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It seems to me that atheism has to be a belief. A fact is something that is 100% known, and while we may be almost certain, we can't prove there is no god. That's why, when answering the questions when I joined this site, I said "atheist", but when it asked for the percentage I was sure there was no god, I had to put 99.99%. Maybe this has been discussed to death on here already, but I haven't been around long and haven't seen it. Thoughts?

By Tomfoolery339
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6

Atheism is simply the absence of belief.

IAMGROOT Level 7 Apr 22, 2018
6

I am not trying to be coy, but you have not defined god or atheism, and for each there are at least 2 significantly differing takes. It has been beaten to death and the information is readily available, so I'll move to my main points: Whatever percentage you attribute to the possibility of a god existing, that percentage must surely be significantly less when you consider the likehood of the god of any particular religion existing. And that's what really matters, the doctrines and dogmas they would impose on us. My 2nd point is that if you really want to play this percentage game, you could do so with every belief imaginable and say that it is impossible to have 100% knowledge of anything. I, for one, feel that's an impractical sinkhole I don't wish to go down. And 3rd, why aren't theists asked what percentage level is their belief in a god?

Rossy92 Level 8 Apr 22, 2018

> why aren't theists asked what percentage level is their belief in a god?

Some people practicing Street Epistemology often do ask them exactly that.

@thinkr Great to hear. After writing the post I was thinking I should have been more precise in my language as I knew that it must occasionally occur, just not nearly as often as with atheists. Hopefully that's changing.

5

Atheism just means you are unconvinced by the evidence ( or lack of evidence). There could be leprechauns that exist, but the arguments for leprechauns don't convince me. There could be invisible miniature flying unicorns in my living room but there is no evidence that there are so I remain unconvinced.

5

Non-belief is not a belief. A belief is something that is at best a guess. For example you can believe that O J killed his wife or you can believe that he didn`t. If you have no opinion whatsoever on the matter and express no belief, then that cannot be described as such. A belief in god is faith based. All empirical proofs fall down. Just as someone who will not walk under a ladder can be described as superstitious. Someone who does cannot be be said to have any belief in this. Would you describe someone who walks on the cracks in the pavement as having a " belief ? "

273kelvin Level 8 Apr 22, 2018
5

Back to definitions - many variations and disputes about what atheist means. Many assume that an atheist believes there is no god/s, which is not true.

An atheist (from my perspective) does not believe a god exists. When there is sufficient evidence to believe a god/s exists, then I will no longer be an atheist.

In exactly the same way that when there is evidence that unicorns exist, I will believe in unicorns. Not before.

5

You can’t really prove a negative, though, can you? I identify as atheist because I have seen no evidence of an all-powerful being. However, if someone were to show me irrefutable proof, then I would believe it.

Leeshi Level 7 Apr 22, 2018

Which would be impossible.

What's irrefutable?

God is a fantasy, period.

No one debates whether unicorns exist, yet we're still hung up on religion due, primarily, for the control it creates.

Who proved the statement that a negative cannot be proven? It takes just a few moments to show why this is wrong, without even getting into the mathematics fully.

So we let there be some collection of infinite spaces, some statements a_2, some premises a_1, and in the universe spanning those spaces, there exists a collection of some objects A: A = {a_1, a2,...}, where a(i>2) = ~(a_(i<2)), which should represent all possible elements in those spaces.

Theorem B: "You can't really prove a negative"/"You cannot prove a negative"

Proof:

By the rule of tautology A or ~A is always true.

Therefore ~A.

Therefore, theorem B is false.

Theorem C: "You can prove a negative"

Proof:

By the rule of tautology A or ~A is always true.

Therefore ~A, again.

Therefore theorem C is true.

@DZhukovin

@TheInterlooper

Those are components for the product rule of integration. I finished all my calculus three years ago and dealt with serious health problems, so I am sorry if I don't recall fully.

If you were only there to see what happened, your jaw would drop.

5

Yes, this is a dead horse that has been thoroughly beaten. It is difficult to equate a belief with a lack of belief. The same as action does not equal inaction.

For every action there is an equal and opposite inaction. Lol.

@tnorman1236 -- A gigantic LOL from this end, my friend.

@irascible -- I know what you mean by the not again sigh.

3

I don't know anything for 100%, it's just not possible to be that certain. No matter how compelling the evidence, there is always the remote possibility that I myself am insane, or in a coma, or somesuch. 99+% is certain. I have roughly the same certainty that there is no god (in the common usage of the word) as I do that I'm me. In the same way I don't go around introducing myself as "Don. But maybe not Don, after all", I don't call myself an agnostic. That label should be reserved for those who have actual uncertainty.

3

If you are 99.99% certain of the existence or non existence of anything but yourself, then you are doing it wrong.

3

I have pondered this myself .being on the site really has helped me discover exactly what category that I fit in, and I'm still learning. I gravitate towards ignosticism. I find that there are many anti-theists on this site who call themselves atheists. The difference is slight but significant. As an ignostic I'm very aware of what definition of God is being presented. how could anyone be 100% absolutely certain of something that is unknown and may forever be unknown. How do we know what comes after this life on earth without dying. The human animal has a tendency to think that it is the master of its universe and we have the answer to all questions. The truth is the most educated and intelligent people on the planet will literally stand in awe and wonder because they have all the questions but none of the answers.

Kojaksmom Level 8 Apr 22, 2018
3

There are no absolutes. You will always have a level of uncertanty. Nobody knows they weren't created 5 minutes ago with memory of a life that didn't really happen. The mind can only work with what we have accepted as real. And as our minds were evolved from escaping the shaking grass on the plains of Africa, it has problems with or less of a command regarding issues like reality, death, time beyond our natural life span. Absolute knowledge is like the unicorn.

3

It's all very personal, subjective, dependant on your journey perhaps.
I relate with Atheist, but I understand if someone is hesitant to use that term.
Call it a belief if you want, but I put God(s) in the same category as Santa or the Easter Bunny.
Is it a Belief when I say Santa doesn't exist?
Sure... maybe... in that I don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or God.
I think what's truely important is to be a critical thinker and to be able to question and decide for yourself... and not just about religion.

scurry Level 8 Apr 22, 2018
3

I would agree. Have you seen the Dawkins Scale? It seems to me that the "strong" beliefs, the extremes on both ends of the spectrum, don't allow room for a change of mind. I consider myself a six.

Yes. I'm a 6 as well.

Dawkins butchers the use of the word Agnostic. It's supposed to be an idea fleshed out by T.H. Huxley, which has nothing to do with this fake scale.

@DZhukovin interesting. Can you share a link please?

@SurvivorSteph

There you go, it is laid very plain.

[churchandstate.org.uk]

@DZhukovin thanks!

@DZhukovin You do know human language evolves, morphs and changes with time. If enough people start using a word to meaning a specific thing then that's what that word means. It doesn't really matter who made up the word or what that person defined it to be over 100 years ago.

@soglassman

If this is true, then we can use one word to mean another, but that is already against the rules of English language expression.

@DZhukovin The meaning of the words we use can change over time... fact. Look it up.

@DZhukovin From Wikipedia... "Semantic change (also semantic shift, semantic progression, semantic development, or semantic drift) is the evolution of word usage—usually to the point that the modern meaning is radically different from the original usage. In diachronic (or historical) linguistics, semantic change is a change in one of the meanings of a word. Every word has a variety of senses and connotations, which can be added, removed, or altered over time, often to the extent that cognates across space and time have very different meanings."

@DZhukovin Oh... you're a troll... nevermind. To quote you... "Nope. Whether it's the same religious beliefs or different religious beliefs, I will still find a way to troll."

@soglassman

Yeah I'm a troll, but I was being serious. I get shook at the notion that something is not truly knowable.

2

Atheism is not a belief, it is a position on the belief in a god or gods. Theists believe, atheists do not.

Gnosticism and agnosticism are a position on the knowledge of the existence of a god or gods. Gnostics know a god exists, agnostics do not.

Based on these definitions, an agnostic atheist is someone who does not know or believe in the existence of a god or gods, and also does not make any claims about said existence.

A gnostic atheist would be someone who does not believe in a god and knows (claims) that no gods exist.

The same positions are held on the theist side of the discussion. The ones making the claims are the ones with the burden of proof, and so far neither the gnostic theists nor the gnostic atheists have been able to meet that burden.

The default position is the agnostic atheist until evidence is provided that is sufficient to prove one of the gnostic positions.

icolan Level 7 Apr 23, 2018
2

The god concept is a paradigm of thought many haven't broken free from.
Get past it.

2

There is no credible, verifiable evidence that any gods have ever existed in reality at any time.
I am 100% convinced there are no gods.
Unless and until there is evidence of the existence of such, I have no doubt that there aren't any.
I call it a fact that no gods exist.

KKGator Level 9 Apr 22, 2018
1

It has been my understanding that atheism is a definitive belief in the non-existence of a god or supreme being. As an Agnostic, I have not seen evidence to convince me of the existence of a god, but not a definite non-existence either.

1

I'm so bored with this question. Atheism is a belief in the same manner that not collecting stamps is a hobby. Call it a belief if that makes you comfortable. I call it the absence of a belief in gods.

1

First off, there are plenty of things we know 100% 2+2=4 C=2πr These are facts. Gravity is a Theory but step off a 10 story building and see if it won't be there. The words you use matter. Theism is belief in a god based upon faith. Atheism is disbelief any god because of insufficient evidence.

jwd45244 Level 7 Apr 22, 2018
1

I stink therefore I am

I'm smelling the shit you're standing in.

1

I agree with you and responded the same way. Here's my go-to explainer:

[city-data.com]

mordant Level 8 Apr 22, 2018
1

It's no more a belief than being dead is being alive.

1

I'd say that atheism isn't a belief, it's a theory based on the best available evidence. And isn't that more powerful?

Do you have a citation to back up that atheism is a theory, but not a belief? Because I am sure that theories can still be believed, just like people believe in the theory of alien interference in human evolution.

@DZhukovin Oh, you can believe in a theory. I reckon you probably shouldn't.

@JeffMoffat

The thing about theories is that they can get washed up in the politics of science, and this reduces appreciation for the real matter of the theory.

1

@tnorman1236

Yes, it is a belief...are you improperly co-opting the use of the word?

DZhukovin Level 7 Apr 22, 2018

I don't think so. Am I?

@tnormal1236

Yes, I think there is some misuse of the word "belief", because you don't recall it as an assertion that is taken to be true, or anything like that, otherwise you would not question whether atheism is a belief.

1

Yep.

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