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Will the real Atheists please stand up

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posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 11:57 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 


The second person to comment on this thread has pretty much my same answers... But here it goes!



Why are you an Atheist?


In your definition of a god, that being the "creator of the universe and everything in it" I'm actually a bit confused on what you consider "everything" to be. Technically my parents created me. Or do you mean the very bare minimum (elements and so on)? In which case we may also have evidence to what created that. What we don't have evidence for is some being creating these things. There for, it is not a rational reason to believe in such a being.




If it’s because you believe there is no God, then how can you be so sure?


Considering "Atheist" is the lack of belief in a god, then my answer should have been pretty obvious. And It's not that I am 100% sure there is absolutely no god. There may very well be on. But all things in existence points to natural causes. Once again, there is no evidence to show that there everything is a single (or multiple) beings work.




If it’s because there is a lack of evidence for you to believe it and/or because there is a lack of evidence to the contrary, then doesn’t that equate to you being undecided?


Not entirely. Simply because I don't believe in the tooth fairy because their is lack of evidence doesn't mean that I am on the fence about the whole topic. You see, we do have evidence that points to an alternative reason why my tooth has been replaced with a coin the very next morning, that being your parents. There for we can assume that the person who came in to my room and whispered to my father in my mothers voice saying "i'm going to give him two coins this time!" is probably my mother and not the tooth fairy. In fact, there has been no evidence at all to even give the smallest hint that a fairy made the switch. And I asked a few other friends of mine and they all said it was their parents too! and I even asked my parents and they said "you got us! We were the ones who put the coin under your pillow".

Although! If one night, i set up cameras in my room and I saw a little floating light with wings and glowing dust falling from it as it flew in front of my cameras lens holding the very coin I received when I woke up the next morning. I'd probably start to believe there was a tooth fairy after some more confirmation. Alas, no fairy has been seen. there for, I do not believe in the tooth fairy because of the lack of evidence.




If you do not believe, while at the same time, hold the position of saying it’s not untrue either, then doesn’t that equate to you being undecided?


This is not my case. But, I will surely answer. No, that would not make me undecided. If I were to say "I'm not quite sure if there is a god or if there isn't one" that would make me undecided. If I said "There is no proof of god, but still no proof there isn't" that is saying that you can't disprove a negative.




If you reject it, and because the word reject, means to put aside, send back or not comply, then doesn’t that equate to you being undecided?


No. because if I reject the idea of a god, it means i don't believe in it. once again, your misunderstanding what "undecided" means.

Also you have three different kinds of meaning for the word "Reject". You'll have to be a bit more specific on which definition we are using and to what question it's used in.




If it’s because you deny it, the word deny means to declare untrue, disclaim or refuse. How have you been able to do any of these things?


We can declare untrue if something is said to have done something, yet we find an alternative that has done that same thing, and also verified. Although that's not always the case, let's take an idea of god being "omnipotent and omniscient" Both of those cannot coexist within a single entity. You can not have the power to overcome something you have foreseen, otherwise you've foreseen incorrectly because you've changed what you've foreseen, for example. So we can discredit that idea of a god rendering that idea of a god as not true.

All these reasons are why I'm an Atheist... currently




posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 11:58 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Ben I believe you are quite open minded from what I have read and the interaction we have had so far, but one thing is you also need to post non-biased video which give both points of views.

Albeit youtube videos are very much like Wiki encyclopedia and everyone has a voice and opinion I believe you need to also hunt for opposing argument.

mainly the reason why I am saying this is because the narrators voice is British and quite frankly the rest of the planet also knows by now how much free time they have to spew their rhetoric onto the internet.

Not many people are taking these personal preachers philosophy as hard evidence anymore and that is also becoming quite evident.

The schooling system is failing miserably across the pond from me and this is also reflected in what their society is experiencing as of late.

non-biased videos please or opposing argument, not everyone likes to debate only one opinion and it does not make for good discussion.



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 02:15 AM
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reply to post by Ghost147
 



Firstly, I wasn’t expecting an Atheist to answer all the questions, but only the ones that closely matched their position. That’s why I used the (If questions) so that if they applied to your Atheists position, you would only answer that particular one, but anyway, never mind, thanks for your reply.



Originally posted by Ghost147
Why are you an Atheist?
In your definition of a god, that being the "creator of the universe and everything in it" I'm actually a bit confused on what you consider "everything" to be. Technically my parents created me. Or do you mean the very bare minimum (elements and so on)? In which case we may also have evidence to what created that. What we don't have evidence for is some being creating these things. There for, it is not a rational reason to believe in such a being.


I’m talking about the creator of everything that we know and can see, or to be a bit more specific, God who created/started the Big bang.



Originally posted by Ghost147
If it’s because you believe there is no God, then how can you be so sure?
Considering "Atheist" is the lack of belief in a god, then my answer should have been pretty obvious. And It's not that I am 100% sure there is absolutely no god. There may very well be on.


You are what is being defined by modern Atheism, in the “passive “ sense, as an Agnostic-Atheist, but this is what I have been trying to dispute as primarily being an Agnostic position. You will need to read the whole thread, to get an idea of what I am trying to say so far; otherwise I’m going to have to repeat large chunks of what I have already written.



Originally posted by Ghost147
But all things in existence points to natural causes. Once again, there is no evidence to show that there everything is a single (or multiple) beings work


We don’t know all things in existence, for example, we don’t even know what “dark matter” is and we don’t currently know, if there are any particles, smaller than quarks, inside quarks.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Big Bang happened unaided, or/and is part of a (how can I put this) perpetual motion system, that is self regulating.



