What exactly is atheism? (offshoot of same sex thread)

jezr74

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I'm definately opinionated. I've never denied that.

One can not prove or disprove the existance of God at this point in time. Therefore, it requires faith. Either faith that there is a higher intelligence or faith that there is not.

Many people have doubts; therefore, they seek justification for their beliefs. Often by seeking others with simlar beliefs or by attempting to convert others to their particular belief system.

Understand?

lol no, you have a few false dichotomies in there.
 

crushing

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How do you go about disproving the existence of unicorns?
 

Tez3

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At this point I don't think he really cares. Actually in talking with my grandmother (his mother), it is apparent that her education on the Jewish faith wasn't exactly thorough either. Her explanation of the Passover was sort of hilarious as was her explanation of why potato pancakes were a traditional Hannukah food.

I didn't realize that the Bar Mitzvah happened without the ceremony, mostly I associate the parties that accompanied my (several) friend's Bar Mitzvahs with the first several times I danced with a girl and all the confusion that that brings. :D

Bar Mitzvah parties and ceremonies are a relatively recent thing, probably to make an adolescent boy's life just that bit harder lol. Why not have them, with breaking voice up in Shul reciting and then have to dance with girls, be kissed by ladies with moustaches etc etc, still there are the presents! As for Judaism being a faith, well it's not so much that as a racial, ethnic, way of life thing, your grandmother is completely Jewish (as long as her mother was) with or without 'education', whether it matters that she knows what Passover is properly or not has little bearing on the fact she's Jewish, whether she cares or whether she converts even or becomes an atheist she's still Jewish, can't avoid it.
 

oftheherd1

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...

I personally feel that spirituality is a uniquely personal journey that one must take on their own and those that try to push their religious agenda (be it in favor of a God or against) are merely attempting to seek justification for their beliefs.

Either that or they have a political agenda which is dangerous.

To say that those who try to push their religious agenda are attempting to justify their beliefs seems a little of a strange way to put it. Especially since some religions read their holy texts as requiring them to tell others about their religion. And some feel so happily sure about what their religion provides them they would think themselves remiss not to tell others how to achieve the same feelings of happiness.

...

My objections lie in the actions of the hierarchies in control of the power of organised religions rather than with the individuals who hold faith.

That for some people is very true. Those hierarchies are often judged to fail to follow the tennants of their faith as expressed in their own holy texts.

...

For decades I was an agnostic, willing to be swayed either way on the God(s) Question if a good argument or, lord above {:D}, some proof came along. These days I classify myself as atheist, having had enough of the origin of the universe and of life explained rationally for me not to require a 'God of the Gaps' to fill in where reason and experimentation have not yet reached. Similarly, again with the "for me" proviso, I do not have a need for a religion or a deity to encourage and enforce my innate drive to be morally 'good' rather than 'evil'.

I find people who say these things very interesting. Maybe not you, but many disagree and sometimes put down those who believe in a God, based on faith. (For the record, I do believe in God based on faith). Yet they believe in scientific 'proof' of the origin of the universe, and can only do so based on faith, since science has a lot of proposals for the origin of the universe, but no real proofs. The same applies to the origin of life.

I'm definately opinionated. I've never denied that.

One can not prove or disprove the existance of God at this point in time. Therefore, it requires faith. Either faith that there is a higher intelligence or faith that there is not.

Many people have doubts; therefore, they seek justification for their beliefs. Often by seeking others with simlar beliefs or by attempting to convert others to their particular belief system.

Understand?

No. Just for curiosity, do you attempt to convert others only to justify your belief system?

Do you not attempt to convert others to your belief system?

Do you believe in God, or simply a higher intelligence?
 

Tony Dismukes

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One can not prove or disprove the existance of God at this point in time. Therefore, it requires faith. Either faith that there is a higher intelligence or faith that there is not.

offtheherd1 said:
Maybe not you, but many disagree and sometimes put down those who believe in a God, based on faith. (For the record, I do believe in God based on faith). Yet they believe in scientific 'proof' of the origin of the universe, and can only do so based on faith, since science has a lot of proposals for the origin of the universe, but no real proofs. The same applies to the origin of life.

