Atheists, Agnostics and many more
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19-08-2010, 03:01 PM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Sigh.

Don't call me a liar. If I misspoke, fine. If I tripped over your definitions while trying to explain myself, fine. If it bothers you that I don't think the same way you do or see things the same way you do, fine. But don't call me a liar unless you've seen my eyes and shaken my hand.

You're right. I got the definition wrong. I took Theism to mean someone involved in an organised religion. Which I am not. I didn't intend to imply that I don't believe in God.

Look, I get your model. Can prove, can't prove. Belief in, non-belief in. Great. But I believe one can't prove (agnostic) and I have a 100% neutral belief. So my beliefs are outside of your model. Whether I define Atheist as someone who doesn't believe in a God or someone who denies the existence of God, I am neither. I am an Agnostic but I am neither a Theist nor am I an Atheist.

I'm trapped by your definitions. Your definitions demand that I say I do or do not believe in God. But I will not say that I do not believe in God neither will I say that I do believe in God. So your dichotomy simply doesn't work with me. If saying that there are three categories, yes, no and neutral, is a subtlety that you don't like and if it makes you sleep better if you call me an Atheist, enjoy. But I will not join you.

While I can appreciate your model, the dictionary calls Atheism, "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings," and that Theism is the "belief in the existence of a god or gods". Existence of, not belief in. The dictionary is disagreeing with your model. Accepting that I misused the term Theist previously, have I denied the existance of a supreme being or beings? Have I said that I do not believe in the existance of a supreme being or beings? According to the dictionary, I'm not an Atheist. I won't say that Gods exist. So I'm not a Theist. If you're gonna bash me over the head with a dictionary definition, please read the dictionary first.

According to the dictionary, I am right. According to your model and several sources on the internet, you are right (provided you don't accept my claims of neutrality). But what you are not admitting is that this controversy exists. You're speaking as if it's slam dunk, case closed, everyone agrees. It's not. So don't sit there and tell me I'm wrong about myself because you adhere to one definition of Atheist and reject others.

That being said, what are you talking about? Gnosticism was a religious movement.

You are a stickler for definitions. Fine. I am not. I'll say it one last time. I am an Agnostic. Plain and simple. If that offends you, fine. But don't expect me to change my tune. I'll leave you with this quote that will explain why I refuse to be held captive by rigid definitions.
[quote]We often think of definition as a cornerstone of reason – as our protection against superstition, prejudice and ignorance. A definition is therefore intended to clarify things, to free us for action. But what we have seen in our society is that a definition can just as easily become a means of control, a profoundly reactionary force.

‘Well what is your definition of ethics? Ah, well, if that’s your definition…’

And so, rather scholastic conventions can lock us into assumptions of inevitability and give comfort to received wisdom. A definition then becomes a crutch for certainty and ideology.
(John Ralston Saul, On Equilibrium, p 11-12)

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-08-2010, 03:43 PM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
(19-08-2010 03:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Sigh.

Don't call me a liar. If I misspoke, fine. If I tripped over your definitions while trying to explain myself, fine. If it bothers you that I don't think the same way you do or see things the same way you do, fine. But don't call me a liar unless you've seen my eyes and shaken my hand.

Fine. Then you misspoke.

Quote:You're right. I got the definition wrong. I took Theism to mean someone involved in an organised religion. Which I am not. I didn't intend to imply that I don't believe in God.

Then you are an agnostic theist.

Quote:Look, I get your model. Can prove, can't prove. Belief in, non-belief in. Great. But I believe one can't prove (agnostic) and I have a 100% neutral belief.

The above is not possible. You either have belief in God or you do not. If you possess belief in God, then you are a theist. If you do not, you are an atheist. You cannot belong to neither group. It's like responding to "All humans are male or not-male" with the words "I don't belong to either of those groups". You are either theist or not-theist.

Quote:So my beliefs are outside of your model.

No, your beliefs are perfectly well-contained within the model. It is logically impossible, in fact, to be outside the model. You cannot be neither A nor not-A.

Quote:I'm trapped by your definitions. Your definitions demand that I say I do or do not believe in God.

Yes. They demand that you are either A or not-A. You seem to want to break logic.

