How come I'm not an atheist?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
10-05-2017, 06:09 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
Seems that you may be getting hung up on the label.

Ask yourself this: Do you live your life as if there's a God (makes no difference which God - could be Thor, Zeus, Asgard, Yaweh, Quetzalcoatl, whatever)?

If no, then you're an atheist. It's really that simple.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Heath_Tierney's post
10-05-2017, 06:10 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
You are an atheist.

The title should be ....
"Why I don't understand the definition of atheism ?"

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Rahn127's post
10-05-2017, 06:37 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.

Okay, here's how it works.

You are, technically, under some definitions, both an agnostic and an atheist. You might add the phrases "agnostic atheist" or "weak atheist" to that list.

But when it comes to choosing what label you outwardly identify as, that's not just about needing to declare yourself as an atheist just because you happen to fall into the category.

Identity labels are more than that. They are a way of advertising the aspects of you which you wish to emphasize.

Yes, you are an atheist in the sense that you don't believe in a god, at least not at this moment. Yes, you are an agnostic in the sense that you are holding out some degree of uncertainty and reserved judgement. But when it comes time to pick a label, the question isn't just whether the label can be applied to you. There are millions of labels that can apply to you. You won't use anywhere near all of them. The question is, what foot do you want to put forward? How do you want to define yourself in other peoples' minds? How do you define yourself in your own mind?

By embracing a label of atheist, you would be choosing to emphasize your non-belief. By embracing the label agnostic, you are instead choosing to emphasize your reserved judgement and ongoing examination. Both labels could apply to you, but you choose which one you get to own. If "agnostic" hadn't done it for you, you could have decided that neither were very important and just label yourself a "philosopher" or "free-thinker" or something like that.

That said, there's social value in getting a lot of people using the label "atheist". In a lot of places (Western Europe less-so, parts of the United States somewhat, theocratic nations a lot) atheists are a persecuted minority. The more people who embrace the label, the larger and more visible atheists collectively are, the more the status of "atheist" gets normalized. This helps both to dismantle the persecution, and give a sense of security in numbers to atheists. If you're under pressure to identify as an atheist, this might be the source of some of that pressure.

(BTW, it's quite possible to be creative while also being an atheist. Dillahunty's done some pretty creative stuff, and shown himself capable of giving careful examination to opposing positions in detail. His slogan about not wanting to believe false things is more of a response to the idea that he should believe until he's disproven the religion. Indulging in fantasy for entertainment's sake is just fine, so long as you remember it's fiction. There's also a lot of atheist authors, artists, etc out there, some of whom have created some pretty out-there ideas.)

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Reltzik's post
10-05-2017, 06:50 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
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.

I don't know what you exactly mean by believing in this context. You can think, imagine, concoct, etc. without believing in these things. I would hope that most people consider things before believing, but that is obviously not true of most christians. People shouldn't just pick something that sounds good and decide to believe it. I can't do this, and I doubt it's easy for others. That's why I don't believe most american christians don't actually believe what they espouse (because few, it seems, know much about the religion) but believe in believing. It feels good to make a decision, and, with christianity, it gives you the self-righteousness and ego to tell other you're right and their wrong. And you can never be proven wrong, as well as have loads of people that will take anything a believer says that supports their ideas as straight from god.

Finding out I have been wrong about things have been the most enlightening things I have ever experienced in my life.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes kemo boy's post
10-05-2017, 07:15 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
You say you are interested in maths and that you value consistency over truth.

Gödel has proven that if a system is consistent, then not all true statements of that system can be proven. So that blows your thesis out of the water.

We can imagine, speculate, and hypothesize all manner of possibilities or absurdities and creative minds do so all the time. Scientists do so all the time and they value truth.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Chas's post
10-05-2017, 07:45 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
I agree with most everyone else, but thought I'd chime in with my own .02 in that it seems you are just quibbling over definitions; I was an atheist a LONG time before I finally embraced the "term" atheist.

To be honest, it's pretty rare to find too many of us who don't try to be "definition dictators" about it after all the work theists' do to disparage the, honestly, pretty simple term. I can (and sometimes do) call myself a "not-a-theist" in polite company if I want to avoid arguments. And face it ...you can go to a dive bar with a bunch of the lyingist, cheatingist ne'er-do-well's here in the south, and one mention of the term "atheist" and these same folks will suddenly become ALL about "the love of Jesus."

To be very clear, it's just a TERM ...we are who we are regardless of the definition we choose to embrace. My older brother is every bit as much of an atheist as I am, but having been studying for the ministry when he finally realized he couldn't believe it anymore ...the stigma of the TERM still sticks with him, so he chooses to refer to himself as agnostic because he says he isn't SURE (I found his lack of reply when I asked him "so which particular god aren't you sure about?" pretty amusing).

By my definition, you're an atheist ...by your own, an agnostic; the label doesn't change you or your personal philosophy in the least.

Most of us can probably agree that it sucks to have other people keep trying to define which label we choose to stick on ourselves, and it's something those of us who are open about it deal with on a regular basis. In my case, one of the mitigating factors in finally embracing the term atheist is that here in the bible belt, the term "agnostic" often seems like an open invitation to "proselytize me" because my mind isn't made up.

Stick with what makes yourself comfortable, because how you define yourself is the only definition that really matters anyway.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
10-05-2017, 07:53 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
I mean, if you ask your friends not to call you an atheist, I imagine they would oblige. You can't expect to have any control over what people think of you as though.

I proudly call myself a sceptic, by choice. I associate with that label. But being an atheist is just a matter of fact. Atheism isn't any sort of philosophy or statement further than a simple lack of belief in deities.

The fact that almost no one tries to even define a deity leaves the question pretty moot anyway.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Robvalue's post
10-05-2017, 08:08 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
You're too hung up on labels. Even your user name is goofy-assed, bullshit symbolism which outwardly "labels" you as something you either are, or are not.
It's all a distraction so, why not just walk away from all of it? You'll get more shit done.

From Wikipedia ...
Quote: Ignosticism is the view that any religious term or theological concept presented must be accompanied by a coherent definition. Without a clear definition such terms cannot be meaningfully discussed. Such terms or concepts must also be falsifiable.

Lacking this, an ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the existence or nature of the terms presented (and all matters of debate) is meaningless. For example, if the term "God" does not refer to anything reasonably defined then there is no conceivable method to test against the existence of god. Therefore, the term "God" has no literal significance and need not be debated or discussed.

There. You're ignostic.
Now you can sit back & laugh at everyone running around chasing their little mouse trails. Drinking Beverage

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like kim's post
10-05-2017, 08:20 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 06:10 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  You are an atheist.

The title should be ....
"Why I don't understand the definition of atheism ?"

This.

You just said " I don't believe that a god does exist", so congrats, you are an atheist. The part about not believing a god doesn't exist is irrelevant.

And technically everyone is agnostic, because nobody knows if there is any god or not.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes ResidentEvilFan's post
10-05-2017, 09:32 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
Atheists don't "believe" no god exists, any more than anyone "believes" no Sparkly Pink Unicorns exist. The notion is simply dismissed, as undefined and preposterous. There is no reason to take a position on something that is undefined and incoherent. The absence of something is not a something.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Bucky Ball's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: