About Skepticism

  • by  Ioannis, Neoklis Philadelphos, Markos Roussos

Skepticism, by the general philosophical definition, is the point of view that confronts every philoso­phi­cal thesis (many times, even the non-philosophical) with rational thought and doubtful criticism. The word derives from the Greek verb «σκέ­πτο­μαι (sképto­mè) = to think or to think about» whose action causes thinking and thought (based on logic, at least at the advanced level) which, in the context of skepticism is ai­med toward criticism and dispute. Finally, skepticism concludes with the acceptance or re­jection of a position and also leads to the clas­sification and sepa­ration of different po­si­tions.Read More

The process of thinking, logic, comprehension and con­sci­ousness represents the greatest difference bet­w­een hu­­man beings and animals and it is the greatest power for creating civili­zation. We could even contend that animals possess, to some degree and depending on their species, con­scious­ness. However, they do not have the ability to re­flect on their thinking which is “the con­scious­ness of the conscious­ness” and which only humans possess. All these pro­cesses make up the more general system of logic, written or unwritten, without the com­mon acceptance of which no com­mu­nication, collaboration, science, te­chnology, progress or criticism of our acts is possible.

Here we do not write a philosophical paper. After all, there are plenty of philo­so­phical papers on skepticism that anyone interested can find and study. Here, we examine skepticism under the following commonly accepted, but (much) nar­ro­wer definition of religious skepticism (to which some simple dictiona­ries refer). We consider religious ske­pticism as the point of view that confronts every or­ga­ni­zed reli­gion and / or world-view in order to rationally dispute and / or put into doubt its right­ness; its value; the ethics that it imposes; the role that it plays in life, society, hap­pi­ness of mankind and the general de­velopment of civilization. More concretely, we will make a conceptual analysis of this kind of ske­pticism at its final three stages, which are: theism (or deism), agno­sti­cism and atheism. We are not going to spend any time with various intermediate or pri­mi­tive stages of skepticism with which all humans, more or less, come into contact or ex­pe­­rie­n­ce during va­rious periods of their lives. These three stages of ske­pticism conclu­de, at least for most thinkers, with the immediate rejection of every orga­nized religion and the three stages adopt world-views that are strongly opposed to the religious con­victions and world-views of the religious people, funda­mentalists or pietists. Ultimately, they ha­ve to dismiss such views. For this rea­son, the followers of or­gani­zed reli­gions have fought these three stages with tooth and nail throughout history. These stages admit and / or cre­ate a new and a diffe­rent ap­proach to life and they promote a new philo­sophical and cre­a­tive stance for society and civilization. They also create a new confron­tation of the meta­physical questions, beliefs and doctrines that have tortured people for ages and con­tinue to torture them. That is, they intro­duce a world-view and attitude that promo­te crea­tivity in life and the libera­tion from all sorts of pitfalls that make the spirit and the intel­lect suf­fer. By contrast, the reli­gious peo­ple’s mold, that is, the set of their re­li­gi­ous be­liefs and fundamen­ta­lism, pro­motes passivity and blind sub­mission to the organization / church and submis­sion to a terrifying god or gods.

The elucidation and the correct understanding of these concepts are of utmost im­por­tance. This is especially important today, when many people speak about many things, but only a few know them along with the method they use in their conversations well. We hope to achi­e­ve this elucidation and correct understanding and thus add to people’s un­derstanding of the dialogue when they get in­volved in such topics. In this way, we be­lie­ve that we will positively con­tribute to esta­blishing some order in the current intellectual quagmire and the depressing intelle­ctual poverty of modern life. Furthermore, our aim is to help the interested readers to correctly under­stand the concepts analyzed here and then make the appropriate choices.

