Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Return to a Lonely Existence

I used to think "lonely" was okay. It was a fortress of solitude, a state of freedom. Still, "lonely" is good in moderation, used as a certain solace from massive quantities of people. Social situations drain me. Solitude is as nourishing as food and as revitalizing as sleep after a period of high social interaction and stress.

But this...this is ungodly. It was, at first, solitude; but then it became pure loneliness. Cut off from the rest of the world, I wait here doing nothing. Not growing. Stagnating. Being in the presence of my parents yet again is a constant reminder of my sheltered childhood. This house used to be a fortress of protection, simply because I knew no other form of existence. Now that I have had a taste of the outside world, sitting here immobilized is simply unbearable. I wish to be of the world, not of my family!

This blog is now my only consistent outlet to the outside world...and no one even knows it exists. This computer screen, my window to the world, is too small now that I have been in the world. And what a tiny microcosm of a world it was! It was hardly even the Real World! Yet it was at least a glint of freedom, growth, and learning. I want, more than anything I may receive as a gift during the holiday season, to return to that world: it is more of a sanctuary than my own bedroom.

Bob Evans and other things....

What happened, Bob Evans? In your quest to become sleeker and more modern, you've lost the "homey touch".

I finished this semester with a 2.786 GPA, a B- average. I'm not complaining.

I'm quite proud of my brother. Today he said "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas". If only he'd stay with that. His Murderer-school will teach him otherwise. It's apparently up to me to keep him secularized and to constantly remind him of the science of our beautiful world.

Finally, I think it's time for a new name for this blog. While I'm still your friendly neighborhood atheist, "The Atheist Manifesto" seems a bit dated and etymologically inaccurate.

Atheism: Belief or No Belief?

A question that has been bugging me for as long as I've been an atheist still has not been answered. Is atheism the "lack of belief in any deities" or the "belief that there are no deities"?

In this (most likely) final post of 2011, I aim to dissect the problem and attempt to find a solution. Let us begin with the word "atheism" itself.

"Theism" is either the belief in one or more deities or the belief that deities exist. Regardless of the definition, adding the prefix "a-" to a word negates it. For example, "sexual" means that an organism reproduces in binary fashion, with a sperm and an egg, both from a different organism of usually the same species. "Asexual" means that an organism reproduces itself by itself. It could produce both the seed and the egg, or simply find a host and grow. Therefore, "atheism" is the negation, or opposite, of "theism".

Theism is the philosophy whereby one derives a sense of morality and a style of life from the teachings of philosophers who claim(ed) to be inspired by an unseen power usually depicted as a human or an animal.

A theism is the having of a religion. It doesn't matter which religion, just that one has a religion. Conversely, atheism is the lack of a religion.

"Religion" is a more specific form of theism in that it refers particularly to one set of morals and one lifestyle. In a religion, one believes in one set of gods. To lack a religion is to lack a belief in a set of gods.

Therefore, "atheism" is the lack of belief, not the belief that there is no set of gods.