How come I'm not an atheist?
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10-05-2017, 04:13 AM
How come I'm not an atheist?
Hi all,

Some of you guys may remember me from several months back. If not, doesn't matter cuz I'm gonna summarize my beliefs here anyway. Feel free to skip any part if I get ranty.

I'm an agnostic: I don't believe that a god does exist, and I don't believe that a god doesn't exist, "god" meaning an intelligent creator/originator/cause/whatever to the universe. Now, by most of your guys' definition of "atheist" as "lack of belief in god", I would be an atheist, but that's not the only definition and its not the definition I find useful. For me at least. I'm only emphasizing this now because I personally hear the same rhetoric over and over again when I express my agnosticism. I recognize agnostic atheism is a thing, I was one, but I'm not that. You can call me an atheist all you like, but I am not "an atheist".

Anyway, that's what my question is all about actually: why am I an agnostic and not an atheist? What is the fundamental reason for me separating myself from atheists? Because even if I also "lack belief in god", I find myself disagreeing time and time again with a good number of people who "lack belief in god". I don't simply dismiss the classical arguments for god (cosmological, teleological, etc.); I prioritize logical and epistemic possibility over physical possibility, such that I consider metaphysical and potentially/probably unobservable possibilities and build models with them; similarly, I am more interested in mathematics and logic rather than science.

What this all comes down to, it seems, is that I am more concerned with consistency than I am with truth. That's not to say I don't care about truth, obviously if I find something to be true it can't be dismissed. But take Matt Dillahunty's saying for a second: "I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible." The problem I have with this philosophy is that it seems that by trying to not believe false things, it halts abstract or creative thinking, thinking about things in theory so that perhaps you will stumble upon some underlying truth. Essentially, you don't consider things that might or might not be true, you only consider things that can be shown to be true. But I personally don't mind considering things that have even a probability of being false, and so possibly ending up believing things that happen to be false, so long as I am discovering true things and building models based on valid reasoning.

So I don't know, and I'm trying to figure it out. Why do I feel so ideologically distant from the group that champions skepticism, science, logic, reason, etc. etc. and with which I generally agree with when it comes to mystical/supernatural stuff. Does it have to do with the fact that I simply don't believe either way on the existence of gods, where atheists do believe that no god exists? Am I not as realist as atheists such that I dream up nice-looking possibilities that have no basis in reality? I don't consider myself a skeptic either, does that have to do with it?

Anyway, that's enough rambling. I'm really trying to figure out what the thing is here, so if anybody is willing to help me out and maybe take a guess as to the fundamental issue here, I'd appreciate it.
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10-05-2017, 04:19 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  Why do I feel so ideologically distant from the group that champions skepticism, science, logic, reason, etc. etc. and with which I generally agree with when it comes to mystical/supernatural stuff. Does it have to do with the fact that I simply don't believe either way on the existence of gods, where atheists do believe that no god exists? Am I not as realist as atheists such that I dream up nice-looking possibilities that have no basis in reality? I don't consider myself a skeptic either, does that have to do with it?
The short answer is, because everybody is free to make up their own mind.

I personally don't believe in any god(s), but keep open the "chance" that there might be because we can't fully 100% disprove it, yet I'm an Atheist. So I can see how saying "well we just don't know" is an appealing option to take, just do whatever makes you happy. Thumbsup

"I don't do magic, Morty, I do science. One takes brains, the other takes dark eye liner" - Rick
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10-05-2017, 04:26 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  Hi all,

Some of you guys may remember me from several months back. If not, doesn't matter cuz I'm gonna summarize my beliefs here anyway. Feel free to skip any part if I get ranty.

I'm an agnostic: I don't believe that a god does exist, and I don't believe that a god doesn't exist, "god" meaning an intelligent creator/originator/cause/whatever to the universe. Now, by most of your guys' definition of "atheist" as "lack of belief in god", I would be an atheist, but that's not the only definition and its not the definition I find useful. For me at least. I'm only emphasizing this now because I personally hear the same rhetoric over and over again when I express my agnosticism. I recognize agnostic atheism is a thing, I was one, but I'm not that. You can call me an atheist all you like, but I am not "an atheist".

