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03-06-2014, 10:56 PM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2014 11:07 PM by smileXsmileXsmile.)
Can someone explain...
Can someone explain the labels of atheism. I know there is more then one type of atheist. I was presented with this nice table.

[Image: yX0vuJpeg.jpg]

but i found a few problems. Lets look at it from a different perspective.

[Image: b945c599-7f37-403f-86ea-1dbbc59fd545.jpg]

As you can see there can be two types of agnostic atheists. Is there a label to differentiate them?

I am one of the two "agnostic atheists". I happen to lack belief that there is a God and lack belief that there is no God. (obviously I'm agnostic, since there is nothing to be 100% certain about). Just curious as to what my technical label would be. Smile

Also, a side note, I found it interesting that the title 'atheist' covers more then the term 'theist' does (from that venn diagram's point of view). I'm guessing this is what leads to misconception that all atheists believe there is no God.

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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03-06-2014, 11:06 PM
RE: Can someone explain...
That Venn diagram isnt as clear as it could be. It's basically saying the bit in the middle is agnostic, the right is atheist, and the left is deist.

The first chart is the better one.

Theism/atheism is a position on the belief in gods.
Agnosticism/Gnosticism is a position on knowledge.

You don't believe that god exists, but you don't know it for certain: you are an agnostic atheist. Agnostic being the adjective, atheist being the noun.

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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03-06-2014, 11:24 PM
RE: Can someone explain...
So I'm forced to either believe in God or not believe in God?

Why can't I just say "There's no way to know"; AKA 'Lack belief there is no God' and 'Lack belief there is a God or Gods'?


I'm not so sure I understand the difference between "lacks belief in a god" vs. "believes there is no God". Is there a difference? Would you or someone, be so kind as to idiot-proof each square of the first chart so I can understand it?

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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03-06-2014, 11:26 PM
RE: Can someone explain...
(03-06-2014 10:56 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  I am one of the two "agnostic atheists". I happen to lack belief that there is a God and lack belief that there is no God. (obviously I'm agnostic, since there is nothing to be 100% certain about). Just curious as to what my technical label would be. Smile

Which church do you attend? Which holy book do you claim as the one true book of god(s)? Which god do you revere, obey, and/or fear?

If you can answer these questions with a specific religion/book/god, then you are a theist. If you can't then you are an atheist. It's as simple as that. Are you a theist? I would assume not, since you say "I happen to lack belief that there is a God". If you are not a theist, then you are an atheist. Period.

This is a binary choice. The light is either on or off; it's never partially on. If it's on, then there is light, otherwise it's off. If you worship, then you're a theist, otherwise you're not.

So, you're right, you're an atheist.

Most atheists admit a possibility that there might be some kind of divine force in this universe, or at least they admit that they do not KNOW there is no such force. These atheists are agnostic, which means "not knowing". Some atheists firmly believe and proclaim that there definitely is no such divine force, anywhere, ever. These atheists are gnostic, which means "knowing" (but does not mean "correct" - it's possible to know something, or at least to be certain that you know something, and yet be wrong about it).

Are you agnostic? I believe you are because you said "I happen to ... lack belief that there is no God".t

So, you are agnostic and atheist. Both. At the same time. This is possible because the two words are not related nor are they exclusive.

(03-06-2014 10:56 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  Also, a side note, I found it interesting that the title 'atheist' covers more then the term 'theist' does (from that venn diagram's point of view). I'm guessing this is what leads to misconception that all atheists believe there is no God.

The venn diagram is limited in scope, but it is somewhat correct with regard to atheism (it is limited because it ONLY discusses belief and not knowledge, which makes the chart wrong, because gnostic/agnostic is about knowledge, not belief).

So stick with the first diagram; it's much more accurate.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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03-06-2014, 11:26 PM
Can someone explain...
(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  So I'm forced to either believe in God or not believe in God?

Why can't I just say "There's no way to know"; AKA 'Lack belief there is no God' and 'Lack belief there is a God or Gods'?


I'm not so sure I understand the difference between "lacks belief in a god" vs. "believes there is no God". Is there a difference? Would you or someone, be so kind as to idiot-proof each square of the first chart so I can understand it?

You can. It's called agnosticism.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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03-06-2014, 11:36 PM
RE: Can someone explain...
(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  So I'm forced to either believe in God or not believe in God?

Well no one is forcing anything, but either you have a belief or you don't. The definition logically follows from there, but doesn't necessarily pigeonhole you into anything. Words have definitions, those definitions can be debatable due to context but at it's simplest level, if you don't actively hold a belief in a god then you can label yourself as an atheist without any other notions attached. Unless you'd rather not, it's up to you. Thumbsup

See? It's simple!

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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03-06-2014, 11:40 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014 09:18 AM by Aseptic Skeptic.)
RE: Can someone explain...
(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  So I'm forced to either believe in God or not believe in God?

The word "atheist" comes from "theist" (one who believes in god) and "a" (this simply means "not" and it negates or reverses the word it's attached to). Put them together and "atheist" means "not-theist".

