What is an atheist?


#41

I agree it used to have that meaning as well. But the conversation has evolved into distinguishing between a knowledge claim and a belief claim. You can be convinced of something with out actually having direct knowledge of it. AKA jury members at a trial. The person that has direct knowledge of the claim is the person that was directly involved in the claim. AKA the person in the accident the trial is about. Eye witness accounts. Since we’ve learned that you can witness something and misinterpret the cause of what actually happened, we don’t rely on eye witness testimony about their characterization of the motivations and reasons why something happened. But we do rely on what they believe they witnessed. Magicians take advantage of this all the time and we are learning more about how to have justified belief or not. The atheists that claims to know there is no god has a burden of proof to support that claim, which is indefensible as much as the claim that you can know there is a god. That is why we use the words Agnostic Atheist, Agnostic Theist, Gnostic Atheist, and Gnostic Theist.
So theists are using Atheist the way I would use Gnostic Atheist then. Seem fair?


#42

I’ve seen the “angry at God” trope used many times in conversations online and IRL. Sure it isn’t the offical meaning, but over the years I’ve learned the common usage is more important than the offical definition.
The concept that one could not believe in God is a near impossibility for some, hence the “____ is your god” trope.


#43

Yes, that’s better.

Are you saying you can’t even gather enough courage to say that yes, you do believe Spiderman is just a fictional character? :slight_smile:

Anyway, yes, given what you admit about your actions, there can be no reasonable doubt that you do believe that God doesn’t exist.

Your refusal to admit your belief seems to indicate a fear of being wrong. Not a reasonable fear, as it leads to what is being feared (being wrong - specifically, being wrong about your beliefs) right away.

It might also mean that you do suspect that you have no good reasons for believing that God doesn’t exist.


#44

Atheist are all open to having their current position changed since its the default position of not being convinced of something actually being part of reality. Offer enough evidence and it will change our minds since belief is not a choice you make. It’s the result of experiencing reality and applying your current logical filter to that evidence. The belief is just the result of running that experiment. Example: sit in a chair and then choose to believe you are not sitting in a chair. You can’t. It’s not possible. Atheists don’t care that they could be wrong since we are wrong about all sorts of things about reality. Just that we care about thinking we are right without a good reason to think that. That problem there creates an internal model of reality that does not actually match the true reality. Such as believing that gravity doesn’t work after above the 2nd floor window. Atheists are also not making a claims to be wrong about reality. They are not convinced that your model of reality is true yet. The model they hold of reality does not have the supernatural as part of it since we have not been offered evidence to the contrary to this conclusion so far. You are making the same mistake from the gumball example. Jar of gumballs that no one can investigate and you claim the gumball count is even. Well I don’t believe you. Did that mean I think the count is odd? No I didn’t. What claim did I make about the gumballs? I didn’t make one. I responded to your bad reasons for why you think it’s even or odd.

Yes I do believe that the supernatural does not exist since that is the default position of every claim. The default position is to not believe a claim about reality until there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief in the claim. I never stated I know the supernatural does not exist though.


#45

Agreed!

I’ve learned the opposite, that the official definition is the one that counts.


#46

It seems muddleheaded.


#47

See? It wasn’t that hard! :slight_smile:

Oh, but, you see, I just so happen to, um, lack a belief that atheists in general (and you specifically) are all so perfectly open-minded. :slight_smile:

And I see suspiciously little evidence for it (mainly self-serving proclamations of atheists themselves). But “[o]ffer enough evidence and it will change [my] [mind]”. :slight_smile:

The difference is that I can easily say what evidence will convince me that you are open-minded: your conversion to Catholicism. :slight_smile:


#48
  • Do you believe there’s a God?

MAYBE - but the Biblical theistic God definitely does not exist. A deistic God could exist, and could have the general properties of a Christian God (ie, “Goodness”). But the God of the Bible? No way.

  • Are you sure?
    Absolutely sure about the God of the Bible not existing (IE, a God that killed 35 million people in the flood, created humans out dirt, told the Jews to murder the Amelkites, gets angry, argues with the Devil, etc). Nearly 100% sure there is no theistic God. Not sure about a deistic God. Tend to think there is, which is why I am still (sort of) a Christian.