Anyway, that's what my question is all about actually: why am I an agnostic and not an atheist? What is the fundamental reason for me separating myself from atheists? Because even if I also "lack belief in god", I find myself disagreeing time and time again with a good number of people who "lack belief in god". I don't simply dismiss the classical arguments for god (cosmological, teleological, etc.); I prioritize logical and epistemic possibility over physical possibility, such that I consider metaphysical and potentially/probably unobservable possibilities and build models with them; similarly, I am more interested in mathematics and logic rather than science.

What this all comes down to, it seems, is that I am more concerned with consistency than I am with truth. That's not to say I don't care about truth, obviously if I find something to be true it can't be dismissed. But take Matt Dillahunty's saying for a second: "I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible." The problem I have with this philosophy is that it seems that by trying to not believe false things, it halts abstract or creative thinking, thinking about things in theory so that perhaps you will stumble upon some underlying truth. Essentially, you don't consider things that might or might not be true, you only consider things that can be shown to be true. But I personally don't mind considering things that have even a probability of being false, and so possibly ending up believing things that happen to be false, so long as I am discovering true things and building models based on valid reasoning.

So I don't know, and I'm trying to figure it out. Why do I feel so ideologically distant from the group that champions skepticism, science, logic, reason, etc. etc. and with which I generally agree with when it comes to mystical/supernatural stuff. Does it have to do with the fact that I simply don't believe either way on the existence of gods, where atheists do believe that no god exists? Am I not as realist as atheists such that I dream up nice-looking possibilities that have no basis in reality? I don't consider myself a skeptic either, does that have to do with it?

Anyway, that's enough rambling. I'm really trying to figure out what the thing is here, so if anybody is willing to help me out and maybe take a guess as to the fundamental issue here, I'd appreciate it.

> Check out this article in the August, 1982 issue of THE AMERICAN ATHEIST: The Agnostic's Dilemma by Norwood Russell Hanson (Former chairman of the Department of History and Logic of Science at Indiana University)

> For about a decade I professed agnosticism, but realized I was really an atheist after reading the article.
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10-05-2017, 04:30 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  What is the fundamental reason for me separating myself from atheists? Because even if I also "lack belief in god", I find myself disagreeing time and time again with a good number of people who "lack belief in god".

Atheists disagree with other atheists all the time over various issues, like free-will versus determinism, subjective versus objective morality, the historical versus the mythical Jesus, agnosticism versus atheism, and so on. But if you are interested in these issues, atheists are often smart and well-informed people to talk to.
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10-05-2017, 04:43 AM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2017 04:52 AM by Deesse23.)
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  What is the fundamental reason for me separating myself from atheists? Because even if I also "lack belief in god", I find myself disagreeing time and time again with a good number of people who "lack belief in god".

It doesnt matter if you disagree on certian (other) points with "atheists", it doesnt matter why you reject the belief in god(s). As long as your statement is:
(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  I don't believe that a god does exist, and I don't believe that a god doesn't exist
you are a (kind of) atheist.

It seems to me you dont want to be associated with atheists not because your belief about the claim "god x exists" is diefferent, but because "atheism" and "atheist" may have some bad connnotation for you. I think the last passage, which i commented, is the (bad) reason why it does have thsi bad connotation to you.
You are free to correct me if i am wrong.


(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  What this all comes down to, it seems, is that I am more concerned with consistency than I am with truth. That's not to say I don't care about truth, obviously if I find something to be true it can't be dismissed
You are contradicting yourself. It can be dismissed.....by something consistent, because you are more concerned with consitency than you are with truth.
Because, according to your own statement: consitency > truth

(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  But take Matt Dillahunty's saying for a second: "I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible." The problem I have with this philosophy is that it seems that by trying to not believe false things, it halts abstract or creative thinking, thinking about things in theory so that perhaps you will stumble upon some underlying truth. Essentially, you don't consider things that might or might not be true, you only consider things that can be shown to be true. But I personally don't mind considering things that have even a probability of being false, and so possibly ending up believing things that happen to be false, so long as I am discovering true things and building models based on valid reasoning.
Then you dont understand the position of people like Dillahunty correctly, and i have seen some people with exactly your misunderstaning in some of the AXP show.

