Atheism / Humor · February 9, 2006

Am I really an Atheist?

I’ve a confession to make.

I’ve been having… doubts… about my Atheism.

It’s Wikipedia’s fault, actually. I was comfortable in my (weak) Atheism. Those of us who are not firmly on the religious side of the spectrum have a lot of names for ourselves – Agnostic, Infidel, Godless, Secular, Atheist, weak Atheist, and strong Atheist. Some poor lost souls have even called themselves Brights.

In this variety of choices I had settled on labeling myself a weak Atheist, because it seemed to best suit what I’ve found to be true. A weak Atheist isn’t someone who stridently claims the non-existence of God(s) – a weak Atheist is instead satisfied with the absence of evidence of any God(s) and holds no belief in God or gods as a sort of ‘default’ position.

My default position is that unless evidence presents itself to me, I am justified in holding no belief in gods of any sort.

But.

When a religious believer asks me, “Do you deny the existence of God?” my immediate response has been, “Do you deny the existence of the Holy Invisible Pink Unicorn (pbuh)” (or perhaps the more modern Flying Spaghetti Monster.) Trying to prove the existence or absence of an intangible being is little more than mental masturbation – but it is a question that seems to get religious people all hot and bothered.

I’ve found it to be a nonsense question. I suspect that if language were more logical it wouldn’t even be possible to ask a question like this. You would end up with a paradox answer, sort of like 1/X where X=0. In language it would be like asking, “What color is sour?” (Well, perhaps a synaesthete could answer that question.) It’s similar to asking which fictional being is stronger, Superman or the Hulk? (Okay, I confess I’ve heard comic book geeks argue that question. I took it as a sign that I should change hobbies.)

I had believed that since the question makes no sense, I was justified in my non-belief due to illogic. I don’t say that gods, of any sort, do NOT exist, I just don’t think anyone could phrase the existence of a god in any way that makes sense. And I called this, ‘weak Atheism’. But that term doesn’t quite fit.

While trying to better define what I believe, I ran across a new word in Wikipedia. My new word for today is, ‘Ignosticism’. A person who is Ignostic believes that the question of God(s) existence is meaningless. The answer to that question cannot be confirmed or tested in any way, so the question should be ignored.

As Douglas Adams once said, “If you ask the wrong questions you get answers like ‘42’ or ‘God’.” Asking if God exists is a wrong question. Ask me and I visualize 1/X where X=0, or, “Lasagna tastes like blue.”

Wow. I’m Ignostic!

But I’ll still call myself Atheist – it gives religious people something else to complain about.