Atheists come in all different flavors with some of those differences being more important than their similarities. In this post I will discuss three traits that help separate the variety of atheists out there. I will then, for fun, I will illustrate them all in one graph. Remember, sometimes our differences are more interesting than our similarities. For instance, ironically a theist and atheist may share more in common than they do with their fellow theist or atheist.
# 1 Spectrum of Outreach:
2. Previous Adult Theism:
Were you a theist when you were an adult? If so, how fervent were you? An atheist who was a former believer has a very different experience and expression that those who were never believers of any religion (“natural atheists”). And those who were just casual, cultural believers are again very different from those who were fervent. Lastly, if fervent, those who embraced for mystical reasons versus those for self-righteous reasons are yet again very different – but that is another post.
3. Systematic Positioning:
How “systematized” is your atheism? How carefully have you thought about Atheism? Have you read wide variety of other opinions, tried to organize and challenge your thoughts? How intellectual is your atheism? How staked-out are your positions? There are lots of ways to say what I am getting at.
Question to readers: Where do you fall on this graph? (how about your significant others?) Sabio, for instance, is “an eager G-8” (an orange dot).
I also experimented by throwing a few famous atheists on the chart but I need more. Are there well-known atheists you can graph for me? Here are the ones commenters have give data sets for (remember the outreach spectrum):
- “Avalos” = Hector Avalos : biblical scholar
- “Barker” = Dan Barker : freedom from religion foundation
- “Dawkins” = Richard Dawkins : biologist, writer
- “Hitchens” = Christopher Hitchens : Journalist
- “Luke M” = Luke Muehlhauser budding philosopher at Common-Sense-Atheism
- “Russell” = Bertrand Russell: philosopher
- “Sagan” = Carl Sagan: astronomer
Here are readers who have contributed already – I linked their website if they have one. If their number is in black, it is because they have not yet told me where they lie on the spectrum of outreach.
- # 1 NFQ: eager-evangelical J-1
- # 2 Gordon Comstock: I-4
- # 3 Brandon: willing-but-waiting G-1
- # 4 1minionsopinion: I-1
- # 5 Petteri Sulonen: J-1
- # 6 Graham: F-2
- # 7 Moriahbethany H-1-2
- # 8 Shantivadin E-1
- # 9 atimetorend B-8 hesitant
Please try to just play along. Don’t get hung up on precision — the method and categories are all grossly inaccurate and its only real value is to illustrate concepts. But I think the chart illustrates some interesting points. Paft II will hopefully clarify my objectives in the post. Please offer your insights.
My Related Posts on “Taxonomy”:
- “Taxonomy” — what the heck does that word mean? Their pros and cons.
- Atheist Taxonomy: Parent’s Faith & Marriage stability — another taxonomy
- Aggressive and Indignant Atheists: yet another fumbling taxonomy
- Ex-Christians Atheists: are they more tolerant of theists than “natural” atheists?
- Atheism: An Epiphenomenon — An optical illusion illustrating how classifying someone as a atheist can be a misunderstanding.