Quote:But I will not say that I do not believe in God neither will I say that I do believe in God. So your dichotomy simply doesn't work with me.

This would be true if it were logically possible for you to neither believe nor not believe. There is no third option. There is no sorta-A.

Quote:If saying that there are three categories, yes, no and neutral, is a subtlety that you don't like and if it makes you sleep better if you call me an Atheist, enjoy. But I will not join you.

For the last time, no one here is trying to get you to "join" anything. I've said this time and again: that you are an agnostic atheist does not change your position. It does not make you any more a "real" atheist than being Hawaiian would. I only brought this up because I hate when people misuse terms.

Quote:While I can appreciate your model, the dictionary calls Atheism, "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings," and that Theism is the "belief in the existence of a god or gods". Existence of, not belief in. The dictionary is disagreeing with your model.

The dictionary works perfectly well with my model.
That aside, one dictionary edition having a "wrong" definition is hardly surprising, as the distinction between not having belief in a god and actively disbelieving in gods is a fine one, and not often understood among people who don't discuss this on a regular basis.

Quote:Accepting that I misused the term Theist previously, have I denied the existance of a supreme being or beings? Have I said that I do not believe in the existance of a supreme being or beings?

No. Did I say that you did?

Quote:According to the dictionary, I'm not an Atheist.

According to your dictionary, yes, but as I have said above (and given sources for), your dictionary has a slightly incorrect definition. And even then I'm not sure that it is entirely incorrect; I'm not sure what it means by "denies", as it may simply mean that one does not accept belief in a deity - which is exactly what the definition of atheism is.

Quote:I won't say that Gods exist. So I'm not a Theist. If you're gonna bash me over the head with a dictionary definition, please read the dictionary first.

You may want to check other sources (each of the bolded words is another dictionary, website, or university source which shows my definition).

Quote:According to the dictionary, I am right. According to your model and several sources on the internet, you are right (provided you don't accept my claims of neutrality). But what you are not admitting is that this controversy exists.

Hardly. I am simply saying that your side is wrong. It is simply not possible for you to be neither theist nor not-theist.

Quote:You're speaking as if it's slam dunk, case closed, everyone agrees.

Because everyone does. Except, that is, for those who have not spent any time discussing the subject and continue to deny the definition.

Quote:That being said, what are you talking about? Gnosticism was a religious movement.

Yes. "Gnosticism" was a religious movement named after gnosticism the philosophical position. It was characterized by the belief that the existence of God could be proven through personal revelation. Note the bit that says "the existence of God could be proven"; that's why it has the name "gnostic Christianity", often abbreviated "Gnosticism".

Quote:You are a stickler for definitions. Fine. I am not. I'll say it one last time. I am an Agnostic. Plain and simple. If that offends you, fine.

The fact that you call yourself an agnostic doesn't offend me. There are plenty of people like you who neither believe in a god nor actively reject their existence. But when you flat-out ignore evidence and try to reject logic out of hand simply because you don't want to accept that you are, officially at least, an atheist, that annoys me. People ignoring reality because they don't like it annoy me.

Quote:But don't expect me to change my tune.

I don't. I've had far too much experience talking to you and other people who have erroneous ideas to expect that.

Quote:I'll leave you with this quote that will explain why I refuse to be held captive by rigid definitions.

<snip>

Yes, yes, I get it. You don't want to be called an atheist or a theist. Guess what? Like it or not, you are one of them.

Deal.

"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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19-08-2010, 08:57 PM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Would now be a good time to say I pretty much predicted that every discussion with Ghost was going to go this way about 2 weeks ago when he made his first or second post? Probably not, no one likes an "I told you so".

I will concede that I was wrong about his motivations, though. At first I thought this was going to end up with a "you can't prove God does not exist so therefore he does!" kind of ending. I see now that the motivation is what we're dealing with here is a professional academic who lives to engage in circular arguments and debate for eternity without conceding any points and ignoring arguments that contradict his. At least a theist has a purpose. This is just sport to him.

Oh, and I told you so. I did. I can even show you where.

(sorry, couldn't help myself. I'm a really just a big child).

