Agnostic.com

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Is Atheism a belief system?

The knee-jerk reaction of an atheist is “no of course not. It’s the disbelief in God“

Now I just read a very intelligent linguistic breakdown of the true meaning of agnostic, but let’s just go with the current popular meaning which is “ I don’t know if there’s a god, there could be.”

My experience is self-described agnostics find themselves to be very open minded. They can’t prove a negative so they leave it open ended.

So what does that say about atheists? By definitively saying that we don’t believe there’s a god what we are also saying is that we do believe God is a human invention. This is still not an assertion of a religion. It’s a theory. It’s based on observation of the entire history of our species, around the globe, and history of every major religion. But there’s no way around the fact that it still involves a small leap of faith. The most I can tell a theist is that I’m satisfied with the evidence I see that the I concept of God was a creation of human beings. Just as I am satisfied with the observable evidence behind evolution.

I just find it a somewhat interesting paradox that it does take some faith to be an atheist.

It’s the Agnostics that have no faith. And frankly I find it an indefensible position. If you properly egg knowledge we are hard evidence leads, then it is the most lazy and apathetic conclusion to draw that you simply “don’t know“. I have far more respect for the the theist who makes no claim to be able to prove his belief, and simply says it’s a matter of blind faith.

It’s a shame, I wish this website had a more inclusive name. The content is great, but I have no business on “Agnostic.com” because I am not one.

Your thoughts as always are deeply appreciated.

Pier

By Pierscapacity4
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0

There is absolutely no doubt that all the ideas about gods, angels, fairies, hell, paradise etc. all come from human imagination. This includes of course all the terminology that comes or goes with it. So the argument whether humans created gods etc. is somewhat lrrelavant. The narrative is a human invention.
Atoms existed well before the Greeks coined the term. Now we call these old buggers Atomists. We just like labels. Millennia later quarks were discovered. Strangely I have no yet heard the term Quarkist.
I am not satisfied with the term atheist because it still included the -theist part. For me the very question of the existence of gods and their little helpers is a nonsense.
Agnostics discribes those who don't know. We find all believers from all religions in this group.
It is really pussyfooting around. As if there was a sort of primitive fear lingering, the fear that some divine authority might be watching.
Perhaps the term atheism could be replaced by universalist but Catholicism means exactly that. Perhaps I should try Rationalist and the opposition as "Irrationalists.
Though I am not totally satisfied with the term
atheist* it describes best my position in regard to the opposition.

10

Atheism takes some faith? Your wordy post is based on false assumptions, which to me as an atheist, means to damn atheism with faint praise. Atheism is an absence of belief in God or Gods because of total lack of evidence for such a claim. No leap of faith required. Come back with evidence and we'll reconsider it.

This is an old argument here, restated in different ways: atheism as a kind of faith. You must be joking.

This is a site for non believers of religion, not just agnostics. Choose to be here or not, but don't let the name affect your choice. I certainly don't. I find the agnostic position myself to be grossly inconsistent. Agnostic about the God I grew up with, functionally atheist about all other Gods? No thanks. I agree with Bertrand Russell: the position is problematic at best.

If you are an atheist as you say, be it proudly here on this site. But spare us an argument that it is based on faith.

Thanks

David1955 Level 7 June 17, 2018

I suggest you have a read of this:
[atheistrev.com]

@wavemechanic I know all that. These combinations. Nothing new.

thanks, it seams we have to revisit this all the time. the theist have done a fine job of distorting what an atheist is, to the point that even a non believer is defending theist propaganda.

9

An atheist does not have to disprove god(s). The responsibility for proof rests solely on those making the claim. All 3000+ religions out there have the responsibility to prove their god(s) exist. No proof. No god(s). Therefore atheist.

CK-One Level 6 June 17, 2018
9

I like Bertrand Russell's argument, that if I ask you to believe in a Chinese porcelain teapot orbiting the Sun between the orbits of Earth and Mars, you would rightly ask me for proof. Similarly, if you ask me to believe in God, I will ask you for proof. The burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. And so because God cannot be proven, I say that atheism is the only reasonable stance.

Agnosticism is a weakly reasoned stance which is based on appeasement of all sides. It leads you to saying "I don't know" about all kinds of absurdities like Russell's teapot or the flying spaghetti monster, where in fact you should just rule these things out and say "I believe these things do not exist", with the understanding that if further evidence comes to light you may change your opinion.

Denker Level 7 June 17, 2018

Yep. Nicely put.

I was just thinking of the Russell's teapot when I came across your reply! I can't prove that there isn't an orbiting teapot, but I have no good reason to believe there is. I don't believe there's a Loch Ness Monster or a Bigfoot either. I can't prove that they are man-made fictions, but I'd feel silly saying I'm agnostic about them. I'm quite open to being proved wrong, but I do not believe in those things at the moment.

the last thing you said is where the problem lies it seams, they seam to be under the impression that atheism is some stubborn eternal position. every atheist i have ever talked to, 10000s have all said all it will take to change their position is empirical evidence. most with the stipulation that does not mean they will worship that god, just acknowledge its existence

Which is why if an atheist claims "gods don't exist", the burden is on them to prove that they don't exist. This is fundamental to the agnostic viewpoint.

And the problem with your assertion of accepting absurdities is that it depends on what you consider absurd, not on what is logically and empirically true.

So for example, before the space program, we would have been quite correct that a teapot, defined as an object created by humanity, would not be between earth and mars:

Teapots are made by humans

Humans objects have not been between earth and mars.
Hence, teapots are not between earth and mars.

Against that logic, it would be absurd to believe there is a teapot as there is no possibility. Against that logic, it makes no sense to be agnostic anymore than it makes sense to be agnostic about teapots existing on earth proper..

Teapots are made by humans
Humans objects have been on earth
Hence, teapots are on earth.

HOWEVER, with the advent of the space program, said proposition is not so absurd as it sets up a possibility

Teapots are human objects

Humans objects have been between earth and mars.
Hence, teapots could be between earth and mars.

Notice that the most we can say is "could be", to remain agnostic on the claim. Since there is a possibility, until we empirically go out there, we are wrong to claim "there is" or "there isn't".

Likewise with the FSM. We know who created it. We know why they created it. The person that created it specifically mentions why they created it and that it's not real. As such, to be agnostic about the FSM also makes no sense.

However, on the general claim of god(s) for a religious example or string theory for a secular one, there are differing claims of reality and no test for swaying either way. Some people claim gods exist, others don't, yet neither can create a test to prove one way or the other. Some people claim string theory is true, other that it's not, yet neither can create a test to prove one way or the other. Hence in these circumstance, being agnostic does make sense since both possibilities are not excluded.

9

Not collecting stamps,... is not a hobby.

