). Atheism, it can be concluded, is nihilistic in character: Denying and breaking down the idea and belief in God, be it theoretically or practically. But then it finds that it must have some God which it permits to be either created or sought.
The development of atheistic societies naturally required a social philosophy. One of the major difficulties for philosophers was to avoid the chaos of an absolute egoism by seeking to draw a balance with altruism. If it is the first case, then individuals can be sacrificed for the rest of society, a situation found in communist and totalitarian societies. Some atheists believe in the nonexistence of all Gods; others limit their atheism to specific Gods, such as the Christian God, rather than making flat-out denials (Dennet 13). In such instances the atheistic society rejects the concept of human freedom. If it is the case where individuals give existence to society, then the atheist sociologist is forced to create a new and convincing ethical code that can help individuals to live a harmonic life together (Dennet 14). Thus, your religious beliefs typically depend on the
community in which you were raised or live. It seems, therefore, that religious belief very likely tracks not truth but social conditioning.
Atheists become intolerant and fixed to their argument. For atheists, religious belief is mere wishful thinking. According to this view, Christianity is just an emotional crutch for those who are unable to deal with the reality of life without God (Nietzsche 1). Those that are strong enough to do without religion, this argument concludes, should do without religion (Nietzsche 2). Another objection to theism is that Christianity is offensively exclusive. On this view, we ought to be tolerant both of those of other faiths and of those of no faith, and the only way that we can do that is by embracing religious pluralism, the view that all views of religion are equally valid and equally true for those that hold them (Nietzsche 3). This, strictly speaking is not an argument against the existence of God but an argument against the objective existence of God, an argument that it makes no sense to talk of absolute religious truths because all religious truth is relative.
So the atheist committed to rational beliefs and rational discussion has a relatively clear course before them. First, the burden of proof is on whoever is making the claims. This is always at least the theist, since they are by definition making at least one claim about at least one god. This is sometimes on the atheist, if they choose to deny something specific. Second, the justification of atheism, if required, can only proceed from whatever is fundamental and
necessary to atheism. As long as atheism is simply nonbelievers, which means that little or no justification is required, at least early on. Only after the theist has presented coherent and rational arguments might the atheist need to explain why she does not accept them.
At that point, justification of atheism is based upon inadequate justification for theism. Moreover, the atheist should not be maneuvered into justifying other beliefs which themselves are not necessary to their atheism. Just because the atheist happens to disagree with the theist on other issues does not mean that the atheist needs to justify these other beliefs in order to justify atheism. The atheist does not have any more automatic need to justify acceptance of evolution than she does of justifying acceptance that the Earth is round or that the death penalty is just. Hence, after millennia of trying to come up with arguments for the existence of God, all theologians and philosophers have been able to produce are lame logical fallacies. No credible evidence has been found for the existence of a God. Therefore, instead of allowing the discussion to go off on irrelevant tangents amenable to the theists’ personal obsessions, the atheist must strive to keep the discussion focused. If the discussion is about the existence of gods, then that is where it must be kept.
Atheism is in trouble. You can tell because its most eloquent spokesmen are receiving icily critical reviews in the very mainstream press that Christians often dismiss for liberal bias. Life for atheists, who dare to reveal their atheism publicly, never mind argue against religion and theism, can be made quite difficult. The popular Christian perception of atheists as immoral, disloyal, and untrustworthy seems to help justify discrimination against atheists in the minds of more than a few Christians. As a consequence, some atheists must endure hate mail, harassment,
and even violence simply because they are atheists (Cline 1). Thus, they are not also being tolerated. Some people tend to put them down.
Atheism today has the spotlight. Non-belief in the existence of God is a worldwide phenomenon with a long and distinguished history. The philosophers of the ancient world and even in the Middle Ages were skeptical and naturalistic currents of thought. The number of nonbelievers in the world today is surprisingly large. The most comprehensive source of religious statistics available, estimated in 1982 that by 1985 there would be about 210 million atheist and 805 million agnostics in the world. Given the large number of nonbelievers, it is not surprising that atheistic societies, periodicals, and conferences exist across the world.