Author Topic: Understanding Atheism  (Read 42642 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dennis

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 647
  • Darwins +37/-38
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Challenger
    • My Intro
Understanding Atheism
« on: January 30, 2015, 10:53:43 PM »
Please help me understand this. I am genuinely a little perplexed about the definition of atheism.

Google dictionary defines atheism as the lack of belief (disbelief) in the existence of a God. I have read on WWGHA a few times that ‘I simply don’t hold the belief’ in a god.

But bear with me. Is there a difference between not believing there is something (a god) and believing there is not something?

The dictionary.com definition mentions both the belief in non-existence and the disbelief in the existence of God as equivalent definitions.

A-theism literally means against God, which suggest that it is a belief that God does not exist. This immediately creates a logical conundrum of having the burden of proof of a negative - something that doesn’t exist. In order to prove a negative, all one can do is sight ‘absence of evidence’.

My experience here on WWGHA is that the ‘absence of evidence’ is a claim often made, so I am wondering if that constitutes the defence of atheism? And I wonder if that is a tacit acknowledgement of the actual dis-belief.

The reason why I think people (are inclined) to defend atheism is because they actually believe there is no God.

The claim of ‘not holding a belief’ is a rational (and smart) one, because typically, the burden of proof is passed on to the Theist – but I am wondering if this argument really holds? In my mind disbelief has a reason, and should also be defensible.

A disbelief and a belief are either opposites or they are both forms of 'belief'. (Or my English second language is letting me down here.)

In practical terms I am wondering if you can actually separate the ‘belief’ from the thing that the belief is about, IF that thing is known about and have been thought about.

It seems to me that one can practically; only hold one of three positions:

1.   I believe
2.   I don’t believe
3.   I don’t know ( can’t make up my mind whether I believe or not)

I understand that one can say

1.   I believe tennis is the best sport
2.   I don’t believe tennis is the best sport
3.   I don’t know if tennis is the best sport

I don’t understand how one can say I don’t hold a belief about tennis being the best sport. (You may not care or you may have no opinion and consequently never bothered to think about it much – at least not to the point of actually making a decision. But in this case, I would argue that you don’t know if tennis is the best sport – because I haven’t thought about it.)

I asked you if ChookaBall is the best sport, most people would say --IDK, right?

If anyone can enlighten me that will be helpful – thanks. (Can’t say I can debate this, just trying to understand – and there is no other agenda :-)
If you believe in nothing for sure, you are liable to believe anything.

Offline eh!

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7681
  • Darwins +457/-109
  • Gender: Male
  • jimmy hendrix is jesus
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2015, 11:09:55 PM »
you use the word atheist as if there is only one form of atheism, there is a sticky thread naming several types of atheism, I never heard of any of them until I saw the thread.

you seem to be referring to an anti-theist or hard atheist.

you should be very specific in your definition or you will not get meaningful results.

FYI this change of strategy you are now following is the classic trajectory to becoming an atheist yourself.

some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3717
  • Darwins +244/-85
  • Gender: Male
    • Christian comics
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2015, 11:20:45 PM »
My experience is that the vast majority of members here, if asked point blank "does God exist?", would answer something like " I have no reason to believe so". Very few say "no".

I've always thought that falls more in the agnostic basket, but as Eh! says, there are many variants of "atheist" claimed.

From memory, Graybeard is one of the few members who will claim God definitely does not exist.
It's good to know the door can still be open wide.

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2197
  • Darwins +288/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2015, 11:33:25 PM »
Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma - Sam Harris. 

Don't get caught up in the label.  There is so much baggage in that word now that it's hardly recognizable.  Instead, you should listen to the person who describes their position and consider it for what it is. 

