Beyond Atheism, Agnosticism, and Theism
Most of us have been asked at some point in our lives if we believe in God. We also at some point may have been put in a category of either an atheist, an agnostic, or a theist (in common culture more likely something like a “believer”).
The definitions of these terms are (dictionary and common use):
1. Atheism: I do not believe God exists, or “I do not believe in a God”.
2. Agnosticism: I don’t know if God or the supernatural exists: it’s unknown or unknowable based on what is known from the senses.
3. Theism: I believe God exists.
My view is to reject the answer the question of God is based on. The answer is dualistic and the question is dualistic. It is dualistic in at least two ways:
One, it’s based on the idea of an external God, or that there is something other than God. In other words, it’s based on the presumption that there are two things in reality: God and the world, and some relationship between them.
And reason number two, it is based on belief. A belief is a thought that is held to be true either regardless of evidence, or in spite of evidence to the contrary. However, the possibility exists of having no beliefs whatsoever.
Also, the outlook that there is a knower and the known, a subject and object, things to be known by a knower, is assumed. This represents an even deeper level of dualism.
The Oxford dictionary defines Religion as:
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
‘ideas about the relationship between science and religion’
The definition of Agnostic is:
A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.
Atheism, theism, and agnosticism, are all religious positions. A religion is a faith-based outlook and system of belief. By “faith” in this context, I mean blind faith: faith based not in experience or evidence, but in ideas and beliefs. They are inherently dogmatic and circular in their reasoning. For example, the position that “there is no God” is a position held, believed in, and guarded, the same as a theistic view might. Likewise agnosticism is a system of thought adhered to despite evidence, if the only evidence allowed is that of the senses and the mind.
Therefore I am neither an atheist, agnostic, or theist. I am nothing.
Usually when we are asked whether we believe in God, the asker, even if they consider themselves to be an atheist or agnostic, is coming from an unconscious position that based on certain assumptions. These assumptions are born from a starting point for the question arising in the first place. Since childhood, this cultural background of thinking background, this field of thought, gives the question “Does God exist”, or “Do you believe in God?” some reality, because of the answers that have already been given *in the past*. This background, this network of thinking inherited from the culture, tries to look for an explanation of things, a cause.
Indeed, as a child, adolescent or adult, one may ask, Where did the world come from? Why are there living things? Why do I exist, how did I, or anything, this universe come to be? These days, explanations take the form of what are considered to be either scientific explanations – the mechanics of phenomenon – or a theological explanation, some God or godlike entity or power.
But what these explanations all have in common is there being two things: there is a God or power, and the universe that’s created or guided. Or, there are physical forces at work, dynamics, acting on material substance, describable by mathematics or verbal stories, of what happened in time, including at the supposed beginning of the cosmos This all is assumed to be see, or way to speak, to describe in languages about it. Language is *about* things.
Science and religion are not opposed to each other, as they both arise from the same dualistic background. In fact they are both false.
The Mind and Time
Mind and time go together, as well as the assumption of cause and effect. This is a deep and very difficult are to try and explicate, and is, as they say “beyond the scope of this article”. Let’s set it aside for now.