|For an explanation on how to use this table, see the section in my Religious Dialogue Tools. For an example of how I used it, see my sharing post . Modify any column to your pleasure: Remember, these are only suggestions to help you express yourself and to further dialogue. Both Atheists and Agnostics can use this table to describe themselves, if they desire.|
|It would be cool if you copy and pasted this table into one of your posts, fill out your preferences and then give us a link in the comments below ! Thanks.
Atheism’s definition: not believing in any [theistic] god(s).
Your Atheism Positions
||Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist, Skeptic … (classic list)
Reverent Agnostic, Cultural Christian … (nuance list)
|Past Sect History
||List sects/denominations/religion you belonged to|
|Past Belief History
||Former Believer / Life Long Non-believer (Natural)|
|Past Orthopraxy History
||Former Practitioner (poor, casual, diligent) / Life Long Non-practitioner|
| Level of Certainty:
||Weak (Agnostic) / Moderate / Strong (Gnostic)|
|Openness:||Totally Open / Open, but cautious / Closeted|
|Degree of Outreach:
||Passive, Affirm only, Debater, Active, Evangelical, Militant|
| Present Religious Participation:
||Abstaining (rare) / Occasional / Often|
Categorically Rejecting Religion:
|Categorically Against / Indifferent / Friendly / Sympathetic|
|Degree of Enchantment||Disenchanted/ Disappointed / Neutral / Enchanted|
|Mystical Perceptions:||Non-Mystical / Partially Mystical / Highly Mystical|
| Theory of Religion:
||How did religion evolve, what useful functions (if any) does it serve?|
| Non-theistic Leanings
||Do you believe in any matrix of the universe, any higher (albeit non-interventional power), and principle behind reality?|
|Secular Superstitious or Irrational Habits
||Do you buy the lottery, have a lucky charm, avoid unlucky things, have favorite irrational habits?|
| View of Reason
||How highly do you value reason? How rational do you feel humans are or can be?|
| Faith Items
||What things you believe in for which you don’t have evidence|
CATEGORIES & DEFINITIONS
Below I offer some terms for the categories. But feel free to use your own terms or thoughts. This is a tool to express yourself, not to argue terms. Thank you. Hope these help. Suggestions welcome !
- Level of Certainty:
- Gnostic = affirms no gods, and he also claims to know there are no gods.
- Moderate = affirms no gods, and holds its it fairly strongly
- Agnostic = affirms no gods, but doesn’t claim to know there are no gods.
- Intellectual Involvement:
- Casual Atheist = affirms no god but hasn’t thought much about it.
- Weak Atheist = affirms no god
- Strong Atheist= not only lacks a belief in gods, but also affirms that no gods exist (AKA, positive, explicit atheist). Feels strongly justified in his disbelief.
- Stance toward Categorically rejecting Religion?:
- Categorically Against: feel religion is destructive. Believes religion inevitably has bad consequences and needs to be condemned categorically
- Friendly: Another way of saying Sympathetic but a little less likely to point to commonalities.
- Sympathetic: believes that practiced correctly it is possible for a religion to do more good than harm. Though still critical, they see that good mental habits can be captured by both religious and secular belief webs.
- Cautiously Open
- Degree of Outreach:
- Passive: Doesn’t try to influence the world in favor of atheism.
- Affirm only: When asked, often confirms self as atheist but does not do much more than that.
- Debater: Loves a good debate and will gladly debate if someone desires. But is not pushy or confrontive.
- Active: labors on behalf of causes that specifically benefit atheists (but not necessarily just atheists). For example, he strives against discrimination toward atheists, or he strives in favor of separation of church and state.
- Evangelical : seeks to persuade others to give up theistic belief.
- Militant: uses violence to promote atheism or destroy religion. (Often, the term “militant atheist” is misapplied to non-violent evangelical atheists like Richard Dawkins. But to preserve the parallel with the “militant Christian” who bombs abortion clinics or the “militant Muslim” suicide bomber, I prefer the definition of “militant atheist” that assumes acts of violence.)
- Present Religious Participation:
- Degree of Enchantment
- Disenchanted — Finds a naturalistic understanding of the universe a bit disappointing, hollow, or depressing.
- Cynical — Some may prefer this term for their naturalist view of the world.
- Enchanted — elated at the amazingness of life. See Luke’s essay.
- Mystical Perceptions
- How inclined are you to have “unity” type of experiences or “ecstatic” experiences or similar unusual pleasant hard to describe changes of your normal consciousness.
- Belief History
- Tell us how strong your beliefs were when you belonged to your former faith. Some folks participated in religion but never with a full heart.
- Orthopraxy History
- Tell us how diligently you practiced your former faith (here, belief is not the emphasis). Some folks belonged but never practiced.
- Sect History
- Tell us how you were raise and religious groups with which you have identified. Keep it short.
- Theory of Religion
- I will expand this in later posts. There are various opinions on how religion evolved, what purposes it serves, etc…
- Non-Theistic Leanings
- Some folks, while not believing in an intervening god(s), feel the some connecting universe principle. Perhaps would label themselves panentheists, deists or the like where that greater “power” is impersonal and not intervening like a theist god would be.
- Secular Superstitions or Irrational Habits
- Are you aware of your irrational mind, how do you view it? Can you recognize any silly habits for an atheist to have? Smile.
- View of Reason
- Faith Items
- Many scientists realize that they hold several items with a large degree of faith. See this post on Believing what you can’t prove. Some atheist view “faith” as irrational and evidence-deprived and feel they don’t have any of this.