Just a little rant about the labelling and categorising of people on here into small pockets. I tend to stay out of religious debates, and there is a good reason.
And that reason is that I simply do not know enough about religion, in fact I effectively know zilch. Before coming to hubpages I simply considered myself to have 'no-religion'. For months I simply allowed myself to be categorised into a group of people referred to as 'athiests'.
I was called 'athiest' so many times that I began to consider myself an 'athiest'. I even marked 'athiest' on a job application, and when asked by a Jewish man whether I had a religion a few months ago I stated that I was 'athiest'. People on hubpages genuinely talked me into believing that I was an 'athiest'.
So recently I began reading about Athiesm, since I had been informed by so many people that I was one. Now, I am actually an individual who has never previously given any thought whatsoever to the existance of a Deity.
Well, actually I have. I don't believe that any immortal supernatural being exists. But an athiest suggests that the 'subscriber' to this particular chain of thought has considered wide 'evidence' and theories and come to their own self-educated opinion on whether a deity exists. That opinion is of course, that no they do not belive - based on evidence and extensive reading and debate - that a deity exists.
Since I have absolutely no interest in religion whatsoever, and would rather eat my own poop then read the bible (far too big), I could fall within any of a wide range of groups whilst still not believing in the existance of a deity. I could be grouped into athiesm, nonthiesm, agnosticism, ingnosticism, antireligion, skepticism, freethought, antithiesm, or secular humanism. All of those chains of thought fall within 'Irreligion'.
From now on I will take exception to anybody who categorises or labels me as an 'athiest'. I am in fact 'Irreligious', in fact I am probably not even that. I am 100% apathetic. I couldn't give a monkeys.
But what I most definitely not is an athiest. That is like me grouping all believers in god into the category 'catholics' or all Islamics into 'Sunni', or all science fiction fans into 'Jedi'.
Good for you. We should never be what somwone else wants us to be. We are who we are. Period. Actualy I think that we are much more than what we think that we are. But one thing that we should not be is who someone else tells us that we are suposed to be.
To thyne on self be true. Follow God! If ya don't see God; follow yourself till God gets there.
Hi friend ryankett
One has the right to declare one's own faith; so if you are not an Atheist, it is good for us.
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim
You may not want to go by the label "atheist," but you are still an atheist by definition. If you don't believe that a God exists, then you fall under that category whether you like it or not. Of course, what you prefer to be called is your choice.
I call myself an atheist and have written extensively on it here at HP. However, I like what Sam Harris, an author of books critical of religion, says about labeling people atheists. He says, "It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma."
Being more of a Noam Chomsky fan, I would completely disagree, atheism is literally the rejection of gods, Ryan is correct (of course, since he is describing a personal value) and using appropriate language when he prefers irreligious.
Your def and use inherently accepts that there is something to be rejected - but if there is no spoon then one needs not reject it nor use a word that is based on the existence of that something.
Your quote by Sam Harris is in agreement with my mode of thinking, your personal statement is disagreeing with Sam Harris, myself and the person who was stating a personal mode of thought.
I like the quote though, will have to look further into his works. I am not an atheist either.
You, like many others, are under the assumption that atheism implies something other than what it actually means. Atheism is simply the absence of belief in a God. Atheism isn't acknowledging that there is something there to reject, but rather, that all claims that there is something there (a God) are without merit. No one can say, with absolute certainty, that there is no God of any kind. One can only say that all arguments and evidence thus far presented have failed to adaquetly demonstrate that such an entity exists.
I live in the United States which makes me a citizen of the United States. If I didn't like that fact, I could call myself a citizen of the North American Continent or a resident of the North Western Hemisphere. All are valid. However, I still could not escape the fact that I am, by virtue of my location, a citizen of the United States. I can no more escape this fact than ryankett can escape the fact that he is an atheist by virtue of his not accepting the claims of theism. He can still call himself whatever he wants though and that's fine.
And please do check out Sam Harris's writings. You won't be dissapointed.
Athiesm is a (the absence) of theism (belief in gods). Nothing more.
So anybody who believes that a diety does not exist falls within 'athiesm'?
Because my point is that, based solely on that one piece of information, I could fall within any one of several other classifications. Such as Ignosticism, Antireligion, or Antitheism.
Each of those are distinctly seperate from Athiesm. The absense of belief in a deity alone does not necessarily mean that I am an athiest, it does not matter to me which definition you choose to accept.
Perhaps if you could give me one good reason why I should be considered athiest, rather than say... as an example, Ignostic.
You cannot. Because like so many others, you wrongly label all 'non-believers' with the same tag. I am no athiest, I am irreligious.
I am now going to quote Wikipedia, whilst not the most reliable of sources, I am pushed for time and I like this quote:
"An ignostic maintains that they cannot even say whether he/she is a theist or an atheist until a sufficient definition of theism is put forth."
