Showing posts with label god. Show all posts
Showing posts with label god. Show all posts

Friday, September 10, 2010

Response to a Christian on the topic of Atheist Morality

I have been engaged in a discussion with a christian apologist, who seems to have been at it for a long time. After some back and forth (during which he was refreshingly honest about his opinions, specifically those relating to the issue of morality in the Old Testament) this was the message directed at me, regarding atheist morality, atheistic inconsistency, and the accuracy of atheistic claims in the comment section of this person's blog (THIS is the post in question).

Monday, August 30, 2010

God is Moral? Oh, Really? Simple Challenge for Christians! (Video to Follow)

This is a straightforward challenge for christians, consisting of three simple questions that pertain to a specific bible passage. If you are a Christian, and you believe Yahweh (your god, for those of you who are unaware of that particular name) to be moral, I challenge you to read the short bible passage provided, and then answer the threee simple follow up queries.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Should Believe In God? Okay, Help me Pick One! (Enjoy!!)

Here's an incomplete list of gods proposed at one point or another throughout history. Please help me decide which one I should be following. For the sake of brevity (lol) Yahweh and Allah (same god anyways, no?) have been left out.

Agdistis or Angdistis

Ah Puch

Ahura Mazda

Alberich

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fuck Ray Comfort. No Seriously, Fuck Him.

Ray Comfort Week continues, but this time there's nothing but insults. I'm mad as hell atm, and I'm venting. I've been watching some Ray Comfort videos and reading some stuff and I'm fucking ready to blow.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ray Comfort Week Continues!! Comfort PWND?

I am not sure if pointing out simple logical deductions to a retard (sorry) is considered pwning as much as it is beating up on a hapless retard (sorry again), but this hapless retard (sorry, really) is manipulating people into believing lies, making them feel guilty for being human, and making big money off of doing so, so fuck it, it's a pwning.

So, on to what I will, perhaps tentatively (you decide!) call Ray Comfort being PWND.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ray Comfort: Atheists Evolved From Chickens

Well, apparently it's Ray Comfort week here on The Thoughtful Gamers :)

Back in Januray of 2008, Ray Comfort ruminated over the idea that perhaps atheists evolved from chickens.

(I just came to find out about this idea of his yesterday, courtesy of the Non Prophets radio show (I'm working through the podcast archive, and I am in the 2008 season). )

Monday, July 19, 2010

Writing a New Short Story. Any Animators out there? Help Possibly Needed!

I just started to write a short story, and although I am only on page 2, I see potential in this thing to go a lot farther than one short story. I am thinking that a series of stories might be in order, and they might even be worthy of being turned into animated shorts for the internet. If anyone reading this happens to do computer animation, please leave me a comment, as I do not have any knowledge in this area, and so to make this idea come to fruition, I will require some help.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Re: Atheist Billboard in North Carolina Defaced - by Syko Shadow

Magx, in your Last Blog you made a very good point about how divisive the "Under God" graffiti on the secular billboard is, but you didn't bring up another issue in the story of the stupid motherfuckers defacing a billboard to get their jollies off insulting free speech:

Whenever someone like me from the ghetto does any form of graffiti, it's considered vandalism, labeling all graffiti artists as delinquents and thugs. Even if it's really good-looking art, like a mural or some real gangsta shit, it's looked down upon by mainstream America. However, when some dipshits with a box of Crayola scribble "Under God" on a secular billboard (NOTE: not atheist, simply secular. There is nothing atheistic in that billboard), the same people who previously got up-in-arms about ghetto graffiti are suddenly rallying behind this theistic outpouring of stupidity, despite the fact that the billboard incident is in fact an act of vandalism. I guess it's more than acceptable to be a fucking "delinquent" when you're trying to disparage minority groups, such as atheists. Or maybe it's just people in the ghetto who aren't allowed to pull shit like this. It wouldn't surprise me if such a double standard existed, especially if it is done so "under God."

Atheist Billboard in North Carolina Defaced. NEWSFLASH, PEOPLE: "One Nation Under God" is DIVISIVE!!!!

I was sent a news story by a friend over MSN tonight. The story is entitled 'Atheist billboard defaced on N.C.'s Billy Graham Parkway' and it can be found at the following link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts2936?b

An excerpt from the story:


Unknown vandals unhappy about atheists' billboard in Charlotte, N.C., spray-painted "Under God" on the ad, the city's atheist association discovered Monday. The defaced message will remain in place until after July 4, the group reports, which is the soonest that workers can furnish a fresh billboard image. Here's how the vandalized billboard now looks:



The billboard reads, "One Nation Indivisible," which is the phrase preceding the 1954 insertion of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, reports the Charlotte Observer's Tim Funk. The billboard was erected on Billy Graham Parkway last week. (Graham is, of course, the state's famous evangelical preacher.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Christianity in a Nutshell (Brand NEW, not a copy)



Once upon a time, there was this eternal being named Yahweh (who was also referred to as simply God). This god character existed in an absolute vacuum with respect to time and space; ie, he existed within nothingness. This eternal being who existed in nothingness and would eventually be referred to as the very thing which he was (god) was lonely and decided to create some creatures to keep him company. With his infinite power and imagination, he created finite, fragile, bipedal creatures known as human beings. Of course, before he did this, he had to create a plane of existence in which we could live, and so, god created the universe. In six days.

That's right, god created an inconceivably gigantic universe just for us human beings in six days, although these days were, at least according to some, actually each about a thousand or so years long, as opposed to the 24 hour long periods of time we have since encapsulated and called days. Length of the six days (or “days,” if you prefer) aside, god then planted a bunch of evidence to make it seem as though we are the products of 2 billion years or so of evolution, and the universe in which we exist is 14 billion years old. Why did he do this? I don't know.....*shakes head* but anyways, again, I find myself digressing.

After making this mischievously much-younger-than-the-evidence-seems-to-tell-us universe just for us, he created a paradise within it called the Garden of Eden, and in that garden he placed the very first of us. Two brand spanking new, completely innocent, completely naked humans (foreskin and all), frolicking in this amazing garden called Eden. These humans were named Adam and Eve (not Adam and Steve lololololol aren't we clever!!).

Of course, god, being omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent and omnipotent, decided to create a tree of knowledge, which he did not want them to eat from, and which, if they did eat from it, would cast them into eternal disrepute with their creator god who created both their curiosity and the tree on which they could exercise said curiosity. Following this stroke of genius, he then created a talking snake to tell them to eat from the tree. After Eve listened to the snake, and ate from the tree, god got pissed off at them and decided that they and all future generations should be punished for their sins.

After many incest fuelled generations had passed, god decided that things weren't working out, and so he did a do-over (took a mulligan, for you golfers). This do-over, or mulligan, took the form of killing everyone and everything on the Earth, with the exception of 2 of every “kind” of animal, a 600 year old man named Noah, and his family. God instructed Noah to build a gigantic wooden arc, which was designed to house all of the animals as well as Noah and his family, so that they could all survive the giant worldwide flood that god was about to unleash in order to kill everyone and everything (except for his chosen boat friends).

This worldwide flood mysteriously went unnoticed by the ancient civilizations that were well under way during that time, but to be fair, the flood was one of those “blink and you'll miss it” worldwide floods. In fact, the water disappeared afterwards, never to be seen again.

After a number of years of re-population through incest (always a biblical favourite), god selected a small group of Jewish people from Israel, known as Israelites, to be his special group. He then appeared to Moses, a burly Egyptian, in a burning bush, told him to remove his sandals (sense of propriety and what not) and then, once Moses had removed his sandals, he told Moses to travel back to Egypt in order to free god's chosen group of Jews from slavery.

Moses expressed doubt that the Israelites would believe that he was sent by god, and so god turned Moses’ stick into a snake and subjected his skin to leprosy, in order to show him how he would convince the people. God then told Moses that if the Israelites still did not believe him that Moses should give them an encore and take water from the river Nile (fantastic death metal band, btw), and pour it into the sand because it would turn to blood and that should convince them that Moses was legit.

With me so far?

