Gov Kodos wrote:
I would amend my question, by instead asking:
Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
Atheism, or more accurately perhaps, viewing life through a materialistic and empirical framework is only a belief system in an extremely narrow solipsistic sense sense that one can only know what you directly experience with your senses. However, that is physical and independently verifiable by others. It is in no way a belief system like any religious sense which posits a metaphysical reality. There is no way to verify any metaphysical reality. That is completely a belief of faith, which has no way to be assayed, described, or tested independently or observed and verified by any means. Any metaphysical reality is as right and wrong as any other. God has no more claim to reality than Batman and Wonder Woman. To claim 'belief in the physical world is equally a position of belief/faith as 'belief in the metaphysical' is patent foolishness. That is the claim that too many entertain as a valid argument allowing Creationism in the classroom. It's absurd.
I'm glad you made the distinction, but it bears emphasis that it is not necessary to view life through a materialistic and empirical framework, in order to have no belief in a deity. One need not be a philosopher to be an atheist.
As it happens, most of the high-profile atheists, the ones who engage in public debate about it, are philosophers, or fancy themselves to be, but some of them
In theory, someone could believe in non-empirical things, such as in aliens from other dimensions that regularly abduct people, yet still be an atheist. I don't know how many, but I'm sure there are people out there like that.
When unqualified, atheism
is something very specific: an absence of a particular kind of belief, period.
Atheism is not a belief system. Any positive belief that an atheist has has another source.