I am not suggesting that I am ignostic. But that is one clear example, from many, which show that I do not have to label myself as an athiest purely on my lack of belief in a god.
In this country there is a clear choice on application forms or census data to choose 'irreligious' or 'no religion' as an alternative to 'agnostic' or 'athiesm'. It is my right therefore to reject athiesm and choose to consider myself 'irreligious'.
I think you and many others have a fundamental misunderstanding of what these labels actually mean. Atheism is actually the default position on the existence of a God.
You seem to be under the impression that one cannot fall under multiple labels. Yes, anyone who does not accept the theistic claim that there is a God is an atheist by definition. They could also be an agnostic, an ignostic, an anti-theist, a rationalist or a skeptic among many other things, but not necessarily all those things or a combination of some of those things because some labels are mutually exclusive.
I consider myself an agnostic atheist, but I mostly just refer to myself simply as an atheist. Some people prefer to just call themselves atheists and some prefer agnostic or some other label. You just have to decide what it is you believe and pick the label that properly describes your belief stance and is something you feel comfortable with. I'm not, despite what you and others may believe, trying to make you feel like you must adopt a certain label.
I think that it may be you who does not understand. Just to use my example again, an ignostic believes that they cannot state whether they are an athiest or a thiest.
How could I call myself an ignostic athiest? Or an ignostic thiest? I cannot. The key words that you use there are "I consider myself an". Well.... "I consider myself to be irreligious". And that should be the end.
Thank you though, for showing me that non-believers can be just as forthright as believers in trying to impose their own beliefs or opinions on others.
Do you even read my posts in their entirety? You said that I have shown you that non-believers can be just as forthright in trying to impose their own beliefs or opinions on others, but I can't for the life of me see how you can say that when I said in my last post, and I quote, "You just have to decide what it is you believe and pick the label that properly describes your belief stance and is something you feel comfortable with. I'm not, despite what you and others may believe, trying to make you feel like you must adopt a certain label."
A person either accepts the claims of theism - which would make them a theist - or doesn't accept the claims of theism - which would make them an atheist. A person could be an Ignostic and an atheist since most Ignostics would not accept the claims of theism. You see, it's just like the fact that a person can be a citizen of the European Continent while also being a citizen of France. Do you see the analogy? Atheism is a term that describes belief, while terms like Ignostic describe something different. HOWEVER, YOU DON'T HAVE TO ADOPT THE LABEL OF ATHEIST IF THAT IS YOUR WISH. Irreligious is fine, but there are many people who believe in God who also call themselves irreligious.
Its like, cats are animals, but not all animals are cats. And a fern is a plant, but not all plants are ferns. Subcategories.
Ok thats fine. Well I reject the label of 'athiest' wholeheartedly. I define myself as having 'no religion', if I was really pushed into a corner and had to explain further than perhaps 'Ignostic'. I do not believe that I could speculate as to whether or not a 'god' exists until it is clear to me precisely what 'god' is supposed to be. Do I believe in a supernatural being? Most certainly not. Do I believe that jesus existed? Yes I believe that he existed, as a normal human being with a kind heart but a bit of an ego and a thirst for fame. Do I believe that jesus has a father? Yes I believe that jesus had a father, since without a father his birth would not have been possible.
So I believe in the father of jesus. Do I believe in a supernatural being who created this planet? No, unless that supernatural being is 'the sun'. If 'the sun' is god, then I believe in it. Since the sun is the source of all life, I would happily worship it. In fact I do worship the sun, I fly halfway around the world in order for it to give me a suntan. So if 'the sun' could be considered 'supernatural' then perhaps I would be a thiest. You tell me what 'god' is or is supposed to be, and I will tell you whether or not I believe that he exists. Since nobody can fully agree on precisely who or what god is, I am not in the position to agree or deny his/her/its existance.
I neither disbelieve or believe in a 'god', depending on what that god is/was supposed to be. I can therefore not be a thiest or an athiest.
I will add that I could of course be a Buddhist (the religion for which I have the most respect).
Buddhists are of course nontheistic. They do not refute or confirm the existance of a god/diety, and is not about believing or not believing in God or gods. True buddhism teaches that the worship in a god is not necessary in order to achieve enlightenment. Some dismiss this as a philosophy rather than a religion.
Since Buddhists can believe in a diety or dieties, or not believe in a diety or dieties, then they cannot be classified as a group into 'athiesm' or 'thiesm'. The are devotional to buddha, but this symbolises the breaking of bonds to ego.
The bolded statement is agnostic:
"By definition, an agnostic is not committed to believing in or disbelieving in the existence of God."
But am I? I could be.....
"An ignostic maintains that they cannot even say whether he/she is a theist or an atheist until a sufficient definition of theism is put forth."
I am sticking with ignostic!
