Who are we? Who are you?
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30-12-2011, 04:08 PM
Who are we? Who are you?
I'm trying to get my mind around an upcoming blog article and I need help - your help Smile

I'm in a semi-surreal argument with a fellow atheist on the HuffPost. It's clear by his posts he is not just an atheist, but an anti-theist. My view on religion is the penis analogy, be proud of it, play with it, but only share it with those that want to play with it (yes, I'm paraphrasing...).

So my view is more accomodational, and co-existing in nature - which if anyone read the "Need for Faith" thread, (I think) gets to HouseofCantors' post.

So there's the set up - where this is going is within Christianity, there are hundreds of branches and sects - all with just slightly differing doctrines, dogmas, and beliefs which is largely driven by the church's congregational nature.

My hypothesis is that within atheism, we have similar divergent views; however, we rarely congregate (with forums such as this being the exception) therefore we do not have clear divisions (if that's even the right descriptor) within our own ranks.

I'm thinking along the Dawkins scale - many of us would likely self-identify as a 6 or agnostic atheist - but there are some 7's among us here - does gnostic atheist equate to anti-theism (beyond atheism?). Is anti-theism an evangelical pursuit?

I realize this is out there - but I'm trying to make some sense of understanding the nature of atheists (not atheism) - because my views and understanding are not, and should not be viewed as homogenous...

So what think you fellow Thinking Atheists? Smile

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30-12-2011, 05:10 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
Quote:I'm thinking along the Dawkins scale -

1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

This is simply a scale of absolute belief to certain non-belief. No flavours, no sub-classifications, no indication of activism or belonging to a congregation.
I would leave it at that - myself being a definite 7, though tolerant.

Quote: does gnostic atheist equate to anti-theism (beyond atheism?).

Neither. Gnosis is divinely inspired knowledge. Gnostics believe there is something supernatural out/up/in there, though not necessarily like Jehovah, or any other named and described deity (and i think they all reject the divinity of Jesus) that makes itself felt or understood or heard or ... well, something.
I would strongly advise you not drag the Gnostics into the argument: theist propagandists are already using this scale to misrepresent atheism as a belief.

Anyway, an anti-theist would be 8, if s/he fit on the scale: someone who actively opposes theism in some or all of its forms.

Quote:Is anti-theism an evangelical pursuit?

Absolutely not. Evangelism is specifically Christian: a calling to spread the gospel.
Proselytizing? (a conviction that one should change the belief of others; win them over over to one's own viewpoint) Perhaps.
I think it's far more likely to be a political pursuit - the aim being to wrest power from the churches and re-establish the secular state.

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30-12-2011, 05:20 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
(30-12-2011 05:10 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
Quote:I'm thinking along the Dawkins scale -

1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

This is simply a scale of absolute belief to certain non-belief. No flavours, no sub-classifications, no indication of activism or belonging to a congregation.
I would leave it at that - myself being a definite 7, though tolerant.

Quote: does gnostic atheist equate to anti-theism (beyond atheism?).

Neither. Gnosis is divinely inspired knowledge. Gnostics believe there is something supernatural out/up/in there, though not necessarily like Jehovah, or any other named and described deity (and i think they all reject the divinity of Jesus) that makes itself felt or understood or heard or ... well, something.
I would strongly advise you not drag the Gnostics into the argument: theist propagandists are already using this scale to misrepresent atheism as a belief.

Anyway, an anti-theist would be 8, if s/he fit on the scale: someone who actively opposes theism in some or all of its forms.

Quote:Is anti-theism an evangelical pursuit?

Absolutely not. Evangelism is specifically Christian: a calling to spread the gospel.
Proselytizing? (a conviction that one should change the belief of others; win them over over to one's own viewpoint) Perhaps.
I think it's far more likely to be a political pursuit - the aim being to wrest power from the churches and re-establish the secular state.

Interestingly to me, Dawkins puts himself somewhere between 6 and 7 because, as I understand it, he thinks it proper to leave a little room for discovery of the unknown in terms of there perhaps being A god (just not YHWH). I actually was surprised, at first, to hear him say that, because as soon as I heard his scale, I immediately put myself as a 7. Could I be even more of an atheist than Dawkins? But then I also realized that in the heyday of my True Believerism, I would have put myself as a 1. I KNEW God existed because I KNEW God. Now I found myself on the complete opposite end of the scale. A reactionary move? Maybe. Isn't that how pendulums work? I guess that's why I would now tone it down enough to put myself around a 6.5. But I've yet to find myself as a proselytizing anti-theist. So far, I haven't felt the need to go around de-converting anyone else. Well, with the exception of KC, but that's a long term process and we're all in on that, so I don't think he counts. Smile

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30-12-2011, 05:39 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
A lifelong non-theist, I've always been 4 to 6. At least my commitment issues are important to me. Blush

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30-12-2011, 05:53 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
I'm a 6.9+ on the Dawkins scale. I see no evidence of anything supernatural, but something might exist - I can't prove it doesn't. I can only show that there are mountains of evidence against and not even molehills for.

However, how would you define unbelief as a group?

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30-12-2011, 06:02 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
I would say I'm a strong 2.

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30-12-2011, 06:05 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
(30-12-2011 06:02 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  I would say I'm a strong 2.

I would say that's weak, not strong. Big Grin

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30-12-2011, 06:24 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
(30-12-2011 05:53 PM)Chas Wrote:  However, how would you define unbelief as a group?

Chas - that's the root of the question - is it definable? Is it worth attempting to define? Smile

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30-12-2011, 06:30 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
(30-12-2011 06:24 PM)Seasbury Wrote:  
(30-12-2011 05:53 PM)Chas Wrote:  However, how would you define unbelief as a group?

Chas - that's the root of the question - is it definable? Is it worth attempting to define? Smile

I will clarify my response: It doesn't seem sensible to expect people who don't believe in something to share much else - they may or may not.

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30-12-2011, 06:33 PM
RE: Who are we? Who are you?
It doesn't even really matter where we are on the dawkins scale of disbelief. All that would matter is how we feel about organized religion and the religious wouldn't it?

As far as me the teapot analogy suits me best. But I personally despise organized religion and I have my fair share of issues with the religious themselves. I can't group the religious into one lump sum however as I am aware of differences within religion as far as followers is concerned so I can easily enjoy the company of religious people.
But organized religion should be illegal so far as I'm concerned whether god exists or not. What it is now in all of its incarnations is legal organize crime. I am strongly anti organized religion.
So what does that make me? Aware? Sexy? Who knows the closest title I am afforded is antitheist and I think that is wrong as I am fully capable of liking theists. So.... Anti organized crime? AKA Batman.

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