In regards to atheism.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by garbonzo, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member


    Not really. No.

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  3. Michael 345 30th March coming up - Well behaved Friday Valued Senior Member

    Michael345 question was
    And the only answer I have so far is

    A single non answer BUT at least an answer

    Anyone else is free to comment if they so wish

    Moving on to a more current post


    So now I am all caught up

    MY belief in god is totally immaterial to any other persons beliefs

    Also totally immaterial as to the existence or non existence of god

    Any of my beliefs are totally immaterial to anything in the REAL world as long as they remain beliefs within my brain

    If I decide to ACT on my beliefs - new game

    My ACTIONS will have material effects in the real world

    Beliefs - will-of-the-wisp in the brain

    Actions - produce reactions

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

    That is not the same as saying that God does not exist. But that distinction must be clear to you by now.

    Yes, in the sense that you use the words "believe in" to mean trust, have confidence in, etc.

    No. It's evidence of rational thinking. Feynman said you should first check that you're not fooling yourself, because you are the easiest person to fool.

    Not believing that God exists stops me from comprehending what God is? How so?

    Is it because I'm not having the God Experience that I need to have to really understand what life is like for you?

    Atheism and theism have nothing to do with belief? Wrong, Jan. They are exactly about what people believe or do not believe.

    And yes, God does not exist as far as I'm aware. You're reduced to stating the obvious now.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Actually, when the usage of a word changes, it does mean that the actual meaning of the word has changed. Language is a living thing, not an edifice. Words mean exactly what people use them to mean, no more and no less. Meaning is a consensus among users of the language.

    If that's the case, then this God of yours is capricious. Why would he choose some people to perceive him over others? It seems a petty and pointless game for an all-powerful being to play.

    What is "according to the meanings" supposed to add to your query? What meanings?

    Useless, Jan. Different people use the same words in different ways. If you think your usage is important, you need to explain what it is.

    Nobody knows, Jan. Including you.

    So if we accept that there should be external evidence for the existence of apples, say, then are we putting ourselves on the same level as apples? Is that presumptuous of us?

    This God of yours finds questioning impertinent, does he?

    Or not.

    They lack the special magical God-perception apparatus that theists are blessed with, I guess.

    It's a bit cruel of God not to bestow the ability to perceive him on atheists, don't you think?

    The atheist refuses to accept he is without God when the theist tries to sneak in the assumption that God exists into the term "without God", as you so obviously do.

    Get this Jan: atheists do not accept that God exists.

    Therefore, if being "without God" means accepting that God exists, then atheists aren't "without God".

    About whether God exists? I certainly hope not.

    Do you not fool yourself that God exists?

    It must be hard for you to understand the atheist perspective. Because God is so important to you, you assume that God must be important to everybody. Thus, everybody must have the question of God buried in an essential part of their being - in their deepest innermost heart. And atheists, having the cold, hard hearts that they do, are rejecting the wonder and magnificence of His Almighty Being.

    In fact, many, if not most, atheists have come to terms with the fact that God (probably) doesn't exist, and it's no big deal. It doesn't go to the core of who we are.

    For comparison, you may have decided at some point or other than breaking a mirror won't bring you 7 years of bad luck. If a superstitious person told you that your rejection of the bad-luck belief means something very deep and goes right to your heart, what would you say to them? They, after all, have a heart-felt trust in the 7-years-bad-luck thing. For them it is deep and meaningful and they need to be careful to avoid breaking mirrors. But for you, it's not something that goes to your core in any sense.

    You've got things almost completely backwards.

    The atheist "without God" because he doesn't believe in God, and because God probably doesn't exist. Different atheists reach that conclusion for different reasons. Intellectual, rational, reasoning is one way that people come to atheism. In that case, it isn't usually atheism first, then intellectual reasons, but precisely the opposite.

