definition of atheist (comment on 'definition' sticky)

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

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It is indeed a logical fallacy, and not one I am guilty of: I do not conclude that God does not exist, nor do I conclude that they are necessarily wrong (at least not in every aspect). I conclude that in the important matters I do not know, and where I do not know I simply am unable to believe.
    Note again how the lack of belief comes after the assessment.
    Maybe you can explain it to me. I'm still

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    by it.
    For some it probably/possibly is a matter of choice. It isn't for me, and I would hazard that it isn't for most atheists: I can no more believe in God than you can in the FSM. It is not a choice to not believe: I am simply incapable of belief in such things, given what I do not know of them.
    Please don't patronise. It is beneath you.
    It isn't a choice for some. For you it seems to be. Not for me. If God ever reveals himself to me then I will have no choice but to believe. But until then I simply can not believe such things. And it is not a choice. I simply can not force myself to believe, anymore than you can force yourself to believe in the existence of the FSM.
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    The point is still valid in that you can no more believe in 1+1=3 than I can in God, given what I know and my experiences to date.
    The issue is not subjective vs objective but in the lack of choice in the matter.
    But let's change it to the FSM... do you believe in the FSM? Do you honestly think you have a choice, given what you know and your experiences to date, as to whether or not to believe in It?
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  5. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    see below on lack of choice..

    yes, subjective/objective is completely relevant, simply because you cannot apply objective logic to subjective choices, (and vice versa(?)) it just doesn't work and only confuses the issue.
    belief is not objective, if it were, it would be knowledge, not belief. 1+1 is knowledge not belief, you 'know' 1+1 is 2, there is no 'belief' to it. ('I know', as opposed to 'I believe') (one of these days I am gonna unintentionally ' ' every other word..)

    belief IS subjective.
    science is objective.
    can't use one to argue with the other, doesn't work, causes problems..

    yes, I choose to not believe in the FSM, (this will get nowhere fast..)

    this says a lot...
    you say "I will have no choice but to believe"
    meaning if he were to show himself (objectively), you would voluntarily give up your free will? would that mean religion is right?(god forbid) How would you act? .. you do not want it to be a choice. you want objective empirical evidence as to his existence in order to be 'forced' to believe.
    (and this doesn't address whether this choice is a onetime choice or something we choose over and over again)

    belief is subjective.

    what if...(you can imagine/hypothesize without believing in God)

    what if God exists AND he wants us to 'think for ourselves', how would that translate?

    -ill take this opportunity to reiterate, i'm not trying to get you to believe in God, or to accept that he exists, I am just enjoying the discussion. if it reads like that, then dismiss it as passion-

    quantum mechanics has a rule/law, to observe/measure an object changes the state of that object, (see now you got me using objective references

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    IOW-if he were to show himself, how much would that corrupt what he wants ?
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    What does he want? And speakig of corruption............???
  8. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I don't necessarily disagree, but you still miss my point in that for me to believe in the existence of something for which I have no evidence is like you trying to believe that 1+1=3.
    I don't know of any other way that gets across quite how little of a "choice" I have in the matter, due to the way I think, my thought processes, my hardwired brain etc.
    So given that it is, to you, just a matter of choice, you could envisage genuinely believing in the existence of the FSM?
    We are very different people in the way we think, then.

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    If it is objective, it is not a matter of free will but of knowing. Belief would have no part in it.
    We're talking simply about the existence of God, not whether religion (or any particular one) is correct or not, or whether to abdicate ourselves to that religion. That is a separate matter entirely, even once we conclude in God's existence.
    No. There is no forcing.
    Are you forced to believe that 1+1=2? Could you choose to believe that it is 1+1=3?
    So it would be when I/if I get any personal revelation: the existence of God becomes a matter of 1+1=2, whereas currently it is 1+1=3.
    So you keep telling me that is how it is for you.
    When it comes to belief in the unknown, I don't have the luxury of "choosing".
    How do we know he wants us to "think for ourselves"? That would be the first question.
    And if God remains unknowable then it translates to the same position as if God does not exist and we think for ourselves: some believe, others do not. Some, like you, seem to think we have a choice, others like me think we do not.
    Don't worry - I have no concern in that regard.
    So he would create his own catch-22? You don't speak that highly of this God then, do you.

