Atheists, Nontheists, Agnostics, Faitheists, Apatheists, and now “Evatheists”

November 13, 2012

Newly elected Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) isn't a believer in God, but now it seems that she's not a nonbeliever either.
 
Philosophers perk up their ears when informed that a logical dichotomy, such as "believer or nonbeliever" is in fact a false dichotomy. Let philosophers rethink their logic. We need to re-think how labels work in the secular world of the Nones. 
 
As exhaustively researched by the Friendly Atheist (link here), Sinema denies being any sort of atheist. The key quotation from her spokesman is this:

"Kyrsten believes the terms non-theist, atheist or non-believer are not befitting of her life's work or personal character. She does not identify as any of those."
 
Since she isn't announcing how she does believe in God either, what are we to make of this development?
 
One obvious conclusion is that the Rise of the Nones has brought with it a secular independence of mind. No longer will those among the Nones complacently accept categorizations or labels from egg-head atheology philosophers or ideology-driven atheist organizations. For whatever personal reasons -- a matter of private choice, or public politics, etc. -- there's no way to assume that your favorite label for their lack of belief will be automatically and gratefully adopted. The Nones are growing up right before our eyes.
 
The rise of the Agnostics against the Atheists was just the opening salvo. Recent decades have seen the rise of the Nontheist, the Nones, the Faitheist, and the Apatheist. Now we are dealing with a novel yet inevitable phenomenon: discontent with accepting God has now evolved towards discontent with accepting labels. Unlike the Apatheists, who can't care enough about God or religion to even utter a word of choice either way, Sinema represents a different attitude, of caring just enough to renounce any labeled position on the whole matter.
 
To conclude with a tone of irony, let's call these nouveau Nones as the "Evatheists" because they feel the need to evade the whole issue. Don't you dare call one of them an "evatheist" to their face -- although hearing a quick denial only proves that this label fits.