Is that an accurate summary?
It's a resonable approximation, yes, but for two things:
you go on to interchange point 3 (the untenability of Christianity) with knowledge of god's non-existence (e.g. you say What you seem to say in quote (3.) above, is that you have knowledge that God does not exist, because of the reasons you quoted
) which is not what I intended.
my dismissal of Christianity is based on reasoning about its internal [in]coherency, not empircism and evidence (e.g. the Christian god is said to be all-just and all-merciful yet this renders him incoherent because an all-just being matches punishment to crime and an all-merciful being always totally forgives without punishment). Therefore I am unclear as to why you say of my dismissal of Christianity as tenable "I want to know what value system you are using to compare the sets of evidence.
" I'm not sure what sets of evidence you mean.
Ok, but you still have not shown what your premise is then, you have just denied my premise that God exists. Is your premise that there is no God?
When I spoke of a "green monster living on Pluto" you dismissed belief in it on the basis of the vagueness of the premises. You were correct to do so and required no premise that "there is no green monster living on Pluto" - neither did I demand one of you. Similarly I need no premises to lack belief in god. I only need hear your hypothesis and respond as to whether I believe you.
So what is it, precisely, that you wish me to believe?
God has revealed Himself in two ways to us, His general revelation, His creation, the universe and everything in it, and His special revelation, the Bible, which is among other things a summary of Gods nature, thoughts and intentions, and the history of His presence on earth. Christians believe that God is knowable, but not fully so, for it is impossible for an imperfect and finite being to fully know an infinite and perfect being. We accept that we can never understand and comprehend all tha God does, but the basic premise is that everything that happens, happens for Gods glory. I know there will be some objections to that, from your previous writing, and we can address those one at a time.
is meant by these three letters on the screen "g-o-d"? If the term "green monster living" was too vague for you why should I accept this ill-defined word as having a clear real world referent?
I dismiss your hypothesis as you did my green monster living on Pluto and , like you, require no world-view nor premise to do so.
If you have zero belief in something, how can that be based on something other than 100% certainty? Is it based on 70% certainty, 50%, 30%?
But you believe God might exist?
One, the claim seems to be self-defeating, if atheists do not know for sure there is no God, why claim there is no God? ... Secondly, although this qualifying statement is thrown about, atheists still claim to have knowledge about the non-existence of God, i.e. justifying atheism by naturalism or whatever the case may be, and holding a standard of certainty for the evidence. And you yourself have said numerous times that you have absolutely no belief in a god, so the claim is not mine, it is yours. Thirdly, it assumes that all existence questions are matters of fact, and are answered in the same way.
But if we were to accept that specific definition of atheism, it says that your position is true at the outset, and therefore it must be true because it's true by definition.
I'm unsure as to whether we will bridge this gulf between us, August.
For me, belief is a qualitative phenomenon, not a quantitative one. I have no idea how to make sense of your proposed percentages - that I believe it 70% of the time perhaps? I don't know. ("0%" and "100%" make sense - but not as numbers, merely because they are agreed synonyms for certainty). You do seem to realise this yourself when you say "But at least in the case of Christianity, that would be self-defeating, now wouldn't it? You cannot be half a Christian.
" and "Surely there cannot be 30% of a god?
". Then why bring such numbers up? - I didn't for this very reason.
I think the problem is that you favour a black and white, quantifiable assessment of beliefs, whereas I favour shades of grey and a qualitative assessment.
The key to the issue of my belief, and acknowledged possibility of being wrong, is as follows:
assertions without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (But the asssertion may still be correct.)
As such I chose not to believe unsubstantiated hypothesis and need no grounds to disregard them - if you appoach me empty-handed with a claim of this or that you cannot then demand I scurry around fretting how to prove you wrong. I can have no belief in what you claim, yet what you claim may still be true. It is for you to ensure your claim is coherent and to bring evidence to substantiate your claim if you wish to convince me.
You claim to have knowledge ... about how we came to be here.
atheism must still account for the universe, us being here etc.
Why must it?
Atheism is a curious word, a mere lack of belief for a common and peculiar claim of higher beings called gods. Yet assertions of gods with no evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I need not account for the universe to dismiss god claims, merely point to the lack of evidence or the internal incoherence of the proposal.
If a mystery exists we are not obliged to accept unsubstantied explanations. I can say "I have listened to your suggestion but disregard it. The mystery remains." You cannot legitemately say "but you must accept my suggestion or explain the mystery yourself!". That is not the case. I am free to merely dismiss all
proposals as untenable / unevidenced / incoherent etc and allow the mystery to remain a mystery.
But it isn't just a "mere lack of belief", is it?
My atheism itself is, yes. As a human being I am more than just my atheism, however.
That definition shifts the burden of proof, it relieves atheists from the obligation to prove that atheism is true.
No more than you shifted the burden of proof for your lack of belief in a green monster living on Pluto. I made the monster assertion without evidence, without even clear premises, and you correctly dismissed it without evidence.
The same holds for your god. There is no burden of proof for me to shift - it remains squarely where it belongs, on the shoulders of the proposer.
I will no sooner scurry around to disprove the existence of your god than I will to disprove the existence of alien abductions than I will to disprove that I have been reincarnated many times than I will to disprove that thunder storms are gods warring in the sky that I will to disprove that we are living in The Matrix
and than you
will to disprove the green monster living on Pluto... ad infinitum (for one can suppose endless unsubstantiated hypotheses)
Assertions without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Incoherent theories for mysteries can be dismissed without resolving the mystery. An absolutist worldview can be dismissed without adopting an absolutist worldview.
These posts are getting long, August. I have tried to condense things a little but if, in doing so, I have missed any specific points you wish me to address just let me know.
While in external speech thought is embodied in words, in inner speech words die as they bring forth thought.