Atheists may seem irreligious; however, there are atheists among some major religions and secular philosophies.
Reasons for not believing can range from social to personal, and can include any number of possible explanations.
Many atheists try to steer away from an explicit definition in which they are labeled as people who deny God exists, since such language paints atheism as an ideological view that relies upon religion for support. They believe such terminology posits atheism as something parasitic to it all and needs theism in order to exist.
What is Atheism?
Atheism can refer to any belief system that lacks faith in deities; more specifically it refers to rejecting gods or spirit beings as existing. Studies conducted at Pew Research Center in the US group atheists, agnostics, and nonreligious people into one category they call “Nones.”
Atheism can be defined as a philosophical position based on logic. Atheists usually argue against any belief in an intermediary divine being or supernatural force and define their position as “antitheism”.
Recently, numerous researchers have examined why people become atheists, including genetic and environmental influences as well as social and cultural dimensions of atheism. Some scholars have also pointed out that many atheists hail from countries where religion is heavily stigmatised – suggesting that abandoning faith may be harder for these individuals than it would otherwise be.
Researchers have explored multiple pathways to atheism, with cognitive byproduct approaches being the most prevalent. Here the idea is that some individuals are genetically predisposed towards disbelief due to limited mentalizing skills or superior analytic thinking ability resulting in no religious beliefs (Gervais et al. 2018). Other researchers are more skeptical, noting that its effect is small when compared with other predictors of atheism (Gervais et al. 2018).
Atheism can also be understood as a more general rejection of all forms of theism and deism, including all religions that claim there are gods or deities worthy of worship or allegiance; they believe there are no beings worthy of their devotion, or legitimate conceptions of god that have instances. This concept of atheism has sometimes been called global atheism.
When considering the impacts of atheism in different cultures worldwide, it is crucial to make distinctions among its various approaches. Although some differences may seem minor at first glance, their implications could have an enormous effect on how atheists feel and interact with one another – particularly any extreme views of atheism that are prevalent online or in discussions offline.
How Do Atheists Think?
People who identify themselves as atheists typically believe there are no gods, or religion is false, as well as not believing there exists a moral code to guide human behavior.
There are various kinds of atheism. While some individuals do not subscribe to one of the major religions, while others reject all religious faith altogether. Athies who consider themselves agnostic may believe there could be god out there somewhere and may accept there may be possibility that something exist as long as nothing concrete can be proven against such claims.
Atheists typically enjoy greater intellectual freedom than believers, having adopted more modern perspectives of life than what their parents or peers teach them, not always accepting what is taught from religious sources, making them more open to new ways of thinking and acting. Many atheists also believe their view on no god stems from scientific advances which led them to conclude there is no supernatural being or cause.
Atheists tend to have higher education levels than religious people due to their more liberal viewpoints and rejection of traditional religious institutions. This form of atheism is known as secularization theory and thought to be one of the primary reasons people have become less religious over time. Such people seem to be more interested in worldly pleasure such as online games through the Yoakim Bridge or offline sports, food or any such stuff on their Sundays rather than visiting the church.
Studies of atheists focus on understanding their beliefs and what drives them. Some atheists may have been raised by families that did not practice religion, preventing them from ever developing faith in any gods; or once religious but have since abandoned it; scientists want to understand why and how someone loses their religion so they can help prevent others from following suit.
Others factors affecting atheists include their levels of expressive individualism and preferences for autonomy. Studies have revealed that atheists tend to prefer greater autonomy while religious individuals prefer being obeyed, likely attributable to atheists being more likely to possess higher education levels which tends to lead them towards being more liberal in their outlooks.
How Do Atheists Feel?
At first glance, “atheist” might conjure images of those who do not believe in God but do not practice any religious faith, but the term is more complex than that. Most atheists still find the world meaningful and see value in family and freedom among other aspects.
Studies that exist do provide insights into factors which predict whether a person will become an atheist; these tend to have more to do with personality traits and life circumstances than any scientific arguments. Studies show that individuals more “mindblind” and those exposed to less religious credibility-boosting displays tend to become atheists than others; additionally, children of religious parents more frequently become atheists than nonreligious ones.
There’s much prejudice against atheists, yet studies show they share many values with religious people. A study of six countries revealed this; both atheists and religious people ranked family and freedom as two of their top three values, with atheists just as likely as religious people to believe in life after death and an ultimate purpose to the universe despite perceptions otherwise.
One key difference between atheists and religious people is that atheists tend to value autonomy over obedience. This could be related to higher educational levels and more expressive individualism among atheists compared with religious people – meaning they’re less inclined to follow authority figures blindly. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that those who identify as atheists tend to be more independent-minded individuals who follow no one (Psychology Science Vol 18 No 9).
Researchers have recently discovered that cognitive reflection–the tendency to control emotional reactions and reflect upon problems–is actually associated with atheism in only three countries: Australia, Singapore and the US (Judgment and Decision Making). This finding may be explained by its relation to autonomy rather than seeking moral guidance.
What is Atheism in Different Cultures?
Atheism can be defined as the absence of belief in one or more god(s), although its definition often has more specific connotations: for instance, rejecting any form of formal religion or having an adverse view towards religion/spirituality overall. Atheism has gained prominence most widely within Western culture through strong anti-religious movements which prioritize social stigmatization, political pressure and intolerance towards believers of particular religious groups.
Some atheists adhere to a global atheism view that asserts there are no beings worthy of worship; however, atheism also has an etymological history that allows more flexibility when interpreting it; in reality many people can be considered atheists by virtue of not believing in specific forms of religion or simply being skeptical toward spirituality and religion in general.
An atheist may believe in God but doesn’t think He has anything to do with humankind – in such an instance they would be considered an atheist. Conversely, someone could believe in a deist God but deny their divine plan for our existence, instead believing life to be an accident or random fluke; such people would be considered deist atheists.
Other atheists do not subscribe to the notion that belief in God is inextricably linked with evil; these individuals may be classified as naturalists or naturalist atheists and often oppose theism as it implies an intelligent designer behind creation, something most atheists are dubious of.
Sociologists have suggested that increasing numbers of people are questioning God’s existence, suggesting this trend might be driven by cultural forces such as rising secularism. Others have challenged these claims, with many people’s perspectives shifting over time. Furthermore, some atheistic arguments popular among philosophers (e.g. those based on Hume’s Dialogues or an argument suggesting the concept of God contradicts with certain forms of evil) presume that for anything to qualify as God it must possess qualities like being omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good — attributes which many religiously adequate God concepts probably do not possess.