Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
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20-06-2014, 02:30 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 02:19 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 02:02 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  In the OP you talk a lot about people who grew up without religion and then later in life converted to religion. I don't see how the two questions are related. People convert to theism for many different reasons. From my own limited experience it appears that people covert to theism late in life based on their own subjective feelings, what I would call a misplaced appreciation for natural things and life, and, above all, comfort.

I see what you mean, but the same is also true of people who were heavily indoctrinated in religion and left that behind. Some have found religions that better suited their world view and others (like me) did dismiss it all. I suppose a third camp might be my husband who dismisses a lot that his religion dictates (he's a cafeteria catholic).

But at the same time, people often who turn to religion later on will tell others they were an atheist. Kirk Cameron has stated in countless interviews that he knew all about evolution and was an atheist. I know it plays well with his ilk...but it makes me want to scream.

Is atheism just a default postion (for anyone that doesn't believe) or a real conclusion?

I think that there is a fundamental difference, semantically, between position and conclusion. The position of "atheist" implies that you hold a certain set of beliefs or non beliefs. The conclusion of "atheism" implies that you have evaluated at least one other position and concluded atheism has the most desirable qualities (rationalism, evidence, whatever). You can be of the "atheist" position without having made any conclusions about it. You can turn away from atheism upon arriving at some conclusion(s). By the definition of the words though, by default, if you have made no conclusions and assigned no label to yourself, then you must be an agnostic atheist. The reason for this is simple, agnosticism implies an uncertainty about the belief of god. People who believe in God claim to have certainty, people who believe god doesn't exist claim to have certainty, if you don't know of god or are not sure you must be then agnostic, because you do not have certainty. Atheism just means "not a theist", which, depending on the definition you are operating under, means you don't believe in the abrahamic theistic gods but might believe in other gods, or that you don't believe in any gods of any kind. This would include peoples who willfully arrive at that position and those who are ignorant of god at all.

Ergo if you don't believe in god, and you don't claim to have certainty about the existence of god, you are an agnostic atheist. We are not born with an innate knowledge of these things (well, most of us believe that anyway). Therefore, by default, we are born agnostic atheists. In order to become any other thing we must be persuaded to it and informed of it; this means they cannot be the default positions.
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20-06-2014, 02:38 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 02:08 PM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 01:59 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  If its a default position doesn't that imply someone never gave it any thought, as opposed to considering options and arriving at the conclusion?

I see many Christians who I think god/religion is simply their "default" position -- god is kept in a box and taken out when needed.

There are also people who I think agnostic atheism is their default position, like Kirk Cameron claims he once was.

But these are my thoughts, which is why I'm asking, do you feel agnostic atheism or atheism is just a default position or a conclusion?

I thought it was more or less accepted within this community that implicit atheism is the default, but that's just a labeling device. Technically, NEITHER atheist or theism is default since they refer to positions taken on a subject that is learned through exposure to the concept, not something that is instinctually known.

I also question whether Kirk Cameron or his ilk were even agnostic atheists. As you said, they are performing retroactive somersaults to come to a new understanding of themselves through a lens with very specific biases.

I tend to agree, but there are theists types who come here saying they were atheists...like that fool Drich.

I recently spoke with a friend who believes that even though she was not raised in a religion or taught a doctrine, she is Christian because she believes in god.

I might as well say I'm a follower of the flying spaghetti monster because I believe in pasta. Dodgy


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20-06-2014, 02:45 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 02:38 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 02:08 PM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  I thought it was more or less accepted within this community that implicit atheism is the default, but that's just a labeling device. Technically, NEITHER atheist or theism is default since they refer to positions taken on a subject that is learned through exposure to the concept, not something that is instinctually known.

I also question whether Kirk Cameron or his ilk were even agnostic atheists. As you said, they are performing retroactive somersaults to come to a new understanding of themselves through a lens with very specific biases.

I tend to agree, but there are theists types who come here saying they were atheists...like that fool Drich.

I recently spoke with a friend who believes that even though she was not raised in a religion or taught a doctrine, she is Christian because she believes in god.

I might as well say I'm a follower of the flying spaghetti monster because I believe in pasta. Dodgy

It seems trivial, at least to me, to evaluate if these people were atheist or not. If they believed in god they were not athiest. If they were uncertain as to their belief in god then they were atheist.

There is room, I think, for another label that perhaps better applies to most atheist. Most atheist are not certain that god does not exist, but they are very reasonable sure that god doesn't exist. These people, you and I and most of the folks on this forum, reject religion and belief justified by faith. I find it unlikely that Kirk Cameron, as one example, was of this class of atheist. Without knowing anything about his bio though, it might still be reasonable for him to call himself a former "atheist" providing that, at one point, he did not believe or was not certain in his belief in god.
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20-06-2014, 03:39 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 02:08 PM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 01:59 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  If its a default position doesn't that imply someone never gave it any thought, as opposed to considering options and arriving at the conclusion?

I see many Christians who I think god/religion is simply their "default" position -- god is kept in a box and taken out when needed.

There are also people who I think agnostic atheism is their default position, like Kirk Cameron claims he once was.

But these are my thoughts, which is why I'm asking, do you feel agnostic atheism or atheism is just a default position or a conclusion?

