My Atheism Explained

I was going to post this in the "What is Faith" thread, but since I hash out stuff with a lot of people here, I figured perhaps it's good to try and outline the nuances of how I use "Atheist" and statements about "belief."

Regarding Atheism: One word can not convey everything I believe or disbelieve concerning the question of Gods, no more than you can provide a single word that conveys all the nuances of your belief.

So, as I have said, "Atheist" is imperfect. But as a short hand I will sometimes use it as a catch-all for where I'm coming from. I have explained that I use "Atheist" as most atheists understand the word: A-Theist, "without a belief in God(s)." **

That tells you that I hold no belief in any particular God. So as a general statement, it is accurate. But my attitude becomes more specific and nuanced as it pertains to specific claims about specific Gods. If we are talking about a God concept that I believe puts that God as inherently unknowable, then my attitude more rightly mirrors agnosticism concerning that God concept. (I'd say those nuances are still accommodated within the umbrella of my definition for atheism - "holding no belief in any God." For even of those Gods about which I'm agnostic, it is still accurate to say "I hold no belief in those Gods.")

As to the difference between "I hold no belief in a God," and "I believe there is no God," the former is a negative assessment, the latter a positive one. It is confusing to use them interchangeably because they each carry different nuance. Just like one should be careful of the connotations of "unbelief" vs "disbelief."

My stance on God is nuanced, depending on the God concept. I would therefore NOT represent myself by saying: "I believe there is no God," That is because I like to base what I "believe" on evidence, reason or sound argument. When it concerns the postulation of an inherently unknowable God, there is no evidence or reason on which to form a belief FOR or AGAINST the concept. I can only say "I have nothing on which to base a belief, so I hold no belief."
It would be inaccurate to say "I believe there is no God" under such conditions, because I have formed no belief.

Now, claims for God vary greatly between Christians. Some vagually ascribe to a Deity who started the ball rolling and who may not be hands on anymore. Of that God claim I would probably apply the "weak" atheistic stance: "I see no reason to hold belief in that God."
(e.g I've been provided with no convincing evidence on which to base a belief on that God).

However, when a God claim contains enough self-refuting contradictions or incoherency, and is flatly contradicted by my experience of the world, then I might feel justified in applying the "strong" or "positive" atheist stance: "I believe no such God exists."

I know that this can be especially vexing for Theists, who seem inclined to view things as binary, either/or decisions (you have belief or you don't). But iI find things aren't so clear cut.

I've pretty much just re-stated here exactly what I've been saying previously, but perhaps this summation makes it more clear.

Prof.

** (PS, I feel atheist, when used as "holding no belief in God" may be used in relation to a specific God concept being discussed. In other words, as it pertains to the God of the Bible I am a-theist, without belief in that God. Likewise, a Christian is atheist concerning Zeus or any other god about which the Christian holds no belief. From that understanding comes the idea that the Christian is atheistic concerning a great many deities, whereas I am simply atheistic about one more than the Christian).

* scratches head, goes outside to mow lawn *

Nice of you to make such a thread, I didn´t see it until now, so I replied to you in the other thread.

"If we are talking about a God concept that I believe puts that God as inherently unknowable, then my attitude more rightly mirrors agnosticism concerning that God concept."

 I think you misunderstand Agnosticism a little. An Agnostic doesn´t necessarily need to think that God as inherently unknowable, he only needs to state that he himself can´t know anything about that kind of concept. 

As a Theist, I can call myself Agnostic for example. While to find out if someone like you is an Agnostic or actually an Atheist. We have to ask the question: Do you believe in (any) concept of God? If the answer is negative, you are best described as an Atheist, not an Agnostic.

So the most important distinction here is: An Agnostic can also believe in God, at the same time as he claims that he can´t know anything about Him.

 

 

--" I think you misunderstand Agnosticism a little."--

I don't misunderstand it; I recognize "agnostic" does not have a single, agreed upon definition. Whereas you seem to imply you know the "right" definition. "Agnostic" is a term under dispute (and has been for a long time). Therefore, I chose to explain which understanding of agnostic I am using. Many people understand "agnostic" in a way that mirrors my stance on "unkowable Gods." And such an understanding can be found in most dicionary definitions. (Which will list several understandings of "Agnostic").

See my reply on the other thread.

(And, as you'll see, I agree that "agnostic" applies to an individual's assesment of the knowability of a cliam).

Prof.

prof wrote: "However, when a God claim contains enough self-refuting contradictions or incoherency, and is flatly contradicted by my experience of the world, then I might feel justified in applying the "strong" or "positive" atheist stance: "I believe no such God exists."

I agree 100% as with the christian god, it is absurd, and it does not take faith to lack belief in such nonsense!