Good, let's continue our tale.

Ocne Moses arrived in Egypt, he encountered Pharaoh and asked for the Israelites to be freed. God, playing double agent for the lulz, hardened Pharaoh’s heart, which resulted in his refusal to let Moses' people go. The fact that god got exactly what god wanted when he hardened Pharaoh's heart pissed god off, as god doesn't like getting exactly what he bargained for. God liked surprises goddamn it. And so, in the spirit of being an incredible asshole, god released a series of 10 plagues upon Egypt.

1)He turned all of the water in Egypt into blood, and killed all of the fish.

2)He unleashed an infestation of Frogs.

3)He sent Lice to crawl over every man, woman and beast that lived in the land.

4)God then sent a cloud of insects to attack the people.

5)He then made a severe pestilence strike the livestock of the Egyptians.

6)God made it so that the Egyptian people were suddenly covered in boils.

7)God dispatched thunder, hail and fire to strike the lands.

8)God then sent Locusts to cover the sky and fields.

9)In a move so terrifying that it made everything prior to it seem like a walk on the beach on a warm, sunny, slightly breezy midsummer afternoon, god worked his evil magic and......made it so that......(are you ready for this?).....darkness then fell for 3 days. Bastard!

10)After the terrifying act of casting darkness for 3 days, resulting in the most stubbed toes to ever to occur in one 3 day period at any time in history, antiquity or otherwise, god decided to be a bit more lenient and for the tenth and final act, went easy on the terrified and toe stubbed Egyptians, this time merely killing their first born children.

After the death of all the first born children, including Pharaoh's own son, Pharaoh is convinced and the Israelites are able to leave Egypt and told about the promised land, which was to be theirs, but only after they were tested and found their faith in god.

And so god had the Israelites wander around the desert for 40 years, until their generation died away.

They weren't able to reach the promised land, because somewhere along the way, they had lost faith in god and built a golden calf, which they had begun to worship. This pissed off Moses, who had gone away to Mount Sinai to have the Ten Commandments dictated to him by god, which he then inscribed onto some tablets, since they didn't have Dictaphones at that time and the first generation PC's were too damn expensive. They cost one bronze coin at that time. Do you know how many concubines Moses could have purchased for that kind of money? Besides, the PC's only had floppy disks for storage at that time, and they were still using 14.4 external modems, which were slow as Molasses.

Anyways, Moses was pissed off about the golden calf, so he threw down the Ten Commandments, shattering them, then got hold of the golden calf that the Israelites had been worshipping, burned it, put the golden ashes in the Israelites water, and made them drink it. Moses then returned to Mount Sinai to get a second copy of The Ten Commandments, and the Jews continued to wander through the desert towards the Promised Land. They ended up dying off without ever being able to step foot in the place.

Moses never got to step foot in there either, but, god, feeling jovial one day, did decide to let Moses cast his eyes at the place, and we can only assume it was love at first sight, but it was doomed forever to be unrequited love, as Moses was NOT allowed in. God then promised the Promised Land to Moses' offspring. The new generation then stormed the Promised Land, which, in line with god's infinite capacity for evil, was already occupied. Well, the slaughter, rape, and enslavement of scores of men, women and children at god's command took care of that little wrinkle, and then the land was theirs.

After this, things sort of stagnated for a while. As the years passed, god's people kept screwing up. Their favourite boo boo was to worship graven images, which god hated, and so for a time there was a cyclical sort of pattern: god's people would worship graven images, thereby fucking up, and then they would get fucked up, as god would visit plagues upon them. God would also have other people conquer and exile his people, and then, invariably, those people, who had become god's new people, would screw up, usually involving graven images, and god would visit upon them plagues, which would conquer and exile them, and other people, which would ravage them with disease.....or maybe it was the other way around, I dunno.

Either way, the cycle repeated, as cycles do. Occasionally, as god's people would fuck up and god would prepare to reign down upon them the wrath of a jealous, anthropomorphic god, a particularly wise prophet or priest would appear and convince god to spare the people. This convincing would take the form of a sacrifice, by these prophets or priests, to god, of an animal with absolutely no defects. Apparently, the slaughter of one of the best designed of god's own creations, to god, by one of his other creatures, made him happy enough to convince him not to kill anyone else for a while.

