Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
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28-10-2016, 08:17 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
Unknowndevil -

Do you believe a god exists ?
This is a yes or no answer.
Yes - you are a theist
No - you are an atheist

Do you have any knowledge about the existence of any gods ?
Yes - You're delusional until you can provide said evidence that leads to this knowledge.
No - You're agnostic

It's not all that complicated.
And yes definitions are important.
Atheist & Agnostic aren't just labels we throw on ourselves.
They define a position on the previous questions.

I don't label myself as a human being.
I am a human being because I fulfill all the requirements of the definition

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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28-10-2016, 08:33 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 08:17 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Unknowndevil -

Do you believe a god exists ?
This is a yes or no answer.
Yes - you are a theist
No - you are an atheist

Do you have any knowledge about the existence of any gods ?
Yes - You're delusional until you can provide said evidence that leads to this knowledge.
No - You're agnostic

It's not all that complicated.
And yes definitions are important.
Atheist & Agnostic aren't just labels we throw on ourselves.
They define a position on the previous questions.

I don't label myself as a human being.
I am a human being because I fulfill all the requirements of the definition

The answer to Do you believe a god exists isn't a yes or no answer for some people. Some people literally will say "I don't know" because they don't fall into either category.

For example, when I was making my transition from Theist to Atheist--I stopped for awhile at Agnostic--the mid point on the Dawkins Scale. There was a point where my answer was exactly "I don't know." I was no longer a theist, but I also was not an atheist. I would *not* at that point have said that I believed no god existed. I was at the point where I could see both sides and was not on either.

Why are labels so important? We are not products in a grocery store. If someone chooses to label themselves, then we should respect the label they give themselves. After all, they know who they are better than anyone else does. Who are we to say "No, sorry, wrong label, that's not who you are, pick again."

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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28-10-2016, 08:47 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
Saying "I don't know" doesn't answer the question. It's something someone says when they want to avoid answering the question.

Do you believe that you are alive ?
I don't know

Do you believe that you can read ?
I don't know

Do you believe that you can answer this question ?
I don't know.

You know what the answer is.
You either have the belief or you don't.
You're either wearing a hat or you're not.
There is no "I don't know if I'm wearing a hat."

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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28-10-2016, 08:51 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 08:47 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Saying "I don't know" doesn't answer the question. It's something someone says when they want to avoid answering the question.

Do you believe that you are alive ?
I don't know

Do you believe that you can read ?
I don't know

Do you believe that you can answer this question ?
I don't know.

You know what the answer is.
You either have the belief or you don't.
You're either wearing a hat or you're not.
There is no "I don't know if I'm wearing a hat."

Belief isn't the same as wearing a hat. The mind is fluid. That's like saying you need to pick your sexuality. You either like men or women--no in between. Well, some people fall in between. Not everyone lives in black and white.

Saying I don't know isn't avoiding the question if your answer is literally "I don't know."

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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28-10-2016, 09:12 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
I believe 4 years from today, that it's going to rain in my city.
I have nothing to base this belief on, but I have it none the less.

Do you have this belief ?

Could your answer be "I don't know" ?

Could you say to yourself "I don't know if I have this belief or not"

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28-10-2016, 09:34 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 09:12 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  I believe 4 years from today, that it's going to rain in my city.
I have nothing to base this belief on, but I have it none the less.

Do you have this belief ?

Could your answer be "I don't know" ?

Could you say to yourself "I don't know if I have this belief or not"

Your analogy is not the same because thoughts, desires, impulses, feelings, wants, needs are very fluid within any given person. They can also be ever changing.

I'll use myself as an example--I classified myself as Agnostic (during my transition from Christian to Atheist).

I was raised in the church all of my life. And as a Christian, I felt God in my life. But then, as I grew older, I realized I could no longer support a religion with such misogynistic views toward women or a religion that held such hatred for same sex couples. So I left the church, but decided to still believe in God. Then I read the entire Bible and it was clear (to me anyway--as I know we have some theists here) that the Bible had quite a few holes and problems with it in terms of science, history, etc.

I started to have major doubts at this point about God's existence, so I brought my doubts to my pastor, who was also a friend. He pacified my doubts for the time being and because I still very much "felt" God in my life, I decided to believe him--yet, at the same time, I still had doubts cropping up.

At this point, I would not have said I'm an atheist. I would not have said I'm a theist. I would have and did say "I just don't know" because at that point, it could have gone either way for me.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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28-10-2016, 10:22 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 05:37 PM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  
(28-10-2016 04:01 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  The second part is true in my experience, here and elsewhere the vast majority of atheists with whom I have interacted expand the eponymous to mean "agnostic atheist."

Oh, no no nooo, I meant that most atheists fit my modified meaning, that they believe no god exists. Quite controversial, I think.

Controversial and without proof. In fact that is how theists (in my experience at least) see atheists - as just another bunch of believers.

I'm for example absent belief in god - based on lack of evidence I think that such vaguely defined thing do not exist.



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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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28-10-2016, 11:15 PM
Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
How does this supposed to not come off as simply self indulgent arrogance to have any care for a personal revaluation of terminology.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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28-10-2016, 11:29 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
Jenny, are you able to discern if you hold a belief or not ? It doesn't matter what the belief is.

Do you know if you have any beliefs or is that a mystery ?

Can you mentally determine if you have a belief in your mind that says "I believe that I'm a frog."

Are you unsure if you have this belief in your mind ?

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28-10-2016, 11:57 PM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 08:17 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Do you believe a god exists ?
This is a yes or no answer.
Yes - you are a theist
No - you are an atheist
...
It's not all that complicated.
And yes definitions are important.
Atheist & Agnostic aren't just labels we throw on ourselves.
They define a position on the previous questions.

Do I believe a god exists?
No, I do not hold the belief that a god exists.

Does that make me an atheist?
No, not necessarily.

The "you are a [blank]" that you tack on at the end is exactly what I'm talking about. You are asserting that these are the objective definitions of the terms, but in the heavily-debated, nuanced context in which they exist, it is foolish to claim objective truth in the semantics of language.

"They define a position on the previous questions."

You have defined them as the definition to the previous questions. I don't accept that definition and I've given reasons why. We can argue about which usage is better, but if you're just going to say, "Too bad, that's the definition", then there is no point in arguing further because you've already presupposed your position as true.

Also, as Jenny has said, I think "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer: "I don't know what I believe." Go to a school classroom and ask the students to debate a controversial topic. Watch as they hesitantly try to argue for a side before second-guessing themselves, maybe eventually thinking they've finally come to a decision only to take it back again and again until they give up because they can't stay committed to either side. As a matter of fact, that's one Merriam-Webster definition of agnostic: "a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something". That is the essence of most people's positions on complex and difficult issues. Jenny has perfectly expressed the fluidity of the human mind, and I think it is the sole problem of defining labels that describe such complexity as dichotomies.
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