I am not an atheist anymore

I’m not calling myself an atheist anymore.

I haven’t started believing in God though.

The problem is that most people that identify as atheists believe in things that I consider much more fantastical than God. I know that I’m not the first person to observe this phenomenon, but it’s been hitting me hard lately.

For example, virtually all atheists I know (in real life and online) believe that if the US had completely open borders, we’d live in a better world. A world in which all the poor people would be made rich and everyone in the US would be better off. Through some miracle, the US would maintain a first-world standard of living even though it would be made up of a third-world population. How would this happen? Is there something miraculous about the particular land mass that the US occupies? I don’t know. I do however know that it’s more likely that there’s a God than it is the the US would still function like a first-world country (to the extent that it still does) when it’s filled with Haitians.

Similarly, all the atheists I know believe that people have souls. The atheist don’t actually use the word “souls” but they refer to the same concept by other names constantly. The ideas that everyone would live productive lives that are free from any coercion if everyone was just left alone from government intrusion, given a “good education,” or given the “necessary resources” are religious ideas. I don’t see these ideas as any different than the idea that “we’re all equal in God’s eyes.”

From now on, I’m considering myself a believer in the gods of Kipling and the gods of Carlyle.

36 Responses to I am not an atheist anymore

  1. james wilson says:

    Greatness is a spiritual condition. What offends in the literature of dissent is the lack of hesitation and wonder. The opposite of a religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who does not care whether or not god exists–Hoffer

  2. Rob says:

    I’m with you 100 percent. I made this point to a fellow skeptic as well, the modern atheists seem to be like the French in WWII, with the Maginot line still pointed at the Catholics, while the state religion of egalitarianism is running rampant in the west.

    I rather like Abraxis as a deity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI5X1F5dgH0

  3. venkat says:

    I’m probably atheist but, afraid to live in a world where everyone – particularly the left side of the bell curve – is actually atheist.

    Just about every social development index would start to improve if you could wave a magic wand and make the bottom 25% Mormon.

  4. Red says:

    I’ve been an agnostic since I was 19. I lean towards there’s no god but I can’t go full blown atheist for 3 reasons:
    1. Atheists are assholes who try to force their anti-religion on everyone. It still rubs me wrong when they try to strip people of religious rights through the courts.
    2. I just don’t know if there is a creator or not. Hell for all I know we could be some higher being’s 5th grade home work. To claim there is no chance that someone created or controls the universe is the pretense of knowledge.
    3. The shear about of lies atheists tell about religious groups. The most common one is Religion has caused most of the wars/deaths in the world while ignoring that during the 20th century Atheists killed in excesses of 100 million people through war/famine/murder.

    I concluded after studying modern atheism that’s it’s just another silly religion that hates other religions while claiming that it’s the one true religion. As Solomon said: “There is nothing new under the sun”.

    • M.G. says:

      Atheists are assholes who try to force their anti-religion on everyone.

      Yes, and not just through the courts, but at a personal level–the ‘evangelizing atheists.’ Try to argue someone out of a belief that just might be the one thing that gets them out of bed in the morning? Come on.

      Would these ‘evangelists’ dare wander into, say, a Congolese refugee camp during a prayer service and start haranguing the poor souls about the ‘idiocy’ of the beliefs that help them face each brutal day? The very idea is abhorrent.

    • Sgt. Joe Friday says:

      Actually, it’s not religion that is the cause of most of the world’s problems. It’s an erect penis. People do some of the dumbest stuff you can imagine all because they want to impress women and get laid.

  5. Frost says:

    Great post. I used to call myself an atheist until I realized that everyone else who does so is actually talking about a belief system that encompasses much more than just a specific disbelief in God. My metaphysical beliefs haven’t changed since then, but I bet I could find a lot more philosophical common ground with Bruce Charlton than Christopher Hitchens…

  6. RS says:

    Basically, god exists. It is the origin and power of the cosmos, whose existence is recognized as gratuitous.

    Even if the universe ‘created itself’ in a sense which can be shown scientifically (Stephen Hawking), it still needed a nomos for this. No nomos, no scientific statements. Where did the nomos come from, or why does it exist instead of no nomos?

    However, the notions that god recognizes anything to do with human ideas of justice, definitely gives humans an afterlife, judges humans according to X, etc, cannot be assessed. As far as that sort of stuff goes, I might as well be an atheist existentialist.

    What the KJV Book of Job says is not (necessarily, anyway) so different from what I say.

  7. Spandrell says:

    Atheism is a religion.m
    Agnosticism is the only philosophically sound position. We know that since Kant. But they don’t teach that anymore.

