I would have posted a comment on Dr. Zhivago’s blog, but for some reason comments have been disabled for the post I most wanted to comment on. People who deny existence of God is the title of the post, and it struck a chord with me because Dr. Zhivago paints a grossly inaccurate picture of atheists and atheism – the same strawman frequently presented by Christians. And it irritates me tremendously.
So, it is with great pleasure that I share with you the disassembling of Dr. Zhivago’s strawman atheist:
I admit that I am somewhat fixated on George Carlin at the moment. I was a huge fan, and I feel a deep and genuine sense of loss over his death.
George taught people to think outside the box and not take things at face value; to wonder and question and think for ourselves. He challenged us and taught us how to challenge ourselves. And he did all this while also teaching us not to take ourselves, or even him, too fucking seriously.
In light of George Carlin’s recent death, his name is popping up all over the internet. This is to be expected. One thing that is being wrongly attributed to him, however, is a piece entitled The Paradox of Our Time. Since George did not want to be associated with this and, in fact, called it “a sappy load of shit”, it is in his honor that I write this post.
More inside the crack:
Time and again, I encounter Christians on blogs and discussion forums who attempt to argue that there is no such thing as atheism or that atheists are really just agnostic. More often than not, this argument seems based on the fact than many atheists allow for the possibility of the currently unknown. This is an intelligent position to take which in no way invalidates my personal atheism, and certainly not atheism as a whole.
Let’s begin by clarifying what each of the terms in question actually means:
Agnosticism is a position or statement of knowledge. Atheism is a position or statement of belief. The two are not mutually exclusive; in fact, I am actually both. Allow me to explain:
It’s really very simple. Atheists share only one common trait: absence of belief in the existence of deities. That’s all.
Time and again, theists make assertions about atheism in an attempt to place all atheists in a box. I have encountered a variety of misconceptions people have about atheists, although one in particular seems to come up most often.