Atheism is the only rational position to take
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05-09-2017, 03:24 PM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(05-09-2017 02:03 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I understand the "a" part of atheism, and the "ism" part, but what is "the"? Consider
theos = god
theism = belief in god(s)
atheism = lack of belief in god(s)
(05-09-2017 02:03 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Why define yourself by a denial of "the"? And, then go on to say that this is the "only" rational position to take? How about "amartianism"? Some say Martians exist and they have magical powers. Science shows no basis for this. I define myself by my denial of the existence of Martians. Therefore, I am rational and thus amartianism is the "only" rational position. No
The reason we have a word for unbelief in deities but not for things like not believing in leprechauns or not collecting stamps, is because of the historic strength and ubiquity of theism within most societies. Not affording belief to the unsubstantiated, oddly, is generically more accepted than not affording belief to a specific unsubstantiated thing, that specific thing being gods, and especially not believing in the god of the dominant religion (in the West, more often than not, the god of Christianity). Unbelief is novel, and threatening, to the majority, and so needs explanation and a term.

Theists should be glad that atheism is a necessary term, because in a world where it wasn't necessary, theism would not be the assumed default or have any special privileges.
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06-09-2017, 03:10 AM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2017 03:14 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(05-09-2017 03:24 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(05-09-2017 02:03 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I understand the "a" part of atheism, and the "ism" part, but what is "the"? Consider
theos = god
theism = belief in god(s)
atheism = lack of belief in god(s)
(05-09-2017 02:03 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Why define yourself by a denial of "the"? And, then go on to say that this is the "only" rational position to take? How about "amartianism"? Some say Martians exist and they have magical powers. Science shows no basis for this. I define myself by my denial of the existence of Martians. Therefore, I am rational and thus amartianism is the "only" rational position. No
The reason we have a word for unbelief in deities but not for things like not believing in leprechauns or not collecting stamps, is because of the historic strength and ubiquity of theism within most societies. Not affording belief to the unsubstantiated, oddly, is generically more accepted than not affording belief to a specific unsubstantiated thing, that specific thing being gods, and especially not believing in the god of the dominant religion (in the West, more often than not, the god of Christianity). Unbelief is novel, and threatening, to the majority, and so needs explanation and a term.

Theists should be glad that atheism is a necessary term, because in a world where it wasn't necessary, theism would not be the assumed default or have any special privileges.

I thought the emoticon I used was sufficiently descriptive of "felicitousness" that I wouldn't get a response that explained what "the" means.Facepalm

The point of what I have been posting here for some time in relation to "God" being etymylogically related to "Khald", the god of the Assyrians of Ururatu is to get across the point that even words which we think of as describing a concept of the "divine", an elastic, omnipresent force, are, in fact, no different in their origin from leprechauns.

For someone not born into a deistic tradition, "the" is meaningless to start with so defining rationalism as equating to the disbelief in something, ie., God, which begins as meaningless is a circuitous and pointless way to get across the point that rational thinking does not support the idea of these inventions any more than they support belief in "My Favorite Martian" as being real.

Richard Dawkins makes the same point. He defines himself as a scientist, not an atheist. The fact that cultures have created gods, leprechauns and fairies doesn't validate the proposition that "atheism is the only rational position". In fact, imho, it's not a "position" at all. It involves being sucked down a religious rabbit hole and realising you have no idea where you are and then living a life which revolves around the fact that you are in a hole and you have to get out of it.

When I was young, it was considered very wrong to use the word "God" at all. One was expected to say "Him" and always use a capital "H". The word itself becomes associated in the mind with an overwhelming fear and a need to obey and not question. By identifying "God" as no more than a huge leprechaun called "khald" even if I'm wrong, puts this word into the same category as leprechuans and fairies, which is where it belongs. It has no place in discussions of what rationalism is and what rational humanism and ethics are all about. If that makes sense...

I think it is beneficial to see the actual origins of these terms, and to talk about ideas of Jesus or Mohammed being real, ordinary people, even if one cannot be sure one is on the right track than to get sucked into debates which use the same false lexicon as religionists.
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06-09-2017, 10:54 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
I recently converted to Christianity and because of this my view is that atheism is incoherent. Atheism fails to provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility. That is to say that there are preconditions for intelligibility that atheism can't account for. So I would ask this: on what basis do you claim atheism is the only rational position? What, in your worldview, grounds rationality and what is your criterion for determining what is and what is not rational?

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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06-09-2017, 11:21 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 10:54 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I recently converted to Christianity and because of this my view is that atheism is incoherent. Atheism fails to provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility. That is to say that there are preconditions for intelligibility that atheism can't account for. So I would ask this: on what basis do you claim atheism is the only rational position? What, in your worldview, grounds rationality and what is your criterion for determining what is and what is not rational?

Well, you should probably take this up with True Scotsman. He is the one making the claim, and he explained his reasons pretty well in the first post in this thread. Now, even though I'm an atheist, I would not make such a strong claim (I'm an agnostic atheist), and I don't find his reasoning convincing. In my opinion, theism can be a rational position, although I find gnostic theism as unconvincing as True Scotsman's gnostic atheism.

