Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Atheistic Agnosticism

Back in April, I brought up the topic of Agnosticism and the differences between it and Atheism. I said that Agnostics have no idea which side is correct and don't take any side or hold any position. After many debates and lots of researching, I have learned that this is false. As it is a fairly large topic and is visited quite often in debates across the internet, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit this topic and offer a better explanation.

So let's jump right into this and get to me pulling my foot out of my mouth.

"What is the difference between Agnosticism and Atheism?"

While it is accurate to say that Atheists are those who do not believe in gods, let's try to refine the categories a little more.

Theism can be loosely defined as:
The belief that a god or gods exist.

Being the opposite of that, Atheism can be loosely defined as:
NOT the belief that a god or gods exist.

The "NOT" is capitalized to add emphasis on the "A" in Atheism. Using the same logic, we can define agnosticism.

A strongly held belief that the truth is known of a certain subject.

NOT a strongly held belief that the truth is known of a certain subject.
The belief that no one knows for sure, regardless of beliefs.

Using the above definitions, it is possible to create four different categories.

Gnostic Theism:
The belief in a god or gods and the belief that it is the absolute truth.

Agnostic Theism:
The belief in a god or gods and the belief that it could be wrong.

Gnostic Atheism:
The disbelief of known gods and the belief that there are none.

Agnostic Atheism:
The disbelief of known gods and the belief that they could exist.

Typically, Atheists fall under the last category. We believe that it is the most open minded position. We also believe that Agnostic Theists are just as open minded. It's when Gnosticism is introduced that we tend to become militant and agressive. When one closes their mind to other options. To settle the question, what the difference is between Atheism and Agnosticism, it is the same as asking what the difference is between "walking" and "fast." They are not in the same category, one modifies the other. Anyone can be agnostic, whether Theist or Atheist.

Which are you?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lacking Gain

I talk with many Theists online, and watch many videos by them. I don't always take things as they come and will sometimes look into a person before considering what they have to offer. Some good people get things wrong and some bad people get things right. It's always good to consider everything before passing judgement.

In this vein, one Theist I happened upon was asking questions of his own to any Atheist that would listen. While most were presented in the form of an attack, one did get to me.

"If Atheism is a 'lack of belief' then how can you gain anything from it?"

While, again, this was an attempted attack on Atheism, I thought it was a decent question and worthy of an answer. The inherent problem, however, is that we don't gain anything. There is nothing to gain from Atheism. On the other hand, there are things to gain by leaving Theism, which had taken them away.

Now, I'm not going to attack Theism by claiming "intelligence" or "morality" is what is taken away. The majority of Theists are intelligent and moral and there are a few Atheists that are unintelligent and amoral. All groups have these characteristics as they are a part of humanity. However, if you have been struggling with your belief, it has been taking away your peace. If it has made you do things you don't want to, then it has taken your happiness. If you'd rather not attend a ceremony for your religion, it has taken your freedom.

One argument made about Atheism is that it should not exist as a term. Non-Stamp-Collecting is not a term, so Atheism should not be a term. And, just like not collecting stamps, there is nothing to gain from Atheism apart from what you had lost. Collecting stamps takes time, energy, space, and at times a great deal of money. Not collecting stamps will save you all of those.

This is not to say you only lose with Theism. You can gain peace, happiness, and freedom from Theism, but only if Theism is for you. If a Theist that is happy with their current life becomes an Atheist, they may actually lose what they had gained from their Theism.

Atheism is not for everyone, which is why this blog does not attempt to force it upon anyone. It's up to you. If you believe in gods, go with Theism. If not, join us.

You have nothing to gain from Atheism, but you also have nothing to lose.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Our Italian King

Welcome to the first anniversary post from the Land of Disillusionment. In this article we will be looking at a strange turn of events that has occurred recently in the debate between Theists and Atheists. This will be a lighter article than the others, but I will not break the tradition of always providing the truth as I know it. So, what is the question being asked today?

"What exactly is Pastafarianism?"

Strange question to ask, right? Well, you will understand once I have answered it.

Pastafarianism is a new religion actually started by an Atheist. Bobby Henderson, the world's first Pastafarian, created this religion to contest the idea of Intelligent Design being added to the Kansas School Curriculum alongside Evolution. The word "Pastafarianism" is a parody of "Rastafarianism" and every prayer ends with "RAmen" rather than "Amen" to support this parody. The irony of this is that, in creating a Theistic religion from scratch, he managed to create one that was more supported by science than any other.

