Atheism Choice


Is Atheism A Choice?

To believe or not to believe; that is the question, which you alone must answer, and the possibilities are myriad. From Christianity to Islam, through Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Paganism and a plethora of other religions and philosophies too numerous to list here, in a world where choice is paramount, all tastes are catered for.

The choice to embark upon a specific spiritual path may be a studied, conscious decision or a passive, unquestioning acceptance of a particular creed. Atheism, agnosticism, even the rejection of religious belief is elective. Choosing not to choose is in itself a choice.

Human beings do not exist in a religious vacuum.

Religion touches all of us. Any Westerner who has not at some point clasped his hands in prayer is certainly a rarity. Christenings, Bar Mitzvahs, baptisms, marriages, and the sadly inevitable funerals bring us face to face with religious ceremony and prayer. Those scarce individuals who have not at some point questioned their faith, or lack of it, have at the very least give some consideration to their beliefs. This awareness of one’s religious leanings, or lack thereof, coupled with the certain knowledge that alternative forms of belief exist, represents choice.

Atheist’s Arguments

It is a common argument of the atheist that because the existence of a God cannot be proved to his satisfaction, God cannot exist, and it, therefore, follows that atheism is not a choice but a natural conclusion to be drawn from this state of affairs. This is an illogical assumption because the failure to prove the existence of a deity (theism) does not equate to evidence that a deity does not exist (atheism).

The logical outcome of the failure of the theistic hypothesis would be agnosticism (i.e. that the existence of a deity can be neither proved nor disproved.)

The question of whether one is right or wrong in his supposition, whether he will be proved correct or incorrect is irrelevant when considering the validity of choice. Whether one chooses to believe something that proves to be true or something that transpires to be false is, nevertheless, a choice, logical or otherwise.

The agnostic may argue, with some degree of justification, that his position is one of neutrality, but the atheist leaves no room for doubt, firmly dismissing the existence of a deity with unquestionable finality. He has considered the matter and decided not only to reject the existence of God, but to discount the very possibility of that existence.

Consequently, I believe it is clear that atheism is a choice.

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