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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just Stop It Already!

I am growing increasingly frustrated with Theists, who continually misrepresent the position of the overwhelming majority of 'New Atheists'. What I'm referring to is when the belief that "there is no god" is imposed on us, or is attacked as a straw-man of atheism. I have lost count of the number of times that I've had to categorically state to Theists that I do not hold that position, nor do I know of any atheists who will admit they do if you press them.

The position that I and many others hold, is that we do not believe in any gods, which is vastly different to believing that no gods exist. I will try to explain this distinction, as it seems like Theists simply cannot fathom it.

The first important concept to grasp that should help to understand the distinction, is that one of the positions makes an assumption of knowledge, and the other does not, if you guessed that the 'there are no gods' position was the one that assumed knowledge, congratulations, you have already passed the first test.

The second important concept to grasp relates to agnosticism. The position held by most atheists, could be described accurately as 'Agnostic Atheism'. This translates to the view that "I have no knowledge of the existence of any gods, therefore I do not believe in any". This is in stark contrast to what I would call antitheism (the 'there are no gods position'), which assumes to have knowledge that no gods exist.

If you had no trouble understanding the distinction between my atheism, and antitheism congratulations, you passed both tests, and should never make this error again.

9 comments:

  1. blog title change: "undeniably agnostic (atheist)" :)

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  2. You said that once before and I don't see why I should. I'm an atheist. It's not my fault if other people can't understand simple concepts.

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  3. just seems that the word agnostic fits the concept infinitely better than atheist :) just sayin' :)

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  4. Do I believe in god? No, I don't. I'm an atheist. I'm also an agnostic.

    Why are you so intent on labelling people the way you wish the world works? I remember a discussion we had quite some time where you wouldn't relent on labelling atheism as a subset of pantheism.

    Just to clarify:

    I AM AN ATHEIST BECAUSE I DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. HOWEVER, I DO NOT CLAIM TO KNOW THAT NO GODS EXIST, SO I AM AGNOSTIC. MY PRIMARY QUALIFIER IS ATHEISM, AND AGNOSTICISM FOLLOWS FROM THAT.

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  5. Do you claim to know that God exists? If so, I'll call you a gnostic from now on.
    If you don't, I'll call you an agnostic.

    This is EXACTLY what you're doing to me.

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  6. So please read the title of this post, and just stop trying to mis-label people.

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  7. looks like i touched a nerve... last comment from me. but it does appear that you seem to apply BOTH (yes, I can use all-caps too) labels - atheist & agnostic - to yourself? And if you recall, that was my (teasing) suggestion in my original comment - not to change it to ONLY 'agnostic', but rather to 'agnostic (atheist)'... or 'atheist (agnostic)' :)

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  8. That would of course be superfluous Dale... The important part is the word Atheist. One is either an atheist or a theist. After that is decided than you can provide a qualification for that stance, where you can claim gnostic, or agnostic.

    Yes of course KJ could change the title of the blog, and if he wanted to be absolutely specific sure. But how would that realistically help anything?

    Fine, it was a 'teasing' suggestion, but its this sort of nitpicking and distraction from the important stuff that annoys me the most about ID'ers. It just sounds like a stupid internet forum argument where people who don't actually understand the concepts try and claim they arent an atheist, or theist.... theyre agnostic! It helps absolutely nothing.

    The above post on the other hand explains the concept, and thats all that is needed.

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