Re: Why atheism beats agnosticism (Was: Re: Contacting God) ("")
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 11:16:38 +0200

> From: Lee Daniel Crocker < (none)>

> I think the impression left in the mind of most English-speakers
> when they hear someone describe eirself as an "agnostic" is that
> this person merely is unconcerned with religion; ey does not go to
> church, baptize children, etc. But the label "agnostic" does not
> imply any disrespect for others' religious beliefs--if I hear
> someone call emself "agnostic", I would expect em to have no
> qualms about having close friends and associates who are dedicated
> theists, maybe even marry one, or support eir child's choice to
> believe, or even have some measure of respect for clergy.
> When someone calls emself "atheist", I expect that such person
> might actually distrust openly theist folks, to entirely discount
> the opinions of clergy and even ridicule them, to actively oppose
> religious-based laws and practices, to oppose prayer and teaching
> creationist nonsense in schools, etc.
> It is for this reason that I call myself "atheist" even though
> Tom's more logical definition might not apply. I want there to
> be no doubt in anyone's mind that even though I may rationally
> refuse to assert that there is positively no God, I nonetheless
> want to make it clear that I think those who assert that there
> is a God have lost my respect, and decisions of any kind made
> from theist doctrine are bad decisions, not merely different.

And AMEN to that! Regardless of any intellectual games or "official"
definitions this is the real difference between atheism and agnosticism.
Atheists *reject* the god-meme out of principle, they think it's wrong
and should be fought (mostly verbally) whenever possible. It's a stupid,
dangerous (killer!) meme that has caused enormous damage throughout
history, and it deserves every ounce of criticism it gets.

Agnostics on the other hand seem to have something of a lukewarm
attitude towards the whole matter. It seems that they refuse to see
religion for what it really is: dangerous and stupid, not "neutral".
Just go to Iran or the Bible Belt and see how "harmless" it is. Mass
insanity really is quite scary.