Are there gradations or degrees of atheism?

 

Yes, I think there are many gradations, overlapping and to difficult to categorize:

Strong atheists, weak atheists, agnostic atheists, gnostic atheists, the nones and the dones and the I-don’t-really-get-its.

The latter group appears to me to be the younger generation who grew up in a largely non-religious society. New Zealand is one of the least religious countries in the world and religion is in steady decline. A couple of years ago we had a few programs on TV about the decline in religion in New Zealand. One was about a survey done on the streets, where people were asked about religion, politics, world view, etc.

What was refreshing for me was the enthusiasm with which the younger generation generally answered questions about social policies, education, law and order, etc. and the lack of interest in the questions about religion.

One of the questions was “Do you have a personal God?”
If I can sum up the majority of responses from the younger generation with one answer, then it is :
“Nah, I never really got that eh?”

They are not giving themselves a name like atheist or agnostic. On the question how they classify themselves in terms of religion, the response is normally a “none”, a shrug or a baffled look. They are disinterested in all things religion and they don’t care for labels.

Hopefully a couple of generations from now the I-don’t-really-get-its will form the biggest group and there won’t be too many gradations amongt atheists to talk about.

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