In order to understand these three concepts of religious skepticism we must exa­mine, in brief, the concept of religious faith and in particular the wayby which religious people believe (as they ought to) in one out of the abundance of so many existing re­li­gions and / or their heresies. It is quite evident that the religious people never think to cri­ticize whatever they believe in. Such a thought would be a sacrilege, a great sin and con­tradiction to their faith. That is, as soon as the religious dogma has been decided upon, then there is no room for doubt and dispute (the theologian’s debates do not constitute cri­ticisms of the dogmas, but expositions, elucidations and analysis of them; never their dis­pute). Therefore they ac­cept all things that their religions profess without any doubt, and so they blindly believe in them and have adopted them as the sup­re­me and inviolable truth. Regardless of the fact that the things they might believe in are the most paradoxical and unnatural, antiscientific and catastrophic, if their god or gods communicate(s) with them in the most irrational ways, if the ethics of their religions are dogmatic and con­tra­di­ctory within them­selves, against civilization, nature and / or hap­pi­ness of human beings, they are ready however, to sacrifice their lives for their causes, when­ever the circum­stan­ces demand. With their martyrdom, they believe that they will be rewarded hundredfold in the extraterrestrial heavens. Therefore, our thesis is that the re­ligious and faithful in such a manner are tan­ta­mount with “fundamentalists”, “pietists”, “fanatics” and so on. Al­though there are va­rious gradations of fundamentalism and of the fanaticism and zeal that it produces, let us consider a few more ar­gu­ments in support of this thesis. Some say that: “We are religious but not fundamen­ta­lists”. In our opinion, this can­not be so, for those who knowingly believe in an organized religion. This is a pseudo-ex­cuse, due to either ignorance of the teachings of their reli­gions, or lack of courage for their own opi­nion. The faithful of an organized religion can never find themselves in a po­sition to ad­mit that another religion or world-view is scientifically more correct or bet­ter (based on so­me criteria) than the one they believe in, even if it is. Also, they never open a dis­cus­sion on the matters of their faith with others who have different opinions than them. Even before a skeptic begins to critique their beliefs, they cut him / her off, stop any discussion and exclude the skeptic from their surroundings. So, it is a matter of fact that religious faith of this kind creates odious intolerance, fanati­cism, war and ex­ter­mi­nation. It also ex­hibits uninhibited proselytizing. The faithful of this sort can ne­ver be at peace, unless they see all the inhabitants of the planet under the cloak of their faith. Nevertheless, most of them do not abide by the rules and tenets of their religion, but they continually violate them and therefore they continually sin. These rules and tenets are usually very unnatural, irrational and schizoid so that they are not conducive to the happi­ness and the intellectual de­velopment of humans and therefore it is naturally ex­pe­cted that they not be observed. Also, most of the times the followers of organized re­li­gion know very little about the do­ctrines of their faith and about the rules of their catechism, which actually constitute their religion. This happens because orga­nized religions de­mand sheep-like followers that should not know, think and / or doubt, but believe only tho­se things dictated to them. Or­ga­­nized religions nurse their flocks from infancy until death with certain, purposely cho­sen maxims and tenets, meanwhile silen­c­ing all else. They inspire continuous fear and threaten with eternal punishment if their followers rene­ge, change faith or they do not ap­ply the ethics that they impose, however catastrophic the­se ethics may be. They promise eternal bliss of metaphysical type (after death) in the pre­se­nce of their god or gods only to the good followers. For social progress and civili­za­tion, the organized religions show no ge­­nuine interest and most of the times they create horri­fic abhorrence, demerit and / or ca­tastrophic rage. This happens because, on the one hand, they consider progress and ci­vi­lization harmful, and on the other hand, their only essen­tial interest is meta­physical, which is the post mortem bestowal of justice, of eternal pu­ni­shment or blis­sful reward ac­cording to their own notions and caveats. As a result of this mentality, we often see the abandonment of worldly matters and a full apathy with re­gard to the pro­b­lems of life and / or the betterment of society. Science has no value for the religious, un­less, if, and when it serves their purposes. The unexplainable or too dif­fi­cult to compre­hend phe­no­mena, that most of the times the faithful call miracles, are my­ste­rious appea­rances or irrational com­munications of their god or gods with them. If things happen as they wish, that means that god loves and rewards them and / or listens to their prayers. If they do not, then god is tempting them or testing their faith. All que­stions find a more or less tauto­lo­gical answer. The most common, very immediate, painless and simplistic one is: “God wanted to do it this way…” and so forth! The most illogical con­tradiction, even that, is a business of God. You see, as God, he can do whatever he plea­ses as omnipotent, omni­scient, omni­-be­ne­vo­lent and all those “omni…” We now challen­ge a religious person to tell us what else is mis­­sing in order to be characterized as a fun­da­men­talist etc. The orga­nized religions also ex­­hibit the following characteristics: They are based on some col­le­ctions of holy books that contain their inviolable “truths about everything” and use these books exclusively. They have very restrictive and un­chan­ge­able forms and ways of wor­ship. Any different opi­nion, notion, proposition, examination is cast out as heresy, puni­shed by death when­ever possible or the epochs allow. They try to devour the whole so­cieties in which they li­ve and to control all social or political acti­vities. They produce their own styles, forms of expression, arts etc.

