Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by usfan, Jan 20, 2017.
No sense tryna troll the y-man, pilgrim. You'll just end up trolling yourself.
It is incredibly telling and interesting that the people that have the most trouble with this graphic are theists and agnostics who both cling to their ignorance like it's a shield, kind of supports what I have been arguing that theism and agnosticism are two sides of the same coin. The chart is not meant to be definitive, as I have already concluded myself in a previous post, the main purpose is to show how knowledge and belief are possibly on perpendicular axes because they address two different questions.
Actually, your goal is very much like that of the agnostic which is to wedge open a gap of ignorance and try to assert that atheism is just a religion as well. Sure, you do make an attempt to hide it just like William Lane Craig tries to but, despite the language and the philosophical ramblings, that IS your whole point. You want to wedge your theism into that gap in order to give it a seat at the table; at least your motivation in that respect is clear. I suspect that agnostics do it to address psychological needs.
So do you believe that a god exists?
You've called me a liar, made specious claims about my childhood, speculated on my motives, & just about every ad hominem angle you can find. But reply to my points of reason? No. Rebut any logical arguments? Nada.
So i don't expect anything BUT ad hominem from you, as it seems to be the only weapon in your arsenal. My conclusion? Folly. Those who cannot reason, but employ logical fallacies are fools, & irrational, hysterical 'debaters'. If you applied my general observation to yourself, it was aptly placed. Is it surprising to me that you will double down on insults & other ad hominem arguments? No. I expect that. Most of the time, as i point out quite often, i ignore the peanut gallery of hecklers & irrational debaters, but occasionally i'll point out the emptiness & absurdity of the 'arguments' presented.. to try to differentiate between reason & folly. But it is beyond my ability, or even desire, to try to force reason on those who are committed to folly.
I don't agree. Complaining that 'too much money is spent!' is a vague & unprovable charge. How much money is spent on sports? Football? Basketball? What 'value' to the human race do these produce? PBS, foolish grants to study drunk girls during spring break, & myriads of public funds are spent with no regard to the ideology of those paying for it. At least religious contributions are voluntary, unlike the state centered, wasteful, corrupt, & foolish spending from our elected representatives.
I think there is a valid argument that religious institutions have done more over the centuries for humanity.. medical care, food, shelter, & other humanitarian ventures used to be completely in the realm of charitable institutions. If people want to spend their hard earned money on that, who am i to find fault? If they want to watch & fund nature shows, or go to sporting events, or collect stamps, why should i object? I do not see this as a valid argument at all. That is a judgement call, at best, with no way to quantify whether the money spent on voluntary religious contributions is 'useful' or not.
Logic should not be an 'identity politics' discipline. The ideology of the logician is not the issue, but the soundness of his arguments. My 'trouble' with the graphic is with unnecessary qualifiers. The only difference between 'gnostic' & 'agnostic' atheists is in the dogmatism of their belief. The gnostic or strong atheist is just more dogmatic, asserting his beliefs to be Absolute Truth. The agnostic or weak atheist is just more introspective, & gives himself leeway for change, should more or better information become available. That is all it is. There is no difference in the belief stated, 'I don't believe in god'. The only difference is in the dogmatism. 'I KNOW there is no god', vs 'I don't believe there is a god, but i'm open to other possibilities'. both are atheists, as the qualifying statement is one of belief. The 'gnostic' or strong atheist just tries to bluff with arrogant, dogmatic bravado, & claim omniscience about all the mysteries of the universe. IOW, the 'strong' atheist is demonstrating his folly, by pretending to have all knowledge about the universe.
There is no other option, for the atheist. Either he must declare his beliefs dogmatically, or provide a disclaimer. It is no different with theists, as i have pointed out. And, it is my intent to hold a place for you at the philosophical table.. but rational discussion with dogmatists, from either side of the supernatural spectrum, is always difficult.
Far from promoting ignorance, i am revealing Truth. I extend wisdom & insight to those who would open their minds to the bigger picture, & give up their petty dogmatic beliefs for a moment. Consider the expanse of eternity, infinity, & the finite knowledge of man. A broad mind, aware of its own limitations is a much better tool for inquiry than a closed, dogmatic one, convinced of its own superior knowledge.
I post this quote every so often.. it seem very pertinent in the forums, where opinions are handed out like candy, with no inclination to support them. But it is the age we are in, & there have been irrational fools forever.. now, they just can post all the time on the internet.
