Atheist worldview

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Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1] See also: Definition of atheism

Although many atheists deny that atheism is a worldview, atheists commonly share a number of beliefs such as naturalism, belief in evolution/abiogenesis.[2]

Some attributes of the atheist worldview

See also: Atheism and beliefs

Atheists and naturalism

See also: Naturalism

A majority of atheists hold to the philosophy of naturalism which rejects the miraculous.

However, when it comes to belief in life after death and other matters, a significant portion of atheists reject naturalism in various instances (see: Atheism and the supernatural).

Atheism and the origin of the universe

See also: Atheism and the origin of the universe

Although many atheists indicate that they do not know how the universe came into being, some prominent atheists claim that the universe came into existence from nothing.[3][4] For more information, please see: Atheism and the origin of the universe

The steady state theory, which posited an eternal universe, was formerly advocated by atheist cosmologists, but it has fallen out of disfavor.

Atheism offers a bleak ultimate future for individuals and mankind

See also: Atheism and meaninglessness and Hopelessness of atheism

Although Bertrand Russell was an agnostic, he had favorable views of atheism.[5] Bertrand Russell wrote in 1903 about entropy and the universe:

That man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins- all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

"Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding dispair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built." [6]

William Lane Craig declares:

What we're asking here is not how atheists find meaning in life, which would be consistent with saying that life is objectively meaningless but somehow you've got to get through so how are you going to find some sort of meaning to your existence? Well, you'll invent projects that will bring you satisfaction and make you feel good and so forth, but that has nothing to do with whether or not life has an objective meaning or value of purpose.[7]

Craig further adds:

If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man's life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. Therefore, everyone must come face to face with what theologian Paul Tillich has called "the threat of non-being." For though I know now that I exist, that I am alive, I also know that someday I will no longer exist, that I will no longer be, that I will die. This thought is staggering and threatening: to think that the person I call "myself" will cease to exist, that I will be no more!...

And the universe, too, faces death. Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and everything in it is growing farther and farther apart. As it does so, it grows colder and colder, and its energy is used up. Eventually all the stars will burn out and all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes. There will be no light at all; there will be no heat; there will be no life; only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the endless darkness and the cold recesses of space—a universe in ruins. So not only is the life of each individual person doomed; the entire human race is doomed. There is no escape. There is no hope.[8]

Atheism and views of death

See also: Atheism and death and Atheism and life after death

According to a study performed in the United States by researchers Wink and Scott, very religious people fear death the least.[9]

View of death for atheists who hold to naturalism

See also: Atheism and death and Atheism and Hell

The atheist who holds to naturalism sees only oblivion and personal extinction in death: cessation of existence, no knowledge, no pain, no pleasure, no activity, nothing: no heaven, no hell, no punishment for being evil, no reward for being holy. (See Revelation 22:11.[10]) Significantly, the medical profession has found that the two groups who face death with the least degree of anguish are devout Christians and absolute atheists.[11]

According to a study performed in the United States by researchers Wink and Scott, very religious people fear death the least.[12] Wink and Scott also found that moderately religious people fear death the most.[13][14]

Atheists who believe in an afterlife

Science Daily reported that Death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God.[15] In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Nathan A. Heflick reported similar results in other studies.[16]

The website the Skeptics Guide declared:

A survey compiled in 2014 by The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture (AISFC) reveals that 32 percent of Americans who identified themselves as agnostics and atheists believe in an afterlife of some kind. In addition, 6 percent of the same non-theistic group expressed a belief in a “bodily resurrection”. These numbers were taken from a sample of 15,738 Americans, all of which were between the ages of 18 and 60. According to the data, 13.2 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheist, agnostic, or some other variation of non-believing.

