Let’s talk a bit about terms…oh yeah and I still do write blogs…it’s been awhile. I’ve been so busy getting my channel up and running that having time to sit down and write a blog has been pretty much non-existent.
I am an Atheist-
So anyway, let’s talk about terminology.
Some folks will say that Atheist simply means a lack of belief in god or gods, and I believe they are correct. Others will say that Atheist means a positive assertion that you do not believe in god or gods, and I believe that they too are correct.
How can both groups be correct?
Let’s look at the opposite side of the coin.
A theist makes the assertion, “I am a theist.”
Well, what do we gather from that statement? Not much really. The theist could be saying that they believe in a specific god, such as Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Thor, or Zeus.
They could also be saying that they believe there is a god that is not really defined by any of the specific gods mentioned but is still Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent.
On top of those they could just as well be saying that they believe in god as a natural force that flows throughout all of nature.
Lastly, they could even be arguing for a concept of god, something that attempts to prove the god hypothesis is plausible or probable. This last one I like to call the William Lane Craig method.
Stating that you are a theist could literally mean a plethora of different ideologies, ideas, or perspectives. It does not state anything about what the theist actually believes personally.
So let’s get back to the original argument, that both groups are correct. If you do not believe in a god or gods, you lack belief in a god or gods. If you lack belief in a god or gods, you do not believe in god or gods. I really don’t understand what the major issue is around the terminology. The only time that making a positive assertion means anything at all is in terms of a formal debate, outside of that they are simply your own personal statements.
Burden of Proof
This gets me to the burden of proof issue. In a debate the burden of proof goes to the person making a positive claim. So whether you say, I believe in god, or I do not believe in god, you would be making a positive claim and would technically take on your back the burden of proof. However, how bad of a thing is this?
I do not believe in Unicorns.
That didn’t hurt me a bit to make that statement and yet many would balk if I were to say, “I do not believe in god.” Why is this? We have precisely just as much evidence to support the god hypothesis as we do the unicorn hypothesis, and yet has anyone ever been told…“AH! But you can’t prove unicorns don’t exist!”
Do you know why you don’t hear people saying this? It’s simple really….that statement would be ridiculed, laughed at, and you would become a laughing-stock. No one would take you seriously if you tried to force folks to prove Unicorns don’t exist and yet I claim that the same should be true for god.
Do I have evidence that there isn’t some planet out there where a horse like creature with a horn exists? No, do I need that evidence to laugh at the Unicorn believer? Fuck no. I’d laugh and move on with my day, the same that I would do for any other ridiculous belief such as this.
I do however think god and unicorns are separated by one big difference.
Argumentum Ad Populum
The only real difference between any other ridiculous claim and the god hypothesis is the number of people who believe in god is far greater than the number of people who claim to believe in unicorns, leprechauns, and other myths or conspiracy theories. What I’m saying here is that by stating atheists need to defend their lack of faith a person is committing an Argument ad Populum fallacy.
How dare I?!?!?!
Well, from all that I have gathered the only reason that an imaginary god is treated with more respect than the other ridiculous beliefs out there is because the majority of people feel like it should be treated with more respect than those other beliefs. So basically we are stating that atheists, in order to claim that they do not believe in god, are required to present more proof than you would have to present for any other mythical or imaginary figure. How much evidence do I have to present to prove that unicorns don’t exist? Absolutely none because there has never been a unicorn as presented to us in mythology. It is perfectly fine for me to take it for granted that unicorns do not exist.
I would say that it is also perfectly fine for me to take it for granted that god does not exist.
Where do I stand?
I am perfectly happy stating that I do not believe in god, I also do not believe in any god concept that has been presented to us since the dawn of our species. I am a positive atheist, a 6.99999% on the Dawkins scale, and what would be called a philosophical atheist if we going to go with more academic terms. However, when asked I will call myself an agnostic atheist. Why would I do this? A couple of reasons…
1.) We cannot expect everyone to be academic and highly classed in philosophy.
2.) I am a layman atheist. I want to be approachable and easy to talk to.
3.) The modern colloquial usage of that term is the most prevalent in society today.
4.) The actual terminology is only truly important in terms of debate or academia.
So I refer to myself here, as well as on my channel, as an agnostic atheist. Meaning that I am a person who lacks a belief in god but does not know for certain that god does not exist. Technically I’m also an agnostic unicornist, an agnostic leprechaunist, and an agnostic educated flat eartherist. I lack belief in those 3 things but I cannot prove with absolute certainty that they do not exist somewhere in some form within this universe.
I’m not one that puts a lot of stock in terms, I really don’t care what people call themselves as long as we can both have a simple understanding of each others position. I lack belief in god and I do not believe god exists. If that causes a major problem for you, I suggest you move on from the topic. If you accept my terminology and we can then move on to a productive conversation, let’s do it.
Hopefully, this will be the last time I have to talk on this topic because it really is unproductive. Much love to you all.
The Godless Iowan