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Atheism

So I don’t know for sure if I have ever mentioned it here on my blog or not, but I guess it is worth noting that I am indeed an atheist. There are some other groups that try to re-define atheism in nicer ways or from different angles (like the Brights) but as far as I can tell it is about the same thing. Additionally, most agnostics are really just atheists without balls. Lately this term, ‘atheist’ has been thrown around as a derogatory term, as if prejudice for this particular belief was acceptable. The stereotype for it seems to be that atheists are people who lack morals because they have not been taught by a very old book. This makes me sad as I consider myself to be a person of very high moral standards. I counter that religion does not make one morally correct. I fear that the only hope for atheists to make this opinion known is to be open about our beliefs and not give in to the shame being showered on us by society. At any rate, I came across a quote that I really think sums it up for me.


“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

-Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994)”

Comments

  1. I stick to my “agnostic” label. While I don’t believe in god, I view athiesm as a belief in itself: The belief that god does not exist. I would say that proving the non-existance of god is actually harder than proving the opposite. I am fully open to the idea that god might exist. If anyone would show me something that passes for scientific evidence of his/her/its existance I would happily shift my views. Alas, as often as that demand has been put on the table, nobody to my knowledge has been able meet it.
    …and I totally hear what you have to say about athiests being “acceptably looked down upon.” What is up with that? Why is it that in a world full of people who seem to gleefully accept the existance of the invisible man, the people most looked upon as deluded crazies are the only ones who say “show me”…?

  2. Uh Chuck B might not be the best source for being without G-D

  3. > While I don’t believe in god, I view athiesm as a belief in itself:

    “I don’t believe in god” means you’re an atheist. There’s no way around it. What you’re saying is that you don’t know for sure that god doesn’t exist, only that you don’t believe in it. That’s atheism my friend.

    > The belief that god does not exist

    That’s “strong atheism” (vs “weak atheism” that you like to agnosticism, and it’s not so much a “belief”.

    > I would say that proving the non-existance of god is actually harder than proving the opposite.

    And you would be wrong. Granted, proving the non-existence of god is not easy, I might even argue impossible, but it’s NOT “equally harder” than proving the opposite. You can indeed reduce god to the point of “very improbable”. Sure, not “100% improbable” but “very improbable” is not the same as “likely probable”.

    > I am fully open to the idea that god might exist. If anyone would show me something that passes for scientific evidence of his/her/its existance I would happily shift my views.

    You, and every scientist and atheist.

    What’s your position on Santa and Poseidon? Agnostic? A-santaist? a-poseidonist? I’m going to assume you believe that Santa doesn’t exist, that you are a strong a-santaist. I am too. If there’s new (real/strong) evidence that Santa does exist, of course I’ll be a believer. In fact, I will be more than a believer, I’ll *know*, just like I know that the angles in a triangle add to 180. Why wouldn’t anyone?

    So yes, (strong) atheist don’t believe god exists, but, and that’s the part you’re missing, are not against evidence. Show it to us, and we will stop being atheists.

    > …and I totally hear what you have to say about athiests being “acceptably looked down upon.”

    I was going to blog about my theory on why that is, but I’ll start here and leave the blog for later :)

    For someone who’s counting on the afterlife for better times, atheists are party poopers. I think it pretty much boils that to that, fear that these guys might be right, so if we yell at them, or even eliminate them, maybe we will get a piece of heaven.

    In addition of being party poopers, atheists seem to know and understand stuff that believers don’t. Not only that, but science is constantly filling the gaps in our understanding of the world, with less and less room for god. Which, means, that every day there is more and more that one needs to read to understand the world. That’s a lot of work, and if you’re intellectually lazy, and want to rely on one book alone, all this science has got to be a bummer.

  4. Kevin Lawrence says:

    Put me down for strong atheist. I am absolutely positive there is no god.

    What would it take to make me change my mind?

    Evidence. Any evidence at all.

  5. “I don’t believe in god” does not mean I am an athiest, at least not by my definition. “I believe that there is no god” makes me an athiest. I believe that the fact that I look up at the sky at times and hope that there is something bigger than myself taking care of things makes me decidedly non-athiest. On the other hand, lacking a shred of scientific evidence supporting the existance of a diety, I am not about to alter my life accordingly.
    And as far as proving the existance or non-existance of god, here is my logic: All you would need to prove the existance of god is one sighting… one “here I am” moment. On the other hand, if god doesn’t exist, you cannot prove it. You can’t produce a shred of evidence that proves the non-existance of something. The best you can do is look in a spot and say “nothing here…” Unless you can search every time and place in the infinite universe and say “not here…” It’s categorically impossible to disprove existance. (Even if you could simultaneously check every time and place someone will just say that you lack the sensory apparatus to detect “Him”.) So all things being equal, it’s easier to prove god exists than to disprove it. If he doesn’t exist, the best you can pull is a draw… And don’t give me the “where was He during the holocaust” line of reasoning. Maybe He was asleep that day. Inactivity does not equate to non-existance.
    As far as there being no evidence to god’s existance, that’s not true… there is plenty of evidence… really, really crappy evidence. I challenge you to visit any sizeable community on the planet and NOT come up with 1% of the population who claim to have been visited by supernatural beings. Are these people almost universally fruitcakes? Absolutely. Am I about to alter my lifestyle because of what is most likely a drug induced episode? Not likely. Can you say “that’s not evidence?” No. It’s evidence. It’s just all from highly dubious sources.
    I will say this: I have seen enough freaky stuff in the few years that I’ve been around that I don’t totally write off that there could be something out there. Weather that “something” is god is up in the air, but I’m (generally) not one to point my finger and laugh derisively, no matter how crazy I think someone is. You just never know. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors: Every probability distribution has a far limit at infinity. I wish I had a dime for every crazy million to one shot that actually popped up.
    Ok but seriously… what’s up with Scientology? Oh my god…

    Oh… and this is Justin again (same as the first post). I’m just too lazy/wary to create an identity.

  6. I’d like to apply for both “Weak Atheist” and “Weak Agnostic”, and serve my two terms simultaneously.

    Sounds kinda weak, though. I assume 2 x weak = strong.

    At least diversified.

    I think atheism == strong atheism, and weak atheism == agnostery to Most Folks and this strong and weak stuff is confusing, but I trust that those of you who feel strongly about This Stuff appreciate the sub-species – so – I’ll save my taxonomy mod points to a future discussion of something more important, like Ford v Chevy.

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