Well, technically, that’s not true. What I’m trying to say is that atheism is just one small component of what I am, what describes my worldview, my personal philosophy, my attitude towards life and how I now choose to live it. A better word, one more encompassing, though a bit verbose, would be ASUPERNATURALIST. I don’t believe in the idea, the concept of the supernatural.
Most atheists would say “because there is no evidence for a supernatural realm”, and while that’s true, it misses the point a bit. The definition of the supernatural actually includes in it the characteristic of no evidence in, no connection with, the natural world, so if you point out to a theist that there’s no evidence for the supernatural, they just say “well, of course, that’s why it’s the supernatural, d’uh”, which of course then sucks you into a circular argument.
My problem with the supernatural world is that the definition of nature already takes the supernatural into consideration. Nature describes everything that exists. All reality. From the Big Bang onward in time,and everything left over. All the multi-billions of galaxies, and stars and nebulae and planets and dark matter and light matter and what we call space. Absolutely everything that exists. If gods and angels and demons exist, they exist in nature. And especially if they have the ability to interact and affect our lives, as, for instance, Christians believe.
If nature is defined to encompass everything that exists, then supernatural, i.e that which is beyond nature, defines that which does not exist. It’s a superfluous definition, a superfluous realm of (non)existence. And if it doesn’t exist, well…what are we talking about? Answer: nothing.
Hence, I’m an asupernaturalist in my worldview. I don’t believe in that which doesn’t exist. That includes Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, Satan, Jesus, O’Lucky the Leprechaun, Santa Claus, Michael the Archangel, Tinkerbell, Casper the Friendly Ghost, witches, faeries, goblins, invisible dragons in my garage, unicorns, talking snakes, and a whole host of supposedly supernatural entities with some great, and some lesser, unnatural powers.
These are all fictional characters created in the minds of (natural) humans; some to explain that which seemed mysterious at the time, some simply to entertain us while reinforcing our normal human tendency to believe in the supernatural. And while there is no evidence for their existence, their purported existence contradicts their definition. If they exist, and we know it and can prove it, then they are natural. If not, they are supernatural, and for all intents and purposes don’t exist (other than as mental constructs) so why act as if they do? If they exist in a realm that cannot and does not interact with the natural realm, by definition, then why believe in it? Why worship a god that cannot and does not have any effect on us whatsoever, any more than we should worry about a friendly ghost that can fly through walls and go “boo” but cannot hurt us or affect us in any way?
And if you believe in the supernatural realm, aren’t you capable of believing in a realm beyond the supernatural? Let’s call it the super-supernatural. And can’t we take that belief into an infinite progression so that there are supernatural entities that are more powerful than the god Christians believe in – supergods, and super-supergods? At what point do we stop all these silly mental constructions?
I hate being defined by my lack of belief in one small aspect of the overall definition of the supernatural. Couple this with the clear pejorative sense that theists have imposed on the word atheist, and it would be nice to find a way to describe an asupernaturalist with something less tongue tying. I am only an atheist because most people are theists. Without theism, atheism would not be necessary. The definition of atheism is simply the opposite of theism.
But I’m also an apoltergeistist, because there are so many people that believe in ghosts. But I don’t identify myself as an apoltergeistist. And people, as a rule, would not make a political decision about voting me into office based on my apoltergeistist viewpoints, as they would about my atheistic viewpoints. The same could be said for asantaclausists, aleprechaunists, agoblinists, avampirists, etc. So, equally, why need I be defined by my atheism? Shouldn’t I be defined more by my grasp of reality, than my belief in delusions?