Atheism is the only rational position to take
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14-08-2017, 08:56 PM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(14-08-2017 08:46 PM)Astreja Wrote:  I think sheep in general are cute. Cartoon sheep (q.v. Wallace and Gromit) are cute, too. That... that thing standing on the hay is obviously an outlier.

Bu-bu-but...looks aren't everything Sadcryface

As I moralised about in a story I wrote while learning Portuguese - about the toad who got tired of always being the ugliest and went travelling around the world... only to discover that it doesn't matter how you look, but what you do Lecture_preist

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15-08-2017, 05:06 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(14-08-2017 12:05 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(14-08-2017 07:41 AM)mordant Wrote:  I'd wager most atheists don't believe existence possesses inherent meaning and purpose (I certainly don't)
I’d agree with you, if they did they’d just be a closeted theist, akin to the 8% of self-identifying atheists that also indicate they believe that God exist.
You're ignoring my actual point here which is that one is an atheist if one doesn't believe in any deities, not whether or not they believe in some form of meaning / purpose being inherent in existence. Also, one is a theist if one believes in one or more deities -- independent of their belief in inherent purpose and meaning. You are laboring mightily to tie the two together. While theism tends to lean one way and atheism the other, the definitions of each group have zero to do with purpose and meaning which speak to possible motivations for believing.

In other words, belief in inherent purpose and meaning don't substantiate or justify affording belief; they simply provide a motivation for desiring to believe.
(14-08-2017 07:41 AM)mordant Wrote:  but it really has nothing to do with the entirely separate question of whether belief should be afforded to the notion that gods exist.
(14-08-2017 12:05 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Says the folks that complain that they can’t understand what people mean by the term God.
You'll look in vain for ANYONE "complaining" they "can't understand". The ONLY thing that has happened is that it's been pointed out that there are many different definitions of god and so if we're going to discuss "god" we need to know which one you're talking about.
(14-08-2017 12:05 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In fact the question of inherent meaning, of teleology, is the entire basis of why I and many others believe in God in the first place, and a significant part of the question of whether one believes in God.
No, it's the basis for claiming that god is critically necessary, not the basis for legitimate belief., which would need to have something to do, not with the feeling that god is needed or desired, but with some evidence that he actually exists.
(14-08-2017 12:05 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  They are not separate questions, but part of the same question. Imagining as you do that they’re different is perhaps why the handful of atheists like yourself can’t seem to understand what’s meant by the term “God”, who in their ignorance imagine the question of God, like one might the question of Bigfoot.
Well you walked right into that one. One would treat both questions exactly the same, as to existence. One might or might not believe Bigfoot is the source of meaning, purpose, morality, peace, etc. But one might claim that to be so, to make believing in Bigfoot more attractive, when in fact there's no good reason to believe he even exists.
(14-08-2017 07:41 AM)mordant Wrote:  Indeed, there are theists who don't believe in an inherent meaning and purpose in existence. Just because a god exists doesn't define what it supposedly has or hasn't provided us with. A deity could just as well expect us to figure out our own meaning and purpose.
(14-08-2017 12:05 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Well, I’m doubtful of your abilities as an atheist to be a spokesperson for what they do or do not believe. Apparently you and others can’t seem to understand what they even mean by the term “God”, so not sure we should put much stock in your understanding of their theism.
I am not a spokesperson for anyone, simply an observer -- and the question of what one's particular god is, is for the individual theist to answer, not me, so that I can avoid talking past that theist, thinking they actually understand my meaning.

I think my extensive investment in and living out of theism for decades allows me to claim some understanding of theism. More than most theists, who unlike me, had no formal education on the topic at all, and don't particularly know the urtext of their own faith.

So if you want to turn this into a dick waving contest, maybe think again.

The only point here is that you can't have an intelligent conversation about one's god unless one explains what one thinks that god is defined as.
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15-08-2017, 06:18 AM
Atheism is the only rational position to take
(15-08-2017 05:06 AM)mordant Wrote:  You're ignoring my actual point here which is that one is an atheist if one doesn't believe in any deities, not whether or not they believe in some form of meaning / purpose being inherent in existence.

No your missing my point, you can’t be an atheists and theist.

A belief in teleological order (inherent meaning and purpose), is a theistic belief. The very idea falls into what many people mean when they speak of a non-specific God.

Your problem is you imagine the question of God, like one would the question of big foot, rather than one about the nature of reality itself. My belief in God is synonymous with by believe in inherent meaning and purpose. It’s inseparable. If you believe in a God even remotely like I do, you’re a theist.


Quote:Also, one is a theist if one believes in one or more deities -- independent of their belief in inherent purpose and meaning. You are laboring mightily to tie the two together. While theism tends to lean one way and atheism the other, the definitions of each group have zero to do with purpose and meaning which speak to possible motivations for believing.

