I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a theist assert that to be an atheist takes more faith than to be a theist. Sometimes I shake my head in wonder, especially since I view atheism as a simple concept.
However, I suppose some theists have a hard time wrapping their mind around non-belief, even though they also (usually) don’t believe in an assortment of other gods. They may not have been exposed to an atheist before. Perhaps their default position is ‘God’ and they can’t fathom a person not believing in their particular flavor of deity. Maybe their need to know is so great that they can’t understand that some people are content to say ‘I don’t know’.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about using a well-known religious meme.
The above meme perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about. Whoever wrote that seems to believe that atheism means we must believe in the big bang and evolution. It makes the claim that with atheism comes a host of other beliefs. I’ve even been told by theists that my atheism means I must believe in things like dark matter and dark energy.
This is what atheist actually means: “Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.”
That’s it! It’s really as simple as that. No other belief comes along with atheism. An atheist might believe in other superstitions even, such as breaking a mirror will bring 7 years bad luck or that stepping on a crack will break your mother’s back. An atheist might believe in souls, reincarnation, that religion is useful or that the theory of evolution is a hunk of scientific garbage.
Hell, not even moral beliefs can necessarily be linked to atheism. For example, there are atheists who don’t believe in abortion. There simply is no law or dogma associated with atheism that demands atheists believe anything. Atheism is merely a lack of belief. When theists try to attach beliefs to atheism, they are either willfully or ignorantly misrepresenting atheism as a whole, usually so that they can make the position seem silly or stupid.
If you’re really interested in what an atheist believes, you’ll simply have to ask them.