Chapter 1: Introduction
Section I: Introduction
I do not believe in god. The position that I hold on the position and question of religion is one of a minority in today's culture. It is within this work that I hope to provide an accurate and well argued defense to Atheism. I have chosen the title Atheos for this work. "Atheos" is Latin for "without god" and it is the origin of the word "Atheism."
It is perhaps first noteworthy that I define the being that I doubt exists. Not only is it noteworthy, but it is absolutely necessary. An Atheist doubts the existence of a god, whereas a Theist acknowledges the existence of a god(s). However, a Pantheist believes in the existence of god, but redefines "god" to the workings of the world and the world itself. To quote the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe."  To quote Baruch Spinoza (1632-1667), one of the founding Pantheists: "Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived." 
This position of Pantheism is taken insomuch that if one believes that the universe exists, then they believe in god. If god is the Universe, then an Atheist is left to argue against the existence of the Universe, something I do not agree with. Pantheism is the changing merely the definition of a word so commonly associated with a mythical, supernatural being. If someone wanted to say the word "Universe," may they not simply say "Universe" instead of "god?" I think that it is an impractical system in regards to question of the existence of a god society so commonly believes. If there was a Pan-Easter Bunny-ist, they may state, "I believe in the Easter Bunny, because everything is the Easter Bunny and everything exists, therefore so does the Easter Bunny." This does not solve the problem and is actually a rather impractical system when we wish to find answers to questions. If someone wishes to change the definition of a word, that is perfectly fine, but I am dealing with the concept of god which I will shortly define. As my last note on Pantheism, I shall quote Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), "The chief objection I have to pantheism is that it says nothing. To call the world God is not to explain it; it is only to enrich our language with a superfluous synonym for the word world." 
Over the tides of time and throughout the various philosophical and religious groups, the idea of what exactly god is has been a subject that is constantly evolving and changing. To some it means the Universe, such as demonstrated by the Pantheists, and to others it means a benevolent being who will grant miracles at the notice of a prayer, such as many Christians, Muslims, and Jews. So certainly, I shall define the god in the next paragraph that I am arguing against. It is absolutely imperative that this god is defined, otherwise I shall have nothing concrete to argue against. It is this god that I shall attempt to demonstrate does not hold enough proof to deserve belief.
The god I am arguing against is a supernatural being of immense power. It is not necessarily omnipotent, but immensely powerful. Along with the power of this god is an immense amount of knowledge regarding the Universe. This god may or may not perform miracles or answer prayers. He, she, or it is a conscious and animate being. This god is also responsible for creating the Universe. This is what god is: supernatural, immensely powerful, immensely intelligent, conscious, animate, and responsible for creating this Universe.
Within this work, I am going to demonstrate that god does not have enough evidence - or at least enough valid and reliable evidence - to warrant belief in this god. By this, I mean it may be possible that this god exists, but the commonly purported evidence of this god (origins, design, miracles, revelation, etc.) are faulty. A convict who killed an innocent person, for example, may have evidence brought against them that is tampered or planted and even though the evidence is untruthful, it does not mean that the convict did not kill the innocent person. However, it is possible that a convict did not kill this person and that tampered or planted evidence is the only reason that he was convicted. Evidence has consistently shown that it is regularly capable of finding the truth, although it is not absolute. Just as I approach the question of the existence of a god, I am dispelling the evidence for this god that is faulty or unfounded. I am simply dispelling commonly given evidences of god, although not entirely ruling out the existence of god as of yet. I did, however, dedicate one chapter to discussing the possibility of the existence of god.
Furthermore, I shall be arguing against the supernatural outlook on life. I am a Materialist. That is to say that I only believe in the physical material that is the composite of the Universe. Concepts such as gods, spirits, souls, magic, reincarnation, heaven, hell, afterlife, etc., are ones that I doubt. The evidences for the supernatural outlooks on life, such as Theism, Deism, Animism, or what not, are the ones I shall attempt in my ability to debunk. I will not attack any religions in particular, such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or one of the other thousands of religions; and I certainly shall not attack sects, such as Catholicism or Protestantism of Christianity, nor Shingon or Tendai of Buddhism. The intellectual attack I am launching on supernaturalism is to debunk evidences for a god I previously defined. In so doing, I shall also debunk the evidences for other supernatural beings. Whether a Theist believes a mystery to be a miracle, an Animist believes it to be the workings of spirits, or a conjurer believes it to be his very own magic, these are claims of supernaturality that I shall attempt to debunk the evidence. If one person claims that this Universe is proof of a god, or if another person claims that it is proof of many spirits keeping it working, by disproving any supernatural possibilities, I disprove the concept of a god as well as spirits. When the concept of miracles performed by god is disproven, then certainly there is no weight for the concept of miracles performed by spirits or miracles performed by the magic of a magician.
It is necessary that it be noted that the burden of proof lays on the Theist. When anyone asserts any idea, they are the one responsible for proving said idea, or else it loses intellectual respect. I am not saying that Supernaturalists have not offered evidence in support of Theism, as the point of this work is to criticize the evidence that they have offered thus far. I am simply saying that the burden of proof lays on the one who purports an idea. The Theist, purporting the existence of a god, must then prove the existence of this god with evidence. The same goes with all regards to all fields. If a doctor wishes to make a claim about a medical procedure, a scientist wishes to make a claim about geology, or a historian wish to make a claim about history as we know it, they must bring with their claims evidence, otherwise their claims carry with them no weight. Similarly, if one were to claim the existence of a god, it is their duty to prove the existence of this god with evidence.
Section II: Titles and Philosophy
The next inquiry of my wholly naturalistic philosophy is "what should I call myself?" As I have stated earlier, I have chosen the title Atheos for this work, for the reason that it is the least confusing in regards to the terminology of nonbelievers of god. "Atheos" is Latin for "without god" and it is the origin of the word "Atheism." I have also already stated clearly that I denote myself as an Atheist, but there are many other titles left untaken: Agnostics, Secularists, Freethinkers, Skeptics, Secular Humanists, Humanists, Rationalists, Realists, Naturalists, Materialists, and Epicureans. Amongst these wide variety of titles come many definitions and many meanings. Having used the Latin roots of "Atheism," I have simplified the terminology to a degree - at least the terminology I use to title myself. I should separate the meanings of these various words so that they make sense and can be used independently.
Perhaps the only error of my selection to be called an Atheist and not one of the other vast array of titles, is that many take it often to imply that I believe god cannot exist. Atheist and Agnostic are the most commonly used names for the nonbelievers of god. I choose to call myself an Atheist because of its Latin roots. The word Agnostic was not invented until the 19th century, whereas the word "Atheist" - or at least "Atheos" - has survived millenniums. The term "Agnostic" was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895). He recounts his coming to Agnosticism...
From what he has stated, it would appear that he has concluded that he has no answers. However, this does not solve much. The Theist claims he has the answer of a god whereas the Atheist claims that he has no answer of such. For an Agnostic to claim himself without an answer is no more than to take the Atheist position with a different title. However, Huxley still claims that there is more to Agnosticism. He declares basic rational principles when he defines Agnosticism further. To quote him...
From the previous statements, it would appear that Agnosticism is somewhat of an Epistemological system. Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. In his description of Agnosticism, he declares that it is a method for attaining knowledge, thus allowing it the definition of an epistemological system. With one last note on Agnosticism, Huxley declares...
Agnosticism, however, breaks off into two different branches. There is the Agnostic Theist and the Agnostic Atheist. An Agnostic Theist believes in the existence of god, but believes that the nature of this god is unknown. Agnostic Theism is in terminological error, just as Pantheism, in that it is based on the word "god" and could be applicable to anything. In this case, it is something unknown but existent. I could say that god exists, but I do not know what god is, yet this still solves nothing. How could one know that something exists, but knows not what it is? It is impossible. However, I take it that the god believed by Agnostic Theists is somewhat related in character to the gods of the currently existing religions: supernatural, powerful, and responsible for creating the Universe. An Agnostic Atheist is what is commonly implied when someone says the word "Agnostic." An Agnostic Atheist asserts that if a god exists, then god is unknowable and beyond knowledge and therefore undeserving of belief.
I find nothing detestable or disagreeable about Agnosticism as implied by Huxley or as commonly used today. It is an institution that is doubtful of a god or any form of supernaturality. Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) is known as the Great Agnostic, and when asked "Then you would not undertake to say what becomes of man after death?" Ingersoll responded...
Robert Green Ingersoll admitted that he did not know what happens after death. He asserts nothing that he cannot prove. He has no claims, and therefore there is no reason for him to support any statement. As I have discussed Atheism and Agnosticism, and the positions taken by both sides, I can only say that I find no intrinsically valuable line that can be demonstrably drawn between the two. Call me Atheist, call me Agnostic; I only lack belief in the existence of a god. Madalyn Murray O'Hair (1919-1995) has stated, "The agnostic is gutless and prefers to keep one safe foot in the god camp."  Such a statement speaks volumes of her own tolerance. However, allow me to state that although I am an Atheist and I call myself an Atheist, and I would find nothing disagreeable with someone labeling me an Agnostic. As I have stated, I find no difference between the two terms and would allow myself to be called either. Allow me to restate that I did dedicate one chapter to discussing the possibility of this god or any form of supernaturality. The word "Freethinker" is commonly also attributed to nonbelievers in God. There are Atheists who will not allow themselves to be called Agnostics, and there are Agnostics who will not allow themselves to be called Atheists, but both of them will most often accept the term "Freethinker."
A Secularist is what many Atheists and Agnostics are. It is someone who wishes for the separation of church and state in civil, educational, and public affairs. The application of the term Secularist would not necessarily separate the believers from the nonbelievers in terms of religion. There are many religious believers who are also Secularists and wish for the separation of church and state. One who wishes government to be mixed with religion is a Theocrat, or a supporter of Theocracy.
Although the word "Skeptic" is commonly applied to those who doubt religion and a god, it is inappropriately applied. A Skeptic may very well be someone who doubts religion, such as David Hume (1711-1776) who was an Atheist and was a Skeptic, but philosophically a Skeptic is someone who belongs to the school of Skepticism, the doctrine that no knowledge can be known. Consequently, a large amount of Skeptics have also been skeptical about Theism and church doctrines. However, there are Skeptics who do believe in the existence of a god.
A Realist is someone who seeks to discover true reality. A Rationalist is similar, in that a Rationalist seeks to understand the true and rational world in purely rationalistic terms. M. D. Aletheia (c. late 1800's to early 1900's) wrote The Rationalist's Manual and dictated the path to postmodern Rationalism. To quote him from his book...
A Rationalist is perhaps nearly equatable with Atheist or Agnostic. However, I would like to think of Rationalism not entirely as another synonym for Atheism or Agnosticism, but rather the rational approach to the problems and dilemmas that we are faced with. There are Rationalists who are Deists, or other Theists who disbelieve in traditional religion. I am a Rationalist in regards to how I approach the problem of god: there may be the possibility of the existence of a god and I discuss that logically and reasonably. I do not seek special interests, unless truth is a special interest. I will only believe in a god or form of supernaturality on grounds of rational reasoning evidence, and if there is no rational reasoning or evidence I will not believe, which is my current standing.
Secular Humanism and Humanism are also terms commonly applied to Atheists by Atheists themselves. It is a rather fanciful title for "Atheist." However, Humanism itself has various definitions. Warren Allen Smith (20th Century) denotes the common usages of the word "Humanism"...
