Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
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06-04-2015, 03:41 PM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
(05-04-2015 01:48 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  The Greek prefix "a-" means "without", so "atheist" means "without a god" and "agnostic" means "without knowledge (of something)". It's that simple.

Pfft. Like you know Greek.


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06-04-2015, 04:16 PM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
Hmm, I wouldn't "argue" but I would discuss if I saw the terms being used incorrectly. That being said, I didn't understand how agnostic and atheist weren't mutually exclusive until my early 20s. I was always a gnostic atheist (and still am), and I didn't know other atheists, so it just didn't make sense to me. Once you do get it though, it isn't hard to understand. The gumball example works well (I refuse to say it again, but a quick google search and a glance at this article tell me that you can probably find it here: https://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2013...evisited).

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06-04-2015, 10:03 PM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
(05-04-2015 11:43 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(05-04-2015 06:57 AM)kristenkjordan Wrote:  My boyfriend said the term "agnostic atheist" doesn't make sense. But I actually came across a small list of different terms and what they're meanings were and agnostic atheism was one of them and it made total sense to me. I should totally track it down and show it to him with a smug "HA!" Laughat

Done and done.

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I'll leave the printing, presentation, and smug laughing up to you. Wink

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07-04-2015, 07:47 AM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
(05-04-2015 01:48 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  I must have talked about this a thousand times and I'm surprised people choose to describe themselves as atheists or agnostics without even looking up what these words mean.

The Greek prefix "a-" means "without", so "atheist" means "without a god" and "agnostic" means "without knowledge (of something)". It's that simple.

Now, anyone can claim that their own definitions are correct, but no one can change what these words actually mean.

This... is just wrong. Words mean what the group decides they mean. Doubt this? Consider that Jews at one time might have described the Holocaust as a terrific event (that which begetsn terror, terrific), or that new parents might have smiled and said their newborn was awful (full of awe). Words can twist their meaning over time, even end up meaning the opposite of the original definition.

When there are so many definitions flying about, the only thing I think we can do is try to define what we mean when discussing things since it's unlikely that any of us mean exactly the same thing with the same label.
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07-04-2015, 09:02 AM
Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
I don't like the term "anti-theist" because it implies I'm against the individuals when I'm actually against the system itself. I promote anti-theism in my atheism.

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07-04-2015, 09:39 AM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
(07-04-2015 07:47 AM)OddGamer Wrote:  
(05-04-2015 01:48 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  I must have talked about this a thousand times and I'm surprised people choose to describe themselves as atheists or agnostics without even looking up what these words mean.

The Greek prefix "a-" means "without", so "atheist" means "without a god" and "agnostic" means "without knowledge (of something)". It's that simple.

Now, anyone can claim that their own definitions are correct, but no one can change what these words actually mean.

This... is just wrong. Words mean what the group decides they mean. Doubt this? Consider that Jews at one time might have described the Holocaust as a terrific event (that which begetsn terror, terrific), or that new parents might have smiled and said their newborn was awful (full of awe). Words can twist their meaning over time, even end up meaning the opposite of the original definition.

When there are so many definitions flying about, the only thing I think we can do is try to define what we mean when discussing things since it's unlikely that any of us mean exactly the same thing with the same label.

Your examples are very different cases. A word's meaning can change and both meanings be considered valid. It's not like two people can argue about whether a holocaust is what happened to the Jews or an Ancient Greek ritual. It is both. That is not the case with the term "atheist". There is no consensus for a clear definition of it, contrary to the examples you offered.

The word "atheos" is ancient. It has been used in Greek for almost 3000 years. I don't care if groups decide to use it to say what they want it to mean. If there is no consensus over a definition, why should I accept numerous different ones instead of the one the word has had for thousands of years in my language?

Besides, we were talking about a single person claiming their own definition is correct. What I simply pointed out was that you can't decide as a single person what a word means.

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08-04-2015, 03:38 AM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
(07-04-2015 09:39 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  The word "atheos" is ancient. It has been used in Greek for almost 3000 years. I don't care if groups decide to use it to say what they want it to mean. If there is no consensus over a definition, why should I accept numerous different ones instead of the one the word has had for thousands of years in my language?
Uhm... unless you speak Greek it hasn't been in use for thousands of years as English hasn't existed that long.
More than this, though, the word has never had a very clear definition, with the term being applied to theists of other religions as well as those who don't accept gods at all.

(07-04-2015 09:39 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Besides, we were talking about a single person claiming their own definition is correct. What I simply pointed out was that you can't decide as a single person what a word means.
I think that may depend on the situation. If you're discussing with someone and need to be clear on terms then when you define what you mean by a term you are deciding, at least in a limited scope, what the definition is. Though I agree it can't be done by an individual for a group... unless it's an entirely new word for an entirely new concept.
In this case, though, you're right. No individual can decide a meaning for a word as generally accepted.
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08-04-2015, 06:20 AM
RE: Growled out by an "atheist" over defining atheism?
(08-04-2015 03:38 AM)OddGamer Wrote:  Uhm... unless you speak Greek it hasn't been in use for thousands of years as English hasn't existed that long.
More than this, though, the word has never had a very clear definition, with the term being applied to theists of other religions as well as those who don't accept gods at all.

I happen to be Greek indeed Smile
Exactly my point. The word means "without a god". Now, you may have another god and people of another religion consider you to be "without a god", because you don't accept their god. You can be "without a god" and be anti-theist. You can be "without a god" without ever having heard about one.

What I'm saying is that "atheos" means "without a god" and any further deductions and interpretations are not based on what the word means, but rather on what certain people want it to mean (which is relevant to the OP, where someone claimed that you can't be an "agnostic atheist")

If I claim I'm an atheist, it simply means what the word says. If anyone wants to add meaning to it, it's not my problem. I am simply "without a god". It's not like I'm breaking any established consensus of what "atheism" is, since there is no such consensus.

(08-04-2015 03:38 AM)OddGamer Wrote:  I think that may depend on the situation. If you're discussing with someone and need to be clear on terms then when you define what you mean by a term you are deciding, at least in a limited scope, what the definition is. Though I agree it can't be done by an individual for a group... unless it's an entirely new word for an entirely new concept.
In this case, though, you're right. No individual can decide a meaning for a word as generally accepted.

Well, that's the reason I avoid using the word "atheist". People always think it means more than it does. I've accepted that people will always misunderstand labels, so I usually go with "I don't believe in any god" or "I don't follow any religion".

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