Atheism - the definition
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20-07-2012, 09:41 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
(19-07-2012 07:45 AM)Filox Wrote:  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.


A0: Who's God? - you are an atheist

A2 has other results besides agnosticism. Deists and pantheists aren't catered for.

Also, you keep using the name God rather than the noun god. Please don't. God (capital G) is a proper noun which is used for the Abrahamic god. It is an understandable mistake for anyone raised in a Christian-centric country, but it is still a mistake.
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20-07-2012, 09:58 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
To further clarify the differences between weak and strong atheism, here's an example that I recently used elsewhere:-


Carlos and Juanita are marooned on a desert island. They have a baby girl, whom they name Isabella. They both agreed that it was wrong to impose their own religious beliefs on their daughter, so they raised her without any references to any deities.

When Isabella wondered about the beauty (and cause) of a rainbow, Carlos and Juanita explained that it was caused by the refraction of light through water droplets. They didn't say that it was a promise from God that there would be no more floods. Whenever they knew the answer to Isabella's questions, they gave an honest answer. Whenever they didn't know, they always said that they didn't know. They never shrugged and said "god did it".

When Isabella came of age on her 16th birthday, her parents sat her down and explained what they knew about the world religions, answering any questions that Isabella might have. Whatever beliefs Isabella then held, her parents were happy that the choice was made by her as an adult, rather than imposed by them.

After contemplating what she had been told, Isabella told her parents that she believed that deities did not exist.


Isabella was born a weak atheist and remained a weak atheist for 16 years. She then became a strong atheist. The differences between the two states might be subtle (or non-existent) to some, but the differences very much exist.

1. A lack of belief in god(s)
2. Belief in the lack of god(s)

They are not the same. They deserve separate consideration; they deserve separate definitions. 1 = weak atheism (our natural state). 2 = strong atheism (a chosen state).
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20-07-2012, 10:31 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
A word on the teachings of Ghost...

Like morondog, ghost set me straight on a few things. Difference is that was a good two years ago now. It never changed what I believe, but it sure gave me a better understanding of how others perceptions play into our own definitions.

Just like how theists define god in a personal way, atheists also have a personal definition for the word atheist. So it really doesn't matter how YOU define atheist. What matters is how others do. Same goes for agnostic, theist, and any other self descriptive word. I went through all the arguments that say, "hey man, you don't get to redefine a word to suit your own needs. The word means "not theist" so if you're not a theist you are an atheist". Turned out I was wrong.

Thing is, if everyone in the world but you started calling dogs cats, dogs would be accurately described as "cat". That's because people are referencing dogs when they say cat, and therefore "cat" accurately describes what you are calling a dog. You see as much as we want words to have the definitions we want, the fact is, the word is defined by whom ever is perceiving the word. So even though atheist to me may simply mean "not theist" I can't expect everyone to agree. World just don't spin that way. So the definition of atheist changes depending on who I am talking to. The only time atheist has a constant definition is when I am not interacting with someone else. Then it is a well defined word, since I know exactly what I mean when I say it. But when I speak to others, I can either impose my definition onto them, or attempt to understand their definition and then use the word according to that definition to convey my thoughts. I now choose the latter, since the former does nothing but create a useless debate on word definitions.

I guess you could say that Ghost showed me that in the end, the definition is not as important as the meaning. And the meaning is malleable. In a nutshell, what matters to me is how YOU define atheism. I know what I'm saying when I use the word, but what really matters is that I use a meaning the you understand. That,s the only way to share my thoughts in a way you can understand.

Holy shit was that ever a ramble. Hope it made at least a little sense.

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20-07-2012, 10:53 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
(20-07-2012 09:58 AM)Red Celt Wrote:  To further clarify the differences between weak and strong atheism, here's an example that I recently used elsewhere:-

...The differences between the two states might be subtle (or non-existent) to some, but the differences very much exist.

1. A lack of belief in god(s)
2. Belief in the lack of god(s)

They are not the same. They deserve separate consideration; they deserve separate definitions.

