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Author Topic: Why I am an athiest  (Read 4882 times)

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Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #75 on: May 02, 2014, 06:07:03 AM »
It's kind of like arguing how atheism is a religion.

The problem with that is that "religion" is a notoriously difficult word to define. 

OED gives:
"The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods"

Atheism isn't a religion (neither, for that matter, is deism)

Collins gives:
"a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe,"

Atheism is a religion.

I use:
"A coherent set of beliefs concerning a divine being"

Atheism is a religion.

And so on and so forth.  I don't think it's reasonable to dismiss the argument that atheism is a religion without first finding an agreed on definition of religion.  And best of luck with that.  Wikipedia has a massive section on exactly this problem of definition.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #76 on: May 02, 2014, 06:11:43 AM »
"A coherent set of beliefs concerning a divine being"

Atheism is a religion.

So, "I don't buy it" is a coherent set of beliefs regarding a divine being?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2014, 06:15:20 AM »
So, "I don't buy it" is a coherent set of beliefs regarding a divine being?

Yeah, of course.  I mean, assuming by that you mean "I don't believe it" rather than "I don't purchase it" - the latter would require a whole set of other beliefs. 

But yeah, absolutely.  Do you disagree?

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #78 on: May 02, 2014, 06:19:30 AM »
Yes. By your logic, you are an Atheist because you hold opinions regarding Atheism.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #79 on: May 02, 2014, 06:20:02 AM »
You have that backwards. I believe that Religion will disappear after certain advancements are made. It's a biproduct of that advancement, not a catalyst for it.


As for "natural progress in society" and in people's values and lifestyles, a progress that would lead to the ultimat demise of religion, are you seeing this as getting helped along by swiping at, not people's rght to hold a faith, but their right to raise their children in the faith they hold as a family, to provide any kind of religious education for their childen or reach out to - yes - evangelize a local community?

Of course if one is convinced enough of the superiority and the non-biased objectivity of an atheist perspective - you guys are emoting and telling tales, my side is just being objective and sane - it might smply be argued that

 - every time religion steps into the public sphere without asking every single person who could be present if they approve (and asking them before the outdoor mass, the blessing of a new building, the church-run flea market, the scholl visit to a church) can even get a permit)

 - every time parents send their kids to sunday school without waiting till the children have grown up and can make a free choice of what religion they want, if any

 - every instance of a christian, muslim etc cemetery being set up on ground that somebody else could have wanted

- every time an infant child is baptized or a boy circumcized (I'm saying boy because that is the act that matters in a seriously religious sense and because I think the comparison with female genital mutilation is simply scaremongering, and unwarranted)

with all of those, it might be argued that a religion makes an intrusion past the limit of individual free self-governance ("I own myself and no one can make any decisions for me except if I knowingly allow it"). You could make that kind of argument and I've sometimes heard it. but how reasonable is it to define 'the freedom not to be exposed to any given religion' that way? I don't think ayone would dispute that if you allow people to speak a language but make it a crime, with serious consequences, to teach the same language to their kids anywhere, to print books and newspapers in that langauge except for limited home circulation, to broadcast or make ads in the language, to use it in any way at any public-run place of work  then you effectively kill that language within a hundred years. Religion often is like a living language, it can't exist without a faith community where people are able to get together outside of church services too, and feel free to take their religion into the public realm in some ways.
 -
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 06:26:51 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #80 on: May 02, 2014, 06:26:50 AM »
Yes. By your logic, you are an Atheist because you hold opinions regarding Atheism.

That doesn't make any sense at all.  Atheism is a set of beliefs regarding a divine being.  I hold opinions regarding it. Which means I hold opinions regarding a set of beliefs regarding a divine being.  The better readers amongst you will notice that's not what I used as my definition.

I mean, it's fine to pick faults with my definition - there certainly are some and obviously so.  If it were trivial to come up with a definition then there wouldn't be this problem of definition.  Yours isn't valid but there are some valid ones.   It's heavily dependant on the word "divine" for example leaving it unclear whether e.g. Shinto is ruled in or out.  It further prejudices against less formalised religions - I'm thinking specifically Gardnerian Wicca here, but examples abound - through my usage of "coherent".   

Really, the best/most accurate definition might be along the "quacks like a duck"/"know it when I see it" lines but those type of things aren't overly useful.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #81 on: May 02, 2014, 06:30:29 AM »
As for "natural progress in society" and in people's values and lifestyles, a progress that would lead to the ultimat demise of religion, are you seeing this as being helped along by swiping at, not people's rght to hold a faith, but their rght to raise their children in the faith they hold as a family, to provide any kind of religious education for their childen or reach out to - yes - evangelize a local community?

Plenty of Religious parents raise their children without bias and provide them critical thinking skills. I just want a society where logic and critical thinking are taught to our children before we pass on the fairy tales our own parents told us. Combine that with good education, health, opportunities and happiness, and I truly believe that Religion will shrivel up and exist as a harmless form of personal worship, one that does not intrude upon and sabotage ones reasoning.

That doesn't make any sense at all.  Atheism is a set of beliefs regarding a divine being.  I hold opinions regarding it. Which means I hold opinions regarding a set of beliefs regarding a divine being.  The better readers amongst you will notice that's not what I used as my definition.

I mean, it's fine to pick faults with my definition - there certainly are some and obviously so.  If it were trivial to come up with a definition then there wouldn't be this problem of definition.  Yours isn't valid but there are some valid ones.   It's heavily dependant on the word "divine" for example leaving it unclear whether e.g. Shinto is ruled in or out.  It further prejudices against less formalised religions - I'm thinking specifically Gardnerian Wicca here, but examples abound - through my usage of "coherent".   

Really, the best/most accurate definition might be along the "quacks like a duck"/"know it when I see it" lines but those type of things aren't overly useful.

Kythia, your saying that someone who rejects the idea of a Divine being are Religious. If you can't see a problem with that, then I'm not sure I know how to talk to you.

Atheism is one thing only, the rejection of a God claim. Everything after that is the persons own perogative. This has been explained to you multiple times, yet you continue to misrepresent Atheism as a set of beliefs.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 06:32:40 AM by Sabby »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #82 on: May 02, 2014, 06:34:37 AM »
Kythia, your saying that someone who rejects the idea of a Divine being are Religious. If you can't see a problem with that, then I'm not sure I know how to talk to you.

OK

Offline ladia2287

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #83 on: May 02, 2014, 06:44:42 AM »
Again, Kythia, I hope I'm not putting the wrong words in your mouth.

I think when referring to Atheism as a set of beliefs, it is sort of in a way accurate. Atheists believe that there are no heavenly/divine beings/gods/whatever you wish to call them. That much, surely, we can all agree on. So, by that definition, Kythia's opinion that Atheism is a set of beliefs in its own right is not really inaccurate. It is not a religion or a faith per se, but the definition of the word is a belief in itself; the belief in the lack of a god. Reading some of Kythia's arguments, I think this is the point she was trying to make.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #84 on: May 02, 2014, 06:45:37 AM »
Referring to normally unacceptable actions that people try to justify using religion.

What reference are you using to define 'normally unacceptable actions' that certain religions promote, which your views do not?  Many Sikh men grow beards and wear turbans as a sign of reverence to their beliefs and pride.  Their worldview makes this normal to them, just as your worldview might normalize shaving as being the ideal for presentability.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #85 on: May 02, 2014, 06:47:06 AM »
Yeah, in essence you're not too far off ladia.  Atheism is {"there are no divine beings"}.  Clearly coherent as, well, there's only one statement.  Clearly a belief about a divine being.  Clearly a set. 

WWWWW.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #86 on: May 02, 2014, 06:50:34 AM »
Again, Kythia, I hope I'm not putting the wrong words in your mouth.

I think when referring to Atheism as a set of beliefs, it is sort of in a way accurate. Atheists believe that there are no heavenly/divine beings/gods/whatever you wish to call them. That much, surely, we can all agree on. So, by that definition, Kythia's opinion that Atheism is a set of beliefs in its own right is not really inaccurate. It is not a religion or a faith per se, but the definition of the word is a belief in itself; the belief in the lack of a god. Reading some of Kythia's arguments, I think this is the point she was trying to make.

Lack of belief is not a belief. It is the absence of a belief. An Atheist can certainly believe that God is not real, but this is a personal belief of theirs piled atop their Atheism.

Offline ladia2287

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #87 on: May 02, 2014, 06:55:22 AM »
Lack of belief is not a belief. It is the absence of a belief. An Atheist can certainly believe that God is not real, but this is a personal belief of theirs piled atop their Atheism.

I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #88 on: May 02, 2014, 07:02:30 AM »
I think Ephiral is referring to "faith" thing, where sweeping generalization of "everyone has faith" is used to tell atheists that they do have faith despite their claim that they don't.

Because at the end of the day "I believe in stuff without evidence" doesn't sound very cool.  If I said "I believe in stuff without evidence. But everyone does it" it sounds a bit better. It's kind of like arguing how atheism is a religion.
Yeah, this. I came in to point out that, when someone states that they don't have faith, it's pretty damn condescending to insist otherwise. It kept happening.

Lack of belief is not a belief. It is the absence of a belief. An Atheist can certainly believe that God is not real, but this is a personal belief of theirs piled atop their Atheism.
If we're getting technical and fiddly, lack of belief in a specific hypothesis is in fact a belief about the way the world works. Of course, this is true only in the trivial sense that every observation is a belief about how the world works, but semantics seems to be where we're going anyway.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #89 on: May 02, 2014, 07:04:35 AM »
Yeah, this. I came in to point out that, when someone states that they don't have faith, it's pretty damn condescending to insist otherwise. It kept happening.

Again, we're clearly reading the same thing very differently.  Where?  Where did it keep happening?  I simply don't see it.

Quote
If we're getting technical and fiddly, lack of belief in a specific hypothesis is in fact a belief about the way the world works. Of course, this is true only in the trivial sense that every observation is a belief about how the world works, but semantics seems to be where we're going anyway.

Yup.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #90 on: May 02, 2014, 07:07:44 AM »
I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here

Atheism. Lack of belief in a God. That's it. Any other beliefs someone holds is a different thing entirely. For instance, "I am an Atheist, but I also believe that God is not real". This is similar to "I am a Christian, but I don't believe in Hell". The second part of the statement is built upon the first, but it's not a requirement for them to hold that position.

Ephiral, thank you for that, I am terrible with semantics.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #91 on: May 02, 2014, 07:10:35 AM »
I think the problem is that some in this thread are reading "belief" as "religious belief."

When people are saying that atheists have a "belief" they simply mean an outlook or perspective - the lack of existence of any god.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #92 on: May 02, 2014, 07:19:32 AM »
Again, we're clearly reading the same thing very differently.  Where?  Where did it keep happening?  I simply don't see it.

There is a certain amount of faith or belief or what have you required to invest yourself in medical treatment and so forth.

Evidence can easily be found to the contrary, but people still have enough faith in human decency and protections of society to continue doing so.  People do things on a routine basis that are not supported by evidence and sometimes have contradictory evidence, but they do these things believing in an already determined outcome.
("You have faith!" strikes me as a more charitable reading of this, though I admit "You aren't people!" is also valid.)

And yes, Pumpkin's point does hold. We do hold faith that what we are being taught is correct (to an extent as there are several classes where they show us that this is correct).

Also, I think you are profoundly wrong that people lack faith in human decency.
(See above comment.)

There. With that said - I feel that anyone who says they are atheist also fall under this definition. Why? Because they believe with strong conviction that their beliefs are right.
(Context: IO later defined "strong conviction" as "belief regardless, or even in spite, of evidence".)

First off. To evangelize means you believe in something. To believe in something is to have faith in what you believe.