Here is my personal position.  You can't prove that something does NOT exist, and no theist has ever given a convincing argument that a god DOES exist.  So at best, you can make reasonable doubt statements. In that case... Beyond any reasonable doubt, the Christian God is false.  Beyond any reasonable doubt, the Muslim god is false.  Beyond any reasonable doubt, the Hindu gods are false.  Beyond any reasonable doubt, all god's that I've ever heard of so far are equally false.  I don't know for sure that there is no god.  I leave open the door open to someday being presented with reasonable evidence that may change my mind.

You can extend the same reasoning to just about anything you don't believe in, but are not fully proven one way or another.  Beyond any reasonable doubt, Santa Claus does not exist.  Beyond any reasonable doubt, leprechauns do not exist.  Beyond any reasonable doubt, fairies do not exist.  I leave the door open to someday being presented with reasonable evidence that may change my mind about each of those. 

I am at the same reasonable doubt position regarding the Christian God that I am with Santa Claus, leprechauns and fairies.  I feel the exact same level of doubt about each one.  No different at all.  We don't have words for people who don't believe in Santa because there are so few adults who actually believe in Santa, that there's no need to label them.  You might call them 'Clausists' or something if there were enough of them.  And then you'd be an aclausist.   

There isn't really a single word that sums up that position, is there?  Agnostic atheist is what I call myself but I'm not sure that that label gets across my real position on the subject.  Do you think it does, dennis? 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline eh!

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7681
  • Darwins +457/-109
  • Gender: Male
  • jimmy hendrix is jesus
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2015, 11:35:30 PM »
mm, there would be I believe a way to prove the non-existence of yahew to be a justifiable and provable claim. I would take biblical "facts" and test them against reality. there failure to be verified would be a significant and rigorous process to reach a conclusion.

it would be the same rational process applied to any phenomena.

unfortunately I am to lazy to to learn greek, Hebrew and Aramaic to go trawling thru original scriptures that have not already been brushed up by any particular denomination.

secondly the excuse factory aka apologetics would say things like dennis does eg but you can't use empirical methods or measurement to test supernatural claims yadayada.

alas I leave the burden of proof to the theists just like I would if you were trying to sell me a cure for the common cold or cancer, you claim it works, you prove it. not my job to prove every snake oil-salesman on the planet they are wrong.

lazy on my part I know hence i remain a soft atheist.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline dennis

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 647
  • Darwins +37/-38
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Challenger
    • My Intro
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2015, 11:47:03 PM »
<>   

There isn't really a single word that sums up that position, is there?  Agnostic atheist is what I call myself but I'm not sure that that label gets across my real position on the subject.  Do you think it does, dennis?

Skeptic, maybe?

If you believe in nothing for sure, you are liable to believe anything.

Offline eh!

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7681
  • Darwins +457/-109
  • Gender: Male
  • jimmy hendrix is jesus
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2015, 11:48:18 PM »
<>   

There isn't really a single word that sums up that position, is there?  Agnostic atheist is what I call myself but I'm not sure that that label gets across my real position on the subject.  Do you think it does, dennis?

Skeptic, maybe?

not stupid, maybe?
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline wright

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3357
  • Darwins +221/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • "Sleep like a log, snore like a chainsaw."
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2015, 11:49:49 PM »
My experience is that the vast majority of members here, if asked point blank "does God exist?", would answer something like " I have no reason to believe so". Very few say "no".

I've always thought that falls more in the agnostic basket, but as Eh! says, there are many variants of "atheist" claimed.

Correct. The majority of atheists here, including myself, are what I would call 'agnostic atheists'. Workable definition from wiki:
Quote
Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.
Link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

As JeffPT points out, such definitions are convenient generalizations, not one-size-fits all.

To further clarify my personal position, I'm agnostic with respect to the concept of a creator deity. Such a being might reveal itself, or evidence might be found to prove its existence. I can confidently say that any deity yet defined in concrete terms by humankind (Odin, Bastet, Zeus, any of the Abrahamic variations) doesn't exist. The absence of evidence for such beings is telling.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline eh!