Originally posted by Ghost147
If you reject it, and because the word reject, means to put aside, send back or not comply, then doesn’t that equate to you being undecided?
No. because if I reject the idea of a god, it means i don't believe in it. once again, your misunderstanding what "undecided" means.

Also you have three different kinds of meaning for the word "Reject". You'll have to be a bit more specific on which definition we are using and to what question it's used in.


I know what undecided means and I’m aware of the three different kinds of definitions connected to it, which was why I pointed them out in the question.

Obviously, to reject something out right means they have decided, I get that. But the other definitions of reject are not so clear, it all depends on the persons perspective who is answering the question.

But a certain reading between the lines was necessary. I was really asking the person what their definition of reject was, and whether they thought their position meant they were undecided. I wasn’t assuming they were decided or undecided, it all depends on which definition of reject they hold and were responding to.


- JC



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 02:41 AM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 


Why are you an Atheist?

Have I posted in this thread already? Oh, well...


If it’s because you believe there is no God, then how can you be so sure?

I call myself an atheist not because I believe there is no God, but because I don't believe there is one. The two propositions, as adjensen once explained to you in another thread, are not exactly equivalent.


If it’s because there is a lack of evidence... then doesn’t that equate to you being undecided?

No, of course not. It is precisely in situations where information is absent or insufficient that it becomes necessary to take a decision. If the facts were all available we would all perforce be atheists or believers. As it is, on the weight of evidence presently available, I have decided that there is no God, or may as well not be for all the difference it makes to anything.


Simple questions with hopefully some straightforward answers…

And here's another. Is Joe related to Lara?



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 07:37 AM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
Reaching a conclusion and reaching a decision, are both the same thing.


I said the words were very similar and that's where I believe the confusion lies.And as I said, if you feel better thinking that I made a "decision" to be atheist, then go for it. Your conclusions about my personal life path have no real bearing on reality, so it doesn't bother me at all for you to say that I decided that I didn't believe in a God. Others seem to perfectly understand how I came to my conclusions about it - and so I am getting my point across for those who are willing to hear.

And that begs the question. So what? So what if I DID decide to be atheist. What's your point?



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by Cosmic.Artifact
Ben I believe you are quite open minded from what I have read and the interaction we have had so far...


I'm sorry that I cannot say the same about you.



mainly the reason why I am saying this is because the narrators voice is British and quite frankly the rest of the planet also knows by now how much free time they have to spew their rhetoric onto the internet.


You're British, then?

Sorry, but I posted a video specifically to EXPLAIN what the words atheist, theist and agnostic mean and how they work together. There is no opposing view as far as I know. If there is, feel free to post something on it.



Not many people are taking these personal preachers philosophy as hard evidence anymore and that is also becoming quite evident.


I don't know who you're referring to as "personal preachers". I didn't see any preachers anywhere.



The schooling system is failing miserably across the pond from me and this is also reflected in what their society is experiencing as of late.


I see you're in the US... Me, too and I've got to say that our school system is a failure, for sure. Your dislike for another group (first atheists and now the British) is showing. I wonder how many people you hate because of the group they belong to...



non-biased videos please or opposing argument, not everyone likes to debate only one opinion and it does not make for good discussion.


After all the one-sided, unsourced atheist-hater threads and posts you've made, you have the nerve to preach to me about being more unbiased in my posting? Are you serious? That's absolutely laughable!

edit on 12/24/2010 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 08:50 AM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 





You are what is being defined by modern Atheism, in the “passive “ sense, as an Agnostic-Atheist, but this is what I have been trying to dispute as primarily being an Agnostic position. You will need to read the whole thread, to get an idea of what I am trying to say so far; otherwise I’m going to have to repeat large chunks of what I have already written.


For me to lean strongly to an agnostic position would require a thought similar to "there is no evidence for nor against" but I don't believe that. Because there is in fact evidence against other ideas of god "the bringer of day and night, sun rise and sun set" for example can be very easily dismissed. Because of our expansion of knowledge we now understand that the reason we have a sunrise and sun set is not because a god is using his chariot to pull over a global blind of day or night, but it's because of Orbit, planetary rotation, and gravity. In fact, all things we know to exist have a natural reason for it, not a supernatural one. in fact, we still don't have any evidence of anything supernatural. And that is our evidence for this point in time to exclude a supernatural being as the reason for the creation of he universe, there for it is irresponsible for us to even consider it as a possibility. We have found that in every single phenomenon and event a natural reason is the cause of it. We have found that in every single phenomenon and event that there has been supernatural reason of it. So why believe that a supernatural being started it all?

Of course, we can never rule out all possibilities. But we can still say rationally what the best option is. Unless I see evidence to show otherwise, There is no god. Is that Atheistic enough?




We don’t know all things in existence, for example, we don’t even know what “dark matter” is and we don’t currently know, if there are any particles, smaller than quarks, inside quarks. There is no evidence to suggest that the Big Bang happened unaided, or/and is part of a (how can I put this) perpetual motion system, that is self regulating.


Yes, I do realize that, in fact, everyone does, it's intensely obvious and I wasn't suggesting that we knew everything in existence. But - once again - from all the things we do know exist, there has been a natural cause for it all thus far. And there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. There for it is irrational to believe otherwise until evidence is provided. The big bang could have equally likely the cause of an alien excreting it's bowel into some toilet in another dimension. but we don't consider this because there is absolutely no evidence of this. We don't consider a supernatural being because of the exact same reason. Are you now "undecided" about this new 'Alien Bowel Movement' theory?