Verses that demand scientific justification :

* God created the universe, the Earth, and human beings. GE 1:1

* There was light, and plants grew, before the sun was created. GE 1:3-5, 14-19 GE 1:12, 16

* Every seed-yielding plant is good to eat. GE 1:29

* Snakes and donkeys can talk. GE 3:1-5 NU 22:21-30

* There were giants on Earth. GE 6:4

* The Flood mythology. GE 7:19-20

* You can alter the genotype of a sheep by putting a striped rod in front of them. GE 30:37-43

* God loses a wrestling match. GE 32:24-30

* Some winged creatures go on all fours. LE 11:20-21

* Rabbit chews its cud. LE 11:6

* Bats are birds. LE 11:13, 19

* A house or clothes can have leprosy. LE 14:33-57

* An iron axe head floats. 2KI 6:5-7

* Earth is flat. IS 11:12, RE 7:1 IS 24:1 IS 40:22 DN 4:11

* Moon shines its own light. IS 30:26

* Demon possession can cause illness or mental problems. MT 4:23-24, 9:32-33, 12:22, 17:14-18, MK 1:23-26, 32-34, 5:2-16, 9:17-29, 16:9, LK 11:14, 4:33-35, 8:2, 27-36, 9:38-42, AC 8:7, 16:16-18

* Heaven is 1 500 miles square RE 21:16


*GE 3:1-5 The serpent speaks human language (presumably Hebrew).

*GE 9:12-16 God first creates the rainbow.
*
JS 10:12-14 God obliges Joshua by making the sun and moon stand still (so that he can finish his battle by daylight).

*JG 16:17-22 Samson loses his strength as a result of having his head shaved.
*
1SA 16:14-23 Evil spirits can come from God (and be exorcised with God's help).

*1KI 18:33-38 Fire consumes wet wood, stones, and dust, and "licks up" water.

*2KI 13:21 A man who is being buried comes alive after touching the bones of Elisha.

*2KI 20:11 The shadow on a sun dial moves backwards.

*2KI 16:2, 20, 18:1-2 Ahaz was thirty-six years old when he died. His twenty-five year old son Hezekiah succeeded him. Thus Ahaz was a ten or eleven year old father.

*2CH 13:17 500,000 Israelites are slain in a single battle. (Note: This is more than were lost in any single battle of World War II, and even exceeds the number of deaths that resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. At Gettysburg, the greatest battle of the Civil War, the defeated army lost 5,000 men.)

*PS 58:8 Slugs and/or snails melt as they move.

*PS 121:6 It is apparently possible to suffer moonstroke as well as sunstroke.

*MK 16:17-18 Those who believe are able to handle snakes and drink any deadly poison without suffering harm.

If christians could provide ANY proof(outside the bible) for the existence of god ,I would love to hear it.

wow

Prof, excellent. You're making a pretty fine point there, but it's a good one.

"See my reply on the other thread. "

Thanks.

Ditto.

:-)



FudoMyoo wrote: "So the most important distinction here is: An Agnostic can also believe in God, at the same time as he claims that he can´t know anything about Him."

Prof wrote: "And, as you'll see, I agree that "agnostic" applies to an individual's assesment of the knowability of a cliam."

I have already explained this in the other thread! I will do it again in case you didn't catch it the first time.


I think the common problem is the mixup of two separate questions with the four relative answers to them:
1. "Do you KNOW if there is a god?" ('yes'-gnostic or 'no'-agnostic)

2. "Do you BELIEVE that there is a god?" ('yes'-theist or 'no'--atheist)

The roots of the words define what they address. 'Gnosis' addresses 'knowledge', while 'theism' addresses 'belief'. It's an important distinction, but one that is often confused until one looks closely at it to sort it out.

To the question "do you KNOW?" I think the only clear choice is agnosticism, since no one KNOWS. But when someone asks if I 'BELIEVE' there is a god, I would have to say no, due to lack of evidence,and the ridiculous comic book claims christians use to describe their god. I have no reason whatsoever to believe in this "god".

"To the question "do you KNOW?" I think the only clear choice is agnosticism, since no one KNOWS."

How do you know?

;-)

anyway, I can´t say I disagree with what you are saying here in general. Seems like we agree.

(Not to make it "pile on Fudo" time, but)..

--"So the most important distinction here is: An Agnostic can also believe in God, at the same time as he claims that he can´t know anything about Him."--

That is contradictory. Once you believe in a God you are no longer Agnostic about that God.

It makes no sense to say "I believe in a God about whom I can know nothing, which includes not knowing that God exists."

Prof.

"It makes no sense to say "I believe in a God about whom I can know nothing, which includes not knowing that God exists."

It does not make sense to me either prof! I have had many people tell me that they don't KNOW (for sure)if god exist's, but they believe he/she/it does...This type of god belief is common. Agnostic/theist

"(Not to make it "pile on Fudo" time, but).. "

but?

"That is contradictory. "

It´s not. Now you are silly.

"Once you believe in a God you are no longer Agnostic about that God. "

Of course you can be. Depends on how you define the terms obviously, and about "nuances". ;-) something that you been advocating yourself, haven´t you?

 

"It makes no sense to say "I believe in a God about whom I can know nothing, which includes not knowing that God exists." "

well it makes sense to alot of people, I have exactly the same experience as Machine30 describes here above:"I have had many people tell me that they don't KNOW (for sure)if god exist's, but they believe he/she/it does...This type of god belief is common. Agnostic/theist "

Maybe it doesn´t makes sense to you, but then again that´s quite surprising, you shouldn´t have aproblem understanding this since you are so capable of seeing fine distinctions and nuances as opposed to Theists who you described like this:"I know that this can be especially vexing for Theists, who seem inclined to view things as binary, either/or decisions (you have belief or you don't). "

?

 

minotaurolover wrote: "machine30 WHAT is this FIXATION you have on Christians? all except 1 thing on your list, are from the OLD TESTAMENT (IE JEWISH)"

"if you would just direct this to the appropriate religion, I'd have no problem. but you obviously have the typical, tired old anti-christian AGENDA."

Are you saying christians are not taught about the god of the old testament?

I have no fixation or agenda.

--"well it makes sense to alot of people, I have exactly the same experience as Machine30 describes here above:"I have had many people tell me that they don't KNOW (for sure)if god exist's, but they believe he/she/it does...This type of god belief is common. Agnostic/theist "--

Of course, simply finding someone who repeats something nonsensical doesn't make it sensible.

I would like to know: Do all those people label themselves "Agnostics?" Or is it you who has labeled them that?

I notice the combination term "Agnostic/theist" which obviously means "not simply an agnostic." That doesn't support the idea that "agnostic" by itself accommodates "deliberate belief in a God."

The point is that I have found (and reprinted) a lot of support for my contention of how "Agnostic" is widely understood. I can produce a heck of a lot more. I have yet to see any such support from the most honorable Mr. Fudomyoo concerning his usage.

I can certainly understand the "nuances" of someone's position. What's under dispute is whether the term "Agnostic" is _properly_ applied to people who hold a belief in a God.

(See other thread).

Prof.

sweet

"Do all those people label themselves "Agnostics?" Or is it you who has labeled them that? "

The ones I know labels themselves Theists/Agnostics all by themselves. About the ones Machine30 was refering to, I guess you have to ask him.

Unless you find some empiric/semantical research done on how people use labels as Agnostic/Atheist/Theist, I don´t think we are gonna get any further here.

"That doesn't support the idea that "agnostic" by itself accommodates "deliberate belief in a God." "

Never said it did. I said it´s a possibility.

"The point is that I have found (and reprinted) a lot of support for my contention of how "Agnostic" is widely understood."

lol, You aren´t tired of this competition yet?

alot of support? By appealing to certain dictionary definitions and Mr Huxley? well that´s fine, just be aware that I can and have used the same way to conclude that you are best described as an Atheist and not an Agnostic. I have also used your own quotes against you to demonstrate that you can be both a Theist and Agnostic at the same time. You falsely claimed it´s a contradiction, which only demonstrates you need to do your homework on Logic.

I repeat:

Unless you find some empiric/semantical research done on how people use labels as Agnostic/Atheist/Theist, I don´t think we are gonna get any further here.

 

 

 

"are you saying Jews aren't?"

No.


"start with Jews first, then talk to us"

About what?



"your hatred for Christianity has been exposed."

I have never hid my dislike for the christian doctrine.

"so you have no dislike for the jewish doctrine (which is 99% of what you listed), yet have a dislike for the christian doctrine (the other 1%)"

I have said no such thing, until you start quoting me directly instead of posting assumptions about me, I will not respond to you.

* Hands minotaurolover a tissue *

Now dry your tears, run along and go play! Bother someone else. I'm busy.

--"alot of support? By appealing to certain dictionary definitions and Mr Huxley? well that´s fine, just be aware that I can and have used the same way to conclude that you are best described as an Atheist and not an Agnostic."--

Of course you haven't. You selected one sentence from a dictionary that said Atheist: "One who believes there is no deity." My stance on the "unknowable" Gods was that I can not hold a belief about them, that I can not "disbelieve" they exist. I categorically DO NOT say "I believe there is no deity" in that case.

How, pray tell, have you demonstrated those two approaches match?

Take a look here at this link to a lot of dictionary definitions of Atheism. Note that they display a variety of definitions, some of which match "strong" atheism, others that match "weak" atheism. The good, i.e. most complete definitions include an explanation of both:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&oi=defmore&q=define:atheist


--"I repeat: Unless you find some empiric/semantically research done on how people use labels as Agnostic/Atheist/Theist, I don´t think we are gonna get any further here."--

(Prof has good chuckle as he watches Fudo step squarely into doo-doo of his own making): How exactly do you think dictionaries are compiled? That's what they are: a compendium of research about our languge. Ever heard of lexicography?

The research that resulted in the dictionary definitions of Atheism contain support for my use of atheism. The research that resulted in the dictionary definitions of Agnostic also overwhelmingly support my use of the word.

:-)

Prof.

(C'mon Fudo, friend, if you can't do better it's time to tap...)