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7681
  • Darwins +457/-109
  • Gender: Male
  • jimmy hendrix is jesus
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 11:56:09 PM »
I hereby proclaim my position to be "ANTAGONOSTIC"

anyone wit me on this?
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline The Gawd

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1681
  • Darwins +152/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2015, 12:41:02 AM »
Yes, there is a difference between not believing there is something and believing there is not something. Think about aliens, even if you don't believe there are any anywhere, you likely will acknowledge and leave it open that there may be.
Atheism means without theism.
It is easy to defend atheism against the presented models of gods, those models have all been falsified. Thus believers in those models try to mold them into something unrecognizable to their mythology books.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7739
  • Darwins +1176/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • This space for rent
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2015, 12:58:10 AM »
My position on the lack of gods is necessary only because others claim otherwise. For me, it isn't a belief, but rather a conclusion. If nobody claimed that there is/was/could be/should be a god, then I wouldn't need the label.

People who claim that they believe have yet to demonstrate (to me, at least) that it is anything other than a claim. One that lacks solid evidence, or, for that matter, even flimsy evidence. So until believers can show me more than a book, until they can provide solid reasons for 'believing' in their god, there is nothing for me to dismiss. I call myself an atheist merely to clarify my lack of agreement on the issue.

A better way to express it would be constantly repeat the phrase "You guys gotta be kidding me!", but 'atheist' is so much simpler.
What I lack in sophistication I make up for with other shortcomings.

Offline jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8941
  • Darwins +1134/-27
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2015, 01:28:19 AM »
But bear with me. Is there a difference between not believing there is something (a god) and believing there is not something?
Yes.  I don't believe in leprechauns, but I also don't believe there are no leprechauns.  I have never seen a leprechaun or encountered credible evidence that supports their existence, but while that is enough for me to not act as if they exist, it isn't enough (and never will be enough) to conclusively prove that they don't exist.  It would be incoherent to act otherwise, at least in my opinion.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6749
  • Darwins +485/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2015, 06:47:05 AM »
But bear with me. Is there a difference between not believing there is something (a god) and believing there is not something?

In general terms, I do not believe in gods - note the plural there, not the singular god that you are trying to phrase the question around.  I do not believe in gods, because there are potentially thousands of the buggers, and it haven't been arsed to consider the pros and cons of each one.  So for "gods", I have no belief.

Whenever I have investigated a specified one of those multiple gods, I have come to the conclusion that it does not exist.  In every case where that god has been defined to the point where I can make a decision, the point where that god can be distinguished from random chance.  In every one of those cases now, I believe those gods do not exist.  I would go so far as to say I know they do not exist, in the same way I know how many people live in my house.

Always happy to give a particular opinion on a particular god.....assuming that the believer is willing and able to be specific about what they actually believe.....and assuming that, once specified, I care enough about that potential god to want to consider it.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline shnozzola

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3317
  • Darwins +277/-2
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2015, 07:50:45 AM »
   I am not so much interested in these definitions we like to give ourselves, as I am in what we do to each other.  I guess there are as many definitions as there are people.  Some defend theists being called stupid.  I defend atheists losing their jobs, being executed in crazy theist countries, rationally questioning truth.   Remember Dennis, while you may feel sadly put upon here where we debate what the truth is, you have the numbers.  It is the few atheists who must run the other way when the many theists are lighting the fire, or loading your shotguns, trying to force collections of narrow views on other peoples.   

        But in the long run, theists can't possibly know what you think you know, and it seems theism hurting society has gone on long enough.  Civilization must get past it.  What matters is where society goes because of our views, and where society is going scares me.  Take measles, for instance.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 07:52:20 AM by shnozzola »
We have guided missiles and misguided men.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Who cares if Kim Jung-Un gets a nuke. Nukes don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1086
  • Darwins +131/-27
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2015, 08:40:35 AM »
Here are 3 images:


1.
 




2.
 




3.
 



Image #1 is symmetric. Images #2 and #3 are not. Therefore, they are both asymmetric.




Here are 3 types of people:


1. "I know that there is a God."