  8. Dr. Horsemeat says:

    “It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist.”–Pascal

  9. Jim says:

    People are irrational. Even atheists are usually irrational in many ways. Still, as far as it goes, atheism itself is rational. Atheism is not a religion, it’s not a Church, and it doesn’t get you out of (or excuse you from) the human tendency toward irrationality.

  10. Handle says:

    If you had to pick, which religious or religious-like beliefs would you be comfortable learning that your child had become an adherent?

    I’d pick almost any of the Divine-being ones (with one obvious major exception, ‘natch) over the “usual suspects / cauldron of ideologies” crowd.

  11. somedude says:

    Atheists are OK. Spaghetti monster, evangelical, in-your-face atheists are unbearable.

  12. I think it’s pretty important to distinguish between atheism and theophobia. It’s almost exactly like the difference between being straight, and being homophobic. I live in area code 94114, so I understand this matter perfectly.

    Unfortunately, we live in an era where theophobia is universal. Officially declaring yourself an “atheist” is pretty much a declaration that you are not only a theophobe, but an uber-theophobe, giving everyone around you full carte blanche to go ahead with the God-hater equivalent of kicking-the-keys-to-Seattle jokes. So there really ought to be some other word. But there isn’t, so far as I know. (“Agnostic” is for pussies.)

    What I tell people who believe in God is that, while I respect them completely, I just can’t see doing it with another guy. This is not a choice. Still less is it an opinion. It’s just how I’m wired, that’s all. It’s not something I can change, and in fact if I could change it I probably would.

      • Handle says:

        Cape Cod beats the Castro? Wow. The Gay / Lesbian split on those numbers is fascinating. What makes Pine Lake, Georgia such a Les-topia, but West Hollywood their relative no-go-zone? There’s an exploitable wedge issue in there somewhere.

        And, just a guess, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that “Clear, Alaska” is a total glitch.

        At any rate, this discussion reminds me of “The Credo Of A New Dealer” which you can find on page 30/404 of this. If you’re not reading those old issues of The American Mercury, you’re missing out!

      • Foseti says:

        I started reading some of the old American Mercury a while back. I definitely need to start again.

      • robert61 says:

        Pine Lake may be a glitch, too; its population is about 600. I was struck by the way gay men aggregate, but gay women, not so much. Maybe lesbians don’t benefit as much from living in close proximity, since they don’t have as much promiscuous sex.

    • Ariston says:

      Despite being a believer, I don’t feel “wired” to believe in God, either. While most believers are—they attest sensation, presence, noetic apprehension, etc.—there exists a tiny minority of those of us who are not.

      Some assert what I have is not belief, but rather some sort of pretense or intellectual act. I think has come from the revolutionary, internalized perspective of Protestant religion. Before the rise of the “Lutheran conscience”, it was likely the norm for those like Moldbug, myself—and perhaps our host—to simply accept the rationality of the faith of their sovereign and faithfully adopt it, accordingly (the emotive disconnect would not have been seen as important as it does to us today, the importance of religio for those in secular life reigned supreme).

      • Eumaios says:

        The Greek word we translate as “belief” should rather, according to N.T. Wright, be something more like “loyalty” or “vassalship”. Believing Odysseus is still alive after 20 years is a different category of action from believing that Odysseus is King.

  13. Matt says:

    To assert that one knows that God does not exist is just as much a religious argument as to assert that one knows that God does exist. “I don’t know for sure, but I’m inclined to suspect that X is the truth” (for either value of X) is, on the other hand, a position defensible by reason.

    All knowledge falls into one of three categories. There are propositions which can be proved. We call those “math”. There are propositions which cannot be truly proved, but can be disproved. We call those “science”. And there are propositions which cannot be either proved or disproved conclusively. We call those “religion”. Simple.

    Of course, the “more fantastical” things in which you disbelieve are actually science, rather than religion…but the odds of any of them being successfully tested in the real world are slim.

  14. Allan says:

    “I do not believe in God
    but I am not an atheist.
    That is too simple.”

    Albert Camus

  15. Gian says:

    It may be better to be an atheist rather than to serve the Dark Gods of Kipling and Carlyle.

  16. dearieme says:

    I try never to miss an opportunity to boast that I own Tom Carlyle’s smoking cap.

  17. Leonard says:

    I am an atheist but not a theophobe. (Really “theocredophobia” would be better, since fearing God suggests belief in Him and is even orthodox for some flavors of faith.) I find no problem with declaring it. I recognize the inherent problem in occupying the same word-bin as theocredophobes. But then the same thing is true of calling myself a “libertarian”, “anarchist”, or “reactionary” (all of which I will cop to, given time to explain).

    People use labels as shorthands. Yup. Not gonna change that.

