Author Topic: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!  (Read 3428 times)

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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2013, 09:01:24 AM »
I admit I'm a little sketchy about what constitutes belief.

Atheism is the null hypothesis regarding one particular concept: the existence of deities.  It is not a positive claim in and of itself.

To take a simpler and (hopefully) less controversial comparison:  I am a biologist who specializes in Amazonian amphibian species.  One day, I make a claim that, in my most recent exploration of the Amazon, I have discovered a new species of frog that lives in the rainforest.  I describe its characteristics... I say that males average five inches in length and weigh an average of eight ounces, that females are slightly smaller, that the species has orange skin with green spots, that females are silent but that males make a particular call during mating season, etc etc etc.  I present all of this to my colleagues in biology.

Their response will be to ask me to present evidence of my claim so that they can review it and determine the validity of my claim.  If I offer no evidence, then their response will be to reject my claim -- which is NOT the same thing as saying that my claim is wrong.  It is merely an assertion that I have not met my burden of proof, and if I should later offer compelling evidence that I have discovered a new frog, my colleagues will reevaluate their position.

Get it?
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2013, 09:13:31 AM »
You cannot lack belief and at the same time believe a thing, the two are mutually exclusive.
"An atheist is not something that you so much are. Rather, it's something you are from a theistic perspective. Ultimately the word only says what you're not, that the term "theist" is not applicable to you." - unknown (from someone here can't remember who.)
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2013, 09:22:02 AM »
I admit I'm a little sketchy about what constitutes belief.

Atheism is the null hypothesis regarding one particular concept: the existence of deities.  It is not a positive claim in and of itself.

To take a simpler and (hopefully) less controversial comparison:  I am a biologist who specializes in Amazonian amphibian species.  One day, I make a claim that, in my most recent exploration of the Amazon, I have discovered a new species of frog that lives in the rainforest.  I describe its characteristics... I say that males average five inches in length and weigh an average of eight ounces, that females are slightly smaller, that the species has orange skin with green spots, that females are silent but that males make a particular call during mating season, etc etc etc.  I present all of this to my colleagues in biology.

Their response will be to ask me to present evidence of my claim so that they can review it and determine the validity of my claim.  If I offer no evidence, then their response will be to reject my claim -- which is NOT the same thing as saying that my claim is wrong.  It is merely an assertion that I have not met my burden of proof, and if I should later offer compelling evidence that I have discovered a new frog, my colleagues will reevaluate their position.

Get it?

not really.

I think the essence of what you're saying is that a belief in nothing is not a belief

Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2013, 09:41:27 AM »
I admit I'm a little sketchy about what constitutes belief. You can not prove a negative so if you can not "know" something you must believe it?

The very best you could hope for is to use that argument against gnostic atheists, and even then, it's flimsy at best.
Personally, I KNOW for a fact that there are no gods simply because my definition of a god cannot exist. Ergo, gods, by my definition, which is the only one that matters to me in this context, cannot exist.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2013, 09:42:17 AM »
I think the essence of what you're saying is that a belief in nothing is not a belief

It's not a belief in nothing. Atheism is lack of belief.
Really, is that so hard to understand?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Mrjason

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2013, 10:52:20 AM »
I think the essence of what you're saying is that a belief in nothing is not a belief

It's not a belief in nothing. Atheism is lack of belief.
Really, is that so hard to understand?

We're coming at the same position from a different angle. Legally atheism falls into the protected characteristic of belief in the UK. As does climate change.

How would you define belief?

Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2013, 10:55:38 AM »
We're coming at the same position from a different angle. Legally atheism falls into the protected characteristic of belief in the UK. As does climate change.

Climate change is not a belief either, unless you define belief as "accepting what science has concluded based on all available evidence".

How would you define belief?

Oh, I don't know... How about... belief? You know, actually believing in something, rather than not believing.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Mrjason

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2013, 11:02:20 AM »
We're coming at the same position from a different angle. Legally atheism falls into the protected characteristic of belief in the UK. As does climate change.

Climate change is not a belief either, unless you define belief as "accepting what science has concluded based on all available evidence".

As I said, it is legally a belief.

Quote from:  [url=http://www.shef.ac.uk/hr/equality/focus/equalityact/protected
http://www.shef.ac.uk/hr/equality/focus/equalityact/protected[/url]]This characteristic includes having a religion or belief and not having one. It does not include political beliefs, scientific beliefs, or supporting football teams. However, there has been a tribunal case where a belief in man-made climate change met the threshold of the belief being `cogent, serious and worthy of respect in a democratic society.´ We have to be mindful of this threshold when determining if a person´s belief falls under the protection of the Equality Act. It is important to note that minority religions are treated with the same consideration and respect as more prominent religions.

How would you define belief?

Oh, I don't know... How about... belief? You know, actually believing in something, rather than not believing.

I believe that there are no gods and as such I will not act as if there are gods. Does that qualify as a belief?

edit; I'm not doing this to piss you off, I'm writing an employment law paper and am interested in the rational behind "belief" arguments.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 11:11:32 AM by Mrjason »

Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2013, 11:54:27 AM »
As I said, it is legally a belief.

And so what if it is? The point of defining it as a belief is to give it the same privileges as actual beliefs. It doesn't mean it actually is a belief.

I believe that there are no gods and as such I will not act as if there are gods. Does that qualify as a belief?

That's your belief (although I doubt that's what you actually believe), but it doesn't define atheism as a whole.

edit; I'm not doing this to piss you off, I'm writing an employment law paper and am interested in the rational behind "belief" arguments.

In that case I advise you to learn the difference between "rational" and "rationale".
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2013, 12:17:26 PM »
If someone says that it is possible to squeeze a gallon of oil out of a penny, and you know that is not true, are you then saddled with the belief that is impossible to get a gallon of oil out of a penny, or is the oil thing merely someone else's claim that you have dismissed. If it is the latter, you do not have a belief on the subject, merely an opinion.

I happen to believe that there are members of the world-wide economic community in which I reside that do not have my best interests at heart. That colors my view of economic aspects of my life. Whether it is true or not. But my lack of a bellef in a god does not color my reality in a similar way. It merely removes deities from my list of things to consider in life. That is why it is not a belief.

Atheism is a non-process. The word tells others that those of us who identify as such do not take gods into consideration. The word says nothing else about us.
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline epidemic

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2013, 01:03:09 PM »
I think the essence of what you're saying is that a belief in nothing is not a belief

It's not a belief in nothing. Atheism is lack of belief.
Really, is that so hard to understand?

Atheist -  "There absolutely is no god"
Theist - "Prove it"
Atheist - "I have no proof"
Theist -  "So you (believe) there is no god"

Theist -  "There absolutely is a god"
Atheist - "Prove it"
Theist - "I have not Proof"
Atheist - " So you (believe) in god"

Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2013, 01:14:07 PM »
Atheist -  "There absolutely is no god"
Theist - "Prove it"
Atheist - "I have no proof"
Theist -  "So you (believe) there is no god"

While most atheists fall under the "agnostic atheist" category, in which case that conversation wouldn't happen, I do not. However, I do, in fact, have proof that gods (by my definition) do not exist. Regardless, that conversation is incomplete. After the theist claims that atheism is a belief, the atheist usually demolishes that argument with a comparison between not believing and not doing something else.

Theist -  "There absolutely is a god"
Atheist - "Prove it"
Theist - "I have not Proof"
Atheist - " So you (believe) in god"

That conversation is complete. Theism incorporates belief, by its very definition.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2013, 01:16:53 PM »
Atheist -  "There absolutely is no god"
Theist - "Prove it"
Atheist - "I have no proof"
Theist -  "So you (believe) there is no god"
Atheist - "Well, I simply do not have the belief that there is a god.  From a practical semantics standpoint, you can go ahead and equate that with me believing that there is no god.  The reason that I do not have belief that there is a Quborta isn't because I have positive evidence to suggest the lack of existence in a Quborta, but because there is no positive evidence to suggest the existence of a Quborta.  Frankly, I would never bring up my lack of belief in the existence of Quborta except in response to someone proclaiming that a Quborta actually exists.  I apologize for just coming up to you in a vacuum of conversation and expressing a negative claim.  That was kind of rude of me."

Theist -  "There absolutely is a god"
Atheist - "Prove it"
Theist - "I have not Proof"
Atheist - " So you (believe) in god"
Theist - "No, I do not have no belief that there is a god.  Wait, that didn't make sense.  I guess that since I'm the positive claimant, the burden of proof lies upon me.  Lacking said proof, I really should take the position that I do not have a belief that there is a god.  My bad."
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline jdawg70

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #42 on: August 20, 2013, 01:17:54 PM »
While most atheists fall under the "agnostic atheist" category, in which case that conversation wouldn't happen, I do not. However, I do, in fact, have proof that gods (by my definition) do not exist. Regardless, that conversation is incomplete. After the theist claims that atheism is a belief, the atheist usually demolishes that argument with a comparison between not believing and not doing something else.
Could you provide this definition?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
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Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #43 on: August 20, 2013, 01:26:09 PM »
Could you provide this definition?

