*norm

It Was by My Face

milkwirt submitted:

I had the weirdest experiences that kept me awake for weeks.

Me and my family had recently moved into a new house, and one day:  I woke up to this terrible crushing feeling coming from the side of my bed. It felt like something was just there.  It was very intense and I refused to open my eyes, and soon it went away and I went back to sleep.  I woke up very confused because my dreams are usually not so vivid that I remember the feeling when I wake up.

I thought nothing of it, but a couple weeks later we flew to the Philippines to visit family.  I told my grandmother all this, because my family is pretty superstitious and we all believe in ghosts.  She agreed it was strange, but gave me a bit of a prayer to say in my room

I forgot about all of it until one morning where I woke up to the same feeling.  I was still sort of half-asleep but i opened my eyes and saw nothing.  I closed them again and I felt whatever it was right up next to my face, and then hissed and garbled words.  I tried opening my eyes but I couldn’t, when the feeling finally went away I was wide awake, I ran all the way to my mom’s room and cried to her.

My parents were both sort of concerned, but told me to pray and put the cross in my room.  It hasn’t happened in a while but it still freaks me out.  Vivid dream or not the whole thing was sort of creepy XP


Fuck Yeah Nightmares Mod Fey: Hmm I’d look into sleep paralysis and see if that fits what you’ve described, some of it sounds similar. Whatever the cause, I hope that you don’t experience anything like that again! 5/10 for scares and thank you for sharing!

Let’s get people to stop using heteronormativity who talk about it with clearly such a flat understanding of what it is, barely something more specific and concrete than hetero norms. And that’s when it’s not entirely replaceable with that phrase.

Heteronormativity is the belief that inside every LGBQA* person there is a straight person longing to come out, and the ultimate justification behind doing anything to unmake us and remake a “better” us.

Heteronormativity is the belief that every LGBQA* family structure is an imposter that every institution in our society can by all means declare war on, again, to make another us rise from our ashes.

It’s not passive. It’s not some optional bonus to consider when talking about political issues and solutions. It’s not minor. The moments when it seems small and silly and trivial are the moments when you can only see the tip of the iceberg, and the rest looms below the surface.

Stop thinking it’s discomfort and realize that it’s violence.

Veteran Spots an Unknown Grey Creature in Ohio?

A man living in Highland County, Ohio claims that on the night of December 12th, 2014, he witnessed something that left him completely shocked. In what sounds like a scene straight out of a horror film, the unnamed 60 year-old man was reportedly driving down Carmel Road with his wife. As they came up over a hill, they saw what appeared to be a 7 foot (just over 2 meters) tall slim, grey creature with muscular legs that walked as though it’s knees were backwards. The creature also didn’t appear to have arms. When the two got home, the man drew a sketch (shown above) of what he and his wife both saw.

We recently bought a place in the Fort Hill area." The wife said in a report she filed to MUFON. "We first noticed after about 30 days of living here that we suddenly have a perfect circle that stays fresh green, no matter what weather, in our front yard. Friday night (the 12th) we were driving home and after turning on Carmel rd which leads to our road (Washburn) we went around the curve by the Carmel church and then up a small incline and approx. 10 feet over the incline and in front of our truck, the alien ran across the rd and into the woods. My husband saw it. He is a skeptic, almost 60 years old and a proud Marine. He wouldn’t have admitted to seeing it if he hadn’t been in shock. I had him draw it for me when we got to the house. He says it was asphalt gray (our asphalt is gray) and about 7 foot tall, no arms that he could see, but muscular in the legs area. No jawline and it’s legs were bent backward and it leaned forward as it ran.

It’s been speculated that the creature could’ve been some kind of animal. It’s also been pointed out that the creature’s appearance is similar to that of alien beings known as the “Nightcrawlers”. Personally, I’m not quite sure what to make of this. I am having a hard time believe that a creature that looks like that is running around somewhere in Ohio. That being said, I don’t think this couple is making this story up. If they really did see something that night, then it probably was some kind of animal they mistook for an alien. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll ever know the true identity of this creature. For now, all we can do is speculate. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think this couple really saw an alien creature? Or was it just an animal?