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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20-08-2010, 08:01 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Really? The dictionary is wrong? Really? Dictionary.com, Miriam-Webster and Oxford are all wrong? Really? That's weak sauce.

And three of the links that you provided said that Atheism is defined as disbelieving in the existence of Gods. So WTF? To me, the clearest one was the Wikipedia link because it illustrated the range of meaning that you are trying to deny.
Quote:Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[2] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[3] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[4] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[5][6]

Even with that range, I don't correspond to any of them. I don't reject their existence, my position is not that there are no deities and I do not have an absence of belief that any deities exist. Furthermore, I don't believe that at least one deity exists. So by the definition YOU provided, I'm not an Atheist.

Quote:The above is not possible. You either have belief in God or you do not. If you possess belief in God, then you are a theist. If you do not, you are an atheist. You cannot belong to neither group. It's like responding to "All humans are male or not-male" with the words "I don't belong to either of those groups". You are either theist or not-theist.

What about intersexuality?
Androgyny
XY-females
XX-males
Genital ambiguity
Mixed gonadal dysgenesis
True hermaphroditism
Androgen insensitivity syndrome

It's often impossible to make proper gender assignment. Intersex activists have been trying to break the dichotomy because it's not accurate and because assigning a gender to someone when that assignment is wrong just because the idea of the male/female dichotomy is sacrosanct is incredibly injurious to those people who are incorrectly assigned genders.

That's the problem with rigid dichotomies. They rarely work. When you introduce other possibilities, they're usually ignored or called inconvenient.

If you want to be such a stickler for definitions, then don't pretend that neutral isn't a word. By definition I don't have to believe one way or the other.

So like I said, if you want to ignore the possibility that neutrality is possible, more power to you. But don't expect me to play along. Call me an Atheist and I'll tell you you're wrong.

And I don't buy the position that Atheism is just not-Theism. Your example, male/not-male, is fine, but that's not what it is. The dichotomy is male/female. You may believe that it's Theist/not-theist, but that's not it either. It's Theist/Atheist. Atheism is something. It's a category of it's own just like female is a category of it's own. It's not just a lack of belief in deities, it is the belief in the natural universe, that every phenomenon corresponds to the rules of the natural universe among other things. People say I am an Atheist. They don't say I am not a Theist just like women don't say, I am not a man. If you want to say you are not a Theist then fine. But the moment you say that you are an Atheist then you are affiliated with a group. Does that group contain me? No.

At any rate, this entire argument boils down to one thing. You claim there is a single definition of Atheism. I claim that there is a range of meaning and that there is controversy about it. According to some definitions, including the one I chose to agree with, I am not an Atheist. According to your defintion, I am simply because I am not a Theist. My issue with that is that I don't believe you either are or you're something else and that all something else's have one definition. To me, it's like saying all animals are mongooses or they're not. Fine, that's factually correct, but it's is meaningless. But if that's the way you feel, then fine. I can agree that you call me an Atheist. But that doesn't mean that I do and it sure as hell doesn't mean that I am alone in my belief.

And if there's absolutely no way around this idea of Theist or not Theist, then this model needs to get thrown the fuck out. Atheists believe something beyond the negation of Theism. Maybe there's different categories. You guys can tell me. But this business of we just aren't that thing is a crock because there are Atheists trying to tell people what they should believe. That act is impossible if they simply lack a belief. They have to have one.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-08-2010, 08:31 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
(20-08-2010 08:01 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Really? The dictionary is wrong? Really? Dictionary.com, Miriam-Webster and Oxford are all wrong? Really? That's weak sauce.

I linked to all of those. They all support my model.

Quote:And three of the links that you provided said that Atheism is defined as disbelieving in the existence of Gods. So WTF?

Yes. Atheism is, by definition, not believing in gods, which is dis- (not) -believing in the existence of gods. It does not mean believing that no gods exist. It means that you do not currently believe that they exist.

Learn the definition of words, please.

Quote:To me, the clearest one was the Wikipedia link because it illustrated the range of meaning that you are trying to deny.
Quote:Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.

Exactly.

Quote:
Quote:[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.

Commonly known as "strong atheism". This, again, is not part of the definition.

Quote:
Quote:[2] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[3] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[4] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[5][6]

And again, exactly what I said.