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
You are what is being defined by modern Atheism, in the “passive “ sense, as an Agnostic-Atheist, but this is what I have been trying to dispute as primarily being an Agnostic position.


If I may add a bit of clarification on this point from my perspective...

For me to be purely agnostic, I would have to hold the position that we don't KNOW enough to be able to tell whether or not there is a God (as defined in the OP). That is as far as agnosticism goes. We don't know. The possibility for the existence of this God would have to be about equal to the possibility that there isn't a God. I would have to believe that there might be a god or there might not.But I don't believe that. I believe that there is NOT.

But my position is stronger than not knowing. I don't believe that there is a God. The evidence I've seen, heard and experienced tells me that there is not a God. I can say that I don't believe there is a God. I can comfortably lean toward disbelief. The God theory occupies the same place to me as the Santa theory and the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory. I don't believe they are real (as commonly defined).

Now aliens? I would say that I'm an agnostic believer. To me, the evidence I've seen, heard and experienced tells me that I don't know enough to know for sure, but I lean toward believing that they exist. I have come to the conclusion that the chance for the existence of aliens is much higher than the chance that they don't exist. So I am still agnostic, but I do believe they are real.

In BOTH cases, I don't know for sure (agnostic), but I either don't believe (atheism) or I DO believe (in aliens).



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 10:27 AM
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But if you don’t claim to know why, then that would seem to suggest, that you haven’t come to a decision or a conclusion on it.

- JC


It might mean you haven't come to a conclusion yes, but a conclusion on your knowledge, not on your belief, which is agnosticism. Because even though I think I don't know, or I think I can't know, or I think it may be possible...I still don't "believe" at that moment, either, which makes me an atheist by definition.

I realize people have their own perceptions of the definition of atheism, but my point was only that the original meaning of the word certainly did NOT mean to deny god. It only meant without god.

By that understanding, it's my personal opinion that other atheists later in history who denied god explicitly, or theists who misunderstood the word atheism, are who gave atheism it's 2nd noted definition. I see the original atheism term as only meaning without god, not meaning deny. So to me, the deniers are the "new atheists" or whatever this discussions about. The disbelievers who do not deny are atheists in its original sense.

I don't even understand what the argument is here? Yes knowledge can lead to a decision on a belief, but it doesn't always, it doesn't have to. You are an atheist simply for lacking a belief in any god or gods, regardless of your knowledge.

I mean I am direct proof of this that one can be agnostic and atheist at the same time, I currently lack a belief in any god of known theology (at the very most I might call myself a pantheist but even that I don't fully subscribe to) but I also do not know that there's not a god. I leave that door open, I don't deny god could exist, but currently god does not exist in my beliefs. You don't have to decide you know or don't know something in order to have a disbelief in something. That's why some deny and some don't. Those who deny I imagine claim to have as much knowledge for denial, as a theist claims to have knowledge for assurance that god's real. In that way, both the denier and the theist are gnostic.

My problem with the whole definition of atheism is just that it lets me (who doesn't deny) be confused with those who do deny. The solution to this is to simply ask the atheist whether or not they deny or simply don't believe. Not to change definitions or to decide on anything. If you are curious and need to make a distinction about the atheist being either gnostic or agnostic, then just ask them!

Is the discussion here about whether knowledge can be separate from beliefs? Because I think in some cases knowledge can be directly linked to beliefs, and other times not. Again, you'd just have to ask the atheist what they think. We don't bite, I promise.

Many atheists have an expansive knowledge of theology. There are atheists who greatly admire various religious beliefs even if they don't believe in the religions themselves. All atheists are not religious hating people. We all probably commonly share the sadness for the unrest and violence that sometimes comes out of religion, but it doesn't have to mean we detest religion. Just sayin'.



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




Originally posted by Astyanax
Have I posted in this thread already? Oh, well...


Yes, strange, I was expecting you to have turned up, by at least page three lol




Originally posted by Astyanax
If it’s because you believe there is no God, then how can you be so sure?
I call myself an atheist not because I believe there is no God, but because I don't believe there is one. The two propositions, as adjensen once explained to you in another thread, are not exactly equivalent.


Yes I remember but, I still see a dilemma with the phrase “I don't believe” because it’s still not clear if they hold a “passive” or “active” disbelief.



Originally posted by Astyanax
If it’s because there is a lack of evidence... then doesn’t that equate to you being undecided?
No, of course not. It is precisely in situations where information is absent or insufficient that it becomes necessary to take a decision. If the facts were all available we would all perforce be atheists or believers. As it is, on the weight of evidence presently available, I have decided that there is no God, or may as well not be for all the difference it makes to anything.


But just regarding a higher power/creator and not religion, what happened pre Big Bang, doesn’t give us much evidence to go on.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Simple questions with hopefully some straightforward answers…
And here's another. Is Joe related to Lara?


I’m sensing this is trick question, which will be countered by a quick rebuttal


Ok here goes…

When I was lurking around ATS, before I joined up, people would often say, that joining this site was like venturing “down the rabbit hole”. Which has now become more synonymous with the matrix movie now, than it has to Lewis Carol’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

Anyway, Lewis Carol lived and wrote most of his famous books living in Croft Church, in England. Although the name Croft is primarily and English surname, it is originally a word for a rented piece of land or farm in Scotland.
Summing up, I was born in Scotland and joining this site was a lot like falling down a rabbit hole, so I thought the name Croft was appropriate.

