Atheism: Belief or Position?

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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Is atheism a belief?

Yes
15
68%
No
5
23%
May be
2
9%
 
Total votes: 22

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Atheism: Belief or Position?

#1

Post by neo-x » Mon May 13, 2013 4:39 am

So guys, is atheism a belief or a position or both or neither?

What is your opinion? please care to cite reasons for what you believe the case to be.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#2

Post by RickD » Mon May 13, 2013 5:02 am

Atheism-Noun
The theory or belief that God does not exist.

Atheism-1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

Atheism is a beleef bekuz teh dikshunary sez so. y[-(

And yes, one needs faith to believe there is no God.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#3

Post by Ivellious » Mon May 13, 2013 11:54 am

As far as I see it, atheism is a belief. Atheists explicitly believe that no God/deity/greater supernatural power exists. That is a belief. Now, they have a point if they argue that they lack religious belief, because as far as religion goes there is no "doctrine of atheism" for them to religiously follow, Darwin jokes aside.

So I guess to sum up my thoughts, atheism is a belief that lacks any religious foundation. Atheism may be considered a lack of religious faith, but not a lack of beliefs. One could argue that they are also taking a position against organized religion as part of being an atheist, but not all atheists are necessarily against religion, nor are atheists the only ones who can be against organized religion (agnostics and even some followers of other faiths oppose organized religion).

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#4

Post by Dudeacus97 » Mon May 13, 2013 1:14 pm

I remember reading in William Lane Craig's book On Guard that animals and newborns should be considered atheists if one is going to say that it isn't a belief. What do you think of this?
"Christianity has always embraced both reason and faith."
-Dinesh D'Souza

"Stop listening to John Lennon and start listening to John Lennox! What about a world without the atheists? A word with no Stalin, no Mao, no Pol Pot? A world with no Gulag, no Cultural Revolution, no Killing Fields? Wouldn't that be a world worth dreaming about?"
-John Lennox

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#5

Post by Jac3510 » Mon May 13, 2013 7:19 pm

They would likely be fine with that, Dudeacus. They want to argue that atheism is the default belief, and that, of course, for rhetorical purposes.

As to the OP, I voted "maybe." Strong atheism is certainly a belief--the belief that no God or gods exist. Weak atheism is just the old agnosticism, and those are the people we constantly meet who think they are being sophisticated by insisting that "atheist" just means "a lack of belief concerning God"--that is, that they lack a positive belief that God exists. That's fine as far as it goes. I don't care to quibble over terminology. I am happy to accept their proposition and move on, because the important thing is that if these atheists/agnostics take this position (or, more technically, refuse to take a position on the existence of God), then they CANNOT argue from or assume God's non-existence in their own arguments. So, for instance, when you argue for objective morality or that Jesus rose from the dead, they can't insist that morality is strictly natural or that dead men don't rise from the dead. Such arguments presume God's non-existence. So once they claim they don't have a position, just remember it and hold their feet to the fire.

I find that, in practice, most of these weak atheists are really just strong atheists who think they have found a rhetorical ploy by which they can shift the burden of proof to the theist and ignore justifying their own position. It's an incredibly dishonest position and, frankly, cowardly. But, it is what it is. We can either respond by having the tired debate over the definition of atheism, or we can accept their lack-of-a-position for argument's sake and press on with our own case, and when their responses presume God's non-existence (as they always do, since these people always really DO have a belief, even if they aren't willing to admit it), just call them out on it and ask for evidence for their assumption while pointing out that they've changed their position and have in the process adopted a true belief.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#6

Post by 1over137 » Fri May 17, 2013 11:48 am

When I was an atheist I was blind. I see it as blind faith now.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#7

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri May 17, 2013 11:52 am

Everything we believe is a belief and everything we know is knowledge.
We can NOT say that we KNOW that God exists other then by saying we believe God exists ( for arguments sake since proof of God's existence would make God a "fact") and the same goes for those denying that God exists. No one can say that they KNOW that God doesn't exist, like they can say that they KNOW liquid is not a solid, they can only say the believe that God doesn't exist.

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#8

Post by 1over137 » Fri May 17, 2013 12:25 pm

There is Holy Spirit...
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#9

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 pm

1over137 wrote:There is Holy Spirit...
We believe so, no way to prove it though, not to a skeptic.
That is why it is a belief and why the vast majority of things than can't be proven or disproven are also beliefs.

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#10

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri May 17, 2013 12:32 pm

On a side note, the whole "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is BS.
When man walked on the moon, what evidence was deemed acceptable by those that believed?
A movie that everyone knows could have been faked.
Hardly extraordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim.

