Inconsistent atheist arguments
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29-03-2015, 08:20 PM
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
A more cogent criticism, which is why you don't see theists mention it, is that anti-theism has led to violence and prosecution of the religious. I readily acknowledge and condemn that, as an anti-theist, because religion as an irrational mode of thought is harmful, but that's also why I'm no proponent of using religious tactics (such as the repression of contrary ideas by brute force) in waging my battles, which the totalitarian state in Russia and elsewhere have resorted to at times, unfortunately; instead I promote the destruction of Babel by intelligible and demonstrative argument.
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29-03-2015, 08:23 PM
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
(29-03-2015 01:02 PM)jakedanger Wrote:  How do you respond to the following?

(1) "Atheism is not a belief system, it's simply a lack of belief in something"

My personal opinion is that this claim is used to insulate atheists from criticism of their own beliefs while they are busy criticizing beliefs held by theists.

For example:

Atheist: "Religion was responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition, 9/11 and all sorts of other horrible things. Bin Laden was religious, so were all those pedophile priests. The world would be better off if people were atheists, not religious."

Theist: "What about Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc..? "

Atheist: "Those people were Communists, not atheists. Atheism is not a belief system, it's simply a lack of belief in god."





Quote:(2) Atheist: "Atheists have a higher average I.Q. than theists; it's scientifically proven, which indicates that theism is a product of low intelligence and that atheism is more rational."

Theist: "By your own definition of atheism, my dog is an atheist, since he lacks a belief in god. Wouldn't the inclusion of dogs in the sample bring down the average IQ just a little bit?"

Atheist: "Dogs don't count, because they're not intelligent enough to conceive of a god in the first place. No dog ever thinks "There is no such thing as god""

Theist: "So, now suddenly atheism has become a positive belief? (the philosophy of naturalism)"

Why change definitions of "atheism" from argument to argument, except to gain rhetorical advantage?

If you want to debate a strawman you can go find yourself a weatfield.

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30-03-2015, 03:05 AM (This post was last modified: 30-03-2015 04:40 AM by Billy Bob.)
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
(29-03-2015 01:02 PM)jakedanger Wrote:  How do you respond to the following?

(1) "Atheism is not a belief system, it's simply a lack of belief in something"

My personal opinion is that this claim is used to insulate atheists from criticism of their own beliefs while they are busy criticizing beliefs held by theists.

For example:

Atheist: "Religion was responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition, 9/11 and all sorts of other horrible things. Bin Laden was religious, so were all those pedophile priests. The world would be better off if people were atheists, not religious."

Theist: "What about Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc..? "

Atheist: "Those people were Communists, not atheists. Atheism is not a belief system, it's simply a lack of belief in god."

Atheism is position: no gods exist. Atheism has no belief system. Every person creates a position on all the usual moral and philosophical questions, a belief system. A better term for belief system would be personal philosophy. The atheist does not use god or religious dogma to contruct their personal philosophy but picks and choses his moral and philosophical positions for himself, hopefully with understanding of the reasoning that lead him to his position on each question. There are pernicious non-religious dogmas out there. IMO all dogma is best avoided and consistency is overrated.

Thus your reply to "Stalin was an atheist" is that atheism was not Stalin's problem. Stalin's problem was, in the pursuit of utopia he did not value the individual (for example), or that for Stalin, in the pursuit of power the ends justified the means (for example). This could also be applied to some "religious atrocities", the massacre of the Order of the Knights Templar was purely a power play. The massacre of Huguenots was religious persecution, or was it economic? It is possible that ISIS is primarily a power play by a consortium of warlords using a religious cloak. This does not excuse Islam from creating a culture that is susceptible to manipulation and fanaticism.

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30-03-2015, 03:41 AM
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
(29-03-2015 04:37 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Jesus Christ! I turn my back for just a few minutes and this is what happens.. Smile Can we get a mod to do something about all these derailments?!

You must be new here.

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30-03-2015, 05:36 AM
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
(30-03-2015 03:41 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(29-03-2015 04:37 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Jesus Christ! I turn my back for just a few minutes and this is what happens.. Smile Can we get a mod to do something about all these derailments?!

You must be new here.

I think he's complaining about people talking about something other than dictators' facial hair. Like, you know, the OT.
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30-03-2015, 05:37 AM
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
Those are the worst threads, when already the OP is a derail!

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30-03-2015, 05:43 AM
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
(29-03-2015 04:37 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Jesus Christ! I turn my back for just a few minutes and this is what happens.. Smile Can we get a mod to do something about all these derailments?!

Some trains don't belong on the tracks.

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30-03-2015, 05:55 AM (This post was last modified: 30-03-2015 06:05 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Inconsistent atheist arguments
Okay, but seriously? Atheism is not a belief system.

Contrast with Christianity, which at least in conventional form (it's got too many forms for me to address all of them) does have a system of interlocking and interrelated beliefs. These include:

The existence of a god.
The uniqueness of that god.
The properties of that god in being omnipotent and omniscient. (And possibly omnipresent and a few other omnis.)
The division of that god into a trinity of three separate-yet-not-separate.... aspects? facets? Honestly I don't understand this part, no matter how many times that metaphor of an egg gets thrown at me.
A particular creation tale.
A doctrine of moral fall and sin.
An account of a bifurcated afterlife.
A complex and epic (in the since of grand scale over time) mytho-historical account.
A wide variety of behavioral imperatives and bans.
The particular tales of Jesus.
The teachings and instructions of Jesus.
The identification of Jesus as savior/mesiah.
On and on.

Note that these are not isolated beliefs! They are interconnected in a way that make them a system. The bans and imperatives on certain activities are part of the mythical history, appearing at various times and in various contexts, and supposedly given their authority because they were issued by the god, who gets to do that because.... might makes right? or something. The Jesus tales are part of that history, but also tie into the god and the Trinity. The message of salvation makes no sense without sin or the afterlife -- who is being saved from what? The mythic history is tied closely with the concepts and properties of the supposed god. Most parts of it are tied into some other part of it. This is what makes it more than a random, miscelanious collection of beliefs. Believing that the sky is blue, water is wet, and Nickleback sucks is not a belief system, because those three points of belief do not tie into each other. Christianity is a belief system, because its articles of belief DO tie into each other.

For comparison, atheism represents a single position on a single point: The absence of a belief in the existence of any god. Note that it is not even a belief. STRONG atheism, the position that there is definitively no god, is a subset of atheism and does constitute a belief, but atheism at large does not. But be it one article of belief (as in the narrow, strong atheism) or none (as in the broader notion of atheism), there is no way at all this can be a belief system. None. Not only do the articles of belief not tie in with each other, but there aren't enough articles of belief for any ties to exist! You can't describe a relationship between two things if there aren't at least two things!

Calling atheism a belief system is like calling two feet of rope a pulley system, or calling a lone white blood cell an immune system, or calling a single labeled folder a filing system.... and that's analogous to STRONG theism, when there's actually at least one thing there. But even then, there's just not enough there to make a system.
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