A Series Of Questions For Atheists
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31-07-2014, 12:16 AM (This post was last modified: 31-07-2014 08:14 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
(30-07-2014 09:14 PM)Mini Gun Fodder Wrote:  The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to some other belief system.

You also recognize the obvious fact that the same principle would apply to a political paradigm.

I bring this up because too often the lame argument is used on behalf of the atheist.

This is just a first in a series of questions from a newly inspired perspective.

The important factor is the REASON that this argument is employed. I don't know if it's got a formal name, but I call it the Problem of Plurality.

The Problem of Plurality is a counterargument suitable against many underlying arguments for the know-ability of God. It points out the wide array of religions, denominations, et cetera, and (if properly employed) the similarity in causes to believe in each of those. It also points out the plurality of religions, and from this concludes that the reasons given by the theist to believe in God are not good and reliable reasons, because different people so regularly and often take the same underlying data to support vastly different, mutually contradictory conclusions.

Theist claim: "We can know (my) God exists because of A", where A can be something like "faith", "the universe began to exist", et cetera.

Atheist counterargument: "But Other Group B-" e.g. Hindus "-believes in THEIR gods because of A, and yet you and they can't both be right. Obviously A has led a lot of people to bad conclusions, whether they are right, or you are right, or neither group is right. Therefore, A is not a reliable way of knowing things."

Pointing out that people would likely believe their local faith, if they grew up somewhere that the local faith was different from here, is simply generalizing the argument. It's emphasizing the problem of plurality, by putting the Theist in the shoes of someone who believes differently. It's not necessary to establish that the theist would believe differently... just that it's reasonably likely. That is enough to establish that the path that originally brought them to their beliefs is unreliable, because following the same path in a different place in the world would likely have brought them to different beliefs.

While it could be applicable to atheists in some circumstances, generally it isn't, for two reasons.

First, there aren't many places in the world where atheism is the norm. The suggestion that an atheist would conform to the religious majority of another location is less intuitive if they're not conforming to the religious majority in THIS location. We have a clear indication that this claim will be false. While it's not certainly false, it fails to clear the threshold of likelihood. Of course, if this claim is leveled at an atheist in a location where atheism IS the norm (eg, Sweden), then it might have some validity. Similarly, if leveled at theists who are members of minority religions (eg, Muslims in the U.S.), it lacks validity.

Second, the underlying epistemology of many atheists in predominantly theistic territories is skepticism. Properly done, skepticism does not accept one claim (eg, THIS religion has it right) over a contradictory claim (eg, that OTHER religion has it right) without strong evidence in favor of it. A plurality of options strengthens a skeptical position, rather than undermining it. If we were to focus on strong atheism -- the position that God definitively does not exist -- then perhaps some equivalence could be drawn. But the broader notion of atheism, the absence of a belief that any particular God does exist, conforms nicely to a skeptical position, and that non-belief or reserved judgement is quite justified by plurality coupled with shortage of evidence.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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31-07-2014, 12:21 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
Double-post-durp.
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31-07-2014, 04:26 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
Most everyone can be brainwashed and I like to think that everyone also has the capacity to reason. My brain in another time and place would pick apart any bullshit religion. I have a natural skeptical nature and my mind needs a reason to believe something is true.

In other words, I'm not gullible.
Place a non-gullible person in another time or another culture, you will get an atheist every time.

Place a gullible person in another time and place, you get a new member of whatever religion is in place.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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31-07-2014, 04:29 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
What questions can we answer for you ?
We like to educate as many ignorant people as we can.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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31-07-2014, 05:46 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
The Theist returns! Welcome back, sir.

I don't know if you have ever witnessed it but it fills me full of joy when I see the look on a believer's face when I drop the bomb.

The bomb goes like this... what religion would you be if your parents were Saudi muslims (or Italian catholics etc. depending on one's audience)?

The eyes widen, the jaw goes slack... just for a moment and then usually it's followed by some huffing and puffing.

Yes, we are all products of our environment, I'll grant you that but a disbelieving muslim and a disbelieving Jew and a disbelieving christian are kinda indistinguishable from each other.

Could it be that you, OP, are having difficulty with the concept of the rejection of one theistic belief vs. the rejection of all theistic beliefs?

Consider

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31-07-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
(30-07-2014 09:14 PM)Mini Gun Fodder Wrote:  The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to some other belief system.

"Other"? Seriously?

You seem to fail to undestand the basics.

That sentence should read:

"The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to a belief system."