2. "I am certain that no gods exist."

3. "Hmmmm . . . I'm not sure if there is or isn't a god . . . or gods, for that matter."


Person #1 is a theist. Persons #2 and #3 are not. Therefore, they are both atheists.

Offline jetson

  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 9049
  • Darwins +446/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Meet George Jetson!
    • Jet Blog
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2015, 09:02:37 AM »
I should just put this in my sig...

"There are no gods, there never were any gods, and there never will be any gods." - Jetson

I am EXTREMELY confident that I am right about this. But I am not so stupid as to deny the existence of a god shown to be real, even if I know it will never happen.

There are really no grey areas on this topic in my view. If there is a god, there would be no atheists. But because of the existence of billions of deluded humans who think there is a god, I am an atheist. I stand firm in telling anyone who makes a god claim that they are flat wrong until and unless they can show me the god.

From a human perspective, every god claim that has made history has been extraordinary. So extraordinary in fact, that it literally requires each of us to ask for evidence. Not vocal claims, not ancient writings, not oral traditions, etc. - but actual evidence. Show me anything, anything at all that is measurable, tangible, repeatable, and ultimately falsifiable - and we can talk about the possibility of a god actually existing.

To the OP, the difference in belief approaches is rather pointless. There is no debate whatsoever on the existence of any god. The only debate left is the delusions of people who have been told that a god exists, and who accept it without question. Very weird behavior as I see it. But I have to live with it, sadly.


Offline YRM_DM

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1280
  • Darwins +425/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2015, 09:18:37 AM »
Most atheists can make a very, very compelling case that there is no god.   But the thing we're very sure about is that no religion has gone anywhere close to proving that there is a god.   There is a case to be made that everything we see and sense could have come about by natural causes.   No scientific study has ever discovered the presence of a supernatural cause affecting the natural world.  The holy books are full of problems, contradictions, and just characteristics that an all powerful being probably wouldn't have.   Prayer doesn't do anything.

If you read the site that this forum is attached to, it makes a very, very compelling case that there is no god. 

But you can't 100% prove that something "doesn't" exist.

We haven't been everywhere at all points in time, and we don't know exactly how abiogenesis occurred or if anything existed before the big bang (multiverse or whatever)

So there's this teeniest, tiniest remote chance there's a divine being.   Then, if there is, there's the teeniest, tiniest remote chance, of that remote chance, that it's Yahweh, slayer of infants and orderer of virgins taken as brides.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline skeptic54768

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4963
  • Darwins +140/-653
  • Gender: Male
  • Christianity is the most beautiful religion.
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2015, 10:07:48 AM »
Atheist means No God.
Agnostic means not sure, maybe.

A lot of atheists are changing the definition because they view agnostics as gutless, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair did. So they make agnosticism into a definition of atheism.

If you can't say, "there is no God" for certain, then you are NOT an atheist. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Most likely the majority of atheists who think they are atheists are not really atheists. They are agnostics. This weird subset of "agnostic atheist" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. if you don't believe in something, how can you say it's unknowable? There must be something you know about it in order to say that you don't believe in God.

It's too sloppy, IMO.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 10:17:35 AM by skeptic54768 »
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 14851
  • Darwins +626/-67
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2015, 10:22:50 AM »
Atheist means No God.
Agnostic means not sure, maybe.

A lot of atheists are changing the definition because they view agnostics as gutless, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair did. So they make agnosticism into a definition of atheism.

If you can't say, "there is no God" for certain, then you are NOT an atheist. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Most likely the majority of atheists who think they are atheists are not really atheists. They are agnostics. This weird subset of "agnostic atheist" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. if you don't believe in something, how can you say it's unknowable? There must be something you know about it in order to say that you don't believe in God.

It's too sloppy, IMO.

Christian means fanatic.
Anything else is not a true christian.

A lot of christians are changing the definition because they view true christians as fanatics, like skeptic54768 does. So they make true christianity into fanaticism.

