I Am Not An "Atheist"
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24-10-2012, 10:01 AM
Tongue I Am Not An "Atheist"
From as far back as I can remember, as a child first hearing about the concept of god, I have always viewed deities as being in the same category as other fantasy characters like Superman, the Cat in the Hat, and the Wizard of Oz.

I use the lower-case "god" here because it is the name of a class of imaginary beings. The upper-case "God" is not the name of any particular diety. "God" as a proper name, like gods themselves, does not exist in reality. Believers may incorrectly use the capitalized "God" as the name of their imaginary friend, but that would be equivalent to telling someone that the brand of car you drive is "Car". There are however, many given names for these mythical creatures, such as Zeus, Jehovah, or Odin.

One may ask "Well, if you have no belief in gods, aren't you then an atheist?"

We tend to use certain words to label ourselves or others so that we can fit people into categories within our minds. Sometimes a word-label has been used so often that we forget what it really means.

The short definition of "Atheism" is:
"disbelief in the existence of a god or gods"

The word "disbelief" implies that there was a choice between belief in something or not believing in something. For me, there was always the understanding that fictional characters, especially those of a supernatural nature, had nothing to do with reality. It was ludicrous to even contemplate the notion of having to decide whether I believe in gods or don't believe in gods.

Would I ask myself if I exist? Of course not. Just having the ability to ask that question answers it immediately. In the same way, having an awareness of the difference between reality and fantasy negates the need to ask whether I believe something that I know is fantasy, is real.

And my recognition of what is fantasy is not limited to just gods. There are many other things that common sense dictates are only fictional. These would include ghosts, Santa Claus, werewolves, and countless others covering a much broader spectrum than just gods.

When I discuss with others the insanity of religions and the belief in gods, I never refer to myself as an "Atheist". I never believed or even considered believing the absurd idea that gods are real.

Instead of using the term "atheist", I describe myself as being anti-ignorance, because it is the act of ignoring reality and the irrational belief that imaginary characters really exist, that I strongly oppose. Ignorance is the disease, and religion is the symptom.

When speaking with believers, I have no constraint or uneasiness in stating the obvious fact that religion and the belief in god is based on, and promotes ignorance.

I know others who dance around this blatant truth in discussions in order to be "polite", and not to offend the believer. As in most situations, there are times to be polite, and there are times to be frank.

For example, would we be hesitant and politely call the act of murder an "alternative lifestyle"? No. We have no doubt and would have no restraint in saying that murder is a terrible and despicable act, and that perpetrators of murder are criminals who should be removed from society.

The same frankness should be applied when discussing religions and gods. Piety is an illusion used by the leaders and followers of religion to muffle any expression of truth. We must disregard the fog of religious self-importance and egotism, and call the belief in gods exactly what it is… ignorance. The king has no clothes!

Our cave-dweller ancestors didn't know any better and so we can forgive them due to their lack of knowledge, but in a modern world, clinging to these ancient foolish beliefs is inexcusable.

There are many forms of ignorance. At the top of the list would be religions and the belief in gods. This is not just because of the incredible prevalence of this type of ignorance, but also because of the colossal amount of damage it has done to humanity throughout history.

Whenever I get into a discussion with someone who is religious, or when missionaries come knocking on my door, bible in hand, I converse with them primarily because it is good exercise for my mind, and I also find it a somewhat enjoyable experience. But I never enter into such discussions with the unrealistic goal of changing those persons' attitudes and irrational beliefs.

One reason why I don't have any expectations of convincing "believers" to re-evaluate their stance and try to draw them into reality, is because for anyone who has devoted their life to a concept, no matter how flawed and ridiculous that concept may be, there is a tenacious reluctance to change or to relinquish those beliefs. The other reason is, since ignorance is a requirement for the religious, attempting to discuss anything factually and logically with them is a futile effort.

And "believers" do say the darndest things.

One of my favorites, once they learn that I am not inclined to believe that ghosts and fairies are real, would be this gem:
"Atheism is a religion."

I respond with the analogy that you've probably heard before:
"Atheism is a religion in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby."

And trying to use logic to make a point in a conversation with the ignorant is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall. They have no problem reversing their convictions on a whim. They are adept at being duplicitous in order to evade an undeniable truth.

For example, bring up the fact that the bible says that there was a void before God created the universe. If there was nothingness, then God would not have existed, since "nothing" is not a place… it is the absence of everything.

The believer may respond by saying that God is not a person, God is an ethereal force (which in itself is also something).

Then you might remind the believer that his deity is known as "God the father" of Jesus, making him a male entity, and not ethereal at all.

The believer will agree that god is the father of Jesus, completely negating his previous "unshakeable" belief. And round, and round she goes.

You may suggest that the universe just always was there. The believer is keen to tell you that things don't just exist, they must be created first. OK, then who created God? Oh, God always existed! (at this point I literally slap my forehead). Dodgy

There are many worthy "causes" to stand up for: global warming; save the whales; save the krill… but the "cause" that is most important, the one to be most militant about, is to eliminate religions and the irrational belief in gods.

