The title of this essay isn’t intended as a pejorative. It is simply the observation that an agnostic’s viewpoint is more sincere. They accept that they don’t know whether there is a god and they live with that mystery. However, atheists assert that there is no god despite being unable to disprove the existence of such a thing. That’s not very scientific, is it?
In fact, this is one of several things that atheists have in common with evangelicals. They are both making the same leap of faith, just in opposite directions. And this is to be expected since atheism is little more than the rejection of faith. Thus in a sense, they stand in opposition to one another. This stands in contrast to another belief system opposing Christianity: Satanism. Both Atheism and Satanism oppose Christianity, but they do so from different angles. Satanism opposes Christianity by offering a counter-faith whereas Atheism opposes it by offering denial of the existence of all products of faith. But the problem with both of these approaches is that they are merely reflexive reactions to a distasteful thing. But in being purely reactionary, both are failing to reject the one thing that may be at the core of their disdain: faith. Satanism requires faith in Satan (though there also exist Atheistic Satanists) and atheism requires faith that there is no god. Ironically, just as light embodies darkness, so too does everything embody its own opposite. It is for this reason that the wise strive for the middle path.
Let’s examine that middle path…
What seems to be holding many people to the atheistic point of view appears to be a false understanding that exploring the mysteries is a pursuit founded in faith. But if that were so, then it should be categorized the same as any other Christian denomination. But, referring to the diagram, the mysteries are positioned opposite to mainstream religion for that exact reason: The missing y-axis label should read as: “Closed-Minded->Open-Minded”. Starting with a person who is driven by emotion to accept unproven ideas as facts to people who only accept facts as long as they can be proven objectively to people who accept that subjective evidence is as good as objective evidence… as long as it’s repeatable!
The Open-Minded person is one who is open to new possibilities and doesn’t discount any idea without due experimentation. They are independent thinkers who trust their faculties. As such, they tend to explore subjects much more broadly and deeply than mainstream academics and scientists. And they don’t require validation from mainstream science (M.S.) because they know their judgment is sound and their proofs are valid.
The Open-Minded person’s process is very similar to The Scientific Method. It even has a name: Scientific Illuminism (S.I.).
- Learn about an idea or concept. (Ideally, the idea should automatically imply a hypothesis.)
- Suspend disbelief for the duration of the experiment (only).
- Construct a suitable experiment
- Conduct experiment
- Repeat with new experimenters
- Disavow belief: Based on the result of the experiment, the idea or concept has either been discarded as false or accepted as knowledge.
By accepting subjective evidence alongside objective evidence, S.I. experimenters can explore far beyond where other scientists have hit a wall in subjects such as astral projection, meditation, and non-corporeal intelligent life. Note also that S.I. does not conflict with M.S. except in some areas that M.S. has concluded are impossible. So it’s purely an additive process to accept S.I.
The reason why so many people describe themselves as some type of spiritualist instead of stopping at atheist is because it produces results that are just as reliable and often more applicable to day-to-day life than mainstream science. So as an atheist, to become a spiritualist merely involves supplementing the body of facts you consider truth with a set devised from a different kind of measurement. But in the end, they’re both the same, because if you ever didn’t trust a result accepted by either group, you would have no choice but the repeat the experiment yourself. In both cases, your result should confirm the accepted result regardless of objective versus subjective factors.