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The Teenage Boy

thefire-ferrets submitted:

when i was younger, i lived with my mom and grandmom at my grandmoms house. my mom being gone nearly all of the time, and my grandmom staying in her room all day, i was left alone to play by myself, my neighborhood was very quiet and filled with older people. the house isn’t relatively old but it creaks and moans and groans like its been there for hundreds of years.

having no tv and no internet, i had to play with various things around the house, however, i found a boy. he was teenaged. he played too, he would play hide and seek with me, and i would help him find good places to hide. as i grew older, the house still felt creepy, like someone was just sulking around, or looking for something to do. eventually, i moved away into a new house with my mom and her boyfriend, and my mom told me about the family who lived in the house before, and how their son had occupied the same room i slept in, and he had hung himself in there.

now, each time i have to return to my grandmoms, i just find myself searching for him, since we should be about the same age, i felt we would gave a stronger connection. but so far, i’ve only felt uneasy in there, and on occasions where i have to sleep over, i find it hard to sleep, and i lie away feeling like people are walking around the house, and i feel despair having to leave now, i want to find him again, and i want to help him any way i can.

Fuck Yeah Nightmares Mod Fey: Let us know if you have any updates. 6/10 for scares and thank you for sharing.

Poltergeist Phenomena

It has been said that poltergeist activity often accompanies teenagers. Well in my case this is true.

Growing up I never had much of a stable home life and I was pretty much left on my own. As I began puberty, things at home became worse. My mother and I basically couldn’t stand to be around each other. As time went by, I became very much an angry, confused and frustrated young girl.

The house in which we lived in was nothing fancy. It was just your average one story home, which included a basement. Now I have to emphasize that most of my life I have been living in that house, and not one single strange occurrence ever happened. I was not even aware that ghosts existed, for nothing paranormal had ever happened to me before. But boy was I in for the shock of my life.

Ok on with the story, I was 14 and home alone one stormy Friday night. I was just watching some T.V., when I heard my bedroom door slam shut really hard. This was a really loud bang and it echoed through out the house. I was frightened. My first reaction was to call the cops, because I thought someone had broken in. But then BANG the door slammed wide open again. I went to investigate only to discover that there was no one in my room. I was freaked out, but relieved to discover no one was breaking in. I passed it of as just some sort of draft and I sat back down to watch some more T.V. when it happened. I began to get scared for no reason at all. This was unusual I could not explain it. It was as if the environment had turned into one of malice and dread. I had to get out of there, so I spent the night at my friend’s house and did not return until the next morning.

Nothing really happened when my mom was there, but as soon as she left (which was most of the time) things started to act up. Usually the feeling of dread and fear would overcome me and then the noises started to occur. It was this faint sound of someone whispering from the corner of one room and then the sound would engulf the whole house. It was strange I could never pinpoint where the exact origin of where the sound was coming from. But again my first reaction was not that of fear of ghosts but of fear I was beginning to lose my mind. Immediately I thought I was going schizophrenic. It does run in my family and I knew I was prone to getting it.

Alone and afraid I was turning schizo, I withdrew even further from my family and friends. If I was schizo I did not want my family to know, because I was almost certain I would be put in an institution.

The weird thing was that when I was not at home, things seemed fine, but as soon as I got there it was as if all hell would break loose. My mom started accusing me of stealing her jewelry, which was kept in a little safe inside her room. I swore up and down that I had not even touched her jewelry, but she did not believe me. “I’ll call the cops on you.” she said and then dropped the subject. The next day my mom came up to me and said “I see my threat worked.” “What do you mean?” I said. She then went on to tell me that she had found her missing jewelry on top of the safe. “It wasn’t me.” I protested but she refused to believe me. “Do you mean to tell me it just vanished and reappeared on top of the safe by itself? Get real.” And with that I refused to even comment, It sounded stupid to argue against logic. But I was scared now. Really scared, of losing my mind and being accused of something I did not commit.

The jewelry was not the only thing that went missing. Things like pens, books and keys turned up missing regularly and then reappeared in the oddest places, such as the clothes hamper or the refrigerator. My mom’s accusations that I was stealing everything did not stop. But one time when she threatened to report me to the cops again she came home to find something strange. The family pictures that were kept on top of the fireplace were misplaced. Every single picture that she came out in was thrown across the room, and one really big picture of her alone was thrown so hard it broke the glass. This time she knew it was not me because I had left the house earlier while she was still home and nothing was misplaced.