We summarize with the most striking traits of the faithful and fanatic. First of all lo­gic does not play an important role in the thought or the discussion of the fanatic and faith­ful. Even though he / she desires to show that he / she uses and applies logic, most of the times he / she pushes it to the limits of non-existence. The use of arguments is, for the faith­ful and fanatic, minimal to null. He / she uses arguments only when they are expe­di­ent. Otherwise faith and fanaticism blinds him / her so that no argument convinces him / her about anything. He / she must rather distort an argument to make it fit his / her a- pri­ori determined points of view. The same thing is true for the uses of data that we at­tract from experience and all sciences offer to us. In the course of his / her speech he / she con­tinually relapses into various contradictions that he / she sometimes senses and so­me­ti­mes cannot even sense. Finally his / her way of living and actions do not go along with whatever he / she fanatically contends and supports. The faithful and fanatic says usually one thing and does another. He / she wants “have the cake and eat it too”. We have surely an abundance of examples about faith and fanaticism that lead their faithful and fanatic par­tisans to complete wretchedness and extinction. The following distich ex­presses laco­ni­cally this situation:

For a faith fanatic faith, when wedded fast
To a nice falsehood, hugs it to the last

The faithful and fanatic prefers to die (bears martyrdom) for his / her faith and con­vi­ctions, instead of admitting and disavowing their mistakes and start his / her life anew. Hi­storically, we have plenty of examples that faith and fanaticism have led whole na­tions completely or nearly into extinction.

