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Can an Atheist Believe in God?

What does an atheist believe anyhow? Does he or she actually say "God does not exist." Most atheists I know would never say that. How can anyone know with certainty whether there something doesn't exist? But apart from people's misconceptions about atheism, even many dictionaries misrepresent atheism, with definitions like "Denial of the existence of God."

What most atheists do believe:

1. Experience and evidence should be the basis for any beliefs.

2. Those making an assertion have the responsibility for proving it.

Therefore, if I have no experience to convince me, and you do not prove the existence of God, I have no reason to believe he (or she) exists. I also have no reason to say he doesn't exist, since I could not prove this belief. Why would I waste my time trying to prove a concept as nebulous as God can't exist in reality? If I told you that a blue snake in the sky ruled the universe, you wouldn't believe me either. You would be an "aserpentist," but you wouldn't start gathering evidence that could "prove" no invisible blue snake was up there, would you?

You may wonder, if atheism is simply non-belief due to unconvincing evidence, rather than an opposite belief, where does this leave agnostics? The most honest classification would be as a type of atheist. They won't say they believe in God, so they are atheistic, aren't they? Perhaps those who call themselves agnostics are just afraid of the other "A" word.

This video explains why atheists and believers have much more in common than you might think...

Words refer to something, of course, even if it is only to ideas. In that sense, we can say that God exists as an idea, and a powerful one at that. Some atheists even like some versions of this idea. God, the idea, can be the cause of wars and horrible crimes, but also can be an uplifting or at least useful concept.

Some refer to these types of ideas as "useful lies," because regardless of their truth or falsity, they can be beneficial as "operating principles." The idea that everything happens for a reason, for example, doesn't have to be true for it to be a useful "belief" or "operating principle. It certainly can get you looking for the lessons and other values to be found in bad situations.

God, then, exists, at least as a common belief, or "useful lie." As such, he may even do some good in the world. As for His existence in reality, even an atheist can believe in that - as soon as God comes down and shakes his hand.


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Atheist Believe in God

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