Nontheism

10 Feb

Note:  The following is a re-edit of a piece I wrote in early May 2011.  Reproduced for your perusal here on the Dianoilogos Blog.

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A Nontheist Position in the Great Debate over “God” Vs “No God”

At the risk of setting off a firestorm, let me point out a third way out of the usual atheist-theist dialectic.  There have been some people on Youtube and in other media on and off the Internet considering the notion of “nontheism” as an alternative to the other two perspectives.  Some have even referred to themselves loosely as holding a Nontheistic view

While it may be largely a word game going on here over what ‘atheism’ actually means versus whether people can actually be ‘nontheists’ or not, I do like the term for this reason.  … The theist says: god exists.  The atheist says “no. god doesn’t exist.”  And, that usually is where it ends, in endless back and forth regression.  However, if the nontheistic perspective holds water, then there is this third way … to say, in fact, ‘but how does this state of affairs – there being god or no god in the world – actually affect life?’

Nontheism, in other words, and it has is advantages, poses indifference towards religion, belief, and the god debates.  That is to say, the Nontheist answers the god debate by a good, firm “so?” or “so what?” … I wonder if this is in fact the better way to handle the religion question than all this other banter over theism? …

If a deity does not exist, then why bother with all the fuss over that god’s non-existence?  It makes greater sense to move-on and deal with the more important matters of life than to try and trumpet an anti-credo instead as many avowed atheists are currently doing.  Why even give ‘belief’ energy by acknowledging its argument to credulity?  Why not just go one’s own way in life pursuing one’s life’s course as needed, letting believers or religionists go about theirs?

That’s the question that needs to be asked.   That’s why I openly hold a Nontheistic perspective.

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2 Responses to “Nontheism”

  1. Humanist Action Hero February 10, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    Your non-theism is already covered by atheism. Atheism literally means the lack of belief in god, not the alternate claim of belief in the non-existence of god. This already covers your position. If non-theism is an attempt to get away from the negative press surrounding atheism, then I understand the sentiment and maybe even admire it, but you aren’t introducing a new position and you will likely still experience theists who lump you in with atheists.

    Apparently just being neutral isn’t an option with them, everyone who doesn’t agree with them must automatically be an enemy.

  2. Luke Rondinaro February 12, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    Fair enough … I’m not, in fact, introducing anything new with this position. Others, after all, have been discussing this for a while now on Youtube and elsewhere; some have even loosely attached themselves to that term. What’s different here is that I’m openly using it to describe my own perspective at this point. Why do it? … The “negative press”, as you put it, mostly; but also because atheism as a position has often been pushed into this “non-existent-god” view by virtue of our constant embroilment with theists, and having to be defined by our relationship to them.

    What are we for? Not deities to be sure, but what actually (and exactly) do we stand for? Life, Nature, the power of human potential. Well, if we do stand for these things and others, we have to say that. It’s not enough to merely imply it or allow ‘what we’re for’ to be drowned out by what we consider to be a non reality in the first place.

    And, that’s the only way we’ll ultimately overcome theism and the tenacity of the god-idea.

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