In short, he bases his argument on the "Primacy of Existence". He has gone into detail on that several times in this forum, but I'm not familiar enough with it to expound on it.

For what it's worth, although I admit the possibility of some sort of deity, I find Christianity incoherent.

Smile
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06-09-2017, 11:45 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 10:54 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I recently converted to Christianity and because of this my view is that atheism is incoherent. Atheism fails to provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility. That is to say that there are preconditions for intelligibility that atheism can't account for. So I would ask this: on what basis do you claim atheism is the only rational position? What, in your worldview, grounds rationality and what is your criterion for determining what is and what is not rational?

> Atheism is nothing more than the absence of belief in God(s). It isn't supposed to provide grounds for knowledge and intelligibility. For that, you must turn to logic and science.
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06-09-2017, 11:50 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 10:54 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I recently converted to Christianity and because of this my view is that atheism is incoherent. Atheism fails to provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility. That is to say that there are preconditions for intelligibility that atheism can't account for. So I would ask this: on what basis do you claim atheism is the only rational position? What, in your worldview, grounds rationality and what is your criterion for determining what is and what is not rational?

Who is it that you are addressing this to?

Atheism is a rejection of a view which is not supported by observation or science. It's not a world view as such.

We gain knowledge through first hand observation, and from others, from their own experiences, and from knowledge passed on from others and from books. I think there is a better way of expressing this but I don't have the time.

My own view is that Christianity was intended to be a rejection of a view of "god" held in the Near East and the substitution with a "god" which represented "reason", ie., the "logos", leading to a moral philosophy based on a notion of fairness, "do unto others etc." This is a moral position which is similar to Kant's position that one should act only on a principle which can have universal application, including to oneself. It rejects rituals based on an invisible, unknowable mean guy in the sky telling people how to act through Alpha male psychopathic rulers.

The rest of Christianity, for me, is just a story told to people to whom it obviously resonated because they had some ideas back then about a messiah who would come and deliver them from the Romans. It also offers a prize to those who follow it, which plays to people who will only do things out of selfishness, ie., they get eternal life...

Other than reading the New Testament for its quite eloquent moral philosophising and a ripping yarn about someone who likely did not actually exist as portrayed, I can't understand why anyone would "convert" to Christianity. Why not read classics and Kant and Viktor Frankl if you want some serious thinking about morality and social issues and leave it at that?

Or you could, like Goethe considered, have converted Hypsitarianism: "Goethe wrote that he had the feeling that all his life he had been aspiring to qualify as one of the Hypsistarians, an ancient Jewish-pagan sect of the Black Sea region who, in his understanding, sought to reverence what came to their knowledge of the best and most perfect. He also had an affinity for Jews, writing "Energy is the basis of everything. Every Jew, no matter how insignificant, is engaged in some decisive and immediate pursuit of a goal. They are the most perpetual people of the earth". Wiki

Why Christianity?
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06-09-2017, 11:54 AM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 10:54 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I recently converted to Christianity and because of this my view is that atheism is incoherent. Atheism fails to provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility. That is to say that there are preconditions for intelligibility that atheism can't account for. So I would ask this: on what basis do you claim atheism is the only rational position? What, in your worldview, grounds rationality and what is your criterion for determining what is and what is not rational?

Atheism doesn't have to "provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility" since it is not a worldview. It's a negative answer to one question: "Do you believe any God or gods exist?"

If you think that only a God can "provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility" -- well, good luck selling that here. Some combination of science and philosophical naturalism are sufficient for most atheists.
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06-09-2017, 12:06 PM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 10:54 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I recently converted to Christianity ..... Atheism fails to provide sufficient ground for knowledge and intelligibility. That is to say that there are preconditions for intelligibility that atheism can't account for.

I assume you converted to christianity because you think it can account for knowledge and intelligibility. Please demonstrate that it can. Not just assert, demonstrate.

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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06-09-2017, 12:15 PM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 10:54 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I recently converted to Christianity and because of this my view is that atheism is incoherent.

Fixt. And proven to perfection by the subsequent incoherent babble Drinking Beverage

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderĂ²."
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06-09-2017, 07:43 PM
RE: Atheism is the only rational position to take
(06-09-2017 11:45 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  > Atheism is nothing more than the absence of belief in God(s). It isn't supposed to provide grounds for knowledge and intelligibility. For that, you must turn to logic and science.

But the issue is that the atheist worldview lacks sufficient grounds to warrant belief in logical laws or induction. I'm not claiming the lack of belief in a god itself must be able to ground anything; rather, I'm saying a worldview that lacks the Christian God is incapable of providing grounds for intelligibility. That is to say that the atheist worldview cannot provide a foundation for any claims the atheist makes. For example, on what basis do you claim logic holds any weight? On what basis are you able to use inductive reasoning?

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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