Home > atheism, christianity, facebook, Faith, life, morality, Personal, Perspective, religion, Secular Humanism > 06.21.2010 – My Atheism Does Not Define Me

06.21.2010 – My Atheism Does Not Define Me

I never want my atheism to define me. It’s only a small portion of the person that I am. It seems, though, that the religious majority forces my atheism to be an issue on a nearly day-to-day basis. I’m constantly subjected to having to answer questions and be forced to defend my position all the time by the theists that I’m around. It’s tiring. It hasn’t been as bad over the last few months (because I’ve been more quiet in voicing my opinions on various topics), but still there nonetheless.

At our Father’s Day gathering at our house yesterday, my Mom tried on several occasions to get me to acknowledge the fact that she felt that she had been ‘divinely healed’ of an ailment that’s been bothering her for years. I refused to even give it a follow up comment (she got plenty of support from her theist friends on her Facebook post about it though). I think that’s probably the best ‘modus operandi’ for me to take going forward. I’m just not going to give fuel to the fire anymore unless I’m directly addressed with a question or if I hear someone preaching outright falsehoods to people who aren’t questioning them.

A few weeks ago, she asked me if I wanted to send my daughter to ‘Teen Quest’, a religious summer camp for kids and teens. That question just left my jaw hanging open. I just couldn’t believe that she’d even ask that. It just reeks of a complete lack of respect for my belief system, and for the way that I choose to raise my daughter. Again, I just blew it off. Basically because I know I can not win the argument should I choose to engage. So, it’s in the best interest of my stress levels, that I just leave those arguments go.

There’s so much more to life than our positions on whether or not we believe in a god. Sadly, though, the vast majority of people in the world believe that that is THE most important thing. I, rather, chose to be defined by what I DO believe in, rather than what I do not. I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in any gods ONLY, but there’s whole list of things that I DO believe in and I think those things define me much more completely than merely the fact that I’m an atheist. See my post from last week about my revised new 10 commandments list for just some of those things.

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  1. June 21, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Dear Adoubtersranblings(Sorry I do not know your really name)

    What belief shapes our lives. Worldviews have consequences. I am sorry to tell you that religious belief(including atheism) can not be a small part of you.

    How we answer Metaphysical/ Life Ultimate Questions forms our Worldviews. And our Worldview shapes our daily lives.

    You(and your life) are defined by what you believe. A person who knows we are valuable creature or not valuable creature lives a life according to his knowledge( consciously or unconsciously)

    theism, skepticism, agnosticism, atheism, socialism, wow they definitely define who we are.

    A failed Atheist, ex-atheist!
    Prayson

    • adoubtersramblings
      June 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

      Hi Prayson! Thanks for the comment.

      You said:

      “You(and your life) are defined by what you believe. A person who knows we are valuable creature or not valuable creature lives a life according to his knowledge( consciously or unconsciously)”

      I couldn’t agree more. And actually reinforces my post here. Atheism defines what I do NOT believe. As my link below to my new 10 commandments shows, there are MANY things (and many more that aren’t included on that list) that I DO believe. I would say that Secular Humanism defines me much better than ‘Atheist’ does. The trouble is, that theists generally only want to focus on the one thing that I don’t believe.

      • June 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

        Thank you for the added up 🙂

        Secular Humanism,(as Skeptic, atheist, theist) are all belief.

        If “theists generally focus on belief” and Secular Humanism is a belief then Secular Humanism, agnosticism, atheism, theism all full in belief that theist will focus in.

        atheism is a cheap shot for theism to focus on because it is the number one popular worldview on market(excluding theism)

        But what you argue on your post and above comment is also true for an Atheist focus on Theist!(Double edge sword, cutting both sides)

        Have you asked yourself why they focus on that one thing that you do not believe?

      • June 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm

        Have you asked yourself why they focus on that one thing that you do not believe?
        Because the religious will not leave us alone. Because the religious are constantly trying to subvert constitutionally secular institutions into theocratic ones. Because the religious try to refuse fundamental rights being afforded to groups they don’t like. Because the religious constantly try to erode individual freedoms or speech and (ironically) religion. Excuse us if we start pushing back.

    • June 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      Prayson, atheism is not a ‘world view’. It is a position on a single proposition and nothing more. It is not a philosophy. It is not a system of ethics. It is not a political viewpoint. An atheist can be a skeptic, which is a person defined by a world view – skepticism. An atheist can be a socialist and is defined by the world view known as socialism.

      My point is, it is not atheism that defines an atheist. We act on what we believe, not what we don’t believe. It is always atheism plus that defines an atheist.