Of course, they weren't there to convince him not to send a couple of bears to maul 42 children (no, sorry, youths) for making fun of a bald prophet for being bald. But hey, according to god, if you make fun of someone for being hairless, you deserve to be brutally murdered by a creature who is full of hair. And who's going to dispute god? Especially such a loving, merciful one?

Still with me?

Great, because it gets even better. (Believe it or not)

After many generations, god realized that this whole situation really was not ideal, and so, in an effort to save the people from their fate (the very fate he had created the conditions for) god, in his infinite brilliance, flashed on a fantastic idea: he would magically impregnate a virgin who would then give birth to a son Jesus, who was really god, and this son who was really god would be born, have three kings bring him shit, only to have him disappear for a while and reappear at the age of 30, whereupon he would be baptized, preach for a while, perform some miracles, get tortured and killed, resurrect 3 days later and ascend into heaven, thereby giving gods' creations a second chance at the salvation they had thus far been missing.

God then had all of this written down in what became the world's bestselling book of fictio-er.....well, bestselling book.

Now, according to this book, which some people jokingly refer to as “The Bible” (lol), whomever believes that this happened, thinks gays are evil, and is truly sorry for any wrongdoings they may have enacted during their short time on this earth is granted entrance to the eternal amusement park and avoids eternal torture. Even if they kill a bunch of people.....as long as they are very sorry and repent, they are granted an all access pass to eternal bliss at Six Flags Heaven (or, Six Flags: Heeven, as the New Zealanders call it).

Contrary to this, anyone who believes that this, just like all of the other similar stories, is a myth, and/or does NOT think gays are evil, and is truly sorry for any wrongdoings they may have enacted during their short time on this earth is tortured forever in hell, a place replete with things like hot oil being poured down your throat and having hot pokers jabbed into your eyes while your lower body is submerged in liquid hot magma.

According to some interpretations of this omniscient god's notoriously contentious and difficult to grasp book (a book which many people study their whole lives to try to fully understand), after some undisclosed amount of time, god/Jesus will (presumably without this time needing to metaphysically rape a virgin) return to the earth, and bring with him a time of terror and tribulation, followed by a time of peace, some instances of the dead coming back to life, and then the end of the world.......or something like that.

All of the believers who have met the conditions for entry to heaven, save for one (being dead ) will be ascended into heaven (or heeven) while the atheists, believers in the incorrect gods, believers who have NOT met all of the entry requirements, and Christopher Walkin, will be left behind. Satan is in there somewhere, running the show for a while (finally, the poor guy has been biding his time for thousands of years now, resigned to mundane shit like making people cheat on Algebra tests and telling their significant others that “no, those pants don't make you look fat); at least until God/Jesus returns and finally kicks his ass.........or something like that. This part is a bit confusing.

Some people say that this was intended to happen within a generation of the torture killing of god/Jesus, since there were a few lines in his book that well, literally said as much, but, since this book was merely inspired by, as opposed to being directly written by, this omniscient god, some things were said to have been lost in translation (anyone else just suddenly think of Bill Murray?).

Anyways, that's basically the story of christianity. Believe that the world was created by a lonely magical being 6-10 thousand years ago (so, you know, after we built the first houses, created languages, domesticated the dog and other animals, designed jewelry, etc) and that this being, after murdering nearly everything on earth in a scientifically impossible worldwide flood (see THIS blog for details on the impossibility of that particular little tale) metaphysically impregnated a human virgin who then gave birth to a baby boy named Jesus, who was the human manifestation of the god who impregnated her (don't ask) and who, after sacrificing himself to himself in order to allow himself to forgive us for living up to our design, mandated that we believe this happened lest it be for naught and we still end up in the hell that he created, but really, really, really doesn't want us to end up in....you know, because he's infinitely merciful.

*whew*

Thursday, May 6, 2010

If I Was God....