So yes, that dichotomy sums it up: you're one or the other (What else is there? You believe or you don't). Are you a theist? No? Then you're an atheist. Period.

(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  Why can't I just say "There's no way to know"; AKA 'Lack belief there is no God' and 'Lack belief there is a God or Gods'?

You can. But I assume that while you're saying this, you're not practicing any particular theism? You're not going to church, reading a holy book, worshiping a deity? If you are, then you're a theist. If you're not, then you're not a theist. Therefore you're a not-theist, an atheist. Period.

(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  I'm not so sure I understand the difference between "lacks belief in a god" vs. "believes there is no God". Is there a difference? Would you or someone, be so kind as to idiot-proof each square of the first chart so I can understand it?

Yes you do. You described yourself in your first post in this thread using BOTH of those definitions in the same sentence:

(03-06-2014 10:56 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  I happen to lack belief that there is a God and lack belief that there is no God.

So clearly you understand the difference or you wouldn't have used these definitions in this way. But to help you along:

The word "agnostic" comes from "gnostic" (one who knows something) and "a" (this simply means "not" and it negates or reverses the word it's attached to). Put them together and "agnostic" means "not-knowing".

"I believe (or know) that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD/GODS". This is a statement about what you believe and/or claim to know. If you say this, then you're claiming to know something about god (even if you're wrong). This is gnostic.

"I don't happen to have any beliefs in any gods, but I also don't believe (or know) for sure that there are no gods, so I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT IS OUT THERE". This is a statement about what you admit that you don't know. If you say this, then you're admitting you don't know. This is agnostic.

And now your chart is idiot-proof. You know everything you need to know to understand all 4 squares on the chart.

The key is this: understand that what you know is not the same thing as what you believe, so you could believe (or not) AND know about god (or the lack of god) or you could believe (or not) WITHOUT knowing for sure about god (or the lack of god).

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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03-06-2014, 11:48 PM
RE: Can someone explain...
Oops

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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03-06-2014, 11:49 PM
RE: Can someone explain...
(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  So I'm forced to either believe in God or not believe in God?
No.

(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  Why can't I just say "There's no way to know"; AKA 'Lack belief there is no God' and 'Lack belief there is a God or Gods'?
You can say whatever you want.
Lack belief there is no god. = I don't know a god doesn't exist.
Lack belief there is a god. = I don't know a god does exists.
These both basically state = I don't know, either way - both are uncertain.

(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  I'm not so sure I understand the difference between "lacks belief in a god" vs. "believes there is no God". Is there a difference? Would you or someone, be so kind as to idiot-proof each square of the first chart so I can understand it?

Lack belief in god. = uncertainty of a god's existence.
Belief there is no god. = certainty of no god.

I believe Chas previously advised quite expertly ...
(29-05-2014 02:53 PM)Chas Wrote:  Atheism is a lack of belief, it has nothing to do with knowledge.
Agnosticism is about knowledge, it has nothing to do with belief.
... and ...
(29-05-2014 02:57 PM)Chas Wrote:  Do you believe in a god? No? You are an atheist.
Can you prove there aren't any gods? No? You are an agnostic atheist.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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03-06-2014, 11:56 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014 12:20 AM by Taqiyya Mockingbird.)
RE: Can someone explain...
(03-06-2014 11:24 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  So I'm forced to either believe in God or not believe in God?

Um, what other possibilities can you imagine?

Quote:Why can't I just say "There's no way to know"; AKA 'Lack belief there is no God' and 'Lack belief there is a God or Gods'?

That's called "IGnosticism", and it's quite a valid stance to take.


Quote:I'm not so sure I understand the difference between "lacks belief in a god" vs. "believes there is no God". Is there a difference?


Yes. Let's suppose that I have never seen a black swan. If that is the case, I am perfectly safe to say that I lack a belief in black swans. But if someone were to show me a black swan and thus prove to me that black swans do in fact exist (and I have indeed seen one myself IRL), then the matter is settled, and I have not at any point compromised my own honesty and integrity: by pointing out that I had hitherto lacked a belief -- for lack of evidence -- in black swans (they really are quite beautiful, did you know?), I am simply conveying the limitations of my own experience, and not making any sort of wild-ass declaration about the existence or non-existence of black swans, in this case.

Quote:Would you or someone, be so kind as to idiot-proof each square of the first chart so I can understand it?

1) Upper-Left (Gnostic Theist) position: "I KNOW there is X" (in this case, "X" being the actual, real existence of whatever deity the claimant, well, ah, claims...)

2) Upper-Right (Gnostic Atheist) position: "I KNOW that there is NO X" (adn this could be a rebuttal to any claim of a specific deity, or it could refer to every claim of any deity, or anywhere in between.

3) Lower Left (Agnostic Theist): "I can't prove/don't know for certain that X exists, but I believe/take the position that X exists (because reasons)."

4) Lower Right (Agnostic Atheist): "I can't completely disprove that X exists, but I don't buy into snake-oil sales pitches, and I can certainly show that you have failed to substantiate your various wild-ass claims (Look, The Emperor Has No Clothes!) .

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


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You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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