I’d accuse of you not understandingwhat the meaning of “God” implies. That whatever notion you seem to be working with here, is unlikely to resemble whatsconveyed in common usage by people when they ask the question “do you believe in God”.

Quote:One might or might not believe Bigfoot is the source of meaning, purpose, morality, peace, etc. But one might claim that to be so, to make believing in Bigfoot more.....[/auote]


Well here lies your problem. If you believe there is a source, than you believe in God, regardless of if you think he’s hairy and 10 feet tall and lives in the local woods, or if you think his name is Phil.

A belief in God using your example is a belief that there is a source, and not the supposed property of that source, such as where he lives, what he does on the weekends, etc....

[quote]I think my extensive investment in and living out of theism for decades allows me to claim some understanding of theism. More than most theists, who unlike me, had no formal education on the topic at all, and don't particularly know the urtext of their own faith.

So if you want to turn this into a dick waving contest, maybe think again.

The only point here is that you can't have an intelligent conversation about one's god unless one explains what one thinks that god is defined as.


Well I’ve been among folks like yourself for over a decade, and no matter how much time they’ve spent with theists, one thing remains constant that they do a shitty job trying to convey what they believe. Your example of comparing a belief in God to big foot, is one example.

I’m telling you as a theist, a conservative evangelical one at that, your confidence in being able to speak about beliefs such as my own, are not warranted. They are more or less embarrassing.

Stick to speaking on behalf of atheists, and not for us theists.






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"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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15-08-2017, 06:49 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(14-08-2017 01:41 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(14-08-2017 12:52 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Tomasia bases his whole argument on a false dichotomy and resolutely ignores the fact when it is pointed out. So yeah, a waste of time....

If you can’t decipher what people mean by God, you can’t appeal to a false dichotomy in an argument about this very meaning of the word.

You can’t claim what a belief in God does or does not entail, when you confess to being ignorant of what it does entail.

I was a theist for most of my adult life, so I know very well what it entails. However, the false dichotomy I mentioned was not about this issue but about another. You are arguing that without a God there can be no meaning or purpose to life. That is the false dichotomy in question, and I already addressed it in some detail which you ignored. You are trying to speak for atheists when you say atheists have no basis for meaning and purpose. And you are wrong.

Here is the post you have so far failed to address:

(14-08-2017 09:14 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I am an atheist who thinks existence possesses inherent purposes and meanings.

One essential component missing from this discussion is the discrimination between an absolute purpose and relative purposes. Theists do indeed typically believe in an absolute purpose and meaning: to worship God and glorify him forever or something similar. However, almost everyone understands relative purposes: to eat when you are hungry, to sleep when you are tired and so on. Food, a comfortable bed, a secure home, a loving mate and so on are NOT MEANINGLESS and humans pursuing them is NOT PURPOSELESS, even without a God to say so. These are purposes and meanings relative to our human biology -- not just made up concerns.

For theists to say atheists lack purpose and meaning is just their delightful way of dehumanizing us. For atheists to agree with such nonsense is a political misstep, to say the least.
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15-08-2017, 07:58 AM
Atheism is the only rational position to take
(15-08-2017 06:49 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  IYou are arguing that without a God there can be no meaning or purpose to life. That is the false dichotomy in question, and I already addressed it in some detail which you ignored. You are trying to speak for atheists when you say atheists have no basis for meaning and purpose. And you are wrong.

I argued in relationship to inherent meaning and purpose to life, not about whether you or anyone else place some subjective meaning or purpose to it.

Quote:..atheists lack purpose and meaning is just their delightful way of dehumanizing us. For atheists to agree with such nonsense is a political misstep, to say the least.

Nice strawman. I’m sure plenty of people here would say they posses their own subjective sense of meaning and purpose. But this is not one and the same as an inherent purpose.

Your argument is mostly semantical, an attempt to contort the meaning being conveyed, to fit your argument, which is the farthest from any of the points I raised.






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"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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15-08-2017, 08:09 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(15-08-2017 07:58 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I’m sure plenty of people here would say they posses their own subjective sense of meaning and purpose. But this is not one and the same as an inherent purpose.

What inherent purpose? If things truly had an "inherent" meaning and purpose, you wouldn't need any god to give them one, now would you? If you assume that this "inherent" purpose necessarily implies god, then it isn't really inherent. Make up your mind.
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15-08-2017, 08:31 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(15-08-2017 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(15-08-2017 05:06 AM)mordant Wrote:  You're ignoring my actual point here which is that one is an atheist if one doesn't believe in any deities, not whether or not they believe in some form of meaning / purpose being inherent in existence.