Here, let us add that there were and there are persons or groups of persons that ha­ve religious inklings to one degree or another. That is, to some deg­ree they are religi­ous-like or religious-wise people. This means that they believe in their own way in non-or­ga­ni­zed religions or have some religious convictions, which, by contrast with the orga­nized re­ligions, are net affairs of the persons or groups that accept them. Their religious con­vi­ctions usually do not instigate: intolerance, antagonism, fear, pathetic or disastrous trends, and they tolerate other ana­lo­gous religions or convictions and world-views. They are not afraid of heresy, whereas the organized religions are terrified by it. They take into consideration the cultures, the traditions and idiosyncrasies of different peoples and soci­eties, whereas the organized religions dismiss or destroy partially or totally all these ele­ments. They have essentially adopted fluid philosophical and / or scientific approaches to life and a world without fanaticism. However, for the dark, unanswerable questions and metaphysical pseudo-questions, that always show up in one way or another, they give an­s­­wers based on religious beliefs and theories in accordance with the notions and biases of their members, because either they do not possess the knowledge of how to answer and understand them or because they lie outside ra­tionales and beyond the world. That is, they create a mixture of scientific knowledge, philosophical tendencies and world-views with amicable religious beliefs, convictions and perceptions. They accept, however, logic the power of criticism and of phi­lo­so­phy and the scientific knowledge. Therefore these people are al­ways ready or willing to change or modify their credos whenever they deem this neces­sa­ry. We now return to skepticism. A skeptic may be anybody regardless of race, eth­ni­ci­ty, social class, political point of view, culture etc. A skeptic may also be rich or poor, edu­cated or uneducated, ethical or unethical etc. Even though we may contend that every­bo­dy has been skeptic, at least for a while in their lives, this is not enough for including them in the skeptical stream, however. The real skeptic is the one who thinks continually, most of the times critically, interprets results and conclusions and terminates in one of the three stages referred to above. Let us now examine the first category of skepticism out of the three final ones, that is theism. A theist (or deist) is the person who believes in so­me inde­fi­ni­te superior power that he / she calls God, or in a God that he / she calls supe­rior power. Most of the times the theist confuses these two terms. We do not understand why he / she needs and / or desires to keep them both. Although the theist has no expe­rie­n­ce whatsoever of, and knows nothing about this indefinite god and also the definitions that he / she puts forward are very arbitrary, however, the theist accepts such a god axi­o­ma­ti­cally. In this way the theist finds some teleological meaning in the world, has psy­cho­lo­gi­cal support, reposes himself / herelf in his / her world-view, in something un­tou­ch­able and without experience that he / she calls “superior”. Moreover, the theist gives an­s­wers, ac­cording to his / her liking, to the general metaphysical questions as well as some le­gi­ti­mate questions that cannot be yet answered scientifically. There is some small room for he­resy in theism. E.g. a theist may believe that God intervenes in the affairs of the hu­man beings and the universe, whereas another theist may believe that God does not inter­ve­ne. This is the limit of a theist’s religious dogma and faith. Therefore, any theist cannot be­long to any organized religion. That is, within real or imaginary ignorance, the theist in­tro­duces a concept that helps himself / herelf psychologically, but without being able to de­finitively define it. Neither this concept can be taken as an original, initial one, for, the theist knows nothing about it based on any initial, primitive knowledge and on im­pres­sions that experience puts forward, i.e., empirically. This concept is then a pseudo-con­cept as a result. In other words, the theist makes an inconsequential, trans­cen­dental leap and thus considers le­gi­ti­mate and meani­ngful to speak about a “God” in whom he / she be­lieves. At times the theist entangles this god with nature itself. That is, he / she asserts that: “God=nature, na­ture=god” or claims that he / she gets some experience of this god when he / she looks at a beautiful sunset or in various other experiences of nature and / or lo­ve. Now, why this whole entanglement of all these concepts and experiences satisfies him /her, instead of se­parating and classi­fy­ing them accordingly, it seems to be due on the one hand, to his / her own idiosyncrasy and on the other hand, to his / her up-bringing and acquired edu­ca­tion. We also hear many different stretched out syllogisms. For ex­a­m­ple: “Since I exist, then god exists” or “God exists because universe, nature etc. do exist”. These kinds of syllogisms remind us the ancient Greek one: “If altars exist, then gods exist”. Also the no-sense colloquial one: “If there is back jack, then there is castor oil”. The leaps of these syllo­gisms are so conspicuously trans­cen­dental, immense, inconse­qu­en­tial and lie out of ra­tio­na­les that we are not going to comment any further. We offer the­se syllogisms as gifts to all those who do see the inconsequential nature of them. When, for example, a chemist claims that if he bonds two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, he can produce a molecule of water, he did not come up, a priori and out of his imagination, with this as­sertion. He did not proclaim that, since there are hydrogen and oxygen, then there is water. Instead, firstly, he knew all the concepts that he has used in his claim very well and secondly, he has interpreted this as conclusion of a sufficiently sa­tisfactory series of experiments. Hence, against theism we have the following obje­c­tions: 1) What good does it do to believe in something that we know absolutely nothing about and which we cannot determine empirically, but we have presumed it axio­ma­ti­cal­ly? 2) If we do not know so­mething, why should we proceed to have faith in it, instead of stop­ping at “we simply do not know”? (Do we have a problem with that?) 3) Should we re­ligiously believe in what­ever we have introduced axiomatically simply because we do not know it? Axioma­ti­cal­ly, we can harmlessly introduce infinitely many things and pseu­do-concepts, since we are not in danger of being scoffed at. Consequently, what is the thing that we do, gain or achieve by doing so? It is the easiest thing to give an answer to something that we do not know by introducing axiomatically a new indefinite concept as the cause. We could very well justify everything and give causality thereof with all sorts of pseudo-beings from the cosmic space. In other words, we can claim that there are di­vers pseudo-beings which cause all things that take place, but we ourselves do not know these pseudo-beings, do not see them, do not hear them, do not smell them, do not touch them and all those “do not …” In all things we could offer painless expla­na­tions of this type, and then, if you or anybody can… prove that these explanations are not valid!

