The Meaning of Atheism
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13-09-2010, 10:48 AM
 
RE: The Meaning of Atheism
(13-09-2010 06:10 AM)BnW Wrote:  
Quote:To me, atheism is a denial of belief in any deity. No more, no less. I believe the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the non-existence of a deity, but my scientific training requires me to accept that I can never prove that non-existence in a logical sense.

But, is that necessary. Are scientists agnostic on the tooth fairy? Or on the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I agree that science disproves more than proves, but at some point if there is no evidence to support something we can take a firm position that it doesn't exist.

When my son makes up a story about a monster in the closet hiding behind a secret panel, do I have to hold out some possibility that there is in fact a secret panel with a monster behind it? Or, at some point (i.e. instantly) can I just safely take the position that it's not true, there is no monster and no secret panel. The fact that I can't 100% disprove it does not preclude me from saying, with absolute certainty, that it's not true.

Stark Raving has correctly stated my position. I could go on, but I think at this point, either you see the diference or you don't. Absolute certainty is a pretty powerful thing to assert, requiring more than just evidence, which is necessarily finite.
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13-09-2010, 10:56 AM
RE: The Meaning of Atheism
(13-09-2010 09:53 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(12-09-2010 02:44 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  What does atheism mean?

Not believing in a god. Nothing more, nothing less.

Just for the record: The question isn't mine. I reposted the thread here so that the "Introduce yourself here" thread didn't go too far off track. Sorry for the confusion.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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13-09-2010, 11:00 AM
RE: The Meaning of Atheism
Yeah, I know. I just forgot to change the name. Tongue

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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13-09-2010, 07:37 PM
 
RE: The Meaning of Atheism
Recently I've been exchanging e-mails with a guy who claims to be a very devout christian. Every time I ask him a question, he simply says he's going to respond soon, then proceeds to take a month to do it. At some point I told him that I don't believe he can answer my questions, and the fact he was taking so long was proof of that. He responded by saying the reason I don't find christianity to have legs to stand on was because I've always been given simple answers to complex questions, and that his answers will be complex.

I have yet to get those complex answers.

But when I responded, I responded with a basic rebuttal saying that if any type or religious person were to come to him saying that their religion was the right one, then he would not believe they have a leg to stand on, and in the same way I don't believe he has a leg to stand on when he preaches to me.

So he responds with a predictable answer, saying if an atheist person were to come to him saying that their beliefs are the right one, he wouldn't believe they had a leg to stand on.

Then the argument went like this:

Me: The problem with that response is that atheism is not a religion nor a set of beliefs, and does not try to prove anything to you, whereas all religions are trying to prove something.

Him: But it all serves the same purpose, your previous response showed how each person expresses their ideas about god and nature and creation. Atheism is a set of beliefs because it makes a statement about the eternity, creation, and morality.

Me: No, atheism does not make a statement about eternity, creation, or morality. Atheism does not make a statement about anything, it is the default position that you take toward any religion when you do not believe in it already.

Him: If atheism does not make a statement about anything, then why do atheists go through so much effort to prove its credibility? Atheism may be the default position to take, but it takes a lot for it to be correct.

Me: I don't think you're understanding what I'm trying to say to you, when you say things like "proving atheism is true" you show a clear lack of understanding of the word and what it means. It's grammatically incorrect to say that you can prove atheism is true because atheism is not a belief it is a lack of belief. There is absolutely nothing to prove. Atheists do not go through effort to prove atheism's "credibility" atheists are merely trying to disprove the credibility of whatever religion you're trying to sell.

Him: Whatever we'll come back to this. Grammar does not supercede philosophy and philosophically speaking, the refusal to take a stance is itself a stance.

Me: I'm not sure what you're trying to get at now by changing your argument from belief to stance. A belief does not equate to a stance. Atheism is a lack of belief in theism, not a lack of stance.

He assured me he would send me his supposedly long and complex answer to my questions, but judging from how this went I don't think I should expect anything less than pure fairy tales.

I basically paraphrased the whole thing to give the basic gist of what was said, so if there's anything wrong with the way I was defining atheism please let me know.
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13-09-2010, 08:52 PM
RE: The Meaning of Atheism
(13-09-2010 07:37 PM)cheezisgoooood Wrote:  He assured me he would send me his supposedly long and complex answer to my questions, but judging from how this went I don't think I should expect anything less than pure fairy tales.

That is exactly what I would expect from him. That is a normal type of exchange with many christians. They don't get what you say because if they did they would have to seriously question their own religion, and that would be blasphemy in their eyes, or it would endanger their security blanket, or both.
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14-09-2010, 02:10 AM
 
RE: The Meaning of Atheism
Yes, the experience of discussing religion with theists nearly always follows certain very predictable lines. Soldieringon and I have been discussing things on another "forum" (the "American Heathen" blog) with a christian and he keeps promising to explain things in more detail, but his comments never actually provide any rational answer to ours ... just re-stating his christian apologist beliefs in different ways. But we keep trying because at least the discourse is civil.
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