The god of Pastafarianism is the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) who created everything in such a way that science can't tell that it didn't happen as we believe it did. In actuality, however, we humans evolved from Pirates. This is one of the many strange, yet impossible to deny "facts" of Pastafarianism (FSMism) that is mentioned in the original article as well as Henderson's book "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" in which he explains the entire religion in detail, as well as uses some rather profane language and a myriad of insults to people of short stature.

To make a long explanation short, this is a parody religion created for the purpose of showing how ridiculous some Atheists find all religions to be. To further prove the point, a great many Atheists claim to have converted to FSMism after being "touched by His Noodly Appendage." And, since the gospel perfectly explains why science has never been able to disprove this religion, everyone who has joined is declaring it the best religion ever and the only true one.

I would like to emphasize that I am not making any of this up. If you would like to learn more about Pastafarianism, Bobby Henderson, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, feel free to go to the FSM website, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monter.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Divine War

Since Atheists have started to speak out more and more, especially since the invention of the internet, many Theists have been taking a more defensive stance. Atheists are constantly accused of wanting to remove all religions from the world. This prompts most of the direct attacks made on Atheism, such as declaring it a religion.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, however, Theists still believe this to be a valid accusation. Atheists are under constant attack from two fronts, those who want to convert us and those who just want to silence us. Many Atheists obviously fight back, but this usually leads to promoting the accusation to a fact in the minds of Theists. So, let's handle the accusation properly.

"Are Atheists trying to convince everyone to stop believing in their religion?"

No, we are not. And we should not, either. However, when a Theist decides to attack us for being Atheists, we must defend ourselves.

On the other hand, there is a place where religion should not be allowed, and that is when ruling a nation. In America, for example, there is a separation of "Church" and "state" in place. This means the religions can do their thing, as long as they don't break the law, and the government can do it's thing, as long as it has nothing to do with religion. The reason this is in place is to prevent the prejudice we have seen in other countries that have had a religious leader. This is also why American Currency used to have "E Pluribus Unum" on its currency, instead of the now popular "In God We Trust." For those who are unfamiliar with it, "E Pluribus Unum" means "From Many, One" which is the perfect definition for America.

So, no, we are not trying to remove all religion. In fact, there are times when religion can be very helpful. However we are also not permitting religion in governmental decisions nor are we going to stand by while religious people attack us.

To put it quite simply, if they stay out of our lives, we will stay out of theirs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Evidential Proof

As stated before, Atheists are not people that believe in gods. They lack any kind of god whatsoever. This doesn't mean they reject the idea of gods, they just don't believe in any particular god. Why? The most used reason is that there is no evidence for the existence of any known god. This reason usually is not enough for Theistic believers, as it usually prompts a very common question.

"What do Atheists define as evidence?"

You may be surprised at how often this question comes up. Most Atheists are actually surprised that this question is even asked. As far as they knew everyone used the same definition of evidence. However, there are many people that do not look up definitions in dictionaries until pressured to. As such, there are many people using words in the wrong way. To keep things simple, let's look at the dictionary definition of Evidence.

That which tends to prove or disprove something.

That's a pretty simple definition. Evidence is something that proves a claim or disproves a claim. With this definition in mind, most Atheists agree that we currently have no evidence to prove or disprove the claim of gods. This is why there are so many Atheists in the first place.

Theists continue to claim there is evidence for their god(s) and that it is sufficient to prove the validity of their position. However, this simply is not the case. The most evidence that any religion currently has is their holy scriptures, which themselves do not have much credibility or evidence supporting them. Usually this is countered by claiming that their scriptures were divinely inspired, which is not evidence of anything or evidenced by anything.

On the opposite side, it is impossible to provide evidence for a negative claim, only negative evidence to a positive claim. As such it is impossible to prove that no god exists. This is why most Atheists hold the position of lacking evidence for the positive claim that any particular god exists.

So, the best way to convert an Atheist is to provide evidence for your position. And Atheists need to research their own position, to make sure that provided evidence, on both sides, is accurate.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hitting Defense

Atheists are almost constantly under attack, and not always because of their lack of belief. It starts simple enough, they only want to help. However, as the conversation goes on, they begin to notice that you are set in your ways, and that you are, indeed, an Atheist.

This is usually where the conversation begins to take an ugly turn. Without meaning to, both sides begin to accuse the other of various falsehoods. You might accuse their deity of being malicious or having completely illogical attributes, for example. Eventually, however, you may end up facing a rather unpleasant rebuttal.

"Wasn't Adolf Hitler an Atheist?"

This happens far more often than it should. The point of the opposition is to force you to rethink your position. If such an obviously "evil" person was an Atheist, do you really want to be part of this group? How does one respond to such an accusation? Without knowledge of the man, you are forced to find various ways that you are different from him, but you are still left with him being in the same group, which can be an unsettling feeling.