  • Could you be wrong?
    No - I’ve studied it too long now. Biblical Theism makes no sense at all. You don’t want it to, anyway.


#49

This was presented from the very beginning. Atheist is someone who is not convinced / believe that the supernatural exists. Where did I not point this out?

There is currently zero actual evidence of the supernatural at this point. Every evidence pointed to so far has not be linked to the supernatural since the supernatural is argued to be no different than the unknown natural.

No going from atheist is to go to theist. You can be catholic and an atheist since religion is a world view and belief in the supernatural is just to have an additional understanding of what is part of reality. Just like how I can believe there are Australians but I don’t need to worship or respect or have any relationship at all with one of them.


#51

Pretty sure each mass attempts to have one recite a creed specifically affirming theism.


#52

You’ve never dealt with office jargon. :grinning:


#53

At what point does someone switch from gnostic to agnostic and vice versa?

Similarly, I believe in God enough to go to Church, but I concede God may not exist. So which of these novel labels describes my religious views?


#54

Thankfully their views hit high tide during the aughts in the US. Folks may shun organized religion, but vague spiritualism is ever in vogue.


#55

I always smile when I see an atheist point out the lack of material evidence for a non-material concept as though there’s supposed to be some.

It’s like asking for material evidence for the concept of “valor” or “kindness”. Not examples of that behavior, but direct evidence of the concepts themselves.

Since valor and kindness cannot be measured then they’re not part of physical reality, right?


#56

Then contrast:

with

After all, it looks like you yourself claimed there is a difference, and only we silly Catholics do not see it. :slight_smile:

Oh, you mean I should have said “There is actually zero actual evidence of atheists in general (and you specifically) being so perfectly honest and open-minded.”? Sure, I can do that! :slight_smile:

After all, saying X is not always evidence for X. Yes, saying that one has experienced something supernatural is evidence for supernatural, but saying “I’m sleeping.” is evidence against one sleeping. And claiming to be exceptionally open-minded and honest (while not being open to the contrary possibility) also seems to be evidence against the claim itself.

And that leads to further problems for you, as much of your position does depend on you and the rest of the atheists being exceptionally honest and open-minded.


#57

Historically and philosophically, things are broken down along epistemological (dealing with our capacity to know) and then theological lines like so:

Can we know of God’s existence? The gnostic says yes, the agnostic says no.

If we can know of God’s existence (gnostic), does God exist? The theist says yes, the atheist says no.

There are no other components of agnosticism (eg agnostic atheist, agnostic theist, etc). If we cannot know God, nobody (philosophically speaking) cares about your psychological disposition on the matter. It’s akin to asking “is red a color” and you say “i don’t think red is a color, but blue is my favorite color”.

I utterly despise the modern definition of atheism (“lack of belief in a god”) because it’s an answer to a question nobody is asking. It’s a copout for weak atheists who lack the intestinal fortitude to actually stand behind their convictions. But I’ll let Carl Sandburg’s quote speak:

The atheists don’t want to pound the table, so they’d rather change the definition. I won’t concede that ground when debating with an atheist.


#58

A vague deism or wishy washy agnosticism or plain indifference are more prevalent than hard, ideologically rigid atheism in the states.


#59

Lol, thanks.
I was asking more in context of the 4-term matrix he’s trying to promote.


#60

I’d label based on the first two questions. As someone else mentioned, admiring they could be wrong is non-determinative IMO in determining if one is atheists as many atheists are willing to concede if they’re wrong (being able to admit one’s error is the sign of an intelligent mind after all).

Rather the determining factor for me is the level of certainty, namely question two. If one doesn’t believe in God, but one isn’t sure of that belief, Id consider them more agnostic since by definition Agnostics don’t believe we can know anything the existence of God. If they believe in no God and are certain, they’d be atheist.

So to break it down…

No-Yes-No/Yes (Atheist)
No-No-No/Yes (Agnostic)

Yes-Yes/No-Yes/No (Varying types of believers)


#61

Go on, Brother, despise away! But actually it is the key question. If I lack belief in a god (and I do) then my position is in practical terms exactly that of someone who is certain no god exists: I am left in charge of my own opinions, my own understanding of our common morality, my own relationship with others and with the world. And I get to lie in on Sunday mornings.

Despise away. Fortunately I don’t have to temper my opinions by your emotions.


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