Open Interview about atheism
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18-11-2013, 12:54 AM
RE: Open Interview about atheism
(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  1. When did you fully realize your atheism, and when did you officially start practicing?
2. What made you come to the realization that you were an atheist? Why were you drawn to this philosophy?
3. Many religions/beliefs have core ideals, often coming from a central doctrine. What makes up the base of your philosophy? What do you put your faith in, if not a deity?
4. What is your definition of “truth”?
5. Does your ideology impact the way you interact with others, or the way others interact with you? Has it ever caused conflict?
6. Where/how do you find meaning in life?
7. How do you practice your ideology? Is it important for you to have a regular communal relationship with other people who share in your philosophy?
8. What do you think difference is between atheism and agnosticism?
9. How should people deal with suffering and pain in the world? How do you deal with it?
10. What do you think happens after death?

1. It started when I became a deist because I still believed despite the Christian god being a deity I did not want to worship. Then came the issue where only logical fallacies can keep the deist god alive. You can't practice a non-belief.

2. When I realized only logical fallacies and by little thought can keep a belief alive, I decided to hell with it.

3. I put my "faith" in things that have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy and consistent. The base of the philosophy is pretty much "don't dilute yourself with crap and admit when you are wrong."

4. Things that are consistent and demonstrable.

5. The lack of belief doesn't affect everyday interaction until the topic of religion makes it's rounds. Then I make it clear I'm not a big fan. This has caused issue.

6. Keep myself entertained and try to help others with theirs. Researching and debating is a form of entertainment.

7. Again, you can't practice a lack of belief for the same reason you can't practice not playing golf. Given that at times I find myself disagreeing with beliefs in the supernatural, I enjoy finding others who at least agree with me on this topic.

8. How far one leans in belief.

9. People who are more capable and with more disposable income should donate time and money to those in need to help those in poverty, disaster zones, and other inopportune areas. I donate some money whenever possible.

10. Your atoms and energy is recycled in other beings. You just won't be able to experience it, assuming your mind doesn't also break apart and become the mind of other creatures.
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18-11-2013, 01:14 AM
RE: Open Interview about atheism
1. When did you fully realize your atheism, and when did you officially start practicing?

For the majority of my life, I never knew there was such a thing as atheism. Turns out that atheist described my lack of a belief in any gods.
Kinda like finding out that people who didn't wear invisible hats were called something.

2. What made you come to the realization that you were an atheist? Why were you drawn to this philosophy?

I came to realize that I wasn't gullible at an early age. I've always been drawn to rational thought and reason.

3. Many religions/beliefs have core ideals, often coming from a central doctrine. What makes up the base of your philosophy? What do you put your faith in, if not a deity?

Atheism is the result of using critical thinking to evaluate claims based upon the evidence presented.
Faith is believing in something without any good reason or evidence to back up your belief.
Why would you ever want to use faith ? It has to be the most useless thing ever.

4. What is your definition of “truth”?

Truth is my definition of truth. That which is true. Statements that correspond to reality and match our observation of said reality.

5. Does your ideology impact the way you interact with others, or the way others interact with you? Has it ever caused conflict?

An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one's goals.
Achieving my own goals in life impacts my interactions with others on a daily basis and I find that to be a wonderful thing.
My goals of living a good life rarely ever will cause conflict with other people.

6. Where/how do you find meaning in life?

I find meaning in every aspect of my life, every day of my life.

7. How do you practice your ideology? Is it important for you to have a regular communal relationship with other people who share in your philosophy?

I practice my ideology of living a good life by having empathy for others, using morals and ethics that allow me to have a conscious consideration of the consequences of my actions.
Yes, I love having relationships with other people who also want to have a good life.

8. What do you think difference is between atheism and agnosticism?

One is about knowledge. The other about belief.