Every one of these instances happened after my initial objection.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #93 on: May 02, 2014, 07:20:47 AM »
Atheism. Lack of belief in a God. That's it. Any other beliefs someone holds is a different thing entirely. For instance, "I am an Atheist, but I also believe that God is not real". This is similar to "I am a Christian, but I don't believe in Hell". The second part of the statement is built upon the first, but it's not a requirement for them to hold that position.

Ephiral, thank you for that, I am terrible with semantics.

Right, I'm not sure you understood Ephiral correctly, but that's by the by.

Judging from this you believe "I am an atheist, I believe in God" is a valid statement - by analogy with "I am a Christian, I believe in Hell".  So, what couldn't an atheist say?  Just so I can be sure I understand you.

(Get to you in a sec, Ephiral.  I think you're being a little disingenuous there but I need to collect some quotes and re-read.)

ETA:  Having looked through, Ephiral, I stand by my belief you're mistaken.  For example, in the final IO quote you later specifically accept that evangelise was the wrong word to use in this context.  You presumably stand by yours that you're not.  I'm not sure though, now that I come to think of it, that's there's much point in continuing this side issue - and certainly not in the public thread.  Thoughts?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 07:33:42 AM by Kythia »

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #94 on: May 02, 2014, 07:43:22 AM »
Kythia, your aware of the law of noncontradictions? Something cannot be A and also not A.

If the definition of Atheist is to lack belief in God or Gods, then they cannot hold beliefs contrary to that and still be an Atheist.

There are certainly Atheists out there who believe wacky things though. No one ever said all Atjeists were rational.


Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #95 on: May 02, 2014, 07:49:53 AM »
Kythia, your aware of the law of noncontradictions? Something cannot be A and also not A.

If the definition of Atheist is to lack belief in God or Gods, then they cannot hold beliefs contrary to that and still be an Atheist.

There are certainly Atheists out there who believe wacky things though. No one ever said all Atjeists were rational.

Right....

A little hard to understand you here so let me try to lay out my understanding.

You say that atheism isn't a belief.  You say that it isn't the same as a lack of belief in God.  You use the analogy of a belief in hell not being necessary to identify as a Christian.  Fine.  With you so far.

A belief in hell isn't antithetical to identifying as a Christian though, but from this most recent post you seem to think that a belief in God is antithetical to being an atheist.So....is the second half of "I am an Atheist, but I also believe that God is not real" redundant or not?

This is where you're losing me.  You say that atheism=/=a belief that God isn't real.  What I'm trying to get at is, well, what does it equal?

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #96 on: May 02, 2014, 07:57:13 AM »
Right....

A little hard to understand you here so let me try to lay out my understanding.

You say that atheism isn't a belief.  You say that it isn't the same as a lack of belief in God.

When did I say that?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #97 on: May 02, 2014, 08:02:16 AM »
When did I say that?

Seriously?

Lack of belief is not a belief. It is the absence of a belief. An Atheist can certainly believe that God is not real, but this is a personal belief of theirs piled atop their Atheism.

Atheism. Lack of belief in a God. That's it. Any other beliefs someone holds is a different thing entirely. For instance, "I am an Atheist, but I also believe that God is not real".

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #98 on: May 02, 2014, 08:07:17 AM »
You say that ive claimed atheism is not lack of belief.

Your evidence is my saying it is a lack of belief

Im sorry, but id rather not continue this discussion right now. Your being incomprehensible right now and I simply cannot follow you.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #99 on: May 02, 2014, 08:11:45 AM »
I really can't tell if you're serious or not now.

Please.  Explain what atheism is and what the hell you meant by:

Quote
Atheism. Lack of belief in a God. That's it. Any other beliefs someone holds is a different thing entirely. For instance, "I am an Atheist, but I also believe that God is not real". This is similar to "I am a Christian, but I don't believe in Hell". The second part of the statement is built upon the first, but it's not a requirement for them to hold that position.

That is literally all I want.  Why won't you?