Whenever someone in my family asks me “Why are you an atheist?” I tell them that I am an atheist for the same reason they are not a Muslim. They usually don’t really get what I’m saying. When you are so indoctrinated in a religion it is often hard to imagine being anything else. To a Mormon, the idea of being Muslim is so difficult to wrap their heads around that they usually don’t even try. So I lead them through…”You are not a Muslim because you don’t believe they have any authenticity, that their beliefs, despite being held by hundreds of millions of people, are abjectly false and that their scriptures, no matter how old or sacred, are not true.” So there we have it.
The term “atheist” is often used to categorize a group of people as being outside of the group of “believer”. This sudden willingness to lump all faiths together under a banner of “belief” is not only ironic (given their long history of killing one another) but frustrating. Suddenly, all the believers in the world are one group and atheists, another. Atheists are not really any different from any other religious person except that we believe in one less God than they do.
As a Christian for instance, your very belief in Christ and his teachings forces you to reject hundreds, no thousands of other Gods. In your very Christianity you deny the existence of Allah, the Buddha, Bhagavan, Satnam, Deus…and countless other Gods. That does not even include any of the pagan beliefs or ancient Greek and Egyptian Gods. Despite millions of people believing in them, despite scriptures, saints, visions, studies, research and thousands of eye-witness accounts and miracles you choose to not believe.
The only difference is that I extend my philosophy to the ultimate (and obvious) conclusion that all of these Gods are false.