Image via WikipediaDisbelief in a NON-thing is different from disbelief in an actual thing.
When someone is a believer in the Spirit of God they rarely consider the fact that a spirit of any kind is not a defined thing. Our nouns are people, places or things which might be found and examined in the world in which we live. When we use the word “God” or “Spirit” however we may not consider that belief or disbelief in such an entity does not involve a limited person, place or thing that might be found in our world. So the word God is a very funky word. It does not work well in any context including arguments about its own existence.
What I am saying is that for most of the words we use as we speak to one another a real physical thing comes first and the word is secondary. First there is a real tree and then the word tree that refers to it. You know how could Adam name the animals (grin) if there were no animals there in the first place to be named, what sense would naming them make at all? The thing can be touched and has limited dimensions and a limited lifespan just alike all other things. To simply use a word IMPLIES that it is first real and that includes the world God. Of course there is no real Santa but be careful to use the word IMPLIES there was first a real thing to be named at all.
When we bring in “God” or “Sprit” there is no actual limited physical object that precedes the word we are using. I enjoyed reading once that someone might believe in a spiritual body but exactly what could that possibly mean? Take Casper The Friendly Ghost of TV cartoons of days gone by who could walk through doors but who could also catch a ball when it was tossed to him. Really? You can’t have it both ways. A body is limited and physical and it can catch balls or it can pass through doors untouched but doing both is really not so logical. Right? A spiritual body is not possible it is an imaginary physical body. I mean why do angels need wings anyway. Isn’t it birds in this world that need wings? See it gets really stupid.
Now what about “God”? IF God is a thing to be there then one might believe in God or not believe in God. If a horse was said to be in the barn one might believe it to be there or doubt it to be there but there would be a limited horse in a limited barn that was being evaluated for belief. With God and Spirit, since they are not limited things there is actually no PARTICUALR thing to be believed in or doubted, then believing or disbelieving in God is DIFFERENT.
Atheists quickly say, rightly, they cannot define God and the odd thing is that believers say they also cannot define God. To state any limits for God is impossible because God is NOT a limited thing to be defined to any limits. So here in that God has no DEFINITION both sides, atheist and theist, are in harmony. The Infinite does not do definition very well. God is really slippery. Ghosts seem to wear no one certain shoe size. Papa Bear’s bed might be too big ;Mama Bear’s bed too small ; but God’s bed is really neither big nor small because we are unsure what size is required for a being with no limited body. God is “infinite” and “ infinitely small” at the same time. He knows the full extent of the Universe as a grain of sand and yet is able to know the inner workings of the smallest cell. Sure. Really? Eats fire and shits ice and is going to win an Oscar for acting this year too! Anything else? If you do not need any physical evidence then you can make any statement you want. Religions do just that and then, get this friggin’ argue about who is right!
What does this have to do with us atheists anyway? Well when you do not believe in God you are an atheist. BUT the WORDING is such that one might assume too quickly that God IS something like a horse in the barn that MIGHT be there but in your case you personally do not believe is actually there in the barn due to the lack of evidence. BUT, if God is NOT a thing that should even have a word assigned to it in the first place then someone would be an idiot to believe in God. If there is no tree then to believe that the word tree means anything is just plain stupid. IF this is so, and it is, not believing in God is different from not believing in the horse in the barn. The horse is a real thing that might be there or not. God however never was a real thing to begin with and saying words will never make God real. To be an atheist is to be someone who does not believe in something that is actually nothing at all.
This atheism we have is a different kind of disbelief than ordinary disbelief. Atheism, properly understood has no THING at all in which it does not believe. It is a NOTing of something that NEVER WAS in the first place . I do not believe in Round Squares . I also do not believe in the content of what rocks dream about when they are asleep. Let the word “God “become as empty of content as a thought of a rock when it is asleep. If someone DOES however believe in such things as round squares and the thoughts of sleeping rocks it is up to them to bring forth such things as they claim to be real from their non existence in their own imagination into the very light of day! If someone believes in a yesterday that is coming up next week, well, you get the idea. Such people make about as much sense as round squares, the thoughts of sleeping rocks, fat-skinny people and “God”.
If we do not believe in “God “let’s make sure this “God” we do not believe in not only is a thing that is not real for us but never is a “thing” that never could actually ever BE just like an the word up which could actually never mean down. When the WORD “God” is properly examined and found to be no real definable thing disbelief in any real thing represented by that word God is the only sane position.