REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

Any atheists in here?

POSTED BY: BLACKCOLLARBROWNCOAT
UPDATED: Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:19
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Friday, February 24, 2006 2:48 PM

BLACKCOLLARBROWNCOAT


Like the beloved Cap'n, I'm an atheist, and I was wondering if any of my fellow browncoats are non-believers.

I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 3:01 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Actually I think Mal believes, I think that is why he is so against God. I think he believes and is very, very angry at God.

-

As for Atheists here, there are quite a few. If you look at one of the, "What are your thoughts on god?" threads you'll find a fair number saying, "I don't believe and this is why."

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Friday, February 24, 2006 3:22 PM

DREAMTROVE


I'm not sure. He used to believe something he doesn't believe now. Anyway, still Taoist. I believe in forces in motion, but no supreme guiding hand.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 3:25 PM

THEINCOMPARABLENOTION


I can't know for certain one way or the other, and as such won't hold myself to either belief (in the existence or non-existence of a superhuman power), because i'm the kind of person who needs profound evidence before I determine what I believe in. There's no definitive evidence one way or the other, just a sheer amount of theories and yet a myriad of variance in those theories. I'd have to describe myself as an agnostic, I suspect that it would take genuinely compelling evidence to convince me one way or the other. Although, that being said, Eastern religions (or, philisophies rather) are quite fascinating.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 3:33 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them. SECOND: I am so very sorry I libelled you by labelling you a Russian Troll. I apologize for this. http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?bid=18&tid=64646&p=2


Hard-core atheist, and pretty anti-religious. Somewhat of a mystic, tho. While I think that science is the way to knowledge, I'm reasonably certain we will never know everything.

---------------------------------
Free as in freedom, not beer.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 3:50 PM

SERGEANTX


I'm atheist. In theory I'm ok with the idea of religion, or more generally spirituality, but in practice it seems like its almost always a vehicle for people interested in promoting some kind of 'right way to live'. All too often they're willing to apply various kinds of coercion to achieve that goal. That annoys me a great deal.

SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Friday, February 24, 2006 3:52 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Many people here are against religion, even the devout.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 4:14 PM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Militant Agnostic here. Try to prosthelytize me at your peril.

"Keep the Shiny side up"

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Friday, February 24, 2006 4:23 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Ok, I can do with some peril.

Look around you, at all of the world, the intricate system of shifting forces, electrons and quarks, predators and prey, all moving in one perfect system better designed than any watch, the cogs so subtle yet important that they must have had a designer, and intelligent one at that.

Oh ... wait a minute, I have to try to convert you to my own faith?

Come back in another twenty years, I'll proselytize you then.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 4:50 PM

RUE

I have a vote and I'm not afraid to use it!


I have issues with belief. Belief is what exists in the absense of (or even in contradiction to) data.

I do not 'believe' in god (or gods). I do not disbelieve in god (or gods).

I appreciate the time here.


Nearly everything I know I learned by the grace of others.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 4:58 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by rue:
I have issues with belief. Belief is what exists in the absense of (or even in contradiction to) data.


Belief is also what makes you trust the data, or trust that data is worth considering.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 5:13 PM

KHYRON


Quote:

Originally posted by SignyM:
Hard-core atheist, and pretty anti-religious. While I think that science is the way to knowledge, I'm reasonably certain we will never know everything.



Yep, that sums me up pretty well, except I'm not just reasonably certain we'll never know everything, I'm absolutely, utterly, totally and completely certain we'll never know everything.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 5:26 PM

RUE

I have a vote and I'm not afraid to use it!


Belief is also what makes you trust the data, or trust that data is worth considering.

I used to have issues with that at a quite early age (pre-teen). What is real, what is significant etc. The I realized I wasn't about to test reality by jumping off a roof, and I settled on the pragmatic side.


Nearly everything I know I learned by the grace of others.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 5:52 PM

DREAMTROVE


I'm strongly in favor of belief. The nonsense that people believe is really just a misguided part of the idea. Most of believe is about believing in a set of rules, not necessarily strict ones, that would make you fundamentalist, but guidelines. Like Jack Sparrow. Sometimes religions have silly rituals and nonsense but that gives them flavor, culture, and helps the outside world brand them as looneys, a factor much sought after by a religion. Any religion is going to want to make life better, but not let in people who don't believe in the rules. Willingness to say "Jesus died for our sins" is not dedication to that misconstued perception of the facts, it's dedication to the set of rules. Most of these people believe as I did that Jesus died for treason, PN just thinks he wasn't guilty, which is fair.