9. How should people deal with suffering and pain in the world? How do you deal with it?

You deal with suffering and pain by helping end suffering and reduce pain.
If you have empathy for other people and you are aware of that suffering and pain then ending suffering and reducing pain is your highest priority.

10. What do you think happens after death?

After our bodies die, they slowly decay and decompose.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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18-11-2013, 01:27 AM (This post was last modified: 18-11-2013 04:20 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Open Interview about atheism
(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  Hi everyone!
I'm a senior at a high school in Chicago and I'm writing a paper about people's relationship to the sacred. We need to do a few interviews, so I was wondering if anyone wanted to answer a few questions about atheism? You don't have to answer them all. If you do answer some, thanks in advance! Smile

1. When did you fully realize your atheism, and when did you officially start practicing?
2. What made you come to the realization that you were an atheist? Why were you drawn to this philosophy?
3. Many religions/beliefs have core ideals, often coming from a central doctrine. What makes up the base of your philosophy? What do you put your faith in, if not a deity?
4. What is your definition of “truth”?
5. Does your ideology impact the way you interact with others, or the way others interact with you? Has it ever caused conflict?
6. Where/how do you find meaning in life?
7. How do you practice your ideology? Is it important for you to have a regular communal relationship with other people who share in your philosophy?
8. What do you think difference is between atheism and agnosticism?
9. How should people deal with suffering and pain in the world? How do you deal with it?
10. What do you think happens after death?

Oh joy, a list! I love lists... Dodgy


1. Atheists don't practice anything. This questions belies a complete misunderstanding of what atheism is. It's not a religion, we don't have high holy days, we find nothing sacred, we have no doctrines or dogmas. An atheist is simply someone who has contemplated god and found the evidence and reasoning severely lacking. I was always an atheist, because I never really bought into theism. Studying the Bible and learning the definition of what an 'atheist' was lead me to adopting that label myself. So the next question is, when did you start practicing your atheism? (see below)


2. If you are not a theist (someone who believes god exists), then you are an atheist by default. An atheist is simply 'not a theist', as denoted by the prefix 'a' placed before 'theist'. So everyone is an atheist to some extent. Does a Christian believe that the gods of Mt. Olympus exist? Does a Sikh believe in the existence of Yahweh? Does a Jew believe in the existence of the tribal gods of native Americans? Nope. Christians are atheists in regards to all other gods except their own, those adopting the label of 'atheist' simply go one god further.


3. There is no philosophy. Once again, atheism is not a religion, has no dogma or central precepts. Most reject god for a variety of reasons. This can be ethical (the Problem of Evil), philosophical (the problems with the Trinity, First Cause, or logical contradictions of a omni-max being), evidence based (the complete lack of any for the super-natural), etc.


4. Truth - noun: the quality or state of being true. Drinking Beverage


5. Of course it does, everyone's ideology does that to an extent. I don't threaten people with Hell if they don't share my world view, because I don't think Hell exists as anything more than a tool of fear wielded by the ignorant and credulous. I don't try to deny homosexuals equal rights and protection under the law because of selective quotes from a 2000+ year old story book filled with xenophobia and genocide. I don't justify my actions by claiming that the all-knowing and all-powerful creator of the universe is on my side, because I don't believe such a being exists (and it's also logical fallacy known as the Call to Authority).


6. Wherever I decide to find it.


7. There is no practice or dogma. Wow, you really don't have a clue do you? You would have been much better served by looking into what atheism is (or isn't as the case may be), before you started asking these questions; all of which just assume that atheism is another religion when it is anything but...

But to answer your question; being an atheist in the US is like being the only sober person in a car full of drunk drivers, and no one will let you drive. So yes, it is nice to be able to communicate with other like minded individuals online, other people who don't lie to themselves about the nature of reality. It's refreshing talking to other people who do not pretend to know things they do not know.


