Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
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17-03-2012, 08:28 PM
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
(17-03-2012 10:54 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(17-03-2012 08:28 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  Apatheists may not care about the answer, ...

I do not care if theists accept Apatheists into their ranks. They can be considered the exact medium between the two.

Don't think that either of you appreciate the degree to which apatheists just don't give a shit.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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17-03-2012, 09:45 PM (This post was last modified: 17-03-2012 09:57 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
Hey, Starcrash.

I gotta disagree with a couple of points.

Quote:We don't have to argue about definitions... that's what the dictionary is there for: to settle disputes on definition.

Language exists outside of dictionaries. Dictionaries are simply reports on how language is being used and is (snicker) by definition (snicker) operating from behind. Furthermore, most dictionaries do not show historical meanings of words, just contemporary ones. So the idea that dictionaries perfectly explain all meaning is... well I just can't think of the right word Cool

I subscribe to the great humanist, His Excellency John Ralston Saul's take on definitions:
Quote:We often think of definition as a cornerstone of reason – as our protection against superstition, prejudice and ignorance. A definition is therefore intended to clarify things, to free us for action. But what we have seen in our society is that a definition can just as easily become a means of control, a profoundly reactionary force.

‘Well what is your definition of ethics? Ah, well, if that’s your definition…’

And so, rather scholastic conventions can lock us into assumptions of inevitability and give comfort to received wisdom. A definition then becomes a crutch for certainty and ideology.
(Saul, On Equilibrium, p 11-12)

Quote:... you... either believe in a God or you don't.

I've never understood this position. It seems so patently ludicrous to me that I just really, honestly, and this has nothing whatsoever to do with you personally, have never been able to grasp it. Will I live to 90? I either believe I will or I believe I won't? What happened to how the fuck should I know? For me this is very important because the dichotomy presented, that one can only believe or disbelieve in a God, is the basis of the position that everyone is either a Theist or an Atheist. If the dichotomy is broken then the entire notion is shattered. So I have trouble accepting the notion because to me, the dichotomy is absolutely false.

Hey, Mugsy.

Oh shit, sorry, dude. I didn't realise that you had put that together. I thought you just snatched it from the Intertubes. Thanks for being big about it but I didn't at all mean that "your" graph was shitte. It was actually quite well done. I was referring to the idea. Please accept my apologies that you already told me you don't need Big Grin

Hey, Godless.

You don't have to do anything. I understand what you're saying. I just happen to disagree with it.

Sup, Free?

Quote:The Agnostic (I don't know) stance is someone attempting to appear open-minded by saying we can't possibly know if there is or isn't so they'll stand in the middle. Bullshit. If you do not agree with the evidence used for the existence of a deity then you are an Atheist. Own it.

I'm not trying to appear anything. Like Popeye says, I am what I am.

I'm afraid that I have to take umbrage to your calling bullshit Tongue

I personally do not not agree with the evidence because I don't think any exists. So there's nothing there for me to own.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-03-2012, 10:16 PM
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
(17-03-2012 03:57 AM)Egor Wrote:  It's very simple. Do you believe there is a conscious being who created the universe? If you don't, then you're an atheist.
I believe it's unlikely. I believe that i don't know for positive.
(17-03-2012 04:00 AM)ALovelyChickenMan Wrote:  You're pretty much an agnostic atheist.
OK. So I'm a atheist then. right?

agnosticism is a subcategory of atheism then?


(17-03-2012 07:15 PM)free2011 Wrote:  You are a Theist (believer) or Atheist (nonbeliever). The Agnostic (I don't know) stance is someone attempting to appear open-minded by saying we can't possibly know if there is or isn't so they'll stand in the middle. Bullshit. If you do not agree with the evidence used for the existence of a deity then you are an Atheist. Own it. Take the same stance as you would if someone asked you if you believed in flying unicorns or pink dragons. "Hell no I don't ! "

.
I'm quick to call bullshit on anything that sounds like it. Which means talking donkeys, the crap in the Koran, scientology etc.

I am just soooo afraid of lowering my self to the level i once was when i thought there was a god. To where i KNEW there was a god. You know? I don't want to label myself as someone who KNOWS for sure or i am just stooping to the same arrogance most theist do.

Forget Jesus. Stars died so you could live.-Lawrence Krauss

For god loved the world so much he tortured his only begotten son, gave him a 3 day nap only to wake up in ultimate awesomeness and called it a sacrifice.
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17-03-2012, 10:52 PM
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
(17-03-2012 09:45 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Language exists outside of dictionaries. Dictionaries are simply reports on how language is being used and is (snicker) by definition (snicker) operating from behind. Furthermore, most dictionaries do not show historical meanings of words, just contemporary ones. So the idea that dictionaries perfectly explain all meaning is... well I just can't think of the right word Cool

I subscribe to the great humanist, His Excellency John Ralston Saul's take on definitions:
Quote:We often think of definition as a cornerstone of reason – as our protection against superstition, prejudice and ignorance. A definition is therefore intended to clarify things, to free us for action. But what we have seen in our society is that a definition can just as easily become a means of control, a profoundly reactionary force.

‘Well what is your definition of ethics? Ah, well, if that’s your definition…’

And so, rather scholastic conventions can lock us into assumptions of inevitability and give comfort to received wisdom. A definition then becomes a crutch for certainty and ideology.
(Saul, On Equilibrium, p 11-12)

Quote:... you... either believe in a God or you don't.

I've never understood this position. It seems so patently ludicrous to me that I just really, honestly, and this has nothing whatsoever to do with you personally, have never been able to grasp it. Will I live to 90? I either believe I will or I believe I won't? What happened to how the fuck should I know? For me this is very important because the dichotomy presented, that one can only believe or disbelieve in a God, is the basis of the position that everyone is either a Theist or an Atheist. If the dichotomy is broken then the entire notion is shattered. So I have trouble accepting the notion because to me, the dichotomy is absolutely false.

Yes, language exists outside of dictionaries, just as knowledge exists outside of encyclopedias... but they're references. When you have questions specific to what they're referencing, that's what you go to. I don't care what the "historical" root of the word "atheism" is, I just care what it means when someone uses it now. The dictionary is the best tool for that, and I think that almost goes without saying because it's so obvious.

But you're not just attacking the dictionary as an "expert" on word definitions, but you want to dismiss definitions entirely by quoting someone you believe is an expert on the idea of definitions. As much as I personally appreciate John Ralston Saul, I don't take his word as gospel... his personal opinion on the value of definitions doesn't move me to reject them. Logically definitions have meaning, otherwise translation is impossible and a statement such as his, yours, or mine is incoherent.

I'm willing to agree that belief or disbelief in God is not a dichotomy. That's the whole purpose of fuzzy logic. But that still doesn't make the definitions of atheist or theist fuzzy. It could mean you simply don't know which one you are or which one you label yourself as (or don't care what you are) but that doesn't make you neither, just as not caring about whether you are a boy or a girl makes you gender-neutral.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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18-03-2012, 05:07 AM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2012 05:14 AM by Logica Humano.)
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
(17-03-2012 07:15 PM)free2011 Wrote:  You are a Theist (believer) or Atheist (nonbeliever). The Agnostic (I don't know) stance is someone attempting to appear open-minded by saying we can't possibly know if there is or isn't so they'll stand in the middle. Bullshit. If you do not agree with the evidence used for the existence of a deity then you are an Atheist. Own it. Take the same stance as you would if someone asked you if you believed in flying unicorns or pink dragons. "Hell no I don't ! "

.

Are you an agnostic?


(17-03-2012 10:16 PM)Atheist Chiefs fan! Wrote:  
(17-03-2012 04:00 AM)ALovelyChickenMan Wrote:  You're pretty much an agnostic atheist.
OK. So I'm a atheist then. right?

agnosticism is a subcategory of atheism then?

Yes and no. Atheists already make the assumption that there is no deity.

Agnostic Atheism
Quote:Wikipedia - "Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who does believe that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known."

Agnostic Theism
Quote:Wikipedia - "Agnostic theism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of at least one deity, but regards the truth or falsehood of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the God(s) they believe in."

Agnosticism
Quote:Wikipedia - "Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist. Within agnosticism there are agnostic atheists (who do not believe any deity exists, but do not deny it as a possibility) and agnostic theists (who believe a deity exists but do not claim it as personal knowledge)."

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18-03-2012, 06:00 AM
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
I don't think it's all black and white.

I think it's a curve and there are the extremes and then there are many shades in between.

The people who come here are for the most part on the atheist side of the curve, but not everyone is at the extreme end, the total atheist.

Theists are not all at the extreme end either, there you have the fundamentals. But there are many degrees of theism, and you have the middle of the curve where you find a lot of people who are not sure what they are.These people always doubt if they are on the right side....

