Categories of non belief

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Randomhero1982's picture
Categories of non belief

What are the various categories of non belief in theism and their definitions?

And what do you fall under yourself?

I suppose I ask, because I've never been sure what exactly I would be classed as...

In the past, I have been referred to as agnostic, atheist and anti theist.

However, to my knowledge, my actual views on theism do not correspond to the known definitions...

I'm going by...

Atheism - lack of belief in any god(s)
Agnostic - doesnt believe they can know if there is a god
Anti theism - opposes religion

Personally, I give zero credence to religion and I'm happy to say I 100% believe that there is no god, no paranormal or supernatural shenanigans... nor any magic happenings.

It's all horse shit in my personal opinion, and I happily go about my life in such a fashion.

That said I don't oppose religion really, I guess my belief is as follows:

1 - it cannot be eradicated whilst humans fear death.
2 - we are superstitious by nature.
3 - I'm happy for people to believe what they like, as long as they keep it to themselves.

And theres a far longer list...

But I guess the main point is, I'm never sure how to describe my viewpoint?!

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Algebe's picture
I'm atheist and anti-theist.

I'm atheist and anti-theist.

I fear and loathe religion for the following reasons.
1. It's dangerous because it gives otherwise decent people motives and excuses for evil actions.
2. It puts power and money into the hands of immoral people (e.g., televangelists, pedophile priests).
3. It hinders efforts to improve the real world by offering vague promises of justice and happiness in the afterlife.
4. It's been a cause of conflict for millennia.

Religion should be classified as an infectious epidemic disease.

Cognostic's picture
The set of Atheists includes

The set of Atheists includes Anti-theists. Atheists are often referred to as "Weak" or "Strong." An atheist is a person that does not believe in god or gods. The atheist can be "Self Acclaimed" (They choose to be an atheist.) or the person can be an atheist by default (Atheists are non-believers and everyone is born a non-believer). Babies who are not baptized burn in hell. If you are a non-believer, by definition of the Church you are a heathen, sinner, fool, infidel, and an atheist. All these terms apply.

Agnostic has nothing specific to do with Atheism. An agnostic can be a theist of any kind. The word Agnostic is about "KNOWLEDGE" and not "BELIEF." (A = Without Gnosis / Gnostic = Knowledge What you know about God or gods.)

When someone asks if you "believe" in God, and you respond with "I'm agnostic." You are simply avoiding the question. You were asked about what you believe and you responded with what you can know. Most Christians (I assert all) know nothing at all about the god they profess to believe in. It is completely possible to not know if there is a god and still believe that something called a God must have created everything. Agnostic Christians are not uncommon by any means. Pascal's Wager was designed specifically for the creation of Agnostic Christians. And what does the bible say about the Agnostic Christian? YES IT IS IN THE BIBLE

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 20:29 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

So, FAITH, plays a huge part in religion. Believe on 'FAITH' and not on 'FACTS.' (HINT: There are no facts.)

Okay - back to ATHEISM.
At its core, atheism is simply not believing in god or gods. Atheists can believe in all sorts of other nonsense; souls, spirits, magical powers, crystal magic, chakras, Ki or Chi, pyramid power, etc, etc, etc.. An atheist may be liberal, believing that other people should be allowed to believe whatever they want. An atheist can be highly critical and skeptical of all beliefs based on woo woo claims and unsubstantiated science.

Atheism is not an exact thing as people can fluctuate between Strong and Weak or "Anti-theist" and core "Atheist" (Simple non-belief) principles. In my opinion, it is best to meet the claims of the religious at the appropriate level. Inane bullshit claims can be met with a stronger brand of Atheism or Anti-theism than mundane and vague deistic claims.

One helpful distinction that I like to make is that the "Atheist" makes no claims. The atheist clings to the core of "Atheism" and simply says, "I do not believe in god or gods." The general reason for this is based on a lack of sufficient evidence. They are Agnostic Atheists.