Have no fear, though, for Hitler was NOT an Atheist. This is a common misconception that has been spread around for a significantly long time. It started off as Hitler simply being Anti-Religious because he persecuted the Jewish people. As definitions and stories were passed along and misconstrued over time, the definition of Atheist merged with Anti-Religious and Adolf Hitler became an Atheist.

As pointed out in previous posts, Atheists are not "Anti-" anything, besides the positive claims of deities. So, just by that, Hitler cannot be an Atheist. It goes further than that, though. Hitler said in his book, Mein Kampf, "I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work." And in 1938 he declared, "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." This places Adolf Hitler well within the realm of Catholicism, which is well outside of Atheism.

Not only was Hitler NOT an Atheist, he outright persecuted Atheists! This is rather strange behavior for one with no religious intent. In a speech he made in Berlin in 1933 he said, "We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."

Although Hitler being an Atheist would not mean anything about Atheism, I hope this puts to rest the argument that Adolf Hitler was an Atheist, as it is simply not true. The same also goes for Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. All of these historical figures are used against Atheism practically on a daily basis. While this blog does not condone attacks of any kind on anyone, it is important to know this information in order to defend yourself.

Always do your research before attempting to defend, otherwise you may end up attacking yourself.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


There are many misconceptions about Atheism. Some are larger than others. However, as pointed out in a previous post, the main thing that people get wrong about Atheism is the definition, what Atheism IS. You'll get all kind of accusations about what an Atheist believes, who we follow, even claims that we have a doctrine that all Atheists must follow. However, what this all boils down to is the biggest misconception of them all.

"Isn't Atheism a Religion?"

Short answer, no. But in order to get the reason and to understand it, we must first focus on what a religion is, and why it cannot be applied to Atheism.

A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

The belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

The basic definition of religion is a system of beliefs held by a group of people, usually involving worship or rituals of some kind. So why does this not apply to Atheism? Well, it really is quite simple. Atheism doesn't involve rituals, there is nothing to worship, and there is no set system of beliefs. Some people like to fight that last point. The usual claim is that Atheists believe there are no gods. As stated in the other post, though, this is incorrect.

Atheists have a lack of belief, not a belief in anything. This is all Atheism is. Apart from that, an Atheist can be whatever (s)he wants, even take up certain religions like Buddhism. With all of this in mind, it is very hard to see any reason why anyone would assume Atheism is a religion.

If you have any more questions about this topic, you can check out this link on

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Miraculous Needs

Everyone falls on hard times now and then. Every single person, from the guy on the corner to the rich in high lofts, can fall on hard times and need a helping hand. When this happens, most people will look for sympathy, support, and generally good company. Some go to friends, others family, sometimes to solace of strangers online. However, there is always one thing in common when a religious person is in this situation. They always ask for prayers.

This is nothing new to anyone who knows a religious person. Prayers are common place in religion. However, they are not common place in Atheism. It is very rare for an Atheist to pray. When they do, it is in general, hoping some magical force they never knew about will hear them. To an Atheist, praying is irrational. So, what happens when they see one of these requests?

"How does an Atheist respond to a request for prayers?

Well, most don't. It's quite simple. This person is asking for prayers, and the Atheist can give none so they leave it up to the religious community to handle it. However, sometimes it is a friend or close family member who is asking for the religious act, and it seems serious. One cannot just ignore such a thing, it would be the same as turning your back on them. What do you do?

In most situations, when a prayer is requested, it is for something small like luck. This person is hoping to see someone, catch something, win something. In most of these situations it is okay to ignore, but you can also respond by saying you have your fingers crossed. However, when it is a serious situation, like a cancerous family member or a friend in an accident, something so simple is not good enough, and you definitely cannot ignore the request.

When serious prayer is asked for, and that prayer is for a miracle, you need to step in. However, an Atheist cannot say that they will be praying for them. That is flat out lying. Instead, they need to offer comfort and help where they can. If the person lives close by you can visit them, if not you can chat with them, offering comfort where you can.

It is rather hard to work around a tough situation, where spiritual support is requested. Whenever possible, though, give emotional and physical support, and let the religious people provide the spiritual assistance. Sometimes, that's better than prayer. After all, if everyone is praying, who will be there with the person to give them real-time help when they need it?

So, next time a friend or family member asks for a prayer, don't let them down by ignoring the request. Instead, give what you can and let them know you care. It can go a long way in allowing them to understand you as a person and an Atheist.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Agnostic Atheism

(NOTE: This view was updated in the post Atheistic Agnosticism. Please read that one after this one.)

