Almost everyone is actually an atheist. Even Christians and Muslims.
Wait, don’t kill me yet. Read on.
Let me define atheism, theism, agnosticism, and nihilism in their narrowest sense.
I think even most who call themselves an atheist does not fully understanding what atheism is. Atheism is not the lack of a belief in a god or a belief in a lack of god. It’s a worldview of accepting ‘knowledge’ and rejecting ‘belief’.
Here, let me give an example. I am an atheist. If you showed me a physical scientific proof or manifestation of a god, let’s say the Christian God, I would still be an atheist. Because I do not believe in God. I do not have a belief in any gods. In this hypothetical situation where god exists, I would know the god exists, but I wouldn’t have belief in them. So, at the end of it all, I am still an atheist.
It is the opposite of theism. Most religious extremists are theists. They believe in a god or gods or the existence of gods without any proof. They will continue to hold their beliefs in the gods even if the gods are disproved. Basically, atheism is the rejection of beliefs and theism is the acceptance of it.
And atheism is not nihilism. Nihilism is an idea that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. But, as an atheist, I do value life. Because based on knowledge, facts, and science, I see the intrinsic meaning and value of it. I know for a fact that based on DNA structure and probability of chances that the chances of an individual being born is somewhere over 1 in 10 to the power of 2 million. Basically, 10 with 2 million zeros. By that mathematical fact, I consider my life valuable. At no point is my worth based on a belief. But rather, knowledge.
Agnosticism is not accepting the existence of something because it cannot be proven. An agnostic atheist is someone who does not believe in something because it cannot be proven and has decided to accept knowledge over belief until they have been shown otherwise. An atheist either ‘knows’ or ‘don’t know’. Everyone else ‘belief’ or ‘disbelief’.
This is what it means when one says atheism is a rejection of beliefs. I do not believe that people are good. I know from an overall fact of probability that most people are good. I do not believe that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. I know from our knowledge and understanding of the universe and rudimentary working knowledge of physics that the universe is 13.7 billion years old.
Now let’s talk about the difference between ‘faith’ and ‘belief’.
Being an atheist does not mean I am incapable of what people would term faith. It’s just my faith must be reinforced by knowledge and facts. For example, if a person I know helps me most or all of the time, I would have faith in that person because they have come through for me time and time again. If a god does that for me and I know they are doing it through repeatable scientific proof or physical manifestations, I would have faith in them. Faith is trusting something or someone to come through – either on an action or, in the terms of religions, the existence of a deity – based on a personal bar of proof.
But as an atheist, I do not believe in anything. Because beliefs requires me to have faith regardless of trust, facts, proofs, or reality. What this means is that you can have faith without beliefs. And you can have beliefs without faith.
You have likely heard of agnostic atheists. But did you know you can be an agnostic theist? Did you know there is such a thing as a nihilistic theist? Did you know you can be a theistic atheist? But why is everyone likely an atheist? Because most religious people are actually atheistic theists.
Basically, the combination of these four things can go either way. Don’t believe me?
Here’s the breakdown:
- Atheist: A person who rejects blind beliefs and faith, instead relying on facts, logic, and science to uphold their ideology. (Me. What? Someone more famous? How about Richard Dawkins?)
- Theistic Atheist: A person who beliefs in knowledge or logic without proof, understanding, or scientific sustainability. (Atheist flat Earthers)
- Nihilistic Atheist: A person who rejects beliefs while holding a lack of faith in the value and meaning of life. (Atheist stereotype)
- Agnostic Atheist: A person who thinks the existence of supernatural beings cannot be proven, and thus, rejects beliefs. (Most atheists)
- Theist: A person who follows in an entity or religion, regardless of facts, logic, or experiences. (Extremists and the KKK)
- Atheistic Theist: A person who follows entities or religions due to their own personal bar of facts and logic being proven over a period of time regardless of scientific backings. (I believe in god because I felt his love.)
- Nihilistic Theist: A person who follows entities or religions, regardless of facts, logic, or experience, due to a lack of meaning and value in life. (Maybe religion can save my soul)
- Agnostic Theist: A person who follows entities or religions due to the thinking that said entity or religion is an unprovable falsehood. (I believe in God, just in case)
- Nihilist: A person who sees no value or meaning in life. (Emo people)
- Atheistic Nihilist: A person who rejects beliefs because of a lack of faith in the value and meaning of life. (Gods don’t exists because life is meaningless)
- Theistic Nihilist: A person who rejects facts and knowledge because of a lack of faith in the value and meaning of life. (The world’s gone to shit. I’m buying a cabin)
- Agnostic Nihilist: A person who does not think the existence of gods or the supernatural is provable because of a lack of faith in the value and meaning of life. (What’s the point in trying?)
- Agnostic: A person who thinks gods and the supernatural cannot be proven to be either real or not. (Philosophy majors. Finally, use for that degree)
- Atheistic Agnostic: A person who thinks gods and the supernatural cannot be proven because they transcend facts, logic, and science. (We don’t have the equipment to do this)
- Theistic Agnostic: A person who thinks gods and the supernatural cannot be proven because they are ‘something more’. (Some things are not meant for human minds)
- Nihilistic Agnostic: A person who thinks gods and the supernatural cannot be proven due to a lack of meaning and value in life. (Does it matter if everything doesn’t matter?)
There you have it. Every single possible pair combinations of the four. Of course, we could go further. Existentialism, deism, messianism, basically any direction between theology and philosophy. You can be a deistic atheist. A theistic deist. An agnostic messianist. An existentialistic panendeist. An iesistic infinitist. I don’t even know all of the possible combinations, but I assure you, you’re likely not just one.
But that’s not the mind-blowing part yet. Not only can you go any direction in singles and pairs, but also triples, quadruples, and anywhere else that allows a combination to identify you philosophical ideology (or ideological philosophy). Let me just give you 1 example.Nihilistic Agnostic Theistic Atheist: A person who beliefs in facts, logic and science without some or full understanding of them, because of the thinking that gods and the supernaturals cannot be disproved or proven, and thus, find no meaning and value in life. (A conspiracy theorising religious sociopath would be a good fit)BOOM!
Is there an agnostic theistic existentialistic nihilist in the house? I would really, really like to avoid you if at all possible. While personality tests are mostly bogus, ideology is fairly concise, as it affects your larger world views.
Religion and ideology is not black or white. There are shades. Lots and lots of shades. More shade than Michelle Obama can throw at Trump. So please, stop treating everyone else like monsters. We’re not that different, people.
Please take a moment to answer a short poll.
(EXTRA: I was wondering what a religious flat Earther would fall under. And I think it would be something like this.
Existentialistic Atheistic Theist: A person who sees themselves as the sole or beginning scope of their existence while following entities or religions due to their own personal bar of facts and logics being proven over a period of time regardless of scientific backings.)