The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Kurieuo
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kurieuo » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:33 pm

edwardmurphy wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Hi Ed,Like you feel it's a rhetorical trick for us for define Atheism a certain way.
I equally think it is a rhetorical trick to bundle Monotheists with Polytheists.

To bundle all beliefs together, you're saying something more than a mere absence of belief can provide.
In particular, you're saying those who believe in gods are the same as those who believe in God (likely due to some hidden beliefs/premises).
Such broad-stroking and generalising I think is evidently fallacious.


I'm saying that those who believe in gods are the same as those who believe in god in the sense they they all believe in supernatural beings, which they do. They may be vastly different in all other ways, but they all have that one aspect in common, and its that one aspect that causes me to reject them all.


So do you wish to move your position to something like "Asupernaturalism"?

By "Atheism" (theo which relates to God or deities), I know you specifically intend the part in bold.
And that's just where I disagree for belief in God or gods are not the same.

"God" is that person whom no greater being can be conceived.
Belief in the Supreme Being, that which is non-contingent having always existed.
The foundational something from which lesser beings and things all find their existence.

"gods" are contingent beings, normally existing within our world.
Take a modern example of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Such an entirely abstract and contingent being, based upon reason and logic is clearly not God.
Same too Zeus, Hermes, Aphrodite or even Lucifer who is believed by many Christians to be the god of this world.

The two are clearly different.
God is considered a logically necessary Being.
gods are not logically necessary, and can often be abstract beings like the FSM.

I don't want to play a trump card, but maybe it takes someone schooled in philosophy of religion to understand this.
And once it is understood Atheism as "the lack of belief in God/gods" more clearly shows there are some hidden beliefs about what God/gods are. For example, you consider them to be the same type/category as "supernatural beings".

In other words, your absence of belief in gods/God is actually saying something about what you believe these gods/God conceivably are.
So it seems you're no longer holding an absence of belief in gods or God, but rather you believe something about "gods or God" (i.e., they're supernatural beings). This isn't an absence of belief about God/gods.

The only logically sound position as I see for "Atheism" to at least accept some concept of God/gods.
But, in so doing, Atheism moves from a position as simply being "an absence of belief in Theism (God/gods)" to a "belief that no god/Gods who fit this or that description (i.e, supernatural) exist."

edwardmurphy wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:What does this mean?
Well, I think it means for "Atheism" to truly have merit as the absence of belief in God/gods,
that it needs to be define itself without any reference whatsoever to God/gods but in such a way that God/gods are ruled out.

That then too, would pass the formal logical argument that I presented previously.


It seems to me that regarding atheism as the rejection of a claim made by theists meets your criteria.

Just because you replace your intended meaning with a term (i.e., "theism"), doesn't make it pass the argument once unpacked.

First, you loosely defined Atheism as: "a person who does not accept the theistic proposition (that gods exist)."
I claimed that I also do not accept that gods exist, and pointed out that Christians were actually called Atheists by the Romans for not worshiping or going along with the many gods.

Then you expanded your definition of the theistic proposition to:

    When I use the word "theist"... I just mean people who believe in the existence of one or more gods. If I'm referring to members of a specific religion I use the name of that religion. I'm not an atheist with respect to the Christian god, I'm an atheist, period.

Well, you know what? Christians don't believe in one or more gods either. Such are contingent beings.
I believe in God, who is the greatest conceivable being. God I see is a logically necessary Being (in virtue of the fact that at the most foundational level of existence, there exists something non-contingent upon which everything else is contingent).

Now to re-reflect upon your Atheism being defined as "the rejection of a claim made by theists"...
Once unpacked this for you really translates into "the rejection of the existence of one or many gods or God."
Which ultimately still fails the pass the formal argument I previously presented.

Anyway, I don't really want to press the issue.
It seems clear to me however that Atheism as a positive denial of God or gods is at least internally sound and meaningful.
And really, why resist this anyway to say something logically unsound like "Atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods."
It's a small concession to make, and just means you do carry some burden of proof.
But, you know what? Christians still make a hell of a lot more claims to be put to the test.
Last edited by Kurieuo on Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:37 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:10 pm

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:

I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.

Ok Kenny,

This may be against my better judgement, but I'll ask anyways.(and since I'm asking, it means you can answer on this thread)

While these are only some of God's attributes, which of these attributes of God, leads you to believe our concept of God is not "behind what exists"?


Eternality
Omnipotence
Omnipresence
Holiness
Omniscience
Immanence
Immutability
Self-Existence
Sovereignty
Transcendence

Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Squible » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:49 pm

Kenny wrote: I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.


And


Kenny wrote:Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K


Certain huh? Wow Kenny are you omniscient?

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kurieuo » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:51 pm

Squible wrote:
Kenny wrote: I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.