  18. Handle says:

    This reminds me of the whole post-McCarthy-phenomenon of American Liberals claiming, “I’m not a Communist, but I’m anti the anti-Communists.”

    In this case, “I’m not religious, but I’m anti the anti-religious.”

    And what has happened is a linguistic transfiguration, with “McCarthyism” replacing “anti-Communism” when it became impossible to even pretend to be neutral towards Communism any longer, and “Atheism” replacing “anti-Religious” (“theophobic”) when a small group of obnoxious and nasty evangelizing militant intellectuals tried to rally and corral unbelievers into some kind of aggressive and derisive “movement” on the march.

  19. […] I guess we’re going with Theophile per this discussion. […]

  20. […] Foseti – “I Am Not an Atheist Anymore” […]

  21. Jordan says:

    I was an atheist for years, but had an experience that switched me around. I tried believing in a religion, but I’ve ended up just believing in God and his great (ironic, annoying) sense of humor.

  22. esesoyyo says:

    (Disclaimer: I am not a creationist. I believe in evolution).

    Some other absurd things that atheists think:

    – Atheists think that we are only collections of atoms doomed to die and disappear, that there is no meaning or objective morality in the universe. Fair enough. But then they get outraged when human rights are violated, when somebody commits a crime or when there is no social justice. What the h*ck? If we are only collection of atoms and there is no morality, it doesn’t mind if a bunch of atoms kills or abuses another bunch of atoms. If morality is subjective and the killer thinks that killing is a good thing, who are we to judge?

    – Atheists think reason is the only hallmark of truth. But, according to their worldview, reason is only a biological function of a tiny organism in some despicable rock in the huge universe. How this monkey thinks he can understand the universe? Would you trust an amoeba to understand the laws of the universe? If reason has been selected by natural selection for men to survive in the African savannah, there is no point to trust in this biological artifact to understand the universe.

    – Atheists (e.g., Stephen Hawking) explain the fine-tuning of the universe by claiming that there are infinite universes we can never interact with and whose existence cannot be proved. Fair enough.

    Then, when you speak about God, they tell you that they don’t believe things without proof, they favor the simplest explanation (Occam’s razor), the burden of the proof is in the one who believes and so on and so forth. All of this while believing in infinite universes. Hypocrites.

    I could go on and on.

  23. esesoyyo says:

    I forgot this one:

    Atheists think that belief in God is delusion. And they think that everyone must share his view (many of them are fanatical about this, e.g. Dawkins).

    But if we are only biological machines in a meaningless universe, what matters the belief (brain states) of an hairless ape? If somebody is happily deluded, why don’t you let him alone until he dies? Why do you want to force him to share your worldview? Why do you think the truth is meaningful in a meaningless universe?

  24. […] that Foseti was thinking of Stephen Hawking’s relatively muted criticisms of theism when he wrote this, but Hawking’s statements are of a piece with the certainty that many atheists purport to […]

  25. Eugenick says:

    The position is perfectly understandable. I also would like to consider myself a non-idealist (Moldbug came up with this descriptor), someone who tries to reject parasitic memeplexes as much as is humanly possible given an IQ above average, but not THAT great.

    Atheism is a useful tool for non-theistic ideologies to distract attention away from them. This is why I would rather not give it any legitimacy.

    I don’t think militant atheism is totally off the mark: Islam certainly deserves to be showered with criticism (however, I must note that the Christian Robert Spencer does a far better job at exposing Islam than radical atheists; and Geert Wilders, a quite non-militant atheist, is a much greater defender of Western civilization than all militants put together). Picking on Christianity, on the other hand, is almost like beating a dead horse.

    I admit that I still can’t refrain from correcting any fundamentalist Christians about their totally delusional world view. It would certainly help if these people started thinking rationally and acknowledged real human nature instead of some Bible story or other irrational beliefs. We also shouldn’t forget that Christianity, in its universalist incarnation, is the ancestor of modern progressivism. Even if we had our reaction, universalist Christianity might undermine order once again.

  26. Australian says:

    Thank you, all. I read this thread with interest and pleasure (even if much of it left me out of my depth!), having just come from a site where a poster was busy tellilng all that there are no absolutes, then proceeding to make absolute pronouncements about anyone not atheist being delusional, spiritual yearning being nonexistent, and so on and so on. All this in response to a Unitarian Universalist minister talking about her own ideas about God, which were as far from the Abrahamic version as one could get. “Bigotry” was the word that came to mind, I’m afraid. Not an ounce of “live and let live” to be seen. Yes, he’s just one person, but this sort of attitude crops up too often, at least on the Internet.

    I could probably be labelled as vaguely deist, for want of a better term. 🙂

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