Skepticism over Atheism, Agnosticism & Theism
Although entertaining some oriented aspects of God(s) and the generic idea of religion, the logics used in this article refer to broader — more universal — ideas of God(s) in a scientific and secular sense, which entails the contemplation of whether singular or multiple supreme-like entities can, do or don’t exist. If you have specific and/or established ideas about God(s), they can most likely be disproved, and atheism — tentatively — can be resorted to. Also, in this article, the term God implies singular, as well as the plural of the idea — Gods. So, notwithstanding the specific pronouns and verbs used for clarity, monotheism and polytheism are addressed simultaneously.
Let’s begin by establishing proper belief-systems for consideration. Firsthand belief or disbelief of something is based on proof attained by sensory perception, and second-hand, by scientifically established knowledge. Safely assuming there is no scientific proof of God, a first-time idea (elaborated on further), we’re going to focus on the former: firsthand belief — rely on our senses.
No to Atheism
Experiment: Raise your hand, flatten your palm facing up, and check if you have, let’s say, a phone in your hand. You’d say yes, no, or you’re not sure, depending on whether you see it, you don’t, or you don’t have enough knowledge to conclude either. You’d say the last, in case, for whatever reason, you can’t see your hand itself.
Now one can’t help but wonder how they knew that there was or wasn’t a phone, or they weren’t sure about it? The answer to this question lays the foundation of belief itself. How can one say yes, no, or they’re not sure about perceiving anything? They could say any of those things if and only if they had seen, known, perceived or reasonably (within the confines of logic) imagined that thing to begin with, in order to compare an instance of what they perceive, to what they already know. And then match them against each other to get a yes, no, or an uncertainty claim. And this encapsulates a ‘first-time idea’.
Ask yourself this: “If I couldn’t imagine what a phone essentially is, could I ever recognize or realize it?” Disbelief is rooted in the idea where we accept a state of non-existence as compared to its existence, so we need a standard of perception first — a metric, if you will — that concludes existence before we can deny (what an atheist does) the existence of a first-time idea such as God.
Disproof comes after proof for any first-time idea.
Explanation: The only way I could say that I don’t have a phone in my hand is because I’ve seen a phone and know what it looks like, and I won’t be able to see the manifestation of a pre-perceived phone’s properties in my hand. On that note, I ask this to an atheist willing to indulge: have you seen and can prove God at least once — anywhere? If you follow this thought process, it’ll inevitably lead you to the relatively terrible realization that some of us have been asserting God as a figment of the imagination of theists in general, when we have no proof of God, to begin with. That is absurd because we need to instantiate or prove a first-time idea such as God, for instance, on a chair, star, sky, or what have you, before we can deny it somewhere else or altogether.
To reiterate, it’s very important to understand that when we’re talking about a first-time idea such as God, lack of its proof doesn’t qualify that thing to be disbelieved in; rather, the presence of a disproof does. And since the existence of a disproof mandates a proof at first, the best we can do is look for one by eliminating the impossibility that is opposite to the idea (something that makes the existence of that abstract idea mandatory), or by establishing patterns. For instance, in the pattern 1,2,3 (…), the next number is likely 4, implying an event or a process that logically leads to the existence of that abstract idea. Simple it may sound, but that’s the best our logic allows us to do. Thus, even if God or such an idea doesn’t exist, we’ll never be able to disprove its existence. Why disbelieve? Disbelief in a first-time idea such as God is a mathematical impossibility; therefore, it shouldn’t be entertained at the expense of a logical existence, only to facilitate a simplified sense of living.
No to Conventional Agnosticism
|agˈnästik| noun: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.
Rebuttal: In order to make such a claim about anything, a person has to have a perfect understanding of the idea behind everything and be perfectly aware of what makes everything tick — which can’t be said about anyone (because certain and absolute knowledge is seemingly impossible to achieve), so that they can rule out a particular instance (E.g. God) that can’t be brought into existence from what already exists.
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
Another problem with the former claim of nothing being known about God is that it is falsified even when someone doesn’t realize that the knowledge someone possesses links to something else (possibly God, or any first-time idea), which happens to be a universal truth since we’re not omniscient and can’t link everything to everything else. So, we can’t isolate the idea of the alleged God from their alleged creation. So, if we were to, let’s say, discover the properties and nature of dark matter and dark energy today, we could never say with certainty that it isn’t or can’t be related to a superior entity, and claim that nothing is or can be known about them.
The purpose of the following example is to falsify the no-knowledge availability claim made by an agnostic, so we’ll consider any amount of certain knowledge as a falsifier of the claim. Let’s say, George doesn’t know anything about the economy. Let’s make it even simpler by making George an infant. Now, he may not know about the economy in a conventional manner, but he knows when to cry to get milk, and that is to an extent, careful management of available resources. So, George knows something about the economy — well, in this case, George happens to know the essence of it. Now, you can’t even say that George knows nothing about a very complex idea like calculus, because if we analyze any complex principle by looking at its fundamental definition and retain the key ideas, we will find something in the manifestation of which, even George believes. So, George knows something about everything that exists or can exist, and for a first-time idea, we can’t say with certainty that it does or doesn’t.
The fact that we expand knowledge and make things from their fundamentals, proves the idea stated above. Or broadly, the idea of some certain knowledge possessed by everyone about everything that does or can exist. And since concrete existence seems to define and facilitate the abstract, that idea happens to be materialistically so, because we share the same fundamental particles that we’re made of, and at the smallest core, we share the same properties.
Nothing is new; everything that exists is a special case of an evolved Hydrogen atom (we can go smaller). Standardization of knowledge is necessary, which is to say that we want and sometimes need to know things in a way that makes understanding easier. But that can make things confusing because universal standardization — which implies an oriented, and hence, a biased perspective and effort towards understanding and learning something — can conceal the fundamental knowledge about the things that don’t adhere to their generalized concept. Everything within the bounds of reason, given an unprejudiced chance, can be understood or realized, as it seems.
So how can we say that nothing is, or more importantly, can be known about the nature and existence of any first-time idea such as God?
There will always be room to consider and/or temporarily assume, the idea of our universe being brought to animation directly or indirectly by an animate entity, and that something is known about it, in the form of fundamentals associated with it, or that something can be known about it, based on our confidence in technological advances and pattern recognition.
Narrowing down to one: Theism or Skepticism?
As mentioned above, everything reasonable, given a chance, can be understood or realized. Now let’s take that chance. Believing in God or such an abstract idea is also illogical; however, less so, when compared to disbelieving in God (Because as talked about above, disbelieving is impossible to substantiate — it is a mathematical impossibility). If there is a possibility that there is a God, which philosophy & other sciences can help us determine or be unsure about, we should be able to believe or be skeptical. How do we solve this dilemma? By elimination of an impossibility: elimination of Theism.
No to Theism: A pragmatic approach
Simple — because even the ever-so-careful observations and coordinated experiments — philosophies and sciences — haven’t proven the existence of any sort of singular or multiple supreme creationary authorities, we can’t resort to believing, only to facilitate a flawed sense of comfort. This leaves skepticism as the only logical way to go. Pragmatism aside, the following should provide food for thought for an emotional or a faith-observing person.
No to theism: Even if there is an idea of God at play!
The question: “would God want us to believe in their existence”?.
Let’s assume there is an idea of a singular or multiple Gods at work.
Think about it — even if there is God(s) that created everything there was; are in control of everything there is; and inspire all that will be, would they still support an unsubstantiated belief in them?
Case (for a gender-neutral God):- They made their alleged existence in such a way that only whatever can happen, does or doesn’t happen, which is to say everything has an explanation if you have an opportunity to examine it (talked about above); that happens to be the case because everything has an underlying process that makes it. And God apparently doesn’t readily want to be examined (because apparently, they haven’t shown themselves), and support not just belief, but the creation of everything that can be explained with enough exposure. Would they really like it if their logical creation — we — were to believe in them without understanding or some semblance of a proof?
