Why I No Longer Believe God Exists

I came to a realization today at work.  One that will inevitably have dramatic implications for my life, and those around me.  You see, for the last 8-10 years I have been an adamant believer that God exists, the Christian God in particular.  Most of that time has been spent defending the faith which was so central to the way I viewed the world around me.  Your worldview shapes the way you interpret everything, and mine was filtered through a biblical lens.  I realize I have been wasting my time so ardently defending the belief that God exists.  I now see I could have spared myself the years of study, the countless hours in debates and arguing with those who opposed my views.

I no longer believe God exists.  I lack belief in a Godless universe.  Or put another way, I have a non-belief in God’s non-existence.  Now that I merely lack belief in a Godless universe I have no burden of proof, I need not provide any evidence (See: A Burden The Hand).  You see, I have a non-belief.  Only those who hold positive beliefs have anything to prove.  Remember, non-beliefs don’t require evidence.

I have to say, this is very liberating.  It’s clear to me now why Atheists have changed the definition of atheism from belief that no deities exist, to a lack of belief in any deities (See: Who Did You Say You Were Again?, Not At All Lacking, I Don’t Not Believe It!).  They were really on to something.

So to the skeptics who may show up and demand proof that God exists or that the Bible is the Word of God I can offer a simple correction:  I don’t believe God exists, I lack belief in a Godless universe.  I wonder if I can still call myself a Christian given my new lack of belief?  I guess I could just say that I have a non-belief that Jesus is not God — problem solved.

Comments

  1. “It’s clear to me now why Atheists have changed the definition of atheism from belief that no deities exist, to a lack of belief in any deities”

    How did we change it? It’s what the word means.

    A- means without. Theism means belief in a god. Thus, atheism is without belief in a god.

    It’s a direct response to claims of the existence of gods.

    Why is that hard to understand?

  2. contemplatinglife says:

    isn’t saying that you have a non-belief in Jesus being God simply taking the easy way out? rather than trying to live in the tension of not knowing everything, and rather than dealing with the facts that we know to be true historically and scientifically, it’s choosing to turn a blind eye to truth.

    • Contemplatinglife

      Perhaps you have misread the post. “I guess I could just say that I have a non-belief that Jesus is not God”. Reading the cited posts will give you a better insight to this post as well. Thanks for the thought.

  3. NaS
    Atheism is a belief – a belief that God does not exist, but still a belief. It is not defined as “without a belief in a god,” rather it is more positive – a positive belief that God does not exist. You may try to be defensive and say, “I don’t have a belief in a god,” but atheists – especially the neo-atheists – are more aggressive that just a passive non-belief. Atheism is a very firm belief that there is no God.

    It’s a foolish belief, but it is a belief nevertheless.

  4. Read my cited post “Who Did You Say You Were Again?” to see why that is nonsense. There isn’t anything hard to understand. It’s pretty transparent why it has been changed. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with atheistic philosophical work prior to about 15 years ago when everyone under stood the definition.

    Perhaps Stanford University has it wrong too: “‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/)

  5. Interesting post. It gave me food for thought. I am reminded that the lack of belief in God is not the same as believing that there is no God. I agree with Mr. Chatfield, today’s atheists mostly believe and have concluded firmly that God does not exist, as if they have all the evidence to reach this conclusion. It is quite a bold conclusion. I have yet to find this evidence, but there sure is a lot of evidence to support Theism.

    • Noel

      You’re right, they aren’t the same. When we lack belief, we don’t have an opinion either way. But that’s not what Atheists claim. “Does God exist?” is a yes or no question, and they don’t answer yes.

  6. I say it takes more faith to believe there is no God, than it does to believe there is a God. If there is no God, how can one explain the existence of anything? Evolution? Where did the first life forms come from? Primordial soup? Where did that come from? Skip further back to the Big Bang. How could that have happened? Where did the agents come from, and how did they combine to create a big bang in the first place? How can any of these things have occurred without an intelligent designer?

    Well, I guess you just have to have faith.

  7. This realisation doesn’t have to be as “dramatic” as you think. You’re still you. It is liberating, isn’t it? All the best.