Quote:Even with that range, I don't correspond to any of them. I don't reject their existence, my position is not that there are no deities and I do not have an absence of belief that any deities exist.

So you believe in God, then? Then you are an agnostic theist, like I said above.

Quote:Furthermore, I don't believe that at least one deity exists. So by the definition YOU provided, I'm not an Atheist.

You just contradicted yourself. It is not possible for you to have no belief in the existence of at least one deity and, at the same time, have belief in the existence of at least one deity. You cannot be neither A nor not-A, no matter how much you want to.

Quote:
Quote:The above is not possible. You either have belief in God or you do not. If you possess belief in God, then you are a theist. If you do not, you are an atheist. You cannot belong to neither group. It's like responding to "All humans are male or not-male" with the words "I don't belong to either of those groups". You are either theist or not-theist.

What about intersexuality?
Androgyny
XY-females
XX-males
Genital ambiguity
Mixed gonadal dysgenesis
True hermaphroditism
Androgen insensitivity syndrome

These would all fall under the category of "not-male", with the possible exception of intersexuals who have become males, depending on how broad your definition of "male" is.

Quote:It's often impossible to make proper gender assignment.

You are making a false analogy. You are acting as if I am trying to divide everyone into males and females. I am not. I am dividing them into males and everyone who is not a male.

Quote:That's the problem with rigid dichotomies. They rarely work. When you introduce other possibilities, they're usually ignored or called inconvenient.

I am ignoring nothing. You are trying to strawman my position by switching the classifications that I am using.

I have not given you two choices which fit one definition. I have given you one choice with a specific definition and one which is marked, essentially, "Other".

Quote:If you want to be such a stickler for definitions, then don't pretend that neutral isn't a word.

I haven't. You are pretending that "everything else" is not a phrase with any meaning.

Quote:By definition I don't have to believe one way or the other.

I never said that you did, so stop strawmanning. You don't have to believe that gods exist. Nor do you have to believe that no gods exist.

For the last time, I am not trying to alter your beliefs on anything. I am simply trying to explain the definition of the words that you are using incorrectly. What is so hard to understand about this?

Quote:So like I said, if you want to ignore the possibility that neutrality is possible, more power to you.

Stop strawmanning.

Quote:But don't expect me to play along. Call me an Atheist and I'll tell you you're wrong.

Continue to deny it and you just prove that you're unwilling to accept the truth. Again, NO

ONE

IS

TRYING

TO

CHANGE

YOUR

BELIEFS.

Or "try to claim you as one of their own". I am simply trying to explain the definitions of the words.

[qutoe]And I don't buy the position that Atheism is just not-Theism.[/quote]

Then you deny the definitions of the words.

Quote:Your example, male/not-male, is fine, but that's not what it is. The dichotomy is male/female.

Hardly. Again, you are misunderstanding the definitions of the words. And you are flying in the face of all evidence when you continue to deny this.

Quote:You may believe that it's Theist/not-theist, but that's not it either. It's Theist/Atheist. Atheism is something. It's a category of it's own just like female is a category of it's own. It's not just a lack of belief in deities, it is the belief in the natural universe, that every phenomenon corresponds to the rules of the natural universe among other things.

No, it isn't. Atheism is the lack of belief in deities. I know several atheists who believe in ghosts, magic, the Tarot, and the like.

Quote:People say I am an Atheist. They don't say I am not a Theist just like women don't say, I am not a man. If you want to say you are not a Theist then fine. But the moment you say that you are an Atheist then you are affiliated with a group. Does that group contain me? No.

Yes.

Quote:At any rate, this entire argument boils down to one thing. You claim there is a single definition of Atheism. I claim that there is a range of meaning and that there is controversy about it.

And have presented no evidence to support this. You have presented two sources - one line from Wikipedia (not the most reliable source in the first place, and the rest of the article supports what I have been saying) and a dictionary definition that may or may not support you, depending on what it means by "deny" - to try and prove this. It is not very compelling.

Quote:According to some definitions, including the one I chose to agree with, I am not an Atheist. According to your defintion, I am simply because I am not a Theist. My issue with that is that I don't believe you either are or you're something else and that all something else's have one definition. To me, it's like saying all animals are mongooses or they're not. Fine, that's factually correct, but it's is meaningless.