I loved those Tomb Raider games but I could never be related to a fictional Character, it’s just not genetically possible lol



- JC

edit on 25-12-2010 by Joecroft because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 03:58 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 





Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I said the words were very similar and that's where I believe the confusion lies.And as I said, if you feel better thinking that I made a "decision" to be atheist, then go for it. Your conclusions about my personal life path have no real bearing on reality, so it doesn't bother me at all for you to say that I decided that I didn't believe in a God. Others seem to perfectly understand how I came to my conclusions about it - and so I am getting my point across for those who are willing to hear.

And that begs the question. So what? So what if I DID decide to be atheist. What's your point?


Please try not to misunderstand what I am pointing out. I respect you holding the position you do, and I understand the reasons you have pointed out, as to why you now hold that position. My point was that you said you the following…



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I think my belief process is more a conclusion than a decision! Although the words are very similar, I think I concluded that there is no God MUCH more than decided that there is no God


From your perspective and in your own mind, you see it as more of a conclusion than a decision, which I respect, but disagree, because it seems like you are splitting hairs. From what I understand of the two words, reaching/making a conclusion and reaching/making a decision are both the same thing.

That was all I was pointing out…

Just to reiterate, I don’t have a problem with the reasons why you have come to your conclusion/decision.

I hope that clears it up.

**************************************************************

Regarding your other post…



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
If I may add a bit of clarification on this point from my perspective...

For me to be purely agnostic, I would have to hold the position that we don't KNOW enough to be able to tell whether or not there is a God (as defined in the OP). That is as far as agnosticism goes. We don't know. The possibility for the existence of this God would have to be about equal to the possibility that there isn't a God. I would have to believe that there might be a god or there might not.But I don't believe that. I believe that there is NOT.

But my position is stronger than not knowing. I don't believe that there is a God. The evidence I've seen, heard and experienced tells me that there is not a God. I can say that I don't believe there is a God. I can comfortably lean toward disbelief. The God theory occupies the same place to me as the Santa theory and the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory. I don't believe they are real (as commonly defined).


I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just to give you the following analogy…

(A) God created everything in the universe.

(B) The universe happened unaided, or/and is part of a perpetual motion system, that is self regulating. (This is generally the scientific criteria for trying to find a solution, to pre Big bang theories)

Now imagine a world, where the majority of people believe in a God/creator/Higher power. In this alternate world view, the burden of proof would be on those who believe in (B).

Now transport yourself back to our world. In our more scientific era, the burden of proof, is on those who believe in (A) Now bear in mind, that neither A or B is fully known, unless someone out there is aware of something, that no else knows.

Remember, I’m just talking about the creation or happening, of our universe and not religion.

What I am trying to point out, is that, who should the burden of proof be on regarding something of which there is no evidence for either way.

The thing is, I could equally take the stance, that there is no proof/evidence that the universe happened without aid or guidance and that I think it highly unlikely that it is true. For me, option (B) is right up there, with Santa, the tooth fairy and Flying Spaghetti Monster.




Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Now aliens? I would say that I'm an agnostic believer. To me, the evidence I've seen, heard and experienced tells me that I don't know enough to know for sure, but I lean toward believing that they exist. I have come to the conclusion that the chance for the existence of aliens is much higher than the chance that they don't exist. So I am still agnostic, but I do believe they are real.

In BOTH cases, I don't know for sure (agnostic), but I either don't believe (atheism) or I DO believe (in aliens).


Well, I understand exactly what you are saying but I guess the key to my argument can be summed up as follows…

Should an Agnostic-Atheist be considered one of the following...

An Agnostic, who only until asked for further clarification, either thinks something is unlikely or likely.

Or should they it be considered…

An Atheist, who until asked for further clarification, is either an Atheist in the “active” or “passive” sense.

I’m not saying it has to be either of these for definite; I’m just putting it up for debate.
This is just a suggestion but maybe it should be considered as a form of Agnosticism, rather than a form of Atheism. The reason I suggest this is because those people who are Agnostic-Atheist, may be more in the “I don’t know” mind set and only slightly in the I don’t believe position. Of course, having said that, it could also be the complete reverse of that.

One advantage of having it as Agnostic is that because there are a lot of types of Agnostic positions, people tend to ask for clarification, but they don’t tend to do this when someone says they are Atheist. I’m not saying that’s a good thing but it just seems to happen more often in practice.

- JC



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 04:02 PM
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reply to post by SpaceJ
 





Originally posted by SpaceJ
But if you don’t claim to know why, then that would seem to suggest, that you haven’t come to a decision or a conclusion on it.
It might mean you haven't come to a conclusion yes, but a conclusion on your knowledge, not on your belief, which is agnosticism. Because even though I think I don't know, or I think I can't know, or I think it may be possible...I still don't "believe" at that moment, either, which makes me an atheist by definition.


Yes but the problem is and this is something I mentioned near the end of my post to Benevolent Heretic, is that some people who are Agnostic-Atheist, may be more in the “I don’t know” mind set and only slightly in the “I don’t believe” position. Which to me, seems as though they are more rooted in Agnosticism, than they are in Atheism. Of course, having said that, it could also be the complete reverse of that.




Originally posted by SpaceJ
I realize people have their own perceptions of the definition of atheism, but my point was only that the original meaning of the word certainly did NOT mean to deny god. It only meant without god.