DoktaVolta Level 3 June 17, 2018
8

The level to which so many people twist themselves to "define" atheists and agnostics has become patently ridiculous.
As far as I'm concerned, atheists don't believe in any gods.
Agnostics don't know one way or the other.
Anti-theists are against all religion.
I am an atheist and an anti-theist.
I don't believe any gods have ever existed in reality, and ALL religion is evil.
It's not that hard.

KKGator Level 9 June 17, 2018

Ah, well see, that's why your level 8. I think the expression here is "Bingo". All this twisting and contorting with definitions can be dispensed with if clear thinking is applied.

@David1955 levels are awarded by participating not be a talking head for one side

@benhmiller points are awarded by inputting text and by participating. Period.

7

The problem with theists in their understanding of agnosticism, and also many agnostics today is they misunderstand a term as coined by the person who actually originated it, and apply it to themselves or others for reasons he never contemplated.

Huxley's contention is essentially that supernatural beings and realms are non-falsifiable and therefore you can't take a supportable knowledge claim one way or the other. So it's not "I'm not sure, maybe there could be a god". It's "there's no way to know, inherently". Agnosticism is the null position about knowledge of deities.

Atheism on the other hand doesn't address the knowledge position, only the belief position; it's the null belief position about deities. Namely, that there is no valid evidence to support belief, because belief must inherently based on a preponderance of evidence, of which in the case of deities (much less the SPECIFIC one many have in mind) not just a little, but no evidence, is available.

It's ironic that the rigid truth claim and the unsupportable belief claim comes from theism, and they accuse atheists of being close-minded and having faith. Project much?

mordant Level 8 June 17, 2018

And we know that supernatural beings and realms are non falsifiable etc because..why, someone contends that? I've heard this before. A god is unknowable. Why wouldn't an omnipotent and omniscient being able to make itself known, proved or provable? I would think it would a piece of cake to any God worth the name.

@David1955 For purposes of my argument, "non-falsifiable" means that the hypothesis isn't scientific and therefore cannot be proven or disproven. Anything that the adjective "supernatural" is attached to is inherently non-falsifiable. So it's not a contention, it's an inherent property of the truth claim.

The separate issue of why a hypothetical interventionist god would not irrefutably reveal itself, yet get bent out of shape for people not believing in it, is a question you'd have to ask a theist. For entertainment; don't expect an actual answer.

@mordant I'm sorry but your first para still seems like an assumption about the so called supernatural world. You may be right, but it is still an assumption. I don't believe in the supernatural at all, but for all I know, if it exists, it could turn up and be recorded in a lab. It's just pure speculation not a scientific deduction.

@David1955 My argument is philosophical and linguistic. In those terms the concept "supernatural" is useless and illogical. If anything now considered supernatural ever turns up in a lab, it will be because it turns out to be natural, not supernatural.

Gods and heavens and hells and angels and demons inhabit the supernatural precisely because it puts them conveniently out of reach of empirical observation. The supernatural is an invented concept to take an unsubstantiated thing and make it unsubstantiatABLE.

@mordant true enough.

7

You are so wrong. I don't believe in god because I see no evidence to the contrary. The history of the species, religion, the globe or anything else has nothing to do with it. Furthermore I see no evidence supporting your assumptions. How do you know what goes on in my mind?

Casey07 Level 6 June 17, 2018

exactly, we see this all the time an agnostic who has been manipulated to think atheist means what it does not, then thinks agnostic, the side step of the question on belief, with a knowledge answer. then thinks they have the firmer ground. never mind this ongoing nonsense that we need to understand and explore all of the universe, before we can realize gods were made here on earth.

6

Calling atheism a "belief system" is disingenuous, at best, and deliberately dishonest, at worst.
I find that those who will insist that atheism is a belief system are almost always
believers who are looking for ways to discredit atheists.
It's pathetic and a waste of time. Not to mention, it's just plain false.
I wish they'd just stop.

KKGator Level 9 June 17, 2018
6

I accept people can be agnostic with regard to God in the same way they can be agnostic about Harry Potter, unicorns and fairies.

Gareth Level 7 June 17, 2018
5

Many confuse atheist with anti-theist.

5

As a pure agnostic, allow me to share my perspective in defense of agnosticism as

"It’s the Agnostics that have no faith"
Truth. Our beliefs are not based on the lack of evidence, as is the case for the atheist or theist. When confronted with an experiment we cannot perform and a thesis we cannot test, we simply say "I don't know" as an answer.

It's basically an ontology based on ternary instead of binary logic; a logic that accepts truth, false, and null. True is the realm of the theist, False is the realm of the a-atheist, and Null is the realm of the agnostic.

" then it is the most lazy and apathetic conclusion to draw that you simply “don’t know“."
What's lazy about the truth?
For example, I'm also agnostic about string theory because I have no faith in it. It's a thesis we can't test and there are no experiments to perform. In this case, if you ask me "Is string theory valid?" it is a lie to say "yes" or "no"; the only honest answer is "I don't know."

"he most I can tell a theist is that I’m satisfied with the evidence I see that the I concept of God was a creation of human beings. "
The description of god(s) is a human concept, obvously, since it's humans that are doing the discussion. This is the same as the electron and evolution being human concepts since it's humans that are doing the discussion. Yet, we would not say that evolution and the electron became real when we found a concept or experiment to make them real. We would say that these objects and processes where always around and yet we mislabled, misinterpreted, didn't see them, until we could experiment and test them.

Likewise for the god(s) hypothesis: their description has proven to be misinterpreted, as in the case of Zeus and lightning. However, until we can find an experiment or test to wholly dismiss the very notion of god(s), they could still exist and we are just not savvy to quantifing them by human concepts now or ever. Hence, again, the agnostic stance: the atheist uses the mislabeling of the past and the lack of evidence in the present as justification that gods don't exist and are purely a human invention; the theist use the very same as justification that gods do exist. In both cases, they confuse epistemology (how we know what we know) with ontology (what exists and is real); they claim that human can "talk" their way into knowing what is real or unreal instead of testing and finding out.

It is only the agnostic that doesn't conflate the two, that realizes that epistemology cannot inform ontology, otherwise, there would be no need for physics and philosophy would be enough. It is only the agnostic that realizes that when there is a claim that can't be tested or experimented upon, it is best to say "I don't know" or better yet "I am Null to said claim" to said claim rather than guesswork of "I say yes to the claim" or "I say no to the claim"

"It’s a shame, I wish this website had a more inclusive name. The content is great, but I have no business on “Agnostic.com” because I am not one."
I think the name is very appropo considering that an agnostic doesn't make a claim one way or the other and is open to evidence for both claims, while a thiest and atheist are closed to evidence on at least one side of the claim.