We must, at this point, make clear the difference between religious belief and sci­en­tific belief. This is necessary, because the religious people always present the argu­ment that even science is based on belief.  We have got to deal with two totally different but confused concepts, for both of which language unfortunately uses the word “belief”. Thus, this confusion has arisen and persisted as a result. Because of this confusion, the re­ligious people find convenient a pseudo-argument to substantiate their dogmatic faith with science or to bring dogmatic faith into science. The religious belief is not amenable to criticism. It cannot be examined in the laboratory or in the physician’s office. It cannot be calculated mathematically or tested experimentally. It cannot be observed, denied, cor­ro­borated or altered. Nobody tries to prove it or disprove it, and if somebody tries, there are no methods of examination and no criteria for the verification of its truthfulness or falsehood.  If anybody wagers anything whatsoever, even his / her own head, over the truth or falsehood of a religious dogma, he / she may do this absolutely without fear, for this wager will never be resolved. “For the resolution of such a wager someone needs to wait infinite time and then what…?” I cannot imagine, however, anyone that would, with clear mind, wager his / her whole estate, let his / her head aside, for the accuracy of the next day’s weather forecast. When the next day comes and goes this wager will be reso­l­ved and woe to him / her if he /she has lost. He or she will find himself or herelf ho­me­less in the streets. Such a risky move is not worthy for such an issue. If today, I say that: “I believe tomorrow it is going to rain”, this belief is not of the same order and at the sa­me level with a Christian’s belief in the dogma of the “holy trinity”. The former belief is al­ways subject to criticism, if the forecast was done correctly, with the right means and un­der the correct conditions. A probability for its verification is also attached along with it. Finally, within a certain time-interval we will have the answer about its correctness or not correctness.  The scientific belief is essentially a likelihood-forecast based on certain well-defined and known criteria. Consequently, it would have been accurate to substitute the word “belief” by the word “likelihood” or “probabilistic foreseeing”.  In contrast, the re­ligious belief in the dogma of the “holy trinity” is not subject to any criticism. Either you accept it as it is, or you do not. No mater what you may wager over it, you are not going to win or lose. Wager fearlessly the whole world! There are no ways for such a wa­ger to be resolved no matter how long you may wait. (“Unless God himself comes down to Earth and reveals its resolution!”) When you believe religiously in this dogma, or any other dogma for the same sake, it has no meaning to claim that the dogma of your faith is true with probability 60%, but with probability 40% may not be true. Even if you claim such a thing (inappropriately of course, for this would represent a scientific likelihood and would be contradictory to your faith), you have no, and you can never provide any, ju­stification of these probabilities. You have thrown them out of the blue, arbitrarily and wit­hout yourself being able to defend them. In conclusion, we see that the religious belief is not scientific and vice-versa. They are two totally different concepts that are badly con­fused, because of the vacuums and pitfalls that language creates; by for instance, using the same words for mutually disjoint things and concepts. Various religious conspirators and propagandists use this kind of slips in order to cover their own inadequacies. That is why, society needs to learn how to speak accurately and avoid talking nonsense. But when…?

