Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-12-2010, 06:10 AM
 
Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I would like to start off by saying that I was overjoyed when I found this site. Growing up in Texas and being a curious and questioning agnostic, is a trial; and just knowing there are people out there with some sense and sanity is very reassuring!

However this brings me to the topic at hand.

I acknowledge that this is a site primarily for atheist and, going by what I see in the threads, that most of the users are atheist. My question to you atheist is, "Why do you choose atheism over agnosticism?".

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines atheism as, "A disbelief in the existence of deity."

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines agnostic as, "A person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable. broadly:One who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.

In simpler words; atheist believe there is no God, agnostics believe that there may or may not be a God, but since neither side can show irrefutable proof, it is impossible for either side to know for sure what is correct.

I see many flaws in religion, and it is thus easy for me not to believe. I find modern religion ridiculous, and frighteningly silly. It is easy to refute.

However, I don't understand how people with common sense, and from their writing are well learned individuals, can say with such conviction, and such little doubt, that God does not exist. I want to make it very clear that I am not talking about a Christian/Muslim/(insert faith here) God, but an overwhelmingly powerful deity whom we don't know about; sort of like a God more by definition, minus the worship.

I have found no proof that God exist, and I doubt I ever will.

I have found proof that a God by certain religions definition and understanding, let's say Christianity just because it's easy, does not exist. Largely due to problems with circular logic, lack of logic, and bible errors.

However, I have found no proof that a God does not exist.

My stance is that there could be a God. A God could have created the universe. This God could have created our world as we know it, using scientific means such as big bang or evolution; letting it run its course until we ultimately evolved. This does not necessarily mean he cares about us, more along the lines of, we are dots in a petri dish because he was bored one "day".

There would be no way of finding out if this God existed or not, because all that we would have to go on is what our senses, and technology, can find out. It is alto like a detective trying to solve a murder based upon a crime scene that the murderer had infinite time setting up to be confusing and unhelpful, fully devoid of clues.

I don't understand why someone would find it laughable for someone to believe in God based solely on faith, with absolutely no evidence; while they themselves believe that there is no God, with absolutely no evidence to support their own claim.

Finally, I cannot stress enough that the disproof in God is shown only in the flaw of man. Only when someone, a human being, decides that they have a God, and sets up a story and rule list, does someone come along and disprove them. This disproves that religions God and that religions theories on God, it does not disprove God universally.

My personal views are that every single religion on Earth was made by man, for either power, or so that people could sleep a little better at night.

I personally like to hope there is a God, (for no other reason than it helps me sleep at night and I fear death), yet since I cannot prove it, I consider myself an agnostic, and just hope when the time comes it's not just game over!

It is only through communication and sharing of ideas that any of us learn anything. So atheist, please give me your views and perceptions on why you choose atheism over agnosticism!

(Also, if you find a flaw in my logic please point it out to me!)

=)
Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 06:26 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Saying that there is no god could be compared to saying that we are not in a giant marble(the universe) and we can't see outside. We will never find out if we're in a marble or not, so the only correct thing to say would be ''we can't say for sure, but the odds for us not being in a marble is incredibly high and the odds that we are in a marble are so incredibly low that it's pretty safe to say that we're not in a marble.

How do we know that there could be a god? Or how do we know that there could not be a god? How do we know that it's possible for something non-physical to exist (because a complicated ultimate creator god doesn't seem likely to have physically existed in the conditions of the big bang)?

Correct me when I'm wrong.
Accept me or go to hell.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 07:26 AM
 
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
It is exactly that kind of arriving at a conclusion with absolutely no basis that I am trying to understand! =)

As for the big bang thing, when i theorize about my "God", I usually grant him full reign over science and just let it ride. I assume that if there was a "God", that he would have such a quality as being non-physical, as that might greatly aid in a feasible form of immortality. In this little theorizing world of mine I make him non-physical, yet able to alter, or even create in a physical world; (thus allowing a creator god free reign in the physical world, free to dabble in things like evolution or the big bang). Makes absolutely no sense I know, but if you are playing the god theorizing game, you might as well swing for the fences!