Hardly. It lets you identify which of the animals possess the characteristics of a mongoose - and we're only concerned with one characteristic here.

Quote:And if there's absolutely no way around this idea of Theist or not Theist, then this model needs to get thrown the fuck out. Atheists believe something beyond the negation of Theism.

No, they don't. Not necessarily, anyway. Some do, but that is not part of the definition of atheist. You may as well be saying "We need to throw this model out because atheists wear tuxedos".

Quote:Maybe there's different categories. You guys can tell me. But this business of we just aren't that thing is a crock because there are Atheists trying to tell people what they should believe. That act is impossible if they simply lack a belief. They have to have one.

Yes, great, some atheists believe something beyond the definition. Great. Some theists believe that God is personal and has a hand in the world, while others believe that he lets everything operate naturally. Does this mean that "theist" is meaningless? Of course not.

"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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20-08-2010, 08:37 AM (This post was last modified: 20-08-2010 09:02 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
And BnW? GO FUCK YOURSELF!

I am not an Atheist! I was clear about that from day one. So guess what! I don't believe the same things you do. Guess what! That means we'll have arguments! What a shocker.

You're right. You're wrong about my motivations because you have no idea who I am. I could be standing next to you and you wouldn't have a clue. You want me to dismiss you and invent your motivations? Ok. Fine.

You're an insecure Atheist who is so fearful that when someone offers an opinion that might differ from yours in the slightest you lash out like a cornered animal and try to destroy the person so that you don't have to face the fact that ideas differ, that they are often in conflict with each other and that there is a chance, however infinitesimal in your mind, that you might be wrong. But that's the source of your fear, isn't it?

You have no idea who I am and you have been wrong about my motivations EVERY SINGLE TIME you've claimed what they are. You just keep throwing shit at me hoping that some of it will stick. You are the Fox News of intellectual discussion.

Quote:I see now that the motivation is what we're dealing with here is a professional academic who lives to engage in circular arguments and debate for eternity without conceding any points and ignoring arguments that contradict his.

That is just demonstrably false. Anyone, ANYONE, can go back through my posts and find instances where I have conceded points, said I misspoke or identified where disconnects exists between what I am saying and what other people are saying are (which is VASTLY different than saying, your idea is different therefore you are wrong). You have constructed a narrative about me from day 1. I told you then that you were dismissing me as a human being but no. The great BnW is all knowing! You know exactly who I am. You couldn't possibly be wrong. So despite what I have ACTUALLY said and what I have ACTUALLY done, your narrative is utterly resistant to the invasion of facts. Like I said. You are the Fox News of this forum.

Quote:At least a theist has a purpose. This is just sport to him.

You just got me all figured out, don't you? Man, you must be the smartest man in existence. I should just bow down to your intellect.

This is an Atheist forum. I figured I could discuss ideas with Atheists. According to you, that's not true. I have a devout Catholic friend and a devout Evangelical Baptist friend. I have conversations with them about religion and deities and the nature of the universe and we have points that differ too. Sometimes we identify where they differ and sometimes we argue into the wee hours of the night. But never, EVER, do we look at each other and say that we have some sort of nefarious agenda or that we're just wantonly being contrarians. But you do. You just assume that I have nothing better to do than come her and say, you're wrong. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I couldn't possibly be a person who has a worldview (shocker of shockers cause no one's got one of those) and who is interested in engaging with people with different world views so I can better understand our differences. That'd be impossible. Nope. I just want to be a dickhead. When Unbeliever says, you're an Atheist, I couldn't possibly have a reasoned, differing opinion, I'm just here to say other people are poopie heads.

