December 18, 2012

Counterfeit Religions XVI: Agnosticism & Atheism


The word agnostic is a compound of the Greek word γνῶσις/gnosis and a negating/negative character “a” which reverses the meaning of the cognate/word it prefaces. Just as the “a” in front of theist in atheist means a person is not a theist or believer in a god, so too the “a” in front of gnosis/gnostic means a person has “no” knowledge because γνῶσις/gnosis is a common Greek noun for the word knowledge. Agnostics therefore are not necessarily dumb people with no knowledge (sometime I wonder), they are actually people who claim that we cannot have definitive knowledge of the divine, of a supernatural being or the supernatural in general. Usually this is because agnostic and atheists look for physical or empirical evidences (a posteriori) evidences to prove the spiritual and/or divine and miraculous (a priori).

In a word…agnostics are cowards. Agnostics do not outright deny God or a divine being exists, they just don’t believe He is positively “provable”. Therefore, most likely, He doesn’t exist. Agnostics do not even have the courage to say whether or not they believe in God so they sit on the fence. What I have found is that this “fence-sitting” is due to the fact that agnostics often wish to remain hip or trendy without denying God’s existence completely. In other words: It is cowardice to make a firm reasoned decision. Many will consider Agnosticism as cool or part of an enigmatic character that makes a their belief system mysterious or mystic. I personally see as being dorkish and an excuse for being too lazy to think through a person’s position or their logic.

Agnosticism will usually claim non-cowardice intellectually and will state that from a philosophical position they are officially proponents of Skeptics or they are officially Doubters. Regardless, I still see it as intellectual cowardice. In reality Agnostics make no specific claim that the supernatural realm or any deities exists. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Soren Kierkegaard were skeptical of any claims for proof of the existence of God. Some even went a far as to call these men Christians (I don’t). It wasn’t until T. H. Huxley in the 1860s that we got the term "agnostic." Because Agnosticism is literally a claim not to know much of anything, it probably shouldn’t even be considered a religion per se but because some people believe really nutty and stupid things (and many don’t even know why they believe it), I felt compelled to rip on them for being so wishy-washy and hammer-headed J. Agnosticism isn’t cool it is dopey. They actually claim no knowledge! That, by definition, is dumb! Since they don’t really “know” anything for certain, it is impossible to quantify what they do believe…which is essentially...nothing.

In a 2007 research survey called the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life indicated that fifty-five percent of self-identified agnostics expressed a belief in God, and seventeen percent suggested they were "absolutely certain" that God or a universal spirit exists. The question then remains: Why consider oneself an agnostic (no knowledge) if they are pretty certain God exists? Why not at least call yourself a Deist? Frankly, they sound like a bunch of spineless and really confused people. So what is said about the people in this survey is that they may clearly believe in God but still consider themselves agnostic by not drawing any conclusions about that God. I have one thing to say to this psychobabble and gobbly-gook buffoonery: Say whaaa?????????

Like I said before…it is intellectual cowardice and an inability to make up one’s mind. They are confused people.


While I’m on the topic of intellectual cowardice, I should also dwell on the idea of intellectual arrogance and intellectual dishonesty by talking about the religion of Atheism. Atheism is nothing new, and yes, it’s a religion. It is a belief system or a religion of no God. A religion being defined as a set of beliefs that dictate a person’s worldview that can include the following characteristics: A material dimension/aspect, ritual/rituals, ethics/virtue, doctrinal beliefs of philosophies, a social dimension, a logical basis and a narrative or meta-narrative.

Therefore, Atheism is not just the lack of belief in a god, but the outright assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. It indeed is a philosophy of no God. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists. They make overarching claims to things they cannot know for sure…therefore they can only arrive at their conclusions through (imagine this)…a faith or belief in something not provable from their standpoint! They make just as much of a Kierkegaardian "leap of faith" as any religious person does. As long as there has been a man around arrogant enough to deny God exists, there has been atheism.

Atheism in a nutshell is a philosophical position which asserts that no supreme, supernatural beings or forces exist. Instead, atheists contend that all phenomena in the universe, including human thought and morality, are products of nature and have no divine origin. We are nothing but the sum product of atomic and chemical reaction slowly drifting through the darkened cosmic void (a la stellar waste). At some point in the extreme distant future the universe will suffer “heat death” and nothing will exist. Because of this, most (hard) Atheists do not believe in the existence of a human soul that survives death nor a “life spark” that makes a person more than the sum of their atom, molecules or cells. How utterly depressing and nihilistic…I must say.

There are some other counterfeit religions like, Buddhism and the Samkhya and the Mimamsa schools of Hinduism that fit nicely into some of these descriptions too. In ancient Hellenistic or Greek culture, Sophists and Epicureans frequently challenged a belief in the idea of a God or gods and divine action in the world. It is even sadly ironic that, at the time of the Roman Empire, Christians were accused of atheism for failing to accept the multiple gods of the Empire as deserving worship. It is from the godless humanism of the Renaissance that the scientific “Age of Enlightenment” arose. In the end it all boiled down to either intellectual arrogance where man tried to supplant themselves in God’s position or cowardice where man refused to take a stand on what he believed.

