Atheist Dogma Flowchart

I was stuck there for a second but I figured it all out (click for larger image).

atheistdogma.jpg

(via Pilot Into Space)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Pastafarian[/tags]

  • http://toomanytribbles.blogspot.com/ toomanytribbles

    yeah i did a double-take too.

  • Billy

    So the Flying Spaghetti Monster (I love saying (or typing) that) is a synonym for (modern) agnosticism?

  • http://shalinisehkar.com Shalini

    what.the.fuck

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    Wait…..what?

  • Mriana

    Um… I don’t get it. :( How can God be a no and a yes? It makes no sense.

    My older son says that is a horrible flowchart, too. It makes no sense. :cry: Don’t confuse me, Hemant! Esp when my son can’t figure it out and explain it to me. :lol:

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    I think I’ve got this figured out.

    If you don’t believe in God or the FSM, you’re an atheist.
    If you believe in God but not the FSM, you’re not an atheist.
    If you believe in God AND the FSM, you….might….be an.. atheist…?

    No, sorry, I still don’t get it.

    (Note: apparently it’s not possible to believe in the FSM if you don’t first believe in God. I wasn’t aware of this)

  • Jen

    artificialhabitat has it right, I think. I think they are trying to say that the FSM is a god, and therefore, to believe in Him and his Noodley Appendage, one must believe in a god.

  • Doug Indeap

    I gather that chasing your tail to pin a label on your ass passes for dogma in some circles.

  • ProudSinner

    I’m pretty sure that it’s supposed to be a joke, not a serious way to figure out if one is an atheist or not. I think it’s funny.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Mriana,
    I think I can explain the chart. Spagettifundies or logicians please forgive and correct me if I am wrong. Those who understand the chart, skip this because it will be boring.

    The initial question “Am I an atheist?” leads to the decision question in the diamond “God?” meaning “Do I believe in God?” if your answer is no, indicated by the “No” in the arrow coming from the bottom of that decision question diamond then you come to the conclusion oval “Yes” meaning Yes, I am an atheist.”

    If your answer to the decision question “Do I believe in God” is yes then you follow the arrow to the right through your answer “Yes” to the decision question “Spaghetti Monster?” diamond.

    Here’s where it gets complicated:

    “Spaghetti Monster?” is short for “Do I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster?” If your answer is no then you follow your “No” answer in the arrow leaving to the right to the conclusion oval “No” meaning “No, I am not an atheist.” The logic here is that you believe in God but not the Spaghetti Monster so you are not an atheist.

    Now the really complicated part:

    If your answer to the question “Do I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster?” is yes, there are several possible implications that lead to the conclusion oval “Maybe” which is short for “Maybe I am an atheist or maybe I am not”

    (To Billy: that “Maybe” is not the same kind of “Maybe from an agnostic viewpoint. The flowchart actually is not complete. it needs more decision diamonds coming from that “Yes” answer, but then it wouldn’t be as funny as it is.)

    Here is a list of the possible implications of answering yes to the FSM? question:

    1. Yes, you believe both in God and the FSM so no, you are not an atheist.

    2. Yes, you “believe” in the FSM as the most wonderfully ridiculous parody of a deity yet devised by man but not the God of traditional theistic systems. To you FSM is not really a theo so yes, you are an atheist.

    3. Yes, you are one of the very rare screwballs who actually believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I mean really think He is here, touching lucky souls with His noodly appendages, etc. but you don’t believe in Abraham’s God, and so thinking of the FSM as a true theo means no, you are not an atheist. You probably also believe that Sasquatch rides Nessie through the bottom of Loch Ness into the hollow earth.

    I can’t believe I spent all this time writing this.

  • Mriana

    artificialhabitat said,

    January 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I think I’ve got this figured out.

    If you don’t believe in God or the FSM, you’re an atheist.
    If you believe in God but not the FSM, you’re not an atheist.
    If you believe in God AND the FSM, you….might….be an.. atheist…?

    No, sorry, I still don’t get it.

    (Note: apparently it’s not possible to believe in the FSM if you don’t first believe in God. I wasn’t aware of this)

    Yes, but I don’t believe in the FSM or an anthropomorphic, metaphysical deity. :?

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    Richard.

    Even if you were to add in all those extra questions, there’s still a problem…. that you could answer “Yes” to the first question (essentially, as you pointed out “Do you believe in God?”) and yet still be an atheist if you answer yes to the question “Do you believe in the FSM?”.