And


Kenny wrote:Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K


Certain huh? Wow Kenny are you omniscient?

Kenny's God is Kenny. :P
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby edwardmurphy » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:43 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Anyway, I don't really want to press the issue.
It seems clear to me however that Atheism as a positive denial of God or gods is at least internally sound and meaningful.


Not pressing the issue too hard is probably for the best, because I am most definitely not schooled in philosophy of religion or formal logic. I'm much more instinctive about this stuff.

My thoughts basically go like this -

I've never met a god. I've never even seen one from a distance. Everything that I know about God and gods I learned from human beings. They all seem to share at least two characteristics. The first is that they are at least partially supernatural, by which I mean that they exist outside of the natural world. Perhaps they are eternal, omnipotent creators of the universe, or maybe they're just ancient fox spirits or some such. Either way, they play by their own rules. The second is that, although there was a time when one couldn't swing a stick without hitting one of them, they are currently unavailable for comment and have been for the entirety of the modern age. For whatever reason they no longer want to be seen, and they've been endowed with the ability to ensure that they're won't be.

With that in mind, I truly don't see any difference between a god the god. I see how the ideas are completely different, but ideas aren't gods.

Kurieuo wrote:And really, why resist this anyway to say something logically unsound like "Atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods."
It's a small concession to make, and just means you do carry some burden of proof.
But, you know what? Christians still make a hell of a lot more claims to be put to the test.


I mostly try to keep the burden of proof at arms length for two reasons -

1) Most of the Christians I end up arguing with flat out insist that the burden of proof is either shared equally or rests entirely on me, and if you give them an inch they take a mile. I don't believe it, but it's tiresome. It's one of those things that's just guaranteed to come up, like offers to pray for me, the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and Pascal's wager.

2) I know I sound obstinate here, but I honestly don't think I have any burden of proof.
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby edwardmurphy » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:46 pm

edwardmurphy wrote:
RickD wrote:An atheist may believe God doesn't exist because of a lack of knowledge on his part. Or just because he refuses to want to be accountable to someone besides himself.


Do you seriously believe that being accountable to no one but myself is easier than being accountable to a just and loving god who will forgive my mistakes?


BTW, you never answered my question, Rick.
If you're accustomed to privilege equality may feel like oppression.

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:11 pm

Squible wrote:
Kenny wrote: I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.


And


Kenny wrote:Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K


Certain huh? Wow Kenny are you omniscient?

No. Are you? If not; why do you ask?

Ken

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby abelcainsbrother » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:57 am

edwardmurphy wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Anyway, I don't really want to press the issue.
It seems clear to me however that Atheism as a positive denial of God or gods is at least internally sound and meaningful.


Not pressing the issue too hard is probably for the best, because I am most definitely not schooled in philosophy of religion or formal logic. I'm much more instinctive about this stuff.

My thoughts basically go like this -

I've never met a god. I've never even seen one from a distance. Everything that I know about God and gods I learned from human beings. They all seem to share at least two characteristics. The first is that they are at least partially supernatural, by which I mean that they exist outside of the natural world. Perhaps they are eternal, omnipotent creators of the universe, or maybe they're just ancient fox spirits or some such. Either way, they play by their own rules. The second is that, although there was a time when one couldn't swing a stick without hitting one of them, they are currently unavailable for comment and have been for the entirety of the modern age. For whatever reason they no longer want to be seen, and they've been endowed with the ability to ensure that they're won't be.

With that in mind, I truly don't see any difference between a god the god. I see how the ideas are completely different, but ideas aren't gods.

Kurieuo wrote:And really, why resist this anyway to say something logically unsound like "Atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods."
It's a small concession to make, and just means you do carry some burden of proof.
But, you know what? Christians still make a hell of a lot more claims to be put to the test.


I mostly try to keep the burden of proof at arms length for two reasons -

1) Most of the Christians I end up arguing with flat out insist that the burden of proof is either shared equally or rests entirely on me, and if you give them an inch they take a mile. I don't believe it, but it's tiresome. It's one of those things that's just guaranteed to come up, like offers to pray for me, the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and Pascal's wager.

2) I know I sound obstinate here, but I honestly don't think I have any burden of proof.



But what if you're wrong? You have time now to find out who the true God is or not because when you die? That's it and if you were wrong you will face the choices you made.There is no reason to reject God and then realize how wrong you were to believe them atheist talking points while believing their talking points even when you think you are exempt from having evidence to be an atheist.

And you will not have an excuse for rejecting the true God when you were ignoring logic,reason and reality and used imagination instead that defies reality in order to reject God.If you want proof Jesus is real? Then honestly seek him by honesty faith and ask him to save you and he will like he has for millions of people.When Jesus saves you? You will know it and you will have all of the proof you need.

Don't assume Christianity is like all other religions because it is nothing like the other religions.And our God is nothing like all of them other god's people believe in and if you ever put your faith in Jesus and he saves you? You will be totally changed on the inside to serve God and you will suddenly know the truth,it is a miracle that you won't find in other religions where they change their self, no Jesus will change you and you will know it.
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:53 am

Kurieuo wrote:I wonder what edwardmurphy would make of the following argument I happened to stumble upon :P Ed?

1) Lack of belief on a subject entails one is unaware to that subject of belief.
2) The moment one becomes aware to a subject of belief, they conceive of something about that subject of belief.
3) If you conceive something about a subject, then that something counts as a belief about that subject.
4) Therefore, one has a belief on any subject that they become aware to. (from 1, 2, 3)

Let's extend this argument...

5) The person who claims "to lack a belief in the subject of a belief" shows an awareness of that subject of belief.
6) It is not possible for a person to lack a belief in a subject that they are aware to (from 4).
7) Therefore, it is a contradiction to say "I lack a belief on some subject" since such presupposes an awareness to that subject.

And finally...

8) Atheists who claim that they lack a belief of God are full of doodoo. (from 7)

Kuriuo
I know this argument was not directed to me, but I’m curious how this works.
If Ed said I might have ice cream in my freezer; (thus the subject of belief is "ice cream in my freezer") but I never said anything about it, since you can’t simply lack belief either way; would you assume
a. I do not have Ice cream in my freezer
b. I do have Ice cream in my freezer

Where would your belief lie?

Ken

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby RickD » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:47 am

Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:

I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.

Ok Kenny,

This may be against my better judgement, but I'll ask anyways.(and since I'm asking, it means you can answer on this thread)

While these are only some of God's attributes, which of these attributes of God, leads you to believe our concept of God is not "behind what exists"?


Eternality
Omnipotence
Omnipresence
Holiness
Omniscience
Immanence
Immutability
Self-Existence
Sovereignty
Transcendence

Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K

Ok Kenny, I'll bite. Tell me why God's Omniscience and Omnipresence prohibits Him from creating the universe.
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby RickD » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:57 am

edwardmurphy wrote:
edwardmurphy wrote:
RickD wrote:An atheist may believe God doesn't exist because of a lack of knowledge on his part. Or just because he refuses to want to be accountable to someone besides himself.


Do you seriously believe that being accountable to no one but myself is easier than being accountable to a just and loving god who will forgive my mistakes?


BTW, you never answered my question, Rick.

Sorry EM,

Your question got lost on me. I apologize.

Easier? In the short term, absolutely. Feeling like one is only responsible to oneself is certainly easier than being responsible to others, including God. When one feels like he's responsible to nobody but himself, he can live only to please himself. There's no motivation to think of others before himself. It can be difficult to put others first.

EM,
God has already atoned for all your sins. The penalty has been paid in full. All you have to do is believe in the one who paid the price.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby edwardmurphy » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:23 am

abelcainsbrother wrote:But what if you're wrong? You have time now to find out who the true God is or not because when you die? That's it and if you were wrong you will face the choices you made.There is no reason to reject God and then realize how wrong you were to believe them atheist talking points while believing their talking points even when you think you are exempt from having evidence to be an atheist.


Ack, Pascal's Wager again. This argument comes up so often that there's even a wikiHow article on how to refute it. I skimmed it and it seems adequate, so I'll leave you to it.

abelcainsbrother wrote:And you will not have an excuse for rejecting the true God when you were ignoring logic,reason and reality and used imagination instead that defies reality in order to reject God.If you want proof Jesus is real? Then honestly seek him by honesty faith and ask him to save you and he will like he has for millions of people.When Jesus saves you? You will know it and you will have all of the proof you need.


I don't see it that way. Logic and reason don't require any supernatural input, and neither does reality. Over the last few hundred years we've managed to explain nearly all of the "unexplainable" phenomenon that were once laid at god's feet. God is running out of gaps to fill. I can only think of two, actually - what happened before the Big Bang and what happens when you die. In both cases I think "We don't know" is a better answer than anything that religion can provide.

abelcainsbrother wrote:Don't assume Christianity is like all other religions because it is nothing like the other religions.And our God is nothing like all of them other god's people believe in and if you ever put your faith in Jesus and he saves you? You will be totally changed on the inside to serve God and you will suddenly know the truth,it is a miracle that you won't find in other religions where they change their self, no Jesus will change you and you will know it.


How could you possibly know that? Have you given every other religion a sincere try? What would you say to a Hindu who feels totally transformed after a pilgrimage to the Ganges, or to a Native American fresh out of the sweat lodge? What would you say to an atheist who feels awed when he looks at the stars, precisely because he has vastly more knowledge than his ancient ancestors and knows what he's looking at and how it came to be? It seems like you're speaking with complete confidence from a position of almost complete ignorance.
If you're accustomed to privilege equality may feel like oppression.

