Being that most of the world believes in a creator, there are many misconceptions about atheists and atheism in general. I know there has been a "new atheist" push over the last 4-5 years because of men like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, but non-belief has been around long before these men started speaking out. I have been an atheist my entire life, and raised in a non-religious household by an agnostic and an atheist. Here are three misconceptions I have come across.
- I'm often told that I have no purpose. This just isn't the case because I create my purpose on a daily basis. If there was evidence that a god had predetermined my entire life, I'd have no choice but to believe it - this isn't the reality. The purpose of my life is to live as long as I can, enjoy as much as possible, take this world in, and love the ones close to me. If anything I try to get more purpose out of this life, because it's a short one and the only one I know exists.
- People assume that I think I'm a know-it-all. I'm told to prove that god doesn't exist and told I cannot know whether there is no god. These are both true. I do not know whether there is a deity. I cannot prove that there isn't one, either. But one cannot ask another person to prove a negative. This would be akin to me asking a Muslim to prove there isn't a colony of Dwarves on the rocky core of Jupiter. Atheism is a rejection in the belief of god(s) due to the lack of evidence. That's all. If Thor were to show up tomorrow afternoon and cure every cancer patient of their ailment, I'd start believing in Thor.
- I'm asked where I get my morality from, and told that I cannot be a moral person without having faith. This one actually angers me a bit and leaves me scratching my head. My response to them is simple: If your holy scriptures didn't exist, would you be out killing people and stealing from them? Morality is inherent in human beings and every other extant social species, including elephants, pigs, dolphins and birds. We're hard-wired to rely on each other and to help one another.
There are many more misconceptions that I have come across in my 30-plus years, but these three have been the ones that stuck out. Not only because they're illogical presuppositions, but because they are a little offensive. It's not that I have thin skin or that these assumptions hurt my feelings - believe me, they do not. People should just be a little more thoughtful in their approach. At the end of the day, we're all just human. We have to live side-by-side, so it would behoove us to act more kindly toward one another.