People have this urge to categorize things perfectly, but a lot of things can't be pushed to extreme opposites and hence can't be properly categorized.

So then you run into issues with definitions...

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18-03-2012, 07:04 AM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2012 07:11 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
Hey, Starcrash.

Quote:...you want to dismiss definitions entirely...

That is an absolute mischaracterisation.

Neither Saul nor I are saying that there is no such thing as definition nor are we saying that definition should be disposed of. What we are both saying is that there is such a thing as ideology. All of us, every last one of us, are at all times both subject to and an agent of ideology. Language, cognition and society could not function without ideology. The issue is not ideology itself but, as Althusser points out, hegemony; when we naturalise ideology and hide the discourse that led to it. This is what Saul is talking about when he speaks of received wisdom.

BTW, sorry. It seems that the Saul quote was truncated for some reason. Repost:
Quote:We often think of definition as a cornerstone of reason – as our protection against superstition, prejudice and ignorance. A definition is therefore intended to clarify things, to free us for action. But what we have seen in our society is that a definition can just as easily become a means of control, a profoundly reactionary force.

‘Well what is your definition of ethics? Ah, well, if that’s your definition…’

And so, rather scholastic conventions can lock us into assumptions of inevitability and give comfort to received wisdom. A definition then becomes a crutch for certainty and ideology.
(Saul, On Equilibrium, p 11-12)

When certain people try to revisit the discourse of what it means to be a Theist, or an Atheist or an Agnostic and they are met with, "No, it's already defined, no further discussion is allowed," that is the power dynamic that Saul speaks of at work. "You cannot think what you want, you must think as I want," or more to the point, "as we, the dominant power group wants." The power of hegemony is that it turns what Saul refers to as 'rather scholastic conventions', into the "common sense view". Once that occurs, then what Foucault speaks of, the atomisation of power, the decentralisation of power and the maintainance of power through self-policing, occurs.

So while I recognise the ideology that says that you're either an Atheist or a Theist and that some dictionaries define it that way (while others, it must be noted, do not and that Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most recognised authors on the subject of Atheism does not), I refuse to be cudgeled into not revisiting the discourse. There is more to discuss and further ideas to explore. There are also contradictions within this binary Theist/Atheist model that hegemony has sutured that need to be exposed.

The man who coined the term Agnosticism said that it was about not pretending that things that are uncertain are certain. He said nothing of it being about whether or not we can know the truth. So while I understand the Agnostic/Gnostic model, I also know that in certain contexts, it's at best silly and at worst revisionist. I also know that many definitions of Atheism say that it is a matter of not believing in God. That is a position that I do not take; ergo, I cannot be an Atheist under that definition. So as I said above, while I understand and accept that some people call me an Atheist and that I understand and accept why that is, I disagree; not because of petulance, but because I have returned to the discourse and and found truths that are contradictory to the reigning ideological position.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-03-2012, 07:21 AM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2012 07:41 AM by craniumonempty.)
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
"Yes and no. Atheists already make the assumption that there is no deity."

"they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity" is not an assumption there is no deity. It is not a truth claim about whether a deity exists or not. It's not having belief that there is. It's not that theists believe there is a deity and atheists believe there is no deity. It's that atheists don't have a belief that there is a deity. They don't hold the belief.

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18-03-2012, 09:26 AM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2012 09:30 AM by free2011.)
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
Ask yourself this: Am I agnostic about Santa Clause? The Easter Bunny? Leprechauns? I certainly hope your answer is "no" and that you don't believe any of them. Yet isn't there more evidence for them? They are presumably made of common DNA. If fact, they are all forms of living mammals that we see today. We have only explored a small fraction of our world so how could we rule out their existence.

So at the next public function you attend start a conversation about how it is possible these things exist and see how long before your standing all alone.

"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out." - Richard Dawkins

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I wasn't . . . until I was
I am . . . until I'm not
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18-03-2012, 09:41 AM
RE: Am I Atheist or Agnostic?
(18-03-2012 07:21 AM)craniumonempty Wrote:  "Yes and no. Atheists already make the assumption that there is no deity."

"they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity" is not an assumption there is no deity. It is not a truth claim about whether a deity exists or not. It's not having belief that there is. It's not that theists believe there is a deity and atheists believe there is no deity. It's that atheists don't have a belief that there is a deity. They don't hold the belief.

Quote:Wikipedia - "Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists."

As I said, there are varying levels of faith. Nothing is black and white when it comes to theology.

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