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    If God "works in mysterious ways" etc then he'd find some way around it, I'm sure.
  10. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    you keep using 1+1..
    we know 1+1 is 2 there is no 'I believe 1+1 is 2'
    you keep confusing belief with knowledge,

    if you do not know, it is a belief, if you know, it is fact.
    it is a logical fallacy to claim "I will believe, when they show me empirical proof', because empirical proof means we KNOW. and that which we know is not a belief, its knowledge.

    if I did not know math and you taught me "this" and I had no way to confirm "this" it would be a belief until I found a way to confirm 'this',
    math is again a bad example because if you understand math it is easy to test 'this',

    it still applies to other areas of our lives, as individuals we are not capable of 'knowing' everything that is knowable, at some point we have to make a choice and believe that choice is right.(till it gets tested and measured, then it becomes knowledge (which brings up the question of false positives))

    this is another topic,
    but I believe he created the angels to 'do as your told' , can you imagine how quick that would be to get tiresome?
    doesn't he?
    (hehe,hmm, so what I am saying is if you are doing things right, he will leave you alone, if you are doing things wrong then he will put religion in your life..)
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    After 3000+ years theists haven't figured that out yet? YHWH, God, Allah are all the same god, but their religious rituals and moral behaviors differ greatly from each.

    It's kinda like the guy who hates ObamaCare and believes that ACA is a much better choice of insurance. :shrug:

    I pose a question to all monotheists; If there is only One God, then this God MUST be the same god everyone believes in. No?

    a) ask a christian: Is your God the same as Allah? If so, why all the hate and killing?

    b) ask a muslim: Is Allah is the same god as YHWH? If so, why all the hate and killing?
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    It's generally accepted without argument that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Rasta and Baha'i) are all rooted in the Torah/Old Testament. Thus they do indeed all believe in the same God, whether they call him Yahweh, the Lord, Allah or Jah.

    Obviously, then, the hate and killing is not about having different gods, or even about having the same god but of a significantly different character.

    The hatred and killing is about their prophets. The Jews believe that Abraham is the one and only prophet. (Or is it Moses? I never get that straight.) The Christians accept Abraham (Moses?) but regard Jesus as a much more important prophet whose teachings modify those of Abraham. The Muslims feel the same way about Mohammed's accretions to the teachings of the earlier prophets, and the Rastafarians feel the same way about the teachings of Ras Tafari Makonnen (Haile Selassie). The Baha'i veer a little further off of this line, but they too regard the prophets of their predecessors with respect and simply identify Baha'ullah as the most recent prophet and therefore the most important.

    There are so many fundamental differences among the doctrines of the Abrahamists, that it seems rather ludicrous to suggest that since they believe in the same god, then there can't possibly be any differences important enough for them to kill each other.

    The USA and the CSA both revered the Constitution, and they both celebrated Independence Day and George Washington's birthday; nonetheless they killed 3% of their combined populations over other differences.

    The Devil is, indeed, in the details.
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Well, if it is not about god, then what is the other "significant difference"? Ritual?

    If all agree on the same God, can we conclude then that the religions themselves are exclusive of each other and rather than a civilizing impact the result has been quite the opposite.
    What lessons can be learned and who needs to learn them?

    Yes, if your Holy book teaches you that blacks are less than human and a segment of the population treats other human beings as less than human, Secular law must be used to "correct" this erroneous philosophical religious viewpoint.

    And the Devil dwells in the Holy scriptures, or does the devil dwell in those who wrote the scriptures?
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No I do not. I am merely using them, as stated, to express the lack of choice I have in the matter.
    And there are many levels of belief, ranging from extrapolation of previous experience (I believe I can beat my brother at a game of poker because I have done 9 times out of 10 etc) to belief without any experience or knowledge whatsoever.
    And I actually question how anything can be known if not merely through definition or logic, in which case the knowledge is only "true" if the underlying assumptions are true.
    Either way, you seem to be too hung up on the semantics of the example without appreciating the meaning behind the usage.
    You say it is not a valid analogy, and I say it is because that lack of choice I example is exactly how it feels to me. That it doesn't feel that way to you (I.e. You see belief as a choice) is why you are not accepting the analogy. But isn't that the point, that I don't see it as a choice. And nor do you see 1+1=3 as a choice in which to believe.
    And you say you choose not to believe in the FSM, which again you gloss over in favour of trying to invalidate the other example.
    Can you genuinely, honestly, say that you could choose to believe in the FSM if you wanted to?
    Im not looking for empirical "proof". Where did you get that idea?
    At best I can hope for is empirical evidence that logically and rationally leads me to conclude in the existence of God. Otherwise, any "proof" that He may give me won't be empirical, of that I am quite sure.
    Further, knowledge is a subset of belief, so it is not a logical fallacy... to know something is still to believe in that thing. At least philosophically speaking, using the widely accepted starting point of knowledge being a justified true belief.
    Indeed it would be a belief, if you believed it to be true. Some of us would merely accept it as a possible answer, and possibly one to be repeated rote fashion until we have confirmed it for ourselves. But we wouldn't necessarily believe it as true without being able to test it.
    But in this case we can, I agree, "choose" to believe what we are told if there is experience behind the teacher being correct in previous education.
    But given that, in my experience, there is none of that with regard God, there remains no choice. At least not for me.

    And you are equating different levels of belief under the same word: that which is accepted based on past experience of the same event, through to accepting something with no prior experience. If a complete stranger came up to you and said that he had tossed a coin and it landed on Heads, would you believe him, genuinely, sincerely, honestly? Or would you conclude that you have no prior experience of the person, and can not possibly conclude as to the truth of the matter?
    Furthermore, this highlights that there is a difference between what we accept on a practical level and what we accept as being true. You might accept the strangers word if nothing hangs on it, but even then would you genuinely believe him to be true?
    I could not force myself to believe to that level, even if I accept on a practical level.
    I must have been doing things bad while I believed, then, and doing things right while I don't believe!

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  15. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    it would be more accurate to say " I do not believe in God the same way I would not believe my significant other would cheat on me .
    or 'the same way I believe my others hair is __ (color of hair)', (this works because there is a chance you are unaware of original color)
    if you have been with her(assuming 'her') for a long time and she has had the same color hair all that time, chances are you are correct in that 'belief' and assume it as knowledge, but if her original color was unknown to you, then it would not truly be knowledge, it would be belief even though you have proof/knowledge that she is blonde (or whatever),

    your example has experience and knowledge involved in it, you have experienced winning 9 out of 10 times, experience has turned a belief into knowledge, although it could still be argued that it is a belief that makes you think you can beet him all the time, (9 out of 10 is not 'ALL' the time) he could get better at poker, thereby invalidating the 'knowledge' that you can beat him.

    in its most basic sense, just applying logic or reason to make a concept a fact is in error, it is through testing and measuring that makes things facts, objective testing with the same results everytime make it fact. if you tested things in real life and the answers were not consistant answers, then it is belief until it is tested and measured, then it is fact.

    truth at last!
    "is exactly how it feels "
    "it doesn't feel that way "

    we aren't talking about how we 'feel' about it.. that is another issue, yes it influences what/how we believe about something, but when it comes to knowledge we have no choice in facts, we do not 'feel' facts, well most ppl do not.. others tend to be on emotional autopilot, thinking just because they 'feel' a thing they must act on that feeling, and if you are truly responsible for how you feel, then you would not let your emotional state of being screw up your life. iow they think their emotional state of being is 'the goto' indicator of what is true and what is not.
    I cannot argue against how you 'feel' about the term 'belief', only about what you 'know' about the term.

    and this is confirmation as to the 'choice' aspect of belief, and the justification after the fact, IE ppl will often think of how they 'feel' about a given thing, then justify that feeling after the fact.
    to argue against this in this context, often the person hearing will take it to mean that their feelings are 'wrong' and will argue irrationally to justify their feelings on the subject. I can accept you do not 'feel' what I am saying is true, as long as you understand that feelings can often be misleading, and feelings are not facts.(back to subjective vs objective facts)

    yes, but I do not want to.. so I choose not to.

    where? from statements like "At best I can hope for is empirical evidence that logically and rationally...." and the fact that you do not want to choose to believe, you argue it is not a choice, you argue you will believe when you have no choice but to believe.

    at this point I want to make aware of the difference between a logical discussion on the term 'belief' and the attitude that comes when someone brings God into the discussion for the term.
    it seems to me, that a discussion can be very enlightening until someone uses the term 'God' then the discussion turns to an anti-god flavor and brings with it all sorts of irrationality..
    IOW one can believe that the term is with a choice until one remembers that God is involved then they go irrational, defending their non-god position regardless of any rational arguments to the contrary. (see justification after the fact)
    its like to argue otherwise would mean God exists and that just wont happen with certain types of ppl
    remember we are not arguing his existence.

    I believe the fire is hot.
    I know the fire is hot.
    one is more true than the other.
    'I believe' says he doesn't know for sure,
    'I know' says he knows for sure.

    to say 'I will believe when I know' is self defeating, belief is not knowledge, if you know, then its not a belief, its knowledge.
    but I have said this several times and do not want to accept this, why?
    does it mean to you that to accept the term as described means you would have to admit the possibility of choice in your beliefs?
    does it mean that how you feel about the term would be wrong?
    does it make you feel 'wrong' ?

    this is what I was talking about.. it sounded like you were understanding until you brought God back into it, then you flipped your understanding because of predjudice/attitude/feelings/whatever about God.
    its like to admit my point would be to admit God exists, and we aren't talking about God, we are talking about the term 'belief' and how choice affects it.
    you choose to not believe in God, and your argument will always support this regardless of any perceived arguments to the contrary,
    you feel God does not exist. to argue contrary to this will result in irrational arguments because your arguments follow your feelings, and any arguments to the contrary would be perceived as an attempt to invalidate your feelings. which is truly not the case on my part. I am argueing the use of the term belief and how choice affects it. not about how you feel about the term.
    (like I do with the term anti-theist)

    I would be obligated (another choice) to believe him especially with no other data to contradict his statement, it would be a belief until I saw that the coin was heads.

    yes.. there is a whole wide gap between what we know and what we believe, I often wonder and question my ideas of what I know to be true and what I believe to be true. simply because I often question where I get my 'knowledge' (usually from others, sometimes through research, but mostly through ppl) and yes I often have mistaken belief for knowledge, when I first started coming here to sci-forums, I would claim 'I know God exists' then others would point out the difference between knowledge and belief, I have come to accept this difference, and now am arguing the same point that was presented to me.

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  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Why are you presuming to lecture me? You are not saying anything new that I do not already know and understand.
    You will perhaps also note that in the matter of God's existence, i.e. the matter of theism or atheism, there is no evidence (or at least I have none). And if one considers God to be unknowable then it is surely impossible for there to be evidence.
    And from this lack of evidence I have no choice but to not believe.
    More lecturing. Thanks.
    Had I said anything to the contrary you might have a point, but at the moment this is yet more lecturing.
    More lecturing.

    Did any of that have a point?
    It is clear the terms I have used with regard "feel" have confused you further, and that you jump on the term rather than the message.
    How do you feel trying to believe 1+1=3? That is the same for me believing in God.
    It's nothing more complicated than that.
    There is no confirmation of your point in anything I have said, as it is borne from my confusing you by using the term "feel". So I apologise for that.
    I'm now quite shocked. Genuinely so.
    That you honestly think you could choose to believe in the FSM.
    More than anything else through the discussion thus far, this has surprised me, and speaks volumes as to the difference in the way we think.
    Then you have misunderstood those statements: By hoping for empirical evidence one hopes for something upon which to base an assessment of probability, enough that might tip the balance from non-belief to belief. And at that point, of for whatever other reason that tipping point is reached, I will have no option but to believe.

    Perhaps you have heard of doxastic involuntarism? If not, give it a search. It may help explain things more clearly than I seem to be able.
    If you feel I have started bringing in an anti-god flavour, or any sort of irrationality, highlight it. Otherwise this point is irrelevant.
    However, you should also be aware that this discussion is being held in a thread regarding the term "atheism" - so if one can not discuss the issue of belief as it applies to God's existence then surely you should be looking for another thread.
    "One is more true than the other"?

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    If the person does believe the fire is hot then "I believe the first is hot" is true.
    If the fire is indeed hot, then (the finer issues of nature of knowledge aside) then "I know the fire is hot" is also true.
    Both are equally true.
    No, no and (for good measure) no.
    And, no matter how much you don't want to accept it, philosophically speaking knowledge is still a belief. It is a justified true belief.
    WTF? Understanding what? That you consider belief a choice? I understand that. I don't agree, but I understand it.
    And nothing has flipped. My position is as it always has been, and it is nothing to do with any "prejudice/attitude/feelings/whatever about God", other than my lack of knowledge of God.
    Get down from your perceived high-horse, please. You have over-reached yourself, I'm afraid. There is simply nothing to "admit" about your point... I don't agree with it as it pertains to belief in that which I have no knowledge or experience of the matter. And we ARE talking about the belief in God's existence. This thread is about ATHEISM. Have you forgotten that? It is about why one group of people do not believe in God's existence. You want to equate all belief, all scales of belief, under a single process of choice, whereas I separate belief in God (or anything else, such as the FSM, or celestial teapot etc where I have no evidence / knowledge / experience) from merely assessments of probability where I do have such things.
    Woah, you're sounding almost as arrogant as Jan, telling me how I think.
    I do not "choose to not believe in God", irrespective of what you say or how you want to view it. And my argument does not support your position one iota, the confusion by using the term "feel" aside.
    If you think my arguments are irrational, point out the irrationality rather than just assert them to be such.
    And as suggested, go and look up doxastic involuntarism, and compare it to the notion of voluntarism. It is a common area of contention with theologists tending to the voluntarism.
    You would be "obligated" to believe him?? Ever heard of "I don't know"? Do you view it as a problem to not commit one way or the other?
    Your answer here is as surprising and as enlightening of our differences as you claiming you could honestly choose to believe in the FSM. Which still baffles and suprises me in equal measure.

    But seriously, get off your high-horse and don't start down the path of arrogant drivel you seem to want to take. The whole notion of belief being voluntary or involuntary has been widely debated for quite some time, and the prevailing view is that it is involuntary, if not entirely then partially. This is not to lend credence to what I say but in an effort for you to temper the tone of your responses.

    And in a thread regarding the nature of atheism, you can not ask the discussion to divorce itself from the matter of belief in God's existence.
  17. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    we are going in circles..
    1: this thread was about the inclusion of the word 'anti-theist' in the definitions, not a thread about atheism or the nature of atheism.
    2: I can accept that you do not believe in God.
    3: we(me and you) were discussing belief as a choice.
    4: I know I can come across as arrogant and egotistical, that's how I learned to communicate..(and truly not a valid point for the subject)
    5: experience has shown me the difficulties me and you are having is not from the issue being discussed, but more of neither one of us will let the other have the last word..

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  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    How can you discuss whether it appropriate to include "anti-theist" separately without discussing the nature of atheism?
    My lack of belief is not even in question, but you don't accept the reasons I give, or the path I took to get there.
    We were, but more specifically the belief in question: belief in the existence or not of God, given that it is significantly different in scope
    Choose not to be (which surely shouldn't be that hard if you can choose to believe in the FSM, as you claim you genuinely can).
    Last word? You honestly think in such a discussion there IS a last word? That there is a right answer to such a philosophical question as to whether belief is a choice or not? The two schools of thought should be patently obvious to you just from the clear differences in our own positions.
    Just read about doxastic involuntarism and compare it to voluntarism.
    Or don't. Your choice.

    Oh, right! This must just be me getting the last word!

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  19. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member



    Maybe you don't have children, but you may be surprised to know that they form their own opinions, and generally would do as they saw fit given the opportunity. They ask questions about things, and they form opinions. These opinions form the basis of their decisions when they become teens.

    When you confidently assert that not only you, but everybody has no say whatsoever in any form of decision making, regarding God, or anything (following logic) that has some real profound significance in their lives, and existence, it's not all that hard to tell you with confidence.

    Why is it necessary?

    Not really. I googled it, found that it is a family name. Not hard for me to imagine. For you maybe

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    But seriously, can you explain why God is unimaginable?

    So because you have deemed God unimaginable, it must be so for everyone.
    Are you the standard human model.

    I don't think it really works like that. What you fail to realize is that you have already made a choice, and the decisions you make in life are based on that, and other choices. You don't accept God period (that's exactly what it sounds like).

    Is that what I said?

    Is what I said a fact or not?

    So to add to 'no evidence of God', and 'God is unimaginable', we now have personal, statistical analysis that the reasons (innumerable people, past and present) are due to, fear, consequence, emotion, or ignorance? But the overwhelmingly general reason is...wait for it.... ''I just do''.

    What I find odd, is how you easily generalize, and you just so happen to be skeptical about God. As it ever occurred to you that how you see it, may not be how it really is? That you see it that way because it satisfies you? Maybe not everyone sees it like that?