Bull Shit, an atheist can be as 'open' to new evidence as any agnostic can.

" the atheist uses the mislabeling of the past and the lack of evidence in the present as justification that gods don't exist and are purely a human invention;"

Atheists are NOT stating that 'gods don't exist', and they are not making any claim, so they need no justification for their position.

Well said( much as I hate to agree with you on anything)

Your response is articulate and eloquent. Thank you. smile001.gif

@zblaze
"Atheists are NOT stating that 'gods don't exist', and they are not making any claim, so they need no justification for their position."

I realize that is a popular position among modern atheists. It's a position put forth by Flew and then popularized by the American Atheists.
However, as I shall try to demonstrate, it is a position that suffers from strawman or perhaps moving the goalpost or shifting the burden of proof or even hypocrisy.

That position stands as a way for the atheist to have their cake but not have to prove that they are going to eat it too smile009.gif

A theist is most assuredly making claim that "gods exist. That has been what it means to be a theist since time immemorial, an ontological claim about your god or many gods being real. If the atheist is to stand contra the theist (A-theist), then they stand contra their claim of "gods exist" by making their own claim "gods don't exist" and thus need to justify their position.

Consider further that if a theist doesn't meet their burden of proof, that doesn't automatically make the atheist position true: that a theist is unable to prove that gods exist doesn't mean that they don't, only that they failed to prove they do. Likewise, if the atheist doesn't meet their burden of proof, that doesn't automatically make the theist position true: that an atheist can't prove that gods don't exist doesn't mean that they do, only that the atheist failed to prove they don't.

This notion that "we atheists make no claims so we don't have to justify our position" is actually the position of the agnostic who legitimately makes no claims either way. The agnostic is one who claims "I don't know and I'll wait for either side to prove their case".

This notion that " we atheists make no claims so we don't have to justify our position" is a way of

a) setting up a position that is easier to defend but not the position your opponent is taking (strawman)
or
b) moving the goalposts by making the ontological claim of theism, "gods exist" into an epistemological claim of "I don't believe in gods", the latter being more defensible than the former.
or
c) a way to shifting the burden of proof onto the theist such that if they can't prove their case, the atheist (wrongly) assumes that their case is proven.

In short, an atheist who claims that they are under no obligation to justify their position should then also be content with the theist being under no obligation to justify their position.
But an atheist who claims they are under not obligation but the theist is, that simply adding an "A" in front of a word absolves you the responsibility of justifying your position, is committing one or several logical fallacies at best or being a hypocrite at worst.

@zblaze
"Bull Shit, an atheist can be as 'open' to new evidence as any agnostic can."
But an atheist has an inherent bias that an agnostic does not and that makes all the difference.

While an atheist may open to evidence, they are more likely to skew said evidence in their favor... the same way that a theist may be open to evidence but are also more likely to skew said evidence in their favor.

Only the agnostic, by the very nature of their null-position, is less likely to skew evidence either way since they don't have the preconceived position they may wish to defend. They are more likely to see evidence in favor of god(s) as being in favor and evidence against gods as being against.

Being a theist is like walking into a trial already with the firm belief that the person is guilty or not guilty; that pre-conception will bias your perception of the evidence. Thus the atheist and theist are loosely analogous to the prosecution and defense.
On the other hand, an agnostic walks into a trial with no such preconception and thus is less liable to have a bias perception of the evidence. The agnostic, in this very very loose analogy, is more like the judge not in that they are the final arbitrator but because they hold the less bias and will view the evidence with more equanimity than either the prosecution or defense, who will both try to interpret the evidence in favor of their point of view.

@TheMiddleWay you and I have agreed to disagree before but I just want to reiterate that my atheism is not a statement of absolutes that could interfere with evidence whatsoever. Its a personal position that for me there are no gods until I get evidence of them. It’s not a position I take and get defensive over because it’s not a position except intrinsically with myself. It would not make it possible let alone likely for me to skew any evidence of a god if there ever were any. Just still waiting and absolutely skeptical it’ll happen but I’ve been surprised/wrong before and never had a problem admitting it. As far as affecting others or facts, it’s not a position I take and defend, it’s the lack of one. Not collecting stamps is not a hobby, I can’t get excited about it and try to push it on others, nor can it close my mind in regard to other possible hobbies. That’s all smile001.gif

Pure agnostic? According to your profile you are "currently" an agnostic. Sounds like a work in progress to me.

@David1955
Your trolling of me is a work in progress! Roflmao

Well you say that there is a question that cannot be answered.
I say that there is no question at all.
All proposed thesis of gods have no internal coherence (the definition contradicts itself), so if you think about it, even the question is not a good one.
So there is no point in arguing over the answer of a question that is not valid.
So let's say that the fact is: There is no evidence.
The atheist says: Therefore I believe it do not exist
The agnostic says: Therefore its useless to belief in existence or not.
The Ignostic will say: What exactly are you asking if exists or not?

@Pedrohbds
I whole heartedly agree with your view. Ever since I learned of ignostcism (on this site no less), I've been doubting and challenging my agnostic status more and more.

I started out a theist and studying it lead me to atheism.
Then, studying atheism lead me to agnosticism.
I should not be surprised that my current studies with agnosticism may eventually lead me to ignosticism.

5

I’m atheist not agnostic... I don’t need to keep an open mind about the ridiculous. This site may be agnostic but at least it’s atheist friendlysmile001.gif

5

We need to define the difference between 'belief' and 'faith' - and this, I admit, is a contentious issue that many atheists have long arguments about.

My OWN definitions are:-

BELIEF: something you personally accept as being true. WHY you accept it as true is an entirely separate matter - but if there is something that you personally accept to be true then that is a BELIEF that you hold.

I BELIEVE that evolution is a genuine process by which forms of life gradually change in response to their environment and lifestyle.This 'belief' is based on vast amounts of evidence - DNA, fossil records, direct observation, etc - that evidence is WHY I 'believe'. Why I accept this concept as being truth.

FAITH: is belief WITHOUT EVIDENCE. Faith is, in effect, when you say 'I believe X!' and when someone asks you why, your only real response is 'Because I DO!'

Do I 'believe' the words of the bible are mythical bullshit of the first order? ABSOLUTELY I DO! And with good, evidence-based reason. The words of the bible are inherently incompatible with so much that we can see, and measure, and experimentally test - so yes, that is a concept I personally accept to be fact.

Do I 'believe' that the concept of god is equally mythical? CERTAINLY! To believe in god forces you to believe in all sorts of other stuff - such as the 'telepathy' inherent in prayer, the corruption of the concept of cause and effect, and so on - which is completely at varience with our observations of the world around us.

So yes, my atheism is a 'belief system' because it is a personal acceptance of certain things being true - but it is belief BASED ON OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE.

