Why I'm not an Atheist

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posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 01:14 PM
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As we are raised, we learn the concept of deity. And then we decide whether or not we believe in one. Just like Santa.


Exactly. Would you say then, that holding a position and acquiring a label to notify others in your 'disbelief' in santa is completely unnecessary, knowing that there is no such thing?




posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
Would you say then, that holding a position and acquiring a label to notify others in your 'disbelief' in santa is completely unnecessary, knowing that there is no such thing?


If a "label" existed describing those who don't believe in Santa, I would certainly identify as one of those. Absolutely. Because it describes me. Is it necessary? No. I have never said that it is.

I also accept the labels of "naturalist", "liberalist", "mutualist", "pragmatist" and others. They describe me and my beliefs. Are they necessary? No. But it gives people an idea of my beliefs, and therefore, who I am. I don't really have a problem with labels when they fit. I have a problem when people use the labels to mean something other than what they mean.


edit on 2/23/2013 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 01:53 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


This is starting to go somewhere.


Why do you feel the labels correctly sum up the entirety of the beliefs (or lack of) on any given topic? If you do not feel they do, why is there such strong support for the use of them?

It seems to me that they only hide what they name, and introduce division and an "us vs them" mentality that leads to perceived persecution, injustice, and even outright hatred in some cases. All because of the label that minimizes the true diversity of perspectives on the same thing (the universe).



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by Serdgiam
 



Originally posted by Serdgiam
Why do you feel the labels correctly sum up the entirety of the beliefs (or lack of) on any given topic? If you do not feel they do, why is there such strong support for the use of them?


I don't feel that labels correctly sum up the entirety of the beliefs (or lack of) on any given topic. And I don't have a "strong" support for them. But when they fit, I have no compunction about using them. For example, one of my labels is "Obama supporter" as I voted for him both times and generally support his positions on issues. However, that does not even come close to describing the entirety of my political opinions. AND I disagree with him on some positions.



It seems to me that they only hide what they name, and introduce division and an "us vs them" mentality that leads to perceived persecution, injustice, and even outright hatred in some cases.


PEOPLE do that, not labels. To simply state that I'm a ______ does not create an "us vs them" mentality. It's a statement of fact. It's people's assumptions and judgments (as illustrated in the OP) that creates the divisive mentality.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 03:18 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 




If a "label" existed describing those who don't believe in Santa, I would certainly identify as one of those. Absolutely. Because it describes me. Is it necessary? No. I have never said that it is.

I also accept the labels of "naturalist", "liberalist", "mutualist", "pragmatist" and others. They describe me and my beliefs. Are they necessary? No. But it gives people an idea of my beliefs, and therefore, who I am. I don't really have a problem with labels when they fit. I have a problem when people use the labels to mean something other than what they mean.


Great answer. I agree completely. There is obviously a need for labels. They do describe when description is needed.

The thing I'm trying to get at, and perhaps I'm not being clear about it (I apologize), is that when we describe ourselves as atheist, we always do so in a religious context, therefore, atheism is a religious stance. Why don't we become truly godless, and step outside the religious circle where atheism resides, and denounce also atheism. Maybe I'm being too philosophical on the matter, but indulge me and allow me to explain.

When do we label ourselves as atheist? Only when we have a need to quantify ourselves in relation to religion. We have a need to let others know that we don't believe in deities. This is a religious stance, much like labelling oneself Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist, simply because it is a declaration in context only to religion. When asked on say a form or census what our religious belief are, we write atheism. Under no other circumstances do we use the label. We argue over atheism with other religions, we argue the existence of other deities with other religions, and we do so within forums such as this that are discussions on religion in general. Therefore, atheism is a religious opinion, position or stance, which forces one to sometimes remain religious, or fanatical, or dogmatic, or ideological in order maintain it. Hence the argumentative ass-hats (my new favorite word), the t-shirts, the billboards and the rhetoric in promotion of the atheist idea over the theist idea.

My argument is, why don't we leave religion altogether, turn our backs on it and walk away, lead by example and not rhetoric? There is obviously no convincing the religious about their opinions, even through logic, empiricism and common sense, so why don't we ourselves stop being religious about atheism and move on, show them that religion itself is unnecessary?

When someone asks us: "Are you atheist?" rather than say yes, we should say "No, I'm not religious," thereby cleansing ourselves all stigma that the label 'atheist' carries with it, eliminating thousands of years of baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds performed by other atheists that come with such a label.

I don't know if this helps, but I hope to have a civil discussion, even though the OP is not so civil. I write negatively as a matter of style.



edit on 23-2-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 03:30 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


By expressing, arguing over and promoting one’s ideal metaphysical viewpoint as superior over others, one becomes a dogmatist.


yup

And since I've been advised that I should make every post count, let me add - you've made no point whatsoever - and you took an awful lot of words to not make it

What exactly is your metaphysical viewpoint?

It's fine to criticize - we all do. What is it you're actually criticizing?

I wonder if you can explain without making yourself out to be some kind of hero

:-)

Saying I AM is just part of being human



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 



yup

And since I've been advised that I should make every post count, let me add - you've made no point whatsoever - and you took an awful lot of words to not make it

What exactly is your metaphysical viewpoint?

It's fine to criticize - we all do. What is it you're actually criticizing?

I wonder if you can explain without making yourself out to be some kind of hero

:-)

Saying I AM is just part of being human


I appreciate the pithy comment, I cannot say it wasn't deserved.

But read the post above yours. I think it condensces what I was trying to get at. I'd like to hear your opinion.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 03:49 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


more pithy comments tomorrow

as well as reading

:-)



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 05:02 PM
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The text of my Intro to Religions course states that Atheism is still a concept in the explanation of existential; unlike the majority of other concept, it holds to the belief that there are no deities or deity.

So basically what the OP is saying, correct me if I am incorrect, is that Atheism holds and functions under the belief that there are no deities or deity, however, jus like the majority of religions such as Islam and Christianity as OP presented multiple times, the term Atheism has been watered down and conformed to be religious in practice by the banner waving members that are intrinsic to almost all religious groups that rather accept the label due to external pressure than to proceed in a logical evaluation of the topic.

I see a rather apparent trend in the course of humanity regarding the formation of religion; a new one seems to pop up when the former ones got it wrong, and just like the former, the new is often misinterpreted by the succession of generations.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

The thing I'm trying to get at, and perhaps I'm not being clear about it (I apologize), is that when we describe ourselves as atheist, we always do so in a religious context, therefore, atheism is a religious stance. Why don't we become truly godless, and step outside the religious circle where atheism resides, and denounce also atheism.

When do we label ourselves as atheist? Only when we have a need to quantify ourselves in relation to religion. We have a need to let others know that we don't believe in deities. This is a religious stance, much like labelling oneself Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist, simply because it is a declaration in context only to religion. When asked on say a form or census what our religious belief are, we write atheism. Under no other circumstances do we use the label. We argue over atheism with other religions, we argue the existence of other deities with other religions, and we do so within forums such as this that are discussions on religion in general. Therefore, atheism is a religious opinion, position or stance, which forces one to sometimes remain religious, or fanatical, or dogmatic, or ideological in order maintain it.

My argument is, why don't we leave religion altogether, turn our backs on it and walk away, lead by example and not rhetoric? There is obviously no convincing the religious about their opinions, even through logic, empiricism and common sense, so why don't we ourselves stop being religious about atheism and move on, show them that religion itself is unnecessary?

When someone asks us: "Are you atheist?" rather than say yes, we should say "No, I'm not religious," thereby cleansing ourselves all stigma that the label 'atheist' carries with it, eliminating thousands of years of baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds performed by other atheists that come with such a label.

I don't know if this helps, but I hope to have a civil discussion, even though the OP is not so civil. I write negatively as a matter of style.