Once that lofty goal is achieved, everything else will fall into place. Most wars and human suffering at the hands of other humans will be history. Without an "after-life" to believe in, those people will be more focused on the present. There will be more concern for the state of the world we live in now, than for a fictitious world after death.

And death is really the reason why we have religions in the first place. Humans (as far as we know) are the only species of animals that are conscious of our own limited life and ultimate death. That's not to say that other creatures do not have this same self awareness. We just don't know that to be the case, since we don't have the intelligence or ability to communicate with other species on that level.

For many people, the prospect of life and consciousness ending is too difficult to accept. For them, the illusion and belief that they live on after death like Casper the friendly ghost, relieves them of that anxiety. But any cure based on fantasy is not a good cure.

If one day we humans were immortal, there would no longer be religions or the compulsion to believe in gods. There would just be no need for it.

I'm not an atheist because I never believed, or even had the faintest notion to believe in gods or in other fairy tale characters. But there are many people who were once believers, and later came to their senses, and now rightly call themselves atheists (and I thank Odin for that). Big Grin

However, the real atheists are the religious believers. I bring this up in conversations, and believers look at me strangely.

I explain that the definition of "Atheism" is "disbelief in the existence of a god or gods"… not necessarily all gods.

A true believer unflinchingly believes in the gods of their own religion. But when it comes to the hundreds of gods of other religions, present and past, they are atheists. Not only are they atheists regarding those other gods, but in many instances they are fanatic in their atheism to the point of hatred and inflicting violence on the believers of those other gods.

When you express your dismissal of their belief in their gods, the believer will fall back on the old "you can't prove that god doesn't exist" refrain. I respond by telling them that I believe that werewolves exist, but that they cannot disprove the existence of werewolves, therefore werewolves must exist.

Of course I don't actually believe in werewolves, but the statement is presented to show the believer how their hypothesis is ridiculous and illogical.

In logic, it is the responsibility of the proponent of a theory (or in this case a belief) to prove it to others with irrefutable facts. It is not the responsibility of others that do not hold that belief to disprove it. Belief, no matter how committed a person may be to it, is not factual until proven. Until that belief is proven to be true, and especially if the proponent hasn't been able to prove it true, it is deemed to be untrue.

After thousands of years, with a total lack of incontrovertible evidence, it is clear that both gods and werewolves do not exist in reality. They only "live" in our myths and legends.

But those who spurn logic and common sense will continue to cling to beliefs that have no bearing in reality.

Now excuse me while I get into my time machine, and travel to a distant future where sanity is a valued commodity. Laughat

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
Albert Einstein
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24-10-2012, 10:32 AM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Welcome to the forum.

You'll find many discussions about the meaning of the word "atheist." you will likely also find that most atheists (as well as many theists) disagree with your definition of "atheist."

Atheist = a- theist = not theist.

Atheism isn't a disbelief, it's a lack of belief. You don't have to deny the existence of god to be an atheist, you simply don,t believe.

You, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many, are an atheist. Like the label or not, it's what atheist means.

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24-10-2012, 10:40 AM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Semantic debates.

ugh

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24-10-2012, 10:43 AM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Well!

That's quite an out-pouring for a first post.

I look forward to much more. Welcome.

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24-10-2012, 10:46 AM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
If it walks like an atheist, talks like an atheist, ...

As has been said, you fit the definition of atheist. Quibble all you want.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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24-10-2012, 10:50 AM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Nice intro. Welcome to the forums. I like seeing other "never-theists" on here, we share a viewpoint that the deconverted ex-theists don't have.

Like Stark said, I think you're over-thinking the term atheist, and I and many others would say that you are, indeed, and atheist by the simplest and most recognizable definition that you don't have a religious belief. You yourself said "But when it comes to the hundreds of gods of other religions, present and past, they are atheists." I think you have to admit that they "never believed or even considered believing the absurd idea that (those) gods are real" and that "as far back as (they) can remember, as a child first hearing about the concept of god, (they) have always viewed (those) deities as being in the same category as other fantasy characters like Superman, the Cat in the Hat, and the Wizard of Oz".

Yet you call them atheists about the gods they never considered believing while you shy away from the term yourself because you never considered believing.

I'd suggest re-evaluating your own shyness about the term. It's liberating to be an atheist. Revel in it!

For everything else you said, I agree just about 100% with all of it and I love to see your solid skepticism and frank refutation of the theistic nonsense and circle-babble.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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24-10-2012, 10:53 AM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Welcome aboard Smile

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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24-10-2012, 03:46 PM (This post was last modified: 24-10-2012 03:50 PM by Vosur.)
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Welcome to TTA.

(24-10-2012 10:01 AM)ViewRoyal Wrote:  And trying to use logic to make a point in a conversation with the ignorant is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall.
Nailing Jell-o to a wall is very simple.



Just saying. Wink

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24-10-2012, 03:48 PM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
Of course, you could just go with this:

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Just sayin. Smile

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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24-10-2012, 11:50 PM
RE: I Am Not An "Atheist"
(24-10-2012 10:01 AM)ViewRoyal Wrote:  Now excuse me while I get into my time machine, and travel to a distant future where sanity is a valued commodity. Laughat[/font]

You're talking about when humans have become extinct right?

Welcome to the forum Smile
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