Well, like I pointed out in my last post “without God” doesn’t really give us a good understanding of it’s exact definition. I also pointed out that Atheism has only been seen as a form of Agnosticism, in roughly the last 2 centuries and even more prominently during the middle of the last century. So essentially, Atheism wasn’t viewed as being part of an Agnostic position, until roughly the 1800’s onwards. So it must have been defined differently, prier to that period in time.



The terms weak and strong are relatively recent, while the terms negative and positive atheism are of older origin, having been used (in slightly different ways) in the philosophical literature[36] and in Catholic apologetics[38] since at least 1813.[39][40] Under this demarcation of atheism, most agnostics qualify as negative atheists.

Source




Originally posted by SpaceJ

I don't even understand what the argument is here? Yes knowledge can lead to a decision on a belief, but it doesn't always, it doesn't have to. You are an atheist simply for lacking a belief in any god or gods, regardless of your knowledge.


People keep saying this “I lack belief therefore I am an Atheist” but they are only an Atheist, under the current definition, by Atheists, which isn’t currently an agreed upon definition, by everyone. And also, from what I have pointed out above, it’s a fairly recent development, that the definition of Atheism has been tied in with Agnosticism.

Now I personally don’t have a problem with a person who says they “don’t know”, but don’t believe. My problem is, a question of how best it should be defined.

This is roughly what I posted to Benevolent Heretic

Should an Agnostic-Atheist be considered one of the following

An Agnostic, who only until asked for further clarification, either thinks something is unlikely or likely.

Or should they it be considered…

An Atheist, who until asked for further clarification, is either an Atheist in the “active” or “passive” sense.

I’m not saying it has to be either of these for definite; I’m just putting it up for debate.



Originally posted by SpaceJ
Is the discussion here about whether knowledge can be separate from beliefs? Because I think in some cases knowledge can be directly linked to beliefs, and other times not…


Yes knowledge being separate from beliefs is part of the discussion, because knowledge to some extent, always seems to have an influence on what we believe or don’t believe.

Can you give me an example of where knowledge or a lack of knowledge doesn’t influence a person’s belief?



Originally posted by SpaceJ
Many atheists have an expansive knowledge of theology. There are atheists who greatly admire various religious beliefs even if they don't believe in the religions themselves. All atheists are not religious hating people. We all probably commonly share the sadness for the unrest and violence that sometimes comes out of religion, but it doesn't have to mean we detest religion. Just sayin'.


Thanks for your sentiment, I personally detest the hatred towards Atheists as well, especially when they use the term satanic towards them. I think the best a believer can say, is that the person who is an Atheist, has no faith. They should also make an attempt to try and understand the Atheistic position.


- JC



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by Ghost147
 





Originally posted by Ghost147
…from all the things we do know exist, there has been a natural cause for it all thus far. And there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. There for it is irrational to believe otherwise until evidence is provided.


Yes there is natural cause thus far, but every cause and effect hinges its beginnings on the pre Big Bang. You said the key word, evidence, because there is no evidence to suggest that the universe happened unaided. I could argue that it’s irrational to assume, it either way, until evidence is provided.

Check out the second part of my reply, to Benevolent Heretic.



Originally posted by Ghost147
The big bang could have equally likely the cause of an alien excreting it's bowel into some toilet in another dimension. but we don't consider this because there is absolutely no evidence of this. We don't consider a supernatural being because of the exact same reason. Are you now "undecided" about this new 'Alien Bowel Movement' theory?


That’s funny


But I don’t think Alien secretions are going to be able to create a universe by chance, with all its governing laws and so forth. And it cannot be compared to a God/creator, who has formed the very fabric of secretions and toilets and the particles within them.

- JC



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 04:06 PM
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Thanks to everyone for your replies so far...

I think I’m going to take a well-deserved Christmas brake…not sure when I’ll be back…

Merry er…Happy Holidays lol



- JC



posted on Dec, 26 2010 @ 12:43 AM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 


But just regarding a higher power/creator and not religion, what happened pre Big Bang, doesn’t give us much evidence to go on.

First of all, I don't think physical cosmology is necessarily the field in which to go looking for evidence of God. Most believers would cite evidence of a more mundane, personal kind. Oddly enough, so do most atheists.

I have two reasons for not believing God exists. Thinking about it a bit more deeply, the first reason is not so much that there is no evidence for God's existence but that there is no necessary condition for God to exist. There is no question we can ask that demands an exclusively God-shaped answer.

The second reason is the clincher, however. It is that, given the nature of the world we live in, its creator would have to be either monumentally indifferent to His creation, or downright vicious. This is known as the Problem of Evil, and the only way it can be solved within the framework of conventional religious thought is to multiply entities as the Gnostics did. The moral God of monotheistic imagining is a scandalous impossibility.

Epicurus, a Greek philosopher who lived three centuries before Christ, put it thus:


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
 Then he is not omnipotent.


Is he able, but not willing?
 Then he is malevolent. 


Is he both able and willing?
 Then whence cometh evil? 


Is he neither able nor willing? 
Then why call him God?


Epicurus, BC 341-270)



edit on 26/12/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2010 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
From your perspective and in your own mind, you see it as more of a conclusion than a decision, which I respect, but disagree, because it seems like you are splitting hairs. From what I understand of the two words, reaching/making a conclusion and reaching/making a decision are both the same thing.


And, as I asked before: that begs the question. So what? So what if I DID decide to be atheist. What's your point?


On "conclusion" and "decision". I believe that most times in life (my life, anyway), a conclusion comes from evidence and comes before a decision.

