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Zed

One Year Without God

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Erm, atheism is the belief that there is no god-like being in the existence. Someone who strongly believes that there is God can't just suddenly say "I'll try not-believing what I actually believe in for a year", because he's still going to believe in God.

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*nothing happens*

Maybe he wants to indulge in some sin without being answerable to the boss.

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Exactly. However, he did already lose his jobs just by announcing the experiment. He should go as far as to tell strangers he doesn't believe in God. Then he'll see some more of the difference in how atheists are often treated.

If he does this honestly then it can be similar to anthropologists who go live within another culture. In some sense they're always outsiders, but they gain perspective on the culture they're experiencing and the one they're from. The very religious can be pretty alien to us atheists, and his blog already seems to indicate he's feeling a little bit of that.

I wish him well. I wouldn't be brave enough to try living like a devout Seventh Day Adventist for a year. I'd go insane. :D

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(For the record, Bell describes his current theological views as agnostic - somewhere between belief and atheism. But he's trying to put that aside for the year to live and think like an atheist.)


How did he get a job as a pastor in the first place? I know that you can't get a job as an orthodox priest or even be accepted as a candlelighter in a church if your beliefs aren't clear and unambiguous, and they do have ways to find out.

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Maes said:

How did he get a job as a pastor in the first place? I know that you can't get a job as an orthodox priest or even be accepted as a candlelighter in a church if your beliefs aren't clear and unambiguous, and they do have ways to find out.


He probably got the church job first and then had his faith waver. That seems to happen a lot. Other people stay active in their churches and get new positions because they're hiding something.

Also note the existence of the Clergy Project: basically a support group for atheist clergy.

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Jodwin said:

Erm, atheism is the belief that there is no god-like being in the existence. Someone who strongly believes that there is God can't just suddenly say "I'll try not-believing what I actually believe in for a year", because he's still going to believe in God.

This is the only correct response.

That and this is clearly a stunt. It's not even subtle really. And after a year he'll announce some nonsense about how spending a year "without" god has truly shown him the necessity of gods love or somesuch and how atheists need his help more than ever to find jesus.

Actually, now having read his blog I don't think this guy is going to make it to february even. He, um, sucks at being goddless. He made it 2 days into the year before putting a prayer up and most every other post is either something to do with the media coverage of him or is an argument for god and faith.

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To the best of my knowledge, atheism is not the claim that there is no god, it's the rejection of the claim that there is a god. People claiming there is no god has just as big a burden of proof as the people claiming there is one. Atheists on the other hand have nothing to prove.

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Shaviro said:

AtheistsPeople-who-don't-give-a-fuck on the other hand have nothing to prove.


FTFY

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I would actually like to believe that there is a benevolent deity that has my back. However, I just can't bring myself to accept something like that as true; that's why I'm an atheist. I can't legitimately put my faith into something like that. If I said otherwise, I'd be a liar.

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JudgeDeadd said:

(For the record, Bell describes his current theological views as agnostic - somewhere between belief and atheism. But he's trying to put that aside for the year to live and think like an atheist.)

Considering this plus his stated plan to read a bunch of atheist literature, I'm thinking he's not going to go back in a year from now.

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Hey guys, this might be my last post here for a while.

I'm planning to put all Doom stuff behind and try out a year being a fan of the Call Of Duty games and other modern military FPSs. I'm interested in what it's like to enjoy those kinds of games. I'm not sure if I'll choose the well regarded Modern Warfare to be my new favorite game or one of the more recent ones in the series. Keep a lookout for a blog tracking my progress that I'm thinking about setting up soon.

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Jodwin said:

Erm, atheism is the belief that there is no god-like being in the existence.

No, it is the lack of a belief in such a being.

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tried to read a blog post, still reads like a bad sunday sermon.

also giving up heterosexuality for a year. If you need me, shine the batsignal up Scuba's arse.

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Shaviro said:

To the best of my knowledge, atheism is not the claim that there is no god, it's the rejection of the claim that there is a god. People claiming there is no god has just as big a burden of proof as the people claiming there is one. Atheists on the other hand have nothing to prove.

Jodwin said:

Erm, atheism is the belief that there is no god-like being in the existence.

Grazza said:

No, it is the lack of a belief in such a being.