    You could try listening as atheist after atheist explains to you what he or she sees as the "root cause" of his or her spiritual position. Then you wouldn't end up looking so silly as you struggle to make sense of it under your own set of operating assumptions.
  8. Michael 345 30th March coming up - Well behaved Friday Valued Senior Member

    The change is called the Humpty Dumpty effect

    To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents —'

    'Certainly,' said Alice.

    'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

    'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

    'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

    When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

    'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

    'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

    Well I don't know truly if the effect is called the Humpty Dumpty effect but it does seem to be appropriate given the above extract from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    Please note some of the words in the first three lines are sus as to their meanings

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  9. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You are nice, Jan, and not very silly or facetious at all, and definitely not a pedant. What you respond with is in no way awful or artificial, and I certainly wouldn't judge your arguments to be last. And I strongly doubt that you are a villain.
    Sarkus likes this.
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It's difficult to argue with you James, since I agree with most of what you said.

    Part of the problem is that a certain group of atheists, who seem to me to have first appeared on the internet in the 1990's (that's when I first encountered them), are purporting to speak for all atheists, when they attempt to redefine the meaning of 'atheism' as the absence of belief, so that atheists no longer have any burden to produce any evidence or argument for any of the propositions that they assert about 'God' and 'religion'. (While continuing to denounce their opponents for failure to produce sound justification for their propositional assertions.)

    Yes, I think that there's a huge psychological and epistemological difference between 'God is an imaginary phantasm like a pink unicorn' and 'I've never thought about the existence of God and have no views on the subject'. It does no good to confuse those two and to smear them together. Put another way, when Christians preach to atheists, why don't the atheists just say "Wow, I had no idea!" and then fall on their knees and worship alongside the evangelist? Presumably there's some reason why they reject the evangelism.

    God does not exist. (Or alternatively, God probably doesn't exist.) God is an imaginary being, analogous to a pink unicorn or Russell's teapot. Religious belief and practice are superstitious by their nature. There is no credible and sound intellectual justification for believing in God or for being religious. Science and religion are historical and philosophical adversaries. Atheists practice 'reason' while religious people don't. Religion's historical influence has been largely or even totally bad. A desirable progressive future will be a future in which religion has been swept away and no longer exists.

    The list of propositions that atheists assert is seemingly endless. Each of them may or may not be true. I think that all of them require argument and justification.

    Moving on...

    "Atheism is ostensibly the doctrine that there is no God. Some atheists support this claim by arguments. But these arguments are usually directed against the Christian concept of God, and are largely irrelevant to other possible gods. Thus much Western atheism may be better understood as the doctrine that the Christian God does not exist." Oxford Guide to Philosophy p.64

    I agree. Western atheists obviously exist in a cultural context and they are responding to that context.

    Though I am often struck by how often contemporary internet-atheists conceptualize the 'religion' they oppose in Protestant fundamentalist terms. They are always quoting from the Bible and producing proof-texts (or perhaps more accurately disproof-texts.). They always seem to insist on extremely literal readings of those Bible texts and vigorously fight any kind of allegorical interpretation. It's striking how many points of agreement there are between these kind of atheists and the fundies on how religious texts should be read and understood.

    "Atheism. Disbelief in the existence of any GODS or of God. This may take the form of (a) dogmatic rejection of specific beliefs, e.g. of THEISM, (b) skepticism about all religious claims, or (c) agnosticism, the view that humans can never be certain in matters of so-called religious knowledge (e.g. whether God exists or not). An atheist may hold belief in God to be false, or irrational, or meaningless." The Penguin Dictionary of Religions pp. 53-4

    Quite a few right here on Sciforums.

    I do as well. That's why I identify myself as a fallibilist. I accept that I might be mistaken about any of my propositional beliefs, the ones that have truth-values (T or F). That shouldn't imply that I think that all of my beliefs are equally doubtful. Rather, I assign them plausibility weights. (That's an extremely informal and intuitive process that has little to do with probability theory.) I think that some of my beliefs have an extremely high likelihood of being T, while others are shots in the dark and almost as as likely to be F as T.