It is BELIEF, but it is not FAITH.

ToakReon Level 7 June 17, 2018
5

The 'a' in both agnostic and atheism simply means "without".

Gnostic = knowledge
Agnostic = without knowledge

Theism = belief in god(s)
Atheism = without belief in god(s)

They are not mutually exclusive. Most atheists are also agnostic - aka "weak" atheism. A few are gnostic - aka "strong" atheism.

Most strong atheistic arguments tend to revolve around the fact that until you define a thing it doesn't make sense to say it exists (and most "gods" lack coherent definitions) or that the concept of God either contains logical contradictions, or is incoherent, and therefore cannot exist on those grounds. See [strongatheism.net] for more info. It's worth a read.

Personally FWIW I'm a weak atheist, or as I prefer, "agnostic atheist". Strong atheism isn't necessarily something I disagree with - I just don't find the position useful. It's a long topic for another day.

But the kind of atheism described by the OP does not apply to the vast majority of atheists, including most prominent/famous ones.

Why not simply "agnostic?"
Well, because I don't require that label for my disbelief in such things as unicorns, goblins, fairies, or magic. I am about as agnostic about a personal god as I am about fairies. And I am roughly as agnostic about a deistic "god" as I am about the universe being a simulation or the product of some superintelligent alien experiment in a parent universe (would we call these aliens "gods"? as far as we know neither we nor they could interact with each other). It's just that everyone assumes these beings don't exist. We could be wrong, but the time to care is after they've been demonstrated to exist. Why make an exception for gods?

On a practical level, I live as though no supernatural entities exist, and will update my beliefs only if/when I encounter positive evidence that uniquely and convincingly points to their existence.

@Perspicalidocious Very well said. Couldn't agree more.

while i also agree with the method of contradiction and improbability. i think the answer lies in anthropology and in neurology, and evolution. we can determine with reasonable certainty that gods are man made. i am an anti -theist atheist gnostic.

@Perspicalidocious in my view it's words like "absolute truths" and "assumptions" which muddies this issue. Atheism is a position, based on the total lack of evidence for any deity, revisitable at any time should evidence be presented. It's the same position I have about all supernatural phenomena. Introducing questionable, or in my view wrong concepts, only confuses the issue unnecessarily. The Atheist position is universally consistent on all Gods, and we can state it clearly about all alleged Gods. No evidence. But I have never heard agnostics say "I'm agnostic equally about 3,000 to 4,000 Gods supposedly invented by humans" because I don't think they do believe that, as per Bertrand Rusell's insightful point. All too often they use the singular, God, and it's the one they grew up and relate in their lives and culture that they are agnostic about. My opinion is the agnostic position is not more pragmatic, just less consistent. Agnostics are welcome to their view, but atheism is not based on faith, and not based on absolute assumptions or truths. It's bad enough hearing such claims from religionists, but it's even worse coming from fellow non believers.

Gnostic = knowledge
Agnostic = without knowledge

Theism = belief in god(s)
Atheism = without belief in god(s)

I've always found this delineation to be an atheist strawman.
After all, theism to the theist is not "a belief in gods", an epistemological position, it's "my god(s) exist", an ontological one. Thus a-theism, in contra to theism, should be "no god(s) exist", an ontological position, not "no belief in gods", an epistemological one.

I've always thought the better delineation is

Gnostic = knowledge
Agnostic = without knowledge

Pistic = belief
Apistic = without belief

And then you can apply this to god(s), goblins, or string theory as you like consistently making epistemological claims, not ontological claims.

And then, if you want to go a step further and make ontological claims, claims about reality and existence, claims that gods do or don't exists, then you'd be a theist or atheist; if you want to claim that goblins do or don't exist, then you be a goblinis or agoblinist; that strings ala string theory exist, you'd be a stringest or astringest.

But this way, your epistemological knowledge and belief claims about gods goblins and strings is divorced from your ontological claims on the same.

@TheMiddleWay google, Merriam Webster, and Oxford dictionary all define theism as "belief in the existence of a god or gods".

@Introverted
Exactly. Keyword: "exist". Ontology. A claim about reality.

So as theism is an ontological claims that gods exist, to stand contra it, atheism should then logically be the ontological claim "belief in the non-existence of a god or gods".

So if the theist is bound to provide proof for their belief that gods exist, then so too is the atheist bound to provide proof for their belief that they don't.

@TheMiddleWay huh? The key word is actually "belief". The 'a' simply means 'without'. It does not mean you must take up the burden of proof for the opposite claim. This is absurd. Else agnosticism would similarly mean you know there is no god, which it clearly doesn't.

In the same way that agnosticism means "I don't know..." atheism means "I don't believe...".

I think you are getting confused by the assumption that the atheism must be the opposite of theism. But even then the opposite of X is not Y, it is "not X".

At the end of the day, you can stick to your definition of atheism if it makes you happy, but all it would mean is that almost no one is an atheist. What's the point? Why not instead listen to how atheists define their position and beliefs (which actually agrees with most dictionary definitions as well)? Most atheists simply lack belief in gods, while remaining open to the (remote) possibility that one might show up someday. Same as for any other mythical or supernatural entity.

@Introverted
"he key word is actually "belief""
Belief about what? Belief doesn't stand alone in a vacuum. It's a belief about existence and thus a view on what is real or not, not on what you believe or not. Again, that is how the theist uses "believe god exists" and for the atheist to focus on "belief" (epsitemology) but ignore "exists" (ontology) is exactly the fallacy I comment in my last.

"It does not mean you must take up the burden of proof for the opposite claim"
He who makes the claim carries the burden of proof.
Thus, if you make the claim "I believe god's don't exist" ala atheism, then you most assuredly carry the burden.
If on the other hand, you are merely skeptical of the theist by making the claim "I don't think the theist has met their burden", then you are not a-theist because as I explained above, the failure of the theist to make they claim doesn't automatically support the atheist claim. At best, you can say the theist has made their claim gods exist but cannot, logically, then go on to the make the claim that they don't exist without you incurring the burden to prove that they don't.

"In the same way that agnosticism means "I don't know..." atheism means "I don't believe..."."
The root words don't support that interpretation. If gnostic is "I know" such that agnostic is "I don't know", then pistic is "I believe" and apistic is "I don't believe" as those are epistemological claims. This leaves theism to mean "gods exist" and atheism to mean "gods don't exist" as these are ontological claims.

Again, the notion that theism is merely epistemology, merely about belief but not a statement on existence, is the logical fallacy I alluded to previously.

"I think you are getting confused by the assumption that the atheism must be the opposite of theism."
No confusion for it is.... the "A" prefix means "not" or "without" which explicitly denotes a negation and a negation is considered the opposite as "not" or "without" is the opposite of "Is" and "with".

