Misused labels of Atheist and Atheism


#402

It might disturb you to know “moral” has the same problem. All metaphysical ideas do.


#403

So to me, reason is a place to start. But since it is reasoning about factors of reality, we have to see if reality indicates that it is there or not. This is different from reasoning about the backstory and super powers of a comic book hero. That is referencing a made up world, so it doesn’t matter that it is only logically consistent because there is actually no such person as spiderman or the hulk in reality. The religious are claiming their spiderman is actually part of reality. That is why you have to take that next step and falsify it against reality. If you can’t then, then I’m not saying there is no evidence of your claim, reality is. I want my internal model of reality to match reality as accurately as possible, so when you demonstrate that reality has this entity in it, I’ll update my model. Until then, why would I do it now?


#404

Luke 1:38 is Mary’s consent to be the theotokos. I could think of a million better things she ought have said than “May it be done” if she did not consent.

I provided several links to resources from which you can learn about these things from far more equipped theologians than I. With regards to such assertions being similar in kind to fictional stories, I would assert that they aren’t actually comparable. Fiction would be something verifiable if it existed in reality. In Thomistic terms, we can verify the essence of something like a gryphon, but we cannot verify its existence. God is the opposite. We can verify through reason (however dubious you may be about the assertion) the existence of a god, but we cannot verify a god’s essence except in approximates we can comprehend. So, yes, we cannot investigate the realm of a god save for whatever assertions we can make through reason. But we are necessarily constrained by limitations in understanding because if God is infinite, we too would need to be infinite (in an intellectual sense of the term) to comprehend Him. So the logic of our existence, riddled with limitations, entails that we never fully understand God.


#405

The biggest issue with this otherwise superb train of thought is that by necessity you’re extremely capricious about what things you require to meet this standard.

If you were consistent about it, you’d be an existential wreck.


#406

I’m afraid you’ll never reach any substantial conclusions about the existence of reality (or existence) by only utilizing the tools that are demonstrable within reality. And to illustrate this, you didn’t object (correct me if I’m wrong) to the proposition that an uncaused cause may be necessary (though, understandably, you don’t associate this uncaused cause with God). So I’d posit this axiom … we claim to have knowledge of something only when we have grasped its cause. Therefore we cannot have absolute knowledge of God because God is the uncaused cause of reality. Feel free to disagree with my premise above, but this is derived from Aristotle and his Four Causes, which are a good read if you enjoy philosophy.


#407

It turns out that every religion believes it has the license to declare the truths of the supernatural. If it is a metaphysical concept, why should anyone believe that these particular religious peoples have access to the metaphysical?

It’s the same problem. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist, but it also doesn’t mean even if he does, that your version of him is the correct one. Without that proof, any claimed authority on defining morality must be viewed as rubbish.

We obviously won’t see eye to eye on this one. But I certainly understand the source of the idea from my 38 odd years of Catholicism.

I would argue the replacement is already underway.

Your religion claims to know the mind of God. If time continues to reveal a degradation of this said knowledge, the claim exponentially loses strength, until it becomes clear that the declaration was rather bogus to begin with.


#408

The culture they lived in already facilitated it. Why do you believe your mom and your dad? Because you evolved to. It’s a survival mechanism.

In more modern times one has to retreat from a good deal of specificity, but not from the subject matter as a whole. As we may agree, science is powerless to provide “ought”. It only provides “is” and there’s this really irritating (for some) reality that secular alternatives for god and religion as moral bases suffer the exact same slings and arrows that supposedly killed the previous bases. And religious folk are often all too happy to sling them back, sometimes with uncharitable smug satisfaction.

Why do you keep asking for proof of metaphysical concepts? Genuinely, it’s nonsensical. It’s like you’re asking for three ounces of “love” or two feet of “truth”.
You can’t measure them so they defy empiricism. This is one of the critical points that separates the physical and metaphysical. Is and ought. Science and religion.

This is a flag that you’re not totally comprehending the juxtaposition nor the separate issues they address…

Oh, that’s fine with me. I’m probably not much more sold on Catholicism than you are. But you put yourself at odds with culture and make your life harder if you reject Christianity in general as a citizen of the Christian west.

First and foremost, I’m a theist. Said as much several lines up. To you, I think. Feel free to search for it.

Well, we’ve been looking. We turned to statism in the 20th century and that was a blood-bath that outclassed all the wars of religion combined. We’ve more recently turned to vague humanism, but that still stinks of the human exceptionalism that is rooted firmly in religion.

If there’s one in particular you had in mind - seriously - I’d love to hear about it.


#409

No it doesn’t. Not at all. Dead is the religion that claims something like god if fully knowable by pitiful little creatures like us. God must be bigger. To use Nietzsche, we need a super-man. Something we can’t fully be or know.

The “knowledge” doesn’t change for Catholics. The Deposit of Faith is unassailably perfect and beyond our meddling.

Now, Catholic understanding of the knowledge might change, just like our understanding of gravity changes. This flexibility is probably why the religion is over 2000 years old and is projected to experience stability or small growth.


#410

I’m no looking for absolute knowledge, just evidence of this idea actually exists in reality. So far you seem to present this deity as only existing in apologetics arguments. But religious claims directly trespass into reality claims, bread to flesh, miracles, telopathic communications, magical channeling of powers, Adam and Eve, divine wrath, duality of soul and body, etc. None of that is verifiable at all so far. Just like the comic book claim of how to enter hogwarts, and all the claims of that story that directly are attributed to be within our reality.


#411

I am fine with philosophical starting points. That’s just thinking about the problem before you investigate it in reality, if it is a reality based claim. It’s the hypothesis part of the scientific process. If you can’t investigate it yet, then its just an idea till you can investigate it. I’m fine having a list of possible solutions to a problem, but I’ll let reality show me what the actusl answer is. If I can’t get that yet, its just on the list of possible solutions. But I’m not going to live my life as if religion is the solution because there is a proposed entity that could clear this up and is choosing to be indistinguishable from not being there. Fine, but if I get judged for not believing in it, then I am morally superior to this entity.


#412

For the 9 millionth time, you inconsistently apply this standard. If you did it consistently, you’d likely conclude your life in an existential crisis like so many of the thinkers that uncovered this stuff in the late 19th century.

There is no material evidence that love, happiness, morality, beauty, or a trillion other metaphysical things actually exist anywhere outside your fanciful imagining.

You got a little sloppy there and mixed physical and metaphysical claims. As to the physical claims, you won’t find many Christians (as a percentage) in America that think the opening Genesis account should be read literally.


As a last consideration, Aristotle gave us three Artistic Proofs. Not one. Why should someone throw out ethos and pathos and only use logos, as you seem to imply you do (but don’t actually do since you don’t seem stark-raving mad)?


#413

What if I told you I knew someone who couldn’t be convinced of the supernatural through natural acts? That if Jesus came down out of the sky on a surfboard with rainbows in his wake simultaneously telling everyone to believe, this person still would chalk it up to technologically advanced aliens or an eccentric billionaire or mental disorder. His doubts must are as equally valid as yours, right? After all, could it be that our model of reality is merely insufficient to describe what we attribute to the supernatural today? So I would ask you, by what means in the natural world can we evidence a claim of the supernatural? I believe that supernatural, by definition, transcends what can be explained by natural means.

As an aside, I don’t think debating the merits of the Catholic Church’s or Christian’s views or literature regarding God is useful, because we cannot yet agree that a god exists, which seems requisite to having such a discussion. At least from your perspective, it’d be more effective to convince me of atheism lest you leave other theistic doors open.

Can you investigate an intellect? Do intellects exist?

When I was atheist I believed religion was an uncreative solution to what could be a beautifully complex problem. I was also a bit of a solipsist, which is an interesting thought in the context of our discussion about the need to meet evidentiary standards, but I won’t go into it. Not sure how I feel about religion as a “solution” now, but I returned (or at least began more considering the arguments in more depth) to religion on the premise that I merely wanted to be a more charitable person, which is a statistically supported attribute of being a religious adherent. But hey, I’m in the same boat spiritually. I don’t feel anything. But alas I persist, because if I’m going to die and nothing awaits me, what difference does being atheist or theist make? It’s not like I’m rejecting reality to pursue this religion. I’m an engineer. I embrace the predictive successes of science for giving me a career I love. All I lose is an hour every Sunday for a wafer and some wine (if I take the most pessimistic and diminutive view of what Church provides).


#414

No idea, but the deity should know because you are right. Any being that is more intelligent than us will appear to be supernatural. Just like the idea of using Pi to solve a problem. If we can’t distinguish the difference in the result from using pi to the 5th or 500th decimal place, both look exactly the same for an answer. If we can’t distinguish between aliens and supernatural, the the both look to be supernatural.


