Being an atheist does not mean one does not believe in anything, nor does it mean that one is above, and/or better than, and/or that there isn’t the possibility of a higher intelligence within, or without, the universe. It simply means one does not believe in a “God” or “Gods” as defined by almost all human religious “faiths.”
Atheists do believe in good and evil, particularly concerning human endeavors and intent. But most definitely not in a good or evil directed by an outside entity or entities with seemingly mysterious magical powers that respond to “prayers,” intra-personal thoughts, etc.
Even though it is possible that life on earth may have been created, started, or initiated by a being, maybe or maybe not, more advanced than ourselves, not unlike humans going to another planet and terraforming it for our future use, (pretty much a given in our future,) or to stimulate the growth/creation of “intelligence” as displayed in Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001 A Space Odyssey” series of stories concerning aliens that did just that. Atheists do not “believe” any such entity, if one did start our evolution, is invisibly hanging around and magically responding to billions of “prayers” from earth’s multitudes, much less directing any cause and effect situations whatsoever here on the planet, much less doing so for the entire incomprehensible universe, or even much less that an entity created the universe.
Atheists do believe in the reality of reality, i.e. most all atheists are realists, more to the point, that to believe something true without any known possible reason for believing such to be true, or “faith” which is defined as; belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence, is simply a form of insanity, particularly in regards to religious faith.
The big problem with human religious faith is that if reality conflicts with faith belief, then reality is rejected. Rejected even to the point of allowing that murder of those not rejecting the reality, in “God’s” name, as demanded by most religious faith. And if one believes in the same “God,” but in an even slightly different way, as most of the monotheistic beliefs do today, (i.e. Islam, Christianity, Judaism to name the big three, ) then the “faithful” are assured that they should die, and that it’s okay with their “God.”
The “certainty” of unrealistic religious faith belief, and its justifications for destroying any who disagree, is certainly destroying us. But as history has proven, (many times over,) it can not be suppressed without almost just as disastrous results.
I take it on “faith” that until this dilemma is solved, civilization will never be able to become civilized. The only real answer is education. Because nothing else will ever work as a solution. Until all don’t, or do, believe the same way, (which will never happen,) there will continue to be those that kill and destroy, in the name of unrealistic faith in unprovable ideology, and “Gods.”
The founders of this nation understood this well, having come from state religion controlled societies. It is why they created the demand for Separation of Church and State within the Construction - That law does not suppress religion, but it did create a wall of protection from this nation becoming a theocracy, controlled by one religion, that would not be able to stop itself from eventually becoming more fundamentalistic, and eventually attempting to suppress all other religions, and finally to the point that murder of non-believers, or believers in the same God, but just not in the same proscribed way... will be justified.