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Confessions first

I am continually trying as gently as I can [mostly through science which a lot of people hate or disregard]to find out why members of this website post here. In particular which ones actually praise agnosticism.

I do not think that a scientist , as I call myself can be anything else BUT an agnostic . Rational for this? Why would anyone try to find out any thing USING SCIENCE if they knew the answer already

Question for today

If you can call yourself an atheist ( as I do), is there some thing stopping you moving beyond that word? I regard it as an important milestone on a much wider and longer journey -I.e. that which starts in the unreal world (fantasy) and finishes firmly in the world where you can prove something as firmly as currently possible and also accept that there may also be available in the future a better proof than the one that you have just given.

Accept and move on? Do atheists stagnate?

Mcflewster 7 Jan 26
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I post on this site because it offers the most intertainment at the cheapest price...because people here ( in general) agree with my lack of mystical beliefs . And I get to learn new stuff....never mind that The next day, and sometimes the next hour, I don't remember what it was. And some times I rant, or rave, and most seem tolerant of me.

We do not just "Tolerate" you . We value you for your openness and calm approach. e.g Cant see the future : Reads the views of others: Balanced views of the past . Keep it up. I love the "cheapest entertainment" quip. I thought it was anything without a subscription and this website COULD be viewed with or without spending money

@Mcflewster your words are appreciated...fairly certain there are those that would say they are too easly earned. ...however they are appreciated

You are right as usual

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Do I have to move on from not believing in fairies? If I only continue to not believe in vampires and werewolves will I stagnate?
Theists define themselves by what they believe eg moslem, xtian etc.
We're only defined by what we don't believe in order to become an identifiable group through which we can establish support and community, not because we wish to be members of some separate order through which we progress or to gain greater expertise at non-believing in order to "move beyond".

@Cyklone What we do NOT believe in is only part of the answer to whether we are going to be successful in eliminating religion. If one showed more empathy to sufferers with religion and understood through research how to counteract religious arguments that might also help . Believing in Humans and what they can understand to achieve without gods. We cannot expect everyone to know these things by themselves so they still need a community. That is what I mean by moving on . And Yes I have not expressed that clearly before now

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Either move on to a deeper personal understanding of reality through science or relax and enjoy the ride.

Sorry I totally disagree especially in pandemic . I do find that science is relaxing. It is potentially a way of decreasing anxiety and boosting one's own confidence especially if you have worked through all the science oneself.
I know that you too are trying to protect personal freedoms

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Interim Comment OR CLARIFICATION (as I am trying to learn the maximum here) .

I have the feeling that some people here are thinking that I am asking them to give up their atheism . ON THE CONTRARY i am saying that having reached the concept of atheism IS GOOD . It is, I hope ,a concept that you can treasure. accept or reject it as you will. It is your choice. What I am really after is broadening your field of thought. It has taken centuries to reach acceptance of atheism in some places. Perilous to throw that away.. Accept and move on. Yes I KNOW that you want other people to accept atheism as well. You may be able to have more success in them following you if you convince them that there are greener pastures ahead .
SORRY I AM GOING TO STOP THIS INTERIM COMMENT .... becuse it sounds too much like PREACHING.

I apologize for throwing a temper tantrum.
I have embarrassed myself here .

Novel COVID policy mandates written into law during this pandemic wave has caused one of the biggest reactionary shifts in recent political history.

My immediate priority is local politics over global ideologies as a result. I can not "save" the person next to me (or any others beyond them) if I am also figuratively drowning .

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Atheist is the opposite of Theist as you are aware, meaning a non-belief in a god or gods. I sound like a stuck record but;
How beyond an Atheist should I best describe myself, if I maintain non-belief?

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There is little point in praising the atheist or agnostic view point here, since that would either be preaching to the converted, or patting ourselves on the back. Both of which are pretty aimless pastimes.

I am for what it is worth, which is not much, an agnostic atheist, by which I mean that I don't believe in any god, but I freely admit that I can not prove that no god at all, does not exist. ( Not specific gods like the Christian one, I can disprove all of those. ) As to moving on, I think that the issues of religion , belief, non belief etc. are basically very simple and boring to all but the deluded, easily resolved and not likely to yield any more understanding than I already have. So that moving on means, forget them, and go off to study biology, or physics or basket weaving, etc. which are vast fields with much more original stuff to learn.

@Fernapple "I am for what it is worth, which is not much," Please do not play yourself down. I value all your comments. More of mine later, with hopefully a modicom of reason and clarification where necessary.

