Common Atheist and Theist mistakes in argument
I’ll start by saying that, in controversial argument of atheism vs theism, there is no definitively correct answer – so long as the opposition remains unproved, then the theory is valid, however speculative it may be. Causing a scene and claiming that your opposition is just “wrong” or “retarded” doesn’t support your argument, it just further permeates a negative stereotype of your own beliefs.
Theism is not a religion, and religions are not necessarily theism. Religion usually constitutes not only the belief of God, but sacred texts, rules and ethical codes, ontology, cosmology, epistemology and many other beliefs. Just because Christianity or Islam believes in a God, it does not mean that theism is essentially the same. IIf an atheist is to argue against theism, then they are to argue the belief (that is that God exists), and not Christianity, creationism, or Mormonism etc.
3. (and the most important)
Fallacies are abundant in both the arguments regarding theism and atheism. The primary fallacy in this case is known as the straw man fallacy. The straw man fallacy is when the opposition (often intentionally) misinterprets one’s argument, and rearranges it so that it sounds absurd, yet vastly inaccurate. A prime example given which is in this Thread is by the following gentleman;
“Believing in a God is just the same as believing that a cheese sandwhich made the Universe.”
As you can see, the person has employed a comparison of believing in a God, a founder of the Universe and divine being, to that of a Cheese sandwhich being the sole architect of the Universe. This attempt at reductio ad absurdum, while being hilarious, is a straw-man fallacy, as it gives a blatantly ridiculous comparison in the hopes of drawing people to believe their argument based on social convention. Clearly, it is insane in our society to believe that a cheese sandwhich created the Universe, therefore it must be insane for one to believe in a God, right? No, this is not true. There is a lot more to the belief of God than this cruel attempt of sophism, such as sacred texts, reports and general philosophical reasoning.
Atheism is not supported by science.
Many atheists, and people in general regardless of their beliefs, somehow believe that the field of science gives evidence supporting atheism or, in extreme cases, “proves” it to be true. However, science doesn’t support atheism at all. One might say “but after all of this space exploration, there has been no sighting of God – so there musn’t be a God?”
This is certainly a good question, however many theists believe that God does not even reside on the natural Universe, but instead in the divine realm (i.e. Heaven). If God supposedly resides in the divine realm, then there is no possible way for one to employ empiricism (the fundamental ploy of evidence in science) to support their atheist beliefs. An atheist could argue, however, how absurd it is to believe that a God resides in the divine realm, as one could possibly not evaluate any hard, legitimate evidence supporting the belief.
Personally, I believe the discoveries made by science does the contrary to supporting atheism, for if one looks at how intricate the Universe and even their own body can be, then they might become very compelled in believing that some divine being is behind it all.
As for the Big Bang theory, many theists could argue that a God was the force behind the initial “big bang”.
“Atheism is its own religion.”
Atheism is a belief, not a religion. A religion, as said earlier in my second (2) point, constitutes for a way of life, codes of ethics and cosmology. If one claims to be an atheist, then they merely believe that a God does not exist, but it does not constitute for a particular way of life or how the Universe works. Just because an atheist may support science and empiricism, it does not mean the two are relevant to each other (see point 4 for more details regarding science and atheism).
Atheism is not a set of beliefs – it is one belief.
There are variations of atheism, and many atheists strongly condone and follow scientific and empirical foundations; but this does not mean that atheism, by default, also takes into consideration these foundations as a way of life.
Your argument is just a matter of semantics. Consider your argument as something which is like the claim that we are living in the Matrix; we may be living in the Matrix, this may not even be the “real” reality, but it does not matter for we still perceive something external, and we can still gather knowledge of the external “something’s” truths, and we still refer to it as “reality”, whether or not it is “real” by somebody’s standards is entirely irrelevant.
In your (the atheist’s) case, you’re claiming that atheism is a religion, but it’s just a matter of semantics. It doesn’t matter what your interpretation of the words “atheism” or “religion” are, because the former is not, by definition and current meaning, categorised into the former. If you’re claiming that atheism does, by default, carry a system and way of life, and cosmology. etc. then you’re wrong. It’s similar to a cause and effect fallacy – you seem to think that just because atheists are more than often empiricists, that means atheism is empiricism.
Some people speculate that atheism is a LACK of a belief. This has some truth to it, but it still co-exists with the fact that atheism is a belief. Atheism is, indeed, the lack of a belief in God; but the lack of a belief in God is, by all means, just the belief that no God exists. It’s a silly matter of semantics to really argue this point, as the only factor between this argument is how to express it properly – which is redundant considering that both presentations are equally unbiased and respectively right.
6. (and final point)
Atheism does not automatically mean one is safe from attack. Many people mistake atheism as a belief in which they hold a skeptical stance, and subsequently are resistant to a lot, if not every, attack supporting theism. However, if one were to take a more skeptical, yet appropriate stance, then agnostic atheism (or just agnosticism) is the most preferable path. An agnostic person essentially believes that a God most probably does not exist, considering the substantial lack of evidence, but the possibility of theism as being truthful remains so long as more evidence is presented. Agnosticism is a very skeptical stance, and it’s more than often the most rational stance in the great debate between atheism vs theism. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of this belief.