All societies ultimately are a set of rules, even serenity is a set of rules, albeit lose ones. Religion is a society which one can freely enter or leave, and which can exists with or without a govt. or specific territory or financial relationship. It's no more 'good' or 'evil' than a corporation or a government. It's just a different type of organization. IMHO

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Friday, February 24, 2006 6:03 PM

CHRISMOORHEAD


I've been shot, I am Christian. There are no athiests in foxholes.

Have you ever:
Used your teeth as wire strippers?
Given yourself stitches?
Made improvised munitions with no base supplies?
Pissed in a canteen?
Gone a month without bathing?

If so, you MIGHT just be a !HOOAH MOTHERF*CKER!

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Friday, February 24, 2006 6:11 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


I’ve been called an atheist by some of my more religious friends. Does that count?

Although technically, I’m not an atheist. I actually have a very ardent belief in god. I just don’t necessarily have the same passion for “religion.” I’m certain god exists, beyond that things start getting really fuzzy.





The Earth is old.
And doesn't care if one small girl wants seeds to grow.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 8:26 PM

BOVINITY


I thoroughly believe that god does not exist. Does that make me a believer or a non-believer? Now I'm confused...

But, then again, not more than 20 minutes ago I was certain that everything in my house was stolen, including my car, which was used to haul all my other stuff away. Then I woke up from a feverish dream, which was strangely ok until the theft part.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 10:38 PM

ROCKETJOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by bovinity:
I thoroughly believe that god does not exist. Does that make me a believer or a non-believer? Now I'm confused...



You've just hit on the primal paradox of atheism. Since it's axiomatic that one cannot prove a negative (you can't prove there's no such thing as a black swan, you can only prove that none has been discovered yet) It becomes logically impossible to prove that God does not exist. Therefore, asserting that God definately does not exist is an act of faith. Which, by my definition, makes atheism a religion...

(Agnotism, by contrast, claims no specific knowledge of God's existence/non-existence, and therefore can be classified as a philosophy.)

Reminds me of an old Hindu tale about an atheist who was so convinced of God's non-existence that he repeated "There is no God!" over and over, at least once every conscious minute, until the day he died--whereupon, since he had spent every waking moment focusing upon God, he was immediately reunited with the Godhead.

Big fans of irony, them there deities.

"She's tore up plenty. But she'll fly true." -- Zoë Washburn

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Friday, February 24, 2006 10:57 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by BlackCollarBrowncoat:

Like the beloved Cap'n, I'm an atheist, and I was wondering if any of my fellow browncoats are non-believers.




Depends on which direction I look:

If I look at what they did to River, I would say He does not exist, or does not care.
But when I turn my head, and see what Simon did for her, then I know there's a God, after all.

N.B. I'm being serious.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 12:47 AM

HOTPOINT


I'm what is termed a "Soft" Atheist in that I don't believe in God because there's no evidence but it's not a matter of certainty or faith on my part.

If Atheism is a religion then bald is a hair colour by the way

And for those that think there are no atheists in foxholes what about the millions of Soviet Troops in WWII for a start? (I also have an atheist freind who has seen active service under fire with the British Army for that matter)

As regards any theists looking in remember that we're both atheists in reality to some degree, I just believe in one less God than you do (because I'm betting you don't carry a Sword in case the Norse were right about Odin, Thor and the afterlife in Valhalla).



...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 5:09 AM

GAMMARAYGIRL



I'm also atheist, but feel strongly that every human has a right to worship or not worship whatever they please (well, as long as I'm not forced to worship too!). I'm posting a link to an essay by Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller) that aired on NPR several weeks back as part of their "This I Believe" serices. It's very nice.

Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5015557

Also, there was a really great This American Life on NPR called "Godless America". It aired 6-3-2005. The segment by Julia Sweeney is amazing. I very much related to her story of going from Catholic to atheist. You can find it at:

http://www.thislife.org/

Go to the Episodes/RealAudio, by year originally
produced, and click on 05. Scroll down until you find "Godless America". It's really good!


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Saturday, February 25, 2006 5:23 AM

MEGMAC


I'm atheist, but still pretty spiritual. I believe in some form of afterlife but no clear-cut heaven and hell.

TBH, I can't watch the news everyday and still believe in a God, but that's just me.

Mal: Wheel never stops turning, Badger.
Badger: That only matters to the people on the rim.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:03 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by rue:
Belief is also what makes you trust the data, or trust that data is worth considering.

I used to have issues with that at a quite early age (pre-teen). What is real, what is significant etc. The I realized I wasn't about to test reality by jumping off a roof, and I settled on the pragmatic side.


I've got nothing against that. I like philosophy but when I took a class in it I found myself wanting to ask, "Why are we still talking about this?" quite a bit.

What if I don’t really exist? Lets say I’m the delusion of the person I sat next to in third grade. How does that effect me? Well it doesn’t, I still have my delusion of a life to live and my delusions of decisions to make. It hardly effects me no matter what I am. Why don’t we look at questions that actually have an effect on things?


