Apistevist – A Clarification

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Back in October, I wrote a piece entitled Apistevist – A Term With Potential in which I talked about a new secular adjective that I had (then) recently discovered, and also its limitations as perceived in my eyes. Just as the word Atheism illustrates one’s lack of belief in a deity (or deities), Apistevism illustrates ones lack of blind faith. However, I felt that there was a limitation as to how far one can truly take the definition as applicable to their real life.

When it comes to belief in a deity (or most anything else in the supernatural realm) then I have no problem with the terminology. But I feel that one can not TRULY say that they are 100% Apistevistic in nature, just as one can not truly say that they are 100% Atheistic in nature. In terms of Atheism, what I mean here is that one can not say for sure that there is nothing, no deity or deities. That is a positive claim that requires evidence, and most logical thinkers understand this and don’t take it that far.

As for Apistevism, the story is more or less the same. It’s the proof that one has. Or as the case is, DOES NOT have.

The last piece I wrote got a bit of interaction from opponents to my viewpoint. There were comments from 2 or 3 people as well as a mention on a blog called The Fluffy Atheist. I even searched the term Apistevist in Google out of curiosity if my piece would show up, and I was surprised to see it as link #4. I certainly do not see myself as being ANYWHERE near intellectually on par with someone like Richard Dawkins, but I do thank Google’s algorithm for the ego boost.

Criticism of my work is fine by me. A large number of my (and of really, anyone’s) life lessons come from allowing themselves to be exposed to other viewpoints than just there own. But after taking into consideration the views of my opposition, I still stand with my conclusion of before, which is that the word Apistevist can logically only go as far as the supernatural realm. But I do have a bit of a clarification to make.

In my last post, I had this quote:

Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water. Every time you open a can of food, or eat out at a restaurant. Life in the modern era is full of scenarios where we all mindlessly roll the dice. This is not necessarily a bad thing either, its just a part of life. A person that is a TRUE apistevist (took the philosophy to heart in all areas of life) could not exist in today’s modern world. One who has absolutely NO blind faith whatsoever, would either be forced into isolation far from consumer civilization, or committed.

Many people interpreted this as to be surrounding the mechanics of the situations described. For example, one does not blindly believe that water will come out of the tap when I put it on, or that food will be in that can or box when I open it to eat it. Past experience is enough to make the assumption of water or food presence in their consecutive containers, allowable in a logical sense.

However, my argument was not as much with the presence of the substances in their containers,  but more with their safety.

For example, today so far I consumed some coffee. Yesterday I consumed some food at my place of work, as well as a bit more at a restaurant, and a bit more here at home.

I had no doubt that water would come out of the tap making my coffee and teas of the day possible. I had no doubt of the presence of food for me to consume both at my workplace, at the restaurant and here at home. And I really had no doubts about the safety of all of it.

My half-filled can of coffee, various teas and various opened food articles here at home have past evidence of their pure nature. In that, I didn’t get sick or die previously.
However, the tap water that was used to make the coffee and the teas. The meals I ate at work. The food I ate at the restaurant. Even the teas I drank both at work and at the restaurant. I am unfamiliar with the origin, processing and otherwise the handling of all said substances.
This is why I use the adage “rolling the dice”. I am not absolutely sure about the safety of, arguably, a great many variables in life. One could even apply it to brand new electronics. I have no evidence that my brand new smartphone will not explode due to some product manufacturing error.

I have had my phone for over a year, so I can now safely assume it will not explode. Same with the various open food containers in this house, coffee and teas included. I have past evidence to back up my claim of their neutral nature.
But I do not yet have any evidence to support such a claim of the other unopened coffee cans stored away in the cupboard.

Fulfilment

This is another forgotten piece of mine, that’s been floating around the depths of my hard drive, undiscovered until now. I think this was written for a facebook forum entry, but im not completely sure.

Either way, you may find it interesting.

It occurs to me that there are 2 different kinds of people in our world. There are those that live, and those that exist.

Those that are alive, are like the spectators at a concert. Life is there concert, and they make the most out of every moment. Those that exist, are like pupils in a school class they dread. Wishing they were elsewhere, watching the clock, waiting for the bell to ring.