We now continue with the second category of religious skepticism the agnosti­cism. The agnostic discusses and examines all que­stions about God, with logical and me­a­ningful way, as he / she thinks and / or ima­gi­nes. But, the agnostic utterly admits that he / she is not in any position to know their ans­wers. Agnostic means “without knowle­dge of…”, and it is derived from the Greek priva­tive “a” plus “gnosis”. The term was firstly coined by Sir Thomas Huxley, in 1869, to in­dicate his opposition to Gnosticism that he happened to study at that time and be disgusted by it. But later on, the term was abused and pushed into the context that we develop here. We ea­sily predict that discussions on these topics with an agnostic are bound to be very brief. If, for in­stance, you ask an ag­no­stic: “Does God exist?”, then he / she answers imme­di­a­te­ly: “I do not know.” But, if you ask the same person: “Does Xod exist?”, then he / she im­me­di­a­te­ly and before any thin­k­ing returns the question back and very rightly so: “Who or what is that?” Why this person did not do the same thing in the former question about God? This is because he / she thinks that the concept “god”, in the former question, is un­am­bigu­ous­ly known to him / her and to anyone else. He / she has been accustomed to this “word-concept” from child­hood, by hearing everybody talking about it unequivocally, and there­fore it must be taken as given. We clearly see, in this instance, a linguistic trap and the ef­fect of psychology and brainwashing. In any case, it is clear that an agnostic can­not be­long to any organized re­ligion and he / she is faithless.  Our objections against agnosti­cism are: 1) We can al­wa­ys generate questions without answers. But then, what do we gain? 2) Agnostics have the il­lusion that it is legitimate to examine and discuss, logi­cally as they think, pseudo-con­cepts, like that of “god”, which on the one hand, they con­sider meaningful concepts with well defined content, whereas as they themselves admit on the other hand, they have got ab­solutely no empirical knowledge of them and they cannot answer anything about them. 3) Also, they cannot discern that, besides the fact that the con­cepts they examine and dis­cuss are pseudo-concepts and the fact that they cannot answer anything about them, no mat­ter how long or how hard they try, they will never be able to find the answers. (This also one of reasons why these questions are pseu­do-questions.)

Finally, we come to atheism. It is the final stage of skepticism and it is the denial of theism from its foundations, and consequently the denial of agnosticism and every reli­gious faith. This word is of Greek origin and it is a compound one of the “privative = gi­ving negative sense” “a” and the word “theism”. It is, in other words, the “non-theism” or the freeing from any theism. The verb “believe” (in religious way), finds no applica­tion in atheism. The atheist neither believes nor does not believe. The atheist wants to know. For legitimate questions that the atheist does not know their answers he / she stops with the phrase “I do not know” without any harm caused. He / she does not say: “Since I do not know, then I believe or I like to believe that…” The verb “believe” in the scientific con­text is more accurately substituted by: “think”, “think so”, “consider plausible”, “con­sider probable” etc. For using such an expression, the atheist can offer a list of good rea­sons. For the atheist, the concept of “god” (as well as many other related concepts) is a made up, artificial one or a pseudo-concept and there­fore all related questions are pseudo-questions. Any discussion about such things is futile, devoid of meaning and / or content and it cannot be carried out on the basis of any experience and / or the rules of any logic. Consequently, this discus­sion is without any sense, that is, it is nonsense. This is so for the following reasons: 1) We do not know what we talk about at all, neither as a defined concept nor as an initial / original one, since there is no pertinent experience along with it. Then, what can we say…? We speak without a base, that is, we speak in the vacuum. 2) Even if we presume or imagine that we gave some answer to any of the pertinent que­s­tions, yet, there is absolutely no means, way, method etc. to verify the truthfulness or the fal­­sity of our proposed answer. If anyone knows any such means, way, criterion, method etc., we invite him / her to announce it (them) all over the world, so that all of us benefit from his / her supreme knowledge! We conclude that, in all such cases, we speak “up in the air”. The solution for all of these pseudo-concepts and pseudo-questions is just the complete dismissal of them. What is there to be said even with some relative as­su­ran­ce…? Nothing! Only what, the ancient Greek poet of tragedies, Sophokles has said, for a dif­­ferent reason and purpose in the unrelated context of his tragedy “Oedipus”, fits per­fe­ct­­ly here: 