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I believe that our inability to communicate clearly what we mean results in many of these discussions being rendered pointless. When not using common definitions for words we don't accomplish much. I am an atheist when using the definition "do not believe in a god or gods" (not a theist). I don't claim to know that "there are no gods" (as many - especially the religious - define "atheist" ), but have encountered no reason to believe that there are. Because of this I also identify with agnostic using the definition that I don't claim to know (not a gnostic). I'm a firm believer in science being one of the best ways we have of understanding things, so I am also open to new evidence and willing to change my beliefs on the existence of god(s) should anything verifiable be presented to the contrary (but I find this possibility to be extremely unlikely). As far as "moving on", from/to where? When you don't have a belief on any topic that is without evidence, why would you need to develop one? I don't have a belief one way or another in the multiverse (disclaimer - unlike with religion I've not really looked into the multiverse hypotheses). Do I need to move on from there or am I stagnant? It does not strongly influence my life, so it does not have much of an impact. I've evaluated religion and found it wanting. I've already moved on by becoming an atheist. Now if the question were on the belief of the impact of religion and the religious that might engender a much different response...

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I'm an atheist.
Unless and until there is credible and verifiable evidence to prove the existence of any kind of deity, I have no problem remaining an atheist.
The issue of "stagnation" does not apply.
I don't see it as being all that difficult to explain, or understand.

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This IS the posting which having given only a few hours to peruse your replies and oppostion is making the most anger to my postings also. I have said that I am a scientist (by training) , an atheist and agnostic (by research and discovery and dialogue ) .Also that Atheist is an important milestone and PLACE in your thinking. The only way I can suggest that you can prove those, about me, to your own satisfaction is by testing me in your own fashion. I look forward.

If I give you the reason for the post it MIGHT HELP
For several years now I have believed that the word Atheist is the most hated word in AMERICA. not so here in the UK.

If as I believe we will eventually have to talk to the religions that could be a bad starting point

I do not identify as a agnostic.
Atheism is not a political party.
Not all atheists are rational ( or scientific ).
Never confuse your career with your personal life.
What they pay employees to do is not always the same as what those same employees enjoy to do. Congratulations if you managed to find someone to pay you to do what you enjoy.

You might have become godless by rational means but it does not invalidate my atheism found through irrational means. I gave up on talking to evangelists at public forums. They kept stealing my wise words to profit off of a sermon they were too lazy to write. You should talk to them ; but not about religion. They could be stupid about one topic and yet smart about a different topic. I learned by failing upward.

To answer your other question : I post here because I was banned from Twitter for angering activists who interpreted my words as a hate crime. If I lived in your country, the police would probably confront me over my " misuse" of the internet.

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I understand how everyday is a wonderful opportunity to learn something new but school is a scam.
Being forced to re-pay money to have permission to keep the minimum wage job I barely wanted in the first place is pretty annoying but if God dressed up as a homeless guy and offered me a trillion dollars with no strings attached , I would still tell him to go fuck himself.

Even better, let's say that god tries again but this time sends me a guy who is actual Nigerian royalty . The royal guy IS GUARANTEED TO give me a fraction of that amount under the condition that I send him a specified amount in crypto currency that I could legally convert . I would still reject the offer.

As a insult to injury , I die from obscene poverty and I am taunted for not recognizing these opportunities as I am cast into hell for the sin of non-hypocritical integrity.

In all three scenarios : HOW MANY MORE TIMES SHOULD RELIGIOUS ADVOCATES GET AWAY WITH SCAMMING ME AND RAPING MY FAMILY MEMBERS BEFORE I ACCEPT THEIR OFFER OF HYPOTHETICAL BLOOD MONEY ? Sure, definitions change every day but I am talking about the current definition of 2022.

THERE IS NO REASON TO ALLOW A CHILD TO HARRASS ME WITH INFINITE PLEAS OF " WHY ? ". AT SOME POINT, WE JUST GET OLD ENOUGH TO SETTLE FOR A ANSWER WE CAN DEAL WITH. I hope that answers your stupid question.

@Umbrella_Guard I am sorry to hear of your experiences. I think that it is important that you keep repeating them .

4

Ah - we come to definitions and disagreements about definitions.

There are those who see atheism as being a 'firm view' and agnosticism as 'surrendering to wishy-washy unwillingness to make up your mind'. In part this is re-enforced by proposed 'scales' of religious belief/disbelief that have 'theist' at one end, 'atheist' at the other, and various variations of 'agnostic' in the middle.

My own view of those concepts is different.

'Do you believe in the existence of divine god(s)?" - answer 'yes' for theist, answer 'no' for atheist.

"Do you believe the existence or otherwise of divine god(s) can be provable?" - answer 'yes' for gnostic, answer 'no' for agnostic.

'Atheist' and 'agnostic' are statements about two totally different concepts - the existence of GOD, and the existence of PROOF. Neither leads towards the other, neither excludes the other. 'I am atheist' and 'I am agnostic' are two unrelated statements, just like 'I like the music of Ludwig van Beethoven' and 'I like brussels sprouts'.

Is there a fairy who lives at the bottom of my garden?

Well - I cannot PROVE the fairy is there, and neither can I PROVE it is not. That does not, however, mean I give the idea of a fairy living at the bottom of my garden any real or meaningful credibility.

Of course there's no fairy at the bottom of my garden. It's a ridiculous idea. I strongly believe in the NON-existence of the fairy at the same time as acknowledging the fact that the matter is 'un-provable'.

In exactly the same way I am an atheist, and at the same moment I am also an agnostic.

Both terms are a statements of belief (by which I mean 'personal perception of what is real and what is not' ) but they are statements of belief in entirely different things.

I like your comment.

A most interesting post. Further comments later

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Why "move beyond the word"? I lack a belief in a deity and the word "atheist" precisely describes that.

Atheists may stagnate, but not in relationship to their atheism. Atheism isn't a religion or a philosophy, so you can't "get deeper into it", nor can you transcend it or move beyond it. Either you believe in God or you don't.

What atheists can move beyond is the need to have that one aspect of their lives define for themselves the totality of what they are, by concentrating on the other aspects of their lives.

2

I need God/religion like a fish needs a bicycle. I don't think about it, I don't talk about it unless someone asks. Where I live no one gives a shit. Religiosity has become more and more an American thing. And by "American" I don't mean the continent lol

Fish often find bicycles useful for short trips to the market.

@creative51 The fish I've ever met always make short trips from the market, not to it. I am always willing to give a fish a ride.

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As a former science teacher you will know that all scientists suffer from the publish or persish syndrome. All scientific publications are subject to continual peer review. Religious people do not apply the same rigorous criteria to their beliefs.

In terms of their religious beliefs I think that I can say without contradiction that most religious people remain stagnant. What scientist would promote the views that were prevalent prior to The Age of Enlightenment? The same cannot be said for religious dogmas, can it?

There is nothing wrong with saying, I don’t know.

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As an agnostic, I share my fellow atheists confusion at your question.

Agnosticism isn't "moving on" from any one position. While I certainly embrace it above theism and atheism... and likely for similar reasons as you have... I don't see it as "moving on" but just having a cohesive and coherent view of the universe based on my Mantra of "I believe that which I can test but I withhold judgement (i.e. remain agnostic) on that which I can't."

So I'm not sure what you want atheists to accept outside of possibility that maybe someday something undefined as of yet may serve as a sort of proof for something that may someday prove that maybe gods exist. As an agnostic, I don't base my views on IMAGINED FUTURE but ACTUALIZED PRESENT; why expect any different of atheists, or theists for that matter?

After all, isn't this the same argument theists use against non-believers: that their theism is justified because maybe someday some experiment may somehow prove that their tenets are true?

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Scientists follow the scientific method and the conclusions are deemed to be scientific theories for the very reason that even though the hypothesis has been proven to be correct based upon thorough scientific examination, the door is always left open for future developments that may modify the conclusion or even refute it. A scientific theory is a scientific fact based upon current data but subject to future change should new data come to light, being an atheist is no different, the facts as presented are clear and at the current time and in absence of new data - There Is No God.
Being an Agnostic is like making a disclaimer against a scientific theory that is not based upon new evidence to validate the existence of a god but merely the emotional response to fear and guilt that has been ingrained in an individual by religion. A scientist excepts the facts as they have been proven to date and leaves open the door to further developments but the scientist does not allow for magic or alchemy to enter the equation out of superstitious doubts or fears.

I see science as humanities pursuit of knowledge of the physical world only; shit you or sensors can sense. As you say, the scientific method of discovery is the way to go. But there is definitely non-physical shit going on as well that science cannot detect.......yet.
Science is about defining, so you would assume non-physical can't be defined. But for it to be real, there must be evidence.

Human creativity and love can't be defined, you don't know when and where creativity will occur nor in whom. You can't measure it and there are no boundaries to creative imagination. But the evidence is overwhelming in art, fashion, food preparation etc which all have no real purpose, we could survive without all these things as a physical species. Try defining creativity as a mental exercise, cannot be done for as soon as you define it, it becomes finite ie will have extremes or boundaries. When that happens, you merely imagine/ create a way around the boundary set. People love people, music, pets pet rocks and everything else in between so how do you define that?

Absolutely 100% atheist but I acknowledge there is more non-physical stuff happening that science will never explain, but the scientific method may still be used to increase knowledge in this non-physical area. Think we are slowly getting there with quantum physics etc.