I have been ignoring you and your sarcasm and your baseness from the moment I said I was done with you. But you are determined, DETERMINED, to start a witch-hunt and run me out of here (and if you think you're the first person in history to do this sort of thing you're smokin something) because to you, this place is a place where people come to reinforce your beliefs and any one who does otherwise is an enemy. So this is it. This is the elephant in the room. I am not an Atheist (as I define it) and I will not be an Atheist. I am an Agnostic. I do not know if there is a god, I do not know if the supernatural exists and I don't believe that I will ever know. So if someone says there is or isn't a god, I will disagree. If someone says there is or isn't the supernatural, I will disagree. If someone says that we will or will not know, I will agree with the person who says we will not and I will furthermore say that it's irrelevant anyway. I do not think religion is dumb, I do not think that the entire world should be secular, neither am I a religious person. I believe what I believe and if I am alone in my belief or if there is an army of people that agree with me, my belief is my belief. Knowing this, if people are all right with my being here and trying to learn more about Atheism, how it is compatible with my worldview and how it is incompatible with my world view so that when I am talking with other people I'm not just talking out of my ass and if they are all right with allowing me to present and defend my world view, then I will remain and happily converse with the people here. But if I and what I represent to people is just so out-of-this-world disagreeable or offensive or if you really think that I need to be stopped and run out of here, then I'm not one to stick around where I'm not wanted.

So whatever? Tell me you want me out of here, or moderator, if there is one, ban my IP for writing such a profanity laced post. If not, BnW, if people are all right with my presence, if the people who run this board are all right with my presence and if people are willing to engage with my stated differing opinion and are willing to allow me to engage with them, then kindly stay out of my way. I have better things to do in my life than deal with small people like you.

Whatever happens, to the other people on this board, I have enjoyed our conversations to date. I hope they will continue.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Hey, Unbeliever.

Ok. We're at the point of talking at each other now. Back to basics.

Ok. Several of the dictionary definitions that I have seen and that you have linked to state that Atheism is the denial of or the lack of belief in the existence of Gods. I take that to mean someone believing that Gods don't exist. The universe is devoid of Gods. Is that understanding different from what you are saying? Do you think that my understanding is a misinterpretation of that?

Based on what you have said, I get the sense that there might be some subtle difference between believing Gods don't exist and not believing in them that perhaps I am not understanding. Could you speak to that?

I'm also confused about the definition of Theist as you understand it. The difficulty I am having is that I don't see how my neutrality is a negation of Theism, that is why I don't see myself as not-Theist. Follow my meaning? So lets start again with what Theism means.

And just for the record. I'm not accusing anyone of trying to convert me. I think you misunderstood me there. All I meant to say was you define me one way and I accept that you do. I do not define me in the same way; therefore, while I respect your right to define me one way, I will not join you. Not joining not meaning, I'll never join you (like when Luke told the Emperor he would never join him cause he was a Jedi like his father), but meaning, I will not define myself in the same manner that you do because I define myself differently. Make sense?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-08-2010, 09:30 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
I contributed my input earlier on in this thread, and after following this debate, still hold the same position. I think what has happened is that it has turned from a debate to an argument. When that happens, it's hard to stay open to changing your view based on the evidence provided. As a result, I think Ghost has strayed from what Unbeliever is trying to say. I think (ya ya, just my opinion) that Unbeliever has adequately proved that Ghost fits the definition of Atheist. I think that Ghost is arguing about "belief" as much as "definition".

I'm not playing peacemaker here, nor am I taking sides. (I take the side of Unbeliever in the debate over the definition of "atheist" but I think you can all see what I am saying here) I just wanted to point out that there is frustration in many respects. Is it worth it to get angry? Probably not. Is it understandable? Most definitely! My suggestion is that everyone take a step back, gather their thoughts, and use some reason.

Unbeliever: I don't see you as getting terribly heated (you cold hearted bastard you!) but your point has been made. Your evidence is strong. Is it perhaps a good time to recognize that as much as you, me, and many others would like it not to be, the topic of atheism/theism/agnostisism/belief etc etc is one that carries more than just facts. There's emotion involved. THAT is a fact!

