- faith, or the lack of.
I don’t believe in god or gods of any kind. I also don’t consider myself to be an atheist or agnostic. Putting specific terms on just not getting involved in something is just silly. Why does religion seem to differ in this respect?
I think more and more that’s becoming true. It did make sense to have a word for the nonreligious, in the days when religion was presumed, where most people were indoctrinated into a faith as a matter of course, and where lacking faith could actually be quite a big deal. If 90% of people were deep see divers, you probably would want a word for the Dry. But as time has passed and religion has declined that’s really stopped being the case.
Is it important? Well, it probably encourages people to think things like “atheism is a faith”, or “atheism is the rejection of the knowledge of god” because it makes it into a thing you do, rather than the absence of a thing you do. Words do matter, and all of these words came into use in a different, religious world and carry with them the assumptions and implications of that world. The entire reason that Huxley invented the term was that he was dissatisfied with the wrongheaded way the world talked about lack of faith, and thought that people loaded “atheist” with too many false assumptions for him to be happy considering himself one.
(yes, I know some people will claim that most people here are still religious, and point to the census or similar… so before that happens I’ll just respond that if you ask the census question, then follow it with “Do you believe in Christ”, only 48% of all the “Christians” do. And just over half believe in God.)
Atheism means, quite simply, “without god”. It doesn’t imply anything more. Agnosticism is the more complex concept, it means “without the knowledge of god”, and includes concepts like the truth of god being fundamentally unknowable.
But Ingersoll summed it up very well, “The Agnostic is an Atheist. The Atheist is an Agnostic. The Agnostic says, ‘I do not know, but I do not believe there is any God.’ The Atheist says the same. ” What’s changed isn’t words or definitions, it’s the assumptions that sit along with the words. As religion declines, so does the assumption that you must believe in something.Posted 5 months ago
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