It looks like our assumed God quite possibly may be a supporter of elegance and mystery, not blind faith, even by their own definition of creation, unless they condone hypocrisy and emotional input over a logical one.
Believer: Have faith!
Enthusiast: Our assumed God made everything in a way that only that can be proved, perceived, or has an underlying principle, exists. Because we can’t substantiate God’s existence, believing in them would be an insult to their creation, including ourselves. All we can do is investigate processes and principles, and work towards absolute certainty until the day we find something that helps us determine whether there is an entity directly or indirectly responsible for our existence, or true spontaneity (the idea that something can be created out of nothing) is not a thing of impossibility. And even if we do find God, we’ve got to decide whether we really want to worship, ignore, aspire to be, or transcend them in the long run.
The assumption ends here.
Believe in what you can, but don’t forget to consolidate it with reason. Species have come and gone; logic hasn’t, and as far as one can tell, never will be. Natural evolution outlines that principles stay, but their applications fade (For e.g. Gravity vs Dinosaurs). Perhaps if we were to attain enough knowledge, we might even be able to enjoy the illusion of perpetual existence of our species altogether, or better yet, individual immortality, just to name a few of the most coveted material rewards. Our challenge, for now, is not just to innovate but to eliminate ignorance, lest we create and encourage flawed innovation. Voluntary decisions are most powerful when logical; and since natural evolution has given way to their voluntary counterpart, maybe the latter can trump the former in the long run. We are seemingly the most self-aware species that ever walked this planet. What we choose to believe is not just a right but a responsibility when it comes to the most fundamental things. We owe that to ourselves, life in the universe as we know it, and even those who choose not to understand them. Implicit it may be, but belief has been and will keep on shaping individuals, societies, and civilizations, and we need to understand and justify the fundamental cores of what we believe in.
There were times when I loved and hated that word — belief. Now I look at it as a worldly word, that I hold as a logical opinion or a conviction based on concrete confidence. The word belief, among many other things, has been subject to its re-definition to reflect religious overtones. And I’m not a fan of it at all. I believe, and I can substantiate, that the enigma of God will never end because God is supposed to be the source of everything. And we could always question as to what made God, or the principles that made God of that God. So, we’re going to need healthy skepticism for testing times to come.
Belief is a secular term that got contextually appropriated, leading it astray to an illogical religious connotation. Should we take it back?
I urge that we don’t worry about the existence of God because of a lack of a need for it. Let’s focus on the principles, sciences, and reasons that make existence, and if it happens to be the case, that make God as well. Let’s opt to care for the bigger picture: principles (sciences and philosophies), rather than their applications (God) because — yea you guessed it — principles stay, but their applications fade. Perhaps we can contest that if we master principles.
Impulse before reaching at Skepticism
I wanted to deny all first-time ideas altogether because every particle in existence can be thought of as having a fundamental particle that makes it, and we can keep going on and on forever, questioning as to what makes the thing that came before it. That flawed the idea of God because even if we found it, we could question its characteristic, and ponder what particles and characteristics make those characteristics. And the breathability of these queries seemed to suffocate any and all first-time ideas. It sounded wildly unreasonable, made no sense, and appeared unmitigatedly stupid.
But as a thinking person, I wanted to give existence, not only as it is, but as it could be, a benefit of the doubt. That is to encourage thinking about the unknown unknowns — the things that we don’t know that we don’t know. There may be more aspects to dimensions, and even more dimensions than the pre-established ones, and that could potentially alter our possibly distorted perception of reality. If any of such-natured discoveries come to pass, that would maybe completely undermine some or all the logics used in this article. Scientific cliché alert! We could be like an ant on a piece of paper — completely oblivious to what’s on the other side.
Thus, denying a potentially fundamental idea such as God, which quite possibly could be extra-dimensional, would be illogical. The safest thing that we can and should do, is to make sense of what we can, and base the most important parts of our existence and understanding on only such phenomena that are at least, seemingly unequivocally undeniable — reasonable things that perceptibly don’t change, and that is what I attempted to do.