Note: This one is pretty much directly aimed at this Yaweh character (and his followers)

Note 2: There is a video on this very subject located at the bottom of this post.

If I was god......

If I was god, I'd have done things a bit differently. Here's a list of some of the things I would do. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. It's just to exemplify the type of things I'd be doing.

I'd make inanimate, non sentient meat grow on trees. so no species have to endure being eaten alive to provide sustenance for something else.

I'd make it so that the life I created is suitably built to withstand the environment I put them in. And if I did not (although I cannot foresee a reason why), I'd at least give them stuff to meet the environmental demands. I mean, what? The dude couldn't throw us a winter jacket? Do you send your kids out into the cold without a jacket? Make them hunt dangerous animals to make their own until they become smart enough to make coats in factories?

I'd design a world that doesn't have natural disasters, ever.

I would never have created things like cancer, polio, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, crohn's and ulcerative Colitis (things with which I am intimately familiar), ulcers, huntington's, asthma, angina, stroke, bursitis (have this as well), parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, fibromyalgia (yes it's real), narcolepsy, depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, birth defects like craniosynostosis (which I had) and probably one of the most horrible ones in existence, anencephaly (babies born without all or most of their brain, skull and scalp), which is pictured here:



































(what the hell kind of perfect god allows THAT sort of shit to exist?)

I'd switch out pain for something else that warns you of danger but doesn't make you suffer. Or I'd make it so that pain shut off when it was no longer needed. Burn victims do not need to suffer for months on end. They are well aware of their injury and what not to do. Why do they need to suffer so?

I'd create people who adhere to the golden rule. Of course, this wouldn't apply to masochists. Actually that reminds me....

No masochists. And no sociopaths or psychopaths. Human brains wouldn't be such fickle things if they were of my creation. Yes, people would have freedom to develop as they will, but I would set some basic fucking parameters.

I wouldn't give two shits for what consenting adults do with their bodies.

I would not give people pervasive desires and then make it a no no to act on them.

I wouldn't expect to be worshipped. If I deserve it, respect me. Even love me, if you wish. No worship please. Maybe a few hugs from some pretty ladies, but that's it.

I wouldn't sit idly by and watch my children destroy one another and the environment I gave them to live in. We don't allow human parents to act in this manner, and I wouldn't expect you to allow me to do so either. Not that I would. A parent should guide their children and help them along the path of life, not remain hidden and silent with the only message being ''read my book.''

And, lastly, if I ever did get angry (a curiously human attribute), I wouldn't act out in a childlike way and throw tantrums involving hurricanes and earthquakes. I'd calm down and then approach my creation in a constructive manner, and broach the subject that ailed me. At most, I might raise my voice a few times a millenia. And for that I do apologize.

NOTE TO "GOD":

And if this stuff was caused by the so called fall of man, as you and your followers often say, well, you know what buddy? Perhaps you need to do what women have done for centuries: Lower your expectations. We didn't live up to your vision for us? Your creation failed you? Well, ignoring the fact that you are supposedly omniscient and would have seen this coming, you should lower your damn expectations and reduce your requirements. Lowering your standards makes a lot more sense than creating loopholes that include blood sacrifices, does it not? Especially given the fact that your loophole shenanigans still failed.

Sorry folks, but I think I would make a better god than this supposed god character. And no, I don't view myself as some sort of deity, demigod, or anything other than a fallible human being.

Monday, March 22, 2010

God is a Terrible Parent



I try to demonstrate how silly and disingenuous the free will argument is as applied to the problem of evil by equating it to a ridiculous hypothetical situation. I frame it in terms of a parenting situation.

I believe this to be a valid point, but this is presented in a less serious and highly exaggerated manner.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm now a Youtube Atheist,

Well, I Made my foray Into the 'Youtube Atheism' thing, for better or for worse...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Article about someone leaving the JW Cult

An article entitled ''The knock at the door that turned my parents into brainwashed fanatics - and nearly cost my life'' was published yesterday on dailymail.co.uk. It details a woman's struggles with a JW family, and what happened to her when she ultimately left.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1250078/The-knock-door-turned-parents-brainwashed-fanatics--nearly-cost-life.html

Small excerpt:

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that blood is sacred and that accepting a transfusion - which is likely during many operations - is a sin. Frightened and in pain, I was told by the doctors that I was in grave danger if I refused a transfusion.

