My friend Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist), whom many here probably know, posted a list of answers to 15 questions atheists are tired of answering, from a gentleman named Sean Curry. [http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/02/13/buzzfeed-addresses-the-15-questions-atheists-are-sick-of-answering/#disqus_thread] The first silly question is “Why do atheists hate God?” In answering the question, Curry posts a definition of atheism: “The belief of theory that God does not exist.”
That’s a mistake, both intellectually and socially. Framing it that way places a burden of proof on atheism. That is inconsistent with our observation that we have no burden to prove a negative.
“God does not exist” is not a theory. There is no evidence one way or another, nor could there be. The claim isn’t amenable to proof or disproof. We can’t have that both ways either. Theists distort the meaning of “theory” all the time to suit their ends. We can’t afford to do the same thing.
You can believe that there is no god but that belief is and must be personal.
It’s all a matter of framing the question. There is no evidence of a god, any more than there is evidence of an infinite number of other things we could imagine. Therefore, I don’t operate from a presumption that there is a god, or waste my time worrying about it. I don’t believe in a god, and to people who push their theism on me, I’ll tell them that they have no basis in any known reality for that belief; it is entirely a product of their wishes. This isn’t a weak position. I have no problem lambasting people for unfounded theistic beliefs. But if we hope to be taken seriously, we must be consistent. And as a group, we’re not doing it. This all goes back to how thoroughly we’ve allowed theists to get into our heads.