On the other hand, the Anti-theist is willing to make claims. "Your god does not exist. The Church does more harm than good. Believers are all delusional. Religion is harmful. etc..." The anti-theist can be both rational or irrational. Many new atheist come onto the site and begin bashing religion with anger and no facts backing up their disdain. In most cases they are quickly challenged by atheists on the site for their lack of factual information. Other anti-theists are quite logical, pick their battles wisely, and fluctuate between the atheist and anti-theist position depending on the claims being made by the theists.

Hope this was helpful. Summary: Atheism and Agnosticism are two separate things. One is about belief and the other about what can be known. Atheism can be hard or soft, intentional or unintentional, and it includes Anti-theism. Regardless of the brand of Atheism, at the very core it simply means "non-belief."

Cognostic's picture
@Randomhero1982 RE:

@Randomhero1982 RE: Personally, I give zero credence to religion and I'm happy to say I 100% believe that there is no god, no paranormal or supernatural shenanigans... nor any magic happenings.
It's all horse shit in my personal opinion, and I happily go about my life in such a fashion.
It's all "horseshit" is an anti-theist claim. You have adopted a burden of proof. Now you must prove your claim. You must prove that all religion and everything in religion is horseshit. This is a sweeping generalization and the exact sort of comment a wise atheist would avoid. Some things in religions actually do work. Some teachings actually have value. It is not "All" horseshit. I might assert that the foundational belief in a personal creator god of the universe is horseshit. I think I am on solid ground here. Calling it "All" horseshit is probably a mistake and an intelligent theist will take you to task.
That said I don't oppose religion really, I guess my belief is as follows:

1 - it cannot be eradicated whilst humans fear death.
2 - we are superstitious by nature.
3 - I'm happy for people to believe what they like, as long as they keep it to themselves.
This is in direct conflict with your previous statement, "It's all horseshit." What you have written above is in agreement with the soft atheist position. Just let them have their silly beliefs as they are not doing anyone any harm and it gives them comfort. As long as they keep it to themselves I don't care. (Classic Soft Atheism).

My observation, opinion, is that you have not been an atheist for very long. If you have, this is actually one of your first attempts to delve into the complexity of the issue. You will find most of the atheists on this site to be skeptics in addition to their atheism. They generally make no claims at all unless the claims can be backed up with facts and evidence. The claims made by the theists are also challenged with facts and evidence and not just simple insults or sweeping generalizations such as "It's all horseshit."

Atheism is not a thing, but rather, it is a response to magical, spiritual, unsubstantiated, invalid, and basically inane claims being made by theists. As atheists are responding to the inane and nonsensical, they tend to try their best not to appear inane and nonsensical themselves.

Randomhero1982's picture
Thank you all folks! Very

Thank you all folks! Very enlightening!

For arguements sake, I shall say that I've always been atheist, so I've never given the topic a moments thought until I got older and became more aware of religions insidious reach across the world and the harm it causes.

Cog, I completely agree that i make a claim that takes on a burden of proof.

This is why, on here I play the game.
I play the logical game because obviously that is what it boils down to, in my opinion.

The only arguments theists have are logical arguements...

Appeal to authority - when citing scripture etc...
Appeal to popularity - because so many believe it
God of the gaps - Inserting god in gaps of knowledge

And the list goes on... they cannot even form a deductive arguement, I'd argue it would be impossible.

So as I say, on here I would say I am atheist and try not to take on the burden of proof, mostly because it would be nice if a theist could actually present anything note worthy.

However, once I step away, I know it will never happen because it's impossible.
There is no God and therefore there is zero evidence to support such a childish notion.

Just like there is no mythical dragons, unicorns, teapots orbiting planets and santa isn't coming this year... (sorry lol)

I'm just trying to understand what my actual personal belief is, irregardless of logical arguements.

So I'm trying to ask this on a personal level.

I personally think most of us on here think likewise, but simply play the game on here where we proclaim to be atheist in the way that stops us having to disprove their idiotic fantasies.

I imagine, in the privacy of our own homes we give it zero credence whatsoever.

