Start with a Few Definitions
Theism vs. Atheism
Theism and Atheism are philosophical positions of belief of the claims:
- Claim 1 - "A god (or gods) exist."
- Claim 2 - "No god (or gods) exist."
If you DO NOT accept Claim 1, you are an Atheist. Generally, if you DO NOT accept Claim 2, you would be considered a Theist; however, an Atheist may also deny acceptance of Claim 2.
How can an Atheist deny the acceptance of both claims? Well, that's where Gnosticism comes into play. Gnosticism is the philosophical position of having knowledge or knowing. An agnostic is not the "twilight zone" of belief, it is a label given to Theists and Atheists dependent on there position of the above two claims.
If you accept one of the two claims above you are gnostic theist or gnostic atheist. In other words, you are claiming to know that a god (or gods) exists or does not exist. If you deny the claims, you are an agnostic theist or atheist.
I am an agnostic atheist. Meaning, I do not claim to know one or both to be true or false, therefore I do not accept the claims to be true and I do not claim that either are false.
If you do not accept the claim that a god (or gods) exist, isn't that the same as saying they do not exist?Short answer: No. The fact that I also DO NOT accept the claim that a god (or gods) do not exist does not mean I must accept the claim that a god (or gods) DO exist. Thus, explaining how an atheist can deny acceptance of both claims.
For more clarification on this matter, check out the ironchariots.org page on Atheist vs. Agnostic.
"When did you decide that God doesn't exist?"This was a real question asked of me by a theist friend of mine (yes a theist and an atheist can co-exist peacefully). As I stated earlier, I do not claim that a god (or gods) do not exist, I simply do not accept the claim that a god (or gods) exist. (By the way, typing the word exist over and over again makes me think that the word 'exist' is spelled wrong. That may just be me. Thank Les Earnest for spell check).
I grew up in a secular home. My mother is anti religion, but believes that if you are a good person you will go to heaven after you die. My father is a christian, but hasn't claimed, or more accurately picked, a denomination. My aunt, my mother's sister, is a "devout" Pentecostal christian. I mention my aunt, because every once in a while she would take my brother, sister, and I to church with her and we would sit in Sunday school. It was never against our will, but I never believed in God until I was 15. I was "saved" and "baptized", respectively, within a month of each other.
For the next few years I gradually increased the time I spent praying and studying the Bible. I had gotten to the point where I claimed that God existed and "He told me" to become a preacher. As I prayed and studied, I started to apply my natural skepticism to the bible and the existence of God. The more a read and the more I prayed, the more questions I had and the more religiously skeptic I became.
Since the preachers and pastors were "told by God" what verses to develop their sermons on, I decided to read the parts of the bible that I never heard anyone talk about. Oh boy was my faith in for a wake up call. I learned about all the immoral "laws" and events "justified" by God and I was not happy. I had so much wanted believe that the bible was a good and moral source to live life by. I lived in denial for a while longer, ignoring these parts of the bible, saying things like, "Well, what it REALLY means to say is..." and "You're not interpreting it they way God meant it to be."
Eventually, I stopped putting up with the hypocritical drama that takes place amongst church goers and stayed away. I continued to study the bible and pray that God would give me "a sign", which I now refer to as substantial evidence, of "His" existence. I stopped referring to myself as a christian and began to "secretly" search for proof of God's existence, hoping to convince others and, more importantly, myself. I gave up when I realized that if substantial evidence of a god (or gods) had existed, I wouldn't have to have searched so hard for so long.
Around 18 years old, I decided that I didn't believe that a god (or gods) exist. I was finally free from the guilt that was assigned to me by an organization that has been responsible for genocide, organized crime, and the intense resistance to the discovery of truth by the scientific community.
I was inspired to start this blog, and soon my podcast, by a show I found on YouTube, The Atheist Experience.
If you would like to contact me with an argument or evidence for or against the existence of a god (or gods) E-mail Me!