Can former atheists explain what atheism is?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Jan Ardena, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Jan, you're still at this? You have such stamina!

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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    No one tries to pass laws based on what Santa says.
     
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Religion has no place in government. Is that the main reason why atheists argue with theists? Like many atheists, a good many theists in the world, have a live and let live mentality.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Well, yours is.

    We've grown up and moved out of his basement.

    Correct. Just like not believing in unicorns doesn't mean they don't exist.
    Of course... believing in unicorns doesn't mean they do exist either.
     
  8. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Can't speak for anyone but myself. Personally I don't care what anyone believes, as long as they don't try to make me live by their beliefs. But once they try to pass off their beliefs as science and have them taught in the public school system, then it becomes my business.
     
  9. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Agree.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    There are many positions there. Not two.
    And thousands of differences, including those you misrepresent and about in preparation for disparaging scientists and scientific inquiry on personal grounds.
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, theists do, at least. Some people are more independent.
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    wegs:

    I think that the angry atheists are angry because religion is shoved in the face of the non-believer all the time. Followers of religion are out there evangelising. Religion gets special treatment from the State, most of the time. Atheists, historically, have been marginalised and actively persecuted by religious people, who have historically held political power over them. That continues to happen today in some nations, to the extent that atheists are executed for their refusal to cowtow to the local religion in some places.

    In Western nations, until recently, there has been an unspoken assumption that religion deserves a special respect that means it must not be questioned. That kind of respect is not accorded to any other kind of belief system. We regard it as acceptable to question dubious beliefs, in general, to see how they hold up to scrutiny. But religion tends to get a free pass. If somebody "has faith", we're not allowed to question that. Their beliefs are suddenly "sacred", which means that they are immune to questioning. And that protected nature is used in practice to shore up the power of the religious authorities.
     
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Jan Ardena:

    Like I said, only in the bluntest possible sense. If you're unable to recognise diversity of belief within atheism or theism, that's your problem.

    So we agree. Good.

    Specifically, the "position" of theism entails being aware of the idea of god(s) and forming the belief that the idea describes a real entity.

    It's impossible to form the belief without knowing about the idea first.

    Learning about the idea (definition) of God is an obvious prerequisite to believing there is a God. Without the concept, the belief is impossible.

    Not as a belief system, no. As a position, maybe.

    As is common in your posts, I assume there was an end to that sentence at some point, but you didn't post it. I'm not going to guess.

    I won't guess what you might have wanted to write here, either. As it stands, we just have nay-saying without reasoning, which doesn't amount to anything that really requires a substantive reply.

    For the purposes of this discussion, your baseless claim that atheists are in denial is completely irrelevant. Shall we move on, then?

    Did I hit a nerve there, Jan?

    Look, don't worry yourself. Hell isn't a real place.

    Some religions aren't theistic, I agree, but a lot of them are.

    I have never described myself as "deeply religious", though admittedly I'm not sure what you mean by that. What does that mean? Is it better to be "deeply" religious than "lightly" religious, in your opinion? What's the way we're all supposed to do religion, according to the Jan Ardena method? Do tell.

    Also, you have made a basic error. I was religious before was atheist, not at the same time. That would be a contradiction in terms, making me a theist and an atheist at the same time. Understand, silly?

    Is that true of all Christians, in your opinion, or have you just concluded that about my former Christianity? And on what basis?

    No more than you do, Jan.

    I have some ideas. I know you think the reason for theism is God. That's straightforward for you, as a theist. But, of course, you could be mistaken. And even if you're right, you still have the puzzle of working out the reason for atheism. Hint: it's not because atheists just like to deny things.

    I don't think that. In fact, I said the exact opposite, did I not? Please don't make stuff up, Jan.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Jan Ardena:

    Ah, ye of little faith!

    Interesting that you say that societies are in free-fall, when religious extremism seems to be on the rise, if anything.

    Do you think the End Times are nigh, Jan?

    You realise that theists have been saying that for thousands of years, don't you? Certain theists have always been warning that the world will end and we'll all be judged in the next year or two, or whenever, but they always revise their dates when it continues not to happen.

    What's your expected timetable for the End of the World, Jan?

    You know, the more I find out about the details of your beliefs, the more fringe they appear to me. Of course, you and your preferred cult might be right and everybody else might be wrong. You might have the last laugh when the Judgment comes, I guess. We'll see - if it happens.

    It doesn't have to be, but I can tell you that's how I came to it, personally. I don't think it's a unique experience.

    You realise that calling names and labelling inconvenient facts as "delusions" doesn't actually amount to an argument, don't you, Jan?

    So you agree with me, again. They don't accept God on the basis of evidence, but on the basis that they "just know".

    We're back to your claim that people "just know" things, by some kind of unexplained magic. This "just knowing" is what you apparently call "growing up, spiritually", I take it.

    That's a strange thing to say. Surely the idea of love is central to Mills and Boon novels? (Mind you, I haven't read many.) It also seems to me that there's a lot of religious philosophy out there, never mind the secular kind.

    If atheism is based on evidentiary considerations, informed by scientific notions, then it would seem to me that it is far from "completely separate" from those things. Rather, there is an obvious connection.

    Now you're shifting the goal posts. I see what you did there. You started talking about "theism", but then you switched it up to a discussion of "spirituality" half way through.

    "Spirituality", of course, can take many forms. Theism is rather more specific.

    As an atheist, I might well find "spirituality" in science or philosophy, among other things.

    Actually, that was an empirically testable claim I put to you. You could investigate it to see whether it holds up or not, if you were interested.

    I assume you're trying to put forward an analogy wherein the theists are akin to accomplished musicians and atheists are non-musicians. In that case, the atheist-to-theist conversion would be the non-musician learning music. But what would be the equivalent of the theist-to-atheist conversion? The accomplished musician suddenly forgetting everything he knows about music? Or the accomplished musician suddenly choosing to deny that he can play an instrument, perhaps? And where would I fit in? Would I perhaps be a person who merely pretended at one time to be an accomplished musician, but never really was?

    Potentially, we could run with this analogy if you were to flesh it out a bit. As it stands, it doesn't really make any particular point, as far as I can tell.

    On the one hand, you say that musicians can be self-taught, and I agree with you. There's also something to be said about distinguishing accomplished musicians from dabblers, perhaps.

    Thinking about it, the main problem that makes the analogy unworkable is that we both start from the position of agreeing that musicianship is a real skill. Suppose, though, that there was no real music at all - that music was just a notion about harmonious noises invented by a group of people who came to call themselves musicians. In that case, some things don't change. We still have self-taught musicians, but they would merely be making efforts to come up with a fantasy about this "music" thing on their own, whereas the "accomplished" musicians would equate to those who have been indoctrinated into certain "music belief" patterns approved by the musical "authorities". And the theism-to-atheism converts, in that picture, would be those who came to realise that the whole "music" thing was a scam and that music wasn't real in the first place.

    The crux of the argument then reduces to whether theism is more like real musicianship, or a sham similar to the "fake music" idea in the modified analogy.

    And, of course, we could turn the musical analogy round the other way without a problem. Let the musicians be atheists, and let theists be non-musicians. Then the conversion from theism to atheism equates to the learning of new skills.

    Quite often, yes.

    Because that's what they say about their religious conversion.

    If you like. Are we done?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    As a current atheist I can tell you what religion is. Oppression and terrorism!

    Allow me a small example of the methods employed by religion to ensure compliance in belief in a loving God.
    The credo of the Inquisition:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition

    Punishments including ; the rack, burning at the stake, drowning, putting to the test (hanging people by the arms tied behind their back), and several even more creative torture methods.

    IOW, practicing hell on earth by "special" people playing proxy for god, instead of allowing god to decide who shall go to hell. In my book that amounts to religious terrorism.

    I can tell you that is what atheism is not. Atheists cannot play proxy for god. That would make them theists.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    No. I haven’t got round to completing the last part of your response yet.
    Will do when I get a chance.

    Jan.
     
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I'm sorry, but only senior members of the Atheist Illuminati are allowed to carry cards. We could give you one, but then we'd have to kill you. It's for your own good. Just Believe. Er... Don't Believe!
     
  18. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Hi wegs, hope you’re well.

    It’s fun.
    Plus, it’s hard to get good quality discussions in real life. At least with the people I work with, or just come into contact with.

    Jan.
     
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  19. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    They can't. Because there isn't any. And former theists realize their beliefs were delusions.
     
  20. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    How senior do you have to be? I'm an atheist in good standing - firm standing, none of this: "changed my mind, I wants my daddy back... uh, no he didn't answer my prayer I don't believe in him anymore... er... no, wait, maybe..." firm standing - since 1960.
    Any seniorer and you won't need to kill me; I'll keel over from delight.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't have an atheist card either!

    Why not?? Who distributes them?

    Large unsmiling guys who wear shades and dark suits with shoulder holster bulges?

    (Maybe that's only in Australia.)

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  22. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    I'm given to understand it's James R and the Illuminati.
    Meh, who'd want to join a club thast'd have me as a member anyway?

    (PS that Australian dude looks more like he's trolling for candy.)
     
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    You have to first "fill out a form first and wait in the line" to enter the matrix before you qualify for membership in the atheist Afterlife.

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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019

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