#415

To me there is no such world view of “Atheism”. From what I stated for the first post of this thread:

There are world views that tend to have more atheists in them, like secular humanist, skeptics, etc. But you can still believe in the supernatural and hold these world views as well. The religious skeptics are the apologeticists as an example.


#416

From what we have experienced, the only intellect comes from a biological mind and/or AI.

There’s nothing wrong with being culturally religious and an atheist. Statistically, there is probably one in everyone’s church, just that they don’t want to loose the community and friends and enjoy the rest of the organized religious experience.


#417

Was this a response after the fact or before the fact that she was impregnated by a spirit? I can come to terms with something after the fact, since there’s not much I can do at this point to stop it from happening.


#418

We are not justified in knowing that the big bang is the final link at this point. How do we determine when we are on the final link or not? How did the religious determine this other than just asserting it?

I don’t know what this means. Can you clarify this?

Don’t know what this means. Can you clarify this more?

Also, to have thought, it is necessarily linear. So its existence and its desire to create all happen simultaneously as I understand it.


#419

Fortunately, it’s a rhetorical question. But you don’t think we are bound to belief in the face of evidence, do you? This appears self-evident in regards to human knowledge (ie flat-earthers, holocaust deniers, etc). Does this hold true for a god? I suppose this broaches the topic of free will. Does my possession of free will trump God’s capacity to provide evidence? Can I reject Him despite every conceivable piece of evidence? If you’d say no, then it would follow that those with a lower threshold for evidence are merely heaven-bound automatons with no capacity to believe/disbelieve, and God could make the rest of us heaven-bound automatons if He wanted. I state this because I believe the converse is true; we can reject God despite incontrovertible evidence. And God foreknew that, given free will, there would be those who would still reject Him.


#420

I know this is a common refrain of atheists, but I think it’s given far less thought and attention than it deserves. First and foremost, let’s acknowledge the obvious. This (I say “revisionist”) definition unburdens the atheist from having to bear their epistemic responsibility, and shifts it exclusively to the theist who intrinsically bears that responsibility anyways.

Second, I think it’s an attempt to blur the line between agnosticism and atheism because atheists perceive agnostics as too milquetoast, but atheists also don’t want the aforementioned responsibility associated with the position of disbelieving in gods (as was the original definition in the 17th century, but yes, I acknowledge definitions can change, and we’re not bound to the original).

T.H. Huxley, the man who coined agnosticism, established it in opposition to theism and atheism which fell under the epistemic umbrella of “gnosticism”. Agnosticism, to him, was a psychological condition. And with regards to philosophical discussion, it’s critical that these definitions continue to be observed in their classical sense. I say this because if we assert that theism and atheism are opposite sides of the same gnostic coin that claims that we can have knowledge of the existence/nonexistence of a god, then agnosticism is the rejection altogether of that premise. By these definitions, the three are interrelated, useful propositions for epistemic and theological discussion. For this reason philosophical literature still tends to accept the classical, narrow definition of atheism. It wasn’t until the 19th and 20th century that revisionists began expanding the definition of atheism and shrinking the definition of agnosticism.

But thirdly, atheists are being deceptive with these new definitions. If atheism is defined in relation to theism, and the theist posits that a god exists (a true or false statement), then atheism, being the counterposition, must necessarily be that a god does not exist. “Belief”, in the context of the definition of “theism”, is not a statement about the psychological condition of the subject. It’s a statement pertaining to the propositional content of “belief” (ie something believed). Similarly, if agnosticism is not the psychological state of an agnostic, but instead a proposition which the agnostic believes, then it follows that “agnostic” can no longer be a label for those neither subscribe to atheism nor theism since one can believe (classical) atheism to be true while denying that it’s known to be true.


#421

Thus, when an atheist makes the claim that atheism is “a lack of belief in a deity”, they are making a statement about their psychological condition, not a direct response to the question at hand (“Does a god exist?”). If you define atheism as a psychological condition, you trivialize it and contribute nothing to the discussion. There’s no propositional content in the term anymore. It’s useless for targeted philosophical discussion, as we are trying to have here. That’s not to say you can’t define atheism in this broader sense (atheism can have multiple definitions), and “new atheism” seems to be an apt description for how a great deal of people feel, it’s just useless for epistemic and philosophical purposes because the discussion isn’t about the person but the veracity of a claim.


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