See the difference? Saying "some other" belief system implies that there is a belief system in the first place where there is none.

On top of that, what the "lame argument" tries to do is to show someone who claims to have an answer, that that person considers the only answer, that there might be other answers.

For example, Bob is a Christian. Bob believes in one god and claims that his god is the right god and that he worships the right god. If Bob would have been born somewhere else he would claim a different god is the right god and that he worships the right god.

Since both gods, can't be the right god, this shows that the original claim that Bob made was wrong.

An atheist makes no claims about which god is the right one. An athesit simply does not believe in deities.

If that atheist would have been born in a different time and place he might have believed in a god, or gods, or maybe not. But that's more on how different atheists became atheists and a whole nature vs nurture discussion.
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31-07-2014, 07:52 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
(30-07-2014 09:14 PM)Mini Gun Fodder Wrote:  The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to some other belief system.

You also recognize the obvious fact that the same principle would apply to a political paradigm.

I bring this up because too often the lame argument is used on behalf of the atheist.

This is just a first in a series of questions from a newly inspired perspective.

I read this over, seriously, three times. I even did a CTRL+F on "?". You didn't actually ask a question. What is the first of your series of questions?
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31-07-2014, 07:54 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
(31-07-2014 07:40 AM)Zippo Wrote:  
(30-07-2014 09:14 PM)Mini Gun Fodder Wrote:  The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to some other belief system.

"Other"? Seriously?

You seem to fail to undestand the basics.

That sentence should read:

"The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to a belief system."

See the difference? Saying "some other" belief system implies that there is a belief system in the first place where there is none.
Eh, I'd argue that the correct form of his sentence (if I understand what he is getting at) is..

"The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time, do you realize it's quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to some other belief system?"

Although he might be misunderstanding what atheism is if he believes it is a "belief system", nit-picking on "positive belief" over "lack of belief" wouldn't be constructive in the context of his "question" (IMO).

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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31-07-2014, 08:20 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
As others have pointed out, you have made only assertions, there isn't actually a question in there. If the implied question is "do you agree with my [banal] assertions" then yes, I do agree. In the nature versus nurture argument you are making, it is very probable I, and most other atheist I know, would believe different things if we were raised by different people.

Atheist often make the counterpoint to theists because theists very seldomly even bother to defend their beliefs rationally or scientifically. In the absence of any good reason to believe in Christianity, for example, it becomes clear that most peoples beliefs are not justified at all; they believe it only because their parents believed it.

Thiest also have a much more exclusive world view than atheists do. As an atheist, I hold that all religions that have ever been in the history of mankind are equally likely to be true, or rather equally unlikely to be true. As a theist you make the claim, with certainty, that all other religions are false save for your own (not unlikely every other religion). This stance is never justified with either evidence or good reasoning, therefore it seems likely that one's religious preference is determined not by a rational and objective consideration of all possibilities, but by demographic of your parents. If your parents are christian you will become christian, it almost never happens that a person born christian suddenly converts to Hinduism.

By contrast atheism is not a positive belief in anything, it is a summary rejection of all faiths. You don't have to believe in anything to not believe in something else. It might also be worth pointing out that majority of peoples on this forum, and probably the majority of atheist everywhere, where not born into secular families, and at one time where christian, or muslim, or another faith before arriving at atheism.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems as if someone used that argument against you, or you witnessed it used against someone else, and then you somehow arrived at the conclusion that said statement was a "double edged sword" (applied equally to theists and atheists). I am not inclined to agree. I think there many important distinctions between how a christian arrives at their conclusions and how an atheist's arrives at theirs.
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31-07-2014, 10:27 AM
RE: A Series Of Questions For Atheists
(30-07-2014 09:14 PM)Mini Gun Fodder Wrote:  The first of which is this: If you were born in another place and another time you realize its quite possible that you, like any theist, would likely belong to some other belief system.
No shit. That neither validates nor invalidates my lack of belief in superstitious bogeymen.

Quote:You also recognize the obvious fact that the same principle would apply to a political paradigm.
This is not a question. It is a patently obvious observation.

Quote:I bring this up because too often the lame argument is used on behalf of the atheist.
What argument? You haven't brought anything up. You made two obvious statements that offered no insight into anything beyond common sense.

Quote:This is just a first in a series of questions from a newly inspired perspective.
Well, I hope to God it gets better. [My reference to God in the previous sentence reflects my lack of belief in the proposition that it will, in fact, get better].

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