Ok, I admit it. I'm becoming more an Apatheist rather than an Atheist. The more I live my life, the more that I realize just how irrelevant the question of whether or not a deity really exists plays a role in my day to day life.

Do I believe that a 'god' exists? Probably not. But then again, answering the question doesn't really play much of a role in my life when you compare it to the mundane things that I still have to do in my life--like work, pay my bills, pay taxes, and spend time with my family.

Does believing in a 'god' win you a prize? No. You still get entitled to shovel the same amount of crap as any other non-theist out there; on the other hand, if you don't believe in a 'god', you still have to work, pay bills, pay your taxes, and if you're lucky, you'll still get to spend some time with your family.

So apart from being able to pat yourself on the back for siding with the scientifically rational people instead of believing in superstition, is there really an immediate tangible benefit for even caring that there is/isn't a god at all?

I'm still an Atheist in many ways, but now I'm starting to realize that Atheism only defines what I don't believe, not what I believe, and perhaps in the end, my Atheism really doesn't have an immediate impact on my own life.

Views: 13

Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 21, 2010 at 11:20am
I would prefere to be an apatheist. I was an apatheist for many years after I finally decided that the Christian religion was superstitious nonsense and that it was extremely unlikely that any supernatural power existed, especially one with human-like emotions who cared a crap about me or other humans.

The reason that I am an identified atheist now is that I moved from Australia to the USA where the influence of religion is flamboyantly pernicious. This was stamped in by eight years of living under the Bush Regime. I saw Dawkins interviewed by John Stewart when he began his OUT Campaign in the US. I was so fascinated by what the guy had to say that I bought and read The God Delusion. The rest just followed naturally.

As long as Christians, Muslims and other fundamentalis and evangelical religions seek to push their religions and their values onto other people and to legislate them into the nations laws and politics I will remain an active and voiced atheist. Should I live long enough to see these groups marginalized and forced to toe a higher moral line (which is rather unlikely at my age) then I will thankfully subside into apatheism again. It is much more restful.
Comment by Eric VanDeGenachte on February 21, 2010 at 2:10pm
I could not disagree more. You sound intelligent (if a little selfish & self-centered), but you baffle me when you think that because YOU can do those mundane things (e.g., pay taxes, and spend time with my family) that everything is fine. Consider for a moment that others can not. I cannot even have a legally-recognized family with my boyfriend & the core reason is largely religious. When I die, my possessions don't go to him tax free. If I'm in a hospital, he is not recognized as family. Moreover, don't you think for a moment that your personal tax-burden would be less if the mega-industry of churches paid their fair share? And don't you dare doubt for a second that non-belief fails to get you any real prize. Spend a little time in a theocracy, then get back to me about the value of non-belief. No, you don't get a 'cookie' for failing to believe in the boogeyman, but you sure as hell do when you fail to believe in Christ, Allah, etc. The 'cookie' you get is logic, reason, science, progress, connection to reality and not having to kowtow to capricious dogma. While it may have been a mistake, I'm still quite thankful that you brought this up as it highlights what we take for granted. Why should I bother defending against racism? What does it get me? I'm a white male. What do I care if you are denigrated as a slit-eye, yellow-bellied, China-man, gook, lemon, foreigner, "Oriental," ching-chang-chong. No, I won't tolerate it. Indirectly, I get A LOT out of the act of defending against derogatory and degrading behavior against Asians and Asian-Americans or other ethnicities. For that very reason, I expect you to continue to be an Atheist over an Apathetist. Otherwise, you can expect the religious to come and change your world.
Comment by Eric VanDeGenachte on February 21, 2010 at 2:40pm
Could I have made my point without? Perhaps. Could I do it with the same memory-searing power that emotional effrontery can afford? Probably not. It was intended to be harsh AND personal. Clearly *I* don't feel that way. A large part of my job actually involves increasing diversity and inclusion. If we stop actively defending against bad behavior, we can expect racism, sexism, and religious intolerance to swell and gain prominence. We need you and him to remain Atheists - in your own way - and not lay back on apathy lest it bites us in the butt. Remember that we wouldn't have to go back far in American culture and politics when such commentary would have been acceptable. Heck, we still had ridiculous 'literacy tests' for voting for African-American citizens in the mid- and late-1960s. If you're not familiar with them, they had nothing to do with literacy - they were designed to be exclusionary. These kinds of social attitudes and government policies would return if we became 'lazy' again.
Comment by Philip Laureano on February 21, 2010 at 5:34pm
Eric,

I spend every day in a backward country filled with Catholics who still think that abstinence is a valid and effective form of contraception, so I know very well about what it's like to live in a country that is far more religiously retarded than any US state that you (or your partner) might be unfortunate enough to live in right now.