The part where you definitely get him wrong is this:
Quote:you only consider things that can be shown to be true

Dillahunty does not say/claim that "unproven" things should not be considered, he is not rejecting the notion that "free thinking" or "speculation" is allowed, or discourages it with his position. You can speculate all you want

BUT you should apply the label "speculation" until you have met your burden of proof.

When asked, when put to the test, you should admit and concede, even if its consistent about your claim (which in this case cant not be yet demonstrated to be true): I think its possibly, or probably this or that, but i dont know.
All he and peiople who think like him want to avoid is having people claiming (selling) stuff as "true" which hasnt met the burden of proof yet. Its because once people think they have an answer to their questions, intellectual laziness is setting in, and they stop questioning. The risk of accepting something prematurely as "true" is to stop looking for the real answer (in case you were actually wrong).

All it is about, is to put the bar very high for claiming to have demonstrated to be true, thats all. He doesnt discourage speculation, he just wants people to be intellectually honest by not claiming to have found something to be true prematurely.

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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10-05-2017, 05:08 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
I suppose the way I look at it (in simplistic terms I might add) is until God actually reveals himself standing in my doorway and convinces me otherwise then there is no God. Of course there are more eloquent ways of stating this and many arguments to be made for the non existence of a God, but I am more about proof than I am about stories. I have no qualms admitting I am an Atheist. Until there is definitive proof of a supreme being I will continue to believe this way.

I get to decide what my life looks like, not the other way around.
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10-05-2017, 05:20 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 05:08 AM)RearViewMirror Wrote:  I suppose the way I look at it (in simplistic terms I might add) is until God actually reveals himself standing in my doorway and convinces me otherwise then there is no God. Of course there are more eloquent ways of stating this and many arguments to be made for the non existence of a God, but I am more about proof than I am about stories. I have no qualms admitting I am an Atheist. Until there is definitive proof of a supreme being I will continue to believe this way.

Yep, there's no reason for anyone to go out of their way to prove a god exists. If a god does exist and it wants us to know it exists, then it would be a trivial matter to materialize in front of the entire world and demonstrate it's power.

Any god can take a hint from Rick and Morty on how to show it exists:




Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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10-05-2017, 05:29 AM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2017 05:35 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
Well... you're just redefining words. You are an atheist under the standard definition. But if you say that atheism requires an active belief that there are no gods, then you're not. Saying you're not an atheist but that you're using standard definitions is just untrue, but you can call yourself whatever you like.

Your position is the same, whatever you call it. You're still in the same position as many/most agnostic atheists. It's a description of a state of mind, not a club you join. And what you call yourself has no bearing on what you actually are.

In regard to a generic creator, I'm the same as you. I have no beliefs either way. I can pretend for the sake of argument that anything is true, so I don't see how this is at all stifling. I separate this from belief in the ridiculous characters religion presents, which are obviously baloney. However, I'm still agnostic even with regard to this baloney, because I acknowledge I could be wrong about anything. I just believe very strongly that they aren't real. They appear internally inconsistent, so what it would even mean for them to exist is unclear. But I just always leave the door open for possibilities.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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10-05-2017, 05:51 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
Quote:You can call me an atheist all you like, but I am not "an atheist".
You're atheistic. Quibbles about exactly what that means belong in the fauxlosophy section.
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10-05-2017, 06:09 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
What I don't get is why people are so obsessed with labels. And more importantly - with labeling themselves.

"You can call me an atheist all you like, but I am not "an atheist" - the thing is, I highly doubt anyone here wants to call you anything or cares one way or another.

Also - ideologically distant? There's no atheist ideology and frankly, what's the point of spending you painfully short days on this earth, obsessing over what ideology to choose (or even wanting to tie yourself to an ideology, whatever the hell that means).

Once I realised none of the gods we've made up are real, that was it - a mental burden has been thrown off, leaving me free to read and learn and enjoy the myriad of wonderful things this world has to offer, like all the scientific knowledge we've gathered so far, all the wonderful art we've created, and so many other wondrous things that have nothing to do with obsessing over made-up deities and leprechauns at the bottom of the garden.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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