Belief in Non-Being?

In the vein of current events, here’s one that hits on the topic of my post about Truth and Tolerance from a few days ago. Starting this week, a formerly local, now nationally broadcasted radio show will hit the airwaves—the topic: atheism and the freedom from religion. Certainly, the creators of the show have all the freedom in the world to go about promoting their show just as I try to promote this blog. In fact, its not all with the show being aired that I’m concerned; that’s perfectly legitimate, and I think most grounded thinkers would agree with me.

There is something else that strikes me as profoundly odd, though, about this whole ordeal of a mainstream atheist radio show, promoting atheist ‘ideals.’ Maybe I’m way off, but it seems to me that the major difference between atheists and theists (i.e. anyone who believes in a divine being) is that the latter believes in something while the former does not believe in that thing/being. Quite probably, the astute reader would ask here: “Well, don’t atheists still ‘believe’ that there is no God?” This seems logical enough, at least on the surface, and so it seems that I’ve made a gross overstatement… but I’ll try to defend myself and show why atheist radio—if it really is truly atheistic—doesn’t make much sense.

The long and the short of it is this: religious persons believe in God because they think that 1) he could exist and 2) put their faith in that assumption of existence. On the contrary, I don’t think an atheist can ‘believe that God doesn’t exist’; I think a ‘devout’ atheist would be forced to simply deny the question of God altogether. I mean, if someone even acknowledges that there may or may not be a God—in whom I may or may not believe—then they’ve already conceded in some small way to the reality of God, if even only on the theoretical level. Think of it this way: those who believe in the Christian God, for example, do not prove their faith in him only by denying the non-existence of God. In other words, theists have a positive belief of God (in whatever form), and not simply a negative denial of God’s being. A true atheist, likewise, cannot simply deny the existence of what he doesn’t believe in (i.e. God), but must positively believe in the lack of God’s being.

Now, I apologize if I’ve gotten ahead of myself here—it’s a hard thing to talk about—but I think the perplexity of the wording itself assists in showing the chaos of the atheistic situation. How can someone formulate a positive belief for non-existence? In philosophic terms this is an impossibility, since belief itself exists and cannot comprehend non-being. Anytime we ‘believe something does not exist,’ we simply mean that something we already know is not present; try to imagine something composed of parts that you’ve never seen before—you can’t do it! I think the same is true here, with an atheistic position; it’s simply impossible to ‘believe that God doesn’t exist.’

So—back to my original point—what good is a radio show that is intended to provide evidence for atheism when the atheistic position itself is unable to be supported by virtue of its own negative nature? How can atheists support one another—they can’t not believe in God together, so they must be simply confined to helping one another cope with the reality that their grand idea of ‘atheism’ is totally insupportable to anyone who’s not already like-minded. I don’t know… as entertaining as that sounds, I think I’ll just stick with believing in things. It’s much more edifying and promotes much healthier friendships!