=)
Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 07:58 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Actually you don't simply choose one over the other.

Agnosticism refers to the idea that something is knowable. Atheism refers to belief or non belief.

If you think you have to "choose" one then I'm afraid your a bit mistaken. Most people here are actually agnostic atheists.

In other words we don't believe there is a god because we see no evidence for one. We don't beleive it is possible to be 100% certain there is a god but we are open to the possibility should evidence arise there is one.

The burden of proof is not on the person who denies an extrodinary claim but on the person making said claim. Atheism is actually the position most people take with the vast majority of human gods throughout history.

You are for example I am guessing an atheist when it comes to zues, appolo, baal, mithra, set, etc.

The only thing we are implying is that there is currently no religion in the world that has good evidence to back up it's claims. Thus currently until we see some evidence otherwise it is only logical to state there is no god of which we are aware.

I think you get the idea. Beliefs are not a popularity contest. If you ask yourself the question. "Do I beleive in a god?" and the answer is no then you are an atheist.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 08:40 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Atheism is a stance on deities, just like theism. Agnosticism is a stance on knowledge.

An agnostic can be theist or non theist/ atheist.

Evidence has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 08:43 AM
 
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I think that, going by a dictionary definition of the words, atheism and agnostic; that you are mistaken in a few of the points you just made. It is most certainly a clear cut choice in what you believe.

By definition, being an atheist means you have, "A disbelief in the existence of deity". This definition is not singular, (It isn't, "A disbelief in the existence of "a" deity"), but instead encompasses all deity. Thus your point, "You are for example I am guessing an atheist when it comes to zues, appolo, baal, mithra, set, etc" means that you are assuming I can choose to be atheist on one god, but not to another, which is not the definition. By definition if I was an atheist I would not believe in any deity at all; it is an all or nothing. You either believe in a deity or you don't; and if you don't believe in any deity, then you are atheist.

Also by dictionary definition, being agnostic means, "broadly:One who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god." This dictionary definition states that agnostics are not committed to believing, or disbelieving in the existence of God. This comes as a direct consequence of their belief that knowing if a god exist for certain is impossible. Thus, an agnostic says that there may be a god, or there may not be; but that knowing for a fact is impossible, therefore, they are "not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of god".

Therefore it is impossible to be an "agnostic atheist", because by dictionary definition, that person would, "not commit to believing or disbelieving the existence of god" while at the same time having, "disbelief in the existence of a deity". It is not possible to not commit to disbelieving something, while disbelieving it it at the same time! By putting the definitions of agnostic and atheism together you are saying you can choose not to believe something, and believe it at the same time!

Also, on your statement, "In other words we don't believe there is a god because we see no evidence for one.", this is the very reason why I made this post. You see no evidence of it, so you automatically believe there is no god. If you believe there is no god, then you are atheist. However, simply saying there is no evidence does not make it true, or untrue. Having no evidence that there is a god, is being on the opposite side of the coin from those who are religious. You have no evidence that there is not one, yet you declare that there is not one. They have no evidence that there is one, yet they declare that there is one. Why is your statement any more valid than theirs? Their lack of evidence does not grant your theory any more credit! There could, for all we know, be a god. Nobody knows because we are still alive. But there could just as easily not be one. That is why I am agnostic.

So to clear it up,

If you don't believe in deity (at all)- you are atheist
If you do believe in a god, youre probably in a religion
If you say you don't know for sure because there is no evidence, and choose not to say that there is or is not a god, then you are an agnostic!
Also, I most certainly did not want to turn beliefs into a "popularity contest". That is skewing the meaning of my original post. I simply want to know why people choose to say there is no god for certain, when they themselves have no evidence. I opened this thread because every person around me is a religious nut, so i want to get the opinions of atheist and other agnostics as often as possible.


