“Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t make me an atheist”

“Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t make me an atheist” October 4, 2013

Yeah, it kinda does.  That is the definition and the sole criteria.  The only way you could honestly say that you’re not an atheist is if you’re convinced that at least one actual deity surely does exist.  If you’re not an atheist, you’re a theist. This is one of those rare dichotomies where there is no N/A response, and no escape into undecided avoidance.  It’s binary, and that pisses a lot of people off.

Calling yourself agnostic is a dodge, avoiding the question by providing the answer to a completely different question.

I know a lot of you really hate that A-word.  As I mentioned in my last post, Neil deGrasse Tyson hates that word too.  But a couple hours ago, he tweeted that, “Just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t mean that what you don’t agree with is wrong”.

My previous post to this blog generated more discussion than anything else I’ve ever said in this forum.  There are a lot of people who really don’t want that scarlet letter applied to them; call them anything else. They’ve even said they would rather misuse other words or redefine them to their liking -as if we can’t verify what those words really mean.  You keep using that word; I don’t think it means what you think it means.

I understand what y’all are going through. I went through it myself; being told all my life that ‘atheist’ means that I’m both both immoral and unreasonable, and that I believe in ‘nothing’, totalitarian Stalinist nihilism, that I dogmatically reject any possibility that there even could be as-yet undiscovered elements to the universe that might be considered supernatural or spiritual, or beyond what is dreamt of in my philosophy; that being atheist means that I have to KNOW there’s no god; telling me that I have to know even more than God is supposed to know before I can tell whether obviously ignorant and illogical idiots don’t know what they’re talking about.

On the day that I was begrudgingly forced to realize that I was in fact an atheist, I had already been atheist for 15 years and called myself anything else to avoid that word, a word that didn’t mean anything I was told that it did. For a while, I even referred to myself as an agnostic pagan for Christ.  But once I realized what that term really meant, and once I admitted to myself, that shoe fits, it was liberating, and I quickly realized that word isn’t strong enough.

If you don’t believe in God, you’re atheist. Sorry. It doesn’t matter what other label you want to paste over that, agnostic, secular humanist, apatheist, pantheist, whatever. The only way to dodge the definition of being “without theism” is to be WITH theism.  There is just no “well maybe kinda sorta not really” wishy-washy undecided ambiguity anyone can possibly wedge into that.  There just isn’t. Accept it.

If we were talking about any topic other than God, this conversation would be over with in the first sentence, and all the hesitation and excuses would have been too absurd to even bring up.

I mean, what word would you use to describe someone who doesn’t want to admit they’re pregnant, and doesn’t believe they’re pregnant, but winges over the possibility that they might be pregnant -even if they’re virgins, because parthenogenesis is hypothetically possible, and so we can never really know for sure? So they want to call themselves potentialists, because that means they can avoid the question. Don’t label me, man!

Maybe we should invent a word that means ‘not pregnant’, then create a long-running system-wide smear campaign to make everyone grow up hating that word.  Then we’ll see how many people say “don’t pressure me”, refusing to admit whenever the despicable is applicable to them. How many people would paunch their guts out to hide their non-pregnancy from society around them?  I want to see how many 3rd category middle-of-the-road “well I see both sides” open-minded but in denial fair and balanced bullshit excuses people will make up trying escape the yes or no (and ain’t no maybe) question that can only be answered with that God-damned word.


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