One Above All's definition of a god:
Omnipotent
Omniscient

One Above All's definition of a god worthy of worship:
Omnipotent
Omniscient
Benevolent

I assume I don't have to explain the problems with any of those three qualities, not to mention the problems when all three are combined.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline epidemic

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2013, 01:41:48 PM »
Could you provide this definition?

One Above All's definition of a god:
Omnipotent
Omniscient

One Above All's definition of a god worthy of worship:
Omnipotent
Omniscient
Benevolent

I assume I don't have to explain the problems with any of those three qualities, not to mention the problems when all three are combined.


Omnipotent
Omniscient
Benevolent

are not mutually exclusive.

I tell my kid they have to eat their limabeans and broccoli, then I tell them they can't have ice cream today.  80 years of torment here on earth is but being denied icecream for a day in eternity.  I don't believe in god or heaven but if it did exist the promise of eternal life in paradise would pretty much make a life of torture and suffereing be akin to a skinned knee.  My kid eating the limabeans may well be the suffering for a good reason and denying them ice cream can be equally beneficial.  Perhaps a life time of suffering provides some benefit as yet unseen:o
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 01:43:26 PM by epidemic »

Offline jdawg70

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #45 on: August 20, 2013, 01:57:37 PM »
One Above All's definition of a god:
Omnipotent
Omniscient

One Above All's definition of a god worthy of worship:
Omnipotent
Omniscient
Benevolent

I assume I don't have to explain the problems with any of those three qualities, not to mention the problems when all three are combined.


Omnipotent
Omniscient
Benevolent

are not mutually exclusive.

I tell my kid they have to eat their limabeans and broccoli, then I tell them they can't have ice cream today.  80 years of torment here on earth is but being denied icecream for a day in eternity.  I don't believe in god or heaven but if it did exist the promise of eternal life in paradise would pretty much make a life of torture and suffereing be akin to a skinned knee.  My kid eating the limabeans may well be the suffering for a good reason and denying them ice cream can be equally beneficial.  Perhaps a life time of suffering provides some benefit as yet unseen:o
Withholding ice cream is one thing; withholding protection from being gang-raped is a bit different.  Giving your kid lima beans is one thing; giving them stomach cancer is a bit different.

You can't protect your children from every scraped knee they will ever receive.  But is it because you simply don't want to, or is it because you lack omnipotence to manifest that reality?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #46 on: August 20, 2013, 02:13:45 PM »
Omnipotent
Omniscient
Benevolent

are not mutually exclusive.
<snip>

Apparently I was wrong.

This universe works exactly as it would be expected if there were no god.
A benevolent and omnipotent deity would NEVER allow suffering. Being omnipotent, it could end suffering without harming anyone. Being benevolent, it would do so. Suffering exists. Ergo, an omnipotent and benevolent god doesn't exist.
Do I need to go any further?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #47 on: August 20, 2013, 02:54:03 PM »
A benevolent god would be kind enough to make lima beans taste like ice cream. And make them creamier too.

If I were a god, I would insist on it.

Lima beans taste like lima beans. Hence, no god. Or at least not a benevolent one.
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline One Above All

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #48 on: August 20, 2013, 02:59:31 PM »
A benevolent god would be kind enough to make lima beans taste like ice cream. And make them creamier too.

If I were a god, I would insist on it.

Lima beans taste like lima beans. Hence, no god. Or at least not a benevolent one.

Hey, I'm benevolent. Lots of people like lima beans. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean I don't exist.
On a related note, I don't like them either. A most unfortunate result of evolution, IMO.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #49 on: August 20, 2013, 03:04:49 PM »
A benevolent god would be kind enough to make lima beans taste like ice cream. And make them creamier too.

If I were a god, I would insist on it.

Lima beans taste like lima beans. Hence, no god. Or at least not a benevolent one.

Beer: evidence that god loves us
Pabst Blue Ribbon: evidence that he is incompetent at showing that love
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #50 on: August 20, 2013, 05:17:16 PM »
I like lima beans.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #51 on: August 20, 2013, 05:18:13 PM »
I like beer.  I prefer dark beer.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline epidemic

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #52 on: August 20, 2013, 08:06:21 PM »
I don't know how you compare infinite paradise to a short of suffering.

after billion years in paradise how would one look back on the suffering over human life span

I know that I I look back on my scraped knee is a little boo boos that seem to be the worst thing to happen to me at the time and now I can barely remember them.  would a human lifetime of suffering amount to a hill of beans and talking about everlasting paradise?

I am not even saying it would not be a problem I just don't if god is excluded from being benevolence just because of 80 years on earth.   

Now infinite punishment for finite crimes comitted in 80 years that might be the nail in the coffin of benevolence!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 08:16:41 PM by epidemic »

Offline Nam

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #53 on: August 20, 2013, 08:47:54 PM »
I think the first step is getting those who believe in a "god", to answer, what is "god"? Each individual theist who believes in a "god" has their own definition. Perhaps a group(s) of theists hold the same definition but if you get right down to it I bet each individual in said group(s) is different in some way to the others in their group.

But then is every theist who believe in a god sure if their god exists?

I doubt it.

So one could conclude "there are no theists[1] in foxholes".

-Nam
 1. who believe in a god
This is my signature "Nam", don't I have nice typing skills?

Offline epidemic

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #54 on: August 21, 2013, 07:54:40 AM »
I think the first step is getting those who believe in a "god", to answer, what is "god"? Each individual theist who believes in a "god" has their own definition. Perhaps a group(s) of theists hold the same definition but if you get right down to it I bet each individual in said group(s) is different in some way to the others in their group.

But then is every theist who believe in a god sure if their god exists?

I doubt it.

So one could conclude "there are no theists[1] in foxholes".

-Nam
 1. who believe in a god

Oh you are right there.  I think theists in the strictest sense are few and far between when push comes to shove they question the existence of god.  My friend wants to use on atheists strictest definition to mean not a shread of doubt or room for doubt, if that standard applied to theists 99.9999999% of them probably fall into agnostic camp as well.

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #55 on: August 21, 2013, 09:20:19 AM »
I think the essence of what you're saying is that a belief in nothing is not a belief
Not believing in gods is not the same as believing in nothing.  The statement, "I do not believe in gods" does not say anything about what a person does believe.  Trying to define a person by their lack of belief in gods makes as little sense as defining them by their lack of belief in leprechauns.  Or in unicorns.

The reason atheism tends to be defined as a religious belief is so that it can't be discriminated against.  If atheism were not legally defined as a (religious) belief, then it would not be protected by the First Amendment, and thus governments could act against it.  It's legal hair-splitting more than anything, and doesn't represent the actual state of things.

The equivocation that "no belief" = "belief in nothing" is the reason atheists tend to be viewed as nihilistic.  However, since you can't define what an atheist does believe in with what they don't believe in, this ends up being a false equivocation.  Further, it also creates a false dilemma - namely, that a person who doesn't believe (in gods) actually believes in nothing.  There are many things to believe in that aren't gods.

For example, just about every moral principle is something that a person can believe in, even though it isn't an anthropomorphic entity.  Take truth; does it need to be represented by an anthropomorphic entity in order to be a valid, believable concept?  Do you need to have a God of Truth for truth to exist?

Offline Tero

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #56 on: August 21, 2013, 05:06:37 PM »
I did leave a kind of thin string to religion for whatever reason.  When asked about beliefs I would just say it was not relevant as religion makes little difference in behavior.

But then I took the final leap of faith into atheism. It was liberating. And I was over 45 then.

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Re: My friend does not believe in Atheists. He is an Aatheist!
« Reply #57 on: August 21, 2013, 10:12:30 PM »
I apologize if this has already been said ...

Atheism is about belief.

Agnosticism is about knowledge.

I am an atheist, in the sense that I do not believe in any god I've ever heard about. In fact, I believe that there are no gods, which is, I suppose, a slightly stronger statement.

I am an agnostic about there being something that might fit into the so-called spiritual realm. I do believe, in fact, very strongly, that whatever that thing might be, it will be simply an expansion on our knowledge of physics ... of how the world works.

I have absolutely NO belief in gods. None. I never have. No doubts, no recriminations, no second thoughts. I believe that the god concepts that have been stated by humans throughout history are completely and totally absurd. Some would say that makes me a strong atheist. My belief that there are no gods, as described by any humans so far, is as strong as my belief that there are no unicorns, no fairies, and no dragons. This is a strong enough belief that it is basically indistinguishable from knowledge. But I am a skeptic, a relatively logical person, and a stickler for the truth. And so I consider myself, above and beyond either agnostic or atheist labels, an open-minded skeptic. I will listen to any claims, but I am highly skeptical of all of them. Until, and unless, there is any actual evidence, you might as well call me an atheist, and the closer a god is to the Abrahamic god concept, the stronger my atheism. In other words, the bible, the koran, and the torah are, in my opinion, complete and utter bull. I am so very positive about that that I am willing to risk my "immortal soul." As far as I'm concerned, there is no risk whatsoever to that.

And to finalize this, I don't see how anyone can force belief. I challenge you to believe in Santa Claus. Can't do it, can you? That is how strong my disbelief is in god. Anyone who challenges me to try is barking up the wrong tree. Its a stupid idea, and a waste of my time.
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.