A conclusion is based on evidence.
A decision is based on conclusion. For example:

I looked out the window, saw that the thermometer said 60 degrees, the sky was clear and the ground was dry. From this evidence, I CONCLUDED that it was a nice day. Based on that conclusion, I DECIDED to go for a ride.

I looked at the evidence and came to a conclusion. Then, based on the conclusion, I made a decision. I didn't have to decide to go for a ride. I could have decided to go back to bed. But that wouldn't have changed the conclusion that it was a nice day.

Same with my beliefs. I looked at the evidence for and against God. From what I found, I concluded that he doesn't exist. Based on that conclusion, I decided to stop observing the associated rituals.

A doctor takes a patient's blood pressure, temperature, and gets a report of their symptoms. Based on the evidence, he concludes that the patient has an infection. Based on that conclusion, he decides to prescribe antibiotics.



Now imagine a world, where the majority of people believe in a God/creator/Higher power. In this alternate world view, the burden of proof would be on those who believe in (B).


The burden of proof is not on the minority. I don't know where you get that. The burden of proof is on those who make a claim. You have made two claims:

A. God created everything.
B. The Universe was caused by the Big Bang.

Both of these are claims. Both hold the burden of proof. But there IS scientific evidence for the Big Bang Theory



What are the major evidences which support the Big Bang theory?

* First of all, we are reasonably certain that the universe had a beginning.

* Second, galaxies appear to be moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. This is called "Hubble's Law," named after Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) who discovered this phenomenon in 1929. This observation supports the expansion of the universe and suggests that the universe was once compacted.

* Third, if the universe was initially very, very hot as the Big Bang suggests, we should be able to find some remnant of this heat. In 1965, Radioastronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered a 2.725 degree Kelvin (-454.765 degree Fahrenheit, -270.425 degree Celsius) Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB) which pervades the observable universe. This is thought to be the remnant which scientists were looking for. Penzias and Wilson shared in the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery.

* Finally, the abundance of the "light elements" Hydrogen and Helium found in the observable universe are thought to support the Big Bang model of origins.




What I am trying to point out, is that, who should the burden of proof be on regarding something of which there is no evidence for either way.


Whomever is making a claim. Both of these are claims and both hold the burden of proof.



The thing is, I could equally take the stance, that there is no proof/evidence that the universe happened without aid or guidance and that I think it highly unlikely that it is true. For me, option (B) is right up there, with Santa, the tooth fairy and Flying Spaghetti Monster.


You could take that stance, but only if you completely ignore or deny the scientific evidence listed above. But if that is your conclusion, then that is your conclusion. And you are welcome to it.




Should an Agnostic-Atheist be considered one of the following...

An Agnostic, who only until asked for further clarification, either thinks something is unlikely or likely.

Or should they it be considered…

An Atheist, who until asked for further clarification, is either an Atheist in the “active” or “passive” sense.


There is no universal right or wrong answer to that. IMO. I consider myself an atheist. I don't believe in God. It goes without saying (to me) that we don't KNOW enough to say for sure how we came to be here or if there are other (higher?) forms of life in the Universe. In my opinion, gnostic theism and gnostic atheism miss the mark. Because neither has been proven. Neither can be known. Yet.


I only really care about what I am and what I believe. I'm not that concerned with what others believe or what they call themselves. But I call myself an atheist and if others want to know more, I'm willing to share. If they wish to call me agnostic, they sure can.




This is just a suggestion but maybe it should be considered as a form of Agnosticism, rather than a form of Atheism.


If everyone knew what the words meant and used them properly, then I might agree with you, but most people think Agnostic is some middle ground between atheist and believer. I used to think that.
But in my situation, agnostic is an adjective, used to describe the noun, atheist.



One advantage of having it as Agnostic is that because there are a lot of types of Agnostic positions, people tend to ask for clarification, but they don’t tend to do this when someone says they are Atheist.


Well, maybe they should ask for clarification.
You're right. When a person says they're atheist, all kids of negative judgments are made. I'm not going to change what I call myself just so other people will be less judgmental about me. If they want to know more, they can ask. If they want to make their judgments, they can. They're going to anyway.
If I called myself agnostic, there are going to be judgments, too. For me to stop using the word atheist to describe myself would imply that I think there's something wrong or negative about it and it would be catering to people's ignorance and bigotry... Something I'm not known for.



posted on Dec, 28 2010 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Seriously?

Knowledge is the condition of knowing something to be true. No faith, trust or confidence required.
Belief is the condition of thinking something to be true, out of faith, trust or confidence.


Of course you need to have ''faith, trust, or confidence'' in something that you think you ''know'' to be true.

Everything we ''know'' is based on belief - of course, some of these beliefs are stronger than others.

''Knowledge'', at its fundamental level, is synonymous with belief, as one person's ''knowledge'' will vary from - and often contradict - the next person's ''knowledge'', making it just as subjective as belief.

''Knowledge'', in fact, is just a very strongly held belief.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
A Gnostic Theist. (One who KNOWS God DOES exist)


No, because there is no ''belief'' involved, and consequently ''theist'' wouldn't apply. This is, of course, if we are arguing along your lines of differentiating between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'', and consequently attempting to differentiate between agnostic and atheist/theist.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Have you looked these words up? Have you studied this? Because it sounds like you're doing a lot of assuming about these words. Check it out (Better yet, check out the video at the end. It's a really good one)


I know what these terms and words mean, I have no need to refer to any other sources.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
A Gnostic Atheist. (One who KNOWS God DOESN'T exist)


Again, atheism is an absence of belief or an active disbelief in God or gods, so this is not relevant to someone who holds a position of ''knowledge'' of the non-existence of deities.