@fr0d0
I disagree. The very roots of agnosticism is that there is no way of knowing for lack of evidence; thus you do not commit to one stance or the other.
How can I be agnostic and atheist at the same time? I have absolutely no idea if there is a god or not, and have no evidence, yet I will confidently commit to the idea that there is not one....
For example, if I was back in the middle ages, and somebody asked me if there was such a thing as a black hole (given the definition), and I said, "I have no idea if there is or not, and i have no evidence (middle ages), yet i will confidently commit to saying that they do not exist. I would be a fool would i not? Black holes did exist in those times; I would just not have a means to know that yet. Therefore, saying you have no evidence of one or the other, then choosing doesn't make sense to me. You cannot be agnostic (I don't know, and won't commit to either belief), and atheist (Does not exist), or theist (Does exist) at the same time!
Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 09:08 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Most atheists I know would disagree with atheism defined as a positive belief. They would say that they lack belief. If you state the you don't believe in something you then shoulder the burden of proof, as you'd be making a positive claim.

Theos = God; Theism = belief in a deity - a-theism = lack of belief in any deity
Gnosis = knowledge - a-gnostic = without knowlegde
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 09:12 AM
 
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(12-12-2010 06:10 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  In simpler words; atheist believe there is no God, agnostics believe that there may or may not be a God, but since neither side can show irrefutable proof, it is impossible for either side to know for sure what is correct.

I see many flaws in religion, and it is thus easy for me not to believe. I find modern religion ridiculous, and frighteningly silly. It is easy to refute.

However, I don't understand how people with common sense, and from their writing are well learned individuals, can say with such conviction, and such little doubt, that God does not exist. I want to make it very clear that I am not talking about a Christian/Muslim/(insert faith here) God, but an overwhelmingly powerful deity whom we don't know about; sort of like a God more by definition, minus the worship.

I have found no proof that God exist, and I doubt I ever will.

I have found proof that a God by certain religions definition and understanding, let's say Christianity just because it's easy, does not exist. Largely due to problems with circular logic, lack of logic, and bible errors.

The notion of a "God" originates from religion. If the Gods of specific religions can be refuted, then the whole notion of God should collapse. Most people, when they realize the God of their specific text is useless to defend, often move to a more general notion of God that they can define themselves and so more easily defend. What they don't realize is that that notion of God they have in their head wouldn't be there if they hadn't been introduced to religion in the first place.

It is akin to me coming up with a the details of an extraterrestrial creature in my head, one who is able to violate the laws of physics, because I saw a crazy movie. I realize that the specific creature in that movie cannot exist, but I create a more general "creature" out of my own imagination, of course inspired by that movie.

Then I say, until you can disprove the existence of that creature, I am unsure as to whether or not it exists. That doesn't make much sense. The universe is so unimaginably large that we can never turn over every stone or star. Furthermore, imagine the chances that a figment of the human imagination could possibly manifest itself somewhere in the universe. That is basically what God is. His/Her/It properties have been imagined by someone or a group of people, with no actual source material to draw upon. The chances that my creature, or their God, actually exists is slim to none.

(12-12-2010 06:10 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  However, I have found no proof that a God does not exist.

That is irrelevant. I have found no evidence that we are not living in the matrix. Does that mean that we are living in the matrix? We could be, supposedly. But then there are an infinite number of possibilities, conjured up by the human imagination that may or may not have validity. Until we have definite evidence affirming them, I reject all of them.

(12-12-2010 06:10 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  My stance is that there could be a God. A God could have created the universe. This God could have created our world as we know it, using scientific means such as big bang or evolution; letting it run its course until we ultimately evolved. This does not necessarily mean he cares about us, more along the lines of, we are dots in a petri dish because he was bored one "day".

Again, there "could" be, but this is just a wild conjecture. What is the purpose of this God? If all the things in the universe can be explained away by scientific processes, then why does a supernatural being have to initiate them? If your notion of God is as an initial cause, then I ask you this-

If God is the cause of the singularity at the Big Bang, then what is the cause of God? The natural explanation is that he has no cause. The cause-effect relationship has to begin someplace, and that intial starting point has no cause. Well, then, why does singularity, the beginning of everything that affects this universe, need to have a cause? Why don't we just skip a step and eliminate God from the equation?

(12-12-2010 06:10 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  There would be no way of finding out if this God existed or not, because all that we would have to go on is what our senses, and technology, can find out. It is alto like a detective trying to solve a murder based upon a crime scene that the murderer had infinite time setting up to be confusing and unhelpful, fully devoid of clues.

I don't understand why someone would find it laughable for someone to believe in God based solely on faith, with absolutely no evidence; while they themselves believe that there is no God, with absolutely no evidence to support their own claim.

An atheist's only claim is that the theist's claim, completely unsupported by evidence, is invalid. It all goes back to the burden of proof. If you make a conjecture, you have to prove that conjecture. Rejecting it requires no proof except the absence of proof. If you find me evidence that God exists, then I will change my opinion. I simply follow the evidence.

(12-12-2010 06:10 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  Finally, I cannot stress enough that the disproof in God is shown only in the flaw of man. Only when someone, a human being, decides that they have a God, and sets up a story and rule list, does someone come along and disprove them. This disproves that religions God and that religions theories on God, it does not disprove God universally.

My personal views are that every single religion on Earth was made by man, for either power, or so that people could sleep a little better at night.

Fear of death and an explanation for the inexplicable, and a way to consolidate authority, are all reasons for religion's sprouting. You are completely correct. God is just an element of religion that helps further these goals. As I explained above, and as you stated, God is just an idea conjured up in the human imagination without any observational basis. What are the chances of that figment of the imagination actually being true?

The notion of God varies from person to person, religion to religion. There is no universal notion of God. The word God is simply a visual way to represent an idea, and that idea varies. But all these ideas are equally unsupported by any proof whatsoever. I still think people who have a pantheistic or non religious view of God are simply attempting to reconcile their belief in a religious God with what the know to be reasonable.

(12-12-2010 06:10 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  I personally like to believe there is a God, (for no other reason than it helps me sleep at night and I fear death), yet since I cannot prove it, I consider myself an agnostic, and just hope when the time comes it's not just game over!

It is only through communication and sharing of ideas that any of us learn anything. So atheist, please give me your views and perceptions on why you choose atheism over agnosticism!

(Also, if you find a flaw in my logic please point it out to me!)

=)

Sure, I'd like to believe in a God too, if it fit into my personal conceptions of bliss and love and whatnot. But again, that notion of God would just be an attempt to comfort myself and a conjuration of my imagination, with no observational basis.

I will give you this-

There is a chance that God exists. There is a chance that we live in the matrix. There is a chance that we live in the stomach of a multi-dimensional unicorn on an epic journey to his homeland. All these notions are equally valid, in that they are equally unsupported by the evidence. There is no quantifiable way to attribute exactly how improbably they are, but they are so ridiculous that I simply reject them. We technically must be agnostics about them, since we cannot know for sure, but by that metric, nothing can be known for sure. That is not a viewpoint that I would like to spend my life obsessed with. I am a practical atheist. The probability that the unicorn or God exists is so unimaginably small that it is only reasonable to not believe in them, until other evidence presents itself.

EDIT: I didn't read the few posts above me, as they were posted while I was writing, so sorry if I missed something.
Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 09:23 AM
 
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
@fr0d0
Oh, well that makes a lot more sense. I think this is a matter of dictionary preference, or maybe even regional diffrences then. In my opinion/how I was raised/dictionary definition, those atheist would fall into the agnostic category, they don't believe in a god, but are not making a positive claim that there is no god. I think I got a little caught up in my own regional definition. The population in which I have been raised and currently live in consist of approximately 99% Christian/Catholic, .5% agnostic, and .5% atheist. The people who call themselves agnostic say they don't know either way, and the atheist here will adamantly tell you that there is no god, and the ensuing discussions are almost as frustrating as those with religious views.