Meanwhile at night while I was asleep, strange things began to happen in my room. Loud knockings next to my bed kept me awake, not to mention the inaudible whisperings that had occurred previously suddenly became clear and commanding voices. At night I would hear it. It was predominantly two voices that I heard, a female and a male. The female would say things like “Nobody likes you and You’re worthless.” While the male would say things like “End it all, just kill yourself.”

Those experiences with the voices were rare and not as common as the rest of the other paranormal stuff was but still I refused to believe it was anything other than my own mind going crazy. I began suffering from insomnia to top it all off and my grades at school started to slip. Even though I was in such turmoil at home, school was like my sanctuary. I was a good student and often received awards for my achievements. But now I was looking at failing the 9th grade. (Fortunately I didn’t) Anyways the councilors called me in one day and asked me about my grades. I explained what was going on with me and told him I thought I was going schizophrenic. I pleaded with him not to tell my mom but a special parents meeting was called in anyways. I had to be evaluated by a psychiatrist to my dismay but she found that I was not going crazy. I was sane, but then a much scary question came up. If I was not going crazy, where or what were the voices coming from?

To my surprise my mom admitted something to me on the way back from the psychiatrist. She said “You know those voices that you talk about, I have heard them to. They just sound like really loud whisperings but I can never make out what is being said. I can only tell that they are coming from your room.” This was shocking to me, not only did my mom admit that it was not my imagination but she also revealed the pinpoint of exactly where the voices where coming from. As I stated before I never could tell exactly where the voices were coming from.

That night I did not sleep well at all. I was scared of what might happen next. Terrified, I slept with the light on, but that did not stop anything from happening. Surprisingly that night I heard nothing, but when I awoke I discovered something unusual. Most of my clothes that was in my closet had been thrown out on the floor. Some where even knotted up so tightly that they practically tore when I tried to unknot it. And the really strange part was that even my clothes in the dirty hamper had been tied in a knot while my mom’s clothes were left untouched. In other instances, appliances would malfunction for no apparent reason. My VCR only recorded static and the answering machine stopped recording messages for no apparent reason. We tried to get both these things fixed but no one found anything wrong with them. In other cases appliances would turn on by themselves. Imagine trying to get some sleep and then hearing the blender turn on by itself only to find out upon inspection that it was not even plugged in.

What the hell could be causing all this? I decided to investigate. I researched paranormal phenomena online and came across poltergeist. I was surprised to learn that I had the perfect conditions for poltergeist phenomena. I was a young teen girl in turmoil, and most of the activity would act up when I was really mad or frustrated. I now had an answer but no real way of stopping this. Although my mom acknowledged that weird stuff was happening around the house, she refused to believe it was a poltergeist. She would often downplay paranormal events. Like for instance once when we came home late at night and all the lights were turned on (when I personally saw her make sure all the lights were turned off before we left) she just shrugged it off and acted as if nothing strange was happening.

As time passed, the anger I had for my mother increased. It was slowly building up inside of me until one day I was sure it was going to explode. That day came on my 15th birthday. Me and my mother had gotten into a nasty argument about something real petty. I can’t remember what it was, but our tensions were high. I decided I was not going to put up with her anymore and I left the house. My mother who refused to believe in poltergeist now became a believer after this night.

This is what happened after I left. My mom was downstairs in the basement doing laundry. No one was home, but yet my mother heard the distinct sound of someone open the front door, walk inside go into my room and turn on the radio. Thinking it was just me she went on doing the laundry. Just then the volume to the radio increased about 10 times louder. My mom, who was pissed off with me already, saw this as yet another argument to start with me. She marched upstairs and into my room, (The radio was still on at this point) but when she opened my bedroom door she was surprised to discover I was not home. Even more startling was the fact that the whole house was silent now. She went inside my room and looked at the radio, but it was turned off. Perplexed my mother went back down to finish the laundry. About 5 minutes passed when my mother heard what sounded like someone dragging furniture across the living room floor. This time my mom was scared. She made her way up to the main floor and looked around the house. Nothing was misplaced, but it was eerily quite. Something was amiss but my mom could not put her finger on it. The ominous feeling of dread engulfed the house. By this time my mom was shaking, she was so scared, but she tried to talk herself out of being scared. She even proclaimed out loud “Nothing bad is going to happen to me because I don’t believe in ghosts.”

