Is atheism as dogmatic as religion?

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”…

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:

  1. Creation happened.
  2. The god that you believe in (the particular one of your indoctrination) was responsible for that creation.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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2 Responses to Is atheism as dogmatic as religion?

  1. bbnewsab says:

    Jerome, I’m sure you’re familiar with Dawkins’ Belief Scale.

    Can an atheist be a 7 on that scale? I doubt it.

    If you’re a 7, then you KNOW for sure that no omnipotent and/or omniscient God exists.

    Richard Dawkins considers himself to be a 6 on that same scale. So do I.

    Conversely, many theist believers consider themselves to be a 1 on this Belief Scale. That is, they KNOW for sure that God exists. That I’d call dogmatism or dogmatic behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      I consider myself a 6 as well. But only because it is impossible to say for certain that some sort of theoretical creator doesn’t exist. That an unfalsifiable theoretical creator who exists outside of the laws of physics doesn’t exist. Of course such a creator can neither be proved or disproved, as it would never have interacted in any way with the physical universe, could not be detected etc…

      I can however, say with certainty that every god ever worshipped by man, was also created by man. That’s why we have books and myths about gods – because they are fictions that we created.

      But I was trying to say that we atheists have no dogma… our beliefs are not consistent in any way and we are only united by our lack of beliefs in deities. It seems many of us came to very similar positions on our own, but not by following any kind of dogma. Rather we have rejected dogma.

      Liked by 1 person

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