definition of atheist (comment on 'definition' sticky)

Discussion in 'Religion' started by NMSquirrel, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member


    Atheism is fundamentally a reaction to theism and is overwhelming expressed as a disbelief of theist claims. Atheist opinions will vary from absolute certainty that gods do not exist through various degrees of uncertainty to simple skepticsm. Typically when asked, an atheist will say they do not believe in the existence of gods. Many atheists will leave open the possibility that gods might exist providing appropriate evidence is provided

    according to Wiki.

    yes they say atheism is a reaction to theism, the opposite of theism, but during the pro-anti debates here on sciforums, I think we need to discuss the difference between an atheist and an anti-theist,

    to me an atheist is just someone who does not believe in any God or Gods (and they have no desire to promote their own opinions),
    an anti-theist is a person who is very verbal and active in their opinion that God does not exist and goes so far as to try to 'convert' a theist to atheism
    atheist often have no experience with religion(never joined church), anti-theist often have had bad experiences with religion (exchristians).

    so my opinion is we should include the term 'Anti-theist' in those stickied defintitions.
    thoughts? opinions?
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Isn't the "anti-theist", in as much as you say it is a person "who is very verbal and active in their opinion that God does not exist and goes so far as to try to 'convert' a theist to atheism", merely a "militant atheist"?
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    While we're at it could we sort out the difference between religion and philosophy?
    Is TAOism a religion, or philosophy?
    How about ZEN Buddhism?
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  7. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    actually that does qualify for my definition..
  8. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    how about the difference between Religion and God?
  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Atheism is fundamentally a lack of theism & is often but not always a reaction to theism. Someone who has never heard of & never thought of gods is an atheist. Nearly all atheists are anti-theism. An atheist can be very verbal and active in their opinion that God does not exist or probably does not exist without being against theism. An atheist can be against theism without being very verbal and active in their opinion that God does not exist or probably does not exist. Militant atheist is a childish term used by theists to try to shut atheists up & to whine about atheists finally feeling safer using their freedom of speech. Anti-theist is also slung about with negative connotation like shit thru a fan by desperate frustrated theists who cannot handle their inability to convince atheists that their fantasy is true. For thousands of years atheists could not feel safe expressing themselves & now that it is safer many theists simply cannot handle it.
  10. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    The Myth of Militant Atheism
    Why are atheists vilified? What is a militant atheist?
    Published on February 17, 2011 by David Niose in Our Humanity, Naturally

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    Nine bullets fired from close range ended the life of Salman Taseer last month, making the Pakistani governor the latest high-profile victim of religious violence. Taseer had the audacity to publicly question Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and for this transgression he paid with his life.

    Taseer joins a list of numerous other high-profile victims of militant religion, such as Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion doctor killed by a devout Christian assassin in 2009, and Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker whose provocative movie about Islam resulted in his being brutally murdered in 2004.

    With this background, it is especially puzzling that the American media and public still perpetuate the cliché of so-called "militant atheism." We hear the disparaging term "militant atheist" used frequently, the unquestioned assumption being that militant atheists are of course roaming the streets of America.

    In fact, however, while millions of atheists are indeed walking our streets, it would be difficult to find even one who could accurately be described as militant. In all of American history, it is doubtful that any person has ever been killed in the name of atheism. In fact, it would be difficult to find evidence that any American has ever even been harmed in the name of atheism. It just does not happen, because the notion of "militant atheism" is entirely fantasy.

    When the media and others refer to a "militant atheist," the object of that slander is usually an atheist who had the nerve to openly question religious authority or vocally express his or her views about the existence of God. Conventional wisdom quickly tells us that such conduct is shameful or, at the very least, distasteful, and therefore the brazen nonbeliever is labeled "militant."

    But this reflects a double standard, because it seems to apply only to atheists. Religious individuals and groups frequently declare, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, that you are a sinner and that you will suffer in hell for eternity if you do not adopt their supernatural beliefs, but they will almost never be labeled "militant" by the media or the public. Instead, such individuals are called "devout" and such churches are called "evangelical."

    The lesson here is clear. If you're an atheist, shut up about it. If you are open or vocal about your atheist worldview, you are a "militant atheist." Be silent, even though that same standard does not apply to those who passionately disagree with you.

    This, to be sure, explains why so few Americans openly identify as atheist. The American Religious Identification Survey conducted by Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, indicates that only about 81 percent of Americans affirmatively believe in a god (about 69 percent believe in a personal God, while about 12 percent believe in some kind of "higher power"), meaning about 19 percent do not. Yet despite the fact that almost one in five Americans don't affirmatively believe, only a tiny fraction of those dare to identify openly as atheist.

    Analyze those numbers all you want, but the inescapable conclusion is that millions of Americans are in the closet about their religious skepticism. This, in turn, only serves to validate and legitimize the religious right, because it suggests that there is something wrong with a secular worldview. By keeping atheists closeted, the religious right can claim the moral high ground and influence public policy more than it should.

    Therefore, maybe it's time to end the myth of militant atheism?

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  11. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member


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    good point.
    along with most of your post..

    so then it would not qualify as what I am talking about, the non-violent atheist

    yet they have terms for those Christians as you said(evangelist, etc), but did not include 'fundamentalist'
    so what would differentiate the warm atheist (the one that doesn't care whether a believer believes or not) from a fundamental atheist (those that seek out Christians to 'convert' them to atheism) (borrowing terms for Christians)

    to me this is the anti-theist, anyone actively against theism.
    (fundamental atheist just doesn't sound right)
  12. Defined By Labels Banned Banned

    Anyone who kills in the name of a religion is NOT doing so as an act FOR that religion but for themselves. Crusades.. religion was an EXCUSE for bloodshed.
    I don't know why when it comes to ANYTHING that isn't targeted at whites, males, heterosexuals, religious or the rich.. it's considered wrong to judge the entire population of that group by the actions of their minority. But when it is targeting one of those groups previously mentioned, it's considered perfectly acceptable to judge all of them based on the actions of a relatively few.

    While yes, I've never been PHYSICALLY harmed by any atheist, I've been insulted as well as threatened both in real life and online by self proclaimed atheists. For their own false perceptions of me. That if I am ANYTHING but another militant atheist, I'm either not a real atheist and/or I'm somehow SPECIFICALLY Christian.
    To clarify, I don't consider myself an atheist. I find that label to be rather insulting. And I identify as just "agnostic".

    I'm new here so really, my word has pretty much no weight but I do think it'd be beneficial to differentiate between the two as basically they're two completely different labels.
  13. Balerion Banned Banned

    In that case, no one who does a kindness in the name of a religion is doing it for religion, but for themselves. I mean, you can't have it both ways. And in any case, what you've done here is regurgitate a particularly vapid bit of politically-correct rote.

    If this is some kind of tantrum related to the criticism of religion based on the "actions of a few" (something I would call incorrect, since murder in the name of a god is far from the only ill religion has wrought) I would suggest quitting while you're still ahead. When we criticize religion, we do not criticize the whole of religious people. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism...these are institutions, not groups. The groups would be Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc., and of them we are only critical of those who deserve it.

    That's probably because you live somewhere that is predominantly Christian, and therefore the most common "other side" of the argument. Of course, there are assholes in every segment of society. Atheism isn't immune to that.


    What does "agnostic" mean to you?

    Which two? Atheist and agnostic?
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    There is comfort in not having to defend a particular belief or religion and just be a "generic" agnostic, an innocent bystander.

    I am an atheist based on the definition of God. IMO, no such entity exists or can exist, or could have existed before the (B)Beginning.

    If someone can demonstrate a logical model of a universal (pseudo) intelligence, I'm interested. Until then it's all abstract mathematics and chemistry. Maybe God is a very simple scientific equation.
  15. Balerion Banned Banned

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no subset of atheism that is violent, so "non-violent atheist" is redundant.

    The word for people who are vocal about their non-belief and try to convince people there is no God are simply vocal atheists. There is no such thing as "militant" atheism, though I'll leave it at that since Stranger's excellent post covered it already.

    An anti-theist, at least according to Christopher Hitchens, is someone who believes religion is an ill. There is nothing about this designation that indicates activity--meaning, an anti-theist doesn't have to be vocal, or politically active--it simply denotes an opinion. Let's try to remember that.

    Why do you need a term? And why "warm" for silent atheists? Does this indicate you believe vocal atheists to be cold? It certainly suggests you view them negatively. Why?

    And "fundamental atheist" wouldn't fit, since fundamentalism is a strict adherence to doctrine, and atheism has no doctrine. It has no creed, or tenets.

    Anyway, "anti-theist" is usually something that someone is in addition to being an atheist. Atheism itself is not a moral judgment of religion, and anti-theism, at least in theory, is not exclusively an atheist subset. Agnostics, for example, could be anti-theists. Spiritualists, too. Buddhists, even. Really, since the word is a misnomer, and actually amounts to being anti-religion, even theists could be anti-theists.
  16. Defined By Labels Banned Banned

    That can be true too. When people feel like donating money to charity, that's the person donating to help someone out and to make themselves feel better. It isn't the religion donating money.

    To be blunt, that is quite a load of bullshit. "[implying all] Christians" are horrible people.", "[implying all] Christianity is horrible.", "[implying all] Christians are a plague on humanity.", "[implying all] Christianity is a plague to Science." All these are all in the ballpark of statements that [some/most/whatever] atheists make, sometimes being direct quotes.

    Actually I live in California, which is a Democratic secured state. Our electoral votes always go towards the Democratic candidate and our state population isn't predominantly Christian.

    From MY experiences over numerous years of dealing with atheists, which could possibly be just a long string of bad luck meeting the narcissistic selection in the atheist community but basically, having someone attempt to label me as an atheist is no different than someone trying to compare me to Hitler or the KKK. I do NOT make hateful remarks at other people for nothing more than having an even slightly differentiating opinion. I am NOT closed minded, especially towards other beliefs. I do NOT attempt to speak on the behalf of Science based on limited knowledge of our universe and our relatively limited technology.

    Simply.. Understanding and admitting one's ignorance. That there is such limited evidence to say yay or nay, so to sit idol in the middle instead. Not asserting to know the absolute truth of the universe, like both theists and atheists do.

    Well yes, between atheism and agnosticism as I feel agnosticism warrants being its own standalone label but what I meant was atheists and anti-theists. Atheists being slightly more open minded and keep to just skepticism of theism while anti-theists are exactly that. They focus on nothing but to "combat" theism, that they let their atheism completely consume them and believe far greater than just skepticism of theism but rather assert as if they know the absolute truth of the universe and that any deity existing is 100% IMPOSSIBLE.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    NOT IF THEY CANNOT DEFINE THEIR GOD! In detail..... and explain exacly why and how events happened that brought us to the present situation and for what purpose those little girls were kidnapped? What lesson but hatred can be learned from such experience? Theists demand the same evidence from science but refuse to provide their own answers to these moral questions.

    Rise above the evolutionary function and "choose" to adopt as the first and fundamentakl Law: "We are Part".
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  18. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Most scientists are atheists, but not all atheists are scientists. There is what should be two categories of atheism, called the rational and irrational atheist. The irrational atheists tend to use a dogmatic approach, that one would assume is a religion (function) but uses the technicality of no god to make the dogma approach appear like it based on science; law of science instead of a dogma.

    The irrational atheist exists as the reflection of religion in a mirror. A mirror, by reversing the image, makes it so the opposite always appears to be correct. The rational atheist has a better handle on the data, and can see that one size does not fit all. They are less likely to be as dogmatic and may even leave the door open to being an agnostic. But they need to be careful about the irrational atheists, who are very strict and vindictive; holy war.

    The rational way to look at this. We have two sides of the brain. The left brain is more differential, logical and rational and contains the main brain tools used by philosophy of scientist. The right brain processes data differently and is more about emotions, subjectivity, intuition and creativity. This side of the brain will try to integrate instead of differentiate. It contains the tools more useful to religion. The Christian concept of love integrates us, instead of differentiates us. Hate and bias will differentiate us to one side.

    A better definition for theism versus atheism should be connected to the sides of the brain, since some religions do not have a God, but they create a similarity by making use of the right brain to process reality leading to integral philosophy. In the same token, what is often called science theory makes use of the right brain and would therefore need to be considered partial religion. This may be hard to implement because separation of church and state implies money if you remain below the radar, without an objective criteria like right brain.

    Below is diagram for one break down of left and right brain functionality. One should be able to see how the needs of science and religion break down along the two sides of the brain. One needs both sides of the brain conscious, to get a full brain workout and not be lopsided by unconsciousness.

    If you think about religion, there is always great art, music, imagination, dreams, surreal, emotions, a sense of oneness and faith, all of which are all connected to right brain data processing. Religion will not fully use the left brain and attempt to math model this, but it will depend on symbolism which is the bridge to the left brain. Symbols are both specific things for the left brain, but with hidden meaning for the right brain to play with.

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  19. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    the sticky defines terms used in religious debates, usually the common misused words, so that any debate can start with terms understood by both parties, the term atheist is often used for many different meanings here on sciforums, they(they=theist and atheist) compare atheist with theist, and often fall short of expressing their understanding because of this Multi-use word.

    Now Christians have all sorts of labels, most well defined,(like agnostic, etc) some used to show a level of Christianity, such as 'fundamentalist' does. the term 'warm' was a word picked to distinguish from the Christians 'on fire', a term I have heard throughout my church experience, I am sure there is levels of atheist also, I see it here, some are 'on fire' as the ones who think (as was said) that religion is an ill to be cured,(this would qualify the vocal atheist) others are just 'warm' when asked they will question, but otherwise they will stay silent, I would guess a cold atheist really never lets on what they believe one way or the other.

    when someone here posts 'fundamental christian' it usually means a Vocal Christian, as the term was used for atheist (doesn't work for both, so I think that disqualifies the term 'vocal' atheist) and most of the anti-theist I have heard here, do have their own doctrine, as they tend to use the same old rehashed arguments (just as the fundamental Christians do) their doctrine just isn't written in bible form...wait..thats not quite right, their bible consists of books also, like dawkins and various other authors, only their books have not been condensed into a single goto version as the bible has.

    they do, but its not an obvious one,(see above) not something that has been well defined as the Christians have (maybe since atheism really hasn't been around that long..) but yes the term doesn't quite fit..

    I know of the perfect term, but its meaning has other connotations and attitudes with it, it means anyone who is against Christ, which is what the anti-theist is, that term is Anti-Christ.
    (where does it say it has to be ONE person)
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that's an important point. Theistic religious traditions are generally the source of the various concepts of 'God' or 'gods' (I don't like the value judgement implicit in the use of caps for the one and not the other). And atheists believe (with varying degrees of certainty) that whatever these theistic concepts of divinity supposedly refer to doesn't/don't literally exist.

    It's hard to imagine atheists coming up with god-concepts on their own. I guess that philosophers might imagine some kind of cosmic consciousness or something, only to reject the idea for whatever reason.

    I'd prefer to use 'atheist' to refer to those who think that 'God' and 'gods', however defined, don't literally exist. That's a broad and diverse group. Some atheists are indeed quite aggressive in promoting their opinions and can be very hostile towards theism and theists. But not all atheists are that way. Some atheists don't care a whole lot about theism and its deities one way or the other. Their interests are elsewhere. And there are even atheists who are highly religious themselves, albeit in some non-theistic way.

    Should we include 'anti-theist' as a category of its own in the sticky definitions? No, I don't think that's necessary. Your 'anti-theists' are just a variety of atheist, much as hellfire-and-damnation missionaries are a variety of theist.
  21. Balerion Banned Banned

    You're confused. No one is saying that religion commits the action itself. The question is whether religion is a motivator for such actions, and it really isn't a question--yes, religion absolutely is a cause of violence and kindness.

    Sorry, friend, but the only bullshit here is your assertion that anyone is condemning Christians as horrible people. That's simply not happening. Also, a statement such as "Christianity is a plauge to science" (no need to capitalize, by the way) is true; there are many denominations within Christianity that attempt to retard society by demonizing science. That statement doesn't, however, imply that all brands of Christianity are guilty of it.

    Uh, I have no idea where you pulled that nonsense from, but it's wrong.

    So you compare atheists to Hitler and the KKK, and you wonder why your experience with atheists ha
    Zve been largely negative? LOL!

    Honestly, I don't know where to start. Should I explain to you why such comparisons are completely out of line and inaccurate? Or should I spend some time going over the irony of you whining about how atheists allegedly peg all Christians as bad, then go and do worse by comparing atheists to Hitler?

    How about neither? I mean, seriously, have some self-awareness.

    But you just did. You said atheists were like Hitler and the KKK!

    Is this supposed to be your summary of atheism? I think it's a bit, uh, narrow. Lol. But you knew that.

    I think if you'd bother to listen, you'd know that the vast majority of atheists don't assert to know the absolute truth of the universe.

    So you don't know what agnosticism in, you're just using it as a buffer between you and the atheism you continually insult. I see. Well, I hope that works out for you.
  22. Balerion Banned Banned

    I don't think vocal people need a label, regardless of their beliefs. There's really no point. Evangelical Christians are more than vocal, they're actively engaging in the propogation of their religion. Militant religionists are, at least mostly, violent, which is why the term "militant atheist" is slanderous.

    No, it refers to Christians who adhere strictly to the doctrine of their faith.

    That makes no sense.

    LOL. So the truth comes out.

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    The books written by Dawkins and Hitchens and others aren't doctrines of irreligion. They are books on science, philosophy, and social matters. I would hope you could tell the difference, but I see that might be asking too much...

    They don't. Atheists are not bound by any set of practices or beliefs, save for their shared unbelief--and even that isn't defined anywhere, and the level of unbelief from atheist to atheist varies greatly.

    A typical tactic of the religious person is to try to make atheism itself a religion. The point, obviously, is to make atheism hypocritical, and therefore easily dismissable. Unfortunately, no one with a brain buys that line of "logic," so you're going to have to try a different tack.

    Most anti-theists are very much anti-religions other than Christianity, so that term is too narrow. But it does a nice job painting a portrait of your solisistic personality.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Atheists make such convenient scapegoats for all that is evil in the world, while the Theists bathe themselves in the blood of the "infidel".
    Have alook at this and tell me about Hitler and KKK acting like Atheists.

    The problem is that in debates Atheists can demonstrate Religious abuses from a variety of historic sources. Theists can only explain these atrocities as committed by Divine Right", right or wrong.

    ATHEISTS DO NOT CALL THEISTS EVIL, just some of the deeds done in the name of Theism, THEISTS CALL ATHEISTS EVIL, just because some evil people were Atheist. But citing Hitler and the KKK is really ignorant. Both organizations had foundations in religion.

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