I think both of you are stretching the meaning of "faith" to be so broad that it starts to lack meaning. You seem to define "faith" to mean anything you believe or else anything you believe that cannot be 100% proven to someone who is disinclined to share your belief. By this sort of definition, you not only have faith in your religious beliefs, but you have "faith" that there is no invisible leprechaun on your shoulder. You have "faith" that the mailman will come today. You have
"faith" that I am not an android built by space aliens. You have "faith" that the world wasn't created in 1910. You have "faith" that your mother is not a Russian sleeper agent. (You can't prove any of those things.)

A more meaningful definition of faith is "belief in the absence of evidence." I can't "prove" that there is no God, any more than I can "prove" that there is no invisible leprechaun on your shoulder. However, until you present me with some evidence for either one then I see no particular reason to believe in either.

oftheherd1 - scientists don't claim to have anything resembling ultimate answers regarding the origins of life or the universe. They have some ideas which are based on the best evidence available to us at this time. As more evidence accumulates, those ideas will doubtless change.

That is where the false equivalence you guys are trying to establish falls down. Saying "I believe x for now because it best matches the available evidence and not y because there is no evidence for it" is not the same as saying "I believe y, regardless of the evidence."
 

oftheherd1

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I will let CC speak for himself, since I don't know his mind.

I think both of you are stretching the meaning of "faith" to be so broad that it starts to lack meaning. You seem to define "faith" to mean anything you believe or else anything you believe that cannot be 100% proven to someone who is disinclined to share your belief. By this sort of definition, you not only have faith in your religious beliefs, but you have "faith" that there is no invisible leprechaun on your shoulder. You have "faith" that the mailman will come today. You have
"faith" that I am not an android built by space aliens. You have "faith" that the world wasn't created in 1910. You have "faith" that your mother is not a Russian sleeper agent. (You can't prove any of those things.)

My preferred definition of faith is from Hebrews 11:1, which says: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You seem to define "faith" to mean anything you believe or else anything you believe that cannot be 100% proven to someone who is disinclined to share your belief. By this sort of definition, you not only have faith in your religious beliefs, but you have "faith" ...

You statements are a little ridiculous, and I think you meant them to be. But let me ask you then, do you believe I have a leprechaun on my shoulder? Can you prove I don't? If you don't believe I do without proof, to what do you ascribe your belief?

A more meaningful definition of faith is "belief in the absence of evidence." I can't "prove" that there is no God, any more than I can "prove" that there is no invisible leprechaun on your shoulder. However, until you present me with some evidence for either one then I see no particular reason to believe in either.

You have given an either or; I have a leprechaun on my shoulder, or I don't. If you can't prove it either way, and choose not to believe in either supposed fact, how is that useful for an illustration, unless you wish to 'believe in the abscense of evidence;' that is, by faith?

oftheherd1 - scientists don't claim to have anything resembling ultimate answers regarding the origins of life or the universe. They have some ideas which are based on the best evidence available to us at this time. As more evidence accumulates, those ideas will doubtless change.

Well, I think many of them do. The big bang theory is accepted to be proven by the background noise discovered by Robert Wilson and arno Penzias in 1964. But they can't really prove that. The believe that must have been the cause, as they can't believe anything else could have produced that. Then they have a problem proving what cause the big bang itself, but they believe there was some sort of singularity that exploded (the big bang) but they don't know if that was so or not. And many people accept that 'scientific' proof as well, to promote their own beliefs.

The same thing happens with stating where life comes from. Many scientists and laymen accept evolution as 'proof' the Bible is wrong, and therefore, God's existence cannot be proven, and by some beliefs, is disproven. (Well, I agree God's existence cannot be 'proven.' For my part, they could save themselves a lot of argument.) But if we don't accept that God created life, then where did it come from? Finding organic matter in comets doesn't prove they brought life to earth. They can believe that, but they have no proof and therefor must accept it on faith. The same for other origins of life.

Granted there are some scientists honest enough to say they can't prove those things.

That is where the false equivalence you guys are trying to establish falls down. Saying "I believe x for now because it best matches the available evidence and not y because there is no evidence for it" is not the same as saying "I believe y, regardless of the evidence."

I don't accept my faith based belief as a false equivalence. Nor do I understand your statement above. I mean I understand the words, but not your meaning. I never said I believe x or y based on evidence. I said I believed in God based on faith. So I agree believing in x or y on evidence, versus believing in y without (not regarless of) evidence would be faith.

I did not say what you are saying I said.

Sorry if anything above seems jumbled. If so, point it out and I will try to clarify. I am at work, and there are brief periods when I am caught up, and other periods when I must respond to requests. I may have lost a train of thought, or thought myself to have stated something I haven't.

I hope you now understand my definition of faith. Of course, neither you nor anyone else is required to believe as I do.
 

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Atheism is the religion of bashing other religions. Ironically, they seem to talk about "God" more than anyone else. A "true" atheist would have no cause to discuss religion at all, any more than they would crusade against the Easter Bunny, but they take out ads and dedicate their time to bashing "God".

Personaly, I think many of them became "atheists" because something bad happened to them at some point in their life and they "blamed" God for it. So now, they lash out agasint "God" the same way a child lashes out at a parent when they don't get their way. At least that's what I've observed from self-professed atheists.

I doubt very seriously you'd hear much from a "true" atheist and would likely not even know they were an atheist unless you asked.

bull.

if i had to label myself id say im atheist.

i dont believe there's a god/alah/budda/magical sky fairy up there that created everything.

being an atheist isnt a religion or 'movement' as you seem to insinuate it is. just because i dont believe in a god doesnt mean i dont think others should. believe what you like; i dont care.

i decided i didnt believe at a very young age (perhaps 6 or 7). i went to a christian primary school and it proved quite difficult for me. i respected what they believed but stopped saying the prayers in assembly. i just bowed my head and stayed quiet. i was told to say them anyway but i wouldnt.. surely it would be more dis-respectful to pay lip service to something i dont believe in?

so no, i didnt have anything 'happen' to me, i just made my own mind up on the subject.

as mentioned above the simple definition of an atheist is that they dont believe in a deity. well.. thats all it is with me.

i respect whatever religion people are. just dont try forcing it on me.
 
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jezr74

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How do you go about disproving the existence of unicorns?

Easy, the same way we determine the existence of any other lifeforms that has been on earth. Like the dino's, bones left behind etc.

Maybe probability is best used when used in the context of mythical beings?

ie. Existence of unicorns has a .000001% probability
based on what we know of current hereditary lines of horses, no reside left behind like bones or matter.
no current lines of breed have protruding bones from the forehead etc.
Ancient text cross referenced with others etc etc

That's layman terms. I'm sure specialists in have been detail. Just use probability combined with evidence based information.
 

celtic_crippler

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Atheism isn't a belief.

It's a belief that there is no "God" or higher intelligence, so yeah... it's a belief. LOL

Just for curiosity, do you attempt to convert others only to justify your belief system?

Do you not attempt to convert others to your belief system?

Do you believe in God, or simply a higher intelligence?

I don't believe I stated what I believe either way. I've only made observations.

There are men of science on both sides of the coin that cite theory on the existence of or against a "supreme intelligence".

For example: astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote in his 1983 book "The Intelligent Universe" that the odds of our DNA forming randomly to create human beings had a probability of 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000. His infamous "Tornado Analogy" stated that it was more likely for a tornado to rip through a junkyard and randomly assemble a functioning 747 jet than for cellular life to from into intelligent life as we know it; basically arguing for the existence of some higher power.

Since then, others have postulated otherwise and their theories can be easily looked up by googling "Hoyle’s Fallacy."

So even the most intellectual of intellectuals can not agree.

Interestingly enough, and something else to consider, is the fact that people of all faiths (including former atheists) have all reported near-death experiences. They all have common threads as well, regardless of who or what they believe in. In the cases of atheists who previously believed in nothing, they started believing, but I digress... they all share similar experiences in regards to "seeing" dead family members and/or their religious icons who all gave them life-changing advice.

That being said, there are professed atheists who also claim to have been near-death or clinically dead and had no experience what-so-ever.