I can see where you are coming from, and if you fall into that "lack of belief" category that you described, this post wasn't for you. I am trying to understand why someone would state so definitively that there is no god, while having no proof whatsoever; all the while not understanding that they are doing almost the same thing as those who are religious.

I looked up the definition a long time ago, and it stated clearly that agnostics neither believed nor disbelieved in deity, they just didn't know. And that atheist did not believe in deity.

I don't want to argue definitions anymore, so i will try to clear my question up.

If you believe that there is no god, you are atheist, then why do you choose to be atheist over being agnostic, not knowing, and what proof do you have to support your position?
(The much longer version of, "why choose atheism over agnosticism?")
@TruthAddict
Thank you very much for your input! You made a few points that I hadn't thought of before. (And I must say the unicorn bit made me chuckle).

As for missing anything, trust me you didn't. Although, with help, I think I did prove that even without religion two perfectly reasonable and intelligent people can find something to argue about! =)

On a couple of points I find that I differ from you however. You said, "Until we have definite evidence affirming them, I reject all of them." I find that until I have definite evidence showing me a theory is wrong, I like to keep an open mind to it. That doesn't mean I walk around believing I am in any one or several crazy dream lands, it just means that I keep all possibilities, however fantastic, open until someone proves them impossible.

Also, I revel in wild conjectures, they free my mind to be open enough to see others perspectives, and allow my imagination to run free without a chain to hinder my thoughts.

I ask you, why does a god need a purpose? We as human beings are limited not only by our senses but by our brain capacity. You mentioned the cause and effect, this implies beginnings and endings, something human beings feel very comfortable with because the thought of infinity is not capable of being grasped by our brains. I would say to you, why would god need to be created by something? Why could there not be a universe and a god, and there always was a universe and god, and there always will be a universe and a god. This takes out the human interpretation of beginning and end, and goes to the realm of infinity. Is it not possible that there are no such things as beginnings and endings with "god", but that "god" is, and always was, and always will be. There is no reason for god to need a reason or a cause to create. I kicked a pebble the other day, just because I wanted to. Could it be possible that God always was, is, and always will be there, and that "he" created the universe and us, just because? Beginnings and endings, paradoxes, time and space are always something that our human minds will have trouble with. This does not mean that something outside our understanding doesn't exist, something that is infinite. Something with no beginning or end, with no causes, no love or goody-two-shoes feelings, just there.

Thanks again for your thoughts!
Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 09:54 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Once again, I will reiterate what has already been explained. Atheism refers to a lack of belief. Agnosticism refers to a lack of knowledge. I know you said that you didn't want to discuss definitions, but without at the very least a somewhat general consensus of the definition of terms, a discussion can't be had. You may want to look at a few more dictionaries, and attempt to find a more thorough definition of the two terms. Granted, some dictionaries may have different definitions, but the one you are referencing is preventing you from understanding the words. That in turn prevents you from understanding the perspective of most of the people here.


I highly doubt you can find a single person on this site that says that god most definitely does not exist. That is because we simply cannot know. That is my personal opinion on the subject, and it is shared by many. That makes me agnostic. Even though I accept that I cannot know whether or not there is a god, I don't believe there is one. That makes me atheist. Hence agnostic atheist. My lack of belief is because there is no convincing (to me) evidence that there is a god. I also have never seen any convincing evidence that there is a magic elixir that will make me fly. That's why I don't believe there is one. If you tell me that there is one, then I will ask you for proof. To ask me for proof to support my decision to not believe in the elixir is ludicrous. It's your burden to show me proof that it exists, not mine to show you it doesn't.

You have just begun reading the sentence you have just finished reading.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: