Riker's Mailbox

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I'm constantly bothered by the incorrect juxtaposition of atheism and nihilism that I see all over the internet. Had to blurt this out.

***Preemptive Disambiguation***

'believe' (I believe that...): "I have good reason to think that..."
'believe in' (I believe in ____ ): "I support or subscribe to _____ as an idea or as an ideal."
'faith' (I have faith that... / I have faith in... ): "I am hopeful that... / I trust that..."
'atheism': absence of belief in a god or gods. More universally, 'naturalism' - absence of belief in any form of the supernatural.
'nihilism': belief that there is no purpose or point to anything; extrapolated: nothing is worth believing in and nothing means anything. Nothing has value.

***Post-Emptive Missive***

Atheism is not nihilism. ATHEISM IS NOT NIHILISM. I believe in many things, many ideals. And there is a difference between the abstract/intangible and the supernatural. I can believe in human decency, in democracy, in my local baseball team, in the scientific method, and in vanilla ice cream, among other things. I can have faith that my true love is out there somewhere*. None of these things require an appeal to something outside of nature to gain validity. One behavior that may be uniquely human is our remarkable ability to reason abstractly and think symbolically. We can wrap our heads quite comfortably around things that are not physically presentable 'things'. We can understand honor though we cannot touch or taste it.

When it comes to experiencing matters of the abstract, of passion and of emotion, we're just as allowed as the next person. So stop telling us we aren't, and STOP TELLING US WE SHOULDN'T HAVE A REASON TO CARE THAT YOU'RE DOING THINGS THAT OFFEND US IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR.

Okay, I feel a little better now.

* - This is not to imply that I haven't found her; it was just an example. At present, she's sleeping in on her day off. Lucky bitch.

1 comment: