Monday, January 5, 2009

Not an Atheist - an Alltheist

An idea that's been in my head for some time - thought I'd drop it here and see what the reaction is.

For a great while, I've been uncomfortable with the term "atheist", specifically the inherent negativity of the concept - a denial of an assertion (in this case, the existence of "God" in a Judeo-Xtian sense of the word). In some ways, to assert a negative is an intellectual fail-safe: because a negative cannot be proven in logical sense, asserting a negative frees one from the burden of logical defense.

While I may not subscribe to any singular religious ideology, I am certainly comfortable with the reality that other human beings do. And I'm secure enough in my own convictions I'm not threatened by the presence of someone who may not share those same convictions.

So I needed a new idea - a new word or concept that communicates how it is I can balance seemingly disparate (and fundamental) concepts. Hence, "alltheist."

An Alltheist is someone who accepts unconditionally and without reservation the possibility that God exists in all forms simultaneously.

It's a much better concept, IMHO. An Alltheist is accepting, encompassing, and inclusive. All the things an Atheist is not. And, being a new word, it comes without the cultural baggage of "atheist."

Note: I see the Urban Dictionary has an entry for "alltheist", although I find their definition to be a derisive dig about a social phenomenon, as opposed to my lofty and highfalutin philosophical motives.


Mike Parks said...

I think you are implying that atheists reject God notions because it's easier or more comfortable for them. While I would agree that in many cases that may be true, I think a percentage of atheists may have thorough considerations that led them to the conclusion a God does not exist. Beyond that, I like the idea of an "Alltheist", it is a respectful view of human beliefs, all human beliefs, towards God. That respect is an expression of the highest precepts in all religions, yet one which they themselves often lack.

I'd say that if every religious person in the world were to adopt the concept of Alltheism as a component of their core beliefs, then perhaps the wars would have less fuel.... but knowing humanity, they'd find something else to kill over, I'm sure.

Jeremiah said...

"I think you are implying that atheists reject God notions because it's easier or more comfortable for them."

Almost - I'm suggesting this is the easiest retort to muster against an atheist, and the Alltheist approach renders it moot.

These are just my thoughts. Mileage may vary.

Michelle said...

Hello Friend!

Interesting post. I've never heard of that word before.
I looked up the definition on Urban and it says -"A person who tries to claim ties to every religion out of fear of picking the "wrong" one. This in turn forms a paradox because some religions, such as Hinduism and Judiasm contradict each other as the former is polytheistic and the latter explicitly states that there is only one God."

"A typical Alltheist may believe in Jesus, Hindu gods, and even the Flying Spaghetti Monster."

I wonder if flying Spaghetti Monsters can answer prayer? : )

henry said...

I've considered myself an allthiest for some time now and am happy to have found your post after goggling the word.
To me, alltheism is born of the same doubt that i used to call atheism. This is the doubt in the existence of Truth or at least human ability to find it absolutely. Our very existence can be doubted and I don't think that Descartes successfully argued back to existence. SO, if no belief/truth can be certain and yet people use their ability to believe for great personal and social benefit, beliefs should be encouraged for personal pragmatic benefit and not limited by allegiances to assertions of absolute truth. Specifics of beliefs are determined by the individual's personal desires, goals, and conditioned needs. While the resulting beliefs are different (even between members of the same church group), everyone is going through the same process of collecting and being molded by personal experience and then concluding beliefs based on this experience. We are united by the process that takes us different places.
This belief makes me feel that all people, regardless of belief/philosophy/spirituality/lifestyle/orientation/ect., are using the same tools in the same process but are all using different materials due to our separateness/individuality and are therefore all getting different results.
A community I’ve found with a similar vision is called the Unitarian Universalists. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Listening to a lot of Coldplay these days, hm? Chris Martin is credited with coining this term via an interview. You should give credit where it's due--especially if God is everywhere, cos then he'll see that you're lying, stealing AND breaking the law!

Good ideas nonetheless.