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    I don't recall making such an accusation.

    Supposing TV cameras were to follow you around and televising you 24/7. And a portion of the public were to cast a vote of whether this person believed in God, or not. How do you think the results would turn out?

    If God is purely about 'existence', existence requires evidence to be acknowledged, and the evidence must be material otherwise it cannot be objectively observed, then you have already set the bar as to what God is. If that evidence is not forthcoming (which it won't be), then how can God ever exist, for you? The 'agnostic' part indicates that you lack knowledge of God, which is understandable as you believe God to be unimaginable, and unknowable. You've pretty much set yourself up to not believe.

    I suggest that is something for you yourself to work out.
    What are you trying to imagine exactly? Maybe you're trying too hard, or you're trying to look at it the same way you look at any objective thing.

    Of course it's nonsense. A being made out of spaghetti?

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    If for you, that may as well be God, then fine. At least now you have something to imagine.
    But for me, it's stupid.

    Because I don't want to. That's the base level.

    You say the FSM thing is how you see the idea of the believing in God thing?
    I'm simply telling you it's nonsense. If you want to discuss God, let's. You say God is unimaginable, but you want to equate belief in Him to belief in some nonsense characterizations, and maintain they are the same concept. You are effectively ending the discussion about God, by insistingly reducing theist-ism to anything that can simply be programmed in our minds. Not to mention insulting.

    This discussions is the result of the question; why don't you believe in God.
    You say there is no evidence. This suggests that you know what that evidence would be.
    Knowing what is regarded as evidence, you cannot believe in God until such evidence is found.
    It is your decision.

    You may as well have tagged on the ''when last did you beat your wife question''.

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  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    a) I guess you missed the statistic which shows that atheistic countries have less crime. So we could conclude that countries with less crime are more secular (less religious) in nature.

    Except for public ritual behavior, no one KNOWS OR CAREs.! It's all the bells and whistles and the claims of truth and damnation that accompanies religion, that is stirring the crowds. Not if someone buys a newspaper and quietly reads that the Pope has admitted the Evolutionary nature of the uiverse (that's a big deal) Apologetis and Justifications followed right thereafter.

    I stipulate that there are many who do not pray publicly and I commend them as I would not stand in their way while they were paying their homage, but looking up at the universe, not as God but with a feeling of belonging to this grand spetacle that is unfolding in reality.

    But to have a pamphlet shoved in my face and hear the word "here, you need this". I know it is well ment but it is annoying and obstructing my daily routine.

    I do not storm in a mosque when they are praying and start yelling or something. That is a place of reflection and should be held sacred as a haven in which one can be alone and focus on solutions for problems. Churches also are wonderful places for meditation. For some it is complete exposure exposure to Nature itself and become "part" of the cycle.

    But as was mentioned before, perhaps there is a god but everyone has it wrong.

    Something like E = Mc^2, which increased our knopwledge of the uiverse a thousand fold, while religions have not managed to solve any of their conflicts peaceably. This is a serious philosophical question as i know that, as a peaceful civilized atheist person, I wouldn't stand a chance against a fundamentalist "bad" man.
    The "Word" God is a common denominator in all Theistic practices, (it's just called by different names), but it is exclusive and not a "common denominator" for all people, therefore it cannot be used as an argument from authority.

    If you were to ask me what my common denominator to everything is, my answer would be the "Word" is "Potential" and it would be perfectly correct at every level from "before" the BB to as far as our imagination can take us in the future.

    The fundamental translation of the "Word" Potential is : "That which may become reality." The quantum Implication of what is to unfold in the next moment. David Bohm (physicist), wrote a hypotesis that may really interest the agnostics among us. It expanded my mind.

    The book is call "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", in which proposes a dynamic "wholeness", an energy force from which several potential futures may result. Finally a single possible future is indicated and the event is Implied in the existing conditions. The next quantum moment the event unfolds (becomes Explicate) in spacetime. A flowing wavelike wholeness with near infinite potential. Add 13.8 billion years and some of that potential will become Implicate and some of that Implicate will become Expressed in reality.

    This I can believe as a reasonable and SIMPLE answer to many questions. Oddly, it does not take away my awe and wonder at these incredible spectable we are long ago bu we are witnessing them just now.

    But one thing is absoluitely clear in my mind; "without Potential nothing can exist or act, not even God.''

