“God” is a term which, over time, has diversified in its meaning so much that it remains possible to find a definition that allows anyone to avoid being an atheist. 😀 Religious baggage can mean that terms like “atheist” evoke guilt, motivating such redefinition of God. But in effect, atheist is probably what I am.

Gods started out as invisible people with superpowers, invoked to explain various natural phenomena. Most people today would probably reject gods by this definition. Philosophical god-concepts have inevitably become more sophisticated with the advancement of knowledge, but they still seem mostly to invoke something rather anthropomorphic (a conscious mind) to explain or give meaning to existence in very personal terms.

Philosophy of mind is an interesting subject worth looking into more. But mind and brain are so linked that I’m inclined to be skeptical of the idea of a mind without a brain (which is also why I don’t believe in an afterlife). Even if there could be such a brainless mind, how could it do anything? Maybe I will change my mind after reading more, but the fact that the god-concept is so widely known does not necessarily mean it is anything more than a made-up idea. So why should I be agnostic about it when I am not agnostic about fairies or the Loch Ness monster?

Belief is a strange thing; on an emotional level it’s persistent like all other constants implanted in our world view at a young age, while on a thinking level it may be disappearing as it is being unpacked. It makes lovely poetic sense to me to see the universe as an artist’s canvas. It is also fascinating (if a little self-absorbed) to imagine that we are the way we are because we were somehow created by a God who is like us. But sometimes I want to cut through the poetry and metaphor and put my feet on solid ground. It is probably my scientific training that has made me now inclined to limit my beliefs to things I can really be sure of, and while cold hard reason is not the only pleasant alternative to superstition and dogma, I am increasingly craving intellectual honesty.

This entry was posted in God, Humanism, myth and metaphor, philosophy, science, Unitarian. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Atheist

  1. susanne430 says:

    It’s interesting to read your views on God…or the lack of. 😉

  2. I always wonder if the majority of the science community is Atheist, it would be interesting to know…

    • Sarah says:

      It seems atheism is more prevalent among scientists:

      It is interesting. It is maybe something to do with the scientific method and the way it trains you to think. Skeptical and critical thinking is important in scientific research, so if you carry that attitude over to religious matters then you are likely to be atheist or agnostic. 🙂 Not all do, of course.

      • Dawn says:

        Unfortunately, I can’t quote a source, but I once read (years back) that atheism (when differentiated from agnosticism, unlike in the wiki article) is even more widespread among the social sciences than the hard sciences. I will admit, that seems to fit my (admittedly limited) experience as well. I would venture a guess, however, that agnosticism is what runs rampant among the scientific community.

        • Sarah says:

          That’s interesting too. I think most atheists are probably far more uncertain about the nature of reality than I used to assume. In that sense agnosticism and atheism are sort of the same thing. I think you may be right about this with regard to scientists – acknowledgement of uncertainty is so important in all sciences. A large part of my research has involved undermining others’ confident claims by demonstrating how large the uncertainty is. I’m sure this has had an impact on me!

  3. Kendrick Brix says:

    I’ve read a few of your posts and wanted to say I enjoy the style of your writing. I recently came out to myself and others that I am an atheist. As a long time religious dropout I suppose I’ve been a non-believer for some time but finally acknowledging that I refute the existence of God and gods, I feel liberated!

    Keep asking questions.


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