"At the end of the day, you can stick to your definition of atheism if it makes you happy, but all it would mean is that almost no one is an atheist. "
On the contrary. There are plenty of people that don't confuse epistemology with ontology. These are people that claim that there are no gods much like theists claim that there are. Not that they believe there are not gods, that there actually are no gods. This is known as "hard atheism" which, IMO, is the only valid use of atheism there is. Most people engage in "soft atheism" which, IMO, is not atheism at all as it's not contra theism from which it derives it's term as I've proposed above.

"Most atheists simply lack belief in gods, while remaining open to the (remote) possibility that one might show up someday. "
Not in my experience. In my experience (and we can test it out you and I if you'd like) an atheist is just as prone to dismiss any and all proposed evidence that gods exist as a theist is prone to dismiss any and all proposed evidence that gods don't exist. This notion that atheist are somehow open to evidence is, usually, a disingenuous ploy to make it seem like their position is rational but upon inspection, it is as irrational as the theist.

But again, you need not take my word for it. We can "role play" with you presenting what possible evidence that gods exist would take and I will find a way to spin it such that they still don't.

@TheMiddleWay whatever. I fully expected you to double down and dig in deeper rather than accepting that almost no atheist sees it the way you described. You did not disappoint.

I don't agree with just about anything you said, and at some level you must surely concede that your viewpoint is a minority one. You would get pushback from almost all atheists on this site for instance.

I am not interested in continuing this discussion because I think we've reached an impasse with definitions. You use a different definition for theism than the dictionary definitions I quoted earlier. Even your definition of "pistic" differs from the Oxford definition. If we disagree on definitions I don't think there's any way to proceed.

@TheMiddleWay theism is not a claim about ontology. It's a claim about a person's belief. That also carries a variable level of certainty which so far has not meen mentioned.

In any case, if theism is (as you say) the claim that God exists, and you are not an atheist, then do I conclude that you believe/claim God exists? The way you defined it, you cannot say you are "not a theist" (literally a-theist) without believing no gods exist. You've effectively thrown all agnostics under the bus in the same move.

Again I think none of your definitions agree with the dictionary and that is why I disagree with you.

@Introverted
"You use a different definition for theism than the dictionary definitions I quoted earlier. "
Indeed I do.
I abide by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and they support my usage of the terms theist and atheist. Dictionaries are not the appropriate source to discuss these matters. They are a good starting off point but are often wrong. For example, the Merriam Webster definition of Atheism defines it as "a strong disbelief in god(s)", which is clearly wrong since disbelief means "inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real." and we both can agree that is not an atheistic stance.

In comparison, here is the opening paragraph of what the SEP has to say on the subject:

If, however, “atheism” is defined in terms of theism and theism is the proposition that God exists and not the psychological condition of believing that there is a God, then it follows that atheism is not the absence of the psychological condition of believing that God exists (more on this below). The “a-” in “atheism” must be understood as negation instead of absence, as “not” instead of “without”. Therefore, in philosophy at least, atheism should be construed as the proposition that God does not exist (or, more broadly, the proposition that there are no gods).

"Even your definition of "pistic" differs from the Oxford definition."
Pistic is the greek word for belief and gnostic is the greek word for knowledge. It is in that context that I presented pistic as I throughly explained in my introduction to that word.

Again we see that a reliance on dictionaries greatly limits the ability to discuss matters of philosophy and theology, as the discussion of gods surely is.

@Introverted

"rather than accepting that almost no atheist sees it the way you described"
""You would get pushback from almost all atheists on this site for instance.""
Bandwagon fallacy: as you tire of discussing the point, you resolve to claiming that others (that are not part of this conversation) think as you do in an attempt to discredit my point.

I respect your desire to disengage from the conversation but find the manner in which you are doing it betrays a desperation of having to rely on logical fallacies to claim that you are right and I am wrong instead of simply disagreeing and leaving it at that.

After all, you are digging in no less than I except I don't rely on bandwagon to claim I'm right. I merely present my view as my perspective. I never claimed that it was a majority view, only that it is a logical view to me.

" If we disagree on definitions I don't think there's any way to proceed."
I agree. I rely on multi-page encyclopedic definitions; you seem to want to rely on one-sentence dictionary definitions. There is no way to move further if one side relies on pages of evidence to support their view and the other side relies on one-sentence constructions. smile003.gif

@TheMiddleWay Your accusation of logical fallacies seems quite uncharitable. What I said was not a bandwagon fallacy because my point is that individuals should be allowed to define what they believe, which is why I said you would get pushback (I am saying I don't think you have accurately represented the views of most atheists - that is not a bandwagon fallacy). Of course you might be right and 90% of atheists are using the definition incorrectly and misidentifying themselves. But so what? is that really what you're arguing? The OP was talking about what atheists (people who identify by the term) actually believe, not on whether they've picked the wrong definition. You seem to be hung up on the latter.

You've shown that the formal definition from philosophy disagrees with most dictionary definitions, and I am arguing that it also disagrees with the vast majority of people who call themselves atheists. Maybe we're all wrong and the philosophy definition is right - but so what? I have no interest in arguing that - it seems pretty silly in my opinion. Use whatever definition you like - but just make sure that those you're speaking to agree on that definition before you go accusing them of holding an irrational position.

What I have argued from the start in this thread, even if I have used terms you disagree with, is that most self-confessed atheists do not claim to believe that no gods exist.

Meanwhile, I am interested to know how you would define the "soft atheist" position, if you insist it is not actually atheism. What is it then? What label should we use?

It's a position of very low certainty, and a realisation that there are many options available and even more that we haven't thought of yet. I look around the world, and I see no reason to believe in anything beyond the natural world. There are things I cannot explain, but the time to believe in something is after I can explain them - otherwise it's just simply "things I cannot explain". If someone asks me whether a god exists, I first need a falsifiable definition of what a "god" is. Most definitions of gods are not falsifiable, making the question of whether they exist effectively undefined and undefinable. All falsifiable definitions I have heard thus far have not met the burden of proof, so I have nothing to believe in, let alone something to believe does not exist. In most cases I have no idea what is meant by the term, and in the few cases where it does seem clear what is meant, it has been pretty trivial to rule them out, at least for all practical purposes that impact my life.

The reason I use the word atheist and not agnostic, is because I don't think agnosticism is warranted on a practical level. In an epistemological sense everyone is agnostic - because no one really knows - but no one is arguing about that. But on a practical level I do not live my life agnostic as to the existence of unicorns, goblins, demons, fairies, angels or any such thing. Why make an exception for gods?

If you think a better word is needed, please suggest one. I don't think apistic is anywhere remotely close to useful - since almost no one knows what it means. Conversely it's pretty rare that I need to engage in a conversation like this one. Most of the time I simply tell people I'm not religious, or a non-believer. That seems to get the point across better.

@Introverted

RE: bandwagon

"What I said was not a bandwagon fallacy because my point is that individuals should be allowed to define what they believe,"
But that is not what you said. You said that other atheists would not agree with me and that other atheists on this site would give me pushback, which is bandwagoning: "You appealed to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation."

[yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

"What I have argued from the start in this thread, even if I have used terms you disagree with, is that most self-confessed atheists do not claim to believe that no gods exist."
Which again is a band-wagon fallacy for while I admit that many atheists do not claim to believe that no gods exist (and those are the ones I address with my comments) there are also many that do. To say that MOST atheists are of that opinion is unsupported by evidence and, in my view, unsupported by the logical use of the "theist" v. "atheist" distinction.

All I meant by that comment is that you and I should be able to agree or disagree without invoking other people that aren't part of the conversation or making statements about "most" or "all" without evidence that it is in fact "most" or "all". I'm not dismissing you or your comments by invoking said fallacy, just drawing to your attention something which you might not be aware of yourself and that is the unjustified use of the "most" and "all" qualifiers.

.

@Introverted

RE: definitions

"Use whatever definition you like - but just make sure that those you're speaking to agree on that definition before you go accusing them of holding an irrational position."
But if the nature of the accusation is that they are in fact using a word incorrectly.

If we had a band of Christians claiming that they aren't saying that gods exist but only that they believe it exists but are open to evidence that gods don't exist, that would be disingenuous in my view. A Christian, as a theist, most assuredly thinks their god exists and thus if you are to be a-theist, to use "theist" as the basis of your views, then you must think that gods don't exist. It's the unfortunate price to pay for using "theism" as the basis for your labeling but having it mean one thing in one context and another just because you put an "A" in front of it is the very nature of the disagreement I have with it's use. Also, this is a use that has only been around for less than 50 years as it's a use that predominately comes from Andrew Flew in the 70's and popularized by American Atheists as they adopted it's definition.

Again, I don't imply that my views are majority or that they are "right" or "wrong". Merely that they are more logical to me and that I see the less logical version of "I don't believe in gods but I that is not to say I don't believe gods exist" is better represented by the agnostic stance than the atheistic stance since an agnostics already is saying "I don't know if gods exist or not" and isn't bound to act as if gods exist or not.

"Meanwhile, I am interested to know how you would define the "soft atheist" position, if you insist it is not actually atheism. What is it then? What label should we use?"

I wouldn't use that label. If you'll read the SEP article on atheism, you'd note that they state (and I agree) that the definition of atheism that you, and many others, favor, is ripe with problems, the main one I've bolded myself:

Departing even more radically from the norm in philosophy, a few philosophers and quite a few non-philosophers claim that “atheism” shouldn’t be defined as a proposition at all, even if theism is a proposition. Instead, “atheism” should be defined as a psychological state: the state of not believing in the existence of God (or gods). This view was famously proposed by the philosopher Antony Flew and arguably played a role in his (1972) defense of an alleged presumption of “atheism”. The editors of the Oxford Handbook of Atheism (Bullivant & Ruse 2013) also favor this definition and one of them, Stephen Bullivant (2013), defends it on grounds of scholarly utility. His argument is that this definition can best serve as an umbrella term for a wide variety of positions that have been identified with atheism. Scholars can then use adjectives like “strong” and “weak” to develop a taxonomy that differentiates various specific atheisms. **Unfortunately, this argument overlooks the fact that, if atheism is defined as a psychological state, then no proposition can count as a form of atheism because a proposition is not a psychological state.** This undermines his argument in defense of Flew’s definition; for it implies that what he calls “strong atheism”—the proposition (or belief in the sense of “something believed&rdquo that there is no God—is not really a variety of atheism at all. In short, his proposed “umbrella” term leaves strong atheism out in the rain.

This is at the heart of my disagreement with using atheism as Flew, the American Atheists, and you and many others favor: you talk of psychological states, of epistemology, when the proposition refers to existence states, ontology.

"If you think a better word is needed, please suggest one. I don't think apistic is anywhere remotely close to useful - since almost no one knows what it means"
People didn't know (may still not know) what neutrons, anti-nuetrinos, bandwidth, bit rate, CPU, etc all mean... that is not a discouragement for using and promoting those words. And pistic is, to me, a proper choice for gnostic is to know and pistic is to believe... we are already comfortable with gnostic meaning to know... it's a very small consention to accept pistic is to believe and to use it the way we use gnostic and agnostic in all manner of discussions, not just theology.

"If someone asks me whether a god exists, I first need a falsifiable definition of what a "god" is. Most definitions of gods are not falsifiable, making the question of whether they exist effectively undefined and undefinable"
I would also suggest you look at the term "ignostic", meaning a person that views all definitions of god as meaningless and thus until a meaningful definition is presented, any questions (or answers!) about god(s) are ill definited and null. I myself didn't know about this term until I came onto this site and while I currently call myself an agnostic, I'm leaning more and more to calling myself an ignostic for the very reasons you mention.

@Introverted

Final Thoughts (to this reply; I'm willing to discuss if you are and willing to not if you aren't)

"But on a practical level I do not live my life agnostic as to the existence of unicorns, goblins, demons, fairies, angels or any such thing. Why make an exception for gods?"
Being agnostic on one thing doesn't mean you have to be agnostic on all things.
However, I submit to you that being agnostic on things for which there is no evidence, such as demons or angels, may be a distasteful position for someone who feels there are no such beasts, for someone who wants to be sure about what is and isn't, but is, IMO, the more honest position if one wants to be true and faithful to a life lead by "evidence" and less by "feelings" and the surety of belief without evidence.
For example, I'm agnostic about string theory for the same reason I'm agnostic about angels and demons: there is no evidence to support that any of those ideas exist in reality. Now, once evidence is produced for or against string theory, or angels, or demons, then I can drop my agnosticism. But I won't, personally, engage in the hubris of beliveing or promoting that string theory , angels, or demons are real (or not) simply because I "feel" they are if that makes sense.

" Most of the time I simply tell people I'm not religious, or a non-believer. That seems to get the point across better."
I think that is a most valid position. This doesn't make any claims on reality, as I propose that theism and atheism do, but merely reflects your personal behaiviour and how you act regardless of whether god(s) do or do not exist.

I wanted to conclude by saying that I agree with what you say about definitions. People have different meanings to the same word and that does get in the way of fruitful discussion. But that is exactly why I see value in conversations like the one you and I are having. Perhaps you wont' adopt my view nor I yours, but perhaps by sharing our views we see how other people see things and that will modify our future interactions and simultaneously mold our views into something equally more logical for the both of us. smile001.gif

@TheMiddleWay I liked your final reply. I think that clarifies a lot of your position and the disagreement.

