The "Complete" Atheist
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
23-07-2012, 01:20 PM
The "Complete" Atheist
First, I would like to establish that the wording of the title of this thread may be misleading, and that this stems from my inability to accurately grasp the word that would fulfill the role of the concept I am thinking of. Instead of "complete", I thought about possibly inserting "satisfied," "intellectually satisfied," "fundamentally sound," etc. but nothing that I could come up with represented the concept I am thinking of accurately enough. Maybe you can help me in choosing a more proper word.

Anyways, this begins with me, I believe yesterday, reading an article online describing four kinds of atheists (I do not know where the article is, where I got it from, or how I found it. It might have been on the forum, and if so, maybe you will recognize it.) These four were:

1. Scientific atheists - "The universe obeys a particular set of laws, and science is capable of understanding these laws, without religion, as religion has no evidence for any of its supernatural claims."
2. Philosophical atheists - "The assertion that God(s) (in general) or a specific God(s) that pertain to a certain religion is unreasonable due to Argument X, Problem Y, and Contradiction Z."
3. Political atheists (sorry, I only vaguely remember this category, and thus the term and definition I use are a bit on the fuzzy side) - "We must support the spread of secular values within human society, while releasing the grip that religion has on the modern world. Take action!"
4. Secular Humanists - "Human society is better off without religion being its foundation on the view of life. Morality does not come from religion, and secular values must be embraced."
Of course, there could be other kinds of atheists, founded on none of the above (e.g. the rebellious atheist hoping to conflict with people around him) but they are not relevant. Also note that these categories are not mutually exclusive.

Forgive me if some of the above definitions are inaccurate or vague, but that is how I interpreted them.


Again, I found the article yesterday. This morning, I reflected on this categorization and thought about the implications of this. What does it take to be an atheist, and more specifically, a "complete" atheist (Hopefully you will figure out exactly what I mean as we go along)? In other words, can you be "complete" without being all four of the above? If you are only a philosophical atheist, aren't you rather "incomplete"? You might as well be a nihilist. Are you a purely scientific atheist? On what grounds do you say there cannot be a God out there? Are you simply a secular humanist? What explanations do you have for the universe and its workings, and what about these arguments for (and against) the existence of a supernatural presence?

Basically, the state of completeness is being fulfilled on all fronts. If you are only one of the kinds, you are surely lacking in some aspect, correct?

And so, my question is on what criteria can you be "complete?" It struck me (while I was reading a book by either Dawkins or Hawking, I believe, something of this order was mentioned) that being an atheist in pre-Darwinian times must've been quite unfulfilling. Yes, the argument for God is unconvincing, even unreasonable. Yes, morality from religion obviously is not working quite as well as we would expect. But what's your argument for the creation of Man, Earth, and the Heavens? Obviously, now, we have evolution explain our humble origins to us. We now have cosmology (although far from being complete) helping us understand our origins, physically. It seems reasonable to believe that the assertion of a God could be unnecessary in order to explain our origins, and with improved capabilities of neuroscience and psychology in the future, a mental basis for all of these emotions and desires we feel (thus giving us a reason for the concept of good/evil.) The 21st century atheist can be fulfilled, scientifically, instead of religiously, to explain the physical universe.

Philosophically, it helps to know your way around arguments and such, for there are many logical fallacies and traps that are ready to devour the unprepared. Although science has diminished the relevance of philosophy in some areas, by touching upon the previously intangible, philosophical arguments are still common for arguing for the existence of a supernatural presence. Can a "complete" atheist be without delving into philosophy, at least some? I would argue not.

Political atheists and secular humanists (although secular humanist does not mean atheist) seem to occupy similar territory to me. Both want to take action for the cause of secularism. Of course, being a political atheist is dangerous business (and this in the modern world. Not long ago, it was suicide.) But it is necessary to advocate the cause of secularism and secular humanism in order to spread the idea that the world can be good -- in fact, better, much better -- without religion. Can you be complete without being these (well, without secular humanism, at least, being political may be the one category you can be excluded from) kinds of atheists as well? It would be awfully empty without considering the implications of atheism and secularism to humanity, in my opinion.

And so, for those of you who stuck long enough to read this post, what do you think? What is necessary in order to find this "completeness" notion that I am getting at? It is a reasonable stance, of "completeness", or is it ridiculous? Thoughts?

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned" - Anonymous
I am glad to live where there is no God, for I am moral, and mortal; I do not wish to worship He who crafts an immoral immortality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes nsguy1350's post
23-07-2012, 01:27 PM
RE: The "Complete" Atheist
I think your question is, "How radical of an atheist are you".
- You can be passive and not believe any theist positions.
- You can be in-your-face and anti-theists.
In the end, if you're an atheist, you just simply believe ALL religions are man-made delusions of reality.
How much you dislike believers is the wild card it seems. Sort of depends on the personality of the person and their experiences with religious dogma.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Thomas's post
23-07-2012, 02:24 PM
RE: The "Complete" Atheist
It's from PZ Myers's blog and there's another thread about here somewhere.

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-07-2012, 03:12 PM
RE: The "Complete" Atheist
(23-07-2012 01:27 PM)Thomas Wrote:  I think your question is, "How radical of an atheist are you".
- You can be passive and not believe any theist positions.
- You can be in-your-face and anti-theists.
In the end, if you're an atheist, you just simply believe ALL religions are man-made delusions of reality.
How much you dislike believers is the wild card it seems. Sort of depends on the personality of the person and their experiences with religious dogma.
I beg to differ. I don't think that I'm asking how anti-theistic you are, from zero to extremely antitheistic. I'm thinking more along the lines of at what point can an atheist be "satisfied" with his position, mentally. Without the theory of evolution and cosmology, you'd be hard-pressed to be satisfied. I see it as:

Philosophy gives you a reason as to why religion is an unreasonable position;
Science gives you an alternative view of the universe;
Secular humanism gives you a reason why it all matters;
And Political activism gives you an outlet to improve society through secular humanism.

Could you be sound as an atheist without one or more of the following?

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned" - Anonymous
I am glad to live where there is no God, for I am moral, and mortal; I do not wish to worship He who crafts an immoral immortality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-07-2012, 06:22 PM
RE: The "Complete" Atheist
(23-07-2012 03:12 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  
(23-07-2012 01:27 PM)Thomas Wrote:  I think your question is, "How radical of an atheist are you".
- You can be passive and not believe any theist positions.
- You can be in-your-face and anti-theists.
In the end, if you're an atheist, you just simply believe ALL religions are man-made delusions of reality.
How much you dislike believers is the wild card it seems. Sort of depends on the personality of the person and their experiences with religious dogma.
I beg to differ. I don't think that I'm asking how anti-theistic you are, from zero to extremely antitheistic. I'm thinking more along the lines of at what point can an atheist be "satisfied" with his position, mentally. Without the theory of evolution and cosmology, you'd be hard-pressed to be satisfied. I see it as:

Philosophy gives you a reason as to why religion is an unreasonable position;
Science gives you an alternative view of the universe;
Secular humanism gives you a reason why it all matters;
And Political activism gives you an outlet to improve society through secular humanism.

Could you be sound as an atheist without one or more of the following?
I a thread about this called "Which one are you" I gave which one I am in there.

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: