Atheism, theism and jelly beans

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. Slartibartfast Registered Member

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    did anyone believe in gods before they were invented?
     
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Yes: they can't adhere to a doctrine, system, theory or belief without actually knowing what it is.
    External labelling is always problematic, and often inaccurate.
     
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Somebody had to, or they wouldn't have been invented. We cannot know how many or who believed before they shared their belief with others. But none of them became a theist until there was a god to believe in; nor could any reject a concept/belief they they hadn't heard of.
    You can say the majority were probably non-believers, oblivious or indifferent, but nobody was an ist until the ism existed.
    The same would hold true for herbalists: somebody might know a lot about plants and use them, but he's not a herbalist until a system of herb-lore become a discipline to study. People might be called cannibals if they habitually eat human flesh, or eat it once where that's considered a crime; neither makes them cannibalists.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Neither of those two examples necessarily have anything to do with adhering to a doctrine, system or belief.
     
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Herbalism, yes, is a system of knowledge, with rules, theories and a discipline to follow.In order to become a herbalist, you have to know that that's what you're doing.
    And that doesn't make everyone else an aherbalist.

    Cannibalism, OTH, is an external label, dependent not on the practitioner's belief system, but on the labeller's. The Fijians didn't consider themselves cannibalists; they were animists or transformationists or whatever, and only consumed human flesh as part of that belief system. Catholics are not eucharistists: their symbolic cannibal act is part of their theism.
     
  9. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    That may well be true, but could you link me to some research that shows it.
    I guess ditto for this one. I suppose one could phrase this as 'did you use research approaches to come up with these beliefs or did you use your intuiton based on your experiences?'

    I find this true for most people period. If you criticize the democrats then you are a republican and vice versa. If you are not an atheist than you are a follower of one of the Abrahamic religions. If you argue that there are epistemological issues that appear if you believe in determinism, they you believe in free will. I find myself encountering this kind of thinking on a wide range of issues. It seems like people think there are two positions on things and that if you believe you are a team player and won't criticize someone on your own team, so if you criticize you must be on the other team.
    To me in everyday speech that would be an odd formulation if one felt one did not know either way. In fact, later, I would almost take it as trying to set the other person up. I don't think that is the case with saying one is an atheist, so I think it is a poor analogy, at least with that wording.

    I get what you are saying, but hanging out with most humans, if they uttered that, I would make the same 'mistake' as the hypothetical theist. I would expect someone who did not feel they knew if there was either an odd or even number of jelly beans to say that. Most of my friends, for example, would likely say 'I don't know either way' 'I can't see how you would know' or ask 'how can you tell?' or any of a number of formulations that imply or state that one does not have a belief about whether they are odd or even. I get that the statement does not necessitate this, but in normal human interactions, I just don't see people saying it that way. It ends up being misleading because it is strange. I would call it coy. I could see answering the question: do you believe there is an even number of jelly beans? with a no. And yes, some jellybear.n evenists will take this to mean you think it's an odd number. Most people, it seems to me, would add a bit more information.

    The situation with atheism is a bit more complicated than the jelly bean situation since there are no atheists around jelly beans in the sense that we have a word that is sometimes used to mean that the person lacks a belief and sometimes used, even by people in the category atheists, to mean one believes there is no God. yes, some theists cannot get the idea and yes, some will tell atheists that in fact their not believing is the same as believing there is no God.

    But I don't think the jelly bean analogy is a good one as framed.

    I am sure there are some who do this, though I am not sure how mocking the entire category is good role modeling when one is concerned about people being binary about an issue.

    IOW you are more or less doing the same thing. You are lumping the opposition into one box when in fact there are a variety of categories.


    There would be any number of religious people who would realize that scripture would not convince people. They would suggest participation and engagement in practices and assume that if you formed a belief it might take a long time. This is even more true for many theists outside the Abrahamic religions.

    yes, there are some who think that the Bible should strike you like cognitive lightning and you will believe, but there are many who do not think this way. It assumes that they all or most even think that the way to come to beliefs is via reading scripture. Now, of course, there are theist who think that way, but I think most would readily acknowledge that that's not how they came to believe. That it was through participation and practices.

    IOW your rendition of religious people is at least as limited as the conception of those theists you are being critical of in the jelly bean analogy.

    I'm a bit skeptical about this. I am not sure, but I would think that a majority of atheists, for example, believe that the Biblical God does not exist. Note two things. I do understand that being an atheist does not entail this and second that here we are talking about a specific version of the deity, The Christian One. This makes it a different issue than believing there is no God in general. Most would likely say they are not claiming they know that version of God does not exist, but they believe it does not. Which is different from saying that they believe there is no God,period. But that's my guess. If you have data showing the percentages of atheists who would weigh in on saying they lack a belief and those who say they believe there is no God, and further have been specific in relation to, for example, The Christian God, or the Islamic God, please link to that data.

    Why do I think it is different when a specific version of God is on the table? 1) it involves a larger set of beliefs 2) these beliefs are often contradictory, OT vs. NT God qualities, for example. 3) it is now just one version amongst many competing ones. 4) I have noticed atheists who lack a belief in God in general then can also weigh in on spuecific versions of God in the negative. 4) belief and knowledge are not the same and many atheists think this way also. IOW they do not think saying they believe that Yahweh/impregnator of Mary does not exist, is claiming this is objective knowledge. But they are willing to say their believe that God does not exist. While still merely lacking a belief about God in general.

    But if you have statistics on all this let us know. Otherwise it seems like you are not waiting for the data to come in yourself.

    Since I imagine a great liklihood you will think I too misundertstood..... I do understand the difference between lacking a belief in X and believing there is no X. My skepticism is coming in around:
    1) that there is good data around percentages of atheists who fit the two options and
    2) that there is good data around the percentages of atheists who would say they believe there is no God as described in a specific religion (as opposed to say, some kind of universe maker - like one that did not necessary torture Job or send a son to earth by impregnating Mary, etc. I think there are a lot of atheists who lack a belief in God and are precisely as you describe them in relation to God in a general way, but who do believe there is no, for example, Christian God, that is one like the one described in the Bible. And since you refer to 'your God' above, I think it is a different case and needs different data to be looked at to determine if you are correct.
    I am also a bit skeptical you waited for the data to come in, even if you should turn out to be correct. I think you followed your intuition on this one. Though that's a guess on my part.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  10. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Give me a clay tablet that proves otherwise, the oldest all mention "God" or gods.

    EDIT: Sumerian.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    In cultures dominated by established Gods, the phenomenon of an atheist becoming theistic by way of personal experience involving one or more Gods is common.

    In cultures without Gods that phenomenon is not common, often absent entirely.

    It seems unlikely that actual personal experiences of the kind would differ that radically by culture. It seems to me more likely that a common experience of temporary awareness involving the logically necessary "next up" encompassing or "higher" mental functioning
    - shorthanded "spiritual", and of course lacking common or daily reference concepts and vocabulary -
    would be interpreted by the person according to whatever allusive or conceptual framework was available in the pinch, in the overwhelming immediate moment,

    which would vary radically by culture.
    Harper's Magazine has a feature titled "Findings", which comprises a one page list of scientific or otherwise validated observations and discoveries briefly (one short sentence, sometimes two) noted. In a recent issue it reported in one sentence that "two thirds of atheists" convert to belief in a deity via "personal experience with God". I don't know what that means - 2/3 of all atheists on the planet are not converted, so that interpretation is not possible - and can't find the original research (haven't spent the time), but Harper's is reliable in its way, and did provide a reference (currently in my local landfill, or recycled). There's a paper out there with that finding in it, if you have better skills or luck.
     
  12. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    I agree, God wouldn't bother in any case so it must be a brain problem with the ones that do convert, you know the 1 or 2..
     
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    It's far more common than 1 or 2, this:
    which is universal, cross cultural, even ritually induced in some traditions.
     
  14. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    What are you saying? I was serious? 2/3rds of atheists switch to non-atheists? God cares? I don't know the exact numbers, but it isn't 2/3rds.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. I found the one sentence description in Harper's vague and probably misleading. But I lost the reference (Harper's always provides their source), and haven't been able to track it down via keywords.
     
  16. spidergoat Turd Reich Valued Senior Member

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    Then you are limiting yourself to certain kinds of cultures, the ones that settled down to invent a writing system, which is almost always associated with agricultural monotheistic societies. Animism predates these, and is a kind of religion where spirits are said to embody all particular things.
     
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Probably meant that of those that did convert, 2/3 is via the personal experience route. But if you do track it down, please pass it on. Cheers.
     
  18. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190423145511.htm
     
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  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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  20. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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    Gee Dave, I didn't realize I would need to spell it out for the brain dead - it seems self evident from the snippet of Ice's post. I guess I shouldn't expect much from someone who is busy contemplating poo - I can probably find you a suitable link if you are really in need of those diapers.

    Meanwhile, the Science Daily article is to the paper Ice referenced. That should help - or do I need to break it down a little more for you?

    :Jesus: - this is why I don't post here anymore...
     
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  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Heh. My bad.

    Your quote of iceaura was not visible to me. Without it, your post looked like it had zero context.

    Mea Culpa.

    :uses jumper cables to reanimate brain:
     
  22. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Just different parts of the world. Pagans were here before monotheism.
     
  23. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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