Still, my main point, here, if there is one, is to warn of the dangers of dogmatism, from wherever it comes. It is not exclusive to any ideology, but is a human trait. The scientific revolution of centuries past sought to provide methodology & inquiry to replace dogmatic, mandated 'science', but that is no longer the current climate. We are, IMO, in a period of 'anti science' where reason & facts can be simply declared by an elite class, & the True Believers turn off their own minds & trust in the privileged elite. I hope someday for a return to skeptical scrutiny, & the encouragement to ask, 'Why?' I probably won't see it, but i have seen the reverse, as we have left the station of reason, & embarked on the train of madness & folly.
Yes. I have taken the 'theist' label. Now, whether you call it strong, weak, gnostic, or agnostic, i will leave to others, who seem to have a desire for more qualifiers for their beliefs. But in the general sense, yes. I am a believer in God & the supernatural.
I don't recall calling you a liar, but It's possible.
Your confuse your assertions with logical arguments.
I have repeatedly and clearly stated my position.
I referred to your childhood indoctrination in response to your nonsensical arguments that PBS Nature shows are indoctrination.
Do you remember choosing to become a theist?
That is a funny choice of words.. did you 'choose' to become an atheist?
I believe most people arrive at their beliefs through multiple influences.. experience, childhood, parents, teachers, peers, and perhaps some personal study. Nobody exists in a vacuum, but we are all products of the influences & experiences of our lives. Our 'world views' are molded through these experiences, which might or might not include personally acquired evidence. This is not empirical, but subjective, so it is not useful in scientific methodology. But, there is evidence there, & a logical conclusion to the belief or world view.
At least, with some. Some people are just dogmatists, believing in what others have told them. They esteem or respect some personality, & it flavors their outlook on origins & the supernatural. They do not inquire themselves, but 'trust' what they have been taught. This is the 'indoctrination' that i have stated in this thread & others. Few people, if any, can completely escape the indoctrination of the surrounding status quo.
My personal experiences, & details as to how i came to embrace them, are a private matter that i do not wish to subject to hecklers & mockers on an internet forum. I have stated my beliefs, as a theist, & have made no claims, other than as a belief. I do not claim empirical evidence for my beliefs, just as i do not see that for any beliefs about the supernatural. My arguments here are from empiricism & objective reality, not based on subjective or anecdotal evidence.
I will say that i have made the journey from agnosticism, my earliest childhood belief (i don't know!). I knew people around me who believed, & who didn't. I was a sponge, as most children, & just soaked up the impressions of others. I then transitioned to a 'weak' atheism, to use the terminology here, & doubted the existence of any supernatural realm, & eventually became a dogmatic/strong/gnostic atheist, declaring 'there is no god'. It was a personal revelation.. an experience with something 'supernatural', that turned the course of my life toward seeking the truth about this mystery of the universe. I am convinced of the existence of God, & a supernatural realm that is beyond the capacity of our finite, material bodies. I cannot define it, or explain it, but i believe it exists, from my own experiences & from others throughout the history of man. I am not impressed with dogmatists who try to declare THEIR beliefs about the supernatural as Absolute Truth, any more than i'm impressed with an atheist who does the same. For me, dogmatism is the enemy of Truth & inquiry, from whatever ideology it springs from.
Spirituality is an inward, introspective activity. Without some doubt as to our own perceptions, or any circumspection of our beliefs, it is too easy to slide into the comfortable easy chair of dogmatic belief. Wisdom, imo, is embracing self doubt & introspection. It is realizing the limits of our personal knowledge, & allowing some awe & mystery to dwell within us.
"The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." ~Bertrand Russell
You are a smart guy but you don't understand what atheism fundamentally is at all. First off atheism can be a belief that God doesn't exist or just not believing in God. To not believe in God is to lack belief. For many atheists extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and they have found no convincing evidence for God so they don't believe in him, or lack belief in him. In the same way there is no evidence fairies exist so you don't believe in fairies. Not believing in God doesn't require any more religious belief than not believing in fairies, unicorns, or trolls.
So on the one hand you are unable to define or explain your your belief yet there was a particular experience that was essential to your transition from atheist to theist.
I respect not wanting to expose that on this message board, it's definitely a hostile place at times. Without exposing too much, can you say a little bit more about this personal revelation? It may not be something you can qualify as evidence to others but do you consider it to be a type of evidence that you rely on?
You are correct that people who use the descriptor "atheist"...DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GODS.
That IS, as you said, a "lack of belief."
People who use the descriptor "agnostic" also DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GODS. That also is a "lack of belief."
BUT people who use the descriptor "atheist" almost certainly do not do so because of the "lack of belief" that any gods exist...but rather because of a positive "BELIEF" that no gods exist...or because of a positive "BELIEF" that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one god exists.
They would use "non-theist" or "agnostic" if that were not the case, because the group known as "atheists" contain MANY, MANY, MANY people who BELIEVE that no gods exist or that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does.
The comment that many of us "don't understand what atheism fundamentally is at all"...IS NONSENSE.
We can discuss this is you'd like.
In my philosophy, everything is a choice even if you aren't aware of it.
I have tried out a few different philosophical positions in my life. My first true foray into Christianity was when I was sent to a bible camp at 9 years old. I read the first few books of the bible at the time. I was puzzled that the bible required that people act one way but in reality people acted in a different way.
I tested the claims of religion quite a bit as a youth and ended up being quite atheist and rebuffed my parents attempts to convert to Christianity. Nevertheless a lot of the ideas and attitudes of Christianity stayed with me emotionally. In my late twenties I decided to try to embrace Christianity. I studied the bible quite a bit and then at the end of it I realized that it wasn't logically consistent, I didn't like who it made me become and I returned to my previous atheism but this time with a much more thorough understanding of what the bible has to offer and a lot of the emotional artifacts of my childhood/teen years exorcized from my philosophy both emotionally and intellectually.
An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in God. Not believing in God is simply not the same as believing he doesn't exist. The word "atheist" comes from the Greek a (without) theos (Gods) and means someone without Gods in their beliefs, and is equivalent to the common definition that an atheist doesn't believe in God. From the Oxford dictionary definition below you can see that someone who doesn't believe in God or lacks belief is an atheist too.
A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
I like the quote in your sig.
Thanks. I am a history buff and found it hilarious.
NO...it doesn't at all.
It comes to us from the Greek through the French...and means "a" (without) + "theos" (a god...NOT gods) and means someone with a god.
It has nothing to do with "belief."
No...it is not.
Dictionaries tell us how words are used...and I grant that some people actually use the word to mean "simply lacking a belief in gods." But I suggest, respectfully as possible, that those people are kidding themselves...and I also, respectfully suggest that just about EVERY individual who uses the descriptor "atheist" does so mostly because of a positive "belief" or guess, that no gods exist...or a positive "belief" or guess that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does.
For the heck of it...how about you?
Are you saying that you do not have a "belief" (or make a guess) that no gods exist...or have a "belief" (or make a guess) that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does?
Let me be even more exact:
I am not part of the group of people who "believe" or guess that no gods exist.
I am not part of the group of people who "believe" or guess that at least one god exists.
I am not part of the group of people who "believe" or guess that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does.
I am not part of the group of people who "believe" or guess that it is more likely that at least one god exists than that none do.
How do you stand on those items, Distraff.
By the way...here are three other dictionary definitions. They all indicate a positive "belief."
the belief or theory that God does not exist
Websters New Collegiate:
the belief that there is no God, or denial that God or gods exist
The Cambridge Dictionary:
the belief that God does not exist
No, by your very own definition it means someone without a God. People without a God are those who don't believe in him. Hence why they are equivalent.This is very far from someone who claims God doesn't exist.
I don't claim that God doesn't exist. I don't believe in God just like I don't believe in fairies, hence making me someone without God and an a-theos or atheist.
Yes, I do not have a belief no Gods exist.
I do not believe that. You can't determine probability when there is no evidence. Its like trying to determine the likelihood of fairies existing somewhere.
Every word has multiple definitions and not all dictionaries list all definitions for every single word. Just because one dictionary is missing a definition doesn't mean Oxford is wrong to include it.
a person who does not believe in God or gods
a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods
The definition of an atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of any kind of God or higher power.
(narrowly) A person who believes that no deities exist (especially, one who has no other religious belief).
(broadly) A person who rejects belief that any deities exist (whether or not that person believes that deities do not exist).
(loosely) A person who has no belief in any deities, such as a person who has no concept of deities.
someone who does not believe that God exists
I'm not getting into specifics about god or gods, or any supernatural entities, however they are defined. I'm trying (with surprising difficulty!) to keep it simple. A few posts up, i tried to give a basic summary of the terms, as they are used IN GENERAL, by english speaking humans.
'I believe in god & the supernatural'
'I DON'T believe in god or the supernatural'
'I don't know'.
'The question is absurd, nothing is knowable, or i don't like the options'.
I have put the appropriate labels on each statement.
Arguing about the 'levels' or intensity of any of the basic beliefs has no value. It is merely levels of dogmatism on display, regarding 'strong or weak' beliefs.
Fundamentally, atheism is 'i don't believe in god'. Levels of conviction about this statement are fine as qualifiers, or to make some kind of disclaimers, but they do not take away from the basic definition.
So how is this in any way indicative of ignorance about what atheism fundamentally is? I'm not asking or giving a detailed explanation of every single atheist's qualifying views, just a simple statement of fact on what the basic term, atheist, is. It is the flip side of theist, who believes in gods or the supernatural. And the levels of dogmatism with them is equally a qualifier for their beliefs.
If anything, the hysterical bickering about the term is an indication of irrational logophobia.. a madness induced by fear of words, their simple definitions, & wanting to be 'special', & not like the rest of humanity. AKA, folly.
NO, Distraff. For someone to be "without a god"...the situation would have to be that no gods exist. If at least one god exists...NO ONE IS WITHOUT A GOD.
Belief in gods is a different thing entirely.
One can "believe" what they want. But the REALITY is either that no gods exist...or at least one god exists.
No...that is not correct.
IF it actually were "a-theos"...that would mean you have no god. It doesn't matter what you "believe" or guess.
You may be trying to play a game here. IF so, we'll get to that in due time.
A condition common to both of us. At least a point where can always agree.
Double GREAT. Another area of agreement between us.
I also do not guess that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does (and the reverse.)
We are 5 X 5 on that.
YES! A third area of agreement!
The word atheist can mean "someone who lacks a belief that a god exists"...OR..."someone who believes that no gods exist."
Three areas of agreement in such a short time.
Since the word "atheist" can so easily be misunderstood...why are you choosing to use it as a descriptor rather than something less easily misunderstood...like non-theist or even (perish the thought) agnostic.
We both agree that neither of us knows if "no gods exist" or "at least one god exists" (that can be inferred from the conversation); we both agree that neither of us consider it reasonable or logical to make a guess in either direction; we both agree that neither of us consider it reasonable or logical to make a guess about whether one is more "likely" than the other...
...so, why the choice of "atheist" as a descriptor?
(I'm going to follow up with a speculation question in a bit...something along the lines of, "Do you suspect that most people using "atheist" as a descriptor also agree with us on these particulars?)
This word is meant to classify a belief so it is the belief without Gods, or someone who has no God.
[/QUOTE]IF it actually were "a-theos"...that would mean you have no god. It doesn't matter what you "believe" or guess.[/QUOTE]
Yes, they have no God, but that doesn't mean they believe he doesn't exist.
Maybe we have more in common than we originally thought.
Yes I can agree with that. There is a narrow and loose definition of the word, and narrow and loose atheists out there too.
I personally also self-identify as an agnostic. As with atheists there are two definitions of agnostics:
(loose) Do not have a belief God exists or does not exist.
(narrow) Believes that God's existence is unknowable.
I don't think it is unknowable so I conform to the loose definition of agnosticism. I am also a non-theist but find this word too general as many non-theists actually do believe in God. So I consider myself an atheist agnostic, and I use both words so I don't get confused with the narrow definitions of each word.
Perhaps the thing to do is what I have suggested many times...to disregard the use of words like "atheist" and "agnostic" and set out a position in such a way that a debating partner can agree or disagree with an element. The descriptor words can be used as shortcuts...but the "position paper" should identify the perspective independent of the descriptor.
Here is mine:
I do not know if gods exist or not;
I see no reason to suspect gods CANNOT EXIST...that the existence of gods is impossible;
I see no reason to suspect that gods MUST EXIST...that gods are needed to explain existence;
I do not see enough unambiguous evidence upon which to base a meaningful guess in either direction...
...so I don't.
Why not set yours out as a description...and leave the "descriptor" out of the picture for the purposes of the description?
What about the various species of ants, termites, cockroaches, or mosquitoes? What about tardigrades? What about various bacteria, or the extremophiles that live in bare rock?
I think your statement that humans are the dominant species is completely unfounded, largely because it is totally unexplained. This is remarkably similar to the various people insisting that god does or does not exist, without explaining what qualifies as god.
As a result, everything may be a reason for a god, and nothing is a reason to suggest it cannot exist.
Would you claim that fairies don't exist?
Fair enough. That makes sense as a definitional point.
I know of no moral concept that anyone has any rational and substantiated reason to believe proceeds from God.
I do know of many versions of morality that proceed from people, and from books written by people, and that people irrationally and without evidence pretend proceed from God.
Do you advocate the adherence to any of the counterfeit moralities described in Exodus, Leviticus, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, or any other human created source?
Which applies to you?
'I believe in psychic fairies'
'I DON'T believe in psychic fairies'
'I don't know'.
'The question is absurd, nothing is knowable, or i don't like the options'.
I'll bite. What about 'em?
Okay, so you do not think homo sapiens is the dominant species on this planet right now.
I don't know what to say!
Separate names with a comma.