«Αλλά ταύτ’ ότω παρ’ ουδέν εστι, ράστα τόν βίον φέρει»!
= “But to whomever these are for nothing, he / she lives life most easily”!

Many times, people who believe in god, one way or another, challenge the athe­ists to prove that god does not exist. They do not want to understand and cannot see that, at the beginning, they themselves bear the burden of proving that god exists, for they are the ones who introduce this con­cept to begin with and not the atheists. It is quite ridi­cu­lous when someone introduces all sorts of unknown concepts or words and then imposes the task of proving or disproving their existence onto other…!

We have heard many more pseudo-arguments against the atheists. Here, we refer two most frequently heard. 1) We hear many propose as undisputable truth the asser­tion: “Atheists do not exist, no matter what!” We then answer: “Have you asked all hu­man be­ings of the planet and have found no atheist among them or the concept ‘atheist’ is a logi­cal impossibility?” In both alternatives they cannot offer a sincere answer. If we also say to them: “But we, for instance, are atheists!”, then they counterattack: “No, you are not!” That is, they claim that they know ourselves better than we do! … In order to help them think we also give them an example of a simple logical impossibility. “The roo­ster lays eggs!” This is a logical impossibility, for otherwise, by definition, the roo­ster would be a hen. Something like this cannot happen with the concept “atheist”. 2) We hear the very strange assertion that: “The statement ‘I do not believe in any religion’ is by its­elf a re­li­gion.” “In this way even the atheists believe in a religion.” There is no­thing mo­re parado­xi­cal and contradictory than this pseudo-argument. If we consider to be a reli­gion the thing that dismisses all religions, then we dismiss the logical distinction between “de­stroy” and “be integral”, as a result. The statement “I do not believe in any religion” can­not be a religion itself, by dint of the following logical syllogism. Let us temporarily as­su­­me that it is a religion (our religion as they claim). Then we will lead ourselves to a con­tradiction in the following way. For convenience, let us call by R this statement. Since R is our religion then, by the temporary assumption, we have that R is a religion that does not belong to the set of the religions that we have dismissed, since according to our initial statement we have clearly declared that we do not believe in them. The statement R is then a concept of religion that belongs to a different set (or level) of concepts, since we ac­cept this one, whereas we have dismissed all the others. Consequently we deal with a to­tal­ly different concept and draw the simple conclusion that: R ¹ religion. This is contra­di­­ction to our temporary assumption. Hence our temporary assumption is not valid which exactly means that our initial statement (R) cannot be a religion.

Many confuse atheism with many people’s belief that “god does not exist”. This is a very serious mistake. This belief represents the antitheism. Its followers could pro­per­ly be called antitheists. These make the error that the concept “god” is a right and an un­­ambiguous one. Then, they are very sure that it does not exist as “there is no cheese in the refrigerator” or «black bears do not exist in the south pole”. Hence, they fall into a re­ligious belief, since this belief is not subject to any criticism and / or logical analysis and examination; it is arbitrary and there are no criteria to check its truthfulness or its denial, since it is based on a pseudo-concept. In this way, they attack a religious belief by in­tro­du­cing another new one. In atheism the point is to distinguish if you deal with a pseudo-con­­cept or pseudo-question in order to simply dismiss it and ignore it for the reasons ex­p­lained above.

