what makes you an atheist? (part 1)

what makes you an atheist?

a rather long bunch of personal thoughts of what makes an atheist, just a plain atheist, and not an evil atheist (this time)...
i always thought that "atheism" meant the complete lack of any belief in, or in any relation to, any religion, or any god, whatsoever. simple. right? maybe not, as I have noticed that a lot of people seem to think of atheism as some sort of substitute for a religion, that it somehow implies that you accept evolution and all the sciences without question and that you've read every book by that Dick Dawkins guy.

If that's the case, then I'm a terrible atheist for merely having merely a basic understanding of evolution and the sciences, in fact, I'd be much like a christian that never read the bible or went to church. And as for Dick Dawkins and other warriors for atheism, I would have never heard of any of them if i didn't stumble upon the myspaz religion and philosophy circus two years ago and having been exposed to the sheer volume of noise about them, I have ended up absorbing some of their stuff by osmosis.

But then again, I know more about religion than I do about atheism (what exactly do u need to know about atheism again?) so I am *not* so unaware of people's religions that I am under the impression that Joan of Ark was Noah's wife. yes, that's right, there are christians who believe that Joan of Ark, is the wife of Noah. In fact, I even think where I read this they even got the "Noah" bit wrong, as they referred to him as ... Moses...

I think the problem here is that the religious mob are, mistakenly, referring to atheism as a belief system, it is nothing of the sort, but the atheist crowd are letting that mistake happen, so much so that atheists are even playing into this stereotype that has been created.

Atheism to me, is the complete absence of acceptance OR denial of all religions and their various and sundry deities. I state that I neither concur with both sides of the argument as to outright declare that there is no god at all, is almost as arrogant as declaring that there must be a god, sarcastic almost.

Taking an absolute position about god, "yay" or "nay", is to claim absolute knowledge of the surety of some being that by all rights is completely beyond our comprehension anyway. I think that to have knowledge of god, any knowledge, is to pretend to be bit god-like yourself. I firmly believe that you just can't know either way.

My technical position on god is this, the judeo-christiatio-islameo god, is extremely unlikely, and if it really is *the* god, then I choose to not accept it as being worthy of worship. As for other gods, I don't really know enough about them to acknowledge their existence or reject them outright as being unworthy, but i'm pretty sure that they will all have some petty characteristic that is far more human-like than god-like that would make me question their "god" status.

If there really is a god, it's a safe bet we've all got it wrong somehow, so in fact, would not choosing a "religion" actually be the safest thing to do if you really are worried about your immortal soul? then you can just say "hey look big guy, none of those religions made any actual sense, and I choose to not follow anything that does not make sense. That's what the brain was for right?"

The easiest way to follow the first commandment, "thou shalt not have any gods before me", is to not follow *any* god or even have a position on god at all, this way you remove the extremely likely possibility that you are worshipping a false god! Don't want to break that first commandment now do we?

I like to think of atheism in much the same way as you or I would think about the concept of "me" - you are always "me" from your point of view, and I am always "me" from my point. But you just don't think about yourself as the plain old being of "me" very much do you? it's always "I am something" or "I want something" or "I need something".

Every thing else that gives us definition, all the "I ams" and "I wants" etc, are added later on to this "me" character that you are. The clothes you wear (I wear..), the ppl u associate with (I am friends with), the religion you follow (I believe..) ... it's ALL added, and most of it is given so early on that it seems to be all that you know, indoctrination.

but you don't add anything to your character that makes u an atheist, do you?

So you don't technically become an atheist, you un-believe the religious brain washing, you have to stop being so Islame, you have to un-Jayzus your thinking, you gotta suppress thoughts about the hannuka draydel, you let those notions of your particular god and religion go. Then when you have thrown away all the religion and all the god stuff, you are merely left with your *natural* state, an atheist.





Views: 19

Comment by Reggie on July 25, 2009 at 9:03am
I have noticed that a lot of people seem to think of atheism as some sort of substitute for a religion, that it somehow implies that you accept evolution and all the sciences without question and that you've read every book by that Dick Dawkins guy.

I think the problem here is that the religious mob are, mistakenly, referring to atheism as a belief system, it is nothing of the sort, but the atheist crowd are letting that mistake happen, so much so that atheists are even playing into this stereotype that has been created.

This relates to other discussions on TA regarding atheism having a positive claim. Atheism in itself makes no claims, only refutes them. However one can make claims about the sort of folk who are atheists and more specifically, the New Atheists. The movement is being "led" predominately by people who are in the sciences.

If you consider religion to be a world view, a system in place to help us understand our world and answer the "big" questions, then it makes perfect sense that when one abandons their belief in a God or gods, that they will adopt a new system. It is not always science, but science has two things working to its advantage. The first is that many of the loud and proud New Atheists are scientists. The second is that science is the best tool we have for answering questions truthfully about reality. For those seeking truth no matter what, it is a natural fit.

Of course the study of science can lead those to an atheistic view point as they learn more and can no longer compartmentalize their beliefs with what they are learning. Plus, science encourages critical thinking which is a faith killer.

All in all, one need not be a Dawkins fanboy to be an atheist. For example, my dogs can not even read and they are perfectly happy atheists. But more to the point is that you don't have to be an atheist for any good reasons, either. The atheist badge does not guarantee that the person wearing it is a critical thinker. Or a scientists. Or a Skeptic. Or anything else that might be associated with modern atheism. They may have come to be an atheist for completely ridiculous and foolish reasons.

But let me stop and clarify that I am not insinuating that this is the case for any particular person. Also, I am not saying that the only way to be a good atheist is through Dawkins or through science. I guess what I am saying is that people like Dawkins or Dennett or Hitchens all have sound logic and make great cases for atheism. This is why they are so popular amongst atheists.

The religious mob will misrepresent atheism regardless of how we try to manage our public image. It is a tactic of deception that they willingly engage in. I'd say that atheists let them mislabel us as much as atheist let them believe in a God.
Comment by Mike on July 25, 2009 at 10:41am
nice comment Reggie - i guess i'm still finding it strange that atheism can have iconic figures at all, I mean I was right into Carl Sagan in the 80s, but it was only in the last year or so when somebody posted something about famous atheists and Carl Sagan was on the list and it was like "oh yeah! that makes sense"
Comment by Reggie on July 25, 2009 at 11:51pm
i guess i'm still finding it strange that atheism can have iconic figures at all

People can be inspiring. We don't worship them, but we have tremendous respect for certain people like Sagan.
Comment by Dave G on July 26, 2009 at 12:13am
Very good, Reggie.

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