-

What I wanted to make sure you know is that everything is based on belief. Science requires as much faith as any religion I know of. In fact it requires more than some.

Without belief and faith we can not operate, as such they are perhaps the most important things we’ve ever created. Some people think they go against logic, and they do, but you also have to remember that logic requires them to exist.

They are the irrational things that allow the very concept of, “Rational,” to exist.

They are the foundation of everything we have ever done. As such I dislike it when people seem to think that they can group them in with religion and superstition. Everyone has them, and everyone needs them. Science takes two, maybe three, gigantic leaps of faith and from that we have been able to build up a far more coherent picture of the universe. Then people who claim to support science also claim that leaps of faith in and of themselves are stupid.

You are obviously not one of these people, but I didn’t know it at the time.

-

When it comes to belief in god I think people should take whatever leaps they make and stick with them, a lot of people instead try to support them with more and more irrational beliefs whenever they have a perceived contradiction. That makes no sense to me. Figure out what you believe:

For example:
Cause follows effect and all things have a cause
My senses are an adequate way to perceive the world
God as represented in the bible exists in reality

And then interpret things based on that. When you come across something you can’t explain use logic and reason to try to explain it rather than introducing a new leap of faith.

I think science is a good model. When something that seems to contradict science appears they study it and think on it until they find a way to fit it in, even if it takes centuries. They consider the possibility that anything other than their basic premises are false and will overturn a theory they’ve held for ages if logic tells them to.

Religion should be willing to do the same things, for example if you just believe in the bible why try so hard to maintain dogmas added three or four hundred years after the fact? Why not get back to basics and then check to see if it really fits?

-

Sorry about the rant.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:12 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by bovinity:
I thoroughly believe that god does not exist. Does that make me a believer or a non-believer? Now I'm confused...


Well it makes you a believer, and a strong one at that.

Since you have a belief based on god you are a believer of a religious nature. A lot of people who believe there is neither god nor gods hate that fact but that doesn't change the fact it is true.

The fact is that only people who believe neither in divinity nor lack there of are non-believers. They're also the ones with the strongest position.

I believe in god and you believe in a lack of god, that means we both believe something with no hard evidence, those that don't believe have the only intellectually defensible position.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:14 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
You've just hit on the primal paradox of atheism. Since it's axiomatic that one cannot prove a negative


I can prove that the set of primes is not finte and thus that there exists no finite set containing all the primes.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:25 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
If Atheism is a religion then bald is a hair colour by the way


When talking about hard atheists you are so very, very wrong.

Think about your analogy. Every set of beliefs on god would be a hair color, so Catholics might be blonde, and Hindus are redheads and whatnot.

To have a hair color you must have hair.

The belief that there is no god is a belief about god.

Thus those who believe there is no god must have hair. They are not bald.

Now those who do not believe there is no god, and do not believe there is a god, those people are bald.

-

I mean come on, if holding a belief about the nature of god is not religious than what is religious?

According to you if I believe there is a god that is not religious because belief regarding the existence of god is not religious.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:34 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
I mean come on, if holding a belief about the nature of god is not religious than what is religious?

According to you if I believe there is a god that is not religious because belief regarding the existence of god is not religious.



Well it was just a throwaway line really

In any case Atheism just means "without theism" ie. without belief in God. This should not be automatically equated with being Religious or Irreligious as there are in fact some Religions that do not have a God in the strictest sense making them Atheist Religions.

There is more to being a religion than simple theism, or lack of it, and you cannot call Atheism a Religion in the same way you could assign the term to Christianity, Hinduism or Islam for example.

If you seek to classify atheism as a religion then by implication all the theist faiths are a religion too... collectively. You should not muddy the waters by equating religion with faith either.


...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 6:55 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
In any case Atheism just means "without theism" ie. without belief in God. This should not be automatically equated with being Religious or Irreligious as there are in fact some Religions that do not have a God in the strictest sense making them Atheist Religions.


This I know, but very few Atheists like it when one points out that the most famous Atheist in history was Buddha.

Also I said hard atheism for a reason. I realize that grouping together non-believers with those that believe there is no god is exactly the same as grouping non-believers with those that believe there is a god.

Quote:

There is more to being a religion than simple theism, or lack of it, and you cannot call Atheism a Religion in the same way you could assign the term to Christianity, Hinduism or Islam for example.

I know, but usually when one pulls out the, "Not a religion," line they are trying to separate themselves from all theists, even though many who believe in god are not part of any religion.

Quote:

If you seek to classify atheism as a religion then by implication all the theist faiths are a religion too... collectively.

