People unaware of the atheists they know have been mistaught a one-dimensional view of us. Since it is impossible to sense a one-dimensional object, maybe that’s why we escape notice. The worst people are the aggressive ones who deny that we understand ourselves and strive to gas-light us into believing “in” their description of atheism. What gall people can have, that drives them to insist that other people don’t know the thoughts in their own minds.
Think of people carrying their knowledge and opinions around in buckets, each of which bears a label naming the contents. The atheism bucket is empty. Call me ignorant all you want, that changes nothing. Empty remains “full of nothing but air.” There is nothing to discuss. Take your gas light and your own hot air back home.
I am what the religious people call an “apostate”. That label means I once had religion in a bucket but turned it over to dump. It didn’t pour as easily as I expected, as it was full of a stinky substance I saw once when a commode overflowed. It has been draining more than fifty years, and most of the religion is gone. Looking at the blob of poop that encircles my upturned bucket, I can see why the religious would expect atheism to be a set of beliefs that drive an agenda. They really don’t know how well off that makes them for that to not be true. I can see how the poop oozed out in layers of beliefs, all of them bound into the religion, a united concoction all tied to the main belief. With that being true of all religions, it must also be true of atheism. This requires an experiment.
I find a new bucket and fill it with water, which I then dump. When I look inside, the bucket is empty. Verification: Maybe water is not a thick enough substance? I fill the bucket with grain and dump it: Empty. I try sand and dump it out, with the same result: Empty. After that, I get inspired: Mud is about the same consistency as poop! I carry my shovel to the garden, fill it up, dump it and … empty but for some crap stuck around the edges. Excited to be so vindicated, I return to my old religion bucket, kick it loose from the ground, peer inside, jump into the air, and sing, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!” My religion bucket is very old and shows its age. I can go empty-handed, now, so I toss it toward the trash bin. I don’t need to carry an atheist or an apostate bucket. I am free to think my own thoughts.
To get to the point of this, take a look around yourself next time you’re with a group of people. Imagine each of them carrying a bucketful of beliefs. If you know their various religions, try to imagine then voluntarily joining forces to take over the world.
Next, try to imagine attempting to gather up people of all faiths to form an army intended to conquer a territory in the name of one that is not involved. Now, study that idea and you will find a few of the beliefs that some atheists follow. Notice how the incompatibilities between those beliefs duplicates what you find with religions.
So, yes, atheists have beliefs, philosophies, even religions; all of which bear their own labels, none of which is ‘atheism’. Think of ATHEISM as “absence of beliefs about gods, including that gods exist and that gods do not exist.” Think of ATHEIST as “a person who asserts that no demonstrable evidence supports the existence of any gods, nor of any realms designated ‘superior’ to nature.”
Each belief bears its own label. There are no ‘kinda’ beliefs. To my mind belief is either present or absent. When belief in gods is absent, people of all sorts apply ATHEIST as a label to name something that does not exist. Whatever individual atheists may happen to believe “in” bears a different label according to what each accepts as true. Rather than engage in foolish arguments, why not perform a simple experiment: Ask an atheist. Science will give you much truer answers than any religion.