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:27 am

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:

I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.

Ok Kenny,

This may be against my better judgement, but I'll ask anyways.(and since I'm asking, it means you can answer on this thread)

While these are only some of God's attributes, which of these attributes of God, leads you to believe our concept of God is not "behind what exists"?


Eternality
Omnipotence
Omnipresence
Holiness
Omniscience
Immanence
Immutability
Self-Existence
Sovereignty
Transcendence

Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K

Ok Kenny, I'll bite. Tell me why God's Omniscience and Omnipresence prohibits Him from creating the universe.

There are scriptures in the Bible that convinces me he doesn’t exist. In order to create the Universe he must exist.

Omnipresence: There are scriptures that describe God walking, traveling from one location to another. You can’t be everyplace (omnipresent) and a specific place at the same time

Omniscience: There are scriptures of God exhibiting anger, grief, repentance, (Genesis 6:6) and lack of knowledge (Genesis 18:20-21)
If God were knew everything (omniscient) when dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah, he would not have had to “go down to see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that had reached him” he would have already known, he would not have had grief in his heart nor would he have repented making man before sending the flood.

Ken

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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Byblos » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:01 am

Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:

I said I am certain that YOUR concept of God is not behind what exists.

Ok Kenny,

This may be against my better judgement, but I'll ask anyways.(and since I'm asking, it means you can answer on this thread)

While these are only some of God's attributes, which of these attributes of God, leads you to believe our concept of God is not "behind what exists"?


Eternality
Omnipotence
Omnipresence
Holiness
Omniscience
Immanence
Immutability
Self-Existence
Sovereignty
Transcendence

Of the options on that list, I would have to go with Omnipresence, and Omniscience.

K

Ok Kenny, I'll bite. Tell me why God's Omniscience and Omnipresence prohibits Him from creating the universe.

There are scriptures in the Bible that convinces me he doesn’t exist. In order to create the Universe he must exist.

Omnipresence: There are scriptures that describe God walking, traveling from one location to another. You can’t be everyplace (omnipresent) and a specific place at the same time

Omniscience: There are scriptures of God exhibiting anger, grief, repentance, (Genesis 6:6) and lack of knowledge (Genesis 18:20-21)
If God were knew everything (omniscient) when dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah, he would not have had to “go down to see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that had reached him” he would have already known, he would not have had grief in his heart nor would he have repented making man before sending the flood.

Ken


All you've convinced yourself of is your ignorance. :shakehead:

Every single one of your objections is answerable and from reason alone. But I have zero faith you're willing to honestly engage in a reasonable discussion.
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Re: The Faith of Atheists and Agnostics

Postby edwardmurphy » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:08 am

RickD wrote:
edwardmurphy wrote:
edwardmurphy wrote:
RickD wrote:An atheist may believe God doesn't exist because of a lack of knowledge on his part. Or just because he refuses to want to be accountable to someone besides himself.


Do you seriously believe that being accountable to no one but myself is easier than being accountable to a just and loving god who will forgive my mistakes?


BTW, you never answered my question, Rick.

Sorry EM,

Your question got lost on me. I apologize.


No worries. The text moves pretty rapidly around here. I probably should have made another thread.

RickD wrote:Easier? In the short term, absolutely. Feeling like one is only responsible to oneself is certainly easier than being responsible to others, including God. When one feels like he's responsible to nobody but himself, he can live only to please himself.


What makes you think I'm not responsible to others? I have a wife, a daughter, and another on the way. (Another daughter, not another wife, just so we're clear.) I also have parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, not to mention friends and neighbors. Beyond that, I'm part of a neighborhood, which is part of a community, which is part of a state, which is part of a nation, which is part of a planet. I'm accountable to everyone and everything on that list. When I'm changing diapers at 2:00 am, helping push a neighbor out of a snowbank, waiting my turn at a 4-way stop, picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk downtown, staying informed about local, state, and national issues, limiting my carbon footprint, reporting my income honestly, or whatever else, it's because I recognize that I'm a small part of something larger than myself and that I'm accountable to people other than myself.

RickD wrote:There's no motivation to think of others before himself. It can be difficult to put others first.


When conservative Christians say thing like this I worry about them. Your position seems to imply that god is the only thing keeping you from being a hedonistic, self-centered monster. if I could somehow prove that god wasn't real would you immediately abandon your family, start robbing banks, and change your focus to keeping yourself neck deep in hookers and blow until the cops finally shot you?
If you're accustomed to privilege equality may feel like oppression.

Something for us all to consider. (Thanks, Paul)

Individual, silent, personal prayer never has and never could be outlawed in public schools. - FFRF


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