Atheism and belief
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03-09-2010, 05:06 PM
Atheism and belief
Hey, erbody.

Shitty thread title.

OK. So Atheism is defined as not a Theist. OK.

This includes a pretty broad spectrum of people.

These people have to have beliefs beyond, I'm not a Theist. Now I'm not saying there is a single belief, but Atheists have to believe something.

So I'm curious about two things.
1 - Are there any beliefs that are universal amongst Atheists?
2 - What are some of the different belief groups/categories within Atheism?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-09-2010, 05:34 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
I don't think there are any universal beliefs with atheist.

I believe in things like Sapient rights and Freedom of expression, but I wouldn't think that was universal. Maybe very widely believed, but not all atheists I wouldn't think. Not like atheist neo-nazis.. I don't think they believe the same xD (most neo-nazis are christian though as far as I gather "God only loves white people" ect)

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03-09-2010, 06:18 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
(03-09-2010 05:06 PM)Ghost Wrote:  These people have to have beliefs beyond, I'm not a Theist. Now I'm not saying there is a single belief, but Atheists have to believe something.

You are wrong. Simple as that. Just because you want all atheists to have something more in common than the fact that they are not theists doesn't make it so. They DO NOT have to believe in anything at all to be atheists.

Lets be clear. All atheists have beliefs beyond "I'm not a theist". Thats just not what makes them atheists. You are still trying to over complicate what it means to be an atheist. IT'S NOT A BELIEF SYSTEM. Period.

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03-09-2010, 07:08 PM (This post was last modified: 03-09-2010 08:21 PM by ebilekittae.)
RE: Atheism and belief
Yeah, I think the only universal belief held by atheists around the world is "God has not been proven". =P

For me, personally, I'm still looking into different ideologies to see what best fits what I believe. I believe in civil rights for people groups (race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.), I believe in true and genuine devotion to the pursuit of "truth", I believe in helping the less fortunate, I believe in the right to openly disagree and to criticize, I believe in treating others with general kindness and forgiveness with a mercy you would like to be given, I believe in the intricate preservation of unique cultures and languages while still allowing them to go through natural linguistic and cultural evolution, and believe it or not I'm pro-life (not to cause a ruckus).

I believe atheists can have just as diverse beliefs as anyone else. We don't have a center of tradition or a Holy Book to tell us how to act, so we act in many different ways (I've encountered far too many more homophobic, racist, and generally bigotted atheists than I believed possible). I think this diversity is a beautiful thing, and something that can't be captured by any religion.

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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03-09-2010, 08:25 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
(03-09-2010 05:06 PM)Ghost Wrote:  1 - Are there any beliefs that are universal amongst Atheists?

No.

I know. Weird, isn't it? You'd think, from looking at this forum, that atheists all think and act alike. We don't. I've met atheists who believe in astrology, magic, and (swear to God Tongue) last-Thursdayism (though the last one was a pompous first-year Philosophy major who had absolutely zero grasp of what he was studying). I've met atheists who reject evolution, who believe that the Illuminati control the world, and so on.

Really, there is no single unifying belief. There is nothing that necessarily ties atheists together besides lack of belief in a deity.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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03-09-2010, 08:34 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
Quote:You'd think, from looking at this forum, that atheists all think and act alike.

You know, that's actually kind of true. Somehow we do all seem to have at least relatively the same general attitudes on things. Why is that? Is it the "Thinking" part? Maybe the fact that TheThinkingAtheist seems to appeal to skeptics in general?

EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION: Just want to make sure it's clear I'm not suggesting that those of us here do share all the same beliefs. =P Just we're not as motley a crew as I've seen on other atheist sites (even TheThinkingAtheist's Facebook fan page).

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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03-09-2010, 08:44 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
Hey, Stark Raving.

I'm not saying that their beliefs make them Atheists. I began by saying Atheists are not-Theists. That's fine. I'm not looking for what makes them Atheist, but what Atheists believe.

If we look at Theists, there's Animists and Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Jews and Greek Pagans and the whole family and all the independents and then there's the sects and all the rest. It's just differentiation within a category.

Atheism is the lack of a belief. Cool. But is it so difficult to imagine that there might be differentiation within that group?

Theology, for example, tells us how the world was created. So if Atheists don't have theological creation stories, then what do they believe. I don't mean THEY as some amorphous blob, but what are the range or things that Atheists believe? Big bang perhaps? Is that universal or are there other non-Theistic creation myths? Reason perhaps? I see a lot of Atheists espousing the merits of reason. Even if the answer is "every Atheist in the world has a utterly unique belief system and there is no overlap whatsoever" then that's cool. It lets us know what we're dealing with. We categorise everything. Why are Atheists exempt?

Hey, Cetaceaphile.

I've never heard of Sapient rights before. Could you elaborate?

Hey, LeviTimes.

If you don't mind me asking, what is "truth" to you?

I like your philosophy about cultures and languages. Very Roddenberrian.

It's a good point about the holy book. I don't think there are any, but then again, by definition there wouldn't be. It seems to me that people like this guy are trying to create bonds within the larger community. Also, there seem to be a ton of Atheist organisations. I don't see how people could get together to form groups without sharing ideas and beliefs. The conversation "yup, we sure are not-Theists" seems like it would dry up pretty quick.

Hey, Unbeliever.

Thanks for those examples. Do you know of any groups of Atheists that share those beliefs, like, a group of Atheist astrologists?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-09-2010, 08:50 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
(03-09-2010 08:44 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Atheism is the lack of a belief. Cool. But is it so difficult to imagine that there might be differentiation within that group?

Oh, there is. The thing is that there are so many categories that it's impossible to name them all. Every single political position, every single feeling on scientific matters, every single feeling on the arts... they can all be taken as "differentiations between atheists". There is no central belief to atheism for there to be variations on, so the only differentiations we have are the same ones everyone else has.

Quote:Theology, for example, tells us how the world was created. So if Atheists don't have theological creation stories, then what do they believe. I don't mean THEY as some amorphous blob, but what are the range or things that Atheists believe? Big bang perhaps? Is that universal or are there other non-Theistic creation myths?

Mostly it's the Big Bang, but, like I said, there are some really, really weird atheists out there.

Quote:Reason perhaps? I see a lot of Atheists espousing the merits of reason.

Yeah, because most atheists became atheists because they're skeptics, and skeptics endorse reason. However, atheists are more of a category of skeptics than the other way around.

Quote:Even if the answer is "every Atheist in the world has a utterly unique belief system and there is no overlap whatsoever" then that's cool. It lets us know what we're dealing with. We categorise everything. Why are Atheists exempt?

They're not. There's just an unlimited number of categories, since you can find atheists who believe anything - except that there's a god, of course.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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03-09-2010, 08:58 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
....I keep forgetting that typing in all caps means "yelling". Sorry, hope it didn't give the wrong impression. I capitalized "it's not a belief system" to emphasize the point. My impression from the origional post was that you were seeking commonality amongst atheists based on beliefs. That's just not the case. Like I mentioned in another thread, it may very well be true that atheists have common belief. My point is simply that those beliefs do not define atheists.

That said, I do think there are common beliefs. Most I suspect, place great value in logic. I guess the reason I so adamantly split hairs on the subject is that there are also some common ideas amongst atheists that I do not agree with. If those beliefs are used to define atheists then I will invariably be painted with that same brush. For example, many atheists believe that religion should be wiped out entirely. I am not sure that the masses could handle the idea of "being on their own" and therefore, I am undecided on how much value I think religion has. That is why I think it's important to ask the question, "what are some common beliefs among atheists?" instead of, "what do atheists believe?".

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03-09-2010, 09:00 PM
RE: Atheism and belief
Quote:Hey, LeviTimes.

If you don't mind me asking, what is "truth" to you?

I like your philosophy about cultures and languages. Very Roddenberrian.

It's a good point about the holy book. I don't think there are any, but then again, by definition there wouldn't be. It seems to me that people like this guy are trying to create bonds within the larger community. Also, there seem to be a ton of Atheist organisations. I don't see how people could get together to form groups without sharing ideas and beliefs. The conversation "yup, we sure are not-Theists" seems like it would dry up pretty quick.

I believe "truth" is the collective assembly of discovered facts about our universe, and the "pursuit of truth" that I mentioned would be along the lines of scientific discovery as well as personal analysis and logical assembly of those facts/discoveries. Truth is really an adjectival noun for me, and could probably be switched out with the phrase "scientific discovery". Of course, I'm sure there is truth that hasn't been discovered yet. It's a hard question to answer. =P I guess I'm trying to say truth is the assembly of facts that have been, are being, will be, and will never be discovered.

I've worked in international studies for a long time and the diversity that's I've come across in just the small amount of the world that I've been to fascinates me. I'd like to preserve that wonder of diversity for the future to hold in awe. And I really love linguistics. =P

And it would definitely be a boring conversation if atheists got together to talk about only their religious beliefs! Tongue If there's a second unifying principle of atheism, it's "when talking about religious beliefs, bring up opposing beliefs". Tongue I think organizing ourselves into "sects" (for the lack of a better word Tongue) would do our community well, like it has here to congregate the skeptical and "thinking" community.

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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