In practical or pragmatic atheism, also known as apatheism, individuals live as if there are no gods and explain natural phenomena without resorting to the divine. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.[56] A form of practical atheism with implications for the scientific community is methodological naturalism??”the “tacit adoption or assumption of philosophical naturalism within scientific method with or without fully accepting or believing it.”[57]
Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are ???super??? natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own.
For most people who profess a religious belief, their “faith” is accidental — a function of time, geography, and circumstances. A Christian fundamentalist, had he or she been born three thousand years ago in Egypt, would have probably ended up worshipping the “true” deity or deities in vogue at that time. A contemporary Moslem would have worshipped an Aztec or Mayan pantheon of gods had he or she been living just a few centuries ago in Central America. There have been thousands of different religions worshipping tens of thousands (and even millions) of assorted gods. Most, if not all, have claimed to be “the one true creed.” And their disagreements have resulted in war, intolerance, oppression, and other violations of human dignity.
Atheists often know more about the precepts and origins of religious belief than believers themselves do. We study more than just the one accepted “holy book,” and we like to read the parts which churches ignore, or conveniently re-write in an effort to render religious text more palpable.
While most religionists today may not believe that the earth is a flat surface resting on the back of an enormous turtle which swims through the firmament, they cling — to varying degrees — to religious notions about how the universe operates. Angels, for instance, have never been detected or examined in a scientific inquiry; but a shocking percentage of Americans (about 65% according to some surveys), believes that these supernatural “pals” exist, running errands for god, or helping people in time of need. This whole belief system constitutes a throwback to earlier times in human history, when the world was “enchanted”, populated with mystical and religious entities of all sorts.
While most religionists today may not believe that the earth is a flat surface resting on the back of an enormous turtle which swims through the firmament, they cling — to varying degrees — to religious notions about how the universe operates. Angels, for instance, have never been detected or examined in a scientific inquiry; but a shocking percentage of Americans (about 65% according to some surveys), believes that these supernatural “pals” exist, running errands for god, or helping people in time of need.

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