  8. There was a change, but it was messaging not definition. Atheist always meant ‘lack of belief’ not necessarily ‘positive belief of no god’ but what we did do is change our messaging to de-emphasize the attack on religion. The intent was just to try and be more accommodating to religious people. If I say I’m atheist, I’m not necessarily saying that you’re beliefs are wrong or stupid. That’s what religious people often infer, and it really hurts dialogue. All I want to say is that I personally don’t have a positive belief in any gods. We’re trying to be nice and you’re still finding a way to be offended.
    You’re offended because, whatever you do, the burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim. If you say god exists, you have to prove it. If you say you believe in your god, you have to prove that too. But proving belief is easy. I will accept that you believe in your god, and you should easily accept that I lack a belief in your god. Easy. Now we can talk about something more productive, like ethics or community. That’s the intent of being more technically accurate and open about atheist meaning ‘lack of belief’ not ‘belief of lack of god’.
    If you want to engage, you could say, “ok, you lack a belief in any gods. Do you believe my god doesn’t exist?” An atheist might want to have that conversation. Many atheists may additionally assert that, for example, an all-powerful, all-good God is inconsistent with the Bible and that that collection of contradictions constitutes strong evidence against the existence of any Bible-based loving creator god. So if you want to talk about what god you mean, then an atheist might assert that that god doesn’t exist, but that’s not strictly necessary (or productive). An atheist simply lacks a belief, so hopefully that is more palatable to the believers.
    The equivalent for believers is to assert belief (“I believe in such-and-such a god”) rather than asserting existence (“Such-and-such a god exists”). We can easily agree that you believe and move on to something productive.

  9. “Atheist always meant ‘lack of belief’ ”

    Well, right from the start, you’ve got it wrong. The word basically means “without god”, and was first used in reference to those who refused to worship the state approved god. e.g. In Athens, everyone was required to worship Athena; those who didn’t were called atheists. The word also expanded to include those who did not believe in multiple gods. e.g. Jews (and later Christians) who did not worship the Roman gods were considered atheists. The definition of atheism to mean not believing in any god, or one God, is very modern. The word has never had anything to do with lack of belief, but rather a differring belief, in regards to God or gods.

  10. Do you also lack belief in Rama’s non-existence? If not, you can now pick up that ax to swing. Don’t worry, there will always be some mission your mind will find for you. Do not despair. Or was this post sarcastic? :-)

    • No Sabio, I’ll just lack belief in Rama so I don’t have to engage the issue. That way I can just sit back and take refuge in my skepticism.

  11. Skepticism is a much more comfortable lounging chair then hard wooden pews — I’ll agree.

  12. “No Sabio, I’ll just lack belief in Rama so I don’t have to engage the issue. That way I can just sit back and take refuge in my skepticism.” – JB
    Now you’re getting it! The point is not to take refuge in skepticism, it’s just to avoid an unnecessary debate. Or, if you lack a belief in Rama, you can legitimately say, “I never really thought about it, and I’d rather talk about something else.” That’s totally justified, unless you think that someone else claiming to believe in Rama suddenly makes the existence of Rama a universal truth that others must disprove. Claiming to lack a belief in a certain god doesn’t make that god cease to exist either. The discussion just doesn’t happen and the ‘lack of belief’ claim isn’t a strong statement either way.

  13. I understand, John, that this common arguing line of atheists gets in your craw.
    I don’t consider it particularly dishonest as you seem to imply in this post.

    I am more than happy- and perhaps this is where you and these kind of atheists get off on the wrong foot- to acknowledge that some people attribute certain things to a supernatural entity that they call “God”. I lack belief in such an entity, but I am more than happy to discuss my reasons for dismissing the hypothesis that such an entity exists. I think that what you are describing is an abuse of the null hypothesis- whereby people conflate lack of belief with not having to explain why they dismiss arguments for a proposition.

    I am also sorry to inform you that you are “late to the party” in taking the stand that you lack belief in the non-existance of God. This is colloqually called “the argument from incredulity” and it is the bedrock of a great many theological arguments. In point of fact it is the very argument one of your readers uses on this very post. I hear it every day- so perhaps these atheists are just calling “fair game”.

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