A Conflation of Atheisms

In all the discussions of atheism, I have not yet seen any one make what I take to be a rather simple point: atheism is always relative to a specific conception of God. For this reason, one can be an atheist in one sense and a theist in another. This in turn raises the question whether an atheist is intellectually compelled to investigate every conception of God and refute each of them in order to be entitled to his or her atheism. I want to make a preliminary, crude, and rather obvious distinction between two ways of conceiving of God in order to clarify two distinct kinds of atheism: the mythological conception and the metaphysical conception.

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51 thoughts on “A Conflation of Atheisms

  1. phoodoo: People’s belief in a God is almost certainly primarily based on their observation of the world

    If you mean by that, that children observe their parents before the age of reason, then sure. People’s belief in God is primarily caused by upbringing. Religious parents raise their children to share their religion. They take them to church, or mosque, or synagogue, they read scriptures to them, they include them in ritualistic religious traditions, pray with them, and so on. Hence, the children grow up having religion installed. There is an endless number of studies that show this. The most overwhelming, consistent, and reliable predictor of religiosity is religious parenting.

    Children who instead grow up being taught the principles of good critical thinking and rational skepticism, generally stay irreligious instead.

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