The commonly asserted definition of a Secular Humanist is an Atheist. There are several reasons why I will not apply this title to myself. It appears to be a fanciful method of language by simply giving the concept of Atheism a more fanciful title. The other error I find in this is that it is often associated with human welfare or the ideals of humans. Such an ideology is dogmatic. Who takes pride in their species? Surely, such an action is as mentally deprived as one who takes pride in their race. Especially as an Atheist, one would be knowledgeable enough to know that men are animals and nothing special from the rest of animal creation; and all the rights and liberties that applicable to men cannot be legitimately divorced from non-human animals. To quote Henry Stephens Salt (1851-1939) "This divorce of 'humanism' from humaneness is one of the subtlest dangers by which society is beset; for, if we grant that love needs to be tempered and directed by wisdom, stir more needful is it that wisdom should be informed and vitalized by love." 
Another stigma associated with the word Humanist is the so-called Humanist Manifesto. The Humanist Manifesto has various versions, changing every two or three decades to suit the times, which is quite reflective of its efficiency. The error of these documents is that they are so often updated and re-updated to suit only the dilemmas of the current time. It has been less than one century and they are already contemplating a third one. There are three basic initiatives upheld in the latest version of the Humanist Manifesto:
So, you see, to be a Humanist or a Secular Humanist is surely more than simply to be an Atheist, Agnostic, Rationalist, or Freethinker. It is to imply the favoring of one's own species and possibly - in fact, highly likely - a special interest in advancing that species over other species. Along with the special interest of one's own species comes the adherence to the Humanist Manifesto.
A Naturalist is one who does not believe in supernatural phenomenon. Similarly, the Naturalist's counterpart who believes in supernatural phenomenon is called a Supernaturalist. A Naturalist agrees with or advocates the doctrine of Naturalism; Naturalism is the institution that all phenomenon can be explained naturally with scientific laws and that to invoke the belief of a god or spirits to explain a phenomenon is improper. Thus, a Naturalist - although not necessarily one who doubts the existence of a god or spirits - disbelieves in the actions of these beings, and thus miracles, revelation, magic, and other supernatural phenomenon are not believed by this individual. A Christian, Muslim, or Jew could not be a Naturalist, at least in the philosophical sense of the term. A Christian believes that god ascended from heaven in man, while a Muslim believes that the angel Gabriel gave to Muhammad the secrets of the Universe, and while still a Jew believes that god was the being who cursed the world with a global flood. These actions are all forms of supernatural phenomenon governing our natural Universe in some form or another. An Atheist, Agnostic, or Freethinker doubt the existence of a god only. However, there are those who do not believe in a god, but may believe in spirits or forms of supernaturality, such as Jainists and Buddhists. A Deist - one who believes in the existence of god but believes this god has no effect over the Universe - could also be counted as a Naturalist. As a Materialist, I am a Naturalist. I only believe in the existence of the physical material in the Universe. If someone is asked what religion they are, and they respond with "Atheist," "Agnostic," or "Freethinker," there is a high chance that they are also Materialists and Naturalists. It is important to note that there are other meanings for the word "Naturalist" in other fields. A Naturalist could be a student of natural history, or a field biologist. However, when I state the term "Naturalist," I mean the philosophical term: one who accepts as the laws of science as an explanation to the phenomena of the physical Universe. Perhaps one of the more famous Deists, also a Naturalist, is Thomas Paine (1737-1809), sometimes criticized as the father of Deism. To quote him...
A Materialist is someone who believes in the existence of the physical matter in the Universe. The only thing that exists, believes a Materialist, is the material of the Universe. The term is not to be confused with some Eastern philosophies that are based on gaining material. Some people today who are called "materialistic" are usually called that in the sense that they are greedy. The means that I imply the term Materialism is based on the existence of the physical Universe and nothing else. A Materialist is an Atheist, yes, but an Atheist is not necessarily a Materialist. The members of the Jainist religion, for example, do not believe in a god, but they do believe in various forms of supernaturality. A Materialist will not believe in gods, ghosts, magic, souls, spirits, karma, or any other supernatural concepts. I, for one, am a Materialist as are many proclaimed Atheists today.
The last term is an Epicurean, sometimes spelled "Epicurian." An Epicurean today is defined as a Hedonist, or one who seeks pleasure, but this is a distortion of what the word Epicurean originally meant. The word comes form the ancient Athenian philosopher Epicurus (341-270 B.C.E.). A follower of Epicurus is not necessarily one who seeks pleasure. The possible reason that someone may get this impression is that Epicurus dealt with a theory of happiness or how to obtain happiness, as many philosophers have been known to contemplate. Epicurus did not advocate the outright gaining of pleasure. He taught that men and women should live simply and avoid fame, extreme wealth, and other supposed desirables in reasoning that such items were actually detrimental to happiness. To quote him in regards to religion and the afterlife, "Death is nothing to us; once the body and brain decompose into dust and ashes, there is no feeling or thought, and what has no feeling or thought is nothing to us."  In regards to happiness, he has said, "While some safety and security from others might possibly be obtained if you were to amass great wealth and power, safety, security and tranquility would more certainly be yours if you simply lived a quiet and simple life withdrawn from the world."  A follower of Epicurean philosophy is not necessarily an Atheist, but someone with a liberal outlook on religion. An Epicurean is not one afraid of any religious afterlife, although not necessarily one who disbelieves in the afterlife. The only thing an Epicurean can be defined as is one who follows the philosophy of Epicurus based on attaining a wholesome happiness through simplistic living without fear or anxiety. Perhaps the most inspiring of all his writings was...
I have, in finality, discussed all the terms that nonbelievers have applied to themselves as well as terms associated with the field of Atheism. An Atheist, Agnostic, and Freethinker are practically the same thing: those who doubt that a god exists. I am still more than just an Atheist, Agnostic, or a Freethinker; I am also a Materialist, as I doubt the existence of any supernatural phenomena. The difference sometimes seen between an Atheist and an Agnostic is how probable one thinks god is. An Atheist may think it is impossible or highly unlikely for a god to exist, whereas an Agnostic may think it is possible for a god to exist much more so, but these are commonly believed stigmas of titles. I have dedicated a chapter to determining the possibility of the existence of a god. To quote Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)...
A Secularist wishes for the separation of church from public affairs; a Skeptic belongs to the philosophical school of Skepticism, thus admitting that no knowledge is true; a Humanist wishes to advance their own species over other species and upholds the values of the Humanist Manifesto; a Secular Humanist is identical to the Humanist, but has a rational, freethinking, or secular background; a Rationalist or Realist is one who approaches the question of god - or any question - with only the sole purpose of attaining truth through rational principles; a Naturalist being one who is occupied with the natural Universe and none other; a Materialist is one who believes only in the existence of the physical Universe and holds no belief in anything supernatural; and an Epicurean is one who wishes to live as the Grecian philosopher Epicurus has taught. These are the titles of the profession of irreligion.
However, there are names applied to nonbelievers which are meant in a quite derogatory remark. Pagan, infidel, heathen, heretic, godless one, idolator, blasphemer, etc., etc.. I think it is unnecessary to describe individually what each of these words mean. Robert Green Ingersoll remarks on his opinions of titles...
Section III: Conclusion
I have made my position on this matter clear: I doubt the existence of a god and other supernatural beings due to insufficient evidence, but I do not entirely rule out the possibility of their existence. This god is defined as a conscious, supernatural being of immense power who is responsible for creating this Universe. My doubt in this god comes from its lack of sufficient evidence. I have given my position a title, while defining the titles of the related positions. I am an Atheist, but would certainly not object to being called an Agnostic or a Freethinker. Furthermore, I am a Materialist and I believe only in the existence of the physical matter that composites this Universe. I am also a Naturalist and I hold the laws of science as wholly accountable for all phenomena that occurs within this Universe. When I approach the question of the existence of god, I approach it as a Rationalist and Realist: just as I approach any question, I seek for logical, rational, and reasonable answers.
1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. By Permission. From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate, Dictionary, 10th Edition, 2001 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.