    I’m fairly certain that the two states “believing in God” and “being an atheist” are mutually incompatible!

    Sorry, I’m taking this far too seriously. It is just a bit of fun….isn’t it?

  • Mriana

    Richard Wade said:

    The initial question “Am I an atheist?” leads to the decision question in the diamond “God?” meaning “Do I believe in God?” if your answer is no, indicated by the “No” in the arrow coming from the bottom of that decision question diamond then you come to the conclusion oval “Yes” meaning Yes, I am an atheist.”

    OK so I don’t believe in a metaphysical, anthropomorphic being, but I believe in love and compassion, which I can’t argue with when people like Cupitt use as referring to “God”, but I know it’s just an emotion and even he knows is just “God talk” or non-realism and not an actual deity. This is not the God of [traditional] religion and it is a form of non-theism. So, um… OK, where does that mess fit?

    Yes, it would get confusing if one were to talk about love as a deity, thus I don’t do it, but some people do and really messes up the whole thing and confuses the religious to no end, only to cause them to explode and scream explurlatives when they figure it all out. So call a spade a spade, IMO, and just say “I believe in love and compassion” and avoid the “God talk” that Cupitt and alike swing through like kids on monkey bars. :roll:

    OK so we over skip defining and the so called “God talk” crap, I guess that would put me down as an atheist then, but I don’t like some atheists, esp those who are atheist extremists and make me ashamed to define myself as such because they are so hateful- as much as the religious reich are hateful- and you know the sort I mean. :( It makes the term non-theist more appealing. Anyone confused yet? Because I sure am. :lol:

  • Mriana

    Sorry, I’m taking this far too seriously. It is just a bit of fun….isn’t it?

    Maybe I am too, artificialhabitat, because I am adding a whole bunch of questions too. :? Even Spong, Culpitt, and Freeman are considered atheists by the religious extremists too because they do not believe in the traditional god of religion, but rather an emotional or rather a non-theistic concept that is not anthropomorphic or metaphysical.

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    Mriana,

    OK so we over skip defining and the so called “God talk” crap, I guess that would put me down as an atheist then, but I don’t like some atheists, esp those who are atheist extremists and make me ashamed to define myself as such because they are so hateful- as much as the religious reich are hateful- and you know the sort I mean. :( It makes the term non-theist more appealing. Anyone confused yet? Because I sure am. :lol:

    I can see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think that the fact that some atheists might be objectionable to you is necessarily a good reason to reject the term. I mean there are plenty of British people who are objectionable – this wouldn’t stop me from referring to myself as British if asked.

    By my understanding, the word ‘atheist’ simply means someone who doesn’t believe in God – there’s simply nothing more to it. I would say that non-theist means exactly the same thing. I guess it’s not really important.

    Still, perhaps it could be said that if we all were to distance ourselves from the term ‘atheist’ and adopt the term ‘non-theist’ within a few years it would have all the same connotations that ‘atheist’ has and the same problem that there would be ‘non-theists’ that you didn’t like. If you see my point. I tend to think it’s more useful for us to stick with ‘atheist’ – and define it our way.

  • Mriana

    Still, perhaps it could be said that if we all were to distance ourselves from the term ‘atheist’ and adopt the term ‘non-theist’ within a few years it would have all the same connotations that ‘atheist’ has and the same problem that there would be ‘non-theists’ that you didn’t like. If you see my point. I tend to think it’s more useful for us to stick with ‘atheist’ – and define it our way.

    This is true or that is I see your point, but there is another advantage to using non-theist in the Bible Belt too. For some reason, even though the religious extremist see non-theists as atheist, which they are, there seems to be this spectrum of stereotypes- one is better than the other, but only by degree, so to speak, in the religious extremists opinions. They seem to say, OK so you accept love and compassion, but that’s not Christian. In such respect the hateful words end up coming from both extremes- the extreme atheists and the religious extremists. After a while, it sometimes seems like there is a second catagory of non-theists, which IMO is not a good thing. By the same token, you see some atheists who make catagories of theism, in which they try to lump deists in with theists. Deists don’t consider themselves theists. So what do you do? I think this is another case where the lines get blurred, but it’s not theists and atheists who necessarily blur them, but society as a whole. Again there seems to be a broad spectrum on both sides.