By confusing ath­eism with antitheism, because either of ignorance, poor educa­tion and misunderstanding of these concepts or by doing it on purpose in order to portray a false argument, various religious people attack atheism, their great demon, by insisting that atheism is also based on belief, which in fact is a religious one just like their own. This is a cunning and pre­po­sterous mistake because atheism is the denial of every religi­ous belief from its foun­da­tion; of theism, which is also based on some religious belief and of agnosticism, which deems legitimate and logical the examination of pseudo-concepts and pseudo-questions. As we have just written above, the verb “believe” has no place in atheism. This distorted ar­gument of the religious people and at times of some theists very unfortunately, has a few more reasons. Because they themselves are faithful, everybody with absolutely no exception must be faithful too. This is an inferiority complex that pu­shes them to make all other be just like themselves, by Coup d’ état. Other reasons are: lack of courage for their own opinion, their split personality, the dis­­or­de­red, acrimonious and precarious na­ture of their belief, the numerous contradictions involved in their faith that most of the times they are too many for anyone to be at ease with such a faith etc. We furthermore continue with:  their weakness in clearing out the concepts, their refusal to acknowledge the role that psychology plays, their inability to think scie­nti­fi­cally, and their cowardliness to stand up against certain establishments that they have brain-washed them and have put them into these channels from their infancy, without having ever been offered any knowledge or option of other choices. That is why all these negative elements come up to the surface as an inferiority complex that demands every­bo­dy else to be just like them.  

The overwhelming majority of people, even of those who hold diplomas, have not clarified these topics and they are not concerned with their elucidation. They lay in a mo­rass of: ignorance, confusion, nonproductive thinking, inability of critique, anti-philo­so­phy, unwillingness of learning and advancing, sanctimonious faith, hypocrisy, conve­nien­ce, expediency, many contradictory ethical theories and world-views etc… All the time, this “moral” majority, apart from gaining a good living, is consumed with all sorts of me­a­n­ingless things and senseless preoccupations. Very unfortunately, this mode of living and thinking is promoted and perpetuated by the existing world-social-economic-political system. Today, with the method of Lingual Analysis, as it was enhanced, developed and given to us by the great thinker-philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, we could safely ac­hi­e­ve the elucidation of the ambiguous concepts and safely escape from the unnoticed traps that language sets before us all the time. It is left up to us to desire to use and ap­ply this method. Very unfortunately however, Wittgenstein’s disciples, with very few exce­p­tions, instead of concentrating their efforts to applying this method to the im­pro­vement of thought and the betterment society, they spend their time in reha­shing what the great thin­ker has already preached. Also, the people who have the in­cli­nation to think in a serious way and decide upon their stance against all these ex­tre­me­ly important issues of life itself and of their own world-view, and they deem the im­provement of society and the adva­n­ce­­ment of civilization as the moral duty of every res­ponsible citizen, those peo­ple must think, interpret and write clearly, lucidly and une­qui­vo­cally. The concepts must be well kno­wn to all parts and elucidated, the terms unam­­bi­­guously interpreted and the rules of en­­gagement logically and well understood. Even­tu­ally we must know what the things we discuss in our examination are and what are the rules we engage ourselves in this discus­si­on. (You cannot play chess with someone who plays backgammon. Neither can you play football in a natatorium.) Moreover, about the topics we have developed and pre­sen­ted in this work, which quite frequently become issues of protracted discussions, the se­ri­ous thinkers must stop being wishy-washy and ma­ke a choice responsibly from the groups pre­sented and analyzed here, which are: Re­li­gious-sanctimonious, religious-wise, theists, agnostics, antitheists and finally atheists. With the wish:

«καί επί γής ειρήνη εν ανθρώποις ευδοκία»
= “and on earth peace, to humans good will”.

Ioannis, Neoklis Philadelphos, Markos Roussos
Professor Dr. of Mathematics

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