It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
So, the question arises, is atheism the mental attitude that a proposition is true? No, it absolutely is not. Atheism is in fact, the mental attitude that a proposition is NOT true. It is a DISbelief.
A more refined definition [of belief], and one I personally find most suitable, is stated as "the mental attitude that some proposition is true".
originally posted by: DupontDeux
If I have the explicit belief that there is no God(s), does that then not constitute atheism?
Yes. Yes it does.
Is "the truth is that there is no God" not as much a proposition as "the truth is that there is a God"?
Yes. Yes it is.
Expressed atheism, as I see it, is a believe.
It is not, however, (a) faith but rather (a) notion or opinion.
See, if we were to be concise and just stop using "belief" as the placeholder word it most often is for faith, notion, opinion and the likes, then the confusion would stop too.
Or so I belief.(sic)
You can create a religion by sunrise and it would be more believable than Christianity.
Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define atheism as "a belief that there is no God."
originally posted by: Agree2Disagree
The vast misunderstanding of common terminology and frequent misuse of seemingly simple concepts and ideas has prompted this explanation of what actually entails a religious belief and/or "belief system".
First, I'd like to start out by discussing why beliefs are important and why it is important to understand what a belief actually is. So, I think it's fair to assume we can all agree that beliefs are important. They kind of make us who we are and differentiate us from others. It's what makes you, well, you, along with other things. Almost everything you do can be traced back to some basic belief about the world we live in. As it pertains to religion, the relationship between belief and behavior is demonstrated consistently. In fact, most religious practitioners can be found arguing that their religion is actually the foundation for the (moral)behavior.
Given this link between beliefs and behavior, it becomes apparent that beliefs can be both harmful or beneficial. As an example, the women's rights movement was based on the belief that men and women were created equal and should therefore have equal rights. This is generally considered a beneficial belief, as it leads to beneficial behavior. On the contrary, one can see how racism is founded on a belief that may lead to harmful behavior. The next logical step is to move into the realm of intolerance and tolerance, albeit briefly.
To what degree a belief may lead to harmful behavior will dictate our tolerance/intolerance. Generally speaking, racism is not well tolerated because it is not known to have any beneficial behaviors associated with that particular belief system, with most of the harm being direct, whether physically or mentally. However, beliefs can also cause harm indirectly through misrepresentation and ignorance. As an example, one might believe vaccinations to be harmful out of sheer ignorance and cause harm to those that would listen to their belief and subsequently refuse a vaccine.
So now that we understand how beliefs can and do dictate our behavior, and how our behavior affects not only us but those around us...we can see why our beliefs become quite relevant, and why understanding what an actual belief is, becomes even more important.
The cambridge dictionary defines belief as "the feeling of being certain that something exists or is true". A more refined definition, and one I personally find most suitable, is stated as "the mental attitude that some proposition is true". For any proposition, one will either (A)have or (B) lack the mental attitude that it is true. That is to say, you will either have, or lack, a belief. The case of gods is no exception. One will either have the belief a god or gods exist, or one will not. The argument that not having a belief is the same as having a belief is as much invalid as the argument that not swimming is the same as swimming.
Let's take a brief look at some examples to see what a belief is:
(1) The world is flat. Does this represent a mental attitude that some proposition is true? Yes, indeed it does.
(2) The world is round. Although being a counter statement, this too represents a belief. So it is apparent that the proposition does not necessarily have to be true in order for it to represent a belief...
On the other hand, KNOWLEDGE is when the proposition is actually true. I believe the most current and accurate description of knowledge would be "justified, true belief". That is to say, (1)I believe 'X', (2) 'X' is true, and (3)I have good reasons to believe 'X'.
If only 1 & 2 are present, I've made a lucky guess...that doesn't represent knowledge.
If only 2 & 3 are present, I've made an error in believing something contrary to the truth despite having reasons to believe so.
If only 1 & 3 are present, I have a demonstrably erroneous belief.
We can take these 3 conditions and apply them to other things we might consider belief systems, to see whether or not they are actual belief systems, or simply classified as knowledge. Remember, a belief is only the mental attitude that a proposition is true. Knowledge has 3 complete conditions that must be met.
So let's take a common religion, we'll go with Christianity for sake of familiarity. There are several mental attitudes that encompass christianity, but at it's core is the figure Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected. They believe this proposition is true...to meet the criteria to be classified as knowledge however, it would also have to be proven to be true, which by all accounts, has not happened thus far. Not only that, we may call into question whether or not it is a justified belief in the first place. For this reason, Christianity cannot be classified as knowledge, but definitely is a belief system.
To demonstrate what is NOT a belief, I will use what is commonly misunderstood as a belief - Atheism/Agnosticism. Like I have said, one will either have a belief, or NOT have a belief.
For sake of time, and the risk of CTS(carpal tunnel syndrome), I will skip defining atheism, as it has already been done numerous times here on ATS.
So, the question arises, is atheism the mental attitude that a proposition is true? No, it absolutely is not. Atheism is in fact, the mental attitude that a proposition is NOT true. It is a DISbelief. To say that a disbelief is actually a belief is akin to saying that not breathing is actually breathing. I'll leave it to you to try that one out, but be sure to get back to me if it works out.
To really get this point across, I'm just going to throw in a real world application.
Do you believe that I'm wearing a black shirt? Or, if you prefer, do you believe the proposition "Dave(A2D) is wearing a black shirt" is true?
So, there's no issue with logical or physical impossibility here...the words are simple, there shouldn't be any misunderstanding. There's a problem though, and that problem is with ignorance. You don't possibly have a way to know what I'm wearing right now. I might be wearing a green shirt, a blue shirt, no shirt at all, or yeah, a black shirt. There's just no justification for you to believe that I'm wearing a black shirt. You can believe that it's possible. But, in the end, there's no reason for you to conclude that, yes, Dave is wearing a black shirt...
At the same time, there isn't any justification for you to believe that the proposition is false. Your ignorance of what color shirt I'm wearing(or not wearing) should prevent you from denying this proposition in the same manner as it prevents you from affirming it. So you can see, not believing that the proposition is true isn't the same as believing the proposition is false.
You don't believe my claim, but you can't reasonably deny it either.
Atheism and Agnosticism do not constitute "belief systems" for this reason. They do not affirm any proposition(s).