This discussion continues from my previous blog entry: “Agnosticism vs. Atheism Part 1.”
Children are not born believing in God.
As such, I did not believe in God in my early years. When I was eventually told of Jesus by my elders, I thought the claims fantastic. It is fair to say that at that point, I believed. However, that stage was short lived, for almost immediately after hearing the stories, my questions began.
As I have said before, religion cannot survive genuine scrutiny. To genuinely scrutinize religion is to make oneself open to the possibility of being convinced that God is not real. Yet, when many individuals are raised to fear eternal punishment, it follows that attempts at scrutiny be half-hearted at best.
Since Part 1, I have performed periodic tag searches on Atheism. Not all of those entries are made by Agnostics or Atheists. Some are clearly created by religious individuals.
I read a ridiculous claim not long ago, by a Christian attempting to justify the ‘validity’ and ‘truth’ of God through children. The argument was that children were more aware of the deeper truths in life than adults since the latter are more likely to allow the world, experience, and rationality to ‘blind’ them from the ‘truth.’
Tell any child why unbelievers deny God and ask them to tell you why they are being ‘silly’ and how it is impossible that God does not exist and they will tell you the simplest explanation, said the Christian blogger.
Their argument is that the simplest explanation the children provide is correct. This highlights the Christian penchant for valuing innocence–as seen in children–which is in most cases indistinguishable from ignorance. Ask a child to prove a fantastical claim such as that God exists and they will provide you with equally (if not more) fantastical explanations. The exercise illustrates precisely what happens when you approach the world based on the unrealistic and absurd–you must undeniably stretch your mind to its limits in order to justify your distortions.
Ignorance fuels Religion. Humans have active imaginations. Use fear to stimulate those imaginations, and the God Delusion survives. Obedience through fear. Imaginary rewards. An effective method it seems, at intellectual castration.
User Joadist from Richard Dawkins’ forum makes the following distinctions between Agnosticism and Atheism:
Weak agnosticism: I don’t have knowledge of Superman.
Strong agnosticism: It is not possible to have knowledge of Superman.
Weak (implicit) atheism: Absence of belief in Superman (no claims or denials made)
Strong (explicit) atheism: Denies the existence of Superman.
The change on my About blurb from Agnosticism to Atheism is recent, but the internal modifications go back years. Religion persists in many because of ignorance and not necessarily stupidity. This is very encouraging. One need only look at many of the Christian blogs on wordpress and take note of the reasons why they think Atheism/Agnosticism makes no sense, and a pattern emerges. The same fallacious arguments are recycled. Study their reasoning and you begin to see a fair amount of order–provided how little they know that is. If only they cared to research just a bit more, than they would inevitably discover that their arguments have been debunked for ages now.
It is precisely ignorance of these counter-arguments that kept me a Strong Agnostic. The belief in God does not have equal weight as lack of belief. In other words, it is not validity of Religion equals 50% and Atheism/Agnosticism equals 50%.
I knew this back then of course, but was unaware of the degree of absurdity in the God Delusion. What that delusion faces is the harshness of reality, and therefore, of extreme improbability. Given this, the label of Strong Agnosticism no longer describes my point of view as accurately as Strong Atheism.