Let us begin with a brief explanation of monotheism and polytheism and their differences with atheism.

Monotheism and Polytheism

  1. Belief in a God: Faith in a God, often associated with religious beliefs, is rooted in the conviction that one or more deities exist and play a significant role in the creation and governance of the universe. This belief is characterised by several key features:

a. Theism: Theists, those who believe in a God, subscribe to theism, which is the belief in a personal, conscious, and all-powerful deity. This God is often seen as a source of moral guidance, purpose, and comfort for believers.

b. Sacred Texts: Many religious traditions have sacred texts, such as the Bible, the Quran, or the Bhagavad Gita, which serve as a foundation for belief and guide the practices and moral codes of their followers.

c. Rituals and Worship: Believers in a God typically engage in religious rituals, ceremonies and acts of worship. These practices help foster a sense of community, provide spiritual nourishment and strengthen one’s connection with the divine.

d. Moral Framework: Faith in a God often provides a moral framework, with divine commandments and principles guiding ethical behaviour. The belief in divine accountability and judgment shapes the moral choices of believers.

e. Sense of Purpose: For many religious individuals, faith in a God provides a sense of purpose and meaning in life. The belief in a higher power can offer comfort, support and a sense of belonging.

Atheism

Atheism, on the other hand, represents the absence of belief in any gods or deities. Atheists reject theism and maintain that there is no evidence to support the existence of a higher power. Atheism is characterised by the following features:

a. Absence of Belief: Atheists do not hold any belief in gods, supernatural entities, or divine beings. They base their worldview on empirical evidence, reason, and skepticism.

b. Secularism: Many atheists advocate for secularism, the separation of religion and government, as they prioritise the importance of reason and evidence-based decision-making in public affairs.

c. Ethical Framework: Atheists often derive their moral values and ethical principles from secular sources, such as humanism, empathy, and societal consensus. They reject divine commandments as the basis for morality.

d. Science and Rationalism: Atheists tend to emphasise science, critical thinking and rationalism as methods for understanding the natural world and explaining phenomena. They seek naturalistic explanations for the universe’s workings.

e. Individual Agency: Atheism often promotes individual autonomy and personal responsibility, as believers do not rely on divine guidance or intervention to navigate life’s challenges.

Now that we have that clear, let us hand it over to Ricky Gervais to explain why the latter is much more powerful in epistemology (the study of knowledge) than the former.

As humans, we can either be determined by rational or irrational thoughts.

Having chosen, we are then cursed by hypocrisy. We say one thing and do another. We claim the higher ground and then scuff about on the lower ground. The only thing aliens could ever learn from most humans is how not to exist.

Jason Cridland

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