Now, many people claim to hold the recipe to living life to the fullest, its as simple as following the path laid before you, they say. Give your heart to him, follow the path of the righteous, do this or eat that and happiness will follow. Or some people will find there own path, though one of the many avenues to an alternate reality that we have available today. Be it cinematic, digital, narcotic or otherwise, there are many to choose from.

Most of these paths share a common thread however. Many are only temporary in nature, and most are self destructive either physically, emotionally or mentally. Some may go though there entire life, simply existing. This is the comfort zone, what they know. Some may go though life unaware of this. They may think that they are free, but they are bound by invisible ropes. Bound to follow a strict list of ethics that most humans simply could not. Not for lack of trying, but simply because, we are human.

The inability to follow said list is viewed as a shortcoming, one which must be righted, and the way to do so is to beg for forgiveness. Thereby showing that though they feel that are free, they are trapped in a mental prison of there own creation. Most will never realize this, as most will never open the door. In fact, though they may view those whom are different as close-minded, they themselves may not know that the door even exists.

Which in itself is not really a problem of public concern. The problem shows up however, when the all knowing try to force there knowledge on the world at large. It may not even be intentionally harmful, the speech may be uttered or written out of love or concern. However, the end result is no different. The well-meaning speech may cause needless friction and guilt in the minds of the impressionable, and otherwise foster an environment of intolerance for anything but the norm. Though im guessing one issue comes to the forefront of your mind after reading that, it is by far not the only one. But that is not the focus of this writing.

While many can provide a path in which to use as your guide, remember, conformity will not always be the answer. Since there are no 2 people that are exactly alike, it stands to reason that no 2 people will find fulfillment in the same places. One path may work for one person, another for another person. So while its alright to share your journey, do not judge or show contempt to those whom are looking or have found purpose elsewhere.

Praying Can’t Hurt

I have heard this said many times by different people, both moderately and very religious. Even as an atheist, I used to agree. Its a nice gesture, no different then saying “you are in my thoughts“.

You hear it all the time, whenever something bad happens somewhere in the world. The religious send their prayers. Both regular and high profile people alike, are in solidarity in their prayers. And its not just for big events. People pray for friends and relatives for all sorts of reasons. In my travels around internet religious debates as an atheist, I have been told “I will pray for you” more times then I can count. And im sure most people have had similar experiences.

For the longest of time, I looked at it as just a kind gesture. Somewhat silly, but none the less harmless.

But is prayer REALLY harmless? Yes. And No.

There is nothing harmful about saying a prayer for personal comfort. The action in itself is not destructive.

But the problem comes in the mindset of the people who make the prayer. It is very easy to become reliant on an answered prayer, or to put to much faith in a prayers usefulness. And of course, there is the issue of the arrogance one can show with their  prayers.

First of all, for prospective, I think prayer is a useless and silly gesture. Just to be clear.

When it comes to the “arrogance” aspect, I reflect back to my forum cruising days. Theists telling me that I was  in their prayers, I used to think of as a nice gesture. But later , I begun to find this as somewhat arrogant, and of course, useless.

Lets consider the reasoning for the prayer.

I live in the western world, I do not have all that many trials and troubles that I can speak of. I have more mental and emotional  baggage then an Air Canada flight to Hawaii, but I am not starving or living life in fear. So apparently, I am just worthy because of my NON faith.

Millions in the world, have much bigger problems, in the NOW. People home and abroad are starving, growing up in bad conditions, or otherwise living lives of personal hell. Do they not seem more worthy of prayer?

Which brings me to the next point, praying for the sick/poor/homeless/victims of a disaster or other disadvantaged people. The common practice is to send prayers out, put faith in the almighty one of there choosing to help the people in need. I can understand this more when it comes to the less fortunate (both because they have less money to give, and they tend to be undereducated or otherwise know nothing else), but not so much for more high stature names. Royals, celebrities, athletes. People that you know rake in the millions and billions.

