Redundent Department of Redundancy: Fundamental Atheism

It's been a while since I last blogged. I stepped out of the atheist forums because - wow - the drama and infighting got to be too much. I think it's all cooled down a bit (or maybe I'm just too out of touch haha). Plus, after being an atheist for seven years, atheism is just a passive part of me and I don't think about it much. I got through all the stages of deconversion. There are some lingering issues caused by a life of indoctrination, but none that debilitate me or even concern me at this point.

I got into a Facebook debate recently though. Sometimes, I get antsy for a good debate. This "friend" is a theist, but I think Universalist. I always get that one mixed up with Unitarianism. Anyway. He made some sweeping statement about "fundamentalist atheists", including the likes of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Predictably, all of his atheist friends jumped right in to say that you cannot be an fundamentalist atheist. Many tried to explain how it's not an ideology, or a philosophy, or a set of beliefs... but, also predictably, their arguments fell onto deaf ears.

I made a comment that there were no fundamentals of atheism except the lack of belief in deities, and one clever commentor pointed out:

there are no fundamentals in atheism, other than this fundamental

To which I replied:

If a lack of belief in gods (atheism) is the one fundamental of atheism, and red is the one fundamental of being red, all atheists are fundamentalists all the time... whether they're pushing their opinion on everyone or sitting quietly at home... and your point is therefore moot. Your use of the phrase "fundamentalist atheist" is not informative; it is redundant. It cannot infer that they're pushing their beliefs on anyone; it cannot infer that they're anti-theists. It ONLY means that red is red.

Of course, I never got any response. I don't see how anyone could refute the above argument, and no one did... I'd like to take that as a sign I won the debate, but I doubt any minds were changed. Why can't anyone ever give someone the satisfaction of saying, "Oh, that's true! I was wrong." Haha oh well.

I hope ThinkAtheist is doing well. I miss the good ol' days... but, the original team grew up and moved on (families, jobs, etc). I think the original fervor died down, which is sad. Maybe the new deconverts still feel the same excitement... but everyone outgrows it once atheism just becomes normal part of their existence.

In case anyone was wondering, Morgan Matthew is doing great. He says "hi!" We have a web design and internet marketing company called Clear Space Media.

Signing off...

Views: 238

Comment by Pope Beanie on September 27, 2015 at 9:56pm

I think of atheism merely as an alternative to theism, and in fact atheism wouldn't need to exist if there were no theism. I compare it to our need to promote tolerance in order to demote intolerance.

Comment by Dr. Bob on September 28, 2015 at 5:45pm

It's not a belief that guides your overall worldview since how you subsequently choose to perceive the world could go in any direction. There being no god(s) might cause you to feel depressed or elated; it could cause you to become fatalistic or hedonistic...

Isn't the same true of theism?  It's just a belief in some god(s)/"higher power"/higher principles.   It's not a belief that guides your overall worldview since how you subsequently choose to perceive the world can go in any direction.  There being god(s) can cause you to be depressed, or embrace Bacchus, or become an Evangelical Christian or a quiet Buddhist or a Friendly Quaker.  The list goes on.

That's why I personally agree that atheism isn't useful.  It only begs the next question of what you choose to believe in or do with your unbelief.

For me it also raises the interesting empirical question of whether people subject what they choose to believe in to the same level of rigor and scrutiny they apply to critiquing the beliefs of others.

Comment by Strega on October 1, 2015 at 8:05am
Hiya CJoe! Editing exists but for a limited time (minutes rather than hours). Mods can edit indefinitely. Say hi to Morgan :)
Comment by CJoe on October 1, 2015 at 8:37pm

No worries, umar. I think I actually deactivated myself since I knew I was taking up space. Hope all is well in the Black Box ;)

Comment by CJoe on October 1, 2015 at 8:41pm

Dr. Bob, I totally agree. There's no real unifying belief amongst theists, either. There are only unifying beliefs within certain philosophies/worldview/religions... those that literally spell out all the specifics.

And I also agree that the term "atheist" is only useful in differentiating ourselves from theists... which there certainly are more of them than us, so I think it's a necessary distinction... depending on the context.


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