Not really, religions hold common beliefs, that is why Lutherans and Catholics are not the same religion.

Atheists hold one set of common beliefs about the nature of god and are more united and uniform in this set than any two popes could ever be said to be. Also, with very few exceptions, they have exactly the same set of customs and rules with respect to god.

Hardly like other religions where custom differs from place to place and order to order. Certainly the Atheist belief has a more uniform set than any other dogma ever did and all who believe in a lack of god agree in totality about what god mandates in any give situation.

Atheism has an answer for every situation. A set of customs and mandates more strict than any other religion I know of. Every single hard atheist agrees on exactly what god wants them to do, when god wants them to pray, what god will allow them to eat, what god considers good or bad, which commandments god holds highest.

They have an agreement on what god considers Kosher that not even the Jews can rival. The have an agreement on when god wants them to pray that no Prophet ever managed to instill.

In short they have a set of common beliefs more uniform than any other religion on this planet, they have a set of religious mandates applicable to any situation, they have a set of religious customs that no member has ever challenged. And they always, without any hesitation, agree on exactly what god wants from them.

Quote:

You should not muddy the waters by equating religion with faith either.

I was unaware that I had done that. I certainly would never do it intentionally.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:09 AM

SERGEANTX


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
The belief that there is no god is a belief about god.

Thus those who believe there is no god must have hair. They are not bald.

Now those who do not believe there is no god, and do not believe there is a god, those people are bald.

-

I mean come on, if holding a belief about the nature of god is not religious than what is religious?

According to you if I believe there is a god that is not religious because belief regarding the existence of god is not religious.



This is interesting. First of all, I'm not sure that any belief concerning the existence of god is necessarily religious, just as a belief about the existence of republicans isn't necessarily political.

Secondly, I call myself an atheist, but it's not a 'belief' for me. It's a lack of belief, and despite the attempts to muddy the waters, those aren't the same thing. Rejecting an unproven proposition is not a question of faith. If you make a proposition that something or another exists and I look where you say it is and see nothing, I'm not expressing belief when I say "but there's nothing there". I'm merely reacting to what my sense tells me. If you want to call that 'faith' then all bets are off and any possible conviction is 'belief'. That seems overly broad to me, and watering down the concept to the point that it's meaninglesss.



SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:11 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
[Not really, religions hold common beliefs, that is why Lutherans and Catholics are not the same religion.

Atheists hold one set of common beliefs about the nature of god and are more united and uniform in this set than any two popes could ever be said to be. Also, with very few exceptions, they have exactly the same set of customs and rules with respect to god.

Hardly like other religions where custom differs from place to place and order to order. Certainly the Atheist belief has a more uniform set than any other dogma ever did and all who believe in a lack of god agree in totality about what god mandates in any give situation.

Atheism has an answer for every situation. A set of customs and mandates more strict than any other religion I know of. Every single hard atheist agrees on exactly what god wants them to do, when god wants them to pray, what god will allow them to eat, what god considers good or bad, which commandments god holds highest.

They have an agreement on what god considers Kosher that not even the Jews can rival. The have an agreement on when god wants them to pray that no Prophet ever managed to instill.

In short they have a set of common beliefs more uniform than any other religion on this planet, they have a set of religious mandates applicable to any situation, they have a set of religious customs that no member has ever challenged. And they always, without any hesitation, agree on exactly what god wants from them.



Your argument here does not stand up to much scrutiny. By seeking to equate a group as in any way a religion, whose only collective identity within the group is a lack of ritual then I might easily say that I am also a member of the Religion of Non-Golfers where the only commonality of our Religion is that none of us play golf.

Does our uniformity of non-golfingness gives us a unity of non-purpose?

The fact is that a Catholic and a Lutheran have more in common in their basic world view, moral attitudes and ethical motivations than I do with a Chinese Communist Party Member (for example) whose only similarity with myself is our atheism.


...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:28 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by SergeantX:
Secondly, I call myself an atheist, but it's not a 'belief' for me. It's a lack of belief, and despite the attempts to muddy the waters, those aren't the same thing.


There are many types of Atheist, they can be divided into two groups though.

Soft Atheists don't believe, Hard Atheists believe in the lack of any divinity. The difference is important and what stops the water from getting muddied.

Those who believe something does not exist without evidence it does not exist are believers as much as those who believe it does exist without any evidence it does.

Those who wait for proof are not believers.

-

Think about it in terms of other things.

If I say, "Dinosaurs are still alive," or I say, "I have a gecko," the statements are the same. I am claiming something exists without offering any proof whatsoever.

However if you chose to believe I do not have a gecko you are doing it without reason, and considering the fact that I do have a gecko you'll also be wrong. (Though you have no proof of course.)

On the other hand if you chose to believe that dinosaurs are not still alive you have evidence to support it, you can check the habitats that they could survive in and see that they are not there. You can look at the archeological record and notice that dinosaur bones stop appearing after a given point in time.

You can not look at where god is supposed to live, you can not check the archeological record, you can not examine satellite images in search of herds of god, you can't even check for footprints. You have as much reason to believe that god does not exist as you have to believe that I have no gecko.

-

That is the difference. To believe something doesn't exist without proof is often enough a necessary thing, but to believe it does not exist without evidence is the same (in terms of soundness) as believing something does exist without evidence.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:31 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by SergeantX:
This is interesting. First of all, I'm not sure that any belief concerning the existence of god is necessarily religious, just as a belief about the existence of republicans isn't necessarily political.

Secondly, I call myself an atheist, but it's not a 'belief' for me. It's a lack of belief, and despite the attempts to muddy the waters, those aren't the same thing. Rejecting an unproven proposition is not a question of faith. If you make a proposition that something or another exists and I look where you say it is and see nothing, I'm not expressing belief when I say "but there's nothing there". I'm merely reacting to what my sense tells me. If you want to call that 'faith' then all bets are off and any possible conviction is 'belief'. That seems overly broad to me, and watering down the concept to the point that it's meaninglesss.

Having a lack of belief in something is not the same thing as believing that something doesn’t exist. Those are two different things, and ChrisTC was quite clear in pointing out, by indicating that he was referring to “hard” atheism, that he was referring to the latter. Believing that there is no god is a religious opinion.
Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Your argument here does not stand up to much scrutiny. By seeking to equate a group as in any way a religion, whose only collective identity within the group is a lack of ritual then I might easily say that I am also a member of the Religion of Non-Golfers where the only commonality of our Religion is that none of us play golf.

You’re welcome to be a part of that religion if you want. I personally am an avid observer of said religion, BUT that’s not the same thing as believing that Golfers don’t exist.




The Earth is old.
And doesn't care if one small girl wants seeds to grow.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:40 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Your argument here does not stand up to much scrutiny. By seeking to equate a group as in any way a religion, whose only collective identity within the group is a lack of ritual then I might easily say that I am also a member of the Religion of Non-Golfers where the only commonality of our Religion is that none of us play golf.


You've totally missed the point. You argued that grouping together Hard Atheists as a religion would require grouping together all theists as a single religion (unless I missed something.) My point is that Hard Atheists have a distinct lack of difference when it comes to religion and that is what allows them to be placed in one group and what prevents others from being placed in one group.

Quote:

Does our uniformity of non-golfingness gives us a unity of non-purpose?

Yes. When people are grouping golfers together in terms of when they play the game you all get put in the same group.

Quote:

The fact is that a Catholic and a Lutheran have more in common in their basic world view, moral attitudes and ethical motivations than I do with a Chinese Communist Party Member (for example) whose only similarity with myself is our atheism.

But we are not talking about world view. We are talking about religion.

You and the communist do not disagree on religion, thus you can be considered a part of the same religion. The Catholic and the Lutheran have different religious views to such a degree that they must be considered different religions.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 8:06 AM

NUCLEARDAY


My two cents for what it's worth...

First off, reading through this thread, it seems like once again we're coming against the limitations of the English language. We're lacking proper terms to quantify the various subsets of belief or non-belief that fall under the umbrella term of "Atheism." Ditto with Agnosticism and all the other myriad belief structures out there. The modern era has seen if anything, a general muddying of the waters in this aspect. Religion has become a very personal concept for many people... even a term like Christianity now has a wide variety of meaning depending on who you're talking to.

Actually, this is why I guess I'm an agnostic, if anything. Though I always get the feeling it never means quite what it's supposed to anymore, and I lean a bit towards Gnosticism at times (and I'm a little too sketchy on terminology to say "Zen Gnosticism":)

I just figure whatever ultimate truth exists (assuming any does) that it's beyond the scope of the human mind. We lack both the terminology and symbology to quantify it in any way we'd be able to comprehend. We can't voice a concept in our heads unless we have the proper symbols or language to voice it. (Like George Orwell talks about in 1984... limited vocabulary after a certain extent limits thought.)

Here's my take. Say hypothetically you're raising a goldfish in a fishbowl in a room in your house. Imagine that you can magically communicate with said fish. Now, keeping in mind that the sum total experience of this fish is it's bowl and what it can make out of the room around it, try and explain to it what a spaceship is. :P That's the problem humankind has trying to figure out the afterlife, or god, or the nature of the universe. In a closed system, it's night impossible to figure out what's going on outside said system. We lack proper context.

I'd say I'm an atheist, but even saying that would mean that I "know" one way or another.