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#11

Post by Jac3510 » Fri May 17, 2013 2:11 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:Everything we believe is a belief and everything we know is knowledge.
We can NOT say that we KNOW that God exists other then by saying we believe God exists ( for arguments sake since proof of God's existence would make God a "fact") and the same goes for those denying that God exists. No one can say that they KNOW that God doesn't exist, like they can say that they KNOW liquid is not a solid, they can only say the believe that God doesn't exist.
This is very debatable at best and terribly wrong at worst. I have absolutely no problem saying I KNOW that God exists, and I have absolutely no problem saying that I KNOW that Hindu concept of God doesn't. I KNOW God exists because it is a philosophically demonstrable fact, and I KNOW Brahman does not because it is logically incoherent (which, by the way, is one of the reasons Hindus tend to deny that logic has any real validity when discussing spiritual matters). So if atheists could show that the very concept of God is self-contradictory, they would be justified in their claim that they KNOW that God does not exist. They can't do that, of course, because the concept is not self-contradictory, and, in fact, is so imminently reasonable that reason itself finds its existence in expression in Him.

The only way for you to make these claims is to assume a type of scientism or epistemological empiricism whereby we can only know for sure what our senses tell us (or what science tells us based on an analysis of what our senses tell us). But the problem there, of course, is that scientism or epistemological empiricism can't even know its own self to be true, so the whole project ends up refuting itself.

Sorry, I know God exists. It isn't a mere belief. It's a fact that I am aware of.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#12

Post by 1over137 » Fri May 17, 2013 9:31 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
1over137 wrote:There is Holy Spirit...
We believe so, no way to prove it though, not to a skeptic.
That is why it is a belief and why the vast majority of things than can't be proven or disproven are also beliefs.
Well, we may know God with help of Holy Spirit, but it is received individually, so, it's like explaining a blind man what we see when we look at majestic mountains. (And blind man can consider us lunatics. Ah.)
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#13

Post by neo-x » Sun May 19, 2013 9:26 pm

Jac3510 on Sat May 18, 2013 3:11 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Everything we believe is a belief and everything we know is knowledge.
We can NOT say that we KNOW that God exists other then by saying we believe God exists ( for arguments sake since proof of God's existence would make God a "fact") and the same goes for those denying that God exists. No one can say that they KNOW that God doesn't exist, like they can say that they KNOW liquid is not a solid, they can only say the believe that God doesn't exist.

This is very debatable at best and terribly wrong at worst. I have absolutely no problem saying I KNOW that God exists, and I have absolutely no problem saying that I KNOW that Hindu concept of God doesn't. I KNOW God exists because it is a philosophically demonstrable fact, and I KNOW Brahman does not because it is logically incoherent (which, by the way, is one of the reasons Hindus tend to deny that logic has any real validity when discussing spiritual matters). So if atheists could show that the very concept of God is self-contradictory, they would be justified in their claim that they KNOW that God does not exist. They can't do that, of course, because the concept is not self-contradictory, and, in fact, is so imminently reasonable that reason itself finds its existence in expression in Him.

The only way for you to make these claims is to assume a type of scientism or epistemological empiricism whereby we can only know for sure what our senses tell us (or what science tells us based on an analysis of what our senses tell us). But the problem there, of course, is that scientism or epistemological empiricism can't even know its own self to be true, so the whole project ends up refuting itself.

Sorry, I know God exists. It isn't a mere belief. It's a fact that I am aware of.
Jac, how do you know God exists, other than logic or philosophy? wouldn't the person assuming scientism would just bring this back to you that you are ONLY philosophizing the whole thing. Something which entails logically as coherent may not always be a fact.

And even if philosophy is allowed, that only gets one to deism, at best. The personal christian God can't be entirely assumed by logic, philosophy or science, alone. These things can lead you to A GOD, not THE CHRISTIAN GOD.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#14

Post by Jac3510 » Mon May 20, 2013 5:57 am

neo-x wrote:Jac, how do you know God exists, other than logic or philosophy? wouldn't the person assuming scientism would just bring this back to you that you are ONLY philosophizing the whole thing. Something which entails logically as coherent may not always be a fact.

And even if philosophy is allowed, that only gets one to deism, at best. The personal christian God can't be entirely assumed by logic, philosophy or science, alone. These things can lead you to A GOD, not THE CHRISTIAN GOD.
I would tell them that they didn't understand either theology or philosophy. First off, it is impossible not to philosophize. The moment you say, "You can't KNOW anything by philosophy . . . if you can KNOW anything at all, you have to know it this or that way," you've already done a LOT of philosophy, and here, you've done very bad philosophy. So, as I've heard said, all of us are philosophers. The question is whether we are good or bad at it.

I would then point out that the existence of God is not a theological issue. It is a philosophical issue and nothing else. It isn't scientific or mathematical or historical or aesthetic or ethical or anything else. God's existence is strictly and totally a philosophical question. Theology starts with the assumption that God exists, which means you can't do theology to prove it. That would be doing theology to prove the veracity of theology, which is entirely circular. That, by the way, is the same reason that scientism fails as a worldview. It tries to use science to prove the veracity of science, which is, again, circular. The veracity of science is properly grounded in good philosophical arguments. And before you ask, we do not do philosophy to prove the veracity of philosophy, either--well, not all philosophy. The veracity of "first philosophy" is not proven; it is assumed, and it is impossible not to do so. Again, to deny it is to already employ it, just as is also the case with logic (which is not identical with philosophy, by the way).

In light of all that, I would finally say that there are different kinds of facts, and different facts are known by different tools. There are scientific facts. There are ethical facts. There are historical facts. There are theological facts. There are philosophical facts. There are mathematical facts, and so on. Each discipline has its own set of tools for discovering those facts, and the moment you try to treat one type of problem with the tools of another discipline, you'll quickly find yourself in quagmire that can never be resolved. Can you give me a historical prove that one plus one is two? Can you give me an ethical proof that George Washington was the first president of the United States? Can you give me a theological proof that E=MC2? Can you give me a scientific proof that a sunrise is beautiful? You can't do any of those. But you can give me a mathematical proof for the first, a historical proof for the second, a scientific proof for the third, and an aesthetic proof for the fourth (notice, by the way, that I'm taking aesthetics to be objective here!).

And so it is with philosophy and God. There are facts that can only be known and demonstrated via philosophy, and they are truly known and truly demonstrated via philosophy. For instance, some things can be known, others can only be believed; there are various degrees of certainty for things known, which means further that different things are known different ways; there are differences in analytical and synthetic statements; universals really exist, but only in concrete individuals (which means trees really are trees, for instance); all living things really have a soul, and there are different kinds of souls; God exists.

In sum, to deny that we can know anything by philosophy is to contradict one's self, because that is a philosophical statement proving to know at least one thing (that nothing can so be known). To deny that we can know that God exists via philosophy requires argument and cannot just be assumed (just as it is also true that to affirm that we can know God exists via philosophy must be argued and not assumed).

Once all that was agreed on, I would go on to have the discussion about whether or not God does exist. And, I can tell you, I KNOW that He does. I have looked at the facts, and it is just necessarily true that He does given the other things that I KNOW about the world.

As far as only getting to Deism, that may or may not be true. The step between the God of natural philosophy and the Christian God is virtually non-existent. I have had the pleasure of bringing people to Christ by walking them through the arguments, convincing them God exists (without ever appealing once to Scripture), and then, having looked at what we knew must be true about God, just asking, "So, which of the major religions has embraced this God?" The answer has always been, "Well, that's the God of the Bible!"

But, to be more technical, I still have to believe in Christ, and believing in Christ is not a philosophical matter. That's a historical and theological matter--historical insofar as demonstrating the validity of the claim that the Bible presents an accurate description of what really happened (up to and including the resurrection), and theological insofar as one must believe what the Bible says the resurrection means. I'm sure you can see, though, that once a person has come to accept the fact that there is a God who loves us, who created us, but who is perfectly holy and offended by sin and still wants to save us, and who has come to accept the historical fact that Jesus really did raise from the dead . . . well, the theological fact turns out to be rather easy to accept as truth. So, sure, philosophy "only" gets us to Deism, if by that you mean that it takes us to the front door of Christianity, unlocks it, opens the door, shows us the light, and then asks us to simply step inside.

edit:

As an aside, I'm not saying that the ONLY way we can know God exists is by philosophy. I'm saying that's one way I know He exists. There are plenty of other ways, most notably by faith and direct experience. I have no doubt, for instance, that Hana knows God exists even if she can't walk through the details of the First Way (although maybe she can; I don't know, and if not that one, maybe another argument). The difference here is only that those who know God exists by faith cannot, by the nature of their knowledge, pass that knowledge on to someone else. The atheist could challenge Hana and say, "Well you don't REALLY know. You're just deluded." Maybe they are wrong. Maybe she is. Maybe they both are! But if the atheist is wrong, and if Hana really does know God exits by faith, it still follows that if she wants to defend that knowledge, she has to use another discipline.

I'll let you guess what that is. ;)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Atheism: Belief or Position?

#15

Post by 1over137 » Mon May 20, 2013 6:41 am

Oh, I do not have time to study it right now, so, for the time being I will send atheists to you ;)
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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