Ghost: Your view is definitely in the minority here. Maybe some insight would help you see why you are being so vigorously refuted. (That is what you are looking for, no?) As an atheist, I can attest to the strong defensive posture that is often taken on topics such as this. We are constantly labeled incorrectly. Whether it's blatant ignorance; calling us devil worshippers and the like, or misunderstandings of the basics; assuming we share beliefs just because we have one thing in common: not being theists. It happens all the time, and so to tell us things like, "And if there's absolutely no way around this idea of Theist or not Theist, then this model needs to get thrown the fuck out. Atheists believe something beyond the negation of Theism. Maybe there's different categories. You guys can tell me. But this business of we just aren't that thing is a crock because there are Atheists trying to tell people what they should believe. That act is impossible if they simply lack a belief. They have to have one.
" is not only wrong, but insulting. There are atheists trying to tell people what they should believe. You are correct. That does not, however, have any bearing on the definition of atheist. To imply otherwise is incorrect, and will 9 times out of 10 be met with strong emotional opposition.
Just a final word. I think I can speak for pretty much everyone here when I say this is a forum ABOUT atheism, not an atheist forum. We are self moderated (those that run this forum seem to have abandoned it long ago) and since I have been here, have always welcomed different perspectives. Nuff said.

BnW: You shit disturber you! Seriously though, I am as frustrated as you are. Just try to remember that Ghost is up against a lot of opposition, and it's only fair to expect a little over compensating while defending his position. Compassion and understanding my friend. (Ya big baby)

There. Now that I've probably completely alienated myself from a whole lotta you, I'm done. And yes, I admit it. In the end I did do a little "peacemaking". Oh well. Shit happens.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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20-08-2010, 10:02 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Quote:You're an insecure Atheist who is so fearful that when someone offers an opinion that might differ from yours in the slightest you lash out like a cornered animal and try to destroy the person so that you don't have to face the fact that ideas differ, that they are often in conflict with each other and that there is a chance, however infinitesimal in your mind, that you might be wrong. But that's the source of your fear, isn't it?

I'm probably insecure about many things but opinions contrary to my own are not amongst them.

And, you are not really offering opinions, contrary or otherwise. What you are doing is offering up arguments and following them up with more arguments. You put out a statement, ask for discussion, and then take a contrary position. That, in and of itself, is fine and playing devil's advocate can be a legitimate way to push a discussion. However, when you are a combination of intellectually dishonest or flat out ignore certain facts, it tends to become tedious. I've spent a lot of time in institutes of higher learning and I'm very familiar with this line of questioning and repetition and I've little patience for it.

Perhaps that is my problem and not yours and perhaps I should take Stark Raving's advice and be a little more understanding. However, I am fairly confident that the source of frustration with you, and not just from me, has anything to do with you offering a contrary opinion to me or anyone else.

To quote the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "'Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts". I suppose that applies to definitions as well.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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20-08-2010, 10:03 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Thank you, Stark Raving.

I appreciate your words. I grok the fullness of what you are saying. I'll process it and get back to you. It isn't my intention to insult anyone and I can understand the frustration of being mislabeled. Perhaps I am more ignorant than I know and perhaps I have bought into certain stereotypes. I'll give this some serious thought.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-08-2010, 10:12 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Quote:Perhaps I am more ignorant than I know and perhaps I have bought into certain stereotypes.

I know you're "done" with me and I'm at the bottom of the list of people you want advice from, which is fair. Anyway, I offer this as an olive branch, but take it as you wish.

You came here asking us to defend the position that "religion is the cause of all war". When several of us responded that no one with a brain was taking any such position you came back quoting Hitchens, etc. and some other unrelated arguments, including some of the parts of this web site about refuting the bible. We all came back again and said that Hitchens, etc. does not make the argument that religion is the cause of all war and refuting the bible does not make the argument that religion causes all war. Still, you persisted in this line of reasoning. Many of us went on to point out the role religion plays in war and how it is used to motivate people to sacrifice and kill. I don't recall you addressing that at all but what I do recall you coming back to your basic premise over and over.

So, ignore how I and some others reacted to this. Answer this, and answer it honestly: how would you have reacted to it? Now think about that in the context of the discourse you've had here.

None of us are so sagacious that we can not learn from each other, and that obviously includes me. However, to learn, we must listen and read and absorb. We will discard some of what we hear out of habit or predetermined feelings but some of it will sink in and cause us to think about our positions. We may ultimately decide that our initial view was correct in the first place, and this new information only validates us. However, prior to getting to that point, we must first listen and read and absorb. My impression of you to date, and this is just my impression from your post so please don't take this as a personal attack, is that you are not taking the first three steps.

And, to be fair, perhaps you're not the only one.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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