The anaesthetist, clearly agitated and upset, even said to me: 'Do you realise you are going to die and leave your babies without a mother?'


Before I could protest, Dennis, an elder I had known for a few years, was at my bedside. He was in his 70s and from a Brighton congregation - all Jehovah's Witness elders are males. I genuinely thought: 'Dennis is coming to help', yet here he was clutching a form stating I would refuse a transfusion and telling me to sign.


I glanced over at my parents and my husband Bob, hoping they would say something, but they stood by obediently, saying nothing while the elders took over.


It still hurts to think we were all so brainwashed that they could have stood by and watched me and my babies die.


I was in absolute turmoil. I knew that if I didn't sign the forms I would be banished from the movement and from everyone I loved and would be left without the support of my family.


I didn't want to die, but Dennis simply stood there, pen reaching out to me and I knew what I had to do. I signed.

Read the article, and then post your comments here. The only thing I can say is that I know someone who went through a similar experience, and to this day she struggles with guilt. This guilt has persisted for decades. You see, her daughter was dying and she ultimately relented and allowed her to get a blood transfusion, and this set the stage for her being segregated from the rest of the JW community.

Her own husband chastized her for it. He had been pushing for her not to, saying that if their daughter was to die, that was 'God's Will.' They ended up divorcing, and she is no longer with the JW organization, but still stuggles with the guilt and constantly worries about hell.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Atheist Experience: Global Warming Denial and God Belief

The Atheist Experience: Global Warming Denial and God Belief

The Atheist Experience blog has been updated with a post regarding Rush Limbaugh, who, after identifying himself as a creationist, stated, "I simply cannot accept the fact that we would be created to do things that would destroy our environment..."  (apparently he has never heard of pollution, industrialization, holes in the ozone layer, forced extinctions, and the (egregiously!) fallacious nature of arguments from incredulity)

Don, who posted the blog, went on to postulate why it is he feels that the religious are the most vocal when it comes to global warming denial. For me, the issue is not one of motivating factors in the denial (one of which religion may be) but rather, the denial itself, and how it comes to pass. The unfortunate thing here, is, religious or non, most people seem to come to decisions regarding these sorts of issues based not on the actual science, but what they hear in the media and read on the internet/hear from friends.

A few convincing soundbytes and it's over, which is really sad, and must be inordinately frustrating for those hard at work on these issues.

Sadly, I was one of these people for a while there....so I can understand how it easy it to fall into the trap. The important thing to remember is that the science should speak for the science. Analyze the data yourself, be critical of the methodology and the concluisons but go to the data itself, not an intermediary.

Go the the source, folks, go to the source.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Christianity is Wrong, Disgusting, and Morally Reprehensible

Just think about this for a moment.

God creates us. He creates laws. We break those laws. God sets the penalty for such disobedience. That penalty is death.

He ends up killing nearly everyone.

So, this god character needs to come up with a new plan.

"AHA!," he says, ''I've got it! I'll forgive them!''

...."But first I need a blood sacrifice."

And so he sacrifices himself to himself in order to atone for us breaking the laws he himself created. Now we're all forgiven.....sort of.

Wait just a minute....he sacrificed himself to himself to save us from himself?
Let's let that sink in.

And now we are supposed to view it this as mercy? Why couldn't he just forgive? Or change his rules? Or, you know, see all this coming, since he is supposedly omniscient?

But nope. None of that. There had to be death.

Why?

Just because.

Now go tell your young children that they have blood on their hands. Or should I say on their 'soul'? Someone they did not know was brutally murdered to atone for the sins of their ancestors, for which they somehow carry the burden.

That's fucking disgusting.

EDIT: See HERE to get some more perspective as to why the entire story of christianity is reprehensible- and ridiculous. If, after reading both this and that, you still do not agree, please proceed to click HERE, as clearly that would be the perfect description for you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Satirical Video: What If God Disappeared?