Simply a result of altered brain chemistry brought about by the death process?


Perhaps it will be as it is in Piers Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series where the “believer’s” soul gets judged and goes to the appropriate afterlife while the “atheists’” soul simply crumples to dust and their done existing on any plane.

I’d wager the debate is probably the oldest in human history. It’s been debated by philosophers and scientists alike; some for and some against.

Atheists maintain that there is insufficient reason or evidence to believe while those who believe cite that God is not amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone.

Descartes said the existence of God was logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful.

Epicurus is recognized as the first to bring up the problem of evil presenting the argument that if God exists and is omnipotent then why would “He” allow evil to exist?

It’s actually a very complicated matter and there are logical and accepted arguments from both sides which is why, as I stated earlier, that the existence of God can not necessarily be proved or disproved.

So, I again reiterate, that spirituality is something best left to the individual to decide for themselves. And, depending on how important it is to the individual will dictate how much time and effort they put into it.

No one can refute the fact that we will all die eventually. At that time, any doubts or questions you had either way will definitely be laid to rest along with your body. LOL
 

jezr74

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It's a belief that there is no "God" or higher intelligence, so yeah... it's a belief. LOL

There are men of science on both sides of the coin that cite theory on the existence of or against a "supreme intelligence".

Ok, I'm going to leave the whole belief part aside for the moment, it's not that important and people use the context differently.

As far as you topics you pointed out in science. There is a fundamental flaw when you mix religion with science. Science always wins, when.... a scientific claim is made. No science is going to prove or dis-prove any fantastical idea, belief or hunch. When a fringe scientist, makes a claim. It is ONLY valid when it goes through correct scientific peer review, if it can stand up to un-biased review. Then it will be accepted by the majority of the Scientific community and then is accepted as fact until some new evidence is introduced and is then weighed again.

The reason you don't hear about a lot of these fringe "scientists" is that they are commonly wrong and publishing garbage with no backing. They have a hidden agenda, commonly money and includes people with religious background, and scientist trying to make a name for them selves. But it's science, part of science is the production of repeatable, testable results. So the truth comes out, it can take a while for some items, but it generally does.

I might add to that the term "Theory" is very different to the layman way you and I may use it. In true scientific terms, Theory is something that has been accepted for example. Gravity, The Big Bang, Relativity. Theory in the context of the layman, they think it means that it's philosophical or hasn't been proven yet. That is not correct, the scientific term of theory means it has enough evidence supporting it.
 

jezr74

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Ok, question for people of faith.

Do you believe your God is there? Or do you know he is there?
 

Omar B

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I'm an atheist.

- I don't belive in god or gods
- I don't belong to any atheist group or club or church. It's always funny when you hear people railing against atheist, they speak of us as if we are a club who has meetings every Sunday. I don't hang out with atheist and talk about atheist things like religious people do. There is no overarching organization, no pope. We are peopel as diverse as any, only that we share one opinion.
 

Xue Sheng

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It's a belief that there is no "God" or higher intelligence, so yeah... it's a belief. LOL



I don't believe I stated what I believe either way. I've only made observations.

There are men of science on both sides of the coin that cite theory on the existence of or against a "supreme intelligence".

For example: astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote in his 1983 book "The Intelligent Universe" that the odds of our DNA forming randomly to create human beings had a probability of 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000. His infamous "Tornado Analogy" stated that it was more likely for a tornado to rip through a junkyard and randomly assemble a functioning 747 jet than for cellular life to from into intelligent life as we know it; basically arguing for the existence of some higher power.

Since then, others have postulated otherwise and their theories can be easily looked up by googling "Hoyle’s Fallacy."

So even the most intellectual of intellectuals can not agree.

Interestingly enough, and something else to consider, is the fact that people of all faiths (including former atheists) have all reported near-death experiences. They all have common threads as well, regardless of who or what they believe in. In the cases of atheists who previously believed in nothing, they started believing, but I digress... they all share similar experiences in regards to "seeing" dead family members and/or their religious icons who all gave them life-changing advice.

