Your donations enable us to create and share theologically progressive resources that nurture our faith journeys and are used in church communities around the world. If everyone reading this right now gives just $10 we would be able to continue offering these for free.

Which Kind of A-theist Am I?

 
I call myself an A-theist. The big A means “against”—I am opposed to theism, which is the belief in a personal god UpThere. I also think that the hyphen—which looks like a minus sign—is an appropriate symbol of my negative opinion of theism and that the little t signifies how unimportant theism is in the twenty-first century.

I recently read a review of a book entitled Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray and wondered which kind I was.

None of Mr. Gray’s seven types fit me, so I looked up “atheist” on the internet and found an article that listed seventeen different kinds of atheism.

Am I a gnostic A-theist who knows no gods exist, or am I an agnostic one who doesn’t believe in gods but doesn’t know for sure whether any exist? Neither fit me.

Could I be a negative A-theist who simply lacks a belief in gods or a positive (or strong or explicit) one who asserts that no gods exist? I think gods exist—but mostly in people’s minds, which I guess is fine if it works for them.

Next, I have to choose between a broad versus a narrow A-theist. The first denies the existence of all gods while the second just rejects the Western god (NoOneUpThere). Narrow is closer to my kind of A-theist.

My next choice is between unfriendly or indifferent or friendly atheism. I lean toward the friendly kind. If you want to believe in a nonexistent entity, be my guest.

I suspect I know many closet atheists. Some are clergy members whose livelihood depends on a paycheck from theists. I’m definitely an open A-theist because I have no problem sharing my beliefs.

I’m kind of surprised the church authorities haven’t gone after my A-theism, but I guess they figure I’m just a delusional old man who should be left alone. Or maybe going after a Christian A-theist is a can of worms they don’t want to open. Then the institutional church would have to admit that its members believe in NoOneUpThere.

I am certainly not a passive A-theist, but I could qualify as an evangelical one because I use my books, blog posts, preaching, and teaching to convince people that A-theism is good. But I also want people to figure this out for themselves: Is someone UpThere or NoOne?

I’m more of an active A-theist than a militant one. I have no interest in destroying religion, and I have no desire to be some kind of suicide-bombing A-theist. I still go to church every Sunday—one that tolerates A-theists.

I am a religious A-theist who calls Jesus my Christ. Is being a Christian A-theist an oxymoron?

Am I a Republican or Democrat A-theist? I always lean toward the group that cares about the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

I’m against the concept of a he-god (or even a she-god) who lives UpThere in a mansion and runs earth as well as four trillion other galaxies. How can anyone believe that silliness in the twenty-first century?

I do worship Creation and want to preserve it. If I have to name a god, I choose love (1 Corinthians 13).

Are there any more A-theists out there?

Visit Bil’s website here.

Review & Commentary