Though I am not against the act of praying, I raise an eyebrow when that is the ONLY action taken from the said individual. Granted, it does depend on how much disposable income you have. But if you have the means, and you want to REALLY help whatever your chosen cause is, don’t just pray.

Prayer does not feed, dress or put the homeless into affordable housing. Prayer does not feed starving people and children, nor does it solve the many injustices perpetrated all over the world. And it certainly WILL NOT solve many of humanity’s big impending problems (climate change, resource depletion in an overpopulated world ect).

It is for this reason, that I do not condone prayer. The act in itself is relatively harmless, assuming it is out of genuine concern (and not arrogance). But the last thing we need as a species right now, is a reliance on an answered prayer to solve all of our problems. Because the only answer we will get, is extinction.

Prayers and thoughts may be comforting, but its actions that move mountains.

Atheist Suicide Bomber Kills Eighteen Agnostics

Atheist Suicide Bomber Kills Eighteen Agnostics

 STOCKHOLM -In a frightening display of rising sectarian violence, an atheist suicide bomber blew himself up on a busy street in Stockholm three days ago; killing eighteen agnostics and wounding over thirty.  Members of the ‘Swedish Atheistic Liberation Front’ (SALF) have claimed responsibility for the bombing. Declaring the attack as revenge against the explosive agnostic riots, which, last week, hospitalized several atheists and terrorized the atheistic community.

Swedish authorities have so far failed stem the rising levels of violence and growing sectarian divide. The prime minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt, himself an agnostic, strongly condemned the attack, yet also called for restraint among the broader agnostic community.  In an impromptu speech, the prime minister called on agnostics to not contribute to the violence, or launch vengeful vigilante attacks, saying that the proper authorities would see justice done.

Yet Mr. Reinfeldt’s message seems to be falling on deaf ears, prominent agnostic leaders and bloggers have already began urging retaliatory attacks in what is an ominous sign for the future of sectarian violence in Sweden. Sectarian divisions and violence have been increasing ever since the breakdown in talks between the mostly agnostic Government and the violently separatist SALF.

SALF, and the atheists they claim to represent, believe that there is no god, agnostics believe that there may not be a god. To outsiders, this difference in doctrine seems almost irrelevant; to believers it is a question of life or death. Therefore, such a small difference in doctrine can create such explosive hatreds, divisions and violence.

The spiraling violence has already purged once religiously diverse neighborhoods into homogenous sectarian strongholds of either atheists or agnostics. Strongholds, which, since the latest SALF terrorism, have begun exchanging nightly mortar fire in the escalating conflict that Swedish authorities seem unable to contain.

So far the United Nations response has been limited to broad condemnations of the violence from both sides; while Norway and Finland have been preparing for an influx of refugees and planning for the creation of possible peacekeeping buffer zones within Sweden in case the rising violence transforms into the civil war many expect. The United States, afraid of being embroiled in a long intractable conflict, have confined their involvement to verbal support for moderates on both sides of the sectarian divide. At this point, all one can do is put in concentrated thought that Sweden’s Atheists and Agnostics can reconcile before civil war breaks out and, together, realize the dream of one united Sweden.

Will Thatcher

Senior Editor Of The Lapine

We have all heard of religious violence before today.

Though Islam is likley to pop into the forefront of your mind upon reading that, we must not forget, that it is not the only guilty religion (just the most well known). Even such seemingly “peaceful” religions as Buddhism, have there fanatics.

When it comes to “justification” for religious violence, most of it can be traced to the holy texts and scriptures of the said religion. Either directly stating that nothing is to be tolerated except for the path provided by IT (be it the Bible, Koran, Tarah or other). Or by way of human interpretation. You know, my book says IM right, therefore you are wrong.

Though not right, this “justification” can be dangerous, because of the possible repercussions one can face for simply, not choosing the “God” of someone else’s choice.

What you see above (just after the article quote), is the beginnings of my “response” to this story.

It has come to my attention, however, that I have fallen for the trickery of clever satire. Google tells me that The Lapine, is Canada’s answer to The Onion.

Let that be a lesson. A lesson that I forgot from one of my previous entry’s in fact. Don’t take what people tell you, at face value.

Good job Lapine. Good job.