Why Theists call atheism a Rejection of God

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by aaqucnaona, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    Rephrased with better clarity "I know (intuitively) there is a god".

    Theism/Atheism. It always boils down to the same rub. Faith and empiricism are totally different animals.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,073
    Yea faith doesn't wait around for a answer. I go guns blazing full on 100% of the time, I'll give you the answer when I return, on my soul.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,106

    Or even "I know there is a God as in I'm not just going to quit believing I will believe in God always and pray to God to make me believe in God."
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    Or tachyons

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Nominal diversity isn't necessarily an indicator of actual diversity.
    So what are perceived as inaccuracies, could simply be local variations.


    I wasn't thinking of that; but as another poster noted, Western science indeed has a striking resemblance to theism.

    You criticized theists for subscribing to an epistemology and then of course "seeing what they were supposed to see" - but mundane science functions by the same principle: people subscribe to an epistemology, and then they "see what they are supposed to see."
    Theism and science are both circular and self-referential like that.


    /.../
    But sad experience makes me fear that some of you may still shrink from radically saying with me, in abstracto, that we have the right to believe at our own risk any hypothesis that is live enough to tempt our will. I suspect, however, that if this is so, it is because you have got away from the abstract logical point of view altogether, and are thinking (perhaps without realizing it) of some particular religious hypothesis which for you is dead. The freedom to ' believe what we will ' you apply to the case of some patent superstition; and the faith you think of is the faith defined by the schoolboy when he said, " Faith is when you believe something that you know ain't true." I can only repeat that this is misapprehension. In concreto, the freedom to believe can only cover living options which the intellect of the individual cannot by itself resolve; and living options never seem absurdities to him who has them to consider.
    /.../



    A common objection to James' theory of belief is that he is supposedly suggesting that a person can make themselves believe anything, such as that 2 + 2 equals 5 or that dogs have six legs or some other patent absurdity or superstition.
    James, is, of course, suggesting no such thing.


    Genuine options exist for people, as they are, at the time, given all their needs, interests, concerns and resources.
    Genuine options don't exist somehow separately from people.

    Religious choice is carried out by persons, as they are.
    Religious choice isn't a concept that would apply on some objective, impersonal or suprapersonal level.

    Indeed, Abrahamic religions and Western religiology/culturology/etc. tend to present religion and religious choice as something that can essentially exist separately from people, as if it would be an objective reality or, more accurately, object-reality, like gravity or atomic bonds.
    But to insist in such a view of religion and religious choice would be to commit a category mistake.


    With all due respect, I am quite sure there is a number of philosophies and lifestyles that you would not defend (like antisemitism, anorexia etc.).


    I am sorry if this is frustrating, but I am not simply reframing everything with respect to my own struggle.
    I have a bigger point to make.

    You (and many others) are working with epistemological requirements that are impossible for humans to live up to.

    Surely we want that our stances would be more than mere subjective opinion.
    But at the same time, as long as we acknowledge that we don't have anything but mere subjective opinion, we can't really objectively judge a stance to begin with.


    To quote James again, from the end of the essay, as he critically addresses agnosticism:


    /.../
    When I look at the religious question as it really puts itself to concrete men, and when I think of all the possibilities which both practically and theoretically it involves, then this /agnostic/ command that we shall put a stopper on our heart, instincts, and courage, and wait - acting of course meanwhile more or less as if religion were not true [ Since belief is measured by action, he who forbids us to believe religion to be true, necessarily also forbids us to act as we should if we did believe it to be true. The whole defence of religious faith hinges upon action. If the action required or inspired by the religious hypothesis is in no way different from that dictated by the naturalistic hypothesis, then religious faith is a pure superfluity, better pruned away, and controversy about its legitimacy is a piece of idle trifling, unworthy of serious minds. I myself believe, of course, that the religious hypothesis gives to the world an expression which specifically determines our reactions, and makes them in a large part unlike what they might be on a purely naturalistic scheme of belief.] till doomsday, or till such time as our intellect and senses working together may have raked in evidence enough, --this command, I say, seems to me the queerest idol ever manufactured in the philosophic cave. Were we scholastic absolutists, there might be more excuse. If we had an infallible intellect with its objective certitudes, we might feel ourselves disloyal to such a perfect organ of knowledge in not trusting to it exclusively, in not waiting for its releasing word. But if we are empiricists [pragmatists], if we believe that no bell in us tolls to let us know for certain when truth is in our grasp, then it seems a piece of idle fantasticality to preach so solemnly our duty of waiting for the bell. Indeed we may wait if we will, --I hope you do not think that I am denying that, --but if we do so, we do so at our peril as much as if we believed. In either case we act, taking our life in our hands. No one of us ought to issue vetoes to the other, nor should we bandy words of abuse. We ought, on the contrary, delicately and profoundly to respect one another's mental freedom: then only shall we bring about the intellectual republic; then only shall we have that spirit of inner tolerance without which all our outer tolerance is soulless, and which is empiricism's glory; then only shall we live and let live, in speculative as well as in practical things.


    I began by a reference to Fitz James Stephen; let me end by a quotation from him. " What do you think of yourself? What do you think of the world? . . . These are questions with which all must deal as it seems good to them. They are riddles of the Sphinx, and in some way or other we must deal with them. . . . In all important transactions of life we have to take a leap in the dark.... If wc decide to leave the riddles unanswered, that is a choice; if we waver in our answer, that, too, is a choice: but whatever choice we make, we make it at our peril. If a man chooses to turn his back altogether on God and the future, no one can prevent him; no one can show beyond reasonable doubt that he is mistaken. If a man thinks otherwise and acts as he thinks, I do not see that any one can prove that he is mistaken. Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him. We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road we shall be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? ' Be strong and of a good courage.' Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes. . . . If death ends all, we cannot meet death better."



    http://educ.jmu.edu/~omearawm/ph101willtobelieve.html
     
  9. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,106

    Tachyons didn't send down scriptures.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  10. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,876
    wynn

    "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to
    believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
    Douglas Adams

    "My life is just fine without worrying about things that are highly unlikely to exist. I just get a great deal of pleasure in pricking the balloons of other peoples inanities and delusions."
    Richard Dawkins

    "Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a
    short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a
    purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one
    thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men -
    above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own
    happiness depends."
    Albert Einstein

    "What can be more soul shaking than peering through a 100-inch
    telescope at a distant galaxy, holding a 100-million-year-old fossil
    or a 500,000-year-old stone tool in one's hand, standing before
    the immense chasm of space and time that is the Grand Canyon,
    or listening to a scientist who gazed upon the face of the universe's
    creation and did not blink. That is deep and sacred science."
    Micheal Shermer

    "I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego
    will survive. I am not young and I love life. But I should
    scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation.
    Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must
    come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value
    because they are not everlasting. Many a man has borne
    himself proudly on the scaffold; surely the same pride
    should teach us to think truly about man's place in the
    world. Even if the open windows of science at first make
    us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional
    humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings
    vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their
    own."
    Bertrand Russell

    "I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of
    ignorance any day."
    Douglas Adams

    Grumpy

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  11. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    Happiness is different things to different people. I'm basically agnostic. I neither promote nor discount the possibly of a higher entity. I do consider "hard-core" atheism with its incessant proselytizing and penchant to demean just as repugnant as fundamentalist religion. Different sides of the same ugly coin.
     
  12. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,876
    Xotica

    I somewhat agree, however the theists put it in your face every day throughout all media and lord help the misguided "hard core" Atheist who dares raise his head! They are greatly outnumbered and one of the few things almost all theists agree on is the condemnation of the Infidel who dares to call them ignorant and deluded.

    Samuel Clemons

    Grumpy

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  13. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    To accrue respect one must project respect. Claiming the other is responsible for your own vituperative behavior just doesn't cut it.

    Religious fanatic - You're a sinner and wicked!
    Atheist fanatic - You're delusional and irrational!

    Both nodes are disrespectful and repugnant.
     
  14. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Of course, the atheist statement is much more likely to be true.
     
  15. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    prove it

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  16. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    More correctly, what I am actually doing is criticizing the veracity of a group of epistemologies that are, at their core, fundamentally the same, yet so often lead people to embrace 'absolute truths' that are mutually exclusive.

    This, and the rest of your post, can essentially be addressed with the following question, because it's all much simpler than all this complicated and somewhat tangential discussion might indicate:

    How does William James, and how do you or anyone else for that matter, know for a fact that what you believe to be true, is actually true?

    Sure. Try to turn this around on me if you like. Tell me how I can't be absolutely certain that empiricism is telling me true things about the world either. But there's really no need, because I'll make that concession right here and now, and it does absolutely nothing to defeat my core arguments anyway.
     
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    This will depend on one's theory of truth.

    It's only one of the hottest topics in the world ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth


    For the sake of discussion, could you briefly state your core arguments, please?
     
  18. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    Exactly. Finally, we are seeing eye to eye on something.

    That the sort of epistemology that one typically embraces in order to discern various 'absolute truths' (of the religious variety) that contextualize our existence is unreliable.

    What started all this was the following statement from you:

    There are several premises upon which such an argument is built that have all the same sort of epistemological issues associated with them as those we have been discussing. In other words, in order to make such a statement, and believe it to be true, you must already believe that you have actual knowledge of both God's existence, and actual knowledge of what God is (as opposed to just knowledge of various ideas that are floating around relating to the topic).

    In a nutshell, I have been trying to get you to demonstrate the truth of your statement.
     
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    If you criticize them for their self-referentiality or circularity: this is a charge that can be made against any approach that is based on accepting a particular epistemology (so that charge can be made against science as well).


    It's a truism:

    An atheist is not interested in God, therefore, he doesn't do anything to get closer to God. As such, he cuts himself off from learning the truth about God.

    A person who is not interested in X therefore doesn't do anything to know X. As such, he cuts himself off from learning the truth about X.
     
  20. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
  21. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    No. Atheists are VERY intrested in God, they [especially apatheists] are apathetic/critical about religion, not God. Just because they don't include God in their ontology doesn't mean they are not intrested nor is a belief or intrest necessary for the knowledge of a objectively existing being. If god exists outside the minds of theists, atheist are just as open to God as them.
     
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    God without religion (theology)? Eh?
     
  23. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Tell that to deists, pantheists or spinozists. Anyway, my main point was that neither intrest nor belief is a requisite for the knowledge of the existence of a objectively real entity. Hence I said, if God exists outside the minds of theists, then atheists are just as open to God as are theists.
     

Share This Page