The most misunderstood facet of atheism is easily the idea of disbelief and what it means to simply not believe that something is true. Of course, when you get right down to it, that's all there is to atheism so that's also all there is to misunderstand. The question is, why do people have so much difficulty understanding such a simple concept?
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I'm not sure that people make the same mistake and have the same misunderstanding when it comes to the idea of "lacking belief" when it comes to other contexts. Maybe they do, in which case this is an example of a simple concept that even intelligent people cannot grasp. If they don't, then they are singling out atheism for this misunderstanding.
When atheists talk about "beliefs", they mean ACTIVE, STANDING beliefs they hold to be true. Being "undecided" means NOT having a currently active, standing belief in something.
For example, the $20 that may or may not be in Dean's pocket. If you've SEEN that $20 go IN there, then you DO have a belief that this is what he has in his pocket. You would say "Yes, I believe that's true".
But if you haven't seen any evidence for that money, then you DON'T have an active, standing belief that it's true that the money is there. This doesn't mean that you believe that NO money is there, or that you actively believe that the pocket absolutely is empty. It just means that you can't say that you currently hold a belief about the money's existence.
That's how (most) atheists feel about gods. If we say we don't believe in God, what we are saying is that we don't currently hold the active belief that He exists. We might be convinced to START believing, if we see convincing evidence, but the state of being "neutral" or "undecided" is simply the lack of this belief as a current part of the many things which we do believe to be true. To lack this belief is NOT the same as HOLDING the belief that no god exists.
Insisting on a correct understanding of atheism at the start of any debate or discussion is absolutely necessary if there is going to be any hope of something productive happening. There's no point in saying anything else or listening to anything the other person has to say if they refuse to deal with what atheism is and what atheists think.
Atheists should simply refuse to proceed on any other topic unless and until this one is resolved. If it can't be, then you know right away that there wouldn't have been any point in going further anyway.