Posts Tagged ‘agnositicism’

Sorry, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. “Atheist” is still useful.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson spends four minutes in this video trying to disassociate himself from atheism. But he’s ok with “agnostic.” A deluge of Daily Dish readers explain why they’re not mutually exclusive.

There’s a joke, more commentary that funny, I heard somewhere:  There are two types of atheists–those say say “none” when asked their religion and those that say “atheist.”

This is Tyson’s first mistake; he pegs “-isms” it to a “movement.”  There’s this irrational fear that I noticed, among even the most prominent atheists, that by giving the belief a label it gives it a unwanted connotation as dogma.

It’s odd that the word “atheist” even exists.  I don’t play golf.  Is there a term for non-golfers?

Most people don’t play golf.

“Atheism” is useful because 1) It describes a minority. (It might be less useful a term in a country like Sweden that’s largely secular.) 2) While it’s not a necessity, there is still a correlation between lack of religious belief and political ideology. People want to make organizations around common philosophical bonds, and the language is useful to share that bond. 3) It’s just a synonym for non-believer. Stop attaching other assumptions.

On an interesting sidenote, Sweden still had an officially recognized state church until 2000.  But as of 2008, only 2% of the population attended regularly. The Netherlands still has a state church.  Separation of church and state suddenly doesn’t sound like everything.