Belief & Disbelief & Burden of Proof. Oh My!

In this post I dive deeper into my thoughts about belief and disbelief. See how my conclusions reveal the atheist.org definition of Atheism to be self-contradicting nonsense.


If I were to propose to you that the sky looks blue, you could believe me, in which case your belief could be phrased in at least two ways.

1. I believe the proposition.
2. I do not disbelieve the proposition.

Saying I believe the proposition means you lack all disbelief.
Saying I do not disbelieve the proposition also means you lack all disbelief.

In either case, you are expressing the same belief. First by positively affirming your belief that the statement “the sky looks blue” is true and second by ruling out the possibility that you believe the statement to be false.


Disagreement could also be phrased in at least two ways.

1. I disbelieve the proposition.
2. I do not believe the proposition.

Saying I disbelieve the proposition means you lack all belief.
Saying I do not believe the proposition also means you lack all belief.

Again, either phrasing expresses the same belief. Two phrases; one meaning.

So we see that belief is a lack of all disbelief and disbelief is a lack of all belief in regards to a single proposition. We can say that belief and disbelief are opposite in meaning.


Every proposition that can be made is two propositions: it and it’s opposite.

The sky looks blue. The sky does not look blue.

Because the two propositions are opposite in meaning it is not logical to believe in both or to believe and disbelieve each. That would be an obvious contradiction. So it must be the case that believing the first requires disbelief in the second and believing the second requires disbelief in the first. Additionally, to disbelieve the first requires belief in the second and to disbelieve the second required belief in the first.

For this reason, it is not logical to reply to the proposition “the sky looks blue” by saying:

I disbelieve both that the sky looks blue and that the sky does not look blue.

because to do so is no different than saying:

I believe that the sky looks blue and that the the sky does not look blue.

The contradiction is quite obvious.


Now lets briefly consider the modern definition of Atheism according to Atheist.org (American Atheists)

They define Atheism as: not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Recall the conclusion above regarding disbelief.

Disbelief is a lack of belief.

So essentially the definition of Atheism can be equated to this:

Atheism is not a lack of belief (disbelief) in gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

That is simply nonsense.

What if we drop of the first part and define Atheism as a lack of belief in God.

The proposition here is God exists.

The atheists is replying by saying:

I lack belief that God exists.

We know that to lack belief that God exists requires belief in the proposition that God does not exist.

So we can phrase the definition of Atheism in two ways.

1. Atheism is a lack of belief in the proposition that God exists (as they put it)

2. Atheism is a belief in the proposition that God does not exist. (rephrased but same meaning)

Either way we’ve remained logically consistent.

Let’s compare our definition again to the one that atheist.org presents.

Atheist.org: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Remember I used the second part of their definition to derive my definition which states:

Atheism is a belief in the proposition that God does not exist.

So, so far as I can tell, Atheist.org’s definition is self contradicting. It amounts to nonsense through and through.

There is not escaping the postulation of a belief by asserting a lack of belief. Anyway you cut it, the atheist belief is clear. Atheism is a belief in the proposition that God does not exist. As such the burden of proof is as much a part of atheistic belief as it is deistic beliefs. You say God does not exist. I say…Prove it.

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