Sunday, 10 April 2022

Flaxen in Contemplative Mood

Atheism is the most misunderstood doctrine. People are confused. So to set the record straight let us determine what atheism is and what it is not. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. Thus it is not a positive belief. The atheist, as such, therefore does not have to defend his position or offer evidence for his stance. The onus of argument and proof rests solely with the theist. In the same way, a non-believer in pixies is not required to posit evidence for non-belief in pixies. If you believe in pixies it is incumbent on said individual to provide rational evidence for their belief. Otherwise, their belief exists outside rational scrutiny
and therefore is not worthy of sensible consideration.

There is a lot of baggage when it comes to being an atheist. People make assumptions. Atheists are amoral, immoral, communists or nihilistic. It is true that all of the preceding characteristics are not incompatible with atheism, but this is not the point. There are atheists who are communists, philanderers and full of despair, as are Christians. The point being that when someone tells you that they are an atheist all you can discern is that they are a non-believer in gods. Nothing else is discerned. Atheists don’t have to agree on anything else, whether in politics, morality or philosophical stance. Their only common accord is atheism.

How can morality exist if there is no god? A world without God will surely lead to anarchic and immoral chaos. But surely a moral code can exist without a belief in god. We know it is wrong to kill, steal and covet your neighbour’s wife. These basic tenets are necessary for any well-ordered and civilised society. Indeed, you could argue that atheistic morality is superior as it is justified by the merit of doing good and is not tinged and influenced supposedly by rewards or punishment in a mythical hell or heaven.

Surely let us enjoy this life. Feast, drink wine and make love to your wife. Arse…..

Do not pass by my epitaph, traveller.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,
No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveller,
Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.”


  1. Regrettably a lot of pixels have been wasted on contrary definitions of 'atheist' until the word comes with a lot of alleged baggage.

    In part the 'meaning' depends on the audience:
    “As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.”
    ― Bertrand Russell

    So nowadays I try to avoid describing myself as an atheist, even though it is accurate enough for the man in the street. I've flirted with several alternatives, my current favourite being 'nontheist' which I hope implies that I have no need of the god concept. Until some believer tells me what I've got wrong, of course. It's a corollary of the 'god of the gaps' idea - as soon as someone imagines that someone has a god shaped hole inside they rush to fill it with god stuff.

    1. I was meaning to put my comment here but, I managed to place on DDs comment. No reason for the order, as such.

  2. Nice.

    I've been around a similar loop, but arrived at a self descriptor of 'non-believer'. This has the advantage of being applicable to other rackets, such as the climate change religion, the Pfizer religion, the EU religion, the anti Russian religion & many other such band wagons. I'd like to think it also implies that I might be persuaded otherwise in the face of decent evidence to support an argument.

    In the words of Dave Allan; "May your God go with you".


    1. Consider the following to also to apply to Devonshire Dozer. Discovered Joys and Devonshire Dozer raise similar points. I have also struggled with this philosophical dichotomy, as does any reasonably thoughtful individual. That said, I think, the majority of mankind are ignorant to the issues involved. My training as a scientist makes me very aware, and wary, that absolute knowledge is illusive except in the realm of mathematics/logic. We have theories that enjoy a degree of consensus among those who study this sort of thing. But most will admit that theories can be discarded or modified according to new evidence and data. I direct my readers to read the works of Karl Popper (philosopher of science) for more information.

      With regard to a belief in supernatural deities. I do not believe in a supernatural world. By the very nature of the definition, the supernatural is beyond our ken. Even it does exist then we cannot know this, and therefore for all intents and purposes, it would be tantamount to non-existence anyway. For instance, I do not believe in the resurrection because it violates natural law. A man who has been organically dead cannot be revived. Decomposition, the initial stages at least, would be advanced. Just from a consideration from 'Entropy' it can be seen that the possibility of reanimation is not worthy of consideration. A miracle, or the suspension of natural cannot occur, ever.

      As for my description as an atheist. It really is a none question. The definition only exists because there are folks that believe in god(s), now and in the past. As mentioned, I'm also an apixieist, in that I don't believe in the existence of pixies. I don't have to call myself a apixiest in real life because people don't believe in pixies; I'm excluding nutters, of course.

      I would not define myself: 'An aggressive atheist', in the sense that I do not express my views vehemently to others. However, if asked the question- 'are you an atheist?' I will say yes, and leave it at that, unless prodded. In a perfect world I shouldn't have to argue whether 'god exists' in the same way I shouldn't have to argue that, green goblins called Gerald exist.

      So in a nutshell, that is why I baulk from the term, 'agnostic', although I recognise that intelligent and educated folks are very comfortable to be described as such. Just like to make a quick comment that is really unrelated to the above. There are many folk 'out there' that describe themselves as agnostic because, they feel, it gives them an air as 'an intellectual respectability'. They have no real appreciation of the intellectual issues involved.

      In hope this makes my position clear. Thank you fellas for raising this important question.