________________________________________________
You can take my hope when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 8:16 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:

You've totally missed the point. You argued that grouping together Hard Atheists as a religion would require grouping together all theists as a single religion (unless I missed something.) My point is that Hard Atheists have a distinct lack of difference when it comes to religion and that is what allows them to be placed in one group and what prevents others from being placed in one group.



I'm sorry but I must disagree. To continue my analogy does the fact that some Golfers follow the PGA Rules and others those of the Royal and Ancient mean they have less commonality with each other than the Non-Golfers who follow no Golf related rules at all?

A collective lack of Golf related ritual does not mean that the Non-Golfers are a more closely related group, or even the hard-core Golf Dislikers are for that matter, than the Golfers themselves.

Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
Quote:

Does our uniformity of non-golfingness gives us a unity of non-purpose?

Yes. When people are grouping golfers together in terms of when they play the game you all get put in the same group.



Oh come on you can't possibly argue that non-golfers have a unity which is greater than golfers surely (because that is the implication here)

Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:

You and the communist do not disagree on religion, thus you can be considered a part of the same religion. The Catholic and the Lutheran have different religious views to such a degree that they must be considered different religions.



Your definition of "religion" is so sweeping on the one hand as to be meaningless and then it switches to differentiate minor doctrinal differences on the other.

Religion is a term that means more than merely a group it implies commonality of belief beyond that merely in a Diety itself



...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 8:32 AM

CAPTAINSHINY


nuclearday, if you have one of those "alert me if someone replies" things, this isn't a direct reply to you, I just needed to click omeones reply thing and you were the last poster.

I am an atheist, but I have no problem with other peoples religion. Whatever helps get you through the day. It can make people "better" people, in that things can run a whole lot smoother.(I dont believe in good/bad, right/wrong, there just factors in the little world that humans put themselves into- if you know of Plato's parable of the cave, they're part of the cave-world) However, I don't like when people take religion a little to far, or it has the reverse effect on people(very much like the pax to the people of miranda, and the creation of reavers)

I believe i am enlightened in a way; i had an epiphany very similar to that Joss described in the "Objects" commentary, and was relieved to find out I'm not the only who'd experienced such a thing. If you know of Plato's parable of the Cave, I've been outside the cave and dwell in the threshold, i go back in most of the time to interact with people, etc. but I don't go too far in. Okay, I'm reaching this whole "limit of words" thing and I'm sure I sound like a lunatic to the unenlightened, i.e. most people. I'm sure Joss, Plato, and some other thinkers know what I'm talking about.

-Stay Shiny
"The people who made the show, and the people who saw the show, which is roughly the same number of people, fell in love with it, a little bit too much to let it go, too much to lay down arms when when the battle looked pretty much lost. In Hollywood, people like that are called unrealistic, quixotic, obsessive... In my world, they're called Browncoats."
-Joss Whedon

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 11:56 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by nuclearday:
First off, reading through this thread, it seems like once again we're coming against the limitations of the English language. We're lacking proper terms to quantify the various subsets of belief or non-belief that fall under the umbrella term of "Atheism."



Atheism – a disbelief in the existence of deity

Local Atheism – the disbelief in a certain diety

Strong Atheism – The belief that no deity exists.

Weak Atheism – The belief that a doctrine or belief in existence of a deity or deities is unnecessary.

Weak Agnosticism – the belief that the existence of a deity or deities is unknown

Strong Agnosticism – the belief that the existence of a deity or deities is unknowable

Ignosticism – the belief that the existence of a deity is meaningless.

Gnosticism – the thought and practice of various pre-Christian and early Christian cults distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that salvation comes through an esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth




The Earth is old.
And doesn't care if one small girl wants seeds to grow.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 12:11 PM

THEINCOMPARABLENOTION


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Quote:

Originally posted by nuclearday:
First off, reading through this thread, it seems like once again we're coming against the limitations of the English language. We're lacking proper terms to quantify the various subsets of belief or non-belief that fall under the umbrella term of "Atheism."



Atheism – a disbelief in the existence of deity

Local Atheism – the disbelief in a certain diety

Strong Atheism – The belief that no deity exists.

Weak Atheism – The belief that a doctrine or belief in existence of a deity or deities is unnecessary.

Weak Agnosticism – the belief that the existence of a deity or deities is unknown

Strong Agnosticism – the belief that the existence of a deity or deities is unknowable

Ignosticism – the belief that the existence of a deity is meaningless.

Gnosticism – the thought and practice of various pre-Christian and early Christian cults distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that salvation comes through an esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth




That's quite a detailed index of various theologies and philosophies concerning atheism and agnosticism. Of which I had examined extensively prior to this, but, however; i'm still a bit uncertain as to why there aren't more varying degrees of these beliefs that are widely recognized.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 1:16 PM

SERGEANTX


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
Those who believe something does not exist without evidence it does not exist are believers as much as those who believe it does exist without any evidence it does...