You won't know if this helps either, but I hoped you would have made your arguement clear from the beginning, because I honestly don't see ANY logical way to eliminate thousands of years of "baggage". Nice try, but it won't work, sorry your logic didn't help you with that one, and by the way, I don't mind being considered uncivilized.
A high vocabulary doesn't equate to high intelligence in my opinion, for you to ask athiests to clean up their image by telling them to tell people that they are not athiests is....rediculous.
May I suggest that you encourage athiests to take a scientific approach to teaching others, rather than telling athiests that they are too religious and to stop with their label because you don't know if it helps but you do hope to have a civil conversation.
I suggest you further your study on how to eliminate uncivilized folk who believe in a deity, because this frankly is not working out too well for you, maybe try appealing to the authority of some celebrity or something, that seems to be effective for folk.
edit on 10/01/11 by Wonders because: It was messed up.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 05:26 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


I'll have to get back with you tomorrow, too. My husband has just gotten home from a business trip. But this discussion has been fun and I hope to have the opportunity to continue it.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 06:45 PM
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reply to post by Wonders
 





A high vocabulary doesn't equate to high intelligence in my opinion


It helps to be understood properly and be taken seriously in my opinion. Also it would help to utilize proper grammar, punctuation and spelling.

By the way, it's spelt 'ridiculous.'



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 04:24 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Its always good to find common things and agree than find differences and fight


If I understand your point, I'm not
sure I agree. I don't NEED to have a
belief about where we came from,
why we're here, what our purpose is
and what happens after we die. I don't
know ANY of those answers (aside from scientific theory - but even that, I
can't say I "believe in"... ) and I don't
have a need to choose a belief about
it. Did I understand you correctly?

you did understand me but you surprise me, you never think about all that?
Sorry that i am about to ask something personal and dont answer if it bothers you. Why do you live? What motivates you?
I have never heard a view like that and i am wondering, is that a 'perfect' justification to avoid a conflict in the mind/brain or you really 'dont need to'



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 05:25 AM
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Originally posted by logical7
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Its always good to find common things and agree than find differences and fight


If I understand your point, I'm not
sure I agree. I don't NEED to have a
belief about where we came from,
why we're here, what our purpose is
and what happens after we die. I don't
know ANY of those answers (aside from scientific theory - but even that, I
can't say I "believe in"... ) and I don't
have a need to choose a belief about
it. Did I understand you correctly?

you did understand me but you surprise me, you never think about all that?
Sorry that i am about to ask something personal and dont answer if it bothers you. Why do you live? What motivates you?
I have never heard a view like that and i am wondering, is that a 'perfect' justification to avoid a conflict in the mind/brain or you really 'dont need to'


I think like that too - because it is the truth - no one knows. You might have beliefs, assumptions and ideas about what happens before birth or after death or why you are here but no one knows.
Why do I live? No choice.

Beliefs conflict and are not true anyway so why fill yourself full of contradiction and mistruths?
edit on 24-2-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 08:31 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
...when we describe ourselves as atheist, we always do so in a religious context, therefore, atheism is a religious stance.


I agree that it's usually in a religious context. I only mention atheism when someone asks about my belief in God, though (or in response to the use of the word). If they ask what religion I am, I say I don't practice religion. The belief in the existence of God (theism) is separate from the practice of any one of the world's religions. Many, who once called themselves Christians, don't practice ANY religion, yet they believe in God. And many practice religions but don't believe in God. (Buddhists, for example.) The two are usually intertwined in most of the world's larger religions, but not necessarily. The words atheism and theism are SPECIFIC to a belief in the existence of a god.

In my experience of talking with people, atheism is assumed to be a "religious" expression. But I actually try NOT to confuse the two. Religion is an entirely different subject, to me. But you think of theism as a religious stance. Thanks for the explanation.



Why don't we become truly godless, and step outside the religious circle where atheism resides, and denounce also atheism.


That's certainly an option that one is free to take. And if that is your choice, I understand it and support you in it. However, religion happens to be one of my favorite topics. (Politics is another, but the season for that is over right now.) I was raised in an extremely religious home and I know a LOT about it. It's ingrained in our society and I actually have views about various religions, although I practice none.



When do we label ourselves as atheist? Only when we have a need to quantify ourselves in relation to religion.


I only use the word atheist in relation to the belief in deities. On a form or census - when asked my religious affiliation - I write "none".


Therefore, atheism is a religious opinion, position or stance, which forces one to sometimes remain religious, or fanatical, or dogmatic, or ideological in order maintain it.


