Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Am I an atheist, an agnostic, a Christian...?

Over at "The Reformed Gadfly" there is a post, which, as is the case for so many Christian blog posts, shows definite signs of straw-man building. Allow me to illustrate. Referring to an atheist encounter (probably with me) he says: "...they are "struttin' their stuff", acting all intellectual about how God doesn't exist." First of all, I, as an atheist, have never claimed to know that any gods, including the Christian God, do not exist. So, I generally refrain from "struttin'" my "stuff", since I am open to persuasion. It would be rather embarrassing to claim that I know there is no god, only to have some Christians prove to me that their God is in fact real. So, since I do not know, I just admit that I do not believe.
As for the next accusation, "acting all intellectual" since I barely graduated high school and never went to college, I don't think I could even begin to know how to act intellectual. So, I think it is blatantly obvious that the blog author, Tim, is using dishonesty to draw a picture of an atheist. Since I do not agree with him, he resorts to name calling.
He continues his description with such phrases as, "big ornery atheist", "someone who proudly says "there is no God", and "those who put on the appearance of intellectualism". All accusations against a people simply because they don't believe as he does. Why do so many Christians resort to this type of defence (offence?)?

Somewhere amongst all the straw, he draws the readers attention to a pie chart showing Christians how to get an atheist to admit that, since we don't have all knowledge of everything in the universe, we then must admit that we are really not atheists after all, but are actually agnostics. Problem is, I am still an atheist. I have no belief in any gods. I am without belief in gods. I do not believe the Christian God exists. I do not KNOW that the Christian God does not exist, I just do not BELIEVE that the Christian God exists. I am an atheist.

Now, let's use Tim's illustration, creatively? Tim says, "..."agnosticism", which is a more accurate term, which means "I don't know".
Well, Tim, do you KNOW that your God exists? Do you actually have any more knowledge about the existence of your God than I, a former believer of 25 years, have? Belief does not equal knowledge with regard to religious faith. You probably feel like you KNOW, or think you KNOW (that your God exists), but do you actually know, in the same way we have knowledge of proven scientific and historical facts? I think we know what the answer is - Tim, and all the millions and millions of Christians in the world, do not KNOW that God exists. Accurately speaking, they believe that God exists.

Tim instructs further: "...ask them "Do you possess the sum total of all knowledge?" If they are being honest at all, they will have to admit they don't know everything." I, as an atheist, have never claimed to know everything. So we have to wonder who Tim is asking his Christian friends to direct this question to (hint-strawmen)?

Do Christians "possess the sum total of all knowledge"? If not, won't they have to follow Tim's admonition and "admit they don't know everything."

My point is, if Christians will be honest, and apply Tim's instructions for dealing with us big ornery atheist, they will have to admit, since they actually DO NOT KNOW that their god exists, they will have to admit that they are, in reality, agnostics. For an agnostic, according to Tim, just doesn't know. Let them claim "Christian-Agnostic" if they want, but to be honest, they have to admit that they are just as "agnostic" as Tim claims I am.