Is Atheism a Worldview?

If theism is a worldview, then it follows epistemically that atheism is a worldview as it seems to me to be rather epistemologically irrational to say that one is a worldview, but deny the other as one considering merely just because they both are positions with respect to single proposition.
A worldview, in this context, is if a theist holds certain beliefs about ontology, epistemology, axiology, praxeology, etiology, theology, etc and atheism denies those belief is, at the very least, some type of epistemic worldview (that denies the theist worldview).

Beliefs do not exist in a vacuum. Beliefs, or positions, on even a single proposition often entails other epistemic commitments, on pains of irrationality, towards other propositions.
For example: If an atheist believes there are no such thing as divine beings, they seem to me to be epistemically committed to also believing there is no such thing as divine providence, or to the belief that God is not a causal factor in explaining the existence of the universe, or to believing that God is not the basis of morality.

It clearly would be irrational for someone to say: “I believe Gods do not exist, but I believe God is the basis for morality!” (or for the lacktheist “I do not believe God exists, but I believe God is the basis for morality!”).

Even if some lack of belief atheist (which is actually called “agnostic” in academic literature) maintains their “lack of belief” is not a worldview, the same argument applies. Their failing to affirm the proposition God exists *precludes* them holding the belief God is a causal factor in explaining the universe, *precludes* them from believing that God is a causal factor in explaining the existence of the universe, and *precludes* them from believing that God is the basis of morality. The very preclusion of these beliefs by epistemic commitment, inherently affect a person’s overall perception of reality…which is typically, at minimum, what is necessarily considered to be constitutive of a worldview.

Disbelief, or unbelief, of God existing or not, infers other epistemic commitments.  If theism is construed to be a “worldview” as how a person views reality, then atheism as well must be considered a “worldview”, or why bother having that particular sense of the word “worldview” at all?

Author: Steve McRae

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