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  21. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    we were doing a decent job of it without bringing the God debate into it.

    so why should that be a point of contention?
    so was your goal to have me change my mind or just to communicate your 'beliefs'?, with me, it wasn't to convince or change your mind, but just to communicate my beliefs.

    difference in scope? so you are saying that it is different to discuss belief in context of God, now you are doing what the religious does, changes the meaning of things to fit their agenda.
    the definition of the term belief should not be different just because God is brought into it.

    I just read that...
    and it seems to confirm what we are both saying, but with lack of data, and not knowing for sure, I will still believe belief is a choice, and to argue otherwise IMO is just a non-acknowledgment of your own conscience/subconscience decision process.
    I am ok with you disagreeing with me, just leave it at that, don't try to get me to change my mind.( I know you will say this about me also,)
    so lets just agree to disagree.

    no its me..

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  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    So your concept of an imaginable God is... imaginable. Wow. Awesome insight to your thinking, Jan, thanks.
    Imaginable means you think god can be imagined / conceptualised, but it is not in itself a concept or an imagining.
    Care to have another go at describing this concept of yours?
    They do indeed. Eventually. But until then, until they reach their own conclusions, they are generally given a concept to work with. That's how it was with everyone I know, and not only with regard God but the tooth fairy, Santa Claus et al.
    I have not said everybody. That is your mistake. And confidence without support for your confidence is arrogance, which you continue to demonstrate.
    So first you accuse me of and criticise me for implying God is not necessary merely by dint of considering him unimaginable, and now you question why I consider it necessary for the universe to have an origin if it sprang from something?
    If the universe sprang from something, why wouldn't that something be necessary?
    Can you explain why something you have never experienced is unimaginable to you? Even you have previously stated that God is unknowable, so how do you imagine something that you can not know anything about?
    It needn't be so for everyone, but then the question is how do they know that their imagination is accurate, even remotely so?
    I could imagine God to be the chair on which I sit, and they could imagine god to be anything they want. Who is to say what is the true image?
    But again, you have claimed God is unknowable, yet you somehow seem to think god is imaginable... so what is the purpose of imagining something you can not know anything about it, including whether or not it is a truthful image?
    I have not made a choice. I simply do not believe. I can not be made to believe given what I know now and my experiences to date. There is no choice about it, irrespective of what you and/or others might think, not when confronted with something that is unknown, unknowable and unimaginable.
    As I suggested to NMSquirrel, go and read about doxastic involuntarism, and try actually supporting your assertions about the choice I have made.
    Words to that effect, yes, post #93: "But I don't necessarily ascribe you, or atheist's to atheism." I may have gotten the atheists and atheism the other way round, but the meaning and my WTF? is still valid.
    Yes, but it is irrelevant to the issue in hand. Whether they perceive belief as a choice does not mean everyone does, or indeed that it IS a choice. Only that they may perceive it as such. It is, as I initially claimed, nothing but an appeal to authority on your part.
    From my experience, as it relates to the people I have spoken to, yes. I have not spoken to "innumerable people, past and present" and I can not speak for them. I never tried to and you are being dishonest to think I did. I clearly stated that, from the discussions I have had, the answer (I.e. From those I have discussed it with) is usually "I just do" plus the argument types previously listed.
    I'm patently aware that not everyone sees it like I do. I'm not answering for them, I'm answering for me. If I have told someone they are wrong about how they perceive things of this ilk, point them out to me... as all I have done is point out how you are wrong about me and the way I think. So no more of this drivel, please.
    And how have I generalised? Point out a valid example, please.
    Furthermore, has it ever occurred to you that how you see it may not be how it really is?
    Do I see it the way I do because it satisfies me? No. It would be uncomfortable to try to force myself to believe something in which I can't... I can't force myself to believe in the FSM, for example. That would cause me discomfort, I have no doubt. But my lack of belief is no satisfaction at all... it just is what it is. In many ways it causes dissatisfaction that I can not believe, that I can not partake of the surety that others I know, my family included, garner from their beliefs. To think that atheists, or even just me, don't believe out of a sense of satisfaction is rather wide of the mark.
    Post 85.
    They would say I do not. The practical implications of a lack of belief are the same as for those that believe in God's non-existence. I certainly don't do anything that actively promotes his non-existence.
    But this very point of yours suggests a lack of understanding of the difference between lack of belief and belief in the non-existence of God. Throughout our discussions you struggle with the agnostic viewpoint, and you argue as if every atheist is a strong-atheist, actively believing in the non-existence of God.
    Not true. Certainly material evidence would be welcome, but even personal revelation etc would be sufficient, but in truth I can not say, until it happens. "Expect the unexpected!"

