I call myself an A-theist. The big A means “against”—I am opposed to theism, which is the belief in a personal god UpThere. I also think that the hyphen—which looks like a minus sign—is an appropriate symbol of my negative opinion of theism and that the little t signifies how unimportant theism is in the twenty-first century.
I recently read a review of a book entitled Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray and wondered which kind I was.
None of Mr. Gray’s seven types fit me, so I looked up “atheist” on the internet and found an article that listed seventeen different kinds of atheism.
Am I a gnostic A-theist who knows no gods exist, or am I an agnostic one who doesn’t believe in gods but doesn’t know for sure whether any exist? Neither fit me.
Could I be a negative A-theist who simply lacks a belief in gods or a positive (or strong or explicit) one who asserts that no gods exist? I think gods exist—but mostly in people’s minds, which I guess is fine if it works for them.
Next, I have to choose between a broad versus a narrow A-theist. The first denies the existence of all gods while the second just rejects the Western god (NoOneUpThere). Narrow is closer to my kind of A-theist.
My next choice is between unfriendly or indifferent or friendly atheism. I lean toward the friendly kind. If you want to believe in a nonexistent entity, be my guest.
I suspect I know many closet atheists. Some are clergymembers whose livelihood depends on a paycheck from theists. I’m definitely an open A-theist because I have no problem sharing my beliefs.
I’m kind of surprised the church authorities haven’t gone after my A-theism, but I guess they figure I’m just a delusional old man who should be left alone. Or maybe going after a Christian A-theist is a can of worms they don’t want to open. Then the institutional church would have to admit that its members believe in NoOneUpThere.
I am certainly not a passive A-theist, but I could qualify as an evangelical one because I use my books, blog posts, preaching, and teaching to convince people that A-theism is good. But I also want people to figure this out for themselves: Is someone UpThere or NoOne?
I’m more of an active A-theist than a militant one. I have no interest in destroying religion, and I have no desire to be some kind of suicide-bombing A-theist. I still go to church every Sunday—one that tolerates A-theists.
I am a religious A-theist who calls Jesus my Christ. Is being a Christian A-theist an oxymoron?
Am I a Republican or Democrat A-theist? I always lean toward the group that cares about the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
I’m against the concept of a he-god (or even a she-god) who lives UpThere in a mansion and runs earth as well as four trillion other galaxies. How can anyone believe that silliness in the twenty-first century?
I do worship Creation and want to preserve it. If I have to name a god, I choose love (1 Corinthians 13).
Are there any more A-theists out there?
Image courtesy of Terry Ross (CC BY-SA 2.0)