The question of whether gods and deities exist or not has been debated since humans were first able to question their reality. Everything that we could not explain was the work of some unknown force. We'd place intelligence behind anything that happened. The less we understood about it, the more intelligent something had to be to control it.

Even today, gods are used to fill in the gaps in our understanding. To this day there are still some people who believe there is a god of the sun, a god of lightning, and various demons that can possess and control you to do things you would not normally do. Humans have been around for thousands, if not millions or billions of years -- depending on who you believe and what you consider to be human -- and as recently as 1600 years ago, there were Greeks who believed every natural force of the universe had its own god powering it. There are not nearly as many gods today as there were before. Some religions even throw out all other gods and claim there is only one.

What is the correct answer? The correct answer is that we don't know. Some people claim they know but there is no evidence one way or another, none that can be claimed as scientifically verifiable. Atheists, for the most part, know that there is no current way of knowing and that is their position. We don't know, so we don't think about it. However, this position has lead people to believe we are Agnostic, and that Atheism doesn't really exist. So, I guess the question that must be answered today is:

"What is the difference between Agnosticism and Atheism?"

It's a lot simpler than some might think or lead you to believe. The difference is, in fact, fairly obvious. Let's go with the basic definition of these two terms.

One who does not hold a position.

One who does not believe in gods or deities.

Seems like a fairly strong position. There are those who consider themselves to be Agnostic Atheist or Agnostic Theist, and they are entitled to that label. However, it is not logically possible. In theory an Agnostic Atheist is one who does not believe in gods but feels they could exist. However, this is the position that the previously defined Atheist already holds.

For Atheists, the current gods that they have been made aware of do not have enough evidence to prove their existence, thus they do not believe in them. However, this does not prevent them from existing. Most Atheists will admit to believing it is possible for gods to exist. Those in the scientific community will also mostly agree that gods are not needed for the universe to exist or run. There are even those amongst Atheist who are closed minded and believe that there are no gods, never were, never will be, and nothing can change their minds. This is the worst position to take, as you simply don't know.

So, if Atheists think that there could be gods or deities, doesn't that make them Agnostic?

Not entirely. An Agnostic, as mentioned before, does not hold a position. They are confused over which side to pick. Does the Christian God exist? What about the gods of the Greeks or Romans? Maybe there are no gods... They just don't know. Imagine the gods debate as a battle field. On one side we have the Atheists and on the other we have the Theists. Agnostics are caught in the middle, stuck in the crossfire. Eventually they will be hit by one side or the other and pick a side, or they may continue to dodge the bullets and stay in the middle their entire lives. However, not picking a side is not the same as being Atheist.

So, to be truly open minded is to admit that you do not know for sure. You are basing your opinion on what you do know, but it is still just an opinion. Open minded Theists do not know if there are gods, but they believe in the one(s) they were taught. Open minded Atheists do not know if there are gods, but they don't believe in any they have been informed of.

Agnostics, just don't know.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What Atheists Believe

It's hard to tell sometimes what someone believes in. With the internet, the phone, or any kind of mail, we don't have to actually see people very often, thus become less attached to them and their lives. Unless a topic is volunteered, it never comes up and you never know about it. A friend of yours online might be the exact opposite of what they appear to be online, and you would never suspect a thing because you don't actually see them.

Even if you know what someone is labeled as, that doesn't mean you know what they believe. So what if you are calling yourself a Christian. Does that mean you believe your children should be stoned to death if they put even one foot out of line? Of course not! So the label doesn't provide all of your beliefs. Similarly, not all Atheists believe everything that science tells them, that's just how people interpret the label placed on them.

So, the question I'm building up to is,

“What do Atheists believe?”

This is a difficult question to answer, as all Atheists are different. The best way is to first explain what an Atheist is.

An Atheist is a person that is without a belief in any kind of god or deity.

So, I suppose the more proper question would be what don't Atheists believe in. It is universally accepted by Atheists that no proof of a higher power exists, however, not all Atheists think the same way on other topics. There are some that do not believe in evolution, some that think scientists are conspirators, some that are complete anarchists, and some are even Buddhists.

There are some people who become Atheists for entirely the wrong reasons. For example, there is a very sick person that they are close to that is dying. They pray to their god and nothing happens, the person dies. Suddenly this person decides there must be no god because their prayer wasn't answered. This is a bad reason to become Atheist as an Atheist must be skeptical of gods, not completely denounce them. One quick word from a friend and this person could be theistic again without any harm done to their religious position. The most commonly accepted manner of becoming an Atheist is when someone doesn't see any proof of their god existing, but there are other types.

