"It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God." Denis Diderot [i]
One of my sons asked me if I was a nonbeliever and of course I asked, "a nonbeliever in what?" I was not trying to be flippant, but there are so many things not to believe in that it is difficult to pick a place to start. Then I said, "I suppose you’re asking me if I believe in god?"
He was trying to find a way of categorizing me to a few of his friends that read my books. I had not given it much thought, but I have shunned traditional labels since college. What am I? Although born and baptized into the faith, I am not a Catholic.
If I must be labeled as something when it comes to theological questions, dogma and beliefs, I am an apatheist. I have no interest in belief or disbelief in any supernatural entity because the existence of gods is neither meaningful nor relevant to my life. When it comes to the realities of the world, I am more of a humanist because I believe morals and ethics are present within human beings without a supernatural genesis.
I don't care for the word "atheist," not because it is a bad term, rather, because it says little but has connotations attached to it that extend beyond the word's true meaning. Of course, atheist is the reverse of a theist, which describes a belief in one or more supern
atural deities. Both words spring from the Greek word "Theos." So what?
That's a good question. So what? Physician is a term that has significant expansiveness in that it encompasses a wide range of knowledge, activities and expertise. Scholar is another word that speaks volumes. Scientist, teacher or hobo hold more meaningful description than atheist because they represent life directions; whereas, atheism, as strongly as some may assert their position is little more than that—a position.
Everyone has a position. In fact, they are very much like colon exits—everybody has one, which signifies nothing except membership in the human race. That brings me back to where I started. I am a writer. I am a photographer. I am a teacher. I am a salesman. I am a father and I am a brother, but I am not a true atheist.
Theism, theists and theocracy play such a limited role in my existence as to be almost nonexistent, except for when they intrude into my life. Otherwise, they are not important to me in any way. That does not mean I will not speak out when they become irritants or become ridiculous, which is often.
Again, what am I? I'm not so presumptuous to think I'm Bright nor am I significantly motivated to turn it in to a career. For years, I have tried to find a word or invent one that indicates no interest in any theism of any kind and that word was apatheist.
Religion may provide a "comfort" for many people around the world, but I do not need it to guide, comfort or help me in any way. At most, I consider arguments as to the existence of gods, “. . . argumentative, incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial” to me. Thank you Perry Mason.
[i] Herrick, Jim,.Against the Faith. London: Glover & Blair. p. 75, 1985