Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sphere of Knowledge and Belief

There is a growing number of people that I'm debating with lately who are under the mistaken impression that Atheism is the same as Anti-Theism, that Atheists believe there are no gods. They of course site various definitions that claim that Atheists are people who believe there is no God, singular, referring to the Judeo-Christian deity. Despite how often I attempt to point out that this is not the be all and end all, especially since their quoted definition doesn't even include other deities, they just don't get it.

So, here it is again, in plain english, and with pretty pictures.

"What is Theism? What is Atheism? What is Gnosticism? What is Agnosticism?"

Let's say for a moment that the two theistic positions are a colorful sphere.

Theism is all of the warm colors. Atheism is all of the cool colors.

Of course, this is just the center of the sphere, using only the x axis and y axis. There are also the light levels, on the remaining axis, which are the levels of Gnosis. The darker colors are Gnostisim and the lighter colors are Agnosticism.

This makes a complete sphere, with colors going all around it and the higher the colors the lighter it is.

As you can see, there are many colors and shades of both Theism and Atheism. These are all of the religions and philosophies concerning these two halves of the sphere. Some are more Gnostic than others, purporting more answers to mysterious questions than others. The higher you are on this sphere, the more open your mind is to new things. The lower you are, the more you stick to what you know to be true, despite what others tell you. Obviously, it is not a good idea to be on either the top or the bottom of the sphere, as you would learn nothing in either case.

On the top you accept nothing as knowledge for no one can know anything about anything, and thus always know nothing. You don't even know if YOU exist.

On the bottom, everything is exactly as is, no different, and nothing ever changes. That blade of grass you saw years ago is still right there at this very moment, even if you saw the land it was growing out of destroyed, relocated, and turned into a brick house. By the way, that never happened, either.

So the middle sections, where you can actually see the colors, is the best place to be. It's hard to be in the exact center, but it's always best to attempt to remain as close as possible. You are open minded, but not intentionally ignorant.

So, where does this leave us in this analogy?

By "us" I am referring to the Agnostic Atheists. We are scattered around the upper half of the cooler colors. We are but one quarter of the sphere. Our equal opposite is the upper half of the warmer colors, the Agnostic Theists. Both sides are open minded, but hold their own beliefs.

How does this go against what I've been debating?

The definition of Atheist that I've been handed several times IS Atheism, but only half of it. The darker half. These people seem to think that the bottom half of the cooler colors is all that exists for Atheism. They also think that this is all that exists for Theism. They then place the entirety of Agnosticism as its own thing, which encompasses both of the remaining parts, the entire upper half of the sphere.

They are blind to the real definition and real use of the terms Atheism and Theism, which cannot hold any claims to knowledge in and of themselves. They are blind to the fact that there are four main positions, each with their own shades and colors which are freely traversed as opinions change and knowledge is gained and lost. They are blind… to this.

This very simple, yet very informative analogy.

I'll say it again, because it needs to be repeated until everyone gets the message.

Atheism is simply Without Theism. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less. You either have it or you don't. You either believe or you don't. You're either warm or cool. You cannot be both and you cannot be neither. There is a very fine line that cannot be stepped on, only crossed.

The sooner everyone realizes this, the sooner we can get back to the real issues at hand, like not killing each other for having a differing opinion.