Yesterday someone asked the members of a debate group how we would respond to the suggestion that atheism is dogmatic, just like religion. My answer was simple: Tell the person to look up the meaning of “dogma” or “dogmatic”…
That’s the short answer. It should be perfectly clear that atheism cannot possibly be dogmatic. Of course, this assumes that the person asking the question actually knows what atheism is. They never do. So here’s a longer answer…
Before we can define what atheism is, in its simplest form, we have to agree on what theism is. I don’t think anybody will disagree with me when I write that theism makes at least the first two of, and possibly the last, of the following three claims:
- Creation happened.
- The god that you believe in (the particular one of your indoctrination) was responsible for that creation.
- If you accept this and worship that god (for example take Jesus as your personal saviour), you will be rewarded in some way, after death.
Here’s what atheism is:
- I don’t believe the above claims, because there is no evidence for any of them.
That’s it. No dogma, no creed that I follow. I simply reject your claims. I do not propose an alternative, and my views on science are irrelevant. There is no case of your dogma, whatever dogma it may be, being some sort of argument of equal merit to atheism. Atheism does not assert anything. It is merely a position of rejecting religious belief, as well as the dogma of religion.
In fact, I don’t even think past the first of those claims. I reject creation itself, without even considering anything further. And don’t tell me the evidence of creation is all around us. Besides it being irrelevant to my subject today, for you to take the things that you believe to have been created, as evidence of creation, the premise of your argument assumes the conclusion to be true. In other words, it’s circular reasoning.