But I do want to again address the accusation of bandwagon fallacies. What I said about others sharing my use of the word would only be a bandwagon fallacy if I then claimed, "and therefore my definition of atheism is the correct one and yours incorrect". I did not do that.

I was not arguing for one use of the word to be more valid than another, and my mentioning that most atheists are agnostic was not intended as a way to validate my own position. I think you have misinterpreted those comments entirely.

The point I was making is that you cannot apply your definition of a word to someone else's use of that word and then claim they are irrational. If you take the word as they intended, their position would not be the one you ascribed to them. All you could say is that they misused the word, which is a far less damaging claim than that they hold an irrational position.

It is not a bandwagon fallacy to simply claim that most atheists disagree with your use of the word, IF my intention in saying that was not "and therefore you are wrong". I wasn't talking about right/wrong, but rather which definitions were the more popular understanding. The popular understanding may not be the correct one, and I wasn't using its popularity as an argument, so therefore no bandwagon fallacy. To say that "most who call themselves atheists use the word a certain way" is simply a claim about the world. It is not an argument to somehow legitimise their use of the word. If I take your definition of the word, then you should have interpreted my argument as being merely that most who call themselves atheists are using the wrong word. But it seems you instead interpreted my comments as meaning that since others use the word as I did, therefore my use of the word was more legitimate. At no point did I state this. And thus there is no bandwagon fallacy.

I'll have one last shot at it.

The op said (paraphrasing) , "atheists believe there are no gods".
I said "most atheists are actually agnostic"
You said "but to call themselves atheists they must believe there are no gods"
Then I responded that they are instead merely using the wrong word, according to your definition.
None of this is a bandwagon fallacy because the target of the discussion was the actual content of the beliefs of "most atheists". You seem to be insisting that anyone who uses the word atheist to refer to themselves must go by your definition of the word, and thus you attribute to them views that I argue they don't actually hold. None of this is a bandwagon fallacy.

It's only a bandwagon fallacy if I use the majority or popularity of something to bolster my own position, which I did not do.

@Introverted
"All you could say is that they misused the word, which is a far less damaging claim than that they hold an irrational position."

Misuse of the word has always been my intended point of view
I don't remember ever calling atheists "irrational" for their beliefs. I think I was very clear that I felt many are misusing that word insofar as theists using it ontologically but (some) atheists use it epistemologically.
I also tried to be very clear that my view of gnostic, pistic, and theist was a designation that I found more useful and more logical but never claimed that a person is irrational for holding the other point of view. After all, I understand where that POV comes from (Flew and AA) and while I disagree with it, I understand the rationale for people adopting it.
I don't think it irrational, it's just not my rationale if that makes sense.

"It is not a bandwagon fallacy to simply claim that most atheists disagree with your use of the word,"
I could equally claim that your use of the word is in the minority and that most use it my way. My saying this is, explicitly or implicitly, trying to bolster your argument by use of numbers; numbers btw that neither of us can provide for I'm unaware that either of us can make the case that most use my or your or any other definition... hence why I bring up bandwagoning as neither of us know which view is in the majority and thus bringing it up is, if not a logical fallacy, then certainly not useful to the discussion.

"You seem to be insisting that anyone who uses the word atheist to refer to themselves must go by your definition of the word,"
Not at all. I never insist that people abide by my point of view. I've been debating these topics for far too long to know that is a losing proposition! LOL.
Instead, I tried to make it clear in my very first reply that

I've always thought the better delineation is [...]

This means I think it's a better delineation to use gnostic and pistic in conjunction for epistemological claims and leave theism for ontological claims. I never ever said they "must" use that definition, merely presented what is to me a better delineation and what is, to me, a more useful way to use those words. If you agree with it,great; if you don't, great. But we get nowhere by stating that many or most, none or all, will or won't accept this definition.

We can, and should, only speak for ourselves after all, not for others.

@TheMiddleWay I accept that you feel the other word(s) are more appropriate, but if you read through this discussion, I don't think you were as give-or-take about it as you are now making out. That's ok - we all get passionate about our views - and I was no less passionate about mine. However, I will gladly welcome your softer response as it matches my own opinions on the subject. If people want to define atheism as in the SEP, then I can speak their language when communicating with them in order to make sense of the conversation. This is why definitions are important. Not because one definition needs to be right and another wrong, but rather because if we use the same terminology we can know what each other means by it.

However, I prefer other definitions in my regular dealings with other people, because I think those other definitions are more prevalent (I might be wrong on this - as you pointed out) and thus more useful in furthering the conversation. This discussion has made me question that usefulness though - so there's that. Perhaps it's better to just avoid the issue altogether by using more explicit language? Maybe.

As to the bandwagon thing - again I think you misinterpreted my comments:
"I could equally claim that your use of the word is in the minority and that most use it my way"

You could - but my claim that a majority use the word was NOT made in order to make my view sound superior. That is the part you are missing. It was merely a statement about the world for its own sake (i.e. I think most people think X) - there was no "therefore" afterwards, but you keep responding as if there was. My references to "other atheists" and their beliefs was in response to the OP, who referred to atheists requiring faith. I responded by arguing that actually most atheists don't hold the faith-based position he claimed they did. That's all. No bandwagon fallacy there.

"My saying this is, explicitly or implicitly, trying to bolster your argument by use of numbers"

I don't know how explicitly I can keep saying this - but that is NOT what I was doing. At no point did I use numbers in order to bolster my own argument or my own position. I have read through my comments several times and cannot find anywhere where I made a claim that my view was (more) correct as a direct consequence of other people sharing it. That would be an obvious fallacy - one that I have not committed so far as I can tell. If you can tell me which of my comments you think commits a bandwagon fallacy that would be great. Perhaps I did make that mistake - but I can't see it.

My summary of the discussion is as follows:

  1. The OP effectively said "atheists hold a faith-based position whereas agnostics do not"
  2. I responded by saying "actually most self-described atheists are actually agnostic - there is no difference". I did say that I also hold such a view, but I did NOT say that my view is better because others believe it. That idea was absent from all of my comments as far as I can see.
  3. You chimed in and said you found my definitions unhelpful, and offered different ones.
  4. I was confused because your definitions differed from the dictionary and didn't seem to make sense to my understanding.
  5. You clarified that you used the SEP definition - and fair enough. That's fine, but it's not the only definition.
  6. I thought you were using the SEP definition to argue that most atheists were therefore irrational. It now looks like I misunderstood your intention and I apologise for this error.

