My girlfriend made a comment the other day that Atheism just wasn’t that interesting. Now I probably misunderstood her, but I’ve heard someone else say that there isn’t much to Atheism, not much to talk about. Somebody once told me that they didn’t see much point to Atheist forums where Atheists could gather and talk about Atheism. He imagine forum would be limited to “Hey, I don’t believe in god(s)” “Really? Cool, me too!” <end conversation/> There is plenty to talk about in Atheist forums and blogs (just look how long mine is and I still haven’t run out of things to talk about)
But yes, there is nothing more to Atheism than a lack of belief in the supernatural. I believe this simplicity is one of Atheism’s greatest strengths. Keep It Simple, Stupid!. There are no great mysteries of Atheism, no “problem of evil”, no dogmatic disputes, no rival denominations.(And that’s just a few, and only withing Christianity!)
There are so many topics in religion that just don’t make sense and/or don’t fit with reality, so many “mysteries of god”. Religion has developed a long tradition of trying to reconcile these differences. People from St. Augustine, to Martin Luther, to Paul Tillich have spent their entire lives working like lawyers on these problems, trying to rationalize any explanation. Volumes and volumes have been written on mysteries of faith, the trinity, the virgin birth, creation, etc. There are entire universities devoted to turning out theologians to tackle these problems.
There is none of that in Atheism. Atheism doesn’t need it. If you take the supernatural out of the picture, everything just works.
Now some might point out the strong “intellectual” history of religion in trying to solve their problems and say that since Atheism does not have these problems, Atheism lacks an intellectual tradition. That it is this tradition that makes religion “interesting”. Well, yes and no. Unlike theists, Atheists don’t spend time trying to workout the intricacies of Atheism. (There are no intricacies) If you look at all the Atheist books ever publish, like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, etc, you will find that they deal with Atheist responses to theists.
While Atheism does not have an intellectual history of dealing with ultimately superfluous problems, it does have a history of intellectuals. Here is something to think about. 93% of Scientists in the American National Academy of Sciences are Atheists. 97% of Royal Society fellows are Atheists. Now, is there a reason the vast majority of Ultra intelligent people are Atheists? Turns out there is a correlation. Dr. Richard Lynn, a researcher at the University of Ulster carried out an extensive study spanning 137 countries and found that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an Atheist. The reverse of that meaning the less intelligent you are the more likely you are religious.
Now I’m not saying religious people are all stupid or unintelligent. Many religious people are intelligent. (Just not as many as there are intelligent Atheists) People can find was to compartmentalize and rationalize anything. The intelligent religious are doing just that.
So yeah, Atheism might not have any “interesting” problems or internal debates, but it sure is interesting discussing how theists are affecting the world, and what Atheism’s response should be.