Less than a second after she said this the radio came on full blast. But this time it was not just my radio that turned on, it was all 3 radios we owned. My mom could not talk her way out of being scared this time, so she left the house with all three radios on.

When I came home later on that night, I was surprised to discover my next door neighbor outside waiting for someone to come home. “Don’t go in.” She said. “Someone is inside the house, I already called the cops.” “What happened?” I asked. She then went on to tell me that she saw my mom abruptly leave the house earlier and new no one was home because she had also seen me leave, but she heard the most horrific screams coming from my house. It was a man and a woman arguing pretty badly. They both kept screaming and things were heard being tossed around the house. My neighbor thought someone had broken in, so she called the cops.

The cops arrived about two minutes later and questioned me. I told them that since I had left and my neighbor saw my mom leave earlier no one was supposed to be home. They went in to investigate but found no one home. Although my mom’s bedroom looked as if it had been ransacked pretty badly. Clothes, jewelry and her other belongings were thrown across the room. My mother arrived shortly and the cops explained to her what had happened. “Pack your stuff, were leaving” She said.

We spent the night at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother who was a devout catholic never really approved of my mother’s lifestyle so it was a rare treat to see her. Although my grandmother and mother did not have the best relationship, my grandmother did not turn her back on us.

The next morning my mother told me that I was better off living with my grandmother and that she would send my stuff over the next day. I believe she was too scared to have me live with her, but I felt betrayed and abandoned. Right away my grandmother made me feel at peace and in the end I believe living with my grandmother was the perfect thing for me. Her house was less stressful and all the inner turmoil I had while living with my mom had subsided. My mom ended up selling our house and moving into some apartments close to my grandmother. Our relationship improved somewhat but we both decided it was best not to live with each other. Otherwise both our tensions and problems would come back, along with the poltergeist activity we both were so happy to see go.

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HAUNTED KANSAS CITY

In honor of this Winter solstice, I’ve decided to make a post dedicated to my lovely hometown, Kansas City and its surrounding areas, and the haunted places located there. These locations are all within the KC metro, although may not be within either the KCK or KCMO city limits. Let’s get started!

THE ELMS- Excelsior Springs, MO.

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This is the third hotel that has been on the property after the first two were destroyed by fire.  The current hotel opened in 1912 and has a colorful history.  During the prohibition era, the hotel was used as a speakeasy and attracted famous gangsters such as Al Capone.  Celebrities and politicians alike have stayed at the hotel. The hotel is said to be haunted by 3 ghosts. One is a man from the speakeasy days who is said to haunt the pool area, one is a maid in a 1920s style uniform who haunts the pool area, and another ghost is said to be a woman who is searching for her baby and will pull guests’ hair and throw things at them.

BELVOIR WINERY- Liberty, MO.

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This 127 acre property was once home to an orphanage, a hospital, and a nursing home. Built in the 19th century by the International Order of Odd Fellows, a secret society, it is reported that possibly thousands have died on the property over the span of well over 100 years. There are reported to be numerous ghosts that haunt the property. A skeleton was found on the property that is believed to have been used in the secret society’s rituals. There is also a private cemetery on the grounds. Today it is a vineyard and hosts numerous weddings every year.

THE VAILE MANSION- Independence, MO.

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The wife of the original owner of the mansion committed suicide on the third floor by taking a lethal dose of morphine, and is said to haunt the house. The house also at one point served as an insane asylum which could contribute to the haunting.

EPPERSON HOUSE- Kansas City, MO.

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The house is now a part of the UMKC campus. Students and security guards have been reporting supernatural activity in the house since the 1970s. The activity includes hearing an organ playing, lights going on and off, and other apparitions. In the 1920s, one of the residents of the house passed away on the house and is now said to haunt it. The house boasts a series of secret passageways and was featured on Unsolved Mysteries, and earned a spot on its Top 5 Haunted Houses in America.

SAUER CASTLE- Kansas City, KS.

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The house now sits dilapidated. Many myths surround the house including that the original owner murdered his family and committed suicide in the house, although this is debated. There are multiple accounts of paranormal activity within the castle.

UNION STATION -Kansas City, MO.