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    That is what my lack of belief is built upon, yes. I am an agnostic atheist and my atheism (lack of belief) is due to my agnosticism. Some agnostics are theists (my brother is one) but the majority I think are atheists. So you're not telling me anything here I am not already patently aware of.
    Im not trying to imagine anything. On what could I possibly base an imagining on? My chair?
    You're the one who has claimed god unknowable and yet you claim to have a concept, which you have also obstinately refused to elaborate upon other than "imaginable".
    So you think you can choose to believe in the FSM? Or would you say your lack of belief in (or even your belief in the non-existence of) the FSM is not something you choose but something that merely emerges from what you know?
    Then go and read about doxastic involuntarism. It may enlighten you, even if you don't agree with it.
    Personally I don't think you have a choice whether to believe in the FSM or not, given what you know. You could not force yourself to, I don't think, even if you wanted to.
    But maybe you genuinely feel you do have a choice whether to believe such things.
    How is it insulting to explain my view and to use a well-known parody to do so? You need to get past the fluff to the principle behind it. Would it be better if I use the notion of the celestial teapot instead? 'Cos all I see here is you trying to ignore and evade an issue I don't think you are able to address.
    No it doesn't. It suggests that I do not have any notion of what the evidence might be, and that all evidence I have seen does not lead me to conclude in the existence of God. Thus I can not believe in God's existence.
    What would evidence of Xgharthuu be?
    I don't know what is regarded as evidence for something I can not imagine, thus your argument is flawed.
    Mine was not a leading question, although it may have been considered rhetorical. So, non-rhetorically, why are you here in this thread if you don't want to consider one of the key aspects of the issue of atheism, and relegate all such issues outside of "serious discussion"?
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I'm surprised you ever thought God was not part of the debate, given the nature of the thread.
    I don't like to be accused of being mistaken about why I do or do not do something, when the accuser has no insight into the way I think, the way my brain works, or (as it happens) the notion that there is even an opposing school of thought to the "belief is a choice" philosophy.
    Talking with people to get insights into the way our minds may work is one thing, but for someone to claim they know your mind better than you know yourself, and be very wrong about it, irks. The only people who have ever been right were well paid to be so, and were only right because they take time to get to know the way I think. Plus they never accuse someone of being wrong about themselves.
    Mine was to defend my position against claims that atheism is a choice for everyone. To sweep any moral high-ground from under your feet for a second, I was quite clear early on that it might be a choice for some (or at least perceived as such). And communicating your beliefs by telling me my thought process is wrong (that my lack of belief was "chosen" before coming up with the reasons to validate that choice)... not the smartest move.

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    Even the dictionaries have multiple meanings, ranging from acceptance that something is true, to mere confidence in something, etc. The context of God is somewhat unique in the matter of belief because, to the atheist who considers themself to have no evidence, no knowledge of God, there are no other (obvious) beliefs comparable.
    It simply is not comparable to the "belief" that I can beat my brother at poker.
    So the context of the term is important, as the scope of the term belief covers a wide range of things, and the belief in God is (from the atheist perspective at least) an extreme case that highlights the issues well.
    Religious people I know do not accept that their belief might be wrong, that God might not exist. They have this strong belief. Is it the same level of belief that I will beat my brother at poker? Heck, no. He's taken money off me before.
    So there is a difference of scope (just to clarify, scope is meant to refer to the scale, the magnitude, in case you think I mean a different usage).
    Of course.

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    The intention was not to get you to change your mind per se, but just to be mindful and aware that your take on the matter is not the only one, and it is not necessarily "correct".
    As an involuntarist, I obviously don't think I can change your mind... You either believe or you don't, you have no choice in the matter given what you know/have experienced. All I can do is add to that knowledge/experience and perhaps the scales will fall to the other side.
    From your side, as a voluntarist, I can understand why you may think it a matter of perseverance on your part and obstinacy on min, if you are seeking to change the other's belief.
    Hence the disagreements that may arise.
    The different schools are worth bearing in mind during discussions.
    Yeah, you're right.

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