    Spong and Cupitt call themselves non-theists, but some religious people call them atheists and some atheists shove them over to the theist side because of their “god talk” with the use of love and compassion. Where do we draw the lines? It’s hard to say, IMO. I accept Spong and Cupitt as non-theist because they do not have a metaphysical, anthropomorphic Zeus-like deity and they will tell you they do not believe in a Zeus-like deity and Cupitt has gone as far as to say love is God, but attributes no supernatural qualities to it- only human qualities that comes from the human, not some Zeus qualities. Spong will talk a good talk of Christ, but bottom line he believes we should strive to be all we can be, live life fully, and love wastefully, but does not believe in any supernatural being. They are both pushed back an forth by individual personal definitions by theists and non-theists alike, yet they say they are non-theists.

    Of course they are non-theists if they do not believe in any supernatural deity nor in a historical Jesus, at least not the one portrayed in the Bible, yet they are still Christian Humanists, although some Christians would beg to differ and sometimes very strongly. So where is the line drawn with all this push back and forth of some “non-theists”?

  • Richard Wade

    First of all I agree with Doug Indeap and ProudSinner that this is a spoof about dogma and we’re trying to pin a label on our own asses, but it’s fun and it actually brings up some interesting things to consider.

    We should also go over to Pilot Into Space’s blog and comment there because he (identifies as Sam) has given us a creative and interesting amusement for a Sunday morning. Sure beats honking while driving past a church. Bloggers who create interesting conversations should be rewarded with some direct attention.

    There are a few logical problems with the chart but it actually brings up serious things to consider.
    Now down to the “serious” business:

    Even if you were to add in all those extra questions, there’s still a problem… that you could answer “Yes”? to the first question (essentially, as you pointed out “Do you believe in God?”) and yet still be an atheist if you answer yes to the question “Do you believe in the FSM?

    Good point, artificialhabitat. Of course we could just ask the author for clarification but that wouldn’t be as much fun. I think a “Yes” answer to the “God?” question might be able to get to the “Maybe” and eventually its possible “Yes, I’m an atheist” conclusion by considering a legitimate question this tongue-in-cheek chart brings up:

    What do we mean by “God” when we say we do or do not believe in it?

    Mriana is bringing up possible meanings that could squeak an atheist through the “Yes” answer, such as using the word “God” as a shorthand or code for a human emotion, or a principle of ethics/morals, or some kind of vague force or principle infusing the universe, in short something other than a distinct entity with a mind that is somehow separate from our minds. Even folks who identify as “theists” sometimes say that others who identify as “theists” or “deists” don’t “really believe in God” because they have a rather narrow definition of that word unique to their particular sub-sect.

    There may be other considerations but at least the one about what the heck does that three-letter word mean is a possible way an atheist could answer “Yes” to “God?” and go on to the ultimate differentiator, the FSM.

    Noodles help us.

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    By the same token, you see some atheists who make catagories of theism, in which they try to lump deists in with theists. Deists don’t consider themselves theists. So what do you do? I think this is another case where the lines get blurred, but it’s not theists and atheists who necessarily blur them, but society as a whole. Again there seems to be a broad spectrum on both sides.

    Hmmm. I don’t think I’ve thought of it that way before. I guess from a pedantic standpoint ‘atheist’ (a-theism: without theism) would mean the same as ‘non-theist’ and since deists aren’t theists, then I guess that makes them atheists (I imagine they wouldn’t like that)! :-) I also imagine many atheists wouldn’t like to be lumped in with the deists (me probably included!). Do we need another word – for people who aren’t deists OR theists?!? (I’m not seriously suggesting that as a practical option).

    Back to the flowchart:

    What do we mean by “God” when we say we do or do not believe in it?

    Mriana is bringing up possible meanings that could squeak an atheist through the “Yes” answer, such as using the word “God” as a shorthand or code for a human emotion, or a principle of ethics/morals, or some kind of vague force or principle infusing the universe, in short something other than a distinct entity with a mind that is somehow separate from our minds.

    That would work, as far as the flow chart is concerned!

    I always get a little….. frutstrated, perhaps, when people seriously start talking about ‘God’ in that sense – to me the word implies some kind of distinct entity, and that’s certainly how most people, religious or otherwise, use it. Strikes me as somewhat unimaginative – sort of “I’m trying to get across this sense of something pervasive in the Universe but I can’t think of the right words so I’ll call it God”. Well that word’s taken, and it seems, if anything, tactically unfortunate when people use it like that. How many times are we going to have to hear about how Einstein believed in ‘God’?

    creative and interesting amusement for a Sunday morning.

