Sunday, March 6, 2011

Apathy, Agnosticism, and other synonyms

For those of you who may be new to my blog, I am not one of those “agnostic atheists”. Those would be people who say they don’t know if there is a god, but do not believe there is a god. I am an atheist, and I know there is no god. If you think that makes me a Bad Atheist, then so be it.

The other day I got into the whole agnostic vs atheist debate again. This time, the agnostic was not a weenie theist nor a weenie atheist, but an apathetic weenie. He wanted me to believe that he couldn’t care less about the existence of god to call himself either a theist or an atheist, and was therefore an agnostic. I asked him if believing things that are true mattered to him, and he said no. He didn’t care. So the conversation ended. If you don’t care if what you believe to be true is actually true, then conversation is meaningless.

Now, I get some slack for being critical of agnostics. Generally, these people understand and fight for the separation of church and state. They understand what science is and why intelligent design is not science. They get how dangerous religious belief can be. They don’t indoctrinate their kids; they value freedom. So of all the people I could criticize, why the people who agree with me 99% of the time? Well, because no one likes a moderate.

Most of the agnostics I’ve met are trying to sit on a fence that does not exist. They don’t like the adversarial nature of the “hard atheist” and want to appear neutral. But they are not. Look, I think people should have the right to believe whatever they choose. I think the SCOTUS did a good job when they ruled in favor of the Westboro nutbags right to say outrageous things at soldiers’ funerals. But that does not mean that I do not have the right to call their hate speech despicable. And I feel obligated to do so, because they are an example of how faith harms everyone.

And no one is apathetic to the Westboro nutbags. They show us how high the price for free speech is. No one just shrugs a shoulder when they hear they intend to picket a funeral of a loved one.

So, to the self-proclaimed agnostics out there: there is no fence. Either you believe, or you don’t. Like the “true neutral” in D&D, there are no agnostics. Are you agnostic about Thor or Zeus? What about dragons, leprechauns, basilisks, or chimeras? Are there other mythical creatures you claim you don’t know if they exist or not? How do you “know” anything?

Another word synonymous with agnosticism? Disingenuous.

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