Are most Lovecraftians atheists?

PZ Myers asked me to be on an upcoming Lovecraft/atheist panel (details to come, stay tuned).  Which made me wonder, once again: Are most Lovecraftians atheists — or at the very least, agnostics?

Before you answer, please understand two things: (1) I don’t really care if you are a Christian, an atheist, an agnostic, a Muslim, or anything else.  What I do care about is how you treat others.  And (2) this isn’t a religious blog, so no flame wars in the comments, please.  🙂

But the themes of Lovecraft do seem to appeal to atheists and agnostics, and it’s easy to see why: Cosmic horror, the realization that we are all alone in an uncaring universe, etc.

So, let’s find out!  Please answer the anonymous poll below:

Click to enlarge.  If all of time since the big bang was a year, then humans would have only appeared in approximately the last 2 minutes before 11:59pm on December 31st.

Click to enlarge. If all of time since the big bang was a year, then humans would have only appeared in approximately the last 2 minutes before 11:59pm on December 31st.

48 responses to “Are most Lovecraftians atheists?

  1. There are a good set of book that juxtaposition the Judo/Christian world with the Lovecraft mythos. It’s called The Merkabah Riders series, written by Edward M. Erdelac. All set in a weird west.

  2. I’m a blend of lots of things, mostly a Gray witch, but also some Christian and Pagan, Buddhist, and many other tenets and beliefs. And lots more things out there than meets the eye.

    • I also think you can have some Native American beliefs, and still be fully Lovecraftian, which I do, all of the above. 🙂

  3. I have no belief in any kind of creator god or goddess, but do feel that there are probably things that exist beyond the current scope of human understanding. I generally regard myself to be a pagan who’s heavily influenced by scepticism, agnosticism and animism.

  4. I observe a blended spirituality learned from studying ancient Egypt and North American native traditions, explained (as briefly and simply as I can) as a collection of forces that exist in the natural world and are reflected in human beings, being part of that natural world. I believe that all spiritual energy, prayer energy, faith healing, etc. originate within us – not from any external source – and one day science will recognize this energy and learn to measure and manipulate it. For example, I don’t “believe in electricity” because it’s a demonstrable fact – it can be measured, used, manipulated. I see these natural forces in the same way – they are there, but it’s beyond our current understanding to really figure them out. I understand these things are there, and I try to treat them with respect. This outwardly manifests as an abiding respect for nature and all living things. It is a form of paganism, but not in the traditional way some people might think when they hear “pagan”.

  5. I’m apatheist: the question of the existence of god has no relevance nor interest.
    We’ll be all annihilated when the stars are right.

  6. Philosophically, I’m technically an agnostic; in practical terms, atheist. On the Dawkins scale I’m a 7 for an interventionist god, 7-epsilon for the deist god.

  7. I was raised Christian, went through a period or atheism based on personal experiences, and have finally settled on spiritual outlook of “there is a guiding force behind the universe, but I, personally, can’t understand what it is.” Maybe it’s Jahweh or Buddha or Cthulhu. I have no idea, but that doesn’t stop me from reading Lovecraft.

  8. I’m a long-time Neo-Pagan and I’ve been a member of a Wiccan church for more than 15 years, and am now considered ‘clergy’ in my circle (official title is actually ‘High Priest’.

  9. I was raised a fundamentalist Christian and held on to that until a few years ago. Now I’m an atheist and an agnostic.

      • Agnosticism is an answer to a question of knowledge while atheism answers to the question of belief, therefore as an agnostic atheist, I don’t believe there are gods of any kind, but is something that can not be truly known

  10. “Religion is still useful among the herd – that it helps their orderly conduct as nothing else could. The crude human animal is in-eradicably superstitious, and there is every biological reason why they should be.
    Take away his Christian god and saints, and he will worship something else…”
    ― H.P. Lovecraft

  11. I was a practicing Roman Catholic when I first read Lovecraft, and I’ve been atheist for a number of years. I can, however, see the tie. On of the things I like about Lovecraftian fiction is that the monsters could not give a fig for silly human religious symbols. I always thought a cross repelling a vampire was silly.