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The site of the 1933 Kansas City Massacre, in which 4 police officers and a fugitive were shot by a gang which included notorious gangsters Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd and Vernon Miller, in an attempt to free their friend Frank Nash. The station is said to be haunted by some who were killed that day. Reports of paranormal activity come from all around the building.

KU’S SIGMA NU FRAT HOUSE- Lawrence, KS.

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Originally built as the governor’s mansion, it has acquired a tragic and bloody past. The house was occupied in the early 20th century by Kansas Governor Walter Stubbs and his wife. Mr. Stubbs’ mistress named Virginia also lived in the house. Once Mrs. Stubbs found out about the affair she ordered Virginia out of the house. Out of grief and humiliation, Virginia hung herself in the house. And I personally recall reading a legend that said that the body was buried behind a fireplace in the house but there is no documentation of this. To this day, it is believed that the ghost of Virginia still haunts the house. Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the house in 1999, and agreed that house was probably haunted.

OGG ROAD/SHAWNEE MISSION PARK- Lenexa, KS.

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Accordingly to legend, a teenage boy hanged himself from a tree off of Ogg Road. His body was found by his brother, who out of grief, hanged himself next to his brother. To this day, they say you can sometimes see the brothers hanging side-by-side. Walkers and bikers on the trail have reported seeing and hearing strange things and photos taken on Ogg Road are said to contain strange anomalies. 

FORT LEAVENWORTH- Leavenworth, KS.

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The fort is very old and has a history involving the US Civil War and Indian Wars. There are numerous reports of apparitions of soldiers and prisoners all around the fort grounds.

STULL CEMETERY- Stull, KS.

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This is arguably one of the most mysterious and notorious places in America. According to legend, a witch lived in Stull and consorted with the Devil and bore him a child. The townsfolk found out and killed the witch and child, and buried them in the cemetery. There are numerous legends that surround the cemetery. It is said that the church (now demolished) had a staircase down to a basement that never ended. They say that one could continually walk down the stairs for hours and never reach the bottom, thus earning it a status of a stairway, or rather, a gateway to Hell. Another legend states that if you throw a glass bottle at the church, the bottle will never break. It is known that during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the US in 2005, he REFUSED to fly over the state of Kansas, as it is unholy ground. Another myth is that every Halloween the Devil surfaces at the Cemetery to visit his child. A news crew was granted special permission to be in the cemetery on Halloween night in the late 90s, but at 11:57 pm, the local sheriff arrived at the cemetery and angrily ordered the crew out of the cemetery immediately. The cemetery is “privately owned” although nobody really knows by whom, and it is closed off to the public, and is monitored heavily by law enforcement.

Philosophical Atheism: Analytic and Normative Atheism

Theism and atheism aren’t merely epistemic stances concerning belief in god, but they’re robust philosophical positions that contain an analytic component. Analytic theism will ask the following questions: what is theism?; what or who is god? Analytic atheism will share the latter question insofar as the theist attempts to provide answers to that question.

Atheists, however, will not always agree with the answers provided by theists. A theist may respond to the first question and say that god is existence. An atheist might object by saying that such a definition is inconsistent with what theists commonly profess and that what they usually profess is much more elementary. God, for example, is man-like. He is pleased or displeased; given the latter, he is prone to anger. Furthermore, he purportedly has properties that can’t be attributed to mere existence: he’s omniscient, omnipotent, eternal. The atheist could also respond by stating that defining god as existence is much too vague. The aim of a definition is description; this definition, however, fails to describe what is meant by god.

Analytic atheism also attempts to answer the question: what is atheism? To accomplish this, however, the normative component has to be consulted. The analytic component, which is discussed below, will provide theories of atheism or more simply, accounts of what atheism should be—therefore providing possible answers to the question of normative atheism. The analytic component is therefore responsible for determining which account best captures what atheism is or alternatively, what an atheist is.