I may be wrong though, But thanks for your help again everyone, definitely helping me better understand.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
I would think 'Non-Theist' to

I would think 'Non-Theist' to be an apt description.

Cognostic's picture
@TheBlindWatchmaker: I

@TheBlindWatchmaker: I think "non-theist" would be fine as well. I certainly qualify as a non-theist. The issue here seems to be that the Church originally came up with these concepts. The original Atheists were the Christians who refused to pay tribute to the Pagan Gods. "Non-believer" appears to be from the religious perspective. Non-theist seems to match up with "A-theist / without theism, much better than non-believer.

cranky47's picture
At about 40, I slowly

At about 40, I slowly realised calling myself an agnostic wasn't quite right. I realised that I dis-believe. I E I do not believe in gods due to a lack of evidence. But,I do not claim to know there are no gods . Therefore, I now call myself an agnostic atheist .

My position is often described as 'soft atheism '

The hard atheist MAKES THE CLAIM : "There is no God" or"I believe there is no god". Each of those statements is a positive claim and attract the burden of proof as much as the believer who claims 'there is a god" or "I believe there is no god"

God cannot be argued into or out of existence. Logic is not a tool for discovering metaphysical truths. That is because a logically valid inference is true IF AND ONLY IF the premise is true.

The existence of god is unfalsifiable. IE it can neither proved nor disproved. That a thing has not been proved to be true does not mean it is necessarily false. That a thing has not been proved to be false does not necessarily mean it is true.


For those not familiar:


"Russell's teapot is an analogy, formulated by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others.

Russell specifically applied his analogy in the context of religion.[1] He wrote that if he were to assert, without offering proof, that a teapot, too small to be seen by telescopes, orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because his assertion could not be proven wrong.

Russell's teapot is still invoked in discussions concerning the existence of God, and has had influence in various fields and media. "

Rohan M.'s picture
Since I often have trouble

Since I often have trouble being sure of where exactly I lie on the gnostic-agnostic axis due to the fact that I don't see why I should give the existence of God, which is unevidenced and improbable, the benefit of the doubt if I don't do that for any other unevidenced and improbable claims like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc. and yet don't claim to know 100% for sure whether or not a deity exists, I prefer to classify my atheism according to the "Dawkins Scale", which he devised in his book The God Delusion. I am level 6. (See attached image)


Attach Image/Video?: 

Randomhero1982's picture
I like that Rohan, thanks!

I like that Rohan, thanks!

I'd definitely see myself as a 7, without question.

LogicFTW's picture
I see myself as a 7.

I see myself as a 7.

For the longest time I would say 6.9999 (repeating) as I am not omniscient. But I put the odds of any of the various "god" ideas being reality as presented by the followers of the god as about as likely as the sun rising from the west instead of the east tomorrow.

So essentially I am a 7. I feel the odds are so minute that one of these god ideas is real, that is really better for me to operate as "100% sure there is no god."

Randomhero1982's picture
I would have to agree with

I would have to agree with you there Logic!

Having been exposed to religion at quite a later age then the average person, it just appeared to be nonsensical to me, right from the off!

And within a few years I went from say 6 to 6.5, right up to a solid 7.

But I do confess to portraying myself as a 6 when in debate so theists can't try to shift the burden of proof.

LogicFTW's picture
Yeah, I avoid out right

Yeah, I avoid out right saying god does not exist, because then I am making the claim, even though that is my position. But my position stems from a total lack of any sort of real evidence.

I have found increasingly in my time here on atheist republic forums that it is words and definitions more then anything that gets twisted around badly by theist apologist, all in an effort to rationalize their insane religion idea that should of been laughed off as ridiculous 1000+ years ago.

Grinseed's picture
Logic, just a small point,

Logic, just a small point, the efforts to "rationalize their insane religion idea" never really happened until science re-emerged during the Age of Reason and proved itself to work. Rationalising faith only really took on importance when science presented itself as a viable opposition to apologetics.

