My aggregator just pointed me at a fairly heavy-handed piece that claimed “atheism is an assumption, not a reasonable conclusion from the evidence“. And while atheism is very often a conclusion (including, frankly, most of the substance of the linked piece), I absolutely agree that there are times when atheism is an assumption. Thing is, it has to be. And anyone who is not blinded by their own ideology would agree:
Let’s assume God exists—for some value of “God”
Let’s assume this existence is more than façade—
There are many contenders—which one gets the nod?
Which God is assumed to be true?
We could start with Apollo, or Odin, or Thor,
Quetzalcoatl or Ra, perhaps Yahweh, or more,
Maybe one we’ve forgotten, though worshipped before,
But, just one. Or, it could be, a few.
If the Christians are right, but they don’t all agree,
Then which one of their thousands of sects could it be?
Is their God just one god, or divided in three?
To a father, a son, and a ghost?
Just consider the options—it’s really quite fun—
There are thousands of gods, so which god is the one?
And since each bears the burden of “why not, well… none?”
The assumption of God is now… toast.
The linked piece (here it is again, just in case) holds a highly skeptical standard over cosmic origins (“big bang”) and evolution (or, as it is called, “Darwinian, fully atheistic evolution”), but drops those standards precipitously to consider “evidence about the life of Christ” (hey, there’s evidence, and then there’s evidence!)
Ok, here’s the deal. The assumption of atheism is, frankly, a requirement. True Christian Believers should welcome it; only by assuming there is no god can they demonstrate that the no-god hypothesis is inadequate, and that theirs is right. If we start off by assuming the existence of god, we cannot conclude that this god exists, other than circularly.
So yeah, let’s start off with the assumption that there is no god. And work from there. And if there is evidence of a god (which one?), let us present that evidence, and require evidence for this god over that one.
What? No specific evidence for a particular god? We have to assume the existence of this god, and look for proof against?
Atheism is an assumption of naturalism. This is trivially true. But if you like, we can start out with any number of assumptions, and reach atheism as a conclusion. The linked article disingenuously conflates assumptions and conclusions… and frankly, it must. It can’t make an argument for its own religious views without making the same argument for tens of thousands of competing views. Atheists are wrong? Yay, Zeus!
Or… which god shall we assume exists?