Saturday, 17 March 2007

Atheist? Who me?

I don't like the word Atheist. I think because it was such a loaded term back when I was a Christian. Since walking away from Christianity I have come to realise that just as there are many kinds of Christians, there are many kinds of Atheists.

It seems there are two main types of Atheists. Active Atheists are those believe there is no god and are certain of it while passive Atheists feel there is not enough evidence to warrant or justify a faith in a god. It may sound like semantics but the difference is marked. The passive Atheist is really more like what most Christians would define as an Agnostic. To many though, the term Atheist seems to be the active kind, and I am not that.

As you know, I label myself an Agnostic on this blog, but the thing is, I am not entirely comfortable with that term either. It sounds, I dunno, kind of weak. As if I am simply not informed enough to be a Christian or an Atheist. It means to not have gnosis or knowledge. As a matter of fact, I feel that as an Agnostic I have far more information and knowledge than I ever had as a Christian. Go figure.

Some have suggested other labels such as non-Theist, unbeliever or free thinker. But the problem with these terms is that they are derived from the terms believer and Theist, thus denoting a stance opposed to belief or faith. Some have suggested using the term a bright to define unbelievers thus creating a word not linked to belief. A bright is someone who believes as they do and is not defined by those who believe otherwise. Just as a Muslim, Hindu or Jew is not defined by their stance toward Christianity, a bright is not defined by their stance on Theism.

According to some definitions I am an Atheist, unbeliever, non-Theist and a bright. You pick which one you want to see me as. For now I am sticking with Agnostic, it seems less...Atheistic.

Richard Carrier has more to say on the matter here.


Peter said...

Yeah labeling is tricky. I've gone with Aint-Christian.

That'll do me for now.

Anonymous said...

I'm an apatheist