If you can't say "I follow the Bible word for word", then you are NOT a christian. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Most likely the majority of christians who think they are christians are not really christians. They are heathens. This weird "OT doesn't apply" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. If you believe in something, how can you not follow what it says? There must be something you know about true christians in order to choose to be a heathen.

It's too sloppy, IMO.

See how that works, skeptic54768?
My names are many, yet I am One.
-Orion, son of Fire and Light, Sol Invictus.

Religions need books because they don't have gods.

Discord: https://discord.gg/Hhz7Ff2

Offline skeptic54768

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4963
  • Darwins +140/-653
  • Gender: Male
  • Christianity is the most beautiful religion.
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2015, 10:26:17 AM »
Atheist means No God.
Agnostic means not sure, maybe.

A lot of atheists are changing the definition because they view agnostics as gutless, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair did. So they make agnosticism into a definition of atheism.

If you can't say, "there is no God" for certain, then you are NOT an atheist. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Most likely the majority of atheists who think they are atheists are not really atheists. They are agnostics. This weird subset of "agnostic atheist" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. if you don't believe in something, how can you say it's unknowable? There must be something you know about it in order to say that you don't believe in God.

It's too sloppy, IMO.

Christian means fanatic.
Anything else is not a true christian.

A lot of christians are changing the definition because they view true christians as fanatics, like skeptic54768 does. So they make true christianity into fanaticism.

If you can't say "I follow the Bible word for word", then you are NOT a christian. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Most likely the majority of christians who think they are christians are not really christians. They are heathens. This weird "OT doesn't apply" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. If you believe in something, how can you not follow what it says? There must be something you know about true christians in order to choose to be a heathen.

It's too sloppy, IMO.

See how that works, skeptic54768?

That gets us nowhere. That is the Pee Wee Herman type of argumentation.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 14851
  • Darwins +626/-67
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2015, 10:28:20 AM »
That gets us nowhere. That is the Pee Wee Herman type of argumentation.

I'm sorry my point went over your head. Let's try something simpler then.
What is the origin of the word "elbow"?
My names are many, yet I am One.
-Orion, son of Fire and Light, Sol Invictus.

Religions need books because they don't have gods.

Discord: https://discord.gg/Hhz7Ff2

Offline Nam

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 18290
  • Darwins +640/-134
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm on the road less traveled...
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2015, 10:30:36 AM »
Atheist means No God.
Agnostic means not sure, maybe.

A lot of atheists are changing the definition because they view agnostics as gutless, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair did. So they make agnosticism into a definition of atheism.

If you can't say, "there is no God" for certain, then you are NOT an atheist. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Most likely the majority of atheists who think they are atheists are not really atheists. They are agnostics. This weird subset of "agnostic atheist" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. if you don't believe in something, how can you say it's unknowable? There must be something you know about it in order to say that you don't believe in God.

It's too sloppy, IMO.

^what a load of bullshit.

-Nam
"presumptions are the bitch of all assumptions" -- me

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7739
  • Darwins +1176/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • This space for rent
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2015, 11:13:51 AM »
Most likely the majority of atheists who think they are atheists are not really atheists. They are agnostics. This weird subset of "agnostic atheist" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. if you don't believe in something, how can you say it's unknowable? There must be something you know about it in order to say that you don't believe in God.

It's too sloppy, IMO.

We all like to redefine our enemies in ways that allow us to pretend we understand them. What you've done here is natural.

I am an atheist. What I know is not the specifics of gods, but the specifics of humans. That they make shit up. And believe it. Between that propensity and the blatant lack of evidence otherwise, I am an atheist. If you guys hadn't invented theists, I wouldn't have to take my stance. But you did, so I do.

The history of humans as story tellers will follow us in to oblivion. Every story containing mass appeal will be believed by someone. The mass appeal was included to make people do that. The religious are suckers for a story that they like. Gods are not involved. So technically I'm an asilliest, or an aignorancist, or an aidioticstoriest. But atheist covers everything, and the term has been around a long time. So I make it fit.