      • June 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

        Dear Shamelessly Atheist,

        I think we need to define Worldview,having a solid ground to play because without that we are playing in the dark.

        Worldview is how a person/group answers life Ultimate Questions? Is their God,Do we have Value, Is it just Material(Naturalist) are Moral Objective or Subjective? where did we come from? and more!

        If that is our definition to which I am open to here yours then Atheism is a Worldview.

        If A-theism is not a Worldview, then theism is not a Worldview either(Which is absurd)

  2. June 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Worldview is how a person/group answers life Ultimate Questions? Is their God,Do we have Value, Is it just Material(Naturalist) are Moral Objective or Subjective? where did we come from? and more!

    Right. Guess what? Save for the first one, Atheism has nothing to say on these questions. As I said, atheism is a position on a single question. NOTHING MORE.

    I do have a world view, but it has nothing to do with atheism. I am a skeptic secular humanist naturalist. My atheism is a result of my skepticism, not the other way round. It is thus skepticism which defines my answer to the first question above. It is thus skepticism that (in part) defines me, not atheism.

    Theism is a world view because it is a positive assertion. I simply do not accept the claims of theism because I do not see that the claims of any religion are at all supported by evidence. That’s skepticism. The result of my application of skepticism is atheism. Religions claim to answer the questions of morality and purpose (and give bad answers). Atheism does not. I frankly don’t understand how you do not see this.

    • June 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

      Shamelessly Atheist :

      Worldview is how a person/group answers life Ultimate Questions? Is their God,Do we have Value, Is it just Material(Naturalist) are Moral Objective or Subjective? where did we come from? and more!

      Right. Guess what? Save for the first one, Atheism has nothing to say on these questions. As I said, atheism is a position on a single question. NOTHING MORE.

      Are you sure? Is Atheism are no-god belief? Does atheism deal with grounds for Morals! Does not atheism deal with where do we come from? does not atheism deny soul, or after life? Is not Atheism the “A”-negation in front of “Theism”?

  3. June 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Does atheism deal with grounds for Morals!

    No.

    Does not atheism deal with where do we come from?

    No.

    does not atheism deny soul, or after life?

    No.

    Is not Atheism the “A”-negation in front of “Theism”?

    No. The “a” in front of “atheism” means “without”, as in “without theism”.

    Perhaps you are a failed atheist because you have failed to grasp exactly what atheism is.

    • June 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Missed one.

      Is Atheism are no-god belief?

      No. Atheism is non-acceptance of any god-existence claims on the basis of a paucity of evidence. It is not a statement that there are no gods. There’s a big difference.

  4. armchairscientist
    June 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Atheism is simply the absence of any belief in a god. To an atheist, the existence of god is irrelevant to everyday life. Is a theist’s worldview defined by their belief (or lack thereof) of Santa Claus, or leprechauns or unicorns? Of course not. It’s really that simple. The worldviews of atheists are just as varied as those of theists of all creeds whose beliefs have no dependence on the Tooth Fairy. Is a-tooth-fairy-ism a worldview?

  5. June 21, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Prayson, suppose you are asked the question, “What do all atheists do that you consider wrong (immoral, bad, evil, etc.)?” I think you would have a hard time saying all atheists do any one thing other than deny the existence of God. (That’s more of a thought than an action, but let’s not worry about that for now.) You might say some atheists do A, some atheists do B, some do C, and some don’t seem to do anything bad at all other than deny the existence of God. If the atheist worldview shapes our lives so much, shouldn’t there be some commonality to the evil acts of atheists? Or could some other factors be involved in addition to one’s position on the existence of God?

    Since all humans are sinners anyway because of Eve and that sneaky snake, a sinning human is to be expected regardless of one’s religious beliefs, right? Is it the amount of atheist sinning, types of sins, or some other objective measure that concerns Christians? Has a comparison been done between the sins of atheists and Christians, or do we all just have opinions based on what we have observed and heard about?

  6. June 22, 2010 at 5:07 am

    “The “a” in front of “atheism” means “without”, as in “without theism”.”

    Without = negation, with, with-out

    Without the belief of God! Thank you for your a lot of No’s Shamelessly Atheist, for If those No’s are true for you, You are a Failed Atheist Too?

    If Theism is a World View, Atheism is a world view which is not negation/without Theism.

    If you want to know why I am a failed Atheist, I have a Personal Story on my blog to which explain my Journey from Atheist to Christianity.”Why I am No Longer An Atheist” Click on my name to read it, you presupposing I am a failed atheist because of what you wrote is absurd.

