There are many sources of atheism and it is very useful to carefully consider at least the most important of those sources. Primarily it is an absolute rejection of any transcendent reality above or beyond what usually is called nature. Many persons claim that the ability of man to know is limited to the perceptible experimental reality which is the object of what is called science in our times. This claim we will discuss in a separate essay.
This claim is partly the heritage of the philosophy of David Hume and Immanuel Kant as well as some philosophers of the XVIII and XIX centuries. As mentioned already, this attitude
shall be discussed later on.
Atheism is to a lesser degree connected with the theory of knowledge but essentially it is a rejection of religion. Religion is understood by Atheists as a superstitious belief in some kind of Divinity, a personal God who supposedly contacted mankind in some sort of revelation and is the Creator and Savior of humanity from the limitations, sufferings and eternal death. Religion therefore in the atheistic interpretation is a self -deluding wishful radical force and pernicious evil. Religion imposes unnecessary moral burden and stultifies humanity. It keeps people under the spell of delusion diverting human life interests and efforts towards something not existent. Atheists consider their mission to liberate humans from this phantom in the sky. Religion according to them is a curse and the most important curse of the human condition. Religion (especially the three Monotheistic religions) promises people some sort of eternal existence and imposes the heavy burden of moral responsibility with the threat of even eternal damnation into some sort of unending torments imposed by a cruel God. There are also personal and strictly individual reasons for rejection of religion and therefore atheistic attitude. Many people who initially are introduced to religion and accept some of religious beliefs quite often later on in life feel frustrated . disappointed and cheated especially by organized religion. This attitude is the result of false concepts about God , human beings and the promises of most religions. The crucial point here is a misconception of God, who is understood in a crude anthropomorphic way who sometimes only can be manipulated by so called prayer. But prayer is conceived as satisfaction of human desires and expectations very often having absolutely no relationship to the will of God. People pray for the most mundane values: for money , pleasure , long life , health , popularity even for God's help in destruction of their enemies leading to global wars like for example the Second World War in which the extreme cruelty and complete neglect of any moral values was practiced in the name of so called chosen race of the mythology of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and so many other tyrants and political "saviors." Other sources of atheism can perhaps be called unconscious atheism . Many people never really think seriously about their religious belief. God simply is not within the area of interest . Why? They do not feel the necessity to examine their beliefs. They are too "busy" with every day things to do in their lives. They have no time for thinking. Not only that, but they do not want to think about the tenets of religion because they are subconsciously afraid that after all it may be true therefore they have no time about a deeper reflection on their human situation and the meaning of their existence. They simply follow the customs of the society in which they happen to be born and spend their lives. Religion simply is a custom a sort of regular part of the passage of time but it is a dead custom deprived of any deeper meaning whatsoever or influence on their day to day existing. Those are the proverbial believers who give lip service to their God and that where their religion stops. They are practical atheists although they would probably feel very offended if named this way.
To summarize the sources of atheism can be as follows :
(1) " Scientific disbelief,"
(2) Ignorance of what religion really is,
(3) Idolatry of scientific method as the only way of knowledge ,
(4) Personal rejection of religion when some difficult tragic event disturbs the "normality," of their everydayness,
(5) False anthropomorphic idea of God.
(6) Blindness to moral values and
(7) Personal rebellion against God and His providence .
The most important obstacle to belief in God seems to be the false role of science in Modern times. That is why in the next part of our essay we shall examine the nature of human knowledge.