The only common belief that all Atheists have is that there is no proof of any god or deity, as that is the definition of Atheism, a lack of belief in deities rather than a belief against them. This is why not all Atheists get along and why almost every religion has an instant disposition about them.

In short, we all have come to the conclusion that no proof of any god exists at this point in time, but are open to being proven wrong. Everything else is up in the air.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Theistic Arena

There's a lot of anger being thrown around in the religious arena. A lot of people wouldn't consider it an arena, but there is a battle going on. All religions are fighting each other and all religions are fighting Atheists. There are Theists who understand Atheism well enough to leave it alone just as there are Atheists who understand Theism well enough to leave it alone. However, many insults, slurs, and other ethical, intellectual, and on occasion physical attacks are still being thrown about, from all sides. Agnostics can't even stay neutral as they are forced to stand on one side of the line or the other. Anyone standing on the line is ridiculed from both sides and might as well go into hiding. So, as this is an Atheist blog, not Theist, let's focus on the side we're more familiar with.

"Why do Atheists hate Theists so much?"

Actually, this question is relying on a false statement. Atheists don't hate Theists. Most Atheists see religion as a delusion, true, but we also respect of other's beliefs. We'd rather not have those beliefs be the main driving force of those in power, but we don't mind if you worship God, Allah, Thor, or Buddha. If it makes you happier in life to believe that there is a being with more power and more knowledge than you, who has a plan and wants you to be happy with him, then most of us are all for it. We won't try to stop you from pursuing your own personal happiness, wherever you find it.

Unfortunately, these Atheists aren't as vocal as the ones people mostly encounter. The loud, insulting, and sometimes dangerous Atheists are the most pronounced. There are a few like Thunderf00t from YouTube who are benevolent and just want to reveal our truth to any who will listen. Then there are those like The Amazing Atheist, also on YouTube, who is a little more insulting than most but trying the same thing. He, just like Thunderf00t, is just trying to get people to understand what we know and why we see it as the truth. One thing you have to understand, though, is that these two, as well as a lot of the others on YouTube and similar social networks, are not just being informative but must also be entertaining. Without the entertainment factor no one would sit through the boring parts where they actually explain their position.

As for why the truly dangerous and hateful Atheists hate Theists, I really can't say. Why do the truly dangerous and hateful Theists hate Atheists? There are two sides to every coin, but the answer to your questions doesn't always have to be found on the other side. Sometimes, it's a lot closer to home than you might think. Search within your own group, find the ones that hate the opposing group, and ask them yourself. Maybe you'll get your answer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Atheistic Morality

 The typical Theist will usually proclaim that their morality, their judgment of right from wrong, comes from their deity, their god. Not taking anything too literally, most Theists will take all of the best parts of their religion and use that as a template for what is right and just while the worst parts, the ones their god punished people for, are used for a template of what is wrong and evil. This leaves a bit of a dilemma for the newly Atheistic. If, as you believe, there is no god or deity watching over you and determining what is good and bad then what code of ethics do you follow? How do you know what is right and what is wrong? More specifically...

"Where do Atheists get their morals?"

This is one of the most touchy subjects in the heated debates between Theism and Atheism. Usually, in this case, the Theist will argue that the Atheist gets their morals from their god and just doesn't accept it. However, Atheists don't follow much of an inner code of ethics as much as an outward one. Most of the time, when faced with a moral dilemma, the Atheist will judge based on their life thus far and what's worked in the past, but mostly they will go with the guidelines that their society has set out. However, one moral that seems to reign over all, regardless of area, seems to be freedom. Nearly all Atheists believe that everyone should be free and allowed to do what they want, when they want. They also believe that there could be consequences if you do the wrong thing and to the wrong person.

For example. Let's say the world is full of Atheists. What once ruled the morals of man (religion) is now gone. Stepping away from the implications of whether any particular Theist is right or wrong, what's left to decide what is right and wrong? Two things, societal laws and personal preference. In most situations, the average person will judge their morals on what they don't want done to them. I would never want to be hit in the head with a bat so I would never hit anyone else in the head with a bat. The personal preferences that stand out the most - the ones that the majority of the people have - are made into laws. These laws will allow others to know the majority opinion and what kind of area they are in. Like-minded people will gather and follow the laws so that everyone will live happier, healthier lives. There would always be the odd man out that would be labeled a criminal but the majority will rule. This is exactly how it is today, but the majority of the laws based on the people's preferences are also determined by religion, as that is the majority share of the populace.

So, to put it simply, we get our morals from the same place as everyone else. We just believe we have a more direct source.