    Brap Gronk, You are confusing between Person and Idea? Atheists are brilliant people(I was one of them), Atheism is a wrong Worldview yet a Worldview.

    we are capable to be Immoral;(Objective Moral Values- good/bad, Objective Duties right/wrong(evil) )

    I welcome you to debate on Moral Argument for The Existence of God, on my blog, to which I gave an explanation and try to answer many objection on my comment, for many people are as confuse just like what you wrote.

    Being an Atheist or theist we are bound by Objective Moral Values and Evil(If you disagree with me for Subjectiveness and Relativeness please drop by on my site for I might have already that from other confused Atheist on this subjected.

    “Since all humans are sinners anyway because of Eve and that sneaky snake, a sinning human is to be expected regardless of one’s religious beliefs, right?”
    If we think this way Brap Gronk, In Philosophy we call it Genetic Fallacious!

    “Atheism is simply the absence of any belief in a god.” Armchairscience, Indeed, Atheism is a belief whatsoever!

    It is a belief of the absence of any belief in a god 🙂 Why is it a belief, because? I have answer this on my blog also but I will a bit take it here for other readers,
    Do we have evidences for Nonexistence of God?
    Remember absence of proof is not proof for absence dear friend!

    ShamelesslyAtheist: “It is not a statement that there are no gods.” Then I think you do not talk here about ATHEISM, A-THEISM, THEISM is there friend. What you said will be called Anti-Theism not Atheism!

  7. June 22, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Correction: Do we have PLAUSIBLE evidences for Nonexistence of God?

    If Yes, drop by on my site before you write it down and see if it has not being given and refuted on one of the argument for Existence of God to avoid redundancy.

    Are the Argument Against God Sound,compelling? I welcome a debate, but it will be good not to keep repeating the same mistakes that is why I ask to drop on my blog for some atheist have tried, to refute and failed, may be you can help them, there!

    • June 22, 2010 at 10:12 am

      Do we have PLAUSIBLE evidences for Nonexistence of God?

      Is this the basis of your belief? A logic fallacy known as the burden-of-proof fallacy? It is up to those who make the positive claim of any god’s existence to provide the evidence for their claim, not on those maintaining the null hypothesis. If there is no evidence for your position (and there isn’t), then belief in a god is irrational. Debate over.

      • June 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

        Wow Debate Over! Mh :0

        Now simple Definition of Burden of Proof Fallacy:

        Burden of Proof is a fallacy in which the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side.(This is what you wrongly accuse me)

        I did not say you do not have evidences or you should give evidence, but are the evidence which Atheism have already Plausible?

        Now I want you to read what you wrote:

        “It is up to those who make the positive claim of any god’s existence to provide the evidence for their claim, not on those maintaining the null hypothesis.”

        Another version of Burden of Proof is when a lack of evidence for side A is taken to be evidence for side B in cases in which the burden of proof actually rests on side B(also known as Appeal to Ignorance)

        Moreover:

        Absence of proof is not a proof of absence dear friend.

        Great thinking SA

      • June 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

        Burden of Proof is a fallacy in which the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side.

        Correct. And the burden is clearly on you as the claimant.

        Another version of Burden of Proof is when a lack of evidence for side A is taken to be evidence for side B in cases in which the burden of proof actually rests on side B(also known as Appeal to Ignorance)

        Irrelevant, since I am not taking a lack of evidence as supporting the claim that there are no gods because I am not making the claim that there are no gods. You are making an error in logic known as the false dichotomy.

        There are two (count them, two) propositions. One is god X exists. The other is god X does not exist. They are SEPARATE CLAIMS. You are making the first claim. Because there is no evidence in its favor, I do not accept the claim “god X exists”. I have yet to meet the claim where the burden of proof has been met.

        But I do not necessarily go from rejecting the claim “god X exists” to accepting the claim “god X does not exist”. I don’t need to. I am simply not accepting the first claim. Nuanced, I know, but please try to learn some logic here. There is no appeal to ignorance here. Just your false dichotomy.

        However, I do think that it is possible in some cases to accept the claim “god x does not exist”. It depends on the properties of the god.

        For instance, if a god that heals the sick through prayer is proposed, as so often happens with Christians, then testing if intercessory prayer is effective. This has indeed been tested a number of time and intercessory prayer has been shown to be completely ineffective.