My final assessment of where we are at now is that you think most atheists hold a strong atheist position while I think most atheists are agnostic (and/or apistic if you wish). As you rightly pointed out I do not know this for sure - it is just my impression having spoken to many atheists and read their views. I may well be wrong and would welcome evidence for this so that I can update my views if necessary. But like you said this may be difficult to find evidence for. No matter - it's no big deal really.

Otherwise it seems we actually largely agree on how we arrive at beliefs about the world, and I appreciate your clarifications of your views. I think we've made good progress and I do apologise for my often over-zealous defence of my point of view. I'm still learning on that front.

So please let me know where you think I committed a bandwagon fallacy - so that I can learn from this. If I have indeed made such a mistake I would like to avoid it in future. Thank you.

@Introverted
My tone is assertive, yes. I'm not fond of using "in my opinion" much because, well, most of what we discuss is obviously a matter of opinion. Thus I understand why you (and others) take that assertiveness as giving without taking... that's the nature of confidence in one's point of view. But if you put tone aside, which is prone to be subjective, and look at the words I use, which is more objective, you'll note that I'm very careful with seldom claiming that "i'm right" except in things that I can validate externally (like my definition of atheism as per the SEP). Also note that I never said that your view of atheism was wrong, merely (IMO lol) limited in precision and scope coming as it did from a dictionary and seemingly exclusively focusing on the epsitemology of the definition while putting aside the onotological content

I think we can put the bandwagon to rest by (both of us) avoiding saying things about the general population that neither of us can effectively back up. Hence, when you said (and what prompted the bandwagon):

and at some level you must surely concede that your viewpoint is a minority one. You would get pushback from almost all atheists on this site for instance.

your are asking me to concede that my viewpoint is in the minority because"almost all" athesist on this site would offer pushback. It is fine that you think my view is in the minority and I've no problem with you holding that stance and arguing from that perspective. But when you bring other people into the discussion, claim that "almost all" people would find my view in the minority, your are, intentionally or not, trying to use the force of numbers if not to bolster your POV then minimize mine. I too could be guilty of bandwagoning in claiming that all theist believe that their gods exist. But if such a charge were levied against me, I feel confident that I could find objective data to back it up or rely on that claim not being contentious to begin with.

Finally, while I don't want to rehash our entire conversation, I don't view the flow as you describe. I never said your definitions where unhelpful, merely that that delineation was, to my view, inaccurate in it pitting a/theism vs. a/gnosticism as it did. Nor did I ever say that people were irrational for holding that view: I even pointed out that I understood that it's a view that many hold via Flew and the American Atheists. I specifically said it was a strawman and fallacious... that is to say illogical but not irrational for I understand the rationale I just don't find it logical.

@TheMiddleWay the topic of discussion was specifically about the belief of most atheists. So in that context my claim that your definition did not fit the views of most atheists was not a bandwagon fallacy.

A bandwagon fallacy is not merely a reference to the views of others. It is using the views of others to say "and therefore I am right". But even then if the views of others is the thing I am claiming to be right about, then that is still not a bandwagon fallacy.

The point of my comment was to say that your characterisation of "what atheists believe" was inaccurate. A bandwagon fallacy would be if I used it to claim that your definition was wrong (which I didn't) or that my definition was the only correct one (which I didn't).

The whole point of this topic was about whether most atheists rely on faith for their position. Thus it cannot be a bandwagon fallacy simply to answer that question. That is absurd.

Anyway, I appreciate the discussion and your clarification of your thoughts. Enjoy the rest of your week ?

4

Insisting that atheism is a belief system is like saying "off" is a TV station.

Wow! Great analogy. I'm stealing this one! smile001.gif

4

I'm an Agnostic Atheist, and I play the odds. It takes no faith whatsoever to believe that there probably is no god, as god is completely superfluous to the universe.

ldheinz Level 7 June 17, 2018
4

No, it's not.

/thread

Lol

4

I don't need to read or watch to know its wrong, this has been an ongoing theme for years. an atheist lacks a belief in gods . So unless you are excluding people that live in africa , that are so remote they have never heard of this god concept. or people born into an atheist family raised as an atheist. its adding to the meaning of atheist. its not a knee jerk reaction, it is years of answering this very same question. it takes zero faith to be an atheist. that statement is so uneducated it is almost troll worthy. especially when you are educated in evolution and anthropology. that clearly leaves me at a point that it becomes obvious that humans created this god mythology and concept. i don't need to look throughout the universe for magic men from the bronze age, made right here on earth through human ignorance.

3

The 13 year old me would have loved this

rafferty Level 6 June 17, 2018
3

Atheism is a knowledge system. No one can prove a positive, therefore it is not true. I know there is not one billion $ in my bank account. Therefore it does not exist in my bank account. Though that I do wish lol.

Atheism is no kind of system. For christ's sake, it's. so simple it begs analysis by people educated beyond their intelligence.

Isn't that no one can prove a negative? You can, for instance, prove that sausages, if eaten, can provide calories but not that devils don't pester those who eat sausages because of the sausages they've eaten.

3

Its old people trying to tell us how we think. First Atheist there is no god FACT! No proof there ever was one!The Earth is over 4.5 billion years old FACT! It is older than dirt FACT! Gods and was invented to control people and give people a reason not to look for the truth. Humans are very superstitious and there is your gods and religions!

benhmiller Level 7 June 17, 2018
3

That's a confrontational stance. It presumes you already know what form 'God' takes.

I'm an agnostic, because I don't know if there is anything out there that we don't understand.

We still haven't worked out what's happening with black holes.

Ridiculing agnostics is unkind.

2

An honest atheist will tell you they are agnostic as well. No one 'knows' that a god exists, so everyone is actually an agnostic, including theists. They don't know either, but they are real good at petending that a god exists.

That is about as inclusive a name that a web site could have IMO.

zblaze Level 7 June 17, 2018
2

Oh, it's a belief system, I don't argue that. What I argue is that it is not a RELIGION.

godef Level 7 June 17, 2018

a belief system you have to have something to believe there is no gods so NOT A BELIEF ITS FACT!

@benhmiller My belief is that there are no such thing as gods. Do not confuse belief wirh faith.

2

The trouble with labels of any sort is they’re limiting and fraught with the foibles of language which is why I refuse to label myself as either atheist or agnostic. I believe nothing. Belief is for fools.

So you accept nothing as true, eh?

"Truth" is based on belief. I accept knowledge based on experience and science based on empirical evidence, both of which are subject to change. Absolutes are nothing but wishful thinking.

@maturin1919 yes gods and religions are myths supported by those who refuse to learn

@GeroldBecker A belief is something accepted as true. I'm sure you have several of them.

@benhmiller ???

Hey, maturin1919: your generalities aren't worth my replies.
Troll much?

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