I am a Buddhist. But I do not believe in the existence of gods. I do, however, believe in the existence of their concepts. They are the stories in our minds to help us understand and make sense of the world we live in, to relate to things and each other as people and animals.
All concepts help us to communicate and think. We are good at making concepts (though we are not the only creatures to be able to do so).
Given our time, our knowledge and our understanding I think it is time we had moved on, after being held back for so long by the insistence of existence.
Can I reject a god if there was not a god to reject in the first place?
What I am rejecting then is not a god but the notion or the concept of a god. Theists want to know how you can reject a god or God by positing its (or His) existence first by naming it then asking you to how you can reject it when it exists. What the theists mistake for a god is its name.
There is no proof of existence of a god other than by its name and the actions based on the belief of its existence, not on actual proof of its existence.
I do not believe in God, a god or gods but I do see the concept of God, a god and gods all around me in the form of human behaviour and nothing more.
An atheist, then, should not be a rejection of the existence of a deity, anymore than I should not reject the existence of, say, Donald Trump. By rejecting existence of Donald Trump I would be considered a lunatic. This kind of thinking is what theists uses against an atheist’s rejection (the “how can you not believe in the existence of God?! That’s absurd!” argument).
The very term atheist relies on (or presumes) a positive term of (or a presence of a god) to reject in the first place. The terminology dupes us into a double take on whether there is a god to reject or not. Agnostics, in return, tried to play the same game, being drawn into a competition of verbal trickery. This will no longer do.
Undoubtedly, I believe in the existence of the concepts of deity and deities. This is what we like to do as humans. It is natural for us to broadly paraphrase Mary Midgley to want to be given a reason to live. We are scared to live in a meaningless world as Jean-Paul Sartre might have said.
As a Buddhist I am taught to not believe in the existence of a soul. So if I sell my soul to the Devil I am in effect deceiving not only the Devil but myself as well. And not only am I deceiving myself about I having a soul but that there is even a devil to sell my soul to in the first place.
And I haven’t even come to the question of whether there is exist any meaningful value of things yet, let alone a price for my soul.
the necessary engine
of a body
the illusionary essence
of a being