Predictable, but clever little video depicting a world without 'god.' I got a laugh out of the puppy line.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Atheism is a Religion? and The Burden of Proof UPDATED

This blog will address 2 claims I see made with respect to atheism:

1) Atheism is (or has become) a religion.

2) It takes as much faith to be an atheist as it does a theist (ie, to not believe in a god requires evidence) aka The burden of proof argument, or the ''You can't prove god doesn't exist'' argument.

These of course aren't posited by all (probably not even most) believers, but they do come up often enough in online (and other) discourse.

However, before I get to the two main points, I would just like to operationally define atheism. It's actually quite simple, as atheism is not a worldvidew; it has no edicts, dogma, or tenets. It is literally and simply the lack of a belief in god(s).

Theism=belief in god(s) (deities)

Add the prefix 'a', which denotes lacking, or being without, to it, and you get:

A-theism, or atheism, the lack of a belief in god(s) (deities)

And that's it.

We can talk about agnosticism (which is not a 3rd option, but that's for another day), antitheism, secular humanism, stron atheism (aka there is no god) aka gnostic atheism, etc etc but do not let these ideas become red herrings in discussion. No matter what the Ray Comforts or the Pat Robertsons of the world tell you, that right there is atheism, and any and all beliefs in addition to this are extraneous (not that they cannot be built upon/from it, they can be, and are). All I have in common with other atheists is my atheism. After that, our ideologies will differ as will anybody else's. I might meet an atheist tomorrow who is socially conservative and thinks religion is a positive influence (aka my total opposite), etc.

Anyways, now that we have that under wraps, let's get to the two claims, shall we?

Claim #1: Atheism is a Religion

Point me to:
1) our church
2) our tenets
3) any atheist pageantry
4) where I pay my tithes

Claim #2: ''You can't prove god doesn't exist'' argument

The burden of proof is on the claimant. Not believing claims is not a claim. The burden of proof is on the theist, not the atheist. The ONLY atheists who must shoulder that burden are the gnostic (aka I know there is no god) atheists. The 99% of us that are rational don't claim knowledge. We lack the belief.
Saying I believe no gods exist is a statement that follows from my examination, and subsequent rejection of, the ''evidence'' for the existence of a god(s). I am not making a positive claim; I do NOT have the burden of proof. How would an atheist prove such a negative?

Russell's Teapot exemplifies this nicely:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. -Bertrand Russell, 1952 (unpublished article for Illustrated magazine)

Another way of looking at it is to ask yourself if you believe in the Loch Ness monster, and then ask yourself if it's up to you to prove it doesn't exist, or up to the people claiming it does to prove it. Remember, the lack of evidence is evidence. Not proof, mind you, not definitive, but certainly evidence.

Theists and atheists are not on equal ground. Saying ''I believe god exists'' is NOT equal to saying ''I believe no gods exist'' in terms of the burden of proof. I believe no gods exist because I have not been convinced otherwise. If no one had proposed a god, you would never say I have to prove this position. Now, because gods have been proposed, we're on equal ground?

No way. As soon as these gods were proposed, the burden of proof was on the ones making said propositions. If they fail to prove this claim is true, the person who continues to disbelieve is not suddenly required to provide evidence to show that this unbelief is justified.

This is why, in court, the crown has to prove the defendant is guilty. The defendant is NOT required to prove their innocence, and neither is the jury. The burden is on those making the claim. Until the person was brought up on charges, they were presumed innocent. As soon as the gulty claim was made, the burden of proof was created, and it rests on those making the claim. If this burden is not met (aka reasonable doubt) the propsoal is rejected aka disbelieved, without any further burden on the disbelievers.

This is allegorical to the atheists. Until a god is posited, I'm an atheist. Once a theist comes by and makes their case, the burden is on them. If, at the end of their presentation, I say ''I find the evidence lacking, I do not believe you,'' they don't get to say ''but you didn't PROVE that he doesn't exist!'' That job is theirs.
Theirs and theirs alone.

Unless of course I retort with "I know there is no god!" In that case, I say, good luck, pal ;)