The atheists that I know personally don’t exhibit a ‘lack of belief’, and I certainly don’t think that the members of this forum whom I have been in contact with exhibit a ‘lack of belief’ either. Are you going to tell me that you ‘lack belief’ about the potential truthfulness of the following statement: “the Christian God does not exist”? You make a positive assertion when you say that ‘God does not exist’ – an assertion I am presuming you believe to be true.
You can't assert that something doesn't exist until someone asserts that it does. We don't have words to label the people that assert that things for which nobody asserts exist, don't exist. If Christians weren't going around saying God exists, we wouldn't have to spend so much time adamantly telling them how wrong they are.
I don't believe in any gods at this time. That includes the Christian God, Zeus, Thor, Odin, and all of them. What is your personal position on Zeus? Do you lack belief in Zeus? Are you going to assert that "Zeus does not exist"... an assertion I am going to presume you believe to be true? If you were living in a country where people were worshiping Zeus freely, and there were Zeus churches on every corner, and where believing in Zeus was the norm, how would you approach them when they asserted to you that Zeus was real? The reason you can safely just sit in your house and 'lack belief' in Zeus is because nobody is pushing that nonsense on you. If nobody was pushing Christian nonsense onto everyone, we could do the same thing.
When you understand that we feel the same way about the Christian God that you probably do about Zeus, and you couple that with just how much Christianity affects our everyday life, you'll understand how we are forced to approach the situation G&W.
I find it interesting that belief has such a bad rap on this forum because it doesn’t seem to me that it is belief per se that atheist’s object to – it is belief without adequate justification that is objected to.
Many of us think belief in God is a bad thing and have a good reasons to think that way. Belief without adequate justification just happens to be the actual situation.
In my brief time here I don’t get the sense that I am being criticized for ‘believing’; but rather, I am being criticized for believing something that you feel doesn’t have any supporting evidence.
Know why? Because you appear to be articulate and knowledgeable. Which means you might... just might
be susceptible to reasonable and logical arguments. Your position doesn't have any real supporting evidence, and showing that to someone who seems capable of reasoning through it may be a successful tactic in freeing them from the delusion of religion.
As such there shouldn’t be any shame in holding a belief in something for which you feel you have adequate supporting evidence; as a matter of fact, unless we are dealing with a field such as mathematics, belief will be an inevitable consequence when forming a world view.
If you have adequate supporting evidence, you should be able to present it to everyone. If not, then you must consider that you don't actually have it, and that it's all in your head. Once you've reached the position of neutrality on the subject, and you're now asking 'Is God real' instead of saying 'God is real', then you can freely look at the supporting evidence seriously.
It is also important to look at what you consider adequate supporting evidence, and whether or not the evidence you consider adequate in terms of God belief would pass the test with any other position you might be weighing.