The Reconquista Initiative
Over the past number of essays, it has been contented, and arguably demonstrated, that it is reasonable to believe that many self-described and self-aware atheists who label themselves as lack-of-belief atheists are intellectual bullshitters. At the same time, having had a solid amount of experience dealing with such atheists, it is evident that they will continue to employ the idea that their atheism is just a burden-less lack-of-belief regardless of how inappropriate this self-label actually is. In fact, the strategy that they will most likely employ is rather predictable: namely, when in a discussion concerning a topic unrelated to God’s existence, or when in a discussion with other unbelievers, such lack-of-belief atheists will expose themselves as being much more like atheistic-naturalists (philosophical naturalists) than individuals who merely lack a belief in God’s existence; but then, the moment that such atheists enter into a debate with a theist, such atheists will immediately revert back to claiming that their unbelief is merely a lack-of-belief in God’s existence, and that the whole burden of proof is on the God-believer. And so, given the existence and use of this rhetorical strategy by the lack-of-belief atheist, what is the God-believer to do?
Well, the first tactic that the theist can use to counter the atheist is for the God-believer to use his own rhetorical trick against the atheist, which is precisely why it is proposed that the term ‘atheism’ once again be split; indeed, just as modern atheists split atheism into a positive and a negative lack-of-belief form because they believed that doing so was necessary to properly reflect the full scope of what atheism entailed—and because doing so gave atheists a rhetorical advantage over the theist—I too believe that the disconnect between the type of atheism that is deployed during a debate with a theist and the type of atheism that is lived in daily life by atheists themselves shows us that atheism, for the sake of intellectual honesty, and for the sake of a good rhetorical jab to the atheist’s face, needs to once again be divided into two different forms. Namely, atheism needs to be split, on the one hand, into ‘bullshit-atheism’ (or, for the less salty among us, into something like ‘debate-atheism’ or even ‘rhetorical-atheism’) and, on the other hand, into ‘honest-atheism’ (or something like ‘worldview-atheism’, or even ‘living-atheism’). And so, whereas bullshit-atheism covers the type of questionable and disingenuous atheism that many unbelievers allege that they possess whenever they are in a debate with a theist, note that honest-atheism not only entails positive-atheism but it also includes the numerous other positive beliefs which most atheists hold and which show them to be closer to atheistic-naturalists than mere atheists. Consequently, the terms ‘bullshit-atheism’ and ‘honest-atheism’ clearly allude to the fact that atheists are all-too-often insincere in how they present themselves to the outside world, which is precisely the rhetorical effect that these new terms seek to achieve.
Now, it is appreciated that honest-atheism appears to be little more than what many people would call ‘philosophical-naturalism’, or ‘materialism’, or even ‘atheistic-naturalism’, and so an objection could be raised as to why we require the creation of a term like honest-atheism when other terms already exist to describe such a position. But the answer to this objection is obvious. The term ‘honest-atheism’, while mirroring atheistic-naturalism and thus describing an actual position that many atheists hold, is also meant to have a rhetorical effect on the conversation by implying that there is such a thing as ‘dishonest-atheism’, which there indeed is, and it is called bullshit-atheism. Thus, it is immaterial that, philosophically, honest-atheism is very close in meaning to atheistic-naturalism, for the purpose of the term honest-atheism is to contain truth within a rhetorical package, which is precisely why the terms honest-atheism and bullshit-atheism need to exist and be used.
And so, the long and short of it is this: in order to reflect reality as it presently is on the ground rather than as atheists want it to be, and in order to give the God-believer a powerful rhetorical weapon, the theist can thus begin using the terms bullshit-atheism and honest-atheism as means to counter the lack-of-belief atheist’s own rhetorical BS.
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Anno Domini 2017 01 21
Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam