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Ask an atheist

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posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 06:57 PM
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I need a new hobby right now, and I figured I'd answer questions from people curious about an atheist. So, if you have any questions you've always wanted to ask of an atheist, ask here.

There are some ground rules, though:

  • I know that this is supposed to always apply around here, but please do follow the Terms & Conditions--in other words, be polite. I promise that I will be. I say this as a reminder in a potentially controversial thread. I really don't want this to turn into a flamefest, but I recognize the possibility.

    So, please:

    Be polite
    and
    No proselytizing

  • These rules can change, so always keep an eye on this post because this is where any changes will be listed.

    [edit on 12/23/2006 by supercheetah]

    [edit on 12/23/2006 by supercheetah]

    mod edit: editing ground rules



    [edit on 28-12-2006 by parrhesia]




  • posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 07:23 PM
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    OK, I'll bite,
    What would you consider an athiest, who has become a thiest/believer?



    posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 07:37 PM
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    Originally posted by holidaystar1
    OK, I'll bite,
    What would you consider an athiest, who has become a thiest/believer?
    That's his/her personal choice. I don't personally care what people do as long as that of which they do respects the rights of others. Typically, those people never really studied religion, and were actually quite ignorant of religion. That lack of education makes them susceptible to religious thought.

    I myself have studied religion quite extensively. I was raised Catholic, and in high school, I was curious why people would believe anything else, so I studied it quite a bit.



    posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 07:48 PM
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    Do you consider an atheist that believes in God an atheist?

    Is atheism really a religion?

    Is the lack of a belief considered a belief?



    [edit on 23-12-2006 by Hurdy Gurdy]



    posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 07:58 PM
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    Originally posted by Hurdy Gurdy
    Do you consider an atheist that believes in God an atheist?

    Is atheism really a religion?

    Is the lack of a belief considered a belief?


    I think atheism declaring that god doesn't exist (a positive belief) to be the same as believing in a god.

    Is lack of belief atheism?

    Not always (could also be religious agnosticism), there are other ways to do it, but imo, they are as slippery as claiming god exists.

    Anyway, I'm an atheist, but my atheism is structured around not really considering the question of god. I'm not denying the existence of anything, but I don't think there is enough evidence for me to realistically or logically consider the question of god.

    You could also see me as a (philosophical) skeptic; I think t he two classifications are very similar, at least for my puposes.



    posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 08:08 PM
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    Originally posted by Hurdy Gurdy
    Do you consider an atheist that believes in God an atheist?

    No, that's completely contrary to the the definition of atheism--a lack of belief in deities of any kind (my paradigm) or a belief that no deities exist at all.

    Now, however, there are atheists that do believe in certain supernatural things. Many Buddhists could be called atheists. They don't believe in any deities, but they do believe in reincarnation and Nirvana, neither of which require deities.

    Is atheism really a religion?

    No. We're far too disparate for anything that resembles religion. We often create social groups because that makes it easier to fight for our rights in a larger religious society. Essentially, that gives us a united front (much like how buffalo crowd around a calf to prevent the wolves from getting at it), but that doesn't mean that the individual members of those groups agree with everything the group does or says. In fact, our disparateness is such a problem that we have far too many groups advocating secularism that that united front is often easily defeated because far too many people do disagree.

    Oh, yeah, I also wanted to mention that in an ideal world, there would be no need for such groups since as I have implied, the stated purpose of most of them is to fight for the rights of secularists in a larger religious society.

    Is the lack of a belief considered a belief?
    No, it isn't. I'm not sure how it could be construed in that fashion. For example, I don't believe that deities don't exist, but rather lack a belief in them. Look up negative atheism. Some atheists do posit a belief that no deities exist, and that's called positive atheism (the article in the previous links also talks about this). It's a nuance, but the philosophical implications of that nuance are far-reaching. I would say (and this is probably my personal bias) that negative atheism is a more scientific view of atheism because it purports a certain skepticism rather than close-mindedness. If push comes to shove, though, us negative atheists would probably say that no deities exist, but we don't much like being put in that position.

    [edit on 12/23/2006 by supercheetah]



    posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 08:11 PM
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    Originally posted by parrhesia

    Originally posted by Hurdy Gurdy
    Do you consider an atheist that believes in God an atheist?

    Is atheism really a religion?

    Is the lack of a belief considered a belief?


    I think atheism declaring that god doesn't exist (a positive belief) to be the same as believing in a god.

    Is lack of belief atheism?

    Not always (could also be religious agnosticism), there are other ways to do it, but imo, they are as slippery as claiming god exists.

    Anyway, I'm an atheist, but my atheism is structured around not really considering the question of god. I'm not denying the existence of anything, but I don't think there is enough evidence for me to realistically or logically consider the question of god.

    You could also see me as a (philosophical) skeptic; I think t he two classifications are very similar, at least for my puposes.

    Those are also really good answers. You just happen to beat me to the post.



    posted on Dec, 24 2006 @ 02:59 PM
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    Well, this was a bust. I was expecting a flood of questions.

    Well, since no one else is asking, I'll ask myself a holiday question.

    Do you celebrate Christmas?
    Yes. Much of the rest of my family is still Christian, and many of them don't even know I'm an atheist. It's easier to go along with the whole thing than to be a humbug.



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 10:44 AM
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    Oh, this makes me very sad. Very few people have asked questions. I'm going to answer a question I've gotten before on other websites.

    But, before I do that, let me ask this to anyone that's listening: Is there anything stopping you from asking a question or are you just at a lack of imagination for any questions?

    On to my question to myself that's been asked of me by many others...

    Do you dislike Christianity in particular? Do you have something against Christianity?
    No, I don't have anything against Christianity in particular. However, I live in the US and the majority of Americans are Christians, so whenever I'm debating, it's usually with a Christian. Unfortunately, that sometimes reflects upon me in a way that I don't want--that being that I have something against Christianity in particular. Whenever I fight for my political rights, it's usually against Christians who want to instill their religion into the government, and upon everyone else, even if the measure isn't to directly convert people. If I lived in an Islamic country, I'd be fighting for those rights against Muslims. In a Hindu country, it'd be against Hindus. Basically, if I was someplace that has the religious trying to instill religion into government and/or the laws, I'd be fighting against that encroachment. I admit that I'm more scared of a theocracy than many other political ideologies (I don't even want to think about a theocratic communist government).

    In truth, I find all religion--from Islam to Christianity to Sikhism to Wiccan to Hindu to Neo-Paganism, etc.--to be equally silly and without merit. Monotheism scares me a little more because it's had more history with religious wars and barbarity than non-monotheism. That's not to say that non-monotheists haven't had religious wars; it's just that non-monotheistic religious wars are historically infrequent in compared to wars in the name of monotheism. The first 400 to 500 years of Christianity was filled with people killing each other over Christian dogma, and which books were truly about Jesus. Today, Muslims are committing acts of violence not only against non-Muslims, but even against each other. I'm not sure what it is about monotheism, but it acts like a vice on the mind that prevents it from growing.



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 11:38 AM
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    Originally posted by supercheetah
    Is there anything stopping you from asking a question or are you just at a lack of imagination for any questions?


    Perhaps all the rules in your first post.
    I felt a little constrained when I read it. I LOVE the idea of this thread, but the firm structure of JUST asking questions and receiving answers is kind of limiting. For example, I'd like to have discussion instead of just questions and answers:

    I'm not a "believer", nor do I consider myself an atheist, but like parrhesia, I don't have enough evidence to consider the question of the existence of God. (I thought most people considered that position agnostic, not atheist) I don't even give myself a label as regards the possibility of the existence of God.

    So, here's a question... Doesn't the term atheist mean you believe there is NOT a God? Parrhesia said she's not denying the existence of anything, but considers herself an atheist. Isn't negative atheism the same as agnostic? If not, what's the specific difference?



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 12:21 PM
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    Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

    Originally posted by supercheetah
    Is there anything stopping you from asking a question or are you just at a lack of imagination for any questions?


    Perhaps all the rules in your first post.
    I felt a little constrained when I read it. I LOVE the idea of this thread, but the firm structure of JUST asking questions and receiving answers is kind of limiting. For example, I'd like to have discussion instead of just questions and answers:
    You're right. I should have widdled it down to two: be polite and no proselytizing, but for some reason, I can't edit my OP. I'll try to contact a mod to see if I can always have edit access to that post.


    I'm not a "believer", nor do I consider myself an atheist, but like parrhesia, I don't have enough evidence to consider the question of the existence of God. (I thought most people considered that position agnostic, not atheist) I don't even give myself a label as regards the possibility of the existence of God.

    So, here's a question... Doesn't the term atheist mean you believe there is NOT a God? Parrhesia said she's not denying the existence of anything, but considers herself an atheist. Isn't negative atheism the same as agnostic? If not, what's the specific difference?
    Negative atheism is a stronger position than agnosticism. Agnosticism tends to carry the connotation that a person is unsure of his or her beliefs, but us self-ascribed negative atheists don't carry that uncertainty. I guess you could say it's a firm conviction of agnosticism with a bias towards positive atheism. We'll defend our position as ardently as positive atheists, but we won't use euphemisms like so many agnostics do.