  12. In a Universe as vast as the one we live in, it would be sheer madness (and not the Lovecraftian kind) to believe we are, “All alone in an uncaring universe.” But understanding that we are less than a particle of dust on the Universal scale, it would be more accurate to say we are, “Not alone, but unimportant or meaningless in a vast, and uncaring Universe.”

    Being an Atheist/Humanist, with a love of real Science, Anthropology, Astronomy, Geology, Archaeology, and History, with a low tolerance for pseudo (read BS) “Science,” “History,” or “Religions,” I have to disagree with the inclusion of “Christ Born” in the timeline, as this is only part of the fantasy of the Christian or Bible Mythos, but not part of reality (any more than Cthulhu is). See Robert M. Price discussing imaginary friends.

  13. The best way to describe my view of God is transcendental deistic panentheism, other than that I would refer to myself as an Occultist.

  14. I’m an atheist (former Christian), but I think if a god did exist, it’d probably be something more like Cthulhu – it would be a bit convenient if a god was aware of us and actually cared about us, especially given actions / failures to act in history.

  15. So much of Lovecraft, including Cthulhu (an old man with a beard), is just a paradox on the Christian God so naturally digesting Lovecraft has helped me fathom the physical nature of the true God who does have a physical body and lives in space. I find the Old Testament to be highly Lovecraftian. I am not radical, just old school.

  16. I don’t agree with Lovecraft’s views on race or politics, but he was sound on religion. If he could see the industry of bogus spiritual/religious/magickal flakery using his name and concepts, from Lavey to Tyson and all points between, he’d be smacking a lot of people upside the head.

  17. I’m an atheist, but I put “other” because: (1) my moral philosophy derives, to a significant degree, from certain Christian interpretations of the gospels (often characterized as a “liberal” or “social justice” interpretation) and (2) a small part of me still flirts with Pagan/Shinto/Heathen beliefs, while I don’t really believe them at all (no solid evidence).

    I don’t find Lovecraft’s vision of the world, morality, race, or politics appealing at all, but I do enjoy his writings as genuine “horror” writing and part of the larger tradition of American Gothic.

  18. I’m an Odinist. Odinists are taught to be brave and generous. I pray to Odin for health, well being, knowledge and for a safe journey when we travel. I read Runes for divination (like some would use tarot cards) I live my life according to the Nine Charges. 1.Courage 2.Truth 3.Honour 4.Fidelity 5.Discipline 6.Hospitality 7.Self Reliance 8.Industriousness
    9.Perseverance

  19. I’m an atheist (and my husband, a bigger Mythos nerd than I am, is a christian) and I got linked here by pharyngula. As did, I imagine, a plurality of those filling out the poll.

    So, as you may have already realized, the fact that ‘atheist’ is currently the overwhelmingly most popular choice should be taken with a very large grain of New England Sea Salt. PZ has that effect on polls…

    • I would think so, except that I did a poll a year or so ago asking this exact question, with the result of the majority reporting atheist. Anyway… glad to have you two mythos nerds! We’re mythos nerds here, too. Hope you enjoy the magazine, and chat with us in our weekend video chats sometime.

  20. Myself, raised Catholic till I completely rejected all of Christianity until circumstances changed in early ’02. Now I’m a Christian. A poor one at best. Hard time following what I should and do a deplorable of spreading the Gospel. Still Love a good Lovecraft read.

  21. I wrote this in one of my books, and as a personal philosophy, it’ll do for me.

    Life is an opportunity to create meaning by our actions and how we manage our way through the short part of infinity we’re given to operate in. And once our life is finished, our atoms go back to forming other interesting configurations with those of other people, animals, plants and anything else that happens to be around, as we all roll along in one big, happy, ever dancing, universe.

    Plus, I like the idea that some of my atoms will probably be around to see the death of Sol. That’ll be cool.

    That said, I have had several personal experiences with dead family members showing up that means I need to leave some wiggle room in my philosophy for some kind of afterlife – but I’m keeping all bets open on that one.

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