SocraticGadfly: ‘Irreligious’ does NOT mean ‘atheist’ – it can mean ‘clueless American’

June 23, 2008

‘Irreligious’ does NOT mean ‘atheist’ – it can mean ‘clueless American’

Unfortunately, too many secularists, including personal friends of mine, have believed for years that the rise in people claiming “no religion” also meant a rise in people claiming “no metaphysical belief.”

In a word,wrong, according to a new Pew survey.

So, so wrong.

Americans are so religiously and metaphysically STUPID, on average, that one out of five Americans who claim to be religiously unaffiliated and atheist claim to also believe in a divinity. Half of agnostics in that group make the same claim.

Hey, idiots. If you believe something, you can’t BE agnostic about it!

Oh, back to the first point.

A full 70 percent of those who claim to be religiously unaffiliated say they believe in some sort of god.

To show you how bad this intellectual incomprehension is, here in Dallas, a college professor, at a philosophy discussion group, claimed to be an atheist — and to pray.

Well, in my book, you only pray to someone, namely, a divinity.

Overall, 92 percent of Americans believe in a god or universal spirit.

So, no, and alas, there is no atheist surge overwhelming the country, Bill O’Reilly.

That said, some of these same friends and online acquaintances of mine have claimed that atheism is far higher in western Europe, and I’ve normally responded that, no, lack of claimed religious affiliation is far higher.

I don’t doubt that the Pew poll would have at least somewhat similar findings there as here.

Update from comments and further analysis: Maybe they don’t teach grammar, including how to identify parts of speech, over in the U.K., anymore, so let me explain things a little more clearly for “Divided by Zero” and any people who may come over here from his blog.

Re the Wiki link on agnostic theism that he or she posts, let’s carefully analyze the language used here. And, it translates into the grammatical structures of modern Greek and German, too.

“Theism” is the noun. Nouns always take precedence over adjectives like “agnostic.”

For example, you can have simple noun-verb, or N-V, sentences. You cannot have a noun-adjective, or N-Adj, sentence.

“Divided by Zero,” by the Wiki link posted, therefore admits to being a theist (another NOUN, if you’ll note), and not an agnostic.

Just because one is agnostic about the empirical support for one's beliefs can't hide that one is a theist.

Contra Wiki, I would simply call a Fideist a Christian, for example. I would call a Deist a Deist, not an agnostic. So, I am sure, as I said in comments, would 99 out of 100 people on the street, for the same reasons I have told Divided by Zero that he/she is a theist.

As far as “making my own definitions,” no, I’m not.

Perhaps Divided by Zero also needs to read Wittgenstein, the later Wittgenstein on ordinary language philosophy.

Divided by Zero, IMO, wants to camouflage the anti-empirical, anti-scientific nature of his theistic metaphysical belief system with an intellectual gloss of agnosticism.

Finally, if you’re a theist, why are you mucking about (for a good British phrase) a carnival about godlessness in the first place? That might be entered into evidence as indicating a desire to look for trolling.

Other than that, the particular Wiki article is not the best-written.

Update No. 2OK, I'm going to tackle db0 once again.

First, I apparently did attribute personal belief to him that he did not hold. For that, I apologize.

But, he's still wrong on his definitions.

First comment, he talks about "theistic agnostic." "Agnostic" being the noun there. But, his Wiki link goes to "agnostic theism." "Theism" being the noun there. I stand by my addition to the post itself on the linguistic comments.

Let me explain this once more, in terms of color (or colour).

There's a difference between "reddish-orange" and "orangish-red." And db0 started talking about reddish-orange, then posted a link to orangish-red.

Update 3 I've removed references to the UK as db0's country of origin; no, I'm not going to get into the whys of that false assumption; I have corrected the grammar references to note both his country of origin and current country of residence. As I am e-mailing him, re banning and comments, I can unban him, but that is with me either running moderated comments on Haloscan or else deleting comments that continue to flog a dead horse on the linguistics issue.

And, I have unbanned Konstantine; that said, I have activated "moderation" with Haloscan.

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