@puff Science is not just about defining and measuring physical data but also and most importantly about gaining a better understanding of how reality works, which is why measurements and definitions are made in the first place. I agree that science has not been able to define and understand everything in the cosmos, yet, but science continues to push back the darkness of superstition and shed light on reality. Even a better understanding of humanity and what drives us is being achieved through scientific methods, human creativity is an expression of the human condition and can be understood more fully with science.
People used to believe that human creativity was 'divinely inspired' that 'god had touched and blessed' creative people when what they made was pleasing to society or on the other hand 'the devil was in them' when the creative outcome was unacceptable to society. The important point to be drawn from this is that there are no things that are unknowable in the universe, only things we don't understand at the present moment but we continue to strive to understand more each day.

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I am atheist. Many do not like the word but it means "without gods." I agree we can stagnate but where do we move from here? I'm not sure if I am using science but I certainly am using logic. Problems with logic and reasoning in our world today is that many claim to have logic and have nothing because their minds were made up already.

I've long advocated that differentiating secular from atheist has a lot of benefit: A position of "without gods in MY life" is a SECULAR position differentiating it from "there are no gods in ANYONES life" as the ATHEIST position.

After all, the USA is a SECULAR country but not an ATHEIST country exactly because it is without gods in its daily governance, but it doesn't go so far as to enforce the position that this is because there are no gods to begin with.

@DennoPennoOf course you are using science because you have to ANALYSE to be logical.

@TheMiddleWay Why would you enforce a position?

@DenoPenno
Never said I did.
Said the US gov't, in being secular, doesn't enforce an atheistic position as a means to explain how I use secular and atheist differently.

@TheMiddleWay , I like how you said that.
A former roommate accused me of fascism because I fell too far into the anti-theist category and it was hurting my reputation as a result.

I have been very vocal about how much I hated Richard Dawkins's book-burning approach to promoting atheism but my method is just as toxic . I enjoyed how Christopher Hitchens approached it but his pro-war message against extremism quickly fell apart after he died .

The " Punch NAZIs " mantra only worked against Richard Spencer long enough for him to reluctantly endorse Joe Biden out of fear . Unfortunately, he is not the kind of person you can reform over-night. Which is why he is now claiming that he did not endorse Biden while under duress but in fact takes pride in being a clown who makes " jokes " from the safety of his private bubble .

@DenoPenno I believe that science is hard to define or understand if you view it as just one word. Instead we use use it as a collective of named processes., Like analysis, conclusion, present etc. Each of these easily generate or chain on the other processes in the list {see graphic illustration elsewhere in my science teacher's group) . It ends up as a perpetually repeating cycle -or until you reach a satisfying -for-now stage. If you start to analyse you cannot help generating questions . To get an answer you must transform your question into an hypothesis etc. I hope that analysis helps but I know many questions remain also.

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Your post makes no sense to me. Perhaps there is a rational thought in there, if so, you have not communicated it very well.

Please do not give up analysis . I shall not. Posting is the only way I have of finding how good my communications are. PerhapsI will eventually find out that making experiments with words and making mistakes is a bad way of learning.

I DO TRY NOT TO PREACH . YES pompous is bad.

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I fear I do not understand your question. I am atheist - where do I possibly "move"? Certainly not to religion.

absolutely NOT !

The next logical step from atheism (religious literalism) is to religious figuratism. The only reason people have a hard time making that move is they have bought into the tribal stigmatism against the word “religious” and are afraid of its taint. Meanwhile they are unknowingly being religious literalists. Theism, atheism, and agnosticism are all positions relative to religious literalism. It is a literal, all-powerful person in the sky that they either believe in, or don’t, or are awaiting evidence for. Religious figuratism sees gods for what they realistically actually are - personifications of abstractions.

@skado ... Or tools to explain "as yet inexplicable" phenomena. The square root of minus one does not exist, but as a mathematical tool it has helped solve (explain) many problems.

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I have read many of your questions you posted on this site. Almost all of them have fucking rubbed me the wrong way. To me, you sound like some pompous asshole who is trying to slyly get us to accept some sort of definition of your making of what and how we should be thinking. You pose this as you are just trying to find stuff out, but bullshit, you have a not so hidden agenda, of wanting to be some sort of POPE of non belief thought. As far as I am concerned you can take all your fucking questions and stick them up your damn ass!

I am sorry that you have taken my posting this way. I I do not take calling me a Pope as a complement but I am frequently seen as shouting for the other side. I assure you the I am as against religion as you. I have found out a great many things by belonging to this website but I never intend any evil. Getting rid of religion could be as simple as vastly improving science eduction , but I live in hopes of small improvements in polite rational discussion.

@creative51
bad hair day?

@skado Who has had the 'Bad hair day'? . I have just changed my hairdresser so that I have less of them.

@Mcflewster
not you - the grumpy one

@skado Every post has the potential to have one!

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