    Regarding religion, I distinguish between the big metaphysical questions (why is there something rather than nothing, what accounts for logic, mathematics and the 'laws of physics', first-cause and so on.) and what I consider religious mythology (the contents of the Bible, the Quran, the Gita etc.) Regarding the former, the big metaphysical questions, I'm a solid agnostic. I don't have a clue what the answers are. I don't believe that any human being does. What's more, I don't even know how we should go about seeking an answer. Regarding the latter, the traditional religious accounts, I'm basically an atheist. I just think that it's exceedingly unlikely that the ultimate cosmic principle is anything that resembles the highly anthropomorphic divinities pictured in these religious books. I can't prove with absolute certainty that any of these religious texts are false, but I personally assign a fairly high probability to their falsehood. Certainly high enough that I'm willing to live my own life as if they are false. I seek my answers elsewhere.

    Me too, I guess.

    "Atheism. Denial of the existence of god. Broadly conceived, it indicates the denial of any principle or being as worthy of divinity. Specific meanings vary widely in accordance with the conception of god that is denied." The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions p.76

    I agree with you if we read it that way. But I don't think that was what was intended. I interpret 'denial' as application of the logical negation operator to the proposition 'God exists' such that ~(God exists). Or, in natural language, 'God doesn't exist'.

    I think that the subtlety of this highlighted definition is found in the phrase "denial of any principle or being as worthy of divinity". I'm still not clear on what it is that supposedly makes something a suitable object of our religious passions. What is it that distinguishes proper religious objects from hypothetical super-powered space aliens? What justifies our falling on our knees and worshipping the former and not the latter? A spectacular light show in the sky or lightening on a cloud-enshrouded mountaintop in Sinai shouldn't be enough.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Ooh - I see what you did there! Very clever, baldeee.

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  12. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    You can say or not say what you like.
    God does not exist for you.

    No. Relying on external evidence to decide if you accept God.

    You are an atheist because you are without God. Not that you are an atheist and come to the conclusion that God does not exist, or whatever variation you spin.

    Therefore God does not exist is your actual position. Now that is stating the obvious I agree.

  13. Michael 345 30th March coming up - Well behaved Friday Valued Senior Member


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  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It does if people use the word to communicate and the word is understood as intended. Words gain new meanings quite regularly, and as older meanings become archaic and die out the new meaning becomes prevalent and accepted.
    I suggest you read baldeee's response to you (post #546) as an example.
    Eh? I referenced JamesR to highlight that i concur with his criticism of your continued use of "exists for me" and "exists for you", so your comment here is... odd. But never mind,
    Any such perception (or lack) is no indication of God's actual existence or not, though, as perception is a subjective viewpoint.
    Do you think it is impossible that people can perceive something to exist that doesn't actually exist?
    No, you use it in a restrictive sense. The definition does not exclude the lacked thing not actually existing, as you assert.
    I neither accept God exists nor do I accept that God does not exists.
    As far as I am currently aware I am unable to tell whether God does exist or not. Start from the actual root, Jan, not the strawman you're more comfortable with.
    If that was my position then you might be on to something, Jan. But it isn't. I do not know if God exists or not as I read your response. I can no more say God does exist than God does not exist.
    Your inability to comprehend the agnostic, Jan, does you no favours when you simply resort to such pathetic comments.
    You claim you want to understand why people are the way they are, yet you continue not to listen, not to engage in dialogue, but instead to insist on your preconceived notion, to assert the truth of your caricature.
    So you accept God but still think you can be atheist? Interesting. So what is it that enables you to accept God whereas other atheists can't?
    I put myself on the same level as no one but myself. I simply accept that for me to currently accept anything as existing there needs to be some evidence of that thing actually existing. I may change this view although I can not detail anything that might lead me to.
    Furthermore, you have categorically stated that there is evidence of God. That everything is evidence of God. So the issue of evidence can not be key here, but rather why some perceive this evidence to be of God and some do not.
    I don't know. You assert it of me, and I'm reasonably sure that whatever you consider to be "with God" does not describe the way I feel or act. If one of the prerequisites for being "with God" is to believe that God exists, and to believe in God, then I am not "with God".
    But if God does exist, then who am I to say that I am not as much "with God" in exactly the way that God wants me to be, and that to be "with God" is nothing to do with belief but simply in being the person God wants?

