My path to atheism: Yours? Rebuttals?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Dinosaur, Apr 1, 2017.

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  1. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    I don't see atheists as a distinct group of people. The only difference between an atheist, and a theist, is that one does not believe in God. Other than that we're just people.

    Here are a few random snippets of atheist thoughts, in this thread.

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  3. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    I've responded to what I think is relevant.
    Salt water will still have an effect on the mouth and throat, that can be used to decide. You can never be sure.

    ''Accepting'' (or not) being the operative word.
    We choose what we accept.

    I don't look at it like that.
    You do. That's the point. You look at this from an atheist perspective, which is why God does not exist for you.
    ''Atheist'' = a person who does not believe in God. Right?

    Theism = somebody who believes in God/gods? No.

    More like, we are like God.

    Where is the evidence?

    Then don't band it about as though it is some kind of explanation.

    ''Atheism'' = a person who does not believe in God/gods. You agree right?
    Where have I contradicted that, or said it isn't so?

    It is the atheist position. Please show where I am mistaken.
    For the atheist, there is no God. Is that right or wrong?

    I don't think that all the atheists are telling lies. I just don't think some are being honest, or do not give a lot of thought to the reasons why they are atheist. But I'm not saying they should, because it's not everything you want others to know, or realize about you. Saying that, I think we are all like that, to some degree or other, atheist, and theist alike. I think what irritates you is the idea that I dare to think, you have not thought your position through.

    I've told you countless times what ''theist'' means from my perspective. A theist is a person that believes in God. I miss out ''gods'' because if one believes in God, then one accepts God's creation which includes gods. There's nothing more to say, just like there is nothing more to say about atheist. It is what it is.

    What would be the objective measure of ''taste'', or any essential thing?
    How do we know we have taste, sight, hearing, and touch? We certainly do not need to be told that's what we have.
    We don't need outside evidence to reassure ourselves. It just is, and we take it for granted.

    On the contrary, I have the information that you give, and I have you account of God.

    How do you think we come to know things?

    Why should it be? You don't need my approval to tell me that theism is nothing more than a gut feeling.

    You may well have done, but it is not correct. Like I said, ''God exists'' is implied in everything to do with atheist, modern and ancient. I suspect the atheist community is trying somehow to make it that it isn't so. But you can't escape it. You can try and play it down, but it will always be there.

    So an ''atheist'' is NOT a person who doesn't believe in God/gods?

    It has evolved intellectually, but so has everything. The more information we acquire, the more the intellect evolves. But the core essential reasoning, does not change. It still applies. Atheists are still without God.

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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    He says while holding up the thread.