While you could say that ''an absence of belief'' is compatible with ''knowledge'' of non-existence, it is rather superfluous, as it naturally follows that someone who ''knows'' that God doesn't exist would also not believe in God.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I think you're getting caught up in semantics. There's nothing knee-jerk about coming to the beliefs I have or don't have in life. My beliefs come from my education and experiences... what I discover through my life. If I found evidence that my husband was cheating on me, I couldn't DECIDE not to believe it.
I may decide to deny it or ignore it, but my belief would be based on the evidence. Likewise, if I have no evidence of him cheating, I couldn't decide to believe that he was cheating. That would be a suspicion, not a decision.


I am not having a go at your personal beliefs or non-beliefs, I am merely passing comment on your assertion that you don't decide what to believe.

It is not really semantics. We are all born completely ignorant and without knowledge of anything, and we gain experience ( both personal and non-personal ), and based on this experience we form our beliefs on life.

As soon as we hear of a new concept or proposition, we then decide whether to reject or accept it, based on our experiences, and we then form our beliefs accordingly.

You say yourself that your beliefs come from your education and experiences.


You say that if you found out that your husband was cheating ( a bit of a personal example, but I'll try to be tactful
) that you wouldn't decide whether to believe it; well, I'd contest that you would:

It would be your own personal decision to believe that any evidence that came to light constituted enough evidence for you to believe that he was cheating on you.

Similarly, you say that if you have no evidence, then you can't decide to believe that he's cheating. This is not true. You could easily decide to adopt a ''guilty until proven innocent'' approach, and believe that he's cheating until he provided enough evidence to satisfy you that he wasn't ( although I doubt that this approach would lead to a particularly healthy relationship
).


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
But if it makes you feel better to think that I made a decision about my beliefs, then think that. It doesn't bother me.


It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. I only happen to be debating this point with you because it was you who originally brought up the notion of believing without making a decision about it. My comments are not intended as a personal attack on you or your viewpoint, but are just querying the idea of believing without deciding. That is all.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
No I haven't. You just don't understand. Here:

Gnostic = knowledge
Agnostic = lack of knowledge
Theistic = belief in God
Atheistic = Lack of belief in a God

gnostic theist = knows there IS a God -
agnostic theist = Doesn't know, but believes there is a God.
gnostic atheist = knows there ISN'T a God
agnostic atheist = Doesn't know, but doesn't hold a belief in a God


I do understand, it's just that this is contradictory.

''Gnostic theist'' doesn't make any sense whatsoever; if someone ''knows'' that there's a God, then belief wouldn't enter into it ( if you are separating ''knowledge' 'and ''belief'' ).

What about someone who ''knows'' that there's a God, but chooses not to believe ? What term are you using to describe them ?


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Actually, I'm not confused at all. It is you who are unfamiliar with the meanings of these words and how they work together.


''I know what you are, what am I ?''



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Maybe instead of worrying about how others believe or what they know, you should do some reading and educate yourself on these words.
I know that sounds snarky and I don't mean it to be, but you are missing the point because you clearly don't understand the concept of theism and gnosticism.


I understand what they mean, I have no need to read any more about them, as I am fully educated upon the philosophical concepts and meanings of these terms.

It doesn't matter if you were a bit ''snarky'' to me, after all, I was little bit snarky towards you in my initial replies to you. Although, I do apologise for that, as I don't intend to be rude, I just get a little carried away in debate at times.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I PROMISE you, this video will clear it up for you.


I got about half way through that video - and it didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know - before I turned it off when the guy narrating it started to ''preach'' about atheism ( for want of a better word
).

It doesn't go any way to resolving my original comments on this topic, which is surrounding the ambiguity of the term ''atheist'' do define oneself; the term does not tell people whether you passively disbelieve ( logical ) or actively disbelieve ( illogical ).

So why would those with a passive disbelief use such an ambiguous term, when it can easily be interpreted as the person holding an illogical viewpoint ?


This is why I think a lot of ( not all ) atheists hide behind this term, hoping to potentially convey an active disbelief while feigning an passive disbelief when challenged.



posted on Dec, 28 2010 @ 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
After reflection and discussion with my husband, I'm going to refine this and state that my lack of belief in a god is not based on a conscious decision. I still think it's semantics.


I agree with you that some beliefs we choose to hold are based upon a conscious decision, but how can you say that about a subject of this nature ? These types of beliefs or non-beliefs aren't made in a split-second sub-conscious moment, but can be assessed at leisure, and a personal conclusion can be drawn based on the evidence - or lack of - at our disposal.



posted on Dec, 28 2010 @ 06:42 PM
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Originally posted by SpaceJ
Whether or not theists and atheists agree upon the definition, that doesn't change the root words of the term atheist.


But meanings of words and terms change. Route meanings of words aren't always the generally accepted meaning that the word or term conveys nowadays.

The word ''atheist'' has evolved to mean both ''an absence of belief in God or gods'' and ''belief that God doesn't exist''.


The term ''Native American'' ( when spoken ), for example, just means someone that hails from the American Continent(s), yet if someone says ''I'm a Native American'', it is generally understood that they mean that they are racially Amerindian.

If someone from the USA - who isn't an American Indian - says ''I'm a native American'', then they can't complain if most people assume that their statement implies that they are of Amerindian descent.