1 = weak atheism (our natural state).
2 = strong atheism (a chosen state).

FINALLY! Thank you for articulating this. This is the thing that confuses addle-brained Theists into believing (because they can't live without belief, evidently) that Atheism is a religion or some kind of belief system in and of itself.

Kind of cracks me up because, sure as shit; if a Theist thinks they can get a hold of a "weak" Atheist with the hope of turning them into a Theist - HA! - it will only succeed in pissing off the "weak" Atheist to create a "strong" Atheist in the process.

It's not nice to fuck with nature. Wink

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20-07-2012, 11:57 AM
RE: Atheism - the definition
1 = weak atheism (our natural state).

2 = strong atheism (a chosen state).

My only issue with this is that these are not the terms people use. People say Atheist. You have to be initiated to know these terms. Plus, that shorthand, Atheist, is said to mean just weak Atheism. Can no one else see how that's confusing as hell?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-07-2012, 12:08 PM
RE: Atheism - the definition
(20-07-2012 11:57 AM)Ghost Wrote:  1 = weak atheism (our natural state).

2 = strong atheism (a chosen state).

My only issue with this is that these are not the terms people use. People say Atheist. You have to be initiated to know these terms. Plus, that shorthand, Atheist, is said to mean just weak Atheism. Can no one else see how that's confusing as hell?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I always thought weak atheism was just agnosticism. Tongue

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20-07-2012, 12:15 PM
RE: Atheism - the definition
(20-07-2012 12:08 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(20-07-2012 11:57 AM)Ghost Wrote:  1 = weak atheism (our natural state).

2 = strong atheism (a chosen state).

My only issue with this is that these are not the terms people use. People say Atheist. You have to be initiated to know these terms. Plus, that shorthand, Atheist, is said to mean just weak Atheism. Can no one else see how that's confusing as hell?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I always thought weak atheism was just agnosticism. Tongue
I'm just a simple guy, and atheist simply means I don't believe in any gods.

That's not to deny there are many degrees of atheism, but the term 'atheist' is broad and general.

It looks like some people are over-thinking this.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-07-2012, 12:15 PM (This post was last modified: 20-07-2012 12:18 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Atheism - the definition
Why I aughta!!!!

Hey, Chas.

That's exactly what I mean. Atheist is a broad term. But it means something specific. Unless it's refering to something broad.

When someone says, Atheists believe there is no God, people respond, no they don't. But they do. They're called strong Atheists. But for some reason, that's left out of the global term Atheist. But the weak Atheist definition is sold as the ONLY definition of Atheism. It's a fucking train wreck.

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Matt
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20-07-2012, 02:27 PM
RE: Atheism - the definition
I find the term weak atheist to really have no meaning.

All my life, I was never introduced to the idea that I was a god. I guess that makes me and all of you weak Rahnians for lack of a better term.
If not knowing about something makes you a weak "fill in the blank", then all you're doing is creating a word for something that people didn't know about.

I find that useless

One can only be any kind of atheist if and only if there is the knowledge of theism

Without theism, there is no atheism

I can create a billion different words to label you all for things you don't know about and never grew up with as kids that DON'T exist.
Then telling you about the non-existent thing makes you a strong "fill in the blank" when you don't believe it.

That's just stupid.

We are atheists because there is theism. Atheist is a useful definition do describe someone who doesn't believe in gods.
We have a definition for people who don't believe in bullshit (skeptic) and for people that do. (gullible)

I've held both mantles at one time or another in my life, but this strong and weak stuff. I find to be overly divisive.

It's like pointing out that we all were children once and now are adults and somehow thinking that these are two separate groups of people.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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20-07-2012, 02:38 PM
RE: Atheism - the definition
Although. No. I think weak atheism has a place as a definition simply because people tend to emphasize the idea that all who deny (insert favourite religion's God) must be devil worshiping crackheads. Who *nevertheless* are intelligent enough and organised enough to threaten the very fabric of the space time continuum. Those are the strong atheists. Not the weak ones. The weak ones are weak. They don't go to gym much...


... Tongue
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