Back in the 3rd, 4th and 5th century the only appeal the now politically empowered christians made was to demand acceptance of their belief without question and to utterly discard reason. This was an imperative christian duty to save souls. Failure to accept the 'love of Jesus' met with mob violence, property destruction, torture, mutilation, death and officially legislated censure of thought.
Even Augustine condoned this "merciful savagery". It was precisely like the activities of the recent attempted ISIS caliphate. There was no beatific filling of the holy spirit, just sheer terror and intimidation. That's a measure of how twisted this insane religious idea really is.

LogicFTW's picture
Point well taken Grinseed.

Point well taken Grinseed.

You guys knowledge on biblical and religion history always impresses me and far exceeds mine.

Grinseed's picture
"What's in a name?" Mr

"What's in a name?" Mr Shakespeare asked.
Would an atheist by any other name smell as sweet?

On some better days I might feel like a soft atheist. "Yeah their god might exist, I concede I don't know everything. Parts of religion ain't all that bad."

On other days I am so pissed off with the gobbly-gook talk of apologetics and the repressive influence of religion, I burn as an anti-theist against the delusion and lie of the supernatural and the ignored, debauched, bloody history of the rise of religions by oppression, violence, torture and death. "Even if there was a god there shouldn't be!"

So in my vacillating confusion I sometimes end up pondering if my use of the title 'atheist' puts me unwittingly within the theist arena. Despite the definition, it remains a theist description referring to my position in relation to the existence a god which only theists believe in.

If I describe myself as an empiricist, it just means I accept information from natural observations, intuitive thought and physical experimentation. The idea of a god isn't even considered a 'part' of empiricism, like it is a 'part' of atheism.

Its a sublte distinction. I realise not all atheists would accept being empiricists, like the crystal healers, wiccans etc, but I think it blunts the usual theist stand somewhat by denying their naming rights to our non-belief.

Besides, the greatest opponent to the empiricism of John Locke, Bishop George Berkeley, solemnly warned that following empiricism would lead one to atheism eventually.

(He also declared that things only existed when observed by an individual and when the individual was not present the object still existed because God was still observing it.)

So, would 'empiricist' be enough to cover the intent of 'atheist'?
'Empiricist' doesn't seem to require any categories and lies outside the theists' immediate sphere of reference.

Should there be an Empiricist Republic?

Tell me I am wrong.

Cognostic's picture
@Grinseed: Not all atheists

@Grinseed: Not all atheists are empiricists. An Empiricist Republic would alienate some of the atheists who are not quite as skeptical as the bunch on this forum. You know, those atheists who log in, post some really stupid shit, get called on it, and then vanish. Atheist is only non-belief in god or gods. It says nothing about a soul, being born again, crystal magic, chakras, or a whole lot of other nonsense. Remember, atheism is a position on one assertion and one assertion only, "God Exists." Atheists do not believe in God or gods. That's it. That is the bare minimum qualification for atheism.

Grinseed's picture
You're right Cog. I know

You're right Cog. I know there's nothing really wrong with the grand old word "atheist".

I guess I just dislike how theists tend to ignore that all important "a" prefix and think we just being snotty and denying their god out of nothing more than rebellion.
I see it as an offshoot of the old theist mind trick, where if you can imagine the greatest, most powerful deity possible, then one greater must exist in reality.
So it would follow, in theist logic, that if we heathens identify with god, in anyway, even negatively and by name, we must therefore at least, believe one exists, if only to oppose it, and just a little evangelical niggling will see all us topped up with the holy spirit in no time and on our way to heaven with the rest of them.
I remember when I was a young christian how the name 'atheist' disturbed me. I use to imagine the worst possible examples of theist indoctrination really did a job on me... and now I think there can be no more supremely humane ideal than to be an atheist.

And 'Empiricist' just doesn't have the same sting. Might not fit on a coffee mug either.
AR will appreciate your call Cog.
Imagine what rebranding the Republic would cost in terms of t-shirts alone.
All you people with AR tattoos can relax, ok?

Tin-Man's picture
@Grin Re: "Imagine what

@Grin Re: "Imagine what rebranding the Republic would cost in terms of t-shirts alone."

