Atheism is a belief.

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Tht1Gy!, Nov 3, 2007.


I know how to use a dictionary.

  1. Yes, and I incorporate its info.

  2. Yes, but I still like to make up definitions as I go along.

  3. No, I believe in "Truthiness"

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Seems a few have used to the term, probably to keep it simple for boneheaded theists. Although I wish these people wouldn't, it's pandering to theists.

    It's simple,

    'atheist' does not believe in God.
    'anti-theist' believes there is no God.

    I don't expect people to use the terms 100% correctly 100% of the time. So a few get it wrong, but then the majority of those professing to be christians don't live by christian ideals either, so I'll trade you that one.
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  3. Balerion Banned Banned

    They get pissed when we "paint with a broad brush" regarding Christianity, and yet they do so both freely and carelessly when it comes to atheism. Even Simon isn't above this ridiculous act, and he's absolutely the most intelligent theist on this forum.
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  5. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Interesting hypothesis about why people use these terms on their atheist websites.

    What other words are you the authority on?

    Not mine to trade. I am very critical of the effects of Christians that I can see. There may be many ethical christians, who live by the best parts of what Jesus said, but unfortunately those actions are not as pressing as the more political and broader acts of Christians that I am much more aware of.

    But perhaps you can work out a trade with them.

    And if Sam Harris is pandering to theists, someone should let him know. After he stops laughing at the idea the conversation might be useful.
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  7. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    When did I do this?
    I thought I was pretty nuanced.
    I use athiesm to describe a wider range of beliefs than Phlog.
    I defend atheists on threads that generalize about them.
    I confront other theists. I even did it around the issue I have been ping ponging here with Phlog and Stranger - I disagreed with SAM's theory about it not being possible to lack a belief.

    I appreciate the slightly left-handed compliment (which I took out above), but I am not sure what you mean here.

    I am not a Christian and pretty regularly confront Christians like Adstar and Carico is it (sorry if that is wrong) just on their beliefs.
  8. Balerion Banned Banned

    You did it right here:

    What would it matter if others include atheism to mean that there is no God?

    I didn't mean it to sound that way, but now I see that it does. Make that "One of the most intelligent posters on this site".
  9. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    If a number of what Phlog is calling anti-theists referred to themselves as atheists, it calls into question his right to say ANYONE is wrong if they use the term that way. I find it kind of funny that I, someone whose use of the word is backed up by dictionaries, the history of the word's use, philosophers and theologians AND a significant % of atheists themselves, is being told that I am using the word incorrectly. I was questioning his authority. He was partially basing his authority on being an atheist. I was pointing out that other atheists disagree.
    Further I do not see how this could possibly have been painting atheists in broad strokes.

    Wow. I wasn't insulted, but thanks.
  10. Balerion Banned Banned

    I must have misread you somewhere, or gotten my threads mixed up...that is not what I took from the conversation.
  11. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    I am dropping the definition of the word atheist issue. I will continue to use my definition, but will know and not fuss with Phlog's when he uses it.

    If Stranger ever wants to admit he was wrong about what his fellow atheist(s) here believe(d) about the meaning of the word 'atheist', he is welcome to, but blood from a stone and all that, I give up.
  12. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Well, link me back if you want to. I worked from memory just not, and perhaps too favorably for myself.
    But if you don't want to bother - and me, I am getting tired of the whole darn thing - just keep an eye on me and call me out when I paint in broad strokes or do any other bad thing and I promise to take a very careful look at it.
  13. Balerion Banned Banned

    Meh. I'm not concerned about it.

    I liked your old avatar better, btw.
  14. jpappl Valued Senior Member


    "But if I asked you right now, do you believe there is an almighty power (god) over our daily lives you would answer ? "

    This is the question. You may not claim knowledge, which is what agnosticism is for. But you should be able to answer the above question yes or no.

    You said,

    "Look I realize that the idea of there actually being a god out there somewhere is a long shot heh."

    So that gives me insight of what you answer would be. However, again I understand not wanting to claim knowledge. That is why I am atheist/agnostic.

    You said,

    "At the same time I also feel that some or many of the things we will eventually discover to be realities will be astonishingly hard to believe even when were face to face with them, the kinds of things we have no way of predicting or even imagining to be true at this early stage of human knowledge and awareness. I guess ultimately I acknowledge the vast potential for the unknown to manifest itself before us and I feel somewhat humbled by this."

    I agree that we have much to learn and discover. It's funny how the idea of god is an ancient one not borne out of the endless search for truth based on logic and fact, not borne out of the enlightenment from scientific discoveries but by people who made giant leaps of the fantastic with no valuable information in front of them to be able to make such a leap.

    I understand and agree with your point that we are far from all knowing and can't claim knowledge of an absolute answer, but we should be able to form an opinion based on the information we have in front of us now.

    Jdawg wrote,

    "But the truth is, since I don't know if it exists or not, I can't believe in it, can I?"
    Correct, you can't believe in what you don't know.

    So Vossist, can you honestly answer my first question knowing that I realize you are open to the unknown and you don't view your initial response as all knowing ?
  15. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    The emptiness?
  16. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Although I've long abandoned this thread, I couldn't help but to comment on this interesting tidbit:

    On the contrary; I would posit that you can only believe in that which you do not know.

  17. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    When I read it - the tidbit you refer to - my first thought was
    Oh well, there goes empiricism.

    But then that 'know', perhaps, means 'have no experience of'. But this puts one in a very skeptical position and requires constant empirical endeavors. More than I have time for.
  18. jpappl Valued Senior Member


    It's funny that you brought that up, it didn't look right for some reason and now I know why.

    You are correct.

    "you can only believe in that which you do not know."

    If you knew you would know and it wouldn't be a belief.


    Since I am an atheist/agnostic I am trying to avoid the appearance of empiricism. I don't believe but can't prove sh^t. It's important, I agree, it is a pet peeve of mine when people make claims of knowledge that is beyond what can be known. I let it slide a little when there is a bigger point being made. But it is to be avoided.

    This is what Jdawg wrote and I re-worded it and Fcktrd the chicken.

    "since I don't know if it exists or not, I can't believe in it, can I? "

    Well JDawg and I can't. But I guess some people can and do all the time. Bigfoot, Lochness, Chupacabra, oh no wait they did find that one recently. Yeti etc etc

    Thanks for the correction Glaucon and Simon or is that Simon and Glaucon.
  19. swarm Registered Senior Member

    "Believe" is a fuzzy word with many meanings and nuances.
  20. VossistArts 3MTA3 Registered Senior Member

    Well that's a weird question. If youre talking about a supreme being, like a Greek type god, no. I dont believe there is such a thing. If youre talking about some unknown/probably unknowable source, something from which all things manifest, I'd say yes. Calling the latter god, is probably inappropriate. hows that?
  21. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    People call so many things god it's a mindless muddled mess.
  22. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    I would say that "know" necessitates an experience. Conversely, "believe" then, means to 'have no experience of'.

    As to the pragmatic issue, your suspicion is correct, it would indeed be a daunting task to maintain such skepticism. But thankfully, once we redefine our definition of knowledge to allow for an 'inherited', or 'social' experience, then the problem is resolved. That is to say, we can say we have knowledge of those things that have an enduring empirical legacy.
    This of course, explains the vast utility of the empirical project (or, the Scientific Method, in particular).

    my emphasis


    Although, this admittedly requires a clear distinction between "belief" and "knowledge". This is tricky at best.
  23. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Oops. My 'no' was a typo, and a perverse one from my unconscious. Yes, I agree.

    Well, that's overly optimistic, but at least it allows us to believe in things. When I think of the fallout - and intentionally chosen metaphor - philosohically from the metaphysical and ontological conclusions of experts - be they religious or scientific - beyond the repeatable sense data aspects of their 'work', I would say the problems persist. But somehow I would guess you agree and did not mean at all to deny such issues.

    I would also say that much of our experience of 'direct contact' with 'thing' that we can claim to 'know' because we were in 'direct contact' with 'them' are actually experiences constructed by expectation. Our own, those of experts, etc. And that this is not restricted to religious people. In fact I am not sure we can function without, essentially, agreeing to be vulnerable to this.

    And given that the belief is often described as the latter, knowledge, requires proof for others is available, collective expectations, which can be constructed, can seem to confirm 'knowledge' when all it confirms is collective training. And again I am aimed this not just at the religious.

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