    I wonder if you're going to keep ignoring what people actually say and simply argue against your strawman caricature?
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    But at all time you have the belief that God exists, and simply need to be reminded. Further you are not being reminded that "God is" but simply that your world view is one where "God is" is a subjective truth.
    But despite what you assert, you are not atheist, even when you "forget God", as you still have the belief that God exists even if it is not an active thought.
    So you assert.
    But here you are now differentiating yourself from being atheist. You asserted previously that you are atheist when you "forget God" but you are now arguing that "there is no reminding the atheist that God is". Yet you, as an atheist when you forget God, claim you are reminded exactly that.
    Lack of consistency, Jan.
    Except the special pleading you apply to atheists who are later reminded that God is, right?
    No, being "without God" does not imply that God does exist. It may to you because you use some restrictive version of the word, and it may to others who, for sake of argument, use the term in the same manner you do. But if God does not actually exist then we are all without God, even those that believe God to exist, even those that believe in God. And what they consider to be "with God" is simply to be with something they think they can perceive, and which they think has an influence upon them.

    Unfortunately you are unable to demonstrate in any way that what you claim to comprehend is anything more than simply a claim, that it has any actual existence beyond your own imagination, an imagination self-enforced through adherence to an a priori assumption.
    I am saying that to call someone a fool without backing up that claim is an insult. To call someone a fool for being different to you is to elevate yourself above them with regard that difference, and to do so without backing up that claim is disrespectful and insulting.
    You can back up your claim that I and all atheist a are fools by showing your position to be correct, perhaps? But in absence of that, your comment is simply being insulting.
    Eh? Please can you clarify exactly what you think is not a choice? Your sentence here is coming across as garbled.
    Irrespective of how deep you think the decision may go, calling someone a fool is still calling someone a fool. Now, are you going to support that claim or are you going to let the insult lie there?
    So you keep asserting. Yet your own arguments are inconsistent with this assertion: you claim you are atheist when you "forget God" but then you assert a that there is also a difference between you and atheists in that you then remember that "God is".
    No, one is an atheist if atheism is one of their philosophical positions, specifically their position with regard their belief (or lack thereof) in the existence of deities. If you adhere to the philosophy of atheism (that is, the lack of belief in the existence of god(s)) then you are an atheist.
    Similarly if you adhere to the philosophy of materialism then you are a materialist. Of reductionism, reductionist etc.
    (Exceptions to this general rule do apply, of course: conservatism, conservative; liberalism, liberal etc).
    When you discuss in a philosophy forum then I would suggest the onus is on you to educate yourself on the matter, at least to the point where you are able to converse without the need to change meanings of words to suit yourself that go against the pervading meaning.
    And there you are again with the No True Scotsman fallacy, reinforced by an "oh, you wouldn't understand."
    Being "without God" might not change in meaning, but "atheist" has! This is what you are refusing to accept. That is what this is about, so your focus on the meaning of "without God" is simply a red herring to avoid facing the issue.
    No, Jan, you've built up a caricature strawman and now refuse to listen to anything that doesn't reinforce what you already assert.
    I'm sure you think you've figured everything out, Jan, but the answer "without God" is no more an answer than "God did it" is an answer to other questions.
    It honestly wouldn't surprise me if you honestly think they have meaning in and of themselves, and actually answer anything.
  16. Michael 345 30th March coming up - Well behaved Friday Valued Senior Member

    No answer to my question

    No problem

    No obligation

    So I can pick apart my own post without fear of contradiction


    I believe in Satan who is a god so I am not without god

    Am I
    • atheists (not believe in (without) god the white robe version) or
    • thesist (believe in (not without) god but the red cloak version) or
    • satanists (equal to christians of the white robe version believers) or
    • without (lacking god because he is not the white robe version) or
    • any mix of the above?
    Atheists seems to get a √ straight off BUT a very narrow definetion restricted to only not believing in a specific god version

    Cross atheists off the definetions

    Theist seems to be √ing more boxes give this a provisional yes

    Satanists another provisional yes

    Without nope cross off

    Mixure yes

    So I am in essence a thesist satanists

    I can go with that assessment

    Anybody object?


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  17. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    Can you answer the question.?


    There is no "thing" to lack, unless it is something that ceased to exist.

    How can you not accept that God doesn't exist, when it is a fact that God doesn't exist at this moment, in your life.?
    That makes no sense at all.

    If God existed, as far as you are aware, you would say I accept that God exists.
    But your real position is, you are not aware of God's existence, hence God does not currently exist.

    Which means God does not currently exist.
    You can't escape it Sarkus. You might as well accept it.

    I don't need to think I'm atheist, my position is atheist. I am without God, whenever I forget about God.

    Lets say we know someone who is genuinely, a good and trustworthy person. But gets tempted into doing something uncharacteristic. While committing the act, the person is, at that moment, not good and trustworthy.

    Nothing. God Is.
    If you ask yourself that question you would say something like 'lack of evidence'.

    Good question.
    Perhaps the subject of a new thread.

    I haven't mentioned anything about being with God. God Is.

    That's quite deep.
    You're referring to God, adequately, by putting Him in the correct position.

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  18. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    Why don't you start a new thread with this nonsense?

  19. Michael 345 30th March coming up - Well behaved Friday Valued Senior Member

    Good question

    Have you got a good answer?

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  20. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    Clearly you don't quite understand what it is to believe in God. Just because one claims to believe, doesn't mean one actually believes. There is more to it than that.

    I'm using atheist via the original meaning of the word, not as the designer label(s) used to justify one's position as they would like it to be described. So every time I forget about God, I am atheist by origin definition.

    I was referring to foolish person who hath said in his heart, there is no God.

    For you, there is no evidence that God exists, hence God does not exist (unless evidence presents itself). So you can reason about the possibility of God not existing. So I actually agree with you, from your perspective.

    I don't have to demonstrate that God exists (not that I can), as it is not dependent on whether God exists or not. Of course you want me to attempt that, so you can feel good about your position. That's what this lack of evidence thing is about.

    My bad.
    As I said above. You're using "evidence" as a reason to maintain your position.

    Is it an insult to call someone a fool, if they are foolish?

    The difference is acceptance.

    And there you go with the blocker again.

    To you it doesn't because you are clearly not in a hurry to accept God.

  21. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    The question is aimed at you.

  22. Michael 345 30th March coming up - Well behaved Friday Valued Senior Member


    I like it here

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

    Jan Ardena:

    You seem to be avoiding addressing most of the substance of my posts. Why is that?

    Instead, you simply repeat yourself and keep making the same errors about my position.

    Probably not. Let's put it this way: I live my life as if God does not exist (apart from as a concept that people like yourself believe in).

    Relying on external evidence to decide if I accept God stops me from comprehending what God is?

    What's the alternative? To rely on internal evidence? To decide that God exists based on a gut feeling ... or, to put it in your terms, because it feels like God exists in my heart?

    How can you be sure your internal gut instinct about God is reliable, Jan? The easiest person to fool is yourself.

    You're presuming to tell me why I am an atheist now. How arrogant of you. May I suggest, then, that you believe you are "with God" because you have created a comfortable fantasy for yourself. Not that you are a theist and come to the conclusion that God exists, or whatever variation you spin.

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    It seems to me that your capacity to enter into an honest discussion in good faith about our respective beliefs left you some time ago. Now you're just repeating a kind of mantra as proof against the evil atheists.

    My position is not that God does not exist. My position is that God probably does not exist. I have explained this to you many times now, yet you still insist on ignoring what I have told you.

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