Atheism must be about more than not believing in God

Atheism must be about more than not believing in God
Credit: Andy Rain/EPA

Atheism is so often considered in the negative: as a lack of faith, or a disbelief in god; as an essential deprivation.

Atheism is seen as being destitute of meaning, value, purpose; unfertile ground for growing the feelings of belonging needed to overcome the alienation that dogs modern life.

In more extreme critiques, atheism is considered to be another name for nihilism; a fundamental negation of existence, a noxious blight on creation itself.

Yet atheists – rather than flippantly dismissing the insights of theologians – should take them seriously indeed. Humans, by dint of being human, are confronted with baffling questions about meaning, belonging, direction, our connection to other humans and the fate of our species as a whole.

The human impulse is to seek answers, and to date, atheism has been unsatisfactory in its response.

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