8. Different stances on different questions. Agnosticism is a stance on knowledge, in this case meaning 'not gnosticism'. What is gnosticism? It's a claim to knowledge, that you either can posses, or do posses such knowledge. Agnosticism therefore is the position that you do not have such knowledge, or that such knowledge is not obtainable. So one can be an agnostic theist or atheist, a gnostic theist or atheist. In general, most theists are gnostic; they believe in god and they believe that they have knowledge to support this (this is why they makes claims on his supposed will, desire, wants, needs, expectations, etc.). However most atheists are agnostic; we don't believe in a god, but we're open to the possibility upon better evidence or knowledge at a later date. A gnostic has already made their mind up, an agnostic has doubts. In other words, a gnostic (in this case) is not intellectually honest.


9. By doing their best not to cause it unnecessarily, and trying their best to alleviate it whenever possible. I try to be as rational as possible, and base my actions and beliefs on evidence so that I can be as sure as I can that my beliefs and actions fall in line with not causing and alleviating suffering (and thus, more moral).


10. Simple nonexistence. What was the previous 13.7 billions years like before you were born? How did you experience them? I imagine that upon death, when all of my brain functions ceases, I will cease to be because I am a product of my brain. I will not continue on for eternity (which would be a kind of hell in it's own way), and I'm perfectly comfortable with that.

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18-11-2013, 03:20 AM
RE: Open Interview about atheism
This thread may be of interest to you:
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...r-atheists

My answers will probably not be unique or particularly enlightening:
1. When did you fully realize your atheism, and when did you officially start practicing?
Only a few years ago. I don't know what "practicing" means. I'm ambiguously "out" now, since word made it through my 7 year old ultimately to my mother. Her reaction was my reason to stay closeted.

2. What made you come to the realization that you were an atheist? Why were you drawn to this philosophy?
Growing up I had never really been exposed to religious crazy, the kind that dominates American politics for example. Having been exposed to it I found I needed to reassess my epistemology: How do I know what is true, and what is actually true? Many factors lead into it over many years, but one was the insistence by some in my circles that I take some kind of stance on creationism versus evolution and various related points. My investigations lead me to sceptically examine Biblical literalism particularly as it relates to the history of the world. Eventually I concluded as some feared I had before I began my journey that if the Bible cannot be trusted on this topic there in no point equivocating - the Bible cannot be trusted. It was being asked to take a side on these otherwise unimportant topics that lead me to my examination, and to my unbelief.

3. Many religions/beliefs have core ideals, often coming from a central doctrine. What makes up the base of your philosophy? What do you put your faith in, if not a deity?
My moral philosophy is more or less the same as it used to be. Be good to each other, and party on dudes.

4. What is your definition of “truth”?
There is no absolute truth that can be reliably determined, but we can use science as a tool to build a body of knowledge that has excellent predictive capability. "Truth", to the extent we can know it, is the set of hypotheses that make unerring predictions in domains we can reasonably test them in.

5. Does your ideology impact the way you interact with others, or the way others interact with you? Has it ever caused conflict?
Not particularly. I have various theist friends who I haven't unambiguously come out to so perhaps that will change.

6. Where/how do you find meaning in life?
In doing good for the society that has done been good to me.

7. How do you practice your ideology? Is it important for you to have a regular communal relationship with other people who share in your philosophy?
I like to talk about somewhat profound topics. If I couldn't do that I would go crazy. That's why I'm here.

8. What do you think difference is between atheism and agnosticism?
Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. Agnosticism is not knowing. How similar they are depends on how you define "know". I'm content in saying that I "know" the omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omnipotent Christian god does not exist. I can't rule out certain other possible Gods, but I "know" there is no god to a similar extent that I "know" there is no Santa Clause. I don't think I would ever say I'm agnostic towards Santa, so I don't think it makes sense for me to claim I am agnostic towards god claims in general. To the extent that greater beings exist and can be discovered by humanity I doubt I would label what we might find "God".

