Yeah, so atheism again.
It’s still interesting and important, even if I’ve been drifting somewhat lately, toward other topics on which I’m even less qualified to comment.
And even aside from the occasional appalling and criminal outrage to get angry about, there are still things that wind me up about the ongoing religion discussion.
Here’s the question that’s been bothering me lately:
Why is atheism the only position you can take, in just about any category or field of knowledge, where people think that you must be claiming 100% absolute certainty?
I still regularly hear people banging on about how being agnostic is the only really rational position to take (as if it were mutually exclusive with atheism anyway), because you can’t be sure there’s no God, you can’t know absolutely everything about it, so it must only be intellectually honest to maintain a neutral middle ground.
I’m over-using the italics again already. It happens when I’m annoyed, and this is bollocks of an annoying nature.
I don’t believe in any god. I’m an atheist. There you go.
The idea that I must be 100% certain to make such a claim is entirely without precedent in all other areas of debate. If you expect me to simply stop at saying I’m an “agnostic”, or “undecided”, or “I don’t know” unless I’ve scanned every cubic micron of the cosmos and made absolutely certain there’s no deity hiding behind the dark matter… then why doesn’t this carry over into any other kind of idea or belief?
I’m also a capitalist. Although I’m iffy on exactly where I stand with regard to regulations, broadly speaking I support the idea of a free market economy.
But nobody’s ever told me that, unless I examine a detailed model of every single possible government based on common ownership of the means of production and determined empirically that no form of socialism could ever possibly be better for society, I shouldn’t use a word like “capitalist” which implies such absolute certainty, and insisted that I keep to the I-don’t-know middle ground.
I’m not a monarchist. I don’t support the idea of all political power being heritable and possessed by a single individual.
But I haven’t utterly ruled out every imaginable arrangement within this paradigm, and made absolutely sure that not one of them could ever possibly be functional as a system of government. And nobody would expect me to.
I am of the opinion that the bar of chocolate I’m about to eat doesn’t have any dogshit in. But have I even checked? Shouldn’t I really be ambivalent on the matter? Doesn’t arrogantly declaring “It’s just a chocolate bar, it’s got chocolate in it” imply an awful lot of certainty about the universe that I just don’t have a right to claim?
Well, no. It’s just what I reckon. It seems to make sense. If you want to prove me wrong, fine, maybe I’ll reconsider. But it looks to me like a chocolate bar. And it looks to me like there’s no god.
Not every religious person claims to be 100% irrevocably sure of their faith. But how many of them identify as “agnostic” rather than “Christian”, say, for the sake of intellectual rigour?
Sometimes we just reckon stuff. We could be wrong, but it’s what we think, and we’re waiting on a reason to change our minds.
Anyone else get bothered by this?