Pribble’s project

Martin Pribble discusses the results of his 3 Questions project, Part One.

The first question was

How does your worldview, (atheism, skepticism or agnosticism, whichever is applicable to you), influence your life?

Martin summarizes the replies:

It seems to me that atheism/agnosticism/skepticism is either seen as a platform from which to build all of life’s experiences, or that it is just accepted as “the way things are”. In either case, it does inform parts of the respondents’ lives, particularly when it comes to the analysis of doubtful claims.

What it does show is that, of the 326 respondents, there is a level of certainty about how their worldview of atheism/agnosticism/skepticism influences their lives, and that most respondents did see this as an important part of them being themselves.

Many of the replies that Martin quotes are skeptical more than atheist; I chose to answer as an atheist. Atheism is more close to the bone, in a way – it’s about rejecting one tyrant, one Big Boss, one imposed celestial dictator. Theism is the model for all kinds of tyranny, so it shapes our thinking in bad ways. The Boss in question is a big deal, and makes big demands on us. Not believing in it makes a difference specifically because of that. I replied from that point of view.

My atheism frees me from thinking I have to obey a mysterious hidden god that I’ve never met or encountered or had any communication with. It frees me from thinking I have to obey rules I think are vicious and horrible. It frees me to judge moral questions in human, this-world terms.

I never stop being grateful for that.


  1. karmakin says

    It’s weird, as I don’t link that with being atheistic per se…that’s just my raw non-belief in a divine being…but with me being anti-theistic, that is, thinking that theistic thought patterns are negative for both an individual and society at large. And I do link my other beliefs in terms of social justice to be right in line with that. (I take a very strong anti-hierarchial feminist stance, as an example)

    I reject the notion of overt hierarchical thought and systems as well. (They’re actually impossible and probably wrong to entirely eliminate..but we can reduce the impact of them), but quite frankly, because of that, I don’t really care about Bigfoot and UFO’s. And I don’t really care about Deistic or Pantheistic beliefs, for the most part (as long as they’re not built around hierarchical notions).

    But it really is tied to my anti-theism rather than my atheism. I do think that those are two separate things.

  2. Besomyka says

    I suppose I’m one of the people that came at it from a more skeptical side. For me, I guess it was the order in which I came across things. I always enjoied magic, and reading about UFOs and big foot. I was a big fan of Art Bell back in the day.

    The pattern I noticed, however, was that it ALWAYS turned out not to be real. It was either a misinterpretation of something rather mundane (face on mars!), wildly implausible (HARP antenna controls the weather!), or an out-right fraud. I learned to treat implausible claims with skepticism.

    While I was raised Catholic, it wasn’t a big part of my life. My feelings on God followed a common path for de-conversion until I got to the point that I was more or less a Deist, rejecting theism for much the same reasons that you describe.

    And then I heard the religious claims, and it echoed all those less supernatural claims about UFOs and Bigfoot. Even the claim that God exists, sounds to me the same as the person that insists Nessie is a real thing. I started looking at faith more skeptically, and that led me to the agnostic atheist position that I hold now.

    The problem I have with participation with the skeptic movement more generally and why I think Atheism+, is because skepticism is about how I approach issues. Atheism is a conclusion and a fact, and facts like that are the foundation in which skepticism can operate.

    When someone says that men are ‘better’ than women, I may treat the claim skeptically, but without facts I can’t make an argument. When someone points to Genesis as justification, I can point to Atheism in response. That might not be the only thing (we can look at biology and such), but religion tends to be the majority justification.

    Also, being a skeptic means that we might agree on how to approach problems, but it does not mean we agree on the facts. There are theist skeptics, for instance, and it’s more important to me that the people I align with agree on reality rather than the form of argumentation.

    I feel like I’ve circled around a more concise point, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

  3. says

    More importantly, sans “Free Will,” my worldview doesn’t influence my life, but rather other’s lives.

    And consequently, it’s the worldview of everybody else that influences me. Which is why the hate brigade is a significant issue.

    Community ethics must eclipse selfish morality if we are to transcend our primitive animal nature.

    What confuses me most is why the propaganda isn’t more effective; why don’t we just do what we’re told?

  4. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says


    The problem I have with participation with the skeptic movement more generally and why I think Atheism+, is because skepticism is about how I approach issues.

    I’ve re-read this a few times, and I can’t figure out if I’m missing something or if you forgot to include a word following Atheism+…

    Also, being a skeptic means that we might agree on how to approach problems, but it does not mean we agree on the facts.

    Perhaps, but then again, I’ve known people who claimed they were skeptics, but they defined that as doubting things (which is *a* definition of the term). There was no followup; no pursuit of truth. My skepticism takes the form of Scientific Skepticism

  5. Aratina Cage says

    Oh yes, me too! I had never really thought about how much cognitive dissonance it is for believers in deities to also believe in democracy until I became an atheist. The two just don’t mix.

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