I am called ‘atheist’ by those with no knowledge of what I believe. I am called ‘evil’ by liars who talk about gods no one alive has ever seen, and no one in verifiable history ever brought forth. I get told that the god named God is a mystery beyond our puny understanding. I read the scripts and then the attempts to explain and defend them, then wonder, “Is it the truth: that humanity is beyond the ability of this god to comprehend?”

An atheist is anyone without belief in gods. We don’t lack those beliefs; that implies we feel a need for them. They are heavy baggage we feel better off without. As an apostate, I slowly shed mine and can vouch for that truth.  Babies do not believe in gods; your dog thinks you are a god. Your preacher regards atheism as competition and cannot stand the thought of people having no god beliefs. He will insist to you, as do some agnostics, that atheists believe there is no god and that atheism is a religion. How can he know another’s thoughts and beliefs as different from what they say?—and as different from what their actions portray? I know what I believe, and only a liar will insist before my eyes that I do not.

This is important to know: The proper scientific position to take about the god named God is that of abeyance, that of regarding an idea as frivolous and irrelevant until objective evidence can support it. The persons making a claim about someone’s presence at an event, as in making an accusation, or in support of deserving credit, bear all the onus for providing sufficient verifiable evidence. Saying, “You have to believe it to see it” is not good enough. No one can believe by pretending to; your evidence must make us believe. If we were willing to be hypocrites we would already be pretending, just to avoid the constant sales pitches.

Words alone are not evidence. Truth, as in “That which can be shown to be true,” gets defined by the nature of evidence as portrayed within religion as compared to the stricter requirements of science. The difference, as portrayed in their evidence trails, shows how religion always comes up short when “following the evidence” too quickly arrives at an inevitable dead end where words stand alone.

This is about the nature of facts, and the requirements of verifiability and falsifiability.

  • Fact: a statement of verifiable and falsifiable truth. That the first chapter of Genesis is in the Bible and tells how a god named God created the world is a fact: Its location can be verified and the story read to show how that statement is true. It is falsifiable because its absence, or if it is about something else, would render the statement false.
  • Faith: belief in something that would correctly have been consigned, at least, to abeyance: The story told in Genesis has no supporting evidence trail that can be verified, and has already been rendered false by the fact of evolution.
  • Evidence Trail: the concatenating sequence of events that must become known in the development of evidence, each step of which verifies the next while leading toward the trail’s origin, which must also be verified to show factuality.
  • Verifiable: whether alternative methods exist that testify to a statement’s factuality; also, a factual statement whose truth can be demonstrated. “God does not exist” is a negative statement that cannot be verified even if true, but could be falsified by God’s tangible presence. “God does exist” has never been verified by anything but hearsay.
  • Falsifiability: a statement is demonstrably true when what would render it false is known, and that condition has not occurred. We must understand: This applies to the statement as a whole, and then separately to its content. Look again at the bullets labeled ‘Fact’ and ‘Faith’ to make sure you understand.
  • Statement: the expression of a belief, opinion, hypothesis, argument…
  • Abeyance: the act of setting aside and suspending consideration while awaiting evidence.
  • Onus: Responsibility to provide appropriate evidence is always upon the claimant. Since demanding evidence of nonexistence is tomfoolery, only a fool or ignoramus would demand it. The only legitimate demand falls on those who proclaim the existence or presence

Acceptance of all the foregoing requires acknowledgement that placing humankind’s gods and ancient scriptures on the shelf of abeyance may be the kindest way to treat them. The atheist can be taken at his/her word that the stories lack verisimilitude. Whether we misunderstand gods, or they don’t understand us, stays meaningless for so long as the complete absence of supporting factual evidence persists to support their (or, its) existence. It is the religionists’ duty to provide convincing factual evidence to support their claims. For so long as they continue to shirk that duty, our main concern must be to keep them from repeating their abysmal history. Only the statement, “I don’t believe you,” is all we have to defend.