This definition used to bother me. How is it possible for one to be certain that there is no deity. Even if one is positive that a deity is impossible to perceive, it is certainly possible that the deity chose to remain hidden. In short, I always thought that an atheist who asserted unequivocally that there absolutely no God was a fool. It is literally impossible to be certain that a deity does not exist.
Dawkins was asked if he was 100% certain in his atheist beliefs. His reply? No. He half-jokingly added that he was 6.9 of 7 certain of atheism as the correct belief. Dawkins clarified his position that the “probability of a supernatural creator existing is very, very, low.”
So is Richard Dawkins still considered an atheist?
I think so. While it is true that the common understanding of atheism is a rejection of the existence of a deity and Dawkins does not “reject” it, rather he is extremely skeptical, this is not really the definition of atheism. The real definition is the belief that one should not accept anything dogmatic based on faith. The atheist reject God, not because God doesn’t exist, rather because it is impossible to prove God exists and it is not necessary, in the view of the atheist, to add belief in God in order to successfully navigate through life.
Dawkins rejects belief in God because it is so improbable, in his opinion, and by definition impossible to prove. That is atheism.
It’s also honesty.
I am sure there are people who are certain the God does not exist. I question how those people can be certain of something that is so inappropriate for certainty. But it was nice to see that Dawkins is not one of those fools. He is just someone who lives his life based on what can be proved and demonstrated via testing. Religions cannot be proved. They can be made into reasonable or rational beliefs, but they cannot be proved to the degree that an atheist like Dawkins demands for his personal decisions. If he is being honest, we should be honest as well.