Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
An Open Letter To The Editor
Steven J. Woodhouse, Editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express has written a little column lamenting the fact that those nasty, mean scientists have the audacity to discover facts about our natural world that make god-believers uncomfortable in their god-belief.
Hmnn. So much to comment on in this op-ed piece, but I thought I'd pull one grossly inaccurate statement out and set him straight.
More below the fold...
[link] My best friend is an atheist. According to him, atheists believe there is a higher power, but they do not follow any religion. That's the difference between atheists and agnostics. Agnostics do not even believe in that.
Your friend is incorrect. Your friend is a *theist* if he believes in a god or gods. The two words "theist" and "atheist" are descriptions, not religions or anything like that.
The word "atheist" simply means someone in whom there is an *absence* of god-belief. Conversely, "theist" means someone in whom there is the *presence* of god-belief. It is a black and white, either-or thing. Those people in which there is an absence of god-belief are called atheists. Those in which there is the presence of god-belief are called theists. These two labels tell us *nothing else* about a person except whether or not there is the presence or absence of god-belief in that one individuals skull.
You are also incorrect about the word "agnostic". An agnostic is someone who makes the claim that it is *impossible to know* whether or not a god exists.
These words, gnostic/agnostic, and atheist/theist deal with completely separate areas. Gnostic/agnostic describe a claim about *knowledge*. Atheist/theist describes the presence or absence of *belief* in a god or gods.
Most folks imagine a single line with points along it. To the right there is a point labeled "theist", in the middle, one labeled "agnostic", and on the left one labeled "atheist". However, this is not the case. They exist on a completely separate lines altogether at right-angles to one another. Therefore it is possible to be an "agnostic atheist", an "agnostic theist", a "gnostic atheist", or a"gnostic theist". This is because one can *believe* in a god or gods, but also think that it is impossible to *know* that a god exists. Or not believe, and not know. Or Believe and know, or not believe and know.
You see? Very simple.
Listen, Steven, many folks get this wrong, so don't feel so bad. It's because our society has attached incorrect meaning to these words about god-belief and made them scary and taboo. They're not - they're just words. But if you use them incorrectly you perpetuate the ignorance.
And you wouldn't want to do that, would you?