I found these results to be quite surprising. Having been immersed in circles of atheists and agnostics for the past 20 years, the numbers revealed by this study are higher than I would have guessed, by quite a lot. What stands out the most is that 6% expressed a belief in resurrection. It could be a statistical anomaly of some sort (perhaps the respondents did not understand the question about bodily resurrection?) Why an atheist or agnostic would believe that a dead person could come back to life seems entirely contrary to their worldview.[17]

Atheism and evolution

evolution darwin theory
Late in Charles Darwin's life, Darwin told the Duke of Argyll that he frequently had overwhelming thoughts that the natural world was the result of design.[18] See also: 15 questions for evolutionists

See also: Atheism and evolution

The vast majority of Western World atheists are evolutionists. Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists or agnostics.[19] As far as nontheist Buddhism, as no major beliefs/principles of Buddhism are contrary to it, many Buddhists are also evolutionists.[20] See: Atheism and evolution

The atheist philosopher of science Michael Ruse admitted: "Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today."[21] In the their Question evolution! campaign, Creation Ministries International asks as a part of their 15 questions for evolutionists: "Why is a fundamentally religious idea, a dogmatic belief system that fails to explain the evidence, taught in science classes?...If “you can’t teach religion in science classes”, why is evolution taught?[22]

Atheism and morality

See also: Atheism and morality

Not possessing a religious basis for morality, which can provide a legitimate basis for objective morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality.[23] For example, atheists have been the biggest mass murderers in history (see: Atheism and mass murder).

For more information, please see:

Theodicy: the problem of evil

See also: Atheism and the problem of evil

The atheist is faced with the problem of evil, and crime and violence prevention, but does not attribute the cause of evil to the devil or to human sin, only to the mystery of human behavioral psychology and genetics.[24]

Atheism and meaninglessness

Under an atheist worldview, there is no objective meaning or purpose in life.[25] Through Jesus Christ, Christianity offers objective meaning and purpose to life.[26] See: Atheism and meaninglessness

Atheism and epistemology

See also: Atheism and epistemology

Atheism provides no ultimate starting point for knowledge.[27] In addition, atheism lacks proof and evidence that it is a valid worldview (see: Attempts to dilute the definition of atheism). For more information, please see: Atheism and epistemology

Atheists and groupthink

See also: Atheism and groupthink

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of individuals in which the quest for harmony/conformity within the group results in irrational and/or poor decision-making.

There are a number of notable cases of ahteists engaging in groupthink (see: Atheism and groupthink).

Atheism and political views

See also


Atheism is a religion:


Commonly raised issues relating to the atheist worldview:


Causes of atheism:


Arguments against atheism:


Views on atheists:

External links

References

  1. Multiple references:
  2. Atheists Respond to my Challenge to Put Up or Shut Up! by Dr. Don Boys
  3. “Atheists do not claim that nothing created everything.”
  4. Russell, Bertrand (1947) "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?"[1] Most online sources say "by which one prove," probably a mistake.
  5. Entropy and heat death
  6. Where Do Atheists Find Meaning?
  7. The Absurdity of Life without God by William Lane Craig
  8. Fear of death: worst if you’re a little religious?, World of Science]
  9. nirvana (Buddhist term) (oxforddictionaries.com)
  10. Perspectives on Death and Dying by an Atheist Nurse (atheist-community.org)
  11. Fear of death: worst if you’re a little religious?, World of Science]
  12. Fear of death: worst if you’re a little religious?, World of Science]
  13. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2005, Jul;60(4):P207-14. Does religiousness buffer against the fear of death and dying in late adulthood? Findings from a longitudinal study. Wink P1, Scott J.
  14. Death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God, Science Daily, Date: April 2, 2012
  15. Atheists, Death and Belief in God The Effects of Death Reminders on Atheists' Supernatural Beliefs, Psychology Today, Published on May 25, 2012 by Nathan A. Heflick, Ph.D. in The Big Questions
  16. Survey: 32% of Atheists & Agnostics Believe in an Afterlife
  17. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleological-arguments/notes.html
  18. Multiple references:
  19. Ruse, M. (May 13, 2000). "How evolution became a religion: creationists correct?" National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7.
  20. Batten, Don (2011). "15 questions for evolutionists". Creation Ministries International.
  21. Paul Copan
  22. Facing Evil: Why Christians and Atheists Need Each Other (beliefnet.com)
  23. The Epistemological Argument against Atheism