I think we should make a distinction between the various forms of atheism to avoid misunderstandings.

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Zed said:

I think we should make a distinction between the various forms of atheism to avoid misunderstandings.

Every atheist is a special snowflake with a special definition now! Or was that assburger's? This sort of zealous systemization is not entirely necessary outside of wiki articles, I think, yet it keeps popping up like if my lack of belief could be measured and categorized. "This is how much I don't believe."

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Misunderstandings arise when extensive word fucking (like in the wiki there) replaces clear definitions of a word.

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Zed said:
What do you think?

Sounds like a good way to get insights about people who see things differently. That reminds me of this movie.

Shaviro said:
To the best of my knowledge, atheism is not the claim that there is no god, it's the rejection of the claim that there is a god. People claiming there is no god has just as big a burden of proof as the people claiming there is one. Atheists on the other hand have nothing to prove.

That mostly depends on context and faith. The former is more natural where the idea that god exists predominates, and the latter in a more secular culture where most people pay little heed to religious rites. Most people aren't towers of ivory who are unaffected by doubt. Even your last sentence can be a phrase of self-reassurance. "Oh, I have nothing to prove". When is it really true, or also a defensive means to convince others?

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The post is meant to illustrate the basic difference between atheism and what many people assert as being atheism. Atheism is the rejection of the god claim and is in its nature no different than the rejection of santa or the tooth fairy being part of reality. Atheists do not believe the claim that there is a god, but it is in no way the same as saying there definitely is no god. If you want to word-fuck and water down perfectly good words though, then feel free to take the next bus to the wiki! I'm sure a dozen pages on different meanings of the word in different parts of the world can be concatenated :)

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This does sound absurd at first, but from what he writes, its clear that he's essentially lost his faith already. However, he's also spent his whole life in the church, and its such a large part of his identity that to truly disentangle himself from it is a challenge, because at the end there might be nothing left.

This year "living as an atheist" seems like its more an attempt to develop a new social and intellectual identity than a spiritual one (and also, if you want to be cynical, perhaps to launch a new career as an author and speaker on the subject of atheism and christianity).

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Shaviro said:
If you want to word-fuck and water down perfectly good words though, then feel free to take the next bus to the wiki!

So much for these atheists, apparently they can't even bear having their texts get examined, criticized or questioned. Such free thinking spirits!

But I must be getting ahead of myself... I bet you aren't an atheist and are just illustrating what they are!

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What texts? Atheists don't have texts.
I don't mean to be rude even though I know I probably came off like that, but it just seems to me that many people get off on trying to inject as many meanings as possible into a word to the point where the word becomes a useless bundle of everything. I think dew is right on the money here.

While I don't believe in a god, I rarely classify myself as an atheist because (so very much case in point) people don't really seem to know what that word actually means. I see that the ex-pastor's latest blog entry is actually about this subject. So as to your provocations which I very much deserve; I'm not really biting. All it means is there is yet another god character I don't believe in. There are no texts, rules, magically heightened level of free thinking or anything of the sort.

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myk said:

So much for these atheists, apparently they can't even bear having their texts get examined, criticized or questioned. Such free thinking spirits!

That's not what's happening here. It's the atheists themselves who do the most "damage" by trying to come up with definitions and counter-definitions and second opinions and granularization. Every religion has an authority that claims it channels God directly and therefore cannot be questioned whatsoever. Anyone doing so is either killed off or they're strong enough to create a split, establish their own unquestionable codex and continue the cycle. It keeps them relatively strong and unified.

There's no atheist authority and you are free to come up with your own "codex", but it will be other atheists doing most of the examination, critique and questioning, because they will point out the flaws. Believers will not, because to them atheism is a monolithical block, a religion with no gods. They convene and read from their unholy scriptures of unbelief, but they do not, of course.

What I tried to say is that this classification is meaningless, because as an atheist, you shouldn't really care. It shouldn't bother you there are other people who don't believe more or less than you. Religion is an outdated concept to you and quantifying how much exactly you don't believe in any of it is just validating it in a weird, contrarian manner. My ancestors believed in the one and only God, their ancestors believed in a bunch of Slavic gods and their ancestors had tails. So what, I have better things to do than waggle my imaginary tail and fantasize about making out with Jesus.

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