Respectfulness: Recognising that freedom of speech & thought isn't a reason to dictate what others should/shouldn't believe.
It feels a bit strange making this, because to me 'atheist' isn't really a necessary title - no more so than referring to yourself as a 'non-architect' if your profession isn't in architecture, for example. The name only really exists to distinguish us in our generally-religious society, and I hope that most atheists try to be as respectful as possible to religious people who are non-offensive with their ideas (and vice versa). I feel atheism can be misunderstood sometimes, having witnessed and come up against a lot of stigma about it, so I created this to explain a few things from my personal point of view!
There can be negativity surrounding atheism, and I totally agree that some can be very offensive with their thoughts about religion. As with all strong viewpoints it can be the rudest who are loudest, and perfectly well-meaning religions are also often misrepresented by aggressively outspoken individuals. In a lot of cases it's down to the kind of person they are, rather than what god they do or don't believe in. The most common form of atheism is agnostic atheism, whereby a person does not believe in god(s) but acknowledges they cannot be entirely disproved. We understand that absence of evidence doesn't = evidence of absence. Without meaning to sound rude at all, it's just as difficult to prove there isn't a giant invisible polkadot space octopus floating around that controls our dreams - since if the universe really is infinite, technically nothing can be fully dismissed! I personally don't condone asking believers for 'proof of God' though, because I know their faith is enough for them - they don't need to justify it any other way to others - but that's what you see disrespectful atheists doing. You can also be an agnostic theist: which is to believe in god(s), but also acknowledge they can't truly be proven to exist. Gnostic theists/atheists, on the other hand, assert that they know there is/isn't a god. There is another term that many non-religious people use: apatheism, which is the state of not caring whether or not deities exist because the answer doesn't affect their life as they live it anyway. I'd say that makes me an apatheistic agnostic atheist! c:
Some points about atheism:
Atheism is no more a religion itself than 'not skiing' is a hobby. It isn't a set of beliefs, there is no doctrine, we don't have 'atheist prophets' (in fact a lot of us think people like Richard Dawkins, who just condescendingly insult religion, are prats) and it doesn't define a way of life or thinking. This is why 'atheist' is more of an adjective than a noun (to me anyway) - atheism isn't an organised group of people like religions are.
Atheism ≠ 'anti-religion': even if some atheists are against religion, that's not what defines us.
You don't have to be atheist to be a keen scientist or agree with scientific theories, and doing so doesn't make you atheist. Many people happily accept scientific ideas into a religious world-view, and many scientists are religious! Science and atheism just tend to go hand-in-hand because it provides the alternative explanations which sit better with a non-religious view of our existence: and there's no such thing as 'Religion vs. Science' anyway! The scientific method only tries to find out what we can about the physical universe, it doesn't actively seek to destroy religious ideas.
Atheism (or at least agnosticism) is the most common standpoint among my generation in the UK, so I probably feel more free to speak about it than somebody living in a more religious society. Always bear in mind how different social norms can be!
Some common misconceptions answered:
"Atheists lack morality." We may not follow any doctrine, but as humans we are all generally bestowed with basic common sense and a moral compass. I don't think anybody needs a book or regular sermons to tell them that unkindness, theft and killing are wrong - this seems obvious, but it's incredible how many times I've been called 'immoral' on the basis of my atheism by people who know nothing else about me.
"Atheists are just scared of God." We can't be scared of something we don't believe in. This is the same as accusing a Christian of being afraid of the Norse god Thor, on the basis that they don't have faith he exists.
"Atheists aren't living for anything." Faith isn't all there is to life: separate factors govern our well-being, motivation and happiness. I, like many, just don't personally have a space for religion to fill - and we're no worse-off for that. I'm living for myself, my friendships, and all the wonderful things to experience on Earth!
"Atheists need to be saved/prayed for." This is an opinion some devoted religious people may hold very strongly, and I can see how it's well-meaning - but as it's not at all what we believe, it can feel like you're being condescending or trying to dictate how we should live and think. Please refrain from trying to force an atheist round to your personal views if they make it clear they don't want you to - but if you really want to pray for them because it puts your mind at ease, feel free to do so privately. Telling an atheist "I'll pray for you" can come across as passive aggressive or patronising, even if not intended!
Everybody thinks in a completely individual way, holds their own opinions, and is fulfilled by different things. Our actions as people and the way we treat others define us far better than our beliefs, so judging someone purely on their faith or lack thereof is something I'll never condone. I fully accept that some people feel happiest with faith in their lives: and I wish more people, both atheist and religious, could understand the fact that religious beliefs are deeply personal so should neither be attacked nor imposed upon others.
I personally love seeing people made happy and fulfilled by their religious and spiritual beliefs, even though it's different to what fulfils me
To sum up, I doubt atheists would feel like they needed a voice at all if it weren't for the fact religious extremists sometimes stand in the way of progress and cause discrimination/violence in the name of their god(s), or if we didn't come up against the above kinds of stigma just for not believing in deities. In the broadest sense, all secular-thinking atheists like me really care about is improved knowledge, free-thinking and fairness in the world: you can be religious and want exactly the same of course!!
Thanks if you read all of this, and please feel free to ask questions! This Wiki article has even more info on atheism, and why people choose to be atheist.
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Muddied waters with people throwing out definitions in the air..."Oh I'm an agnostic atheist" or "I'm an agnostic/theist", "2+2=5"...then they believe that their redefining words is truth, when their concepts created by the mind, in which they can't even trust.
May as well go with the idea that married bachelors exist.....
I'd say more annoyance-driven sarcasm than actual satire, tbh :)
For one, language and its use constantly evolves to accommodate new meaning and ways of thought, and it's pointless being opposed to that. For another, human beliefs and spirituality are complex (perhaps more so now than ever), so combining terms helps better explain how we experience (or don't experience) them. We now recognise it as two crossing spectra, as illustrated by this chart, which recognises you can have more/less of a belief and more/less certainty of it - 'believer vs. non-believer' is overly simplistic in today's world. Similar diagrams (like the Nolan Chart) are often used to describe political affinities, just to show you this isn't some silly new concept with no underpinning principles. Philosophy may say we can't technically trust our own minds, but since these concepts pertain only to our own minds and how we perceive ourselves, that's a moot point. And the combining of two descriptive terms to create something more correct doesn't at all equate to a '2+2=5' scenario. Hope that helped explain why it makes sense for people to use these terms to describe themselves! :)
Evolving languages is a cop out. Why? Because people who attempt to change the meaning of words, deny truth. And they do so to accommodate their own philosophical world views...."Oh I'm not a pedophile, I'm an admirer of children." It's philosophically fallacious, dishonest.
Combining terms just proves that people are more confused today than ever.
"We now recognise it as two crossing spectra, as illustrated by this chart, which recognises you can have more/less of a belief and more/less certainty of it - 'believer vs. non-believer' is overly simplistic in today's world."
What human being reasoned this kind of world view, and why did you choose to believe it? Because it accommodates the confusion better? There is no way in science to prove that this is a far better view, there is no evidence to prove that this is even accurate? Why? Because it comes from the mind of a human being producing claims of the mind, that he can not prove are objectively true. They are byproducts of the electro-chemical reactions that stir up in his brain, that he happens to feel better about.
"Philosophy may say we can't technically trust our own minds, but since these concepts pertain only to our own minds and how we perceive ourselves, that's a moot point."
Sorry, but evidence do you have that proves that claim you just made is objectively true? Because you're using philosophy to debunk philosophy. So, was I right? "Since these concepts pertain only to our own minds, and how we perceive ourselves, that's a moot point." Says who? Also, I was right, you're accommodating yourself confusion.
"And the combining of two descriptive terms to create something more correct doesn't at all equate to a '2+2=5' scenario. Hope that helped explain why it makes sense for people to use these terms to describe themselves! "
Why should anyone use those terms, if your lack of belief in God is based on evidence, and you only believe that which is based on evidence, then what evidence do you have that anyone should use these terms to describe themselves? Please by all means, present me with evidence, that prove those terms are true. If one can not provide them, then you're belief in these terms is faith based.
I just can't with this. I don't know why you have such a stick up your ass, but if you go through life letting this kind of mediocre thing get on your nerves you're not going to have a very good time. Much more irritating stuff exists that's worth actually being concerned about, and the words people use to describe their personal beliefs isn't one of 'em. Focus on something more important.
I'm just asking questions. If you don't believe in God, because there is no evidence for God's existence, and thus you would only believe in something or that something is true unless it has evidence, why do you believe anyone ought to believe as you do, when you have no evidence for it?
I'm not bothered by it, it's not about me, it's about the subject of conversation.
Why are you running from the conversation? You accuse me of being upset, bothered, and I'm not. You didn't answer any of my questions, and now you're just dismissing the conversation and say..."Oh there's better things to worry about than this, why do you even bother?"
You're the one who posted this, I just commented and asked questions, you're unable to answer.
Because I'm conversing with someone on a topic, doesn't mean my life is wrapped up in our conversation.
It's almost as if you're committing a Red Herring fallacy.
If you don't want to discuss it, and if you can't answer my question, just say...'I don't know." Then that will be all.
I simply don't think you're asking questions worth me answering, and I don't see any need for some philosophical debate about why these terms should/shouldn't exist - they do, they make sense to those who use them, and nobody needs 'evidence' of anything to simply use language that exists for this purpose - what 'evidence' should they need?
why do you believe anyone ought to believe as you do... First, I don't. Second, what am I 'believing' here? That words with meaning exist? Uh
Yes I posted this stamp and welcome comments, but I'm not obliged to entertain someone who I think is splitting unnecessary hairs - that's not 'running from the conversation', that's picking my battles. I barely get to spend time on dA these days, and I don't plan to waste my precious couple of hours arguing. I don't want to discuss with you. That indeed is all. Have a good day :)
"agnostic theist: which is to believe in god(s), but also acknowledge they can't truly be proven to exist." Oh... then I wonder what I am then?
I thought I was agnostic leaning to that or just in the middle? I believe that a God could exist, but at the same time, I ask for evidence a lot.. To the point that evidence is my main faith for hoping a God could exist, but currently don't know yet. I'm sometimes open that God may not (Or the main idea I think) exist. I'm sometimes open to many other alternatives such as the theory that 'beliefs create reality'/you are the God.
According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and Atheist is someone who denies the existence of God. Agnosticism, is the believe that God could exist, but is unknown or unknowable. The reason of lack of evidence, or no evidence is not a description included in Atheism or Agnosticism.
The most commonly accepted definition of Atheism is the "lack of belief or disbelief in a god or gods". Atheism is not the assertion that there is no god. Some "Hard" Atheists do assert that "there is no god" for various reasons, but basic Atheism does not make any negative claims concerning the existence of a god or gods. It simply rejects the positive claim that "there is a god". Rejecting a positive claim does not necessitate the acceptance of an equally unfalsifiable negative claim. Saying "I do not believe that X is true" is not the same as saying "I believe that X is false." Atheism and Agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. Atheism deals with belief or disbelief, while Agnosticism deals with knowledge or the lack of. The vast majority of Atheists are what you would call "Agnostic Atheists", including myself, meaning that we disbelieve in a god or gods, but do not reject the possibility. While we do not reject the possibility of a god or gods, we do not assume that a god or gods do exist, due to lack of evidence proving or disproving their existence. It is precisely because of this "lack of evidence" that Agnostics (of any kind) admit that the existence of a god or gods is unknown and quite possibly unknowable.
I believe that when the Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines Atheism as the "denial of the existence of God", it is referring to the many Theistic versions of god found in many religions, such as the Abrahamic faiths. In this way, many Atheists do deny the existence of "God" as defined by Theists, as many of the Theistic concepts of "God" are inherently self contradicting and are expressed only through ancient texts full of holes and inaccuracies. The real problem is that the question "Does god exist?" is incoherent, as "god" has no meaning which is universally accepted. The concept of "god" changes from religion to religion, as well as person to person. In this way, Atheists cannot deny the possibility of a "god" as the word could be taken to mean anything, much of which cannot be proven or disproved.
Agnosticism is much more than just "the belief that God could exist, but is known or unknown." It is an entire perspective of knowledge and its principles can be applied to nearly anything. Agnosticism is, to put it simply, acknowledging uncertainty. Personally, I view all knowledge with a degree of uncertainty, and reject any claims of absolute knowledge (with the exception of self-contradictions).
I really love the idea of this stamp! I'm a Christian myself, but I respect other people's religions or lack thereof, and anything about other human beings. We are all human! Would you mind if I made one similar to this, but for a respectful christian instead?
You know, lately I've been on YouTube comments, and I lost my faith in humanity. Although I'm a (respectful) Christian, It's good to come out of the dark and see that most of you guys aren't obnoxious jerks.
YouTube comment sections seem to bring out the worst people from all walks of life! Yeah, luckily the real world isn't represented in those places - I guess mostly because the respectful people realise it's not worth getting involved c:
Hello Kezzi-Rose! I don't actually like asking things but, I didn't found any stamp (cute like yours) saying something about other religions as well.. Do you mind (as soon as you have time and motivation for it) doing a "respecful christian/muslim/jewish/etc"? I would love to have the other ones too! We (some of us, religious people) are respectful about other people beliefs too! (at least I am hahaha) I would love to see one made by you! thank you for your time!
Hi! Thanks for your comment and suggestion I get quite a lot of stamp requests/suggestions, and I totally understand people wanting to see stamps with their own messages/interests created in my style! However I only tend to make the suggestions that also reflect myself, because my gallery's very personal to me and my views. I'd be very happy to create these kinds of stamps on commission though, and I'll be re-opening stamp commissions when I have the time! c: Have a fab day ♥
I don't believe in god, I don't care to much for Richard Dawkins (he's just never interested me and seems like an ass). I also love my christen friends and respect their choice to believe in a god. It's their personal decision, I have no say in that. Doesn't mean I agree with them, just respect their choice. Thanks for making this.
I wasn't really sure in the start that I am an atheist but I consider myself as one since I really don't care about religion or believe in God since personality is the important thing that matters to me... I still respect christians and other religions who don't shove religion down towards others face... Thanks for the stamp, I'll use it.