What an atheist is is perhaps best defined by the approach he/she chooses. The approach chosen or a combination of these approaches might help us to arrive at a better definition of atheism. There’s fallibilism, deductive atheology, and inductive atheology. The latter two are encompassed by evidentialism. This position is arguably most familiar to modern atheists:

[A]theists have taken the view that whether or not a person is justified in having an attitude of belief towards the proposition, “God exists,” is a function of that person’s evidence.  “Evidence” here is understood broadly to include a priori arguments, arguments to the best explanation, inductive and empirical reasons, as well as deductive and conceptual premises.  An asymmetry exists between theism and atheism in that atheists have not offered faith as a justification for non-belief.  That is, atheists have not presented non-evidentialist defenses for believing that there is no God.1

A priori arguments fall in the purview of deductive atheology. Such atheists would argue that the traditional view of god is incoherent. Such a god isn’t possible on this view. The characteristics god purportedly has are contradictory either in and of themselves or when one attempts to reconcile them. Take for example J.L Mackie’s explication of the Omnipotence Paradox: “can an omnipotent being make things which he cannot subsequently control? Or, what is practically equivalent to this, can an omnipotent being make rules which then bind himself?”This is a more generalized version of the Omnipotence Paradox, which usually asks: can god create a stone he cannot lift? Therefore, the paradox can be viewed as an argument attempting to show that omnipotence is incoherent in and of itself. The argument attempts to accomplish this by dividing omnipotence into two components, which I’ll call functional and physical. Functional omnipotence is the capacity to will anything whilst physical omnipotence is the capacity to do anything. Therefore, the argument attempts to show that it’s possible that god could will something he cannot do—in Mackie’s case, will something that he can’t control or in the general case, will the existence of a stone so heavy that he cannot complete the particular task of lifting it.

Another route such an atheist takes is the attempt to show that any given attributes of god are irreconcilable.

The combination of omnipotence and omniscience have received a great deal of attention.  To possess all knowledge, for instance, would include knowing all of the particular ways in which one will exercise one’s power, or all of the decisions that one will make, or all of the decisions that one has made in the past.  But knowing any of those entails that the known proposition is true.  So does God have the power to act in some fashion that he has not foreseen, or differently than he already has without compromising his omniscience?  It has also been argued that God cannot be both unsurpassably good and free.3

Another route available to such an atheist is to argue that we haven’t been offered an adequate concept of god.4 Concepts of god are often relative to this or that religion or subjective to this or that individual. Such concepts often do not agree with one another.

Perhaps the final route such an atheist can take is to argue that the failure of theistic arguments entails atheism. In other words, since arguments for god fail, it is reasonable to hold that god doesn’t exist. Such an atheist, for example, will argue that since the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails to prove that god created the universe, we should believe that such an agent didn’t create the universe. Alternatively, she will argue that since the Ontological Argument fails to show the existence of a necessary being, this being is instead impossible. Whether or not these arguments hold are of no interest at the time. This is, however, how such an atheist will proceed.

An atheist operating under inductive atheology has several possible approaches. Whether or not one can prove a negative is too tangential a topic to cover here, but assuming it’s possible, one could offer Michael Martin’s argument:

P1 [A]ll the available evidence used to support the view that X exists is shown to be inadequate; and

P2 X is the sort of entity that, if X exists, then there is a presumption that would be evidence adequate to support the view that X exists; and

P3  this presumption has not been defeated although serious efforts have been made to do so; and

P4  the area where evidence would appear, if there were any, has been comprehensively examined; and

P5  there are no acceptable beneficial reasons to believe that X exists.5

What makes this argument inductive is P3 and P4. P3 and P4 hold hitherto and thus, there’s the tacit assumption that they will hold going forward. In other words, that the future will resemble the past.

Naturalism is another argument available to an atheist operating under inductive atheology. This is, in fact, the prevalent approach among modern day atheists. Atheists may disagree on the details and therefore, espouse different sorts of naturalism. However, the more prominent forms are metaphysical and methodological. Methodological naturalism has two primary forms: constructive and deflationary. Deflationary is based on—not exclusively—the Natural Ontological Attitude (NOA). Arthur Fine describes it as follows:

I certainly trust the evidence of my senses, on the whole with regard to the existence and features of everyday objects. And I have similar confidence in the “cheek, double-check, check, tripe-check” of scientific investigation…So if scientists tell me that there really are molecules and atoms, and…who knows maybe even quarks, then so be it. I trust them and, thus, must accept that there really are such things with their attendant properties and relations.6

NOA is an alternative to scientific realism and anti-realism. “Both realism and anti-realism add an unwanted philosophical gloss to science.”7 Therefore, the position neither agrees with scientific realism nor anti-realism. At first glance, NOA may sound exactly like scientific realism, but there are key differences that should be considered (e.g. the correspondence theory of truth doesn’t factor into Fine’s NOA). Constructive naturalism differs from NOA because it “involves commitment to a definite method for resolving ontological matters.”Such a naturalist may make use of, for example, Quine’s Naturalized Epistemology.