As I said much earlier, SOME are dogmatic about their atheistic beliefs. Some have weekly meetings and scientific speakers and try to duplicate the church environment and make their life about atheism. I don't. These 'militant atheists' practice atheism in a religious context. But they represent a small portion of the atheist population and are the proverbial "squeaky wheels". Most of us just live our lives, not caring about what others think or believe. Your response in the OP is to the minority of atheists, who think it's important that others know and respect and accept their beliefs.

I couldn't care less if someone respects my beliefs. Chances are, I don't respect their beliefs at all, but I respect their RIGHT to have them. I don't argue religions or even the existence of God. That's a personal choice and none of my business.



My argument is, why don't we leave religion altogether, turn our backs on it and walk away, lead by example and not rhetoric?


I have. Only when it's 'in my face' do I comment on it. Most of us (atheists) on ATS are not starting threads in the religious forum, because we don't think it's a religious subject and we don't care about taking a stand on it. You could have put this in the Philosophy forum, but YOU think of atheism as a religious stance, so you put it here. Not all of us think of it that way. But I understand how you see it.



When someone asks us: "Are you atheist?" rather than say yes, we should say "No, I'm not religious," thereby cleansing ourselves all stigma that the label 'atheist' carries with it, eliminating thousands of years of baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds performed by other atheists that come with such a label.


Compare the label "feminist".
There's enough stigma, baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds associated with that label to fill large a truck! It's been made into a 'bad word'. But just because people have contorted its meaning, that doesn't mean that I am no longer a feminist (One who wants equal opportunity, rights and legal treatment for women and men.) I won't just discard the label because people have stupidly or purposely distorted it for their own needs. And that's just my stubbornness, I'm sure.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 08:45 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


I don't know if this helps, but I hope to have a civil discussion, even though the OP is not so civil. I write negatively as a matter of style.

Your OP is a passive aggressive rant - accusatory, judgmental and insulting

I love a good rant, but I prefer an honest one - even when it isn't pretty. Don't cop out - you meant to provoke. Why not enjoy the fruits of your labor?

:-)

So, here we go...

It’s difficult to find what separates, if anything, one form of dogmatism over the other. This need to promote one's doctrine as superior is merely a plight of petty vanity, one I no longer wish to take part in.

Really...? :-)

Too funny. Do you mean for us to accept that your position is not superior? If so, why bother promoting it? If not - then this whole chat we're having is a silly waste of time (you egoist you)

For the atheist, it’s really no different, for they too find comfort in and seek to defend their God, their promise, their exalted opinion and ideal: namely—God does not exist. Ideology cannot be anything other than what it is.

Exalted? Well, there's a little tell...

The atheist finds comfort - in their beliefs? Do you even know any actual atheists? I have to ask - because atheism isn't even a little bit about finding comfort - or belief. Atheism is entirely based on not finding any evidence of a god, gods or magic to believe in - then past that, finding no reason to entertain the idea that there might be

The idea :-)

You want to claim that the opposite of faith gives faith legitimacy - as if denial of something means there's something to deny. You're not an atheist - so you can't renounce atheism. Your OP is a ruse

When atheists do make declarations it's usually to do with not being forced to live their lives based on beliefs they don't share. And declare we do - out of necessity - not vanity

Why I'm not an Atheist

Ahem... Why should we care?

You do get my point don't you? :-)

My argument is, why don't we leave religion altogether, turn our backs on it and walk away, lead by example and not rhetoric?

Lead? You do mean to proselytize then - in a one hand clapping kinda way. So, you are godless - but don't want any atheist cooties? You want all atheists to follow your lead? You're on some kind of milquetoast crusade to make the atheists more palatable - tolerable? Please - explain your point. Now would be a good time

When someone asks us: "Are you atheist?" rather than say yes, we should say "No, I'm not religious," thereby cleansing ourselves all stigma that the label 'atheist' carries with it, eliminating thousands of years of baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds performed by other atheists that come with such a label.

Why are you telling us how to be, what we should or shouldn't think, explaining what we believe, how we believe, what we should believe - and what we should or shouldn't do? It's a fair question

Also, who are you? (Seems like I've heard this spiel before)

OK, not so much with the pithy - but I believe we can call that civil. I am so hoping you can clear a few things up for me

:-)



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 08:48 AM
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reply to post by DelayedChristmas
 



Originally posted by DelayedChristmas
... the term Atheism has been watered down and conformed to be religious in practice by the banner waving members that are intrinsic to almost all religious groups that rather accept the label due to external pressure than to proceed in a logical evaluation of the topic.


Hear! Hear!
The desire for a "way of life" or "belief system" is STRONG in humans. We are indoctrinated to conform, to belong, to join with like minds and to practice traditional (or new) and common rituals. And it's difficult for many to "break away" from that inclination. I am not surprised at the fact that some atheists want to "belong" to a fellowship, so they make their t-shirts and billboards to show a solidarity and perhaps feel that they have strength in numbers.

I pride myself in being as non-conformant as I can at any given time. I reject the "religion of atheism", the same as I reject all other religions.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 09:03 AM
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Athiests and theists ....
Both groups have some thoughtful and deep thinkers ...
Both groups have some sheeple who can't think for themselves ...

I'll take a thoughtful and deep thinker, either atheist or theist, over a brainwashed hardcore religious or anti-religious fanatic anyday.

As for why I'm not atheist ... I've had too many metaphysical experiences to think that way. My beliefs are based upon what I have experienced and those experiences tell me that there is a God and a spirit world. (it's just that they probably aren't even close to being what we've been told they are).



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 09:08 AM
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Originally posted by logical7
you did understand me but you surprise me, you never think about all that?


I THINK about it, sure. And I actually hold some beliefs about it, but they're more in the form of possibilities and probabilities than beliefs. I think it's probable that there's more to our existence than we can experience with our 5 senses. I think it's possible that there's something "after" this life experience. But I don't know or "believe". It's just a possibility. I'm open to it. And I'll see what happens when the time comes.



Why do you live? What motivates you?


I can't really answer that beyond some ethereal, conceptual thoughts ... I am here. I have a desire to experience life. I love it. It's fascinating. It's what I am presented with. I don't know what is to come, so I live it and enjoy it to the best of my ability.

I am motivated by learning, love, strength, connection, integrity, creativity, challenge. I am motivated by the wonder of life. (How corny does that sound???)
But it's true. I am more appreciative of everything that I ever was when I held religious beliefs.



I have never heard a view like that and i am wondering, is that a 'perfect' justification to avoid a conflict in the mind/brain or you really 'dont need to'


Hmm... not having a need to know certainly does avoid the stress that needing to know (or needing to believe) presents. But that's not why I came to my position. I got here by realizing that we CANNOT know, so why not let it go and let go of all the pressure around having a firm (but probably wrong) stance on "the way things are"? I didn't just wake up with this position one day. It took years of reasoning to come to it.

And I love talking about myself, so no worries.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 09:50 AM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


This post reflects what I was trying to get across in my first few posts, before we "settled" into actual discussion.

LesMisanthrope, taking the stance - "I am not an Atheist" - not only IS taking a label ("not an atheist"), it also implies that there's something "beneath you" about being an atheist or announcing it as your position and accepting it as a label. Whether you meant that or not, I don't know, but it sure seems like that's exactly what you were doing.

Of course, you expected atheists to come in and argue with you.
And that's fine. I learn so much in these discussions - it's motivating.
This is WHY I come to ATS - for discussions like this. So I really appreciate your thread.


A few pages back (www.abovetopsecret.com...), you said I was using ad hominem and that wasn't my intent at all. My intent was to point out that in your endeavor to break away from labels, you have just inserted the negative (not) and created a new label for yourself. You claim you are neither an atheist nor a philosopher, when clearly, you are both, when seen from this outside perspective. And you feel compelled to announce your new labels to ATS in your avatar and in your thread. And that's fine. But flogging others for not being as advanced or enlightened as you (which is REALLY what the OP sounded like to me at the time - thus my contentious replies) is no way to invite curiosity and discussion. It invites debate and argument. Which is also fine to me.
That's all I was saying.

Announcing our 'labels" is all about sharing with others who we are (or aren't) and what we think (or don't).





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