    Another way to think of it is that most people don't believe in invisible pink unicorns, but I don't think most people will say that they believe invisible pink unicorns don't exist. Does that mean we're all agnostic on the topic of invisible pink unicorns? How about the infinite number of other imaginary entities? Are we all agnostic about the existence of Zeus? After all, we can't prove or disprove the existence of Zeus. We can't even prove or disprove the existence of my favorite deity, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 01:00 PM
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    Thanks.

    You can only edit your posts for so long. (Maybe 2 hours?)



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 03:14 PM
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    i think there haven't been many questions because there isn't much to be curious about. do you think people are generally curious about atheism? should they be?



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 04:12 PM
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    Why do atheists hate life?



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 04:31 PM
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    Originally posted by NowAmFound
    i think there haven't been many questions because there isn't much to be curious about.


    You know, this is a good point. There isn't that much to be curious about. Especially from the 'believers' club. Except of course the ever-fascinating question of why atheists hate life...

    :w:

    I mean, in terms of theology, the religious folks really have the material and stories to discuss, argue and question. I mean, IS Peter the founder of Christianity or not? They can go on for hours and days about that stuff. But an atheist doesn't believe in God... Next?

    You know what I mean?

    And as far as personal beliefs, you (supercheetah) can't really speak for all atheists because the only 'belief' they share is a disbelief in God. I don't celebrate Christmas or Easter or any holidays, but I can't say that atheists don't. Atheists just don't have a club where they all share beliefs like believers do.

    This might be a good thread for you to talk about your beliefs in...
    www.belowtopsecret.com...

    Just an idea.



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 06:40 PM
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    am i being invited to talk about my beliefs? so it's the other way around, it is atheists who are curious about "believers"?



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 07:07 PM
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    Originally posted by NowAmFound
    am i being invited to talk about my beliefs?


    Not by me. I only said you had a good point. The rest of my post was directed toward the OP. Sorry if that wasn't clear.



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 07:30 PM
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    Originally posted by NowAmFound
    i think there haven't been many questions because there isn't much to be curious about. do you think people are generally curious about atheism?

    They seem to be. Whenever I've brought it up in conversation, there is, quite often, a flood of questions that come out. Well, that's been my experience, anyway.

    should they be?

    People should be curious about their own beliefs, and the source(s) of those beliefs.

    I'm not looking to convert any body. I was just looking for something to do.


    Originally posted by thehumbleone
    Why do atheists hate life?
    We love it more than the religious. It's the only one we believe we have. We can't waste our time on things like church or rituals.


    Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

    Originally posted by NowAmFound
    i think there haven't been many questions because there isn't much to be curious about.

    You know, this is a good point. There isn't that much to be curious about. Especially from the 'believers' club. Except of course the ever-fascinating question of why atheists hate life...

    :w:

    I mean, in terms of theology, the religious folks really have the material and stories to discuss, argue and question. I mean, IS Peter the founder of Christianity or not? They can go on for hours and days about that stuff. But an atheist doesn't believe in God... Next?

    You know what I mean?
    You're right, there isn't much to say about it. Atheism as a philosophy is pretty simple, but the religious that have encountered me always seem to have questions. I figured I'd give some around here the chance to ask them.


    And as far as personal beliefs, you (supercheetah) can't really speak for all atheists because the only 'belief' they share is a disbelief in God. I don't celebrate Christmas or Easter or any holidays, but I can't say that atheists don't. Atheists just don't have a club where they all share beliefs like believers do.

    This might be a good thread for you to talk about your beliefs in...
    www.belowtopsecret.com...

    Just an idea.
    I'm not pretending to speak for all atheists. I speak for myself and myself alone.

    Perhaps I've gotten the wrong impression. Is it possible that the questions people that learn about my atheism are asking are all rhetorical in nature?

    Nonetheless, I answer them because they're being asked.

    [edit on 12/28/2006 by supercheetah]



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 07:33 PM
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    Originally posted by NowAmFound
    am i being invited to talk about my beliefs? so it's the other way around, it is atheists who are curious about "believers"?
    I'm not curious about your beliefs. I believed in far too much for far too long and learned far too much about those beliefs to realize that there's no reason for me to have them.

    I just thought people would want to ask stuff. There's really nothing more to it.



    posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 07:37 PM
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    Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

    Originally posted by NowAmFound
    am i being invited to talk about my beliefs?


    Not by me. I only said you had a good point. The rest of my post was directed toward the OP. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
    I thought that post was directed at me. Now I'm not sure.




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