“God” is a term which, over time, has diversified in its meaning so much that it remains possible to find a definition that allows anyone to avoid being an atheist. 😀 Religious baggage can mean that terms like “atheist” evoke guilt, motivating such redefinition of God. But in effect, atheist is probably what I am.
Gods started out as invisible people with superpowers, invoked to explain various natural phenomena. Most people today would probably reject gods by this definition. Philosophical god-concepts have inevitably become more sophisticated with the advancement of knowledge, but they still seem mostly to invoke something rather anthropomorphic (a conscious mind) to explain or give meaning to existence in very personal terms.
Philosophy of mind is an interesting subject worth looking into more. But mind and brain are so linked that I’m inclined to be skeptical of the idea of a mind without a brain (which is also why I don’t believe in an afterlife). Even if there could be such a brainless mind, how could it do anything? Maybe I will change my mind after reading more, but the fact that the god-concept is so widely known does not necessarily mean it is anything more than a made-up idea. So why should I be agnostic about it when I am not agnostic about fairies or the Loch Ness monster?
Belief is a strange thing; on an emotional level it’s persistent like all other constants implanted in our world view at a young age, while on a thinking level it may be disappearing as it is being unpacked. It makes lovely poetic sense to me to see the universe as an artist’s canvas. It is also fascinating (if a little self-absorbed) to imagine that we are the way we are because we were somehow created by a God who is like us. But sometimes I want to cut through the poetry and metaphor and put my feet on solid ground. It is probably my scientific training that has made me now inclined to limit my beliefs to things I can really be sure of, and while cold hard reason is not the only pleasant alternative to superstition and dogma, I am increasingly craving intellectual honesty.