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"Faith is not a good reason to believe in any one thing. It's a bad reason to believe in everything. Faith is not synonymous with any one idea; it is synonymous with any strongly held idea, true or not. But one thing faith is not synonymous with is a logically justified idea."

March 18, 2010

Binary Proposition: Atheism or Theism

This is meant to simply clear something up for those who don't seem to understand. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to atheism, and in this case it's probably because of our fickle nature. There seem to be a lot of "Non-Theists" out there who are using many different labels... "Brights, Pearlist, Agnostic, Humanist," etc... What I'd like to explain to those atheists out there is this... Ultimately, there are only two positions: Atheist and Theist.

It's what is called a "Binary Proposition" which means no matter how many different ways you try to classify your position, you will fall ultimately into one of two categories. It's like life and death; you're either dead or alive and there is no transitional state.

The only requirement to be an atheist is you do not currently subscribe to a God belief of any sort. Even if you consider yourself an agnostic, where you currently do not believe a God exists but you're not willing to rule it out entirely because you understand that certainty is impossible, then you're still an atheist.

If you currently believe there is a God, then you're a theist. If you currently do not believe in any God claims, you're an atheist. Agnostic and Gnostic are simply forms of the argument for/against a God belief.

A person can be an Agnostic Atheist, and one can be an Agnostic Theist. Agnosticism says nothing about whether you believe a God exists, but whether or not you believe that a God can be truly knowable.

There is no fence sitting position. You either are an atheist or a theist.


Luigi said...

This is an issue that I fight over with theists and agnostics all-the-time...

Most of the time they just laugh and accuse me of sophism.


Do you have any good books or references that I can send 'em?


SgtHaile said...

I can't think of any books that spend any pages discussing this topic. But the logic is clear and concise. That should be enough. Usually a dictionary is all that is needed to look up these terms and show them what the words mean.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought Atheism; The Case Against God, by George H. Smith explained this pretty good.

Anonymous said...

This isn't entirely accurate. If it's a "you either believe in god or not", one has to define god. It's fully possible to believe that "god" refers to a life principle rather than a man in the clouds, etc. So it's fully possible for there to be a middle ground position. Also remember the believer/nonbeliever binary started with the church. You are still caught up in a church-centric binary.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on the Foxhole Atheist Blog do not necessarily represent those of Atheism or all Atheists, seeing as how Atheism has no tenets, dogma or doctrines. So Suck it!