Metaphysical naturalism absorbs methodological naturalism. The view could be defined as follows:

Metaphysical naturalism seeks to explain every feature of our reality through only natural entities and causes, without the need of god(s) or the supernatural in any part of one’s worldview and life philosophy. In other words, a “big picture” explanation of reality can be reached without any appeal to religion, making religions such as Christianity unnecessary and extraneous to answering the big questions in life.9

Metaphysical naturalism is a robust worldview that often requires lengthy elucidation. This has been done by, for example, Richard Carrier who states:

[I]f you want to know what we believe on almost any subject, you need merely read authoritative works on science and history—which means, first, college-level textbooks of good quality and, second, all the other literature on which their contents are based. The vast bulk of what you find there we believe in. The evidence and reason for those beliefs is presented in such works and need not be repeated…10

Where such authorities are silent, metaphysical naturalism is capable of providing possible answers. Take, for instance, the mind or morality. Metaphysical naturalism can offer cogent explanations in regards to both. For instance, with respect to the mind, some naturalists have offered some version of supervenience.

On fallibilism, an atheist can argue that a theist has come to a given conclusion because he hasn’t considered all the relevant evidence.10 In fact, part of this attitude plays a role in discussions between theists and atheists. Theists, generally speaking, make it quite obvious that they aren’t aware of all of the relevant evidence. William Lane Craig, for example, employs a perfunctory grasp of cosmology in order to support his KCA. It’s reasonable to conclude that if he were aware of all of the evidence, his conclusion would be different. Unfortunately, this might be too generous. Craig has been made aware of the evidence and regardless of the fact, he still chooses to endorse the KCA. So in some cases, it’s not just that a theist’s knowledge is fallible, but it’s that they disregard the fact and do not care to correct it.

Now that I’ve surveyed analytic atheism, it is time now to discuss the normative component of atheism. The normative question is akin to normativity as commonly understood in philosophy. Take, for instance, normative jurisprudence. The question of normative jurisprudence is: what should law be? In like manner, the question of normative atheism is: what should atheism be? Or, what should an atheist be?

Clearly, given that a Buddhist can be considered an atheist, atheism should be more than simply lack of belief in gods. To see what atheism should be or what an atheist should be, it is required that we distinguish the atheist and the Buddhist. We are required to account for their differences. These differences will help us see why one identifies as an atheist whilst the other identifies as a Buddhist.

Buddhism, however, divides into two primary schools: Mahayana and Theravada. These two schools divide further within themselves. We therefore have to narrow our focus. In other words, we have to focus on a certain type of Buddhist to see where the differences are. Thus, we will focus on Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan Buddhism pertains to Mahayana Buddhism. It, however, incorporates tantric and shamanic aspects—the latter of which it appropriated from the ancient Tibetan religion, Bon. For this reason, it is often conflated with or mistaken for a minor school of Buddhism, Vajrayana.12 Tantra for instance “brings Tibetan Buddhism a magical element and a rich portfolio of heavenly beings. It also brings a wide variety of spiritual techniques such as mantras, mandalas, ceremonies, and many varieties of yoga.”13

Without going any further into Tibetan Buddhism, does an atheist, as normally construed, believe in magical elements and heavenly beings? Does she participate in rituals or believe in their efficacy? The obvious answer is no. Therefore, when someone refers to Buddhism as atheistic, they mean only to point out that Buddhism doesn’t offer a concept of god. It isn’t, however, atheistic in a normative sense. Given this, what then should atheism be? Alternatively, what should an atheist be?

Given the analytic component surveyed earlier, an atheist could adhere to any of the following theories: default atheism, natural atheism, or pluralistic atheism. Default atheism makes use of deductive atheology and cites that since the arguments for god fail, god cannot exist. Or such an atheist could state that since there’s no evidence for god, god doesn’t exist. They are therefore an atheist by default. Natural atheism, on the other hand, piggybacks on naturalism. Since all empirical explanations are naturalistic, the supernatural doesn’t factor into what she believes in. She is therefore a natural atheist.

