Well the old “atheism is a lack of belief” line was trotted out again recently, and sadly it was by an atheist. I really can’t stand that phrase, and it’s a definition that theists have tried to yoke us with for a LONG time. So long in fact that most atheists blindly accept it without thought. Well that’s a huge mistake, and the reason is that word “lack”. Let’s examine what it means.
1. Deficiency or absence
2. A particular deficiency or absence
v. lacked, lack·ing, lacks
To be without or in need of
1. To be missing or deficient
2. To be in need of something
1 : to be deficient or missing
1. Lacking an essential element: defective, deficient, incomplete, wanting.
2. Deficient in a usual or needed amount: absent, wanting. See excess/insufficiency/enough.
Not having a desirable element
Deficiency, to be in need of, defective, incomplete, wanting, not having a desired element – are these the things that reflect your relation to god belief? Are we deficient? Do we desire god belief? Do we wish for it? Well I certainly hope not. For those of us who never had it, I can’t say we’ve missed out on something great. I’d say it’s like missing out on getting hepatitis or crabs. For those of you who’ve gotten over your god belief, are you worse off now? Do you feel short of something now? Do you long for the days of delusion? Once again, I hope not.
If we’re going to say anyone is lacking, I’d say it’s the theist, not the atheist. The theist lacks a firm grip on reality, intellectual honesty, quite possibly empathy, and judging by postings online, I’d say the ability to spell or turn off their caps lock keys. What I’ve suggested as a more appropriate definition is:
atheism: the rejection of claims for the existence of a god or gods for lack of evidence
Short, sweet, and to the point. Implied is the scientific method, the process by which we, through evidence and experience, make rational decisions about the world around us. We’re not going to take a claim on just faith, and we won’t take an argument alone for something’s existence, we require evidence. After all, you can’t argue something into existence.
So feel free to use my definition, or if you can find a better one, go for it, but I urge you all to stop using “lack of belief”. Don’t allow yourself to be defined by theists. It’s not like they have our best interest at heart.