        It is true that often absence of evidence is not evidence for absence, but there are two things that you have missed. First, absence of evidence most certainly IS evidence for absence if you were expecting the evidence to be there. This is the case in the example above where we expect intercessory prayer to be of benefit with if a god which answers prayer exists. This god is then falsified.

        Second, you are trying to use this as a burden of proof shift. Absence of evidence also means that you have no evidence for your claim. Again, the burden of proof is on YOU. Hiding behind this statement is an admission that you don’t have any evidence to support your claim and is irrational.

        Beliefs are far more likely to be true if there is concrete evidence in support of them. If your whole set of beliefs are formed this way, then you must hold all manner of beliefs, many of which would necessarily be mutually incompatible! To believe something just because it can’t be proven wrong is, well, silly.

        Throughout you’ve confused the prefix “a” in atheism with “anti”. Atheists do not say that there are no gods. That would be “antitheist”. Belief that there are no gods (antitheist) is a belief in a positive claim. We are without belief. Really, how many times does it need to be said before you understand so simple a concept?

        Here endeth the lesson.

  8. adoubtersramblings
    June 22, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Wow! Look at all the fun I’ve missed while I was away!! 🙂

    Prayson, Much earlier you asked:

    Prayson Daniel :

    Have you asked yourself why they focus on that one thing that you do not believe?

    and my response would be, not only have I asked that question, but having been raised in an evangelical christian household and being a believer until I was in my late 20s, I’d say I KNOW why they focus on that one thing. According to the belief system, the goal is to assimilate as many non-believers as they can into their system. To be ‘fishers of men’ if you will. So, the fact that I don’t buy into what they’re preaching means that they NEED to constantly try to convince me.

    I’d respond to the rest of your arguments, but I think SA and the others have done a much better job than I could. But for the arguments for god that you seem to like to use (William Lane Craig’s stuff), I’ll probably let SA handle that too. He’s much better at pulling apart those arguments than I am. But let me just say this, even IF (and it’s a BIG if) we were to say that any of those arguments is valid (and this is just for the sake of debate here), the very BEST you could do is come up with some kind of ‘deist’ god. I have challenged many to try to connect that to the god of Christianity (or any other of the thousands of gods that man has created for that matter). I just don’t see how you make that connection.

    anyway, i appreciate all the feedback everyone. also glad to see that it’s been civil. I’m surprised that this post, of all my posts, was the one to get the most attention!

  9. June 22, 2010 at 7:13 am

    We miss you 🙂

    I can not wait to see SA(ShamelesslyAtheist?) pull apart the argument on my blog(for I think most of the Confusion is being explored on the comment)

    I am sorry for your understanding of Christianity, in deed that was way I left in the first place. In my article “Why I am Not An Atheist” I shared the part where I had a wrong understanding just like yours.

    If you know the correct understanding of Christianity, then you would know that Christians can not win soul(as many Christians think and probably be against me)
    It is God who win soul? I can not win any one to Christianity, this cause much problem because Christians think THEY can do this.

    What can I do then as a Christian! Share Jesus, Teach Jesus, Live Jesus. Sharing Jesus here is where I go against arguments for non-existence of God, Philosophy worldviews, objection, Teach Jesus, here I talk about what Jesus did, correct understanding of the bible. Live Jesus, here I talk, do, live, speak, walk a life which reflect Jesus. And through all this if God will, then someone out there can come to know God.

    Attention on this part is because people who happen to be here have different Worldview, and to all thank you for the input!

    Thank you for the Tone from all you(This is how Atheist and Theist) should discuss, debate and share, instead of calling-names, abuse to which I got so much in Dawkin’s Site. Thank you all for how reasonable you guys are! and hope to more to see SA on my blog arguments.

    Adoubters, thank you for a great post:)

    • June 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      I’m not at all interested in going to your blog. I have recently made a point of not going to theist blogs. They can write what they want, no matter how much the appeal to sophistry is employed (as is inevitably the case). Besides, arguments are not evidence, and I am only interested in evidence.

      What can I do then as a Christian! Share Jesus, Teach Jesus, Live Jesus. Sharing Jesus here is where I go against arguments for non-existence of God, Philosophy worldviews, objection, Teach Jesus, here I talk about what Jesus did, correct understanding of the bible. Live Jesus, here I talk, do, live, speak, walk a life which reflect Jesus. And through all this if God will, then someone out there can come to know God.

      Do you think we live under rocks, Prayson? Are you saying that you are superior because you believe in a god? That’s pretty insulting and condescending. Get it through your skull, Prayson- we’re totally uninterested. We’ve examined the claims of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. and have seen no reason to accept them. Absence of evidence is not evidence for absence, but nor is it evidence for presence. Thus there is no reason to accept such claims, and every reason not to. And your subjective personal experience are not evidence for anyone else.