9. How should people deal with suffering and pain in the world? How do you deal with it?
By being good to each other. By endorsing personal and public policy that maximise happiness and minimise suffering, while supporting individual liberty and the ability of each human to live authentically.

10. What do you think happens after death?
An unsourced rough quote (the atheist experience maybe?): "I find it strange that people who don't know what happens to humans after we die seem to have no trouble understanding what happens to dogs or cats or fish or birds when they die".
I think we just die.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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18-11-2013, 05:28 AM
RE: Open Interview about atheism
(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  Hi everyone!
I'm a senior at a high school in Chicago and I'm writing a paper about people's relationship to the sacred. We need to do a few interviews, so I was wondering if anyone wanted to answer a few questions about atheism? You don't have to answer them all. If you do answer some, thanks in advance! Smile

Okay, I'll bite.


(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  1. When did you fully realize your atheism, and when did you officially start practicing?

I realised I was an atheist when I found the word in the dictionary. I was never indoctrinated, and while familiar with the concept of religion, I never truly believed in any deities.

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  2. What made you come to the realization that you were an atheist? Why were you drawn to this philosophy?

2. a) See above.
2. b) Atheism is not a philosophy so much as a lack of theism; my philosobull, while related to my atheism, is not rooted in it.

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  3. Many religions/beliefs have core ideals, often coming from a central doctrine. What makes up the base of your philosophy? What do you put your faith in, if not a deity?

If I had to put a label on my general philosophical stance, I'd have to call myself a 'Rational Evidentialist'; mid-way between the Rationalist and Evidentialist camps. The basis of my philosophical beliefs is rational thought and evidence (when applicable); beliefs are justified to the extent to which reason and evidence support them; this justification philosophy is the base of my other philosophical beliefs.

As for the faith question; I but 'faith' (in the religious context) in nothing. It is a matter of semantics, but I rather think that I put my confidence and my knowledge in things as opposed to faith, purely due to 'faith' having a religious side-meaning regardless of context. (I know that this car will get me to my destination; I am confident this car will get my to my destination; I have faith that... It's interchangeable)

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  4. What is your definition of “truth”?

This is a tough one...

The problem with this question is that human language fails us; I want to say "Truth is anything which can be shown/demonstrated to be true", however this is a redundancy and ultimately explains nothing... I'm sure the meaning in the words gets through, right?

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  5. Does your ideology impact the way you interact with others, or the way others interact with you? Has it ever caused conflict?

One personality trait of mine is that I am very argumentative and this trait is bolstered by my beliefs, which makes it a common occurrence for me to be listening to friends chatting and occasionally pipe up with a "That's wrong, here's why." sort of interruption. This, naturally, annoys many people, including friends and family, and in some cases has put me at odds with total strangers (Some times my mouth runs before I can think to not interrupt or comment).

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  6. Where/how do you find meaning in life?

At this time, the meaning of life I hold, my purpose, is the pursuit of knowledge; I want to learn and were it not for my capacity to do so, there would be no reason for me to live, no meaning, nor purpose.

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  7. How do you practice your ideology? Is it important for you to have a regular communal relationship with other people who share in your philosophy?

I don't really 'practice' my ideology, it's passive in my life, but given the right trigger I am reminded of it and get to work doing it. It's not really important for me to have a communal relationship with people who share my ideas; I'd be perfectly happy living greater part of my life with little human interaction, but talking to people is a good release of tension, it's even more cathartic if the people are smart enough to be able to hold a discussion however... So yeah, it's not really important, but it is nice.

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  8. What do you think difference is between atheism and agnosticism?

No. By dint of strict definition, agnostics are atheists. An Atheist is any person who does not hold a positive belief in god (i.e. a person who does not believe in deities), agnostics generally do not have positive beliefs in deities and are therefore atheists to an extent.

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  9. How should people deal with suffering and pain in the world? How do you deal with it?

"Take a teaspoon of cement and harden the fuck up, princess" - A local saying.

I am not quite so arrogant as to dictate how people should deal with suffering; they can deal with it however they want. Personally, I rather rely on myself in regards to suffering and pain; it's on me to deal with my shit, nobody else. That being said, going to others for comfort is a normal reaction, humans are social apes after all. What ever works, I guess.

(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  10. What do you think happens after death?

Death occurs when the bodies neurological systems have entirely shut down, to the point of repeatability. At this point, all the things when makes a person them; their personality, their memories, hopes and dreams etc all go. That person has essentially stopped existing, and their only remnant component is their body, which of course is little more a couple kilos of slowly rotting meat now, which, depending on burial method, will soon be broken down by Decomposers, with the components being returned to the universe.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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18-11-2013, 12:39 PM (This post was last modified: 18-11-2013 12:50 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Open Interview about atheism
(17-11-2013 11:32 PM)cassie529 Wrote:  Hi everyone!
I'm a senior at a high school in Chicago and I'm writing a paper about people's relationship to the sacred. We need to do a few interviews, so I was wondering if anyone wanted to answer a few questions about atheism? You don't have to answer them all. If you do answer some, thanks in advance! Smile

1. When did you fully realize your atheism, and when did you officially start practicing?
2. What made you come to the realization that you were an atheist? Why were you drawn to this philosophy?
3. Many religions/beliefs have core ideals, often coming from a central doctrine. What makes up the base of your philosophy? What do you put your faith in, if not a deity?
4. What is your definition of “truth”?
5. Does your ideology impact the way you interact with others, or the way others interact with you? Has it ever caused conflict?
6. Where/how do you find meaning in life?
7. How do you practice your ideology? Is it important for you to have a regular communal relationship with other people who share in your philosophy?
8. What do you think difference is between atheism and agnosticism?
9. How should people deal with suffering and pain in the world? How do you deal with it?
10. What do you think happens after death?

1 and 2) .... how do you "practice" atheism? I'd say I've held the attitudes towards religious claims since... oh, 10 years old or so, but the language in which I describe them has evolved over the years. I used to describe myself as an atheist as a young teen, but switched to agnostic (back when I regarded the two as mutually exclusive), then weak agnostic, then ignostic, and only came back to using the atheist label a few months ago.

3) I try not to have faith (in the blind-belief sense) at all. I don't put it in anything except the garbage can. As for philosophy, I would describe myself as a kinda-humanist (I have some minor caveats with the word about animal treatment, though), with that value system arising out of a general empathy and a veil-of-ignorance philosophy. EDIT: But this is more in addition to atheism than because of atheism.

4) The true one, obviously. *rimshot* The idea of truth is based on the axiom/model that there is some singular, real universe out there, feeding the inputs of our consciousness. The truth of a claim is then defined by the degree to which that claim actually conforms to that universe. Also, the limitations of our senses makes knowledge of truth, beyond the most abstract of tautologies, impossible, though through conscious or unconscious statistical analysis we can claim knowledge of the truth with high confidence despite these failings. (And awareness of our own cognitive shortcomings should lead us to question whether our knowledge that something is a tautology is perfect.)

5) Ideology? ... in everyday life, not really. Online, I like to seek out debate and conversation with my opposite numbers.

6) I view meaning questions (not counting of the semantic "this word means this concept" or the causal "this evidence means this cause or this consequence" sense) as interpretive rather than absolute. I interpret things as having this or that meaning, and others might interpret their meaning differently.

7) I don't want to be the only atheist in a room full of evangelists, at least not most of the time. And some bigots avoid me like a skunk when they hear I'm an atheist, and that's probably for the best. Otherwise, it doesn't really impact my social circle.

8) Atheism is a question about what you do or don't belief, while agnosticism is a question about confidence in your beliefs. You can be one, the other, both, or neither.

9) Prevent it or treat it as best able.

10) Necrosis, decomposition, funeral, and a societal legacy.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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