It's a plan:)
We'll start calling you Iggy. hee hee
Now from the other angle, if you want an "anti-religion" label, go with secular.
That's just a philosophical cop-out. Ignosticism was clearly just invented by people in the 17th Century or something when it was considered heretic to be atheist. It also implies that you are actively looking for a sufficient definition of theism, which would be subjective anyway.
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs (obviously) and your beliefs are valid even if you're not an expert on the subject. I don't believe that you don't know what you think. My question is, what do you believe? If you don't want to say you're atheist then there must be certain kinds of 'gods' that you think are possible. Also, don't use the word 'God' because that has similar definitional problems like theism does.
With all due respect, we are NOT LABELS, we are people. Describing who we are and what we believe is not us. It is a description of us. So categorizing as you have, insisting it further, doesn't mean that Ryan or any of us are any label at all.
I'm not an atheist, either. But I certainly can't lump myself with believers. They are both strange and foreign to me.
So anybody who believes that a diety does not exist falls within 'athiesm'?
Like I said above, I could chose 'Ignosticism'. Are you denying the existance of a group of people who consider themselves 'Ignostic'?
Surely I have enough right to declare myself as 'Ignostic' as I do to declare myself as a 'theist' or an 'athiest', and my belief should therefore be respected and acknowledged just as equally?
Atheism assumes the default position is one of belief. Which belief? Since there are so many varying beliefs, it can't be used to describe a disbelief in any particular god. As well, there are other entities that are claimed to exist that are not gods but still fall into the realm of those beliefs.
Are people born believing in their gods? If not, then the default position is not one of belief or disbelief. It is neither. So, it would stand to reason that unless a person was indoctrinated into a particular religion throughout their childhood, the default position can remain with a person their whole lives, as in the case of ryankett. Hence, he is not an atheist or any other label believers may wish to place upon him.
Words, words, words.
What's fascinating is that we're disagreeing, if indeed we are disagreeing, not merely about the definition of "atheism," but about the authority of that definition. That is to say, the definition of "definition."
Ryankett, Beezedad, and sunforged think the term "atheism" itself implies a particular worldview, and thus cannot be used to cover a group of people that do not subscribe to or participate in that episteme. I'm not using the term "ideology" because it's too specific. By "episteme" I mean a general system that governs knowledge and discourse in a particular era. Their comments point out the social and historical reasons behind the word "atheism."
David Bowman, quite convincingly, argues that "atheism" is actually a broader term that does not denote a specific ideology or imply a broader cultural system. His assumption is that the word itself is merely descriptive (even if it is socially and historically informed). Absent of its connotations the word simply means "absence of a belief in god." A-Theism.
So I'm not sure what to say. I agree with ryankett that there a number of alternative words that describe someone who does not believe in God or who do not participate in the "god" episteme. However, these words are problematic too. For instance, "irreligious," implies to me the absence of religion. Someone who is irreligious thinks religion is useless. The problem is someone could be religious, but not actually believe in God or gods. He might follow a set of traditions, but not think his actions are done in reverence to a deity. He would then be a religious atheist! Or a religious anti-theist.
Thus, all words are problematic. So who gets to define them? Who or what decides what a definition really is?
A side note. "Atheist" and does not fall into the "i before e except after c" rule. It's spelled "atheist" like "theist" or "sovereignty."
I would like to be considered a ninja, please. maybe an irreligous ninja?
My personal opinion is that yes, yes you can consider yourself to be an irreligious ninja. It is a matter of choice, you could make your own religion up if you want.
In the 2001 census in England and Wales, 0.79% of people chose to state their religion as 'jedi'. In the same year 1.5% of New Zealanders chose 'Jedi' on their census, and 0.37% of Australians chose to state 'Jedi'. In New Zealand there were more 'Jedi' than Hindu or Buddhist.
And so we have it, Jedi is now a religion. And that is fair enough. Since many religious factions enjoy financial gain, perhaps you should widen your market and go with 'Irreligious antijedi ninjas'.
This is now my favorite thread.
So, would Antijedis in general be speaking Klingon?
I'm not sure, I suppose that the antijedi would simply be the 'darkside', so perhaps we could do some rewording, we need to add some 'cisms' 'ists' and 'icts' on the end of some of the words.... if not the masses wont swallow it.
How about.... 'irreligious antijedistic ninjacism' (AKA.... The Darksidists).
No I haven't, but it is sitting in a pile of borrowed DVDs on my coffee table waiting to be watched
Is it any good? The reviews aren't great... hence the reason it is now gathering dust...
No, but Romulon us what they speak in Romania.
I am also, not an athiest and don't know what it is!! I am an Islamist.
Im changing my religion. I am against I beofre E rules. but still a ninja.
