RE: mapping religious thought space

From: Ramez Naam (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2000 - 15:14:34 MST

> From: Robert Owen []
> Positivist-Humanist-Liberal-Orthodox-Fundamentalist-Atheist-Nihilist
> What do you think?

I'm afraid I really don't buy into this mapping. Perhaps you're using a
different definition of "Atheist" than I am. I consider myself an atheist
(meaning that I do not believe in any of the posited "God"s), yet:

1) I am friends with agnostics, christians, jews, wiccans, pagans, and other
religious sorts.
2) I am open to changing my opinion given evidence which contradicts it.
3) I make no claim that those who believe other than I do will suffer for it
for all eternity.
4) I am not engaged in any aggressive evangelism of atheist views.

I believe there are a great many other atheists who share these traits.
These traits seem radically different from the traits associated with

1) Rigid adherence to beliefs and rejection of contrary evidence.
2) Hatred of those with opposing beliefs.
3) Evangelism.
4) Frequent belief that those with different beliefs will be punished.

To me, agnostic means "I would like to believe in a higher power, but am
undecided." and atheist means "I do not believe in a higher power."

I think what you are trying to map here under "atheist" is a position like
"I am adamantly opposed to any belief in a higher power, and will not
consider any evidence for such a belief." This is beyond atheism.

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