Sure, that would be a bit of an inconvenience. However, if you notice, the site would then become the "ER". Imagine all the confusion that would cause in the medical community and for people needing emergency hospital care. Eeeek! An example:

Husband: "Honey, please get off the computer. I need to go to the ER."

Wife: (facing away from husband) "Ugh! Well, mister, you're just gonna have to wait awhile, because I am having a FaceBook conversation with Sally. You can waste time on the ER later."

Husband: (pleading voice) "Uh, dear, you don't understand, I REALLY need to go to the ER!"

Wife: (irritated) "Whine all you want, you big baby. It won't get me off the computer any faster. What's so supremely important that you just HAVE TO post right this minute anyway?"

(*thud* sound behind wife as husband hits floor after passing out due to blood loss from severe cut on upper leg)

Ummm, yeah. Let's just stick with good ol' AR.

Cognostic's picture
@Grinseed: Agreed! And

@Grinseed: Agreed! And your previous point about the "Word Changes" are spot on. The theists need to change the words to set up straw men that they can knock down. How many straw man arguments are out there today?

"The Atheist World View"
"Atheists don't have OBJECTIVE morality" (Whatever the fuck that is?)
"Where do your morals come from?"
"Atheists believe the world came from nothing"
"Atheist believe it all happened accidentally"
"Atheists think the universe created itself."
"Atheists claim that there is no god."
"Atheists believe in [insert scientific theory here]" all sorts of made up shit.
"Atheists are just angry at God."
"It takes faith to be an atheist"
"You're just an atheist because you want to sin"
"A duck never gave birth to a cow."
"We couldn't have evolved from monkeys because there still are monkeys.?
"Atheism is a religion."
"Atheists have faith in materialism."
"You were never a true Christian"
"You Atheists don't believe in anything."

The list goes on and on and on..... The Christian mind just can not grasp the idea of an existence free of inane beliefs. They do not grasp the concept of questioning and ridding oneself of the irrational. They just don't seem to get that atheism is about one thing and one thing only. "Belief in God." Atheists are people who do not believe in god. Anything beyond that, has nothing at all to do with atheism.

cranky47's picture
To upset a fundy:

To upset a fundy:

OF COURSE we didn't evolve from monkeys! Sakes!

Monkeys have tails. Nor did we evolve from apes! Human beings are primates.IE a type of ape. So no, we didn't evolve from apes. We ARE apes.

We're related to monkeys, but have more in common DNA with pigs,

I just get fed up with the fundamentalists anti science, anti intellectualism, anti reason and anti abstract thought,.

Thought for today ; "If you could reason with religious people, there wouldn't be any " (Greg House)

Cognostic's picture
@cranky47: Ummm???

@cranky47: Ummm??? "Although a vestigial tail disappears for most people, sometimes the tail remains due to a defect during the developmental stage. In the case of a “true” vestigial tail, the exact cause of this defect is unknown."

Apes and monkeys had a common ancestor too. Doesn't that mean we got a bit of monkey in us from the common ancestor of monkeys?

Oldest Fossils Reveal When Apes & Monkeys First Diverged

LOL... Just being contrary and waving that stupid assertion in the face of the Theists. It gets better. We have PICS.

AND WE HAVE NOT MENTIONED PEOPLE BORN WITH MONKEY FEET (A THIRD JOINT IN THE FOOT) OR A THIRD EYELID. There are probably a lot more vestigial organs we are born with that I am not aware of.

Ricardo's picture
Theists claim that science

Theists claim that science and its scientific method in the future will offer empirical evidence of the existence of god! what is your opinion about this statement?

Cognostic's picture
@Kundalino: When evidence

@Kundalino: When evidence is present, then it is time to believe. I have no idea at all how we get to worship from there. Belief is allocated to the degree of evidence provided. Worship??? I can not imagine what would cause a human being to "worship" and find it utterly confusing why any theist would waste their time with the murdering god of the bible, or any Muslim with the butchering bastard of the Quaran.

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