    Speak for yourself! It’s almost time for bed over here. It’ll be Monday soon…..boo!

  • Richard Wade

    artificialhabitat,
    Yeah the use of the word “God” for un-Zeusy things is annoying and sometimes I wonder if it’s about people having trouble letting go of the word itself. They may have once believed in a god with a distinct personality and later let go of that for an amorphous, non-personal universey kinda thing but they still have an attachment to that word. Or maybe they call it “God” to placate all the churchy pains-in-the-neck who surround them. People might laugh if they called it “The Force.”

    All that theist, deist, atheist, non-theist stuff can get to be crazy making too. To avoid having to coin “atheist/adeist” or all the possible variants of that I was going to suggest “skeptic” but even that now has its own confusion between a category of specifically non-religious folks calling themselves skeptics and folks who simply withhold belief about all sorts of things until they get adequate evidence. So the “movement” or “group” of “skeptics” gets confused with the principle of skepticism.

    I haven’t used so many quotation marks in a long time.

    Speak for yourself! It’s almost time for bed over here. It’ll be Monday soon…..boo!

    Ah, the problems with living on a round planet. Sleep well.

  • Mriana

    Yeah the use of the word “God” for un-Zeusy things is annoying and sometimes I wonder if it’s about people having trouble letting go of the word itself.

    I’ve let go of it, but you are right, there are people who still use God to mean un-Zeusy things. I’ve often wonder why they can’t call a spade a spade too. There is the possibilty they are afraid of something or others- that’s crossed my mind too.

    All that theist, deist, atheist, non-theist stuff can get to be crazy making too. To avoid having to coin “atheist/adeist” or all the possible variants of that I was going to suggest “skeptic” but even that now has its own confusion between a category of specifically non-religious folks calling themselves skeptics and folks who simply withhold belief about all sorts of things until they get adequate evidence. So the “movement” or “group” of “skeptics” gets confused with the principle of skepticism.

    How about just Freethinkers? We are all freethinkers in our own right, rather we are atheists, non-theist, Humanists, Skeptics, etc.

  • Mriana

    Hmmm. I don’t think I’ve thought of it that way before. I guess from a pedantic standpoint ‘atheist’ (a-theism: without theism) would mean the same as ‘non-theist’ and since deists aren’t theists, then I guess that makes them atheists (I imagine they wouldn’t like that)!

    No, deists are not atheists either, because they do have a god concept, it’s just far removed or something like that. And I don’t think atheists would like being lumped with deists either, but they are not theists, either, IMO. Thing is, even someone like Cupitt could squeek by and be an atheist by some people’s definition because he does not have a Zeusy god concept and because of this he is a non-theist. He’s very much a Humanist who happens to be culturally Christian- thus Christian Humanist. He does not have the traditional Christian god concept and is often called an atheist. Same with Spong and neither one of view the Biblical version of Jesus as the historical Jesus. Spong quite often writes that the stories in the Bible are myths- something you do not hear from traditional Christians and he calls the traditional belief in God a Santa Claus belief as seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJw6TzYX31s He even says theism is dead in a Beliefnet essay: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/88/story_8862_1.html

    Not only that, his 12 theses have gotten him not only death threats, but accused of being an atheist: thriceholy.net/spongf.html Here is his 12 thesis as he writes them: dioceseofnewark.org/jsspong/reform.html (add www)

    Cupitt’s views: sofn.org.uk/theology/after_religion.html (add the www) and sofn.org.uk/press/aynil.html (hopefully you don’t get nausea with all the love talk in that last one. :lol:

    Fr Jude Bullock, “Confessions of a Catholic Priest who doesn’t believe there is a God”: sofn.org.uk/press/bullock.html

    So, decide for yourselves- do we have a new definition of non-theism with a wide spectrum or do we have only one form of atheism? I propose, that atheism is only one form under an umbella/broad spectrum of non-theism, which includes deism and Spong et al ideas. Or I could be wrong and Spong et al are theists hiding behind their self-proclaim title of non-theist.

  • Eliza

    I thought the flowchart was funny (& was meant to be).

    I can’t believe there was so much discussion about it!

    Seems like alot of people here have alot of time on their hands on Sundays ;-)

  • http://www.xanga.com/drew85 Drew

    Eliza,
    Thanks for a bit of sanity. The correct response to this post is: ha ha. Or maybe LOL. Or some silly net acronym. Everyone else: you fail.


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