Modern atheism has been inexorably predisposed and manipulated by the writings of Marx, Freud, and that syphilis riddled nut-job Friedrich Nietzsche. All of these loons saw Judeo-Christian religion/values as a socio-cultural human creation. For the most part they saw the religions as being created out of necessity. In the end they all saw religions as holding humanity back from advancing. Marx believed religion functioned like a drug to keep most people enslaved to the ruling class and called it the “Opium/Opiate of the Masses”. Freud more boldly called religion an illusion, and Nietzsche ignorantly asserted that God was dead.  All of them believed atheism and a focus on the self or humanity itself in some form were necessary to overcome human suffering and to reach a climax of human potential.

Along with Darwinism and the religion of evolution we essentially get the nihilistic and godless barren landscape of the 20th Century that spawned among other things, two World Wars and numerous other atrocities such as the Holocaust, China’ Great Leap Forward and Khmer Rouge--all in the name of Humanism, Communism, Socialism, Social Darwinism and Atheism. Atheism or the New Atheism has now turned aggressively anti-religion (mostly towards Christianity). They are nearly rabid and militant in the forms of Christopher Hitchens (now dead), Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. These four dorks are called, of all things, the Four Horseman of Atheism which in itself is a nod to Revelation in the Bible. These men and their ilk actively attack religions and theists in general. They seek to actively discredit theism of any kind but seem to take an especially sadistic pleasure in maligning and bashing Christianity.

The truth is that both Agnosticism and Atheism initially start under a premise that God either doesn't exist or might not exist. Once the argument is framed this way, finding one's way clear to believe in God becomes extremely difficult and in this way these two are are like estranged cousins. They may claim a difference but at their heart, they are very much alike. They are literally a Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of godlessness.

To exit this brief nihilistic and sad foray into religious denial and intellectual cowardice, it is interesting to note the following. In the cross-section of surveyed population by the Pew Forum, people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion totaled 16.1% of the population at-large. Of this group, only (1/4) one-quarter of these 16.1% described themselves as either atheist or agnostic or 1.6% and 2.4% of the adult population overall, respectively. That means every single time a grumpy confrontational atheist or agnostic complains about a Christmas tree, Nativity scene or the Ten Commandments being in front of a government building or school, we are catering to and coddling 4% of the US population. No matter how much they inflate their totals, this is a ridiculously minuscule minority that has way too much sway when it comes to dictating what does and does not get into government funded institutions and pubic displays. Talk about an over-vocal minority. These Scrooges  that insist on a separation of Church and State (which is not in the Constitution) are really are a good example of the “squeaky wheel gets the oil”. Frankly, I think we should “replace the squeaky wheels” and get someone else’s ideologies in the halls of power to get these godless drones out.

1 comment:

Billf said...

Andy - this is a great post. People like Freud, Nietzsche and Marx, as well as Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and other mainstream atheists like to say that without religion life for all would be so much better and advanced. I wonder if Dawkins and Harris have read their own forums lately. I'd like to ask them what they think of the vile, disgusting language and attacks on people to their forums that aren't atheists. Is that the kind of "better" they imagine? People hating other people because they don't agree with them? What if there was no religion? I guarantee they would still find some other reason to hate fellow man. Perhaps they would hate people that have more money than they do, or are better looking. They are just not happy people, and one can't help but think it's because they are atheists and live a nihilistic life.

I can't imagine going through life thinking that when I die that's it. What a cold, pointless life to live.

I would also be willing to bet that all agnostics and many atheists truly do believe in God, but are unwilling to admit it because it's not "cool" to be a theist. People will laugh at them and call them religious nut jobs or worse yet treat them like they themselves now treat theists. But when they lay down at night they pray silenty hoping God will understand them. I'd also be willing to bet that many of them as they get older will turn to Christianity. When they are younger they all say they aren't afraid of dying. All it will take is to see wrinkles on their face or sickness that comes with old age and they will start to think long and hard about how quickly their life has passed them by. Then the reality and finality of death when you're an atheist will be quite scary.

Another thing that bothers me - Dawkins and Harris and others all seem to think that only atheists work to make the world a better place. Do they not realize there are Christian scientists, philosophers, doctors, engineers, factory workers, lawyers, artists and others all working to create a better life for all of mankind? Atheists don't have a strong hold on doing good things, in fact atheists often times do things that are good for them and don't care about fellow man. I read an article a couple days ago that said Christians donate 10 times more money and services to help out the less fortunate than do atheists. So I ask the Freuds, Marxes, Dawkins' and Harris' why is that so? How could the world be a better place if there were less people helping the less fortunate fellow mankind? I guess they would say "only the strong survive." Pretty scary if you ask me.

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