I'm with you, but I reject my previous assertion that "i before e" is a rule. What is meant by rule? Before we discuss any further we need a workable definition of "rule." Certainly there may be exceptions to rules, but there are so many exceptions to this rule (which we haven't defined yet), then it might as well not be called a rule. After repeating "rule" so many times it starts to lose its meaning. A silly collection of letters this "rule" is.
I grew up in a country where communism was one and only "religion". You were supposed to be atheist regarding anything else. To believe in God was antisocial and dangerous.
Now I live in a country where not to believe in God was considered and still considered by many antisocial and ... "not nice". Atheist is a bad word. Atheist = non-believer in christian morality and norms of behavior,rebel, outcast,poor,not trustworthy,unreliable, everything "un-" and not good. Is it? No, it is not.
I don't believe in God.
I believe in human race.
I believe in human being. Who can make a difference and change the world. We will change world for better, I am sure.
I've been following this discussion and I'm not entirely sure which side of the debate I fall on. I think the point that everyone is missing is that religion and God are completely seperate.
I don't really know what Irreligious is, but I'm fairly sure that it has nothing to do with a belief in God. You can disagree with the nature of religion but believe in God and, as I discovered a little while ago, apparently there are people who are religious but don't believe in God.
In terms of belief in God either you believe in him (theist), you don't (atheist) or you don't know (agnostic). I'm not even entirely sure you can really be agnostic.
When a religious person describes themselves as Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever their beliefs about God are implied in their label, but that doesn't mean you would describe them also as being (mono/poly) theistic. Similarly when someone describes themselves as atheist it is assumed they are non-religious, unless otherwise specified. I often tell people I'm atheist and jewish because I don't believe in God but I don't want to lose my Jewish heritage.
So you don't believe that there can be a middle ground? Where people neither believe or do not believe in a deity?
I consider myself entirely impartial, apathetic, disinterested. I would be unwilling to consider myself to be either a believer or a disbeliever without understanding what it is that I am supposed to be believing or disbelieving in. Can you understand that?
You can take Buddhism out of your list, seeing as they believe that the existance of a diety is irrelevant to their religion or the objectives of their religion.
You tell me that you do not believe in the existance of god, but you do not believe in the existance of god by your own perception. The 'god' which you do not believe in may be very different to the 'god' which I do not believe in. And that is my point. The Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods. Do I believe in cats? Yes I believe in cats. I don't believe in the cats 'afterlife' though.
It is of course fully within your own right to believe in a clear boundary between 'theism' or 'atheism', that is your own belief and should be respected. It is my personal belief that I fall within neither.
I'm not sure if there can be a middle ground. My instinct tells me no. Either you believe in God or you don't, I think that if you 'don't know' I would say it means that you've been thinking about it and are mid-questioning.
Buddhism is in the list for precisely that reason. Their beliefs about God are implied in the religion. No, they don't believe in God, or at least not in the same way as Christians/Hindus but when someone says they are Buddhist you understand what their belief in God.
The Egyptians believed cats were a god. The Hindu's believe cows are sacred. Buddhists don't kill worms because they could have been their mothers in a previous life (or something like that). But if you don't believe in re-incarnation then you won't believe that. If you don't believe in any kind of higher being then you're not going to subscribe to any version of God.
There is also an argument that if you don't believe in the theist version of God then it's not God you believe in. Personal Gods etc. And therefore you are an atheist.
But that would simply suggest that you reject the ideas of Ignosticism. Lets say that I consider myself to be ignostic.
You claim that I cannot be ignostic, I claim that I am. In fact I am ignostic, I have decided that I am ignostic. Telling me that I cannot be ignostic would be just like a christian telling a muslim that their beliefs are wrong.
Denying the existance of a middle ground simply denies me the right to my own personal belief. I subscribe to ignosticism. Ignostics do not believe that they can consider themselves to be athiest or thiest.
And this is my point really. Society wants me to fall within one of two clear groups, I reject that idea wholeheartedly, and declare myself to be ignostic.
You are whatever I label you.
To me. For your part, you can label yourself however you wish.
Labels are just time savers. Few care what your specifics are; those who do will ask. If they ask me, I'll answer "atheist". You can answer whatever you want.
This is where it gets a bit tricky for me. I certainly do not believe in the god or gods that others, whether Christian or otherwise, believe in. I think there is something powerful in the universe that is quite infinite and aware. I'm not sure of anything else. I only sense this and at times feel it.
However, I cannot lump myself with any religion or with atheists or agnostics. Buddhism certainly doesn't fit me very well. So rather than allow any of those labels, I simply say to those who persist that I have a spiritual side. And that's all.
So I am one who doesn't entirely agree with the idea of labels. It's not that I'm outside of any of that, it's just that I don't feel comfortable with those presented except for maybe jen's "mid-questioning".
As a possible alternative why not take a look at this hub
Like me you may be happier accepting something that was around before any God or Religion was even invented.
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