If you are an atheist, it is very likely that you have been asked, at some time or the other, to keep an open mind about God. I have been asked to. Many times.
The position of atheism, the position that there is no good evidence for a God, let alone a personal God is usually arrived at by evaluating the evidence or the lack thereof. Many atheists, in fact, a vast majority of the ones I know of were religious or came from religious families or at least considered religion at one time or another.
[To be sure, if today's trend of more and more people opting for atheism is anything to go by, we will soon see atheists who have not thought through their lack of belief. But that is not the case today.]
Yet, atheists are often asked to keep an open mind by the religious folks. So, tell me now, what is the evidence that atheists are not open about? Where are the arguments that atheists are closed minded about?
The answer of course, is the possibility of existence of God, the possibility that scripture was inspired by God. Throw in the possibility of supernatural, after life and hell and you get the answer.
Being open to an idea is not the same as accepting that idea with no regard to its evidentiary support. The idea of a personal God or a loving deity has been considered and found to lack any grounding in the realities of this world. And that being the case, one can not and should not accept such an idea.
But that is hardly being not open to the idea. If new evidence were to be found, new arguments were to be made, if a compelling case were to be put forward, then many an atheist, myself included, would be quite happy to consider it.
In the absence of such arguments and evidence, my open mindedness does not include embracing a belief in a deity who rules from above, stands in judgment on me, keeps an account of every good and bad deed I do, cares about what I eat and who I sleep with and how and rejoices when I believe in this deity.
Let's try turning the tables on the believers now.
Are believers open to the possibility that there is no God? The vast majority of believers (as anecdotal evidence suggests), hold to to their faith as a matter of faith and often will not consider the possibility of a godless universe.
Many have persuaded themselves that their illusion of God is grounded in fact. I am sure, some have weighed the evidence and come to a conclusion that there is a God. I am sure that is possible, even though I have come to the opposite conclusion.
For believers who are not open to the possibility of a godless universe, to talk about open mindedness is pure hypocrisy.
I am open to being corrected. I am open to new ideas. I am open to new evidence and new arguments! But I am not open to believing in remote possibilities as facts, not without supporting evidence.