      Thank you for the Tone from all you(This is how Atheist and Theist) should discuss, debate and share, instead of calling-names, abuse to which I got so much in Dawkin’s Site. Thank you all for how reasonable you guys are!

      Courtesy will only go so far, however. You continually argue that “without” means “against”, which it does not (though it can, in the case of strong atheism).

      Perhaps this propensity to assert that you are right when you are clearly not and unwilling to admit that you can be wrong is the source of how you were treated on Dawkins’ website. This is frustrating and common, and if you keep on in the same vein, the same will happen here by yours truly. People (I’m not limiting this to theists by any means) have a tendency to lay blame everywhere else than where it should be placed- on what they see in the mirror.

  10. adoubtersramblings
    June 22, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Prayson Daniel :

    If you know the correct understanding of Christianity, then you would know that Christians can not win soul(as many Christians think and probably be against me)
    It is God who win soul? I can not win any one to Christianity, this cause much problem because Christians think THEY can do this.

    What can I do then as a Christian! Share Jesus, Teach Jesus, Live Jesus. Sharing Jesus here is where I go against arguments for non-existence of God, Philosophy worldviews, objection, Teach Jesus, here I talk about what Jesus did, correct understanding of the bible. Live Jesus, here I talk, do, live, speak, walk a life which reflect Jesus. And through all this if God will, then someone out there can come to know God.

    See, unless you reject ‘The Great Commission’ (Matthew 28:16-20) then YOUR view of Christianity is incorrect…

    16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    There are literally THOUSANDS of sects of Christianity. And, as far as I can tell, MOST believe that they are to spread the gospel. And ‘win souls’. I can’t remember a SINGLE church that I’ve gone to throughout my life (I am a wedding photographer so I STILL am in churches quite a bit) that do not have this philosophy. So to say that my view of Christianity is wrong is just short-sighted on your part. That said, I do know a handful of Christians that I would concider actually living the good parts of Jesus’ message. But they are few and far between.

  11. June 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

    “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””

    Dear Adoubter, I am not rejecting Matt 28 Great Commission

    Go and make Disciples( How did Jesus Make the Disciples?)

    20, Teach Them Jesus, Show Them Jesus

    I am with the great commission.

    John 6, and 10 read about Jesus “Those who Father draws to me, I will keep”
    You do not understand because you are not of my sheep

    Read and see that it is God who win soul(choose, draw, open the eyes), and we make disciple of those won soul 🙂 Of cause

    Paul says:
    The Cross to the Jews is a stabling block(A dying Messiah?)
    The Cross to the Greeks is foolish ( aha! A dying God?)
    But to those who God called is Power(1 Cor 1:23)

    I will welcome you to come to discuss Theology with me on Reasonable Theology on my blog 🙂

    Well, not only your view in Christianity is wrong, mine was too. Being in Church or brought up by Christian parent I am sorry to say does not guarantee a correct Christianity view.

    Read my story “Why I am Not An Atheist” on my blog, we are so much alike but took two different two at the end- You to Atheism and I to Theism 🙂
    Just like Richard Dawkin and Alister McGrath 🙂

  12. armchairscientist
    June 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Haha – without = against? So if I am without money, is it because I am against money?

  13. June 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Atheist, for If those No’s are true for you, You are a Failed Atheist Too?

    No, Prayson. You just don’t understand what atheism is. You are so caught up in this erroneous pet idea that atheism is a world view that you don’t want to understand that atheism is simply a position on a single claim.

    Naturalism is a world view that I accept. Empiricism is a world view that I accept. Skepticism (as outlined in Clifford’s Credo) is a world view that I accept. Secular humanism is a world view that I accept. Atheism is not. Atheism is certainly compatible with these world views, but it is in and of itself NOT a world view. It is simply a non-acceptance of the claim that a god exists. That’s the last time I will say it. If you continue on in this vein, such silliness will get the treatment it deserves. Why do I get the feeling this is why you were treated the way you perceived at Dawkins’ forums? If so, it may well have been deserved.

    I don’t suffer fools well, and I’m near my limit on this inability to understand the difference between the Greek prefixes “a” and “anti”. Armchairscientist has a great way of demonstrating through analogy how wrong you are on this matter. We are the experts on atheism here, not you. If you aren’t going to accept what we’re saying on this matter, the fault lies with you. I won’t put up with such obtuseness any longer.

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