No your missing my point, you can’t be an atheists and theist.
I agree that you can't be both, but you are bringing in issues that don't determine which you are. Teleological beliefs don't define those categories. While a good argument can be made that atheists mostly hold extrinsic rather than teleological beliefs, nothing says everyone's beliefs are fully considered or consistent or rational, and you will encounter atheists with teleological notions and theists with extrinsic notions.
(15-08-2017 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A belief in teleological order (inherent meaning and purpose), is a theistic belief. The very idea falls into what many people mean when they speak of a non-specific God.
Frankly I very much doubt most people even know what "teleological" means, or hold to a purely teleological position. "God helps those who help themselves" is not particularly teleological, but rather an attempt to handle the cognitive dissonance between the help god promises in most interpretations of Christianity vs what people experience.
(15-08-2017 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Your problem is you imagine the question of God, like one would the question of big foot, rather than one about the nature of reality itself. My belief in God is synonymous with by believe in inherent meaning and purpose. It’s inseparable. If you believe in a God even remotely like I do, you’re a theist.
If that's your approach to thinking about it, then that's explains your need and desire for there to be a god, but does not substantiate that your god exists or determine the simple fact of whether or not you believe in your god.

Look at it this way. You might believe that life is meaningless without personal transportation, but this does not determine whether or not you believe in automobiles, or favor sedans over pickup trucks, it merely makes you highly compatible with believing in, owning and valuing a personal conveyance of some kind.
(15-08-2017 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I’d accuse of you not understandingwhat the meaning of “God” implies. That whatever notion you seem to be working with here, is unlikely to resemble whatsconveyed in common usage by people when they ask the question “do you believe in God”.
I understand perfectly well most of the common meanings of god, and most of the common felt needs for god concepts, I just don't confuse the two or assume which god is under discussion.
(15-08-2017 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:One might or might not believe Bigfoot is the source of meaning, purpose, morality, peace, etc. But one might claim that to be so, to make believing in Bigfoot more.....
Well here lies your problem. If you believe there is a source, than you believe in God, regardless of if you think he’s hairy and 10 feet tall and lives in the local woods, or if you think his name is Phil.

A belief in God using your example is a belief that there is a source, and not the supposed property of that source, such as where he lives, what he does on the weekends, etc....
Now you're getting nebulous and talking about a "source", not of something specifically (meaning and purpose) but just a Source. Are you trying to work in other "sourcey" aspects of god now, like Creator?

Like a smile that never reaches the eyes, many believers in my experience believe in their god as a rule-giver or punisher but not as a source of meaning and purpose. If asked they might claim they believe that but they certainly don't behave like it. They are far too dour and dutiful and masochistic to be much more than robots (though ironically they invoke free will and the need NOT to be robots in order to explain human suffering). While your god-concept may be centered on the need for purpose and meaning to be externally bestowed, I dispute that it's that front-and-center for most Christians. It's more of an afterthought apologetic that they're parroting than a real belief that they're embracing and living.
(15-08-2017 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:I think my extensive investment in and living out of theism for decades allows me to claim some understanding of theism. More than most theists, who unlike me, had no formal education on the topic at all, and don't particularly know the urtext of their own faith.

So if you want to turn this into a dick waving contest, maybe think again.

The only point here is that you can't have an intelligent conversation about one's god unless one explains what one thinks that god is defined as.
Well I’ve been among folks like yourself for over a decade, and no matter how much time they’ve spent with theists, one thing remains constant that they do a shitty job trying to convey what they believe. Your example of comparing a belief in God to big foot, is one example.

I’m telling you as a theist, a conservative evangelical one at that, your confidence in being able to speak about beliefs such as my own, are not warranted. They are more or less embarrassing.

Stick to speaking on behalf of atheists, and not for us theists.
Oh, fuck off. You're speaking on behalf of atheists generally and me specifically right here in this post so pot, meet kettle.

In any case, I've never suggested, as you constantly do, that all theists have the same monolithic beliefs, that all god concepts are closely related, or that there's an accepted universal definition of god among theists, or anything resembling a coherent universal belief about purpose and meaning. Neither have I suggested there's nothing theists have in common or that teleological ideation isn't common among them. Unlike you I have no need to muddy the waters.

If you believe in one or more gods, you're a theist, and if you're a theist, you're likely to hold teleological notions, particularly if your position is at all considered. If you don't believe in any gods, you're an atheist, and unlikely to hold teleological notions, particularly if your position is at all considered. Those are definitionally correct statements about god belief and one of the many reasons FOR god belief and I don't see any need to conflate them. Or any reason to argue it any further.
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15-08-2017, 08:43 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(15-08-2017 08:09 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  What inherent purpose?

The inherent purpose of eternally mastrubating the ego of a petty, genocidal, homophobic, misogynistic cosmic tyrant, so insecure in itself, that it needs its own creation to constantly tell it how great it is under pain of eternal torture.


Such noble purpose, such deep meaning, such a great reason to live. And us, poor atheists, with our empty lives and no slavemaster to call our own and grovel before Drinking Beverage

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15-08-2017, 10:41 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
nice use of coffee there Vera Big Grin
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15-08-2017, 10:42 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
My inherent purpose is to mock the stupid among us.

Tomasia - consider yourself mocked.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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