Why I Am Not An Atheist

“If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the patterns of their words.”

                              Isaac Asimov

I no longer call myself an atheist. Oh,don’t get me wrong: I still don’t believe there is a God or gods, but I have decided that the label “a-theist” makes no more sense as a positive self-description that describing oneself as an a-Bunnyist or an a-Santaist or an a-ToothFairyist. It is a negation, is it an “I am not” rather than an “I am”. Defining oneself on  the basis of what one is not is quite literally absurd.  I am not a scrapbooker, but I do not view “not a scrapbooker”  as a self-descriptive label and a basis for solidarity with other “not a scrapbooker” people. One can quickly see how absurd this really is. How sad, how limiting to define oneself  in terms of one thing  out of the many things one does not believe.

I refuse to make a religion out of my lack of religion.  I don’t organize my life or my thinking around my lack of belief. My life and my life’s projects are driven by things that matter. If I have to call myself anything, I could do a lot worse than steal an idea from Kierkegaard and label myself:

                       AN INDIVIDUAL

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    • Robyn on August 16, 2008 at 2:58 am

    I disagree with Azimov’s statement because believing in a god is not the only alternative to not believing in one.  I prefer the view that the question is not relevant to my existence.

    • banger on August 16, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I’m not sure what “Hundi” is but it sounds good. Actually I am Vedantist who believes everything is one thing but also many things and that there is a God and many deities depending on who you are. If you have not experienced “God” or the divine then it makes sense to not “believe” in God. But those of us who have such an experience do and we exist therefore something like God must exist since it is such a common experience across the ages. Other people can get into the emptiness and believe there is no God and that emptiness is, in fact, (to me) God as well–and true immersion in that state of consciousness is bliss.

    • kj on August 16, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    i used to call myself a gnostic, as apposed to agnostic, because, uh, i “knew.”  subtle point that was lost everytime i said it so… i quit saying it.  😉

    i grew up a high-mass Catholic (twelve years of indoctrination that included white gloves and chapel veils) but one parent was not of any religious persuasion, and he used to object to being called a ‘non-Catholic.’

    • Viet71 on August 16, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    and all flora and fauna.

    I catch and release flies and other insects.  I feed chipmunks in addition to my domestic animals.  And feed birds, squirells, and other animals in the winter.

    I feast on math and some physics.

    Music and painting are my regular diet.

    I don’t NEED God.  If God exists, I feed on his/her delights.

    That’s enough.  For me.

  1. I’m not really wiccan.

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