I thought it was more or less accepted within this community that implicit atheism is the default, but that's just a labeling device. Technically, NEITHER atheist or theism is default since they refer to positions taken on a subject that is learned through exposure to the concept, not something that is instinctually known.

I also question whether Kirk Cameron or his ilk were even agnostic atheists. As you said, they are performing retroactive somersaults to come to a new understanding of themselves through a lens with very specific biases.

Thanks! This helps...you da man...umm cat. Big Grin


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20-06-2014, 03:42 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
I also highly doubt that Kirk Cameron was ever any kind of atheist.

I would love to hear him say "I use to think rationally and then god showed me how to not think at all. It's been a great burden lifted from my mind to blindly go through life and believe everything that anyone tells me. It's so much easier than thinking."

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20-06-2014, 03:43 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
The true default position (the one you have at birth) is implicit gnostic atheism. If you've never even heard of the concept, you don't accept it, period. This is evident throughout history; specifically when christian settlers had to "convert" (read: torture and murder until they claimed to believe) the "heathen" natives of other lands to christianity. I also knew someone who raised their child without telling them of religion. The child was confused when they first heard the concept... at thirty something years old. I assume the child was raised in a secular society, since you can't live in most of the so-called civilized world without having religion shoved in your face, and possibly down your throat.
I say "implicit" because it's a rejection based on never having heard of the concept, rather than someone who heard the idea, considered it, then rejected it.
Other types of religious positions (atheism and theism mixed with agnosticism, ignosticism, apnosticism, and so on) that one "acquires" later in life are all explicit.

If this is not what you meant by "default", then mind enlightening me?

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20-06-2014, 03:47 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 03:42 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  I also highly doubt that Kirk Cameron was ever any kind of atheist.

I would love to hear him say "I use to think rationally and then god showed me how to not think at all. It's been a great burden lifted from my mind to blindly go through life and believe everything that anyone tells me. It's so much easier than thinking."

I've had more than one family member tell me that. They believe that I've been manipulated by satan or something. They said I needed to stop thinking in order to be receptive to god's word.

Facepalm


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20-06-2014, 04:05 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 03:43 PM)One Above All Wrote:  The true default position (the one you have at birth) is implicit gnostic atheism. If you've never even heard of the concept, you don't accept it, period. This is evident throughout history; specifically when christian settlers had to "convert" (read: torture and murder until they claimed to believe) the "heathen" natives of other lands to christianity. I also knew someone who raised their child without telling them of religion. The child was confused when they first heard the concept... at thirty something years old. I assume the child was raised in a secular society, since you can't live in most of the so-called civilized world without having religion shoved in your face, and possibly down your throat.
I say "implicit" because it's a rejection based on never having heard of the concept, rather than someone who heard the idea, considered it, then rejected it.
Other types of religious positions (atheism and theism mixed with agnosticism, ignosticism, apnosticism, and so on) that one "acquires" later in life are all explicit.

If this is not what you meant by "default", then mind enlightening me?

I meant "default" in simplest term, an example might be when I bought my computer the "default" browser was Safari.

But, while yes there is a strong history of people forcing conversions on people who had never heard of their doctrine, it doesn't mean those peoples didn't have their own 'belief' system prior to the "forced" conversion.


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And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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20-06-2014, 04:07 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
(20-06-2014 12:59 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I've heard over the years, more than a few Christian types who say they were atheist or agnostic atheist. But when you look more closely few were raised with "religion" in their homes or like god is kept in a nice box and taken out only when needed. They might say they "believed" in science or something like that...but god wasn't discussed or thought much about.

Until someone exposes them to what sounds good to them and suddenly they "testify" they were atheist and praise jebus for showing them the "light". The god they believe in now seems to fit their "world view" which can be literal YEC or the soft warm and fuzzy god that loves everyone and all go to heaven as long as you're a good person. (Kirk Cameron comes to mind, I doubt he ever gave religion much thought until he hooked up with Comfort or whomever...Now he'll do backflips to prove how atheist he was.)

Then there are those people like the others, not raised with religion but after looking into it, decided they were in fact agnostic atheists because the idea of god is just improbable.

So, what do you think is agnostic atheism a default position or a conclusion? I suppose it can be both for some...Consider

Yes, both. Thumbsup

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20-06-2014, 10:07 PM
RE: Is agnostic atheism a default position or conclusion?
I think this idea that we're born atheists is complete bullshit. Babies have no idea of what they are, or what anything around them is, let alone the origins of the universe.

Being an atheist (not a theist) is a rejection of what the majority of people seem to believe. So I'd say its a conclusion. First you must at least know what it is you do or don't believe in... Before you can make any kind of judgement.

So, I say we're all born agnostic... Because, as newborns, we know precisely nothing about the universe, and are in no position to make any kind of judgement on its origins.

Agnosticism is the default position... Its the "I don't know", neutral ground. Atheism at least requires the concept of a god/gods to be proposed, but more realistically requires those concepts to be understood to a certain degree by the individual concerned. And so therefore atheism is in my opinion, a conclusion reached by an individual.

Really, a lot of this is just arguing over terminology... An agnostic could be described as an atheist since by being undecided they aren't exactly believers. But since human civilization seems biased towards the idea of an invisible, magic, creator, we have the term "atheist" to describe those who have consciously rejected belief in such things, and/or actively believe such things do not exist.

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