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Ask the Patriarch 125
On Atheism

from Richard Guenette

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Dear John,

How do you see atheism from your point of view?

The Patriarch replies:

Richard:

There are several articles on the site addressing atheism, some critical, some conciliatory. But, overall, most agnostics and atheists have enough in common that arguing the fine points of difference is usually a waste of time and effort for little purpose.

Long ago when I was young, atheism was much simpler. It was a clear belief - or even a clear statement as fact - that god and gods do not exist. What is called strong atheism today is what used to be covered by "atheism."

I have a lot of respect for the arguments for traditional atheism even though I don't completely agree with the conclusions.

"Weak" athiesm which is a lack of belief in god(s) without making a firm claim in the non-existence of god(s) does bother me. It strikes me as a form of agnosticism, not a form of atheism. But, the definitions of words are constantly changing and I am not about to tell weak atheists what to call themselves.

I do find overall that atheists do tend to be more militant in promoting their views than agnostics are. And that is the tongue-in-cheek subtext in the name, Apathetic Agnostics, and the motto "we don't know and we don't care."