If Atheism Is the Belief That There’s No
Evidence For God…

by Tom Gilson

A short while ago on this blog I quoted a few leading atheists who said atheism is (among other things, of course) the belief that there’s no evidence for God.” By way of reminder,

1. Dan Barker defines atheism as “the lack of theism, the lack of belief in god(s). I am an atheist because there is no reason to believe.”

2. Richard Carrier, writing his definitions on “What is Atheism Really All About?” says, Christians find no reason to believe that Zeus exists, so they do not believe in him. For the same reason, I do not believe in Jehova.”

3. rationalwiki’s “Atheism” page says,

At the root of the worldview of most atheists is evidence, and atheists point out that sufficient evidence for the existence of gods is currently very lacking, and thus there is no reason to believe in them. Evidential arguments are less ambitious than logical arguments because, rather than proving that there is reason not to believe in a god, they prove that there is no reason to believe in a god.

4. Argumentsforatheism.com, on its “What Is Atheism?” page, says, “Atheists believe that there is no proof or evidence for the existence of gods, and they see no need for, or use for, gods.”

I asked atheist commenters for their opinions on this, and got a mixed result. I expected that, because I don’t think Barker, Carrier, and the other two websites speak for all atheists. For purposes of this blog post, I will be focusing in on those atheists who do agree with the four sources I cited. I don’t know how many that would include, though probably David P and Michael would be among them.

Clarifying Terms

So I need to specify just who I am talking about. I am speaking specifically of naturalistic atheists, not (for example) Buddhist atheists; and only those who could be described as atheists-naturalists-who-believe-that-atheism-means-there’s-no-evidence-for-God every time. That’s pretty cumbersome, so instead I’ll use ANR for this form of atheism and ANRs for the persons who hold to ANR instead; the initials hinting at atheists/atheism that includes naturalism and no reason to believe in God…

If Atheism Is the Belief That There’s No Evidence For God…