Atheism is a one subject topic … basically, “Is there a God, Yes or No?” and disbelief is simply the non-theist conclusion. That is it, that is the entire and complete scope of Atheism. It says nothing about anything else at all, there is no set of rules, no dogma, no guidance at all, it is simply a conclusion and nothing more, it really is that simple.
The reasons why people reach that conclusion can be quite diverse, and so those that do not believe in a god can consist of quite a different range of individuals who have a vastly divergent set of thoughts on many other topics.
So am I am atheist?
Well, yes, I have indeed reached that conclusion, but to be honest it is not the primary label I would use, there are also other far better labels to consider. Here are a couple of examples:
Skeptic: This essentially is a term that describes those that apply critical thinking not just to religious claims but to any weird claim and so this is really about embracing a process, a way of thinking, so essentially an atheist is somebody who is skeptical about religious claims, but may in all probability be also skeptical about many other claims as well.
Humanist: This is for those that aspire to being a decent human being and live a good life without any recourse to supernatural thinking, and that in all probability involves applying skeptical thinking.
OK, that last one is perhaps the trigger to today’s posting, because Stephen Fry had done a set of four very nice videos that address specific questions … (each is only a couple of minutes long, so it is all very digestible) …
- How do we know what is true?
- What should we think about death?
- What makes something right or wrong?
- How can I be happy?
Here is the third one …
OK, so I’m getting to a point here, I have one more observation.
It has generally been my experience that if you attend a Humanist meet up, and also a skeptical meet up, and then an Atheist meet up, and finally a science festival, you will keep bumping into the same people, and so what I’m suggesting is that you should not simply stick with one label, but rather consider the idea of embracing multiple labels as many others also do … atheist, skeptic, humanist, pro-science, etc … and I’m sure you can think of many others for the etc bit there as well (I know I can).