I'm on my way to my parents house. I haven't seen my brother in two years and he just arrived at their house with his family. No one told me they were coming to Colorado. Maybe its best, had I known I would have taken time off work to spend with them, but I'm not sure that is what they would have wanted.

My family holds me at arms length, the crazy uncle that they think is trying to "spread" atheism. The funny thing is my brother is a rather intelligent man and not as prone to propagandist thought as other may be. That being said, he considers himself a deist or sort of agnostic. I know he hadn't done much research about religion. He hasn't read the bible or anything from a non theist author about religion and it's significance in the world. I never considered agnosticism very honest. I mean, there is holding judgment and there is agnosticism. Agnosticism is self defeating and (in this authors' opinion) a bit cowardly. It sounds good to say you can't make a decision on the existence of god because there is no evidence either way, but how many other ideologies, gods and beliefs does he dismiss readily as being absurd without evidence either way.

How do you feel about Krishna, Zeus, unicorns, merlin, Ice giants and Formorians?

Its great to say you have no evidence either way, but anyone can philosophically justify not make a decision on any subject one way or another. (Why do anything, we might be plugged into the matrix!)

I make assertions about reality. I believe that my senses are fairly accurate being that I can corroborate how my senses work with others of my species that testify to how their senses function and the experiences are not so remarkable the same. Vision, scent, touch, hearing all seem to pick up and translate interactions with the environment the same as others. I also make predictions based on experience that allow me to function. So while the atoms in the floor may spontaneously lose all charge and give way to my foot and hence causing me to fall through it, my experience is that it would only happen if the floor were of some unstable structure. Were I to live the agnostic lifestyle, I would not be able to trust the floor until I tested it each time. I would have no evidence that the floor is stable since each step would yield a new section of floor. Even had I stepped on the floor once before, I would have no evidence that two steps wouldn't compromise its molecular structure, or three or four. Agnosticism is self defeating, how do you know that you can't believe anything without one hundred percent evidence if you have no evidence that agnosticism is true?

My family questions my philosophy continually. Pascal's wager, irreducible complexity, and cosmic punishment have all been brought into play to question why I believe why I do. In those arguments once refuted, I pose equal questions of credibility to their beliefs. Then, of course, I am "attacking" them and the family is upset that I dared be so rude and fanatical in my atheism as to question their god and their beliefs. I relish talking about these ideas when they come up, I love putting my beliefs under a microscope. I smile and enjoy the rhetorical process especially with y beliefs.

What belief is worth having if it can't withstand criticism? When there is no answer, there is offence.

I'm leaving to go to my parents house. I will be treated to prayer, Bill O'Reilly and a slew of random political statements with little or no credibility. If I even begin to refute anything directed at me, I will be a troublemaker. So, here's to family. Here's to another day of impossible circumstances.

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Comment by Luara on July 10, 2014 at 3:35am

Most nonbelievers simply do not believe in a religion.  They don't assert that there is no God.

Peter Boghossians A Manual for Creating Atheists is about questioning believers' certainty.  Not about trying to prove there is no God.  

His method seems quite effective in showing believers the hidden assumptions that justify their faith. 

I wrote a blog post about the Manual for Creating Atheists.

Comment by Jason Andrews on July 10, 2014 at 3:07am

Thank you, Tom, for pointing out the theme of my argument. I made a decision. My decision is sound. I never stated that I was leaving room for doubt. Again, I discuss the percentage of doubt associated with the proverbial teapot. I am just as comfortable saying there is no god as I am saying there is no teapot floating between here and Jupiter. I'm not sure what your comment is meant to illustrate, other than the finer points of what I was trying to communicate.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on July 3, 2014 at 6:26pm

Jason, count your remarks. You left no room for doubt.

1) I never considered agnosticism very honest.

2) Agnosticism is self defeating and (in this authors' opinion) a bit cowardly.

3) Were I to live the agnostic lifestyle, I would not be able to trust the floor until I tested it each time.

4) Agnosticism is self defeating, how do you know that you can't believe anything without one hundred percent evidence if you have no evidence that agnosticism is true?

Comment by Jason Andrews on July 3, 2014 at 10:28am

I'm not sure I follow your comment, Tom. I believe you have totally misunderstood my platform of speaking in hypothetical with regards to agnostic philosophical worldview. Please read and understand my blog before posting.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on July 2, 2014 at 3:24am

Were I to live the agnostic lifestyle, I would not be able to trust the floor until I tested it each time.

Jason, with the negativity you have about agnosticism, your not understanding it doesn't surprise me.

Your feeling a need to test a floor before you walk on it has other causes.

Comment by Luara on June 28, 2014 at 4:21am

no one can prove beyond all certainty that no gods exist, however there is over a 99% certainty that none do exist.

I bumped into someone on Youtube who's claiming to be certain that a divine creator does exist.  This person says they aren't in any particular religion - but rather, they're stating all sorts of theist arguments.  Like the fact that the universe is suitable for life, when many universes would not be. 

I told them of some books with alternate explanations for why our universe is suitable for life, like Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark, and The Life of the Cosmos by Lee Smolin.

when I spoke of arguments, I think Laura might have misunderstood. I spoke of argument in the Classic Greek rhetorical form. I don't yell and scream, I have made statements of fact, but they are viewed as attempts to evangelize Atheism.

Jason, I didn't mean to imply that you were arguing with people.  But arguing is what people do by default.  Our instinct is to defend a position, rather than to ask questions.  The Socratic method doesn't come naturally. 

Comment by Michael Penn on June 27, 2014 at 6:44am

You disagree about what, Jason Andrews? The burden of proof is always on the one that makes the assertion. I did not say it otherwise. If people believe in god they must prove their belief to you. If I say I have $100 in my pocket it is up to me to prove the claim. It's possible that you misunderstood what I was saying. Believe me, I did not say it otherwise.

I might have said that no one can prove beyond all certainty that no gods exist, however there is over a 99% certainty that none do exist. Dawkins even makes this claim. In no way does it mean that myself or any others thought that the burden of proof is on us. The burden of proof is always on the ones who make the claim.

Trust me. There is no Classical Greek or fear of hell here. Just evidence and logic.

Comment by Loren Miller on June 27, 2014 at 6:42am

Sounds like you're prepared to stand tall, Jason.  Do hang in there ... and the suggestion by Luara about A Manual for Creating Atheists is a good one, as its Socratic approach toward questioning belief may be the soundest and most effective persuasion tool we currently have.

Stay cool and best of luck.

Comment by Jason Andrews on June 27, 2014 at 1:10am

Thanks for the post guys. Michael, I understand your position, but respectfully disagree. In any assertion, in rhetoric, the burden of proof is on those who made the assertion. The assertion is that God exists. That assertion must be proven in order for me to debate it. I can come and say there are little aliens living in my colon, which you would not even worry about trying to refute unless it had first ben proven to you.

The assertion of god has not been proven, and needs no refutation from me. It makes as much sense to say I am an a-theist as it does to say I am an a-leprechaunist. The designation is for clarification to a deistic culture. I am also not fond of describing myself in terms of negative (ie. Q:"How are you?" A:"I'm not unhappy."; Q:"What are you?" A:"I'm not a dog.") Such things tell you nothing of what I am or what I believe.

I have in a perfectly logical and lucid state, made a decision based on probabilities that don't require me to prove. It is the natural state of being. Though I am open to evidence, I admit I would be skeptical of any evidence. Especially that of personal experience.

Of course, to not make a decision based on that hypothetical .001% chance or whatever I will still consider of poor taste. The argument for an against a deity do not hold the same weight in any sense of the word. No evidence whatsoever vs. a universe which appears as it would need to in order for there to be no intelligent prompting or guidance whatsoever. (Paraphrased from Dawkins "Greatest Show on Earth.")

The arguments are not of the same weight, the burden of proof is on the assenting position, and you and I make decisions of affirmation with probabilities far less than .1,.01 or .001% daily without batting an eye.

Agnosticism is a nod to the divine, an affect to the idea that the arguments hold equal weight and a fear that if they are wrong, they will suffer the Abrahamic tortures promised to the one who commits the one sin that God will not forgive (denying him).

Also, when I spoke of arguments, I think Laura might have misunderstood. I spoke of argument in the Classic Greek rhetorical form. I don't yell and scream, I have made statements of fact, but they are viewed as attempts to evangelize Atheism. The ridiculousness of assuming a logical rhetorical argument purposed to educate one in science can be seen in this light baffles me.

I love and appreciate your taking the time to read my words, since they were mostly my attempt to find an outlet for my frustrations. Knowing how others see what I write and how they interpret what I feel helps me refine how I can communicate it I the future. It also makes me feel less alone in the world.

Please don't stop reaching out to others.

Comment by Michael Penn on June 26, 2014 at 7:50am

I like your words and even identify with your situation, but I think you are too hard on agnosticism. On first glance it does appear that this belief is a "cop out" but let's examine it. To some it appears that the agnostic just cannot make up his mind. I pose the idea that over 99% of all god belief is false or has been reported as false. Thor, Odin, Zeus, and a list a mile long. JHVH and Allah are added to the list. Put the Abrahamic gods right up there with the rest. They are all the same.

I have over a 99% certainty of belief that there are no gods. If I tell you this for an absolute fact, then the burden of proof is on me. I cannot prove to you that no gods exist, but I can tell you logicly that there is over a 99% certainty that none do. There is simply no evidence.

Even though I speak this way, I still call myself atheist. It means I am "without god." I find no evidence for belief in gods.

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