That is the difference. To believe something doesn't exist without proof is often enough a necessary thing, but to believe it does not exist without evidence is the same (in terms of soundness) as believing something does exist without evidence....



The water is still plenty muddy. I think the convoluted nature of these sentences is a strong indicator of the soundness of the ideas they're trying to sell.

As usual, the attempt being made is to equate disbelief with belief. This goes hand in hand with the insistence that the disbeliever prove a negative. Basically, you're saying that to justify a lack of belief in god, one must supply evidence of his non-existence. Such a thing can't be done, which is why religious apologists love this argument so much. But that doesn't mean the argument makes any sense.

Quote:


You can not look at where god is supposed to live, you can not check the archeological record, you can not examine satellite images in search of herds of god, you can't even check for footprints...



Right, which is exactly why I reject the notion of god on conceptual grounds. The proposition of 'god' is specifically designed to evade the notion of proof. You've put forth something no one can disprove and tried to say that anyone who doesn't believe you is acting on faith. That's nonsense.

Believing in god requires a leap of faith. Not believing requires no such thing.

SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 1:33 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by SergeantX:
Believing in god requires a leap of faith. Not believing requires no such thing.


I'm not talking about not believing, I'm talking about believing in the lack of god.

Not believing in god is not the same as believing there is no god. I keep on saying things about believing there is no god, and you keep responding in terms of not believing in god.

If I am as wrong as you claim why do you refuse to respond to what I'm actually saying?

After all if I'm wrong shouldn't you be able to prove it with a straight answer?

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 1:51 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by TheIncomparableNotion:
That's quite a detailed index of various theologies and philosophies concerning atheism and agnosticism. Of which I had examined extensively prior to this, but, however; i'm still a bit uncertain as to why there aren't more varying degrees of these beliefs that are widely recognized.

I would imagine because most atheist don’t spend a lot of time in self reflection about their philosophical and religious opinions. I think that many, if not most, atheists are not necessarily opposed to the belief in god, as much as they are skeptical of religion. This is why many atheists get their dander up when someone suggests, perhaps rightly so, that strong atheist views are distinctly religious in nature. Many atheists don’t want to be labeled religious. In fact, on more then one occasion I’ve had atheists admit to me that their opinions are really more agnostic, but they proclaim an atheist position because they don’t feel that agnosticism is “strong” enough. And then there is my own personal experience: I once held very strongly atheists positions, even though I think I knew that this was in conflict with what I really believed. When I began to reflect on what it was that made me feel that I was an atheists, I was forced to abandon that characterization. It occurred to me that what I was really opposed to was certain aspects of human nature often associated with religion, but in reality I don’t think I was ever actually opposed to the existence of god, much less believed that god didn’t exist. To a large extent, atheism is a surrogate for opposition to religious belief, more then it is an actually independent theological or philosophical conviction, and that’s why, I believe, that there isn’t wide acceptance of the diversity of atheistic opinion.




The Earth is old.
And doesn't care if one small girl wants seeds to grow.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 1:55 PM

SERGEANTX


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
After all if I'm wrong shouldn't you be able to prove it with a straight answer?



No, because it's not a straight question. Your distinction is loaded with assumptions and not justifiable. For example, where do you put these statements in your terminology?

1. I don't believe in god.
2. God isn't real.

Or some more.

1. I don't believe the earth is made of spaghetti.
2. The earth is not made of spaghetti.

Is someone who utters statement two acting on faith? If so, we've expanded the definition of faith to encompass all of perception, haven't we?


SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 2:04 PM

COPILOT


I'm not an atheist I'm not really anthing. I dislike religion but I understand the need to believe that there is something more. Sometimes I try to believe in reincarnation but I can't get too certain. I grew up Christian (daughter of a preacher man) so sometimes I still get scared of that god. Anyway I don't have any problem with the religious as long as they don't try to convert me. I do think that Mal believed so hard in his God and in the Independents cause that losing the war just crushed that part of him into a very thin powder and then someone sneezed on it.

An I carried such a torch

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 2:26 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by SergeantX:
Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
After all if I'm wrong shouldn't you be able to prove it with a straight answer?



No, because it's not a straight question. Your distinction is loaded with assumptions and not justifiable. For example, where do you put these statements in your terminology?

1. I don't believe in god.
2. God isn't real.


The first is a statement of non-belief, the second is a statement of belief with no evidence of any kind to back it up.

Obviously someone who holds the belief stated in 2 also shares the lack of belief stated in 1, however as many soft atheists will tell you to honestly say 1 you do not have to believe 2.

Quote:

Or some more.

