3 questions for atheists
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20-01-2014, 05:50 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 03:23 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  i can't see how someone would take the label of atheism unless you wanted to be antagonistic to theists. I lack belief but don't define my position based on what i don't do.

... and in a society that has an average level of belief not warranted by the available evidence, do you never find cause to shake the tree a little? Do you never find cause to spend time with people whose beliefs are relatively well substantiated?

Your criticism here seems to be that it is unreasonably antagonistic to stand up and say "actually, I don't believe any of that and I'm not ashamed or afraid to say so". Do you really think it is unreasonable to stand up and say "I don't have a god, and perhaps you should at your leisure take a moment to review some of those beliefs you have never seriously questioned"?

My view is that religion is sufficiently harmful to justify standing up and saying such things clearly in terms that can be understood as more than "I have doubts", "I'm searching" or whatever else comes to the average theist's mind when they hear "agnostic".

You keep wanting to go back to the dictionary definition of atheism as some kind of definite infinitely precise and certain rejection of a god - well if we are talking the average theist here outside of philosophical circles then it makes sense to also go to the dictionary for agnosticism:
"a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not"
"a person who does not believe or is unsure of something"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnostic
I'm confident these definitions are what the average theist hears when you use that term. Are those complete and honest representations of your belief status? Here is atheist:
"a person who believes that god does not exist"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist
Of the two, which better describes you? I know which better describes me. I don't have definite knowledge and my belief is provisional, but at this time based on the evidence I have before me I have definite belief.

So is my communicating effectively to those around me mere antagonism?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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20-01-2014, 06:09 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 05:50 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  So is my communicating effectively to those around me mere antagonism?

The implied certitude--whether real or apparent--is what is antagonistic. I don't think certitude in connection with atheism is rationally justifiable. The existential probability of anything that is logically possible is more than 0. The only religious position that can rationally provide certitude--if it succeeds--is ignosticism.
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20-01-2014, 06:14 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
I think I can within a reasonable margin of error place all possible beings into one of the following categories:
1. Not omnipotent = not god
2. Not omniscient = not god
3. Not omnibenevolent = not god, just an arsehole
I'm sure you can follow my reasoning on this.

I'll be honest. My facebook profile under "Relgious views" says "none".
I tell my mother I'm an atheist but I explain to her that means "I don't have a belief, and my nonbelief is provisional".
But to myself, and to those who I feel I share common ground with I'm an atheist in the scientific sceptic sense: I don't see any reason to believe nonsense without good evidence to substantiate it, and I can't think of a more appropriate word to use to describe my god belief.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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20-01-2014, 06:21 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 06:14 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  3. Not omnibenevolent = not god, just an arsehole

That isn't a reasonable inference. Why wouldn't an evil god not be a god? Omnibenevolence is not essential for an omniscient and omnipotent "first cause". An evil god resolves the problem of evil and the problem of divine hiddenness. Whether it is worthy of worship is besides the point.
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20-01-2014, 06:35 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
Well, we can always go back to merriam-webster to get a feel for what the common man means when he said "god":
the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

I'm not trying to reason that a non-omnibenevolent being is not a god. I'm working from the opposite direction: omnibenevolence is a necessary property of a being that the term "god" could be applicable to.

I see omnibenevolence as more of a necessary property for the proper use of the term god than that of being a first cause. I can acknowledge the possibility of a god being who emerged not as a first cause but as a necessary consequence of another cause. I can acknowledge the possibility of a "natural" first cause that in turn caused a god who in turn produced a universe... but I don't know what it would mean to call a being unworthy of worship "god". The correct term might be "spirit" or "alien" or "powerful being".

Charles Bufe:
"Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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20-01-2014, 07:06 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 06:35 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Well, we can always go back to merriam-webster to get a feel for what the common man means when he said "god":
the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

What the dictionary says is irrelevant and so are Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Quote:I'm not trying to reason that a non-omnibenevolent being is not a god. I'm working from the opposite direction: omnibenevolence is a necessary property of a being that the term "god" could be applicable to.

No it isn't. There is no such rule. There is nothing incoherent about the idea of an evil deity.

Quote:...but I don't know what it would mean to call a being unworthy of worship "god". The correct term might be "spirit" or "alien" or "powerful being".

There is nothing about the concept of deity that requires worthiness of worship.

Quote:Charles Bufe:
"Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Chippy:
"If he is omniscient and omnipotent and if he created the universe but he is evil he should still be called God"

Because "he" is an immaterial person that is omniscient and omnipotent and "he" created the universe.

The proposition "Our god is evil" is coherent, it isn't self-contradictory.

Historically there have been evil gods, e.g.
Taourt
Set (eventually became evil)
Nergal
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20-01-2014, 07:07 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 12:11 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  
(19-01-2014 11:55 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  [Image: well-thats-just-like-your-opinion-man-gi...bowski.gif]


[Image: liz-lemon-eye-roll.gif]

[Image: 1fd3eb2d600dfff5506ff549f5fd58fc7949f4f5...3eb1a5.jpg]

^^ Wishful thinking at its worst.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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20-01-2014, 08:06 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 07:07 AM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  
(20-01-2014 12:11 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  [Image: 1fd3eb2d600dfff5506ff549f5fd58fc7949f4f5...3eb1a5.jpg]

^^ Wishful thinking at its worst.

You think that's bad, Chippy has a hard on for me... Rolleyes

[Image: 3d366d5c-72a0-4228-b835-f404c2970188_zps...1381867723]
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20-01-2014, 10:43 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 07:06 AM)Chippy Wrote:  There is nothing about the concept of deity that requires worthiness of worship.


What?Blink

When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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20-01-2014, 12:10 PM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(20-01-2014 10:43 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  
(20-01-2014 07:06 AM)Chippy Wrote:  There is nothing about the concept of deity that requires worthiness of worship.


What?Blink

He's on point. Look at many of the ancient gods, the greek ones in particular. A lot of them were complete petty assholes. The only compelling reason to worship them would be self preservation. Shit, OT YhWh falls into this category as well. But it doesn't make the concept of their existence any more or less believable.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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