Pluralistic atheism is what I want to offer. If any of the above methodologies or positions sound familiar to you, it’s because atheists are a diverse group of people that, in fact, employ some of these methodologies and therefore, adopt such positions. They will therefore have diverse ways of grounding their atheism, if such a project even interests them. Default atheists, for example, might not care enough about the question. Others not only care about the question of god, but they also care about what results from belief in god; given this, they make an effort to justify their non-belief in such entities. Pluralistic atheism therefore makes some use of every method discussed above. It doesn’t favor deductive over inductive atheology or vice versa. It can and very often does incorporate naturalism into its justification. It can and does invoke fallibilism in discussions with theists.

So given this, the question of what atheism is is answered by what atheism should be. Since pluralism incorporates naturalism, the question of natural atheism is essentially the combination of those questions. That is to say that what atheism is is identical to what atheism should be. On naturalism and therefore, on pluralism, the question of what atheism is is clearly answered once we consider what atheism should be.

Atheism should be more than the lack of belief in gods. It should also, by extension, be the lack of belief in the authority of religious texts, the efficacy of rituals, the purported existence of metaphysical entities such as angels and transcendent ancestors, magic, and even aspects of religious culture. Given the latter, atheists shouldn’t wear some traditional attire. The other items are pretty straightforward. The reason they’re straightforward goes back to our analytic component.

If the arguments for god fail or if naturalism is true or if a theist has incomplete knowledge and thus a false conclusion, we have good reason to reject the entirety of the system they’re offering. If we reject the Judeo-Christian god, then we are compelled to reject the Judeo-Christian portraits of heaven and hell along with the entities said to reside in these places. We must also reject the so called power of prayer and the utility of fasting. Also, given the authority of science and the evidence it has presented us with, the purported authority of the Bible becomes suspect. It is more suspect still when one considers what history tells us. Therefore, atheism should be and therefore is the lack of belief in gods and anything that may be tied to them: religious texts, rituals, metaphysical entities and places, and cultural aspects.

What I’ve attempted to do here is show that analytic atheism entails normative atheism. This is the case because on pluralism, naturalism is featured. Natural atheism, like natural law, answers the questions of analytic and normative atheism as one. The question of analytic jurisprudence is what is law whilst the question of normative jurisprudence is what should the law be. A natural law theory like, for instance, Leibniz’s will answer both questions simultaneously. This, I have argued, is what happens with atheism.

Atheism is the default position. Belief is like an achieved rather than ascribed status. At birth, you are either a son or daughter; this status is ascribed. The status of Christian is achieved given that one has to go through some motions to become one—e.g. baptism. Atheism, on the other hand, is like an ascribed status. At birth, you are neither Christian nor Muslim nor Hindu. These labels may be given to you by devout parents, but they aren’t true given that you have no way of formulating a sophisticated worldview. Atheism is also the natural position. Given naturalism, gods cannot feature into any explanation in and of the universe. One can, of course, offer ad hoc rationalization, but this is not parsimonious. It adds to an explanation that is already complete. Therefore, given natural atheism and consequently pluralistic atheism, what atheism is is exactly what atheism should be. If we answer the latter, we answer the former.

Works Cited

1 McCormick, Matt. "Atheism"Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ND. Web. 21 Dec 2014.

2 Mackie, J. L. 1955. Evil and omnipotence. Mind 64 (254): 200-212. Available on web.

3 Ibid. [1]

4 Smart, J.J.C. "Atheism and Agnosticism"Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 9 Mar 2004. Web. 21 Dec 2014.

5 Martin, Michael, 1990.   Atheism:  A Philosophical Justification. Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 1990.

6 Arthur Fine as quoted in Ritchie, Jack. Understanding Naturalism. Stocksfield, England: Acumen, 2008. 97. Print.

7 Ibid. [6]

8 Ibid. [6]

9 Ferguson, Matthew. "Thinking about the ‘Metaphysics’ in Metaphysical Naturalism"Civitas Humana. 26 Apr 2014. Web. 21 Dec 2014.

10 Carrier, Richard. Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. Bloomington, Ind.: Authorhouse, 2005. 67. Print.

11 Ibid. [1]

12 “Tibetan Buddhism”. BBC. 14 Jan 2004. Web. 21 Dec 2014.

13 Ibid. [12]