1. I don't believe the earth is made of spaghetti.
2. The earth is not made of spaghetti.


The first is a statement of non-belief, the second is a statement of belief that is backed up by, and probably based on, empirical evidence.

Quote:

Is someone who utters statement two acting on faith?

Well that really depends doesn't it? If they've never stepped foot outside a house, never seen the ground or dug a hole and knew nothing of geology or the origin of spaghetti I suppose it could be on faith.

But if we assume that they have seen the earth and know about the nature of spaghetti then I’d say it's probably based on evidence instead of faith.

You can see that the earth isn't made of spaghetti, thus the belief that the earth is not made of spaghetti is not something based on faith. It is still a belief, but I think we can all agree it is a very, very valid belief.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 2:36 PM

THEINCOMPARABLENOTION


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Quote:

Originally posted by TheIncomparableNotion:
That's quite a detailed index of various theologies and philosophies concerning atheism and agnosticism. Of which I had examined extensively prior to this, but, however; i'm still a bit uncertain as to why there aren't more varying degrees of these beliefs that are widely recognized.

I would imagine because most atheist don’t spend a lot of time in self reflection about their philosophical and religious opinions. I think that many, if not most, atheists are not necessarily opposed to the belief in god, as much as they are skeptical of religion. This is why many atheists get their dander up when someone suggests, perhaps rightly so, that strong atheist views are distinctly religious in nature. Many atheists don’t want to be labeled religious. In fact, on more then one occasion I’ve had atheists admit to me that their opinions are really more agnostic, but they proclaim an atheist position because they don’t feel that agnosticism is “strong” enough. And then there is my own personal experience: I once held very strongly atheists positions, even though I think I knew that this was in conflict with what I really believed. When I began to reflect on what it was that made me feel that I was an atheists, I was forced to abandon that characterization. It occurred to me that what I was really opposed to was certain aspects of human nature often associated with religion, but in reality I don’t think I was ever actually opposed to the existence of god, much less believed that god didn’t exist. To a large extent, atheism is a surrogate for opposition to religious belief, more then it is an actually independent theological or philosophical conviction, and that’s why, I believe, that there isn’t wide acceptance of the diversity of atheistic opinion.




The Earth is old.
And doesn't care if one small girl wants seeds to grow.



Precisely, most atheists profess to have no religous beliefs, and that's false. Their very belief indicates religous meditation. I personally believe that their beliefs are inherently religous in nature, and therefore comprise what is more or less, a religion. And, in regard to agnosticism, which is a philosophy that I identify most with, some have the misconception that agnosticism entails having no religous ideas. That's not true, it applies only to the belief of a God; for example, I hold the opinion that the prospects that a God exists are considerably better than those of one not existing. I just don't particularly know or believe one way or the other.

I think that all religions merit a certain degree of respect, there's no basis of which to prove any correct or incorrect.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 2:47 PM

PIRATEJENNY


well I'm not exactly an atheist, but I don't believe in God, like the Christian or Muslim God, I consider myself a spirtual person, but I tend to think more along the lines of Zecharia Stitchen, and I'm pretty anti religion myself, I can't wait till the time comes when people have evolved past that.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 3:53 PM

HAPPYBRAIN


If I ever choose to blindly follow a fictional character I'm sure I can come up with a better one than God.
Seriously, If I come face to face with the big guy when I die, I will gladly admit that I was wrong. I just don't see the point in worry about it now.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 5:06 PM

CAPTAINSHINY


Quote:

Originally posted by HappyBrain:
If I ever choose to blindly follow a fictional character I'm sure I can come up with a better one than God.
Seriously, If I come face to face with the big guy when I die, I will gladly admit that I was wrong. I just don't see the point in worry about it now.



So thats why you have a happy brain.

-Stay Shiny
"The people who made the show, and the people who saw the show, which is roughly the same number of people, fell in love with it, a little bit too much to let it go, too much to lay down arms when when the battle looked pretty much lost. In Hollywood, people like that are called unrealistic, quixotic, obsessive... In my world, they're called Browncoats."
-Joss Whedon

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:32 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by SignyM:
Hard-core atheist, and pretty anti-religious. Somewhat of a mystic, tho. While I think that science is the way to knowledge, I'm reasonably certain we will never know everything.



Can you explain what "anti-religious" means to you? Being a faithful-type myself, I tend to read into statements like that--but in the interest of not jumping to conclusions, I thought I'd just ask.

________________________________________________________________________
I wish I had a magical wish-granting plank.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:36 PM

DREAMTROVE


Quote:


If I ever choose to blindly follow a fictional character I'm sure I can come up with a better one than God.



Blood and souls for my lord Arioch?

BTW, when did this board die? I seem to be posting by myself.

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