Enjoy your religion all you want. But as long as you go so far as to presume it is true, I am forced to take an opposite stance. Were you only believing in fairies and witches in the woods, it wouldn't matter, but since people with religious beliefs get righteous on everyone's ass, since people with religious beliefs condemn, since people with religious beliefs banish, and since people with religious beliefs kill, I sort of have to speak up every now and then. Get used to it.

If there are gods as powerful as you claim, that would surprise me. But even if there are, none of them are yours. It would be impossible for an actual god to contain that many contradictions so apparent to mere humans. A real god couldn't possibly be as trite as the one you claim. It would be impossible for a real god to create beings that have infinitely more compassion than it has. That big rock he couldn't move thing would be more likely.

So I am an atheist because of humans, not because of gods. Hence my certainty.
What I lack in sophistication I make up for with other shortcomings.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2119
  • Darwins +242/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • I'm Your Nurse, Not Your Waitress...
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2015, 11:52:30 AM »
Theists and believers aren't the ones who need to prove there are gods.  The gods need to prove themselves.  Heal an amputee maybe?
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 Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6749
  • Darwins +485/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2015, 12:00:31 PM »
Atheist means No God.
Agnostic means not sure, maybe.

A lot of atheists are changing the definition because they view agnostics as gutless, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair did. So they make agnosticism into a definition of atheism.....

Tell you what...when your side can get down to less than three opinions on what a "Christian" actually is, you might have a case that our TWO possible descriptions of "atheist" is a bit sloppy.  Until then....pot, meet kettle.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8941
  • Darwins +1134/-27
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2015, 12:03:10 PM »
Atheist means No God.
Agnostic means not sure, maybe.
Wrong on both counts.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist: one who believes that there is no deity
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnostic: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly :  one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god

You really need to learn to check things like this before you post about them.  It takes all of a couple of minutes, and it saves you the embarrassment of having someone else point out mistakes like this.

Quote from: skeptic54768
A lot of atheists are changing the definition because they view agnostics as gutless, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair did. So they make agnosticism into a definition of atheism.

If you can't say, "there is no God" for certain, then you are NOT an atheist. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
So, now you're committing the "no true atheist" fallacy?

All it takes is the belief that gods do not exist.  Certainty is not required and never has been.

Quote from: skeptic54768
Most likely the majority of atheists who think they are atheists are not really atheists. They are agnostics. This weird subset of "agnostic atheist" was recently invented out of thin air. It's too much of a contradiction. if you don't believe in something, how can you say it's unknowable? There must be something you know about it in order to say that you don't believe in God.

It's too sloppy, IMO.
I agree, your post and points were way too sloppy.  You should try better next time.

There is nothing weird about calling oneself an agnostic atheist.  It means, simply, one who does not believe in gods but who does not know that they do not exist.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2197
  • Darwins +288/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2015, 02:12:57 PM »
<>   

There isn't really a single word that sums up that position, is there?  Agnostic atheist is what I call myself but I'm not sure that that label gets across my real position on the subject.  Do you think it does, dennis?

Skeptic, maybe?
Maybe.  I don't know.  But if you're dealing with me in a specific argument, just keep it in mind. 

It is the same problem with your side.  To say you are a theist doesn't really represent the sum total of your position, does it?  Even worse, you can say you're a Christian and that still doesn't really sum it up, given the vast diversity of Christians out there. 

Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline eh!

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 7681
  • Darwins +457/-109
  • Gender: Male
  • jimmy hendrix is jesus
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2015, 02:31:45 PM »
do you guys actually think skep reads replies to his posts.

some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline DVZ3

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1963
  • Darwins +75/-11
  • Gender: Male
Re: Understanding Atheism
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2015, 02:52:30 PM »

^ Who is this skep you're talking about? How do you know he exists?
Hguols: "Its easier for me to believe that a God created everything...."