Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flaws and Negative Traits of Atheism, Theism and Agnosticism

Empty glass candleholders in the front

The majority of belief systems can be summed up in the three main categories of Atheism, Theism, and Agnosticism. Simply put, the first one believes there is a God, the second believes there is no God, and the third group believes that whether there is a God or not is impossible to know.

I will attempt to give a more or less objective account of these three groups, the Atheist, the Theist, and the Agnostic, by pointing out some of their negative traits and flaws. In other words, each of them will get the same treatment because there are certain prototypes of people in each category that are, to put it mildly, on the annoying side.

The annoying Theist is the one that is constantly trying to convince you of their beliefs. They are an unhealthy mix of advertiser, crusader and recruitment agent. You are constantly bombarded with their arguments and will receive a blind eye and deaf ears when you attempt to retort with solid and logical arguments. It is the Creationist who categorically denies evolution and believes that dinosaurs never existed and that the Earth continues to be flat and is merely some thousand years old.

What I like least about this group is their unerring belief that they are always right and you are always wrong, even when you are actually right. Their religion or belief system is allegedly superior to yours; in fact, they are doing you a favor by saving you from perdition because, believe it or not, they care about you and are concerned about your personal salvation.

Their persistence is both astonishing and excruciating. These types of Theists constantly try to convince you of their cause. They should be happy that they themselves are “saved” and let others believe what they will. It's a free country after all, right? Right?

Now among the Atheists, there are also those persistently negative people who are too convinced of their beliefs for their own good; they will not budge either. They are so obsessed with their stance that they actually lose out on some of their objectivity and begin to hate not only religious people, but God himself who, paradoxically, they claim does not exist in the first place.

When your mission is to eliminate God and all spirituality with it, it is not unlike throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Whether Atheists are right or wrong remains to be seen, but those who are overconfident are just like the fundamental religious, in reverse mode.

Finally, there are the Agnostics. They claim that we simply cannot know one way or another; it is impossible for humankind to make an assumption either way. They are just like the Swiss when it comes to the major questions of life and death. They shrug and say we cannot know anything for real, and hence we ought to doubt our own capacity for knowledge.

It may lead to a kind of resignation of a “so what” or “meh” attitude. Now some of them can be rather annoying in their so-called neutrality and their lack of stance and opinion. Talking to them will not even elicit a good hearty debate. It is then that one wishes to talk to either the Theist or the Atheist because at least they have something to say and have a point of view, regardless of its validity.

To all three I can only advise to be more moderate and to lighten up. It is all right to have your opinion, but in some cases the saying is true that those who speak know nothing. In the end, there will never be an agreement on these issues, which is not necessarily a bad thing. A good debate should be like a friendly match of words and ideas.

When all is said and done, each will go home with their own beliefs and ideas, but hopefully they will give at least a little thought to the other person's arguments. Because in the end, who really knows who is right or wrong except God Himself. That is, if He exists, but we can't really know that. Or can we?


John Myste said...

To answer your question: no.

Now that we got passed that awkward moment, I am actually an agnostic. I do not know if super-human's exist, but if they do, theist would call them God. I do know that an omnipotent or omniscient being probably does not exist, since we have no reason to believe in such a fantastic tale and if such an unlikely thing did exist, how would I know this? The burden of proof is on the Unlikely Thing, or on anyone would claim to know Him.

"I Am," or the Christian God is an unlikely tale. Allah is an unlikely tale. Adonai is an unlikely tale: all very unlikely. Zeus is equally unlikely.

I am not convinced that humans are the final answer or that humans could understand whatever the final answer happens to be.

I do not believe in the super natural or the miraculous. However, I do concede that the natural may be beyond anything we could presently comprehend.

I call myself an atheist when it suits me and an agnostic when I am trying to be precise.

What am I?

Arashmania said...

Very interesting, John! That would make you an atheist-leaning agnostic, while I used to think that you were an agnostic-leaning atheist.

Yes, you are right that we cannot know and that it is unlikely. But it is not impossible either.

I think part of you really wants to believe in the supernatural entity, while your logical side says no. It makes me think of the poster in the X-Files that says "I want to believe."

But, on the other hand, there seems to be no comparison here since the existence of aliens is a fact.