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    This has been explained to you countless times, Jan, over the past God knows how many years.... It is not a fact that God does not exist, as far as an atheist is aware. Yes, some may argue that they are aware that God does not exist, but the majority of atheists here are of the agnostic variety. For them it is NOT a fact that God does NOT exist, any more than it is a fact that God DOES exist. The agnostic atheist does not ultimately know whether God exists or not. It is true that they are not aware that God does exist, but this is not the same as being aware that God does not exist.
    That nuance seems to continue to elude you.
    See above. You continue to argue your own view of atheism rather than listening to what the atheist actually tells you.
    No, the actual position is that they do not have the belief that a god exists. That is the primary position of the atheist. "Believing in" God is a secondary belief that theists have, that atheists clearly won't have - unless you are of the opinion that one can "believe in" something while you don't have the belief that the something exists.
    You can try claiming that the atheist position is one of not "believing in" God but you would again be guilty of not listening to what the person is actually telling you.
    Everything always boils down to the reasons, Jan.
    And there you are again misrepresenting the atheist position. What a surprise. And you do it while claiming to listen to what the person is actually saying. Oh, the irony.
    Then why are you here? To agree with the atheist position? To agree with their reasoning for the position they hold?
    You think you know, and by hook or by crook you will argue that understanding despite what anyone actually says.
    And you do it by arguing against your version/understanding of what an atheist is, irrespective of what others actually inform you.
    The disrespect you show is in your language, your tone, your manner, Jan. And it's simply not true that I am "not comfortable" with you trying to pick holes in my position. It is for people to pick holes in it that I put it forth as I do. But to date you have not even come close to penetrating it, no matter what you may convince yourself of. So rather than be "not comfortable", it actually used to make me more comfortable in my position. Until I realised that you actually had very little to offer by way of coherent and consistent argument.
    That's not what you do, Jan. You rattle off cherry-picked definitions as if they decide the person's position just because they self-label themselves with those terms. Rather than listen to what they say you stick to the dictionary, and you do so with no thought of discussion, no thought of trying to reach a mutual understanding at all.
    That's the point, Jan, you don't argue about the position the person holds. You argue a definition that you have cherry-picked.
    This thread, for example, is about how people have arrived at their atheism. For that, Jan, you need to listen to what they say. If your entire point is that what the person regards as atheism isn't strictly "atheism" as it was understood originally, then great, but go take it to the linguistics forum. These people have self-identified as atheists, and this thread is about their path to the position they have reached. So tell them they're not atheists. Tell them they're not strictly the label they self-identify with. But then, for Pete's sake, discuss what they say about their position, not mire the thread in this semantic bullcrap that you spread liberally throughout this site.
    But you're not discussing what the person is saying about their path to atheism. You're simply shouting definitions at them, ignoring how they are using the labels, and sticking obstinately to what the dictionary says. You are simply not discussing, Jan.
    You're not understanding it though, Jan. You're rattling off cherry-picked definitions and not listening to what the person who uses the label is actually saying. You're trying to define the person by your understanding of the label they use rather than by how they define themself.
    Then have that discussion, rather than go on and on with this semantic crap you're trying to pull.
    Personally I don't know, but I'm not aware of any.
    I don't think that. I can comprehend many things without there needing to be evidence of their actual existence. I can comprehend many fictional characters from books, for example.
    No, that would be from the perspective of any person who is capable of thinking critically, who is able to ponder hypotheticals. All you're effectively saying by "that's from an atheist perspective" is that you are blind to the possibility. You may say "but I know God exists: that is the theist perspective" but that is just a matter of conviction.
    Again with the misrepresentation. Just for once, Jan, try listening and comprehending.
    Noone censors what you say, Jan, but people will react to what you say, even if that is the continued misrepresentation of their position despite years of them explaining it to you. They will also react to the manner and tone of what you say.
    You'll have to ask them
    So two wrongs make a right? Pathetic, Jan. Grow up!
    How do you think one could violate your position?
    Why should one's position remaining intact be of relevance? If arguments are raised that causes one to reconsider their position, and alter it, then so be it. If all one intends to do is dogmatically cling to their position then they really aren't here for discussion.
    I have no idea who the reported posts end up with. If the report is valid, why should it matter who?
    Yet you try to with almost every response. If you have no need, and yet that it is how it comes across, perhaps you should rethink your approach.
    No, I really don't, Jan. But think what you will; I have said my piece, and will fade back again for now.
  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Atheists are a group of people & theists are another group. Homosexuals & heterosexuals are 2 groups of people. People of Spanish ancestry & people of Irish ancestry are 2 groups of people. Poor people, middle class, upper class & very rich are 4 groups of people. Logical thinkers & irrational thinkers are 2 groups of people. Male & female are 2 groups & children & adults are 2 groups. All these & 100s, if not 1000s, more are distinct groups of people. No matter how you see it.

    It might be true that the only difference between some theists & some atheists is belief in god(s) or no belief in god(s). There are many more differences between most theists & most atheists, mainly resulting from belief in gods. That belief affects their lives & makes their thoughts & actions very different from those of no god belief.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Is there supposed to be a point to that?

  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member


    That wasn't my complaint. I have nothing against discussing the existence of gods. Not only is it fun, it can serve as an occasion for raising no end of interesting (and important) issues. It's like peering through an intellectual kaleidoscope.

    What do we mean when we say 'God' or 'a god'? (Or alternatively, how have the words historically been used?) What are we saying when we say that something 'exists'? Are there different kinds of existence? (Do fictional characters exist?) Do assertions about different kinds of existence have truth values that are grounded in different ways? What is religious knowledge? How does one acquire it? What is the role of evidence in all this? What kind of evidence would constitute evidence of 'holiness'?

    Dinosaur had another interesting take on the issue in the OP this thread when he asked how real life atheists came to be atheists. How do people come to the positions they currently hold? (How important is reasoning in that process? Or is it more a matter of upbringing and emotional experiences?) But then the thread went off in an entirely different direction, focusing obsessively on Jan. Poor Dinosaur and his excellent question were forgotten.

    It certainly speaks to people's deepest hopes and values, since gods typically personify those things. (Personifying concepts, another issue.) Metaphysically, it addresses what is most fundamental and real. (That edges up against science's turf and may share some of the same motivations with science.) And I believe that it was Paul Tillich that defined 'God' as 'object of ultimate concern'. The attraction that the God issue has for people would seem to flow directly from that.

    My complaint is that many discussions about religion start well (Dinosaur's initial question in this thread asking atheists how they became atheist for example) but too often they become nothing more than posts by Jan Ardena and posts replying to Jan Ardena. It rarely has anything to do with the original topic of the thread (which is ignored and soon forgotten) but revolve obsessively about what Jan thinks about atheism. Then it goes on for page after page after page after page after page after page page after page after page after page after page, never saying anything new, in thread after thread, just repeating the same points over and over.

    I am not asking for Jan to be banned. No, no, no. I like Jan and Jan's participation. I'm just asking the people on this board that I respect to stop trying to have the last word with Jan. (Jan won't let you. It's never gonna happen. Jan's never going to agree with you. Ever.) Maybe even occasionally try to make some points regarding the ostensible subject of the thread you are posting in that don't have anything to do with Jan or Jan's views.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that Jan is trying to shape the battlefield, so to speak. He/she (we don't even know that) wants to define 'atheist' in such a way that Jan thinks it's easier to defeat.

    Atheists often do precisely the same thing, turning theism into a caricature and then knocking down the straw-man that they created. So theism turns into the worst aspects of a certain kind of Protestant Biblical literalism. That's why we see so many atheists quoting Bible verses as proof texts, insisting that all verses must be read literally and that the whole Bible stands or falls as a unit. (NO "picking and choosing".) You haven't lived until you have a discussion board full of atheists ignorantly lecturing you on what "true Christianity" is.

    I think that what Jan does here on Sciforums is turn atheists' own modes of argument against them. That's why atheists seem to find it so frustrating.

    With me, it depends on what 'deities' means. If it refers to the personifications found in religious mythology, then I'm quite comfortable saying that I believe that they don't exist. But I wouldn't say that with 100% confidence, with 100% certainty. I just assign an exceedingly low probability to the idea that the ultimate principle of reality, the creative source of the entire universe, cares whether a tribe of Hebrews worships him, whether they keep the sabbath holy, or whether they mutilate their genitals. I might be wrong about that atheism, that belief in the non-existence of gods conceived in this way, but I'm reasonably confident that I'm not.

    If 'deity' is understood more metaphysically to refer to the universe's first-cause, the source of its observed order, or its fundamental ground, then I don't have a clue what the answers are. I'm far more of an agnostic with regard to the big metaphysical questions, that often seem to show up in discussions of natural theology. I'm definitely not prepared to say that nothing explains or underlies these things, but I don't think that I'm in any position to opine about what it is. (Even if I'm reasonably confident that Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, Vishnu and Shiva have nothing to do with it.)

    I believe that the traditional mythological ones don't exist.

    I agree with that. I guess that where we differ is that I'm willing to form beliefs on the basis of informally assessed likelihoods, in the absence of absolute certainty. (I'm doubtful whether human beings are really justified in being 100% certain about anything, including logical proofs.)
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Like a watching a pot come to boil. So gradual there's just a generalized development to reflect on rather than key incidents or turning points in memory. Plus...

    Even though in practice or some outward observations I might be construed as equivalent to an atheist as much as agnostic, apatheist, ignostic, non-religious, etc -- I share sentiments similar to Sam Harris about it. Why espouse an identity that revolves around the very item one supposedly lacks, rejects, is politically against, etc (whatever level or species of "atheism" pertains to the applicable individual). Why have "theism" be defining you via sporting a label that contains "theism" as the principle word-unit?

    Even if there's a practical reason like publicly wanting to indicate that one's life does indeed revolve around being negatively conscious of, passionately opposed to, or apathetically / un-emotively expressing absence of belief in an Abrahamic deity[*] (and its consequences), then surely there's some other term that could be concocted that doesn't genuflect to theism as part of its very etymological properties.

    There might be the objection of "but then _X_ wouldn't know what I mean", but that's easily remedied by simply resolving his / her puzzlement. In addition there would be the glee(?) of refusing to accommodate _X_'s demand that one conform to a standard label, which would include "Other atheists also want you to call yourself either that or a non-theist. Just admit that your choice of identity has relation to belief in God, even if it is lack of such or/and oppositional agenda."

    - - - -

    [*] Technically it can embrace all gods, but in the West its focus is usually on the Semitic variety.
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    Perhaps one reason you're struggling so much to understand the atheist point of view is that you conflate knowledge and belief.

    Although you believe that God exists, you do not know that God exists. That is, in fact, unknowable. However, I am aware that you nevertheless claim to know. You claim to have knowledge which you do not, in fact, have. Your rationalisation for that knowledge claim is that you think you have a kind of magical God-sensing ability that lets you just know stuff about God. Needless to say, I place no stock in your ability to just know stuff.

    As an atheist, I admit I do not know whether God exists, because it is unknowable. Therefore I do not claim to know that God does not exist.

    The issue of belief is logically separate from the issue of knowledge but you make the mistake of thinking your belief gives you knowledge.

    As an atheist, knowing that I cannot know for certain whether God exists, I weigh up the available evidence and arguments and conclude that I cannot commit to believing in God's existence. This is not the quite the same thing as believing that God does not exist.

    I take no issue with your belief in God, other than that I do not think it has good justification. I do take issue with your assumption that your belief somehow equates to actual knowledge.

    Again, you're not thinking widely enough. Taste is more complex than being able to distinguish salt from sugar. We could easily set up objective tests to see whether a person could distinguish between many types of flavours, even with foods with very similar or identical textures etc.

    We're not looking for certainty, by the way. High confidence in the objective reality is quite sufficient.

    Yes, if the process is an intellectual one it is a conscious choice to accept or reject something. So what?

    Yes. That was my point.

    How do you look at it?

    Theists believe in God/gods. Atheists don't. So we're in agreement on that, at least.

    You haven't contradicted that. The problem is what you're trying to add to that: ideas that God exists and that atheists reject or deny that this God that exists, and on so. You don't know where to stop.

    Already done, multiple times. And not just me. You're getting a consistent message from lots of atheists, yet you're not listening to it.

    Wrong. Atheists don't believe there is a God. But that's not the same thing as asserting that it is fact that there is no God.

    See above if this is still unclear to you. A belief claim is not a knowledge claim for atheists, whereas it apparently is a knowledge claim for you.

    There's a considerable amount of evidence in this thread alone that shows that there are plenty of atheists who have thought long and hard about that.

    Maybe if you stopped trying to redefine atheism to suit yourself, you'd be able to pay attention to the intended topic of this thread.

    What an arrogant man you are, Jan. What irritates me about you is precisely the opposite - that you so often assume without thinking. You make bald claims about all kinds of things and don't even think it necessary to attempt to defend them. Your assumption is simply that your views are correct, and that you don't even need to try to justify them - even in a public discussion on a discussion forum in which you are choosing to participate.

    That's an empty truism you're offering there. It tells us nothing about your "perspective". It's just owning a label, nothing more.

    For a man who claims to be thinking his position through, you have remarkably little substance to offer, apparently.

    In a way, we do need to be told that's what we have. "Sight" and "taste" are labels that describe complex sequences of events and experiences. Without labels, it's difficult to differentiate one thing from another when we communicate with one another.

    As for objective measures, there are many for "taste". We can observe the taste buds on the tongue. We can observe patterns of activity in the brain associated with the taste experience. We can conduct many empirical tests of the nature and limits of "taste".

    I think we gather information through our senses. We then collate, cross-reference and interrogate that information with our brains. And, if the thing happens to be true, then we can know it, provided we believe it is true and that belief is appropriately justified.

    I have not claimed that theism is nothing more than a gut feeling. My claim is your grounds for believing in God boil down mostly to gut feeling, when all is said and done. If you'd like to suggest other reasons why you believe in God, I would be interested to hear them.

    No. What is implied, in modern atheism anyway, is that there's this concept out there that people refer to as "God", and some people (theists) opine that the concept refers to a real, extant being, and atheists do not assent to the same opinion.

    We've already talked about the whole "without God" thing. To repeat: if "without God" means no more than atheist don't believe that God exists, then atheists are indeed "without God". On the other hand, if, as you seem to want to imply, "without God" means that God exists and atheists deny or reject him, then atheists are not "without God" in that sense - and this is what we have largely been arguing about.

    Your repeated assertion of and insistence on definitions of "atheist" that import the assumption that God exists in reality (as opposed to being merely a fantasy or concept) is basis of the argument we have been having here. You're not pulling the wool over my eyes. I'm calling out your attempts to get God in under the radar, and explaining why I reject your definitions.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  15. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member


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    This isn't complicated, if you're a believer in any religion, it's highly likely that you had no choice. Your beliefs that you've convinced yourself are true, are the result of where and when you were born. You don't have to like it, but it doesn't make what I just told you not accurate.

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    And let's not forget, when the term atheist was first coined, it was under the same assumption (i.e. belief as opposed to knowledge) that God existed.
    The label itself highlights the predisposition of those who invented it. It "poisons the well".

    To assert that the term atheist somehow embodies some truth about the world is absurd.

    Similar to arguing that, say, the term Big Bang must define, for all time, what actually happened at the start of the universe.

    The term does not define the thing.

    How many times must we explain this?
  17. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    How am I holding up the thread, anymore than you JamesR, are?

    God either exists, or God doesn't exist, Sarkus.

    It doesn't elude me, it's just nonsensical.

    It's not a ''view'' of atheism.
    Either God (or gods) exists, or not.

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    Okay, I accept this semantical difference. But how does it differ from not believing in God, aside from the natural implication that God exists, regardless of what you believe?

    What is the primary belief?

    Why is it a misrepresentation?

    Because I like discussing certain topics. Why are you here?

    What's not to know Sarkus?
    Atheists do not believe in God, regardless of any implication of God's existence. If you did believe in God, you wouldn't be atheist.
    Plus you would not need evidence in order to justify your belief.

    My version?...

    ...I really don't think so.

    Explain why I need to take into account what someone says, in order to understand the simplicity of what atheism is (it is simply not theism)?

    That disrespect, and tone, is nothing new on these forums, when it comes to bashing religion, or theism. I don't see you objecting to any of that. So why the concern about such attitudes (not that it is my attitude) now?

    Then don't refer to yourself as 'atheist' if you don't like being described as one. The very essence of atheism, not theism, means God exists, but you reject, or deny. You can't get away from it. To add to that, you display rejection, and denial, when you discuss these topics. The problem is, you also reject and deny that.

    I was replying to StrangerInAStrangeLands concern about the word 'atheism'.

  18. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    I'm not objecting to their world view. We all have a choice in what we accept.
    As I said, I define words so that we have a mutual understanding of we mean when we use them. It's not my fault that they contradict what you say, and believe about yourself.
    There's only so much you can reject, or deny, before the cracks start showing. And believe me, they are.

    One's ''path'' is personal. The term ''atheism'', isn't.
    Note, that I don't get personal (unlike some)'

    Like I said, I use definitions as referrence, so that we have a mutual understanding of the terms. Obviously such a practice is not acceptable, specifically in this subject matter, because some folk do not like the result. But they mean what they mean, or at least, that is what the general populace means when they use them. I do not stick obstanantly to what the dictionary says. I can identify with what the dictionary says, because I see it in atheist writings, debates, comments, etc... It's all over most things you say.

    We are having this discussion. Another case of rejection and denial.
    If I wish to use definitions to further my point, so what?

    So you don't think there is a lack of evidence for God?

    No. I mean it is from an atheist perspective. The perception of a blind person (a person without sight), is different from that of a person with sight. No matter how close they appear to be, they are different.
    A theist believes in God, and atheist doesn't (for whatever reason). If I say 'I know God exists' it is based on my belief. I may say 'I know my wife loves me', but that is based on my belief in my wife. Over time I have come to know her. It would be arrogant of me to think she loves me, without first coming to the platform of belief.

    I'm saying that there is no God for you to believe in, as far as you're aware. Either God is, or God isn't.
    All grey areas are intellectual, which is not practical. I may have lot's of grey areas in my own personal belief, but as a theist, my position is that I believe in God. You are atheist, and as far as I can tell, all those definitions I put forward apply to you, and other atheists I have encountered, despite your personal testimony.

    Firstly, I am not misrepresenting anyones position, and I have purposely defined words so as not to do just that. Secondly, if they are capable of giving the manner and tone in the way you think I am, which they are. They should learn to take it.

    Theists on here are generally respectful to atheists, but I find atheists aren't. They don't listen to theists, other than to counter what they say. The problem is atheists don't like to receive what they give out. They think they have a right to ridicule and mock, but the theist doesn't. Was it Dawkins who publicly proclaimed that it's okay to ridicule religious people (which obviously includes theists)?

    My point is, with moderators like JamesR, Bells, and Kittemaru (hope I've spelled it correctly), I don't feel as though my side would be fairly represented. So I don't bother. I've learned to deal with it another way.

    You mean I should just accept what you say as true, and I shouldn't bother to look up what terms mean. Just look the other way?
    Sorry, but that's not who I am.

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

    Yes, but nobody know which it is. And, like I said, careful "weak atheists" therefore do not make the claim that God does not exist.

    The notion that knowledge does not automatically follow from belief is not "nonsensical"; it is correct.

    Belief that God is real. Belief in God, in the sense of trusting God and putting faith in God, comes after one accepts that God is real.

    I carefully explained why you are wrong in my previous post, above, and why I reject your insistence on the bizarre position that the reality of God is the "essence of atheism". Simple common sense should tell you that if somebody doesn't believe in God, they're probably not assuming that God is real.

    What you are doing is putting up a barrier that prevents any meaningful discussion between yourself and atheists, because no (modern) atheist will agree to your definition of the term "atheist" as meaning somebody who accepts that God is real yet denies or rejects God.

    If you don't even understand who you're talking to, advancing the discussion is going to be very difficult indeed for you.

    The atheists here have come to understand that you are working with an incorrect definition of "atheism" as it is commonly understood by atheists today. So, I guess we've reach the point where there's mutual understanding that you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to atheism. Beyond that, we're not making a lot of progress.

    But knowledge cannot follow from belief alone, as I explained above. Knowledge requires that the belief is both true and justified.

    It would be arrogant of you to claim without justification that she loves you, based only on your own inner gut feeling. Instead (I hope) you base your conclusion on evidence, which could be used to justify your belief objectively.

    Either God is, or isn't. But it does not follow that you can know, in practice, which of those two options is right. In fact, the best you can do is to proclaim a belief one way or the other.

    Yes you are, consistently. It is not the position of atheists that God exists. That's your position. No atheist says "I believe that God exists, but I reject him." Not in the modern era. That's no longer what atheism means, even if it did sometimes mean that in the past.

    Do you think you're being respectful to atheists in telling them that, regardless of what they think and say about their position, their actual position is what you say it is and not what they say it is?

    Are you saying it is your intention to ridicule and mock atheists, then?

    Possibly. If so, I disagree with him on this.
  20. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    There are many atheists point of views, as there are theist ones. I've no need to understand each and every point of view, to know what atheism is.

    I'm not concerned with existence. You are.
    I believe in God.

    I've made no such claim. It doesn't work like that.

    Is this how you thought you were theist?

    But God does not currently exist, as far as you can tell, which I suspect is the reason why you are an atheist. Note that I didn't say you assert that God doesn't exist, but God doesn't actually exist, as far as you're aware.

    You're the one who is making that mistake. I've implied no such thing.
    I am a theist, a person who believes in God. That's all there is to it.

    As an atheist, you are without God. That means you cannot really know anything about God. No evidence will suffice, simply because you are without God. You cannot commit to believing God exists, because, God doesn't exist as far as you're aware, and as such you are what is termed ''atheist''. If you don't believe that God doesn't exist, then explain what it is you believe. Or are you going to say you have no belief, that you simply allow the evidence to dictate what you believe? If that is the case, then you should believe that God doesn't exist, because for you there is no evidence that God currently exists.

    Where have I equated belief with knowledge?

    So we can choose what we accept as evidence of something. Not very reliable.

    From the perspective of a theist.

    You don't think my belief in God has good justification. Right?
    I think you purposely reject/deny God.
    We both believe things about the others position. Just deal with it. I don't cry into my beer about what you think about my position. Why should you?

    It's more of a case that they're not listening to me.
    What does an atheist approval have to do with defining atheism? Especially when it is not simply coming from my own mind. kFor the atheists on here, you included, unless I have misread their posts, God does NOT exist, regardless of their agnostic leanings. The alternative is that they believe that God exists, but do not believe in God. But I have not encountered that as yet.

    So God exists for the atheist?

    One doesn't have to assert there is no God, for the situation of 'no God' to be apparent in their lives. You seem to be of the opinion that it only counts if you asser it.

    ''No your honour, I do not accept the charge of tax evasion, because I haven't asserted that I evaded tax''.

    Atheist perspective.

    Arrogance: having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.

    Because I think you haven't thought your position through, which you clearly haven't, you call me arrogant? I think you're arrogant for giving yourself that amount of importance.

    Go on. Get it off your chest James.

    What haven't I justified, in this thread?

    That is my perspective. You just can't get your head around it.
    Remember, our perspectives, on this matter, are entirely opposite. You do not understand what belief in God means from my perspective, only from your own.
    Do you accept that?

    Why would you say something like that?

    I've told you quite a few times, but you don't want to accept it. Belief in God is natural to human beings, as is not believing in God. We have the capacity to accept either position.

    That's simply your way of looking at it. The reality is, and has always been, there is God, and there are folk who choose not to accept God. That is what atheism means, when you break it down, both modern and ancient. And I don't need an atheist approval to comprehend that.

    I don't have to imply it. That's my point.


    in the absence of.
    not having the use or benefit of.
    with the absence,
    or avoidance of;
    not with;
    with no or none of;
    free from;

    I understand that you don't want to come across as someone who rejects God, but everything lends itself that notion. I don't have to cherry-pick, it is in everything to do with ''atheist'', ''atheism'', and even atheists like yourself. Your problem is that you think our perspectives are the same, so what applies to you, applies to me, regarding God.

    There is nothing wrong with my definition of ''atheist''. You said so yourself. You just mistakenly believe that I am implying God exists. The reality is, I don't need to.

  21. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Have I ever said that ''God (actually) exists''?

    An atheist perspective. I might have known.

    I didn't say you assume God exists, or assert that God exists. It doesn't matter what you assume or assert. The fact is that God does not currently exist, as far as you're aware. Either that or God does exist as far as you're aware. But that would contradict not only you're label, but what you say about your position. Namely that there is no evidence for God's existence, meaning currently God does not exist (even though you haven't asserted it).

    It's not my definition James. It is what it is.
    I merely bring it to the fore.

    I assume that I'm talking to intelligent people, with the ability of objectivety.

    How is it that the definition atheist prefer to use today, is so different from what the word, and all the terms associated with the term ''atheist''? Should I not look at any definitions of the word? Should I consult an atheist before looking at these definitions, so they can school me in how to look at them?

    You're talking about acquiring knowledge, of going from the state of ignorance. Theism isn't like that. Theism is natural. Just as atheism is natural. I don't have to have knowledge of my senses. They just are. It is only when your senses begin to fade, or you lose some, that we become a little more concerned about what they are.
    The problem is, you don't understand what God is. You think it is something else, or something other than everything else. You comprehend God, as a separate entity.

    No. I don't base it on evidence. That would be silly.
    Either she loves me, or she doesn't. What could you regard as evidence that your wife loves you?

    This is your perspective, not mine.
    Try and understand that.

    I've never said atheist believe that God exits, but reject him.
    I also understand that the atheist does not believe in God, and the forerunner excuse is that there is no evidence that convinces them of God's existence, what to speak of believing in God. It's a lot deeper than that. Maybe we'll talk about it one day, when we can get past this.

    I simply define ''atheism'' James.
    I don't need personal testimonies of atheists, to define ''atheism''.
    I accept yours and Sarkus's account, but I don't agree with it.
    What is disrespectful about that?

    Nevertheless, it shifts mindsets, especially over time. People find themselves saying things, and agreeing with things, they may not have entertained before. But it's alright now. I have witnessed that.

  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You also need knowledge of your senses to discuss their properties, errors, ranges, "blind spots", and so forth. Without such knowledge, your claims of perception are likely to be wrong - especially your claims regarding other people's perceptions.
    It is a strawman. Such rhetorical tricks mark either innocent incapability of reason, or dishonesty.
    Your definition is obviously in error, and your defense of it reveals a fundamental dishonesty in your approach - a self awareness of deception.
    It isn't.
    That would be a first step toward honest engagement. Why have you refused to do that?
  23. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    What is the "you" that has knowledge enough to monitor the influx of knowledge coming in. Is it another sense?

    They're not tricks. Everything is laid out already. I don't need to add anything, or create anything. It is what it is.

    What exactly is my definition?
    I mean, what exactly have I changed, from the many different, sourced definitions, I posted?

    Because I don't think I need atheist approval, to define 'atheism'.

    Here is a definition from the American Atheists site.

    Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods. Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system.

    1. Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god

    This is obvious, as theism is not the Affirmative belief that there is God.

    2 It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods.

    This is now stating that THERE IS NO GOD, only the statement of there being a God. This is sneaking the assertion that there is no God, through the back door.
    Probably to avoid explaining the implications that tag along with such a statement.

    My definitions basically state that atheists either disbelieve, lack belief in, or assert that there is no, God.

    3 Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system.

    A belief system is so called, because of what it is, not what you want., or don't want it to be.

    If a bad person wants to describe them self as good, it does nothing to aleviate the fact that they are a bad person (if they do bad things)

    So, I do hear how atheists define themselves, but their definition does not match up to the reality of what they say in discussion or debate.

    I believe they are trying to carve out a definition that explains how they would like to be defined, but it's not real.

    Obviously gay people can be as light-hearted and carefree, or not, as people who are not gay. But it doesn't mean they have the quality of being lighthearted and carefree. They added a new meaning to the word, to give themselves a better image.

    I think atheists are in the process of doing the same thing. But as a gay person cannot escape the description of homo-sexual, a person who does not believe in God cannot escape the term atheist, and all its implications.

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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