Atheism - the definition
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19-07-2012, 07:16 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
Hey, RC.

If you're aiming for accuracy, why does Atheist and Weak Atheist have the same definition? Strong Atheist is the only term with a different definition.

It's like, there's A. Then there's X and Y. X means A. Y means A+B. Seems kinda wonky.

Would it not be better to simply have two distinct terms with specific meanings?

I think that saying, "Atheist doesn't mean belief that no gods exists, Strong Atheist does," is pretty confusing.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-07-2012, 07:20 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
Hey Ghost,

I think we all agree that these terms suck, but what to call ourselves? I've been tuning into the drama of thunderfoot-pz-watson... thinking I'm not a member of the skeptical community. Big Grin

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19-07-2012, 07:45 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
I told you to watch out for houseofcantor and his Gwynies...
Smile

And I don't like all these sub-atheism divides. You either are ateist, agnostic or a theist, I don't buy all these sub-levels of each group. The question is simple, so is the answer.

Q: Do you believe in God (any deity)
A1: No. - you are an atheist
A2: Not in that sense, but some kind of ... - you are an agnostic
A3: Yes, but not in your God, my God is ... - you are a theist that belongs to certain religion.

I just don't buy all those classifications that people use like atheist-agnostic, agnostic-atheist, this-that...

Atheism is the most simple word to explain. The opposite of theist, that means the one that believes in no deities. How much simple can it be and do we all have the need to classify everything precisely for every single person on this world? Do we all really need all those labels labeling us, then sub-labels for sub-labels to be more precise, so that I don't confuse your agnostic-atheism with my atheistic-agnosticism... What? The fuck?

You people all think too much. Relax.

I think I'll be going for my daily dose of relax...

Peace.

Big Grin

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19-07-2012, 07:56 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
(19-07-2012 07:45 AM)Filox Wrote:  You people all think too much. Relax.

Somebody's gotta do it. it is tao. Thumbsup

Perhaps it is better to say, are you trying to push any deity? Attempts to reduce the ego to zero seemingly inevitably lead to me going on about my Gwynnies. Sucks, kinda... Big Grin

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19-07-2012, 04:10 PM
RE: Atheism - the definition
Welcome Red Celt Smile Awesome avatar btw. I used to be somewhat nuts about Celtic art. Still am Tongue But haven't read up on it for years.

Anyway... better say something on topic now...

I tried this defining terms trick a couple of threads ago and Ghost actually set me straight. I thought he was being a meanie but actually what he said makes sense, viz. we don't get to decide what atheist means... except we do kinda... but we can't make a definition and hope that other people conform to it, no matter how sensible such a definition might be. If we have a specific purpose in mind e.g. "in this paper we define atheist to mean a man who eats sausages in the bath" then making our own definitions makes sense, but otherwise, to the populace at large, there will always be multiple definitions of the word atheist floating around, and the majority one for some time to come is likely to be "one who denies the existence of God".

I liked your blog post though, if we *are* gonna change the popular definition then we need more of that kinda stuff Smile
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19-07-2012, 07:53 PM
RE: Atheism - the definition
I'm sorry, I'm going to have to disagree with the given definition "atheism - absence of theism." While I'm definitely not a religion expert (although I have been reading a lot lately, trying to solidify my stance) I will elaborate on why.

We know that only humans can be atheists. Under your definition, aren't trees, rocks, and fish atheists? They surely lack theism. I've seen this pop up once, and I think there needs to be a clearer definition. I agree that the definition of 'atheist' should definitely not be "the denial of the existence of God," which implies that the existence is true, or the "belief that no gods exist," which implies an assertion of definite knowledge that no gods exist (which is impossible.)

To improve upon your definition, I would probably just include one more word - "atheism - the deliberate absence/lack of theism." Beforehand, I defined atheism somewhat similar to "atheism - the rejection in the belief in the supernatural due to a lack of proper reasoning or evidence," which implies that a lack of reason to believe is the true cause of atheism (which, I think, is the case for most.) This is not strong atheism (which I would say is probably even weaker then theism, in the case that theism, theoretically, could be proved) but atheism instilled by reason and rationality.

However, in reality, atheism is simply a deliberate absence of theism. My definition is slightly more informative, and would probably describe a specific kind of atheism. What could we call evidence-based atheism? Rational atheism?

Any comments?

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned" - Anonymous
I am glad to live where there is no God, for I am moral, and mortal; I do not wish to worship He who crafts an immoral immortality.
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20-07-2012, 12:38 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
Hmmmm, this does make some sense. If you say: "Atheism - belief that no gods exist" you are saying that atheists believe that there is no God, and that brings us back to the point where theists (stupid ones) claim that atheism is a religion. So yes, this part must be defined more carefully.

That is why I prefer to say "absence of belief". Now to put the "deliberate" may or may not be needed. If you say "deliberate", what about us that didn't reject God deliberately, but logically? You see, I did not wish to be an atheists, I did not do anything deliberately or pushed myself to become an atheist, this just happened to me, I just realised it on my own. There is no accepting or refusing your very own nature.

I just don't have any belief in anything concerning God. Or gods.

The stupid semantics...

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20-07-2012, 05:43 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
Hey, NS.

Just riffing on your idea, I think deliberate is a good addition, but a deliberate absence doesn't make any sense. Like I don't deliberately not have a billion dollars. If you said a deliberate rejection, that would have meaning. Atheism is the deliberate rejection of God and/or the God concept. It would also leave room for true Agnostics because Agnostics have not rejected belief in God. They've deliberately withheld their judgement. And a Theist deliberately accepts God; particularly evident among Amish and Evangelicals, groups in which members have to willingly accept God themselves.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-07-2012, 09:22 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
One thing should be very clear: it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of the notion of atheism (as I've described it). Theists will be happy that a blank mind equates to atheism? Fuck them. What people think and how people think is irrelevant.

This is a matter of fact. Of truth. Of honesty.

The a- prefix means "without".

The chair on which you sit is an atheist chair. It is without theism. It is also amoral, apolitical... hell, it's also blind, deaf and has no views on the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Your chair is absent a lot of things.

Now, it doesn't add worthwhile knowledge to the condition of your chair to know that it is absent of all of these things. A chair's primary purpose is to keep your arse a comfortable distance from the floor. Adding a lot of things that your chair does not have gets us no-closer to defining what your chair is.

But (and it is an important "but") it is factually true that it is absent many things.

Including theism.

You might be uncomfortable with that idea, but your comfort has no bearing on that truth. It might have some bearing on your chair, so the addition of a cushion might be a good idea... but the truth remains the same.

Enjoy your atheist chair, with the (possible) addition of an amoral cushion whilst you drink an apolitical cup of coffee.
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20-07-2012, 09:38 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
I don't have a personal god, cat is more an abstract god with many physical revelations. I can point to cat almost everywhere but it's not going to fully describe the wonderfulness of the cat.

I think personal god just turns into fan-boyism =p If you can really pin it down to something so specific you're just trying to show it off.

I say that there's no real need to add deliberate to the distinction, anything without theistic views is atheistic. I'd say if you're gonna add deliberate then make a stronger atheist those who actually know what religion is.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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