We Spend Too Much Time Arguing About Things That Don’t Matter

I read a lot of blogs, newspapers, opinion pieces on religion and atheism. I’ve noticed that so many articles are not really arguments about whether or not a religion is true or even about whether or not God (however they might define it) is logically consistent or real. Many of these articles are arguments about the definition of words and what atheism can be defined as.

I understand that words carry meanings and therefore they’re important. But I think we spend far, far too much time arguing about things like what:

  • strong atheism means
  • weak atheism means
  • what metaphysical means
  • the difference between agnosticism, atheism, theism and everything in between is

You’d think the majority of people would have figured this out by now or come to some sort of consensus. I mean, is it necessary or rational to think that a lack of belief is a religion? If so, does that mean everything we don’t believe in can now be labeled a religion?

These kinds of topics blur the line (I’ve had in depth conversations with religious people about the definition of religion) when it comes to the topics that really matter, in my opinion.

Topics like:

  • Is god real?
  • Which god should we accept as real? Why? What is the evidence for and against?
  • Should we accept any god as being real?
  • What are the affects of religion on our society? Are they beneficial or not?

There are a plethora of topics that swirl around religion that are far more interesting than whether or not a lack of belief can be defined as a belief. Why are we not talking about those topics more?

And don’t get me wrong. I’m guilty of doing the same thing. I’ve been sucked into conversations that go around and round like a merry-go-round. I suppose I do it because I want to clear up the myths and misconceptions that float around out there. I think words have meanings and we should use them (whenever possible) correctly.

To be honest, I also sometimes respond out of annoyance. I get tired of religious people trying to tell me what atheism is and using dishonest dichotomy to do it. I get tired of reading the same myths spouted from peoples mouths over and over again, and sometimes I feel the need to respond.

I’m also not talking about when a theist or someone else asks about these things. I think it perfectly acceptable to respectfully answer any questions a believer might have when it pertains to my personal atheism. I understand that some theists never come into contact with an atheist point of view during their day-to-day lives and they’re genuinely curious.

This post isn’t aimed at you or the atheist who is answering those questions to the best of their ability.

This post is aimed at the people who probably know better but are trying to mire the conversation down by talking about trivialities so that they can ignore the real issues mentioned above.

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. I know where you are coming from! I have been puzzled and frustrated by some articles I have read where the arguments made by the author depend on the author’s inventive definitions. I have allowed them to use up too much of my time.

      • This one I can kinda understand, because my sister is like that. She says she is an atheist but as soon as something bad happens she prays, I dont understand her, I mean whatever you want to do is fine, whether you’re an atheist or a christian or whatever else, but you cant be both at the same time. Can you?

        • Actually, you can be a Christian atheist. It just means that although you don’t believe in god, you might think that the rules of Christianity make sense and so you choose to follow them.

          There also isn’t anything preventing an atheist from praying. Sometimes they find prayer centers them, much like meditation would. They just don’t believe a deity is listening.

    • That’s an excellent point. In fact, I’m talking with a Christian now on another blog who thinks his interpretation is the only one, since it’s based solely on the bible. I guess he ignores the fact there are over 30,000 sects of Christianity, which all differ slightly.

      I often wonder what the source of the dislike towards Catholics is when it comes from other Christians. Is it because they are the dominant sect? Is it because of their abuses? Or is it just because they are seen as idol worshipers etc?

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