Bear in mind that I'm talking about if someone is saying this phrase, as I'm aware that there's a difference in written form that is depicted by the capitalisation of the letter ''N''.


Originally posted by SpaceJ
So the main meaning of the original word was just without god, lacking god, not believing in god, plain and simple. It has to get complicated by those who explicitly deny god, giving atheism a 2nd definition. But those people's beliefs or claims of knowledge shouldn't change the definition of atheism for everyone. The word means what it means, without god.


Again, if original meanings and derivations of words were kept unchanged, then we'd still be living in caves and going ''ugh ugh''.

The word ''gay'' means what it means: happy and carefree.

In fact, I was in a really gay mood a couple of days ago, and I enjoyed a really gay Boxing Day.



Originally posted by SpaceJ
I think the resolution here is that until further clarification from the individual, you should just take an atheist first for only disbelieving. I'm not saying you personally jump to conclusions, I'm saying people in general when labeling atheists could benefit from first assuming they simply disbelieve, rather than off the bat assuming they deny god. Because the essence of the word means to not believe, not to deny. I think the possibilities should be regarded in that order.


That would be nice in an ideal world. Sadly, you can't rely on everyone within earshot ( or keystroke ) agreeing to accept the definition of ''atheist'' as just passively disbelieving.

This is why I've been asking why so many atheists would define themselves in such a way, when everybody is well aware that there is such a clear ambiguity with this term, and that the word may be interpreted differently from the way in which you intend it.

Why would someone knowingly describe themselves in this way ? It raises suspicions.

As I've previously mentioned, the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an atheist as ''one who believes that there is no deity'', and my version of the OED defines it as ''''One who denies or disbelieves in God''.

Two highly respected dictionaries define ''atheist'' as meaning someone who actively disbelieves in God, as well as the original meaning of the term.

Even ''agnostic atheism'' would be more descriptive of a passively disbelieving atheist's belief, but yet so many atheists still describe themselves, in general terms, as purely ''atheist''. This doesn't really make sense, when as previously stated, such a definition may well lead to confusion.


Originally posted by SpaceJ
You either believe or disbelieve something, and know or don't know something. It's either or, there is no middle. If you "don't know if you believe in god" then you don't believe in god. But you probably don't claim to know why or why not you don't believe.


This is why someone who passively disbelieves in God or gods would most logically define themselves as ''agnostic''.

Despite what may be said, agnosticism is a belief that the existence of God or gods is unknown, and someone is noncommittal on the matter.

It's an acknowledgement that the individual can't make any kind of accurate call on the subject.


This is another problem with some people who define themselves as ''atheist'': they will still pay lip-service to the passive disbelief, while slipping in their own illogical personal beliefs, such as:

''I don't deny that God may exist, I just think that it's unlikely''

''God may or may not exist, but it seems highly improbable''

''I'm not saying that God doesn't exist, but I'm 99.9% certain that God doesn't''


These hypothetical quotes are all examples of how some atheists hide their own illogical beliefs under the guise of a passive disbelief.

The Principle of Contradiction states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time, therefore the existence of God or gods is either true or untrue.

There is no probability, likelihood, or percentage involved.

This is why agnosticism is a far more accurate description for someone who has ''an absence of belief''' in God or gods, but who doesn't have any tangible, definable personal views on the potential non-existence as well.



posted on Dec, 28 2010 @ 07:17 PM
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Originally posted by cycondra
I believe there is no God because there is no evidence that one exists.


That is the ''argument from ignorance'' logical fallacy. It is patently illogical to believe that something isn't true, just because you haven't personally seen any evidence to support the hypothesis.

Only today, it was reported that there was a new shark species discovered by researchers in India. If everybody believed in the idea that ''there's no evidence of , therefore I believe that this phenomenon and phenomena doesn't exist'', then they'd be continually proved wrong on a regular basis. That shark would have gone from ''non-existence'' to ''existence''.

I'm not criticising your belief, I just think it's strange that, when referencing science in your argument, you'd adopt such an unscientific belief.


Originally posted by cycondra
I am not undecided because the hypothesis of God and religion is not needed. There is no question which can not be answered without religion / God.


That is a circular argument.

If there is a ''God'' that is responsible for everything in existence, then quite clearly God would be needed to explain everything, and every question could not be answered without God.

You would have to know the truth value of the of the statement ''God exists/ is needed for existence'' first, before declaring whether a God was necessary or unnecessary for any explanations pertaining to existence.


Originally posted by cycondra
Science does and will have all answer needed eventually


LOL.

That's the ''God of the gaps'' argument inverted !

The mere suggestion that science has ''all the answers'' goes completely against logical thought and science, itself.

If, hypothetically, we did manage to find ''all the answers'' through science, then we're hardly going to know that we have found them all, are we ?

It's not as if this is a video game where we'll get a ''mission accomplished'' or ''level completed'' notification upon finding out ''everything'' !

Not to mention, that your comment that science will find the answers to everything is unscientific, as well.

Science doesn't have a position on what will or won't be discovered. The scientific method just gets the job done, without having any kind of ideology or designated purpose ( other than to help make the universe more understandable and coherent to us ).


Originally posted by cycondra
I will spend my faith and time in the real world, the place where everything we have, can, and will experience is linked to verifiable evidence.


The evidence at your disposal is only verifiable in your mind, just as the evidence to those who believe in God, ghosts, or aliens, is only verifiable in their minds, as well.

There is no evidence you've ever come across that is more worthy than any evidence that anybody else has come across.

The sooner people realise this, perhaps the more tolerant they will be.



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