As you and other people have astutely pointed out, Atheism is relevant because there's always going to be some religious wingnut/fundie who is going to spout some scientifically inaccurate BS and then force everyone to believe their dogma--and believe me, I argue with those people all the time, but it's like a drop of water in the middle of an ocean of stupidity here. As much as I sympathize with whatever religious crap you might be going through, whatever I do here halfway across the world has no impact on your immediate life, or vice versa. I'm definitely not a civil rights advocate, so nothing that I do can change the way that these people think or live their lives, and nothing that I do here will even affect whatever discrimination you or your partner are suffering right now.

Perhaps I am being selfish--I'll give you that much--or perhaps I realize that the time I waste arguing with some people who still believe in an invisible sky god can be better off spent on things that actually DO exist, like the ones that I love. I don't care whether a deity exists simply because it doesn't affect my life at all, and as you pointed out, it only affects people's lives when the followers of "X" religion (insert your favorite desert god here) start imposing things that impact the quality of your life.

For what it's worth, I still do tell people about my A(pa)theism, but I only argue with them if they bother me, and in most cases, I leave them alone if they leave me alone. Life is way too short to argue with people over the existence of the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or a sky god. I don't want to waste my time trying to deconvert everyone. It's like arguing with someone who believes that the Earth is flat--you might very well win the argument, but it probably won't make a huge overall impact on your own personal life.

As much as I'd love to spread the "good news" of Reality, it seems that these people have rejected Reality as their personal savior. I'm a programmer, not a heathen evangelist, and I'll leave it to far more capable humanists and scientists to spread the "good news".

Meanwhile, life goes on, and I still have a life to live.
Comment by Eric VanDeGenachte on February 21, 2010 at 6:26pm
I understand. I'm disappointed, because I think you are remarkably smart and eloquent and could have a lasting impact on the rationality of society. However, I respect your position and hope that you still contribute to the effort in your own way. Simply being apathetic is still quite blasphemous from the standpoint of a religious person, after all. If it is any consolation, Chris feels as you do and does not get actively involved in the Atheist community as I do. Try to remember, however, that the cognitive virus that is religion is not cured by a single dose of logical inquiry. It takes years of indoctrination. I might cause a crack or two in someone's faith and consider that success. Deconversion is not the objective. Hopefully, that person then meets someone like you, who widens or spreads those fractures ever so slighly. And then again meets another, who opens them even further. Then, one night, all by themselves, three years later, they exhale among the last breaths as a Theist and then themselves speak-out against 'honor killings,' 'suicide bombings,' and other dogma. I wish the best for you and your family, but hope that you will at least help to sew seeds of skepticism and critical thought, reveal logical fallacies, and - in your own way - help others see what for you is already so clear. Best wishes, Eric
Comment by Philip Laureano on February 21, 2010 at 6:47pm
Eric,

Thanks for the kind (and not so kind) words--I really appreciate your perspective--but this doesn't mean that I'll be silent about being an Atheist, either. It just means that I have to budget the limited time that I have left in my life between 1) fighting religious bullshit and 2) actually living the rest of my life. Sun Tsu once said that in order for you to win your battles, you have to fight the battles that you can win. For me, it's a choice between arguing with people about their non-existent imaginary friends, or winning the struggle of living a good life in spite of their stupidity. I choose the latter, and I suspect that you would make the same choice.

BTW, Eric, where in the US do you live?
Comment by Philip Laureano on February 22, 2010 at 3:47am
Hey Zak,

Where do you happen to live?
Comment by Roy The Infidel on May 7, 2010 at 10:41am
"80% of the people in the Philippines are Catholic. I'm part of the other 20% who want nothing to do with the Church and their nonsense."

Your numbers aren't accurate. Only 5% from a population of 92M consider themselves not belonging to any form of religion. IMHO, I think the number is even less than 5%.

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