Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine, still doesn't like to refer to himself as an atheist. Does the word feel that dirty that even people like him, even though they might be one, still don't like to refer to themselves as one?

Even I feel dirty. I'm not sure I would refer to myself as that sometimes. I feel like it's not dirty, perhaps. It's just that the position of atheist is negative by default. It is the disbelief in something ...not the belief in in something. This is why some groups like Freethought, Brights, and other similar groups have popped up. It's not the disbelief in a deity that defines them but the belief in science and empirical evidence. I kind of like that. Maybe it is our upbringing in America. Maybe it's not an actual word but it still is negative in the sense that it is the position of not believing something. Freethinkers, Brights, Skeptics, etc. are probably 99% atheist but the focus of the way these people define themselves is changed.

Atheists are shown to be one of the least trusted kinds of people but for no reason other than prejudice. I'm not agreeing with this prejudice but I do feel like the position of atheist is almost unnatural. Serious scientists are searching for the God gene because why does every culture have a deity of some sort? Personally, I feel like it's not a gene but has something to do with our psychology.

Even atheists are agnostics ultimately. Basically, there's no way to prove there ISN'T a god out there. You cannot prove a negative. However, you cannot prove that Zeus doesn't throw lightning bolts from the 6th dimension or a teapot orbiting a planet in Andromeda either at this point. It leaves the realm of what is possible and enters the realm of what is reasonable.

Still, technically, atheists are actually agnostics.

I sometimes wish there was an afterlife but then I just can't help but feel that there's no reason to believe in that and I don't want to waste my time. The upside to all of this too is that you really start to think about today and how to live your one and only life. For me, this doesn't mean doing a bunch of heinous shit. It just means that I really need to get in gear for this one chance. And also, the more you think about things in this way, with evolution and the forming of the universe, it's amazing to be here at all. Luck is a loaded word but it comes to mind. Of course, the only reason I can feel amazed is that I was born and I am made of this star stuff but still's pretty good.

Death will probably be just like it was before we were born and that is depressing to think about but I hope it doesn't depress me too much because I have to live more for today.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Another way to look at it would be that Atheists DO believe in something. They believe there are no deities. So if you believe there are no deities, then you can't be Agnostic, because Agnostic is supposed to be a stance of not believing either way. It's about what you choose to believe or not believe.

Personally, I think that if someone thinks it's fine to believe that deities do not exist, then they should also be able to think it's fine to believe the opposite. Both are in the same category of believing in something that isn't proven.

That's why I consider myself Agnostic. But I guess you could call me an Agnostic that leans towards the possibility of the non-existence of deities. But I'll never treat that possibility as fact based on scientific faith. Yes, I think faith can exist in this opposite belief system.