That being said, there are professed atheists who also claim to have been near-death or clinically dead and had no experience what-so-ever.

Simply a result of altered brain chemistry brought about by the death process?


Perhaps it will be as it is in Piers Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series where the “believer’s” soul gets judged and goes to the appropriate afterlife while the “atheists’” soul simply crumples to dust and their done existing on any plane.

I’d wager the debate is probably the oldest in human history. It’s been debated by philosophers and scientists alike; some for and some against.

Atheists maintain that there is insufficient reason or evidence to believe while those who believe cite that God is not amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone.

Descartes said the existence of God was logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful.

Epicurus is recognized as the first to bring up the problem of evil presenting the argument that if God exists and is omnipotent then why would “He” allow evil to exist?

It’s actually a very complicated matter and there are logical and accepted arguments from both sides which is why, as I stated earlier, that the existence of God can not necessarily be proved or disproved.

So, I again reiterate, that spirituality is something best left to the individual to decide for themselves. And, depending on how important it is to the individual will dictate how much time and effort they put into it.

No one can refute the fact that we will all die eventually. At that time, any doubts or questions you had either way will definitely be laid to rest along with your body. LOL

Technically you are correct but many define atheism as a “Lack of Belief” based on the definition of atheism. However they are not taking into account the entire definition which is “the absence of belief in God” Although I will say that Atheism is not a religious beleif

Also based on what definition of belief you want to use..or omit

belief
1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

If you omit the definition that say “something believed; an opinion or conviction” and go with the rests which are faith based you can say Atheism is not a belief.

However there is the darned first part of the definition above, which actually does exist, which would then say an atheist believes there is no God so darn if you are not right back to a type of belief.
 

jezr74

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I'm an atheist.

- I don't belive in god or gods
- I don't belong to any atheist group or club or church. It's always funny when you hear people railing against atheist, they speak of us as if we are a club who has meetings every Sunday. I don't hang out with atheist and talk about atheist things like religious people do. There is no overarching organization, no pope. We are peopel as diverse as any, only that we share one opinion.

Yeah, I have wondered what these groups are myself.
 

Xue Sheng

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Ok, I'm going to leave the whole belief part aside for the moment, it's not that important and people use the context differently.

As far as you topics you pointed out in science. There is a fundamental flaw when you mix religion with science. Science always wins, when.... a scientific claim is made. No science is going to prove or dis-prove any fantastical idea, belief or hunch. When a fringe scientist, makes a claim. It is ONLY valid when it goes through correct scientific peer review, if it can stand up to un-biased review. Then it will be accepted by the majority of the Scientific community and then is accepted as fact until some new evidence is introduced and is then weighed again.

The reason you don't hear about a lot of these fringe "scientists" is that they are commonly wrong and publishing garbage with no backing. They have a hidden agenda, commonly money and includes people with religious background, and scientist trying to make a name for them selves. But it's science, part of science is the production of repeatable, testable results. So the truth comes out, it can take a while for some items, but it generally does.

I might add to that the term "Theory" is very different to the layman way you and I may use it. In true scientific terms, Theory is something that has been accepted for example. Gravity, The Big Bang, Relativity. Theory in the context of the layman, they think it means that it's philosophical or hasn't been proven yet. That is not correct, the scientific term of theory means it has enough evidence supporting it.

I am not sure that Galileo would completely agree with that but an argument could be made that the Church got involved and mucked things up. But I am not so sure Alfred Wegener would agree either because most scientists at the time thought he was a nut and on the fringe... but he was right and the scientists of the time were wrong.
 

punisher73

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Technically you are correct but many define atheism as a “Lack of Belief” based on the definition of atheism. However they are not taking into account the entire definition which is “the absence of belief in God” Although I will say that Atheism is not a religious beleif

Also based on what definition of belief you want to use..or omit



If you omit the definition that say “something believed; an opinion or conviction” and go with the rests which are faith based you can say Atheism is not a belief.

However there is the darned first part of the definition above, which actually does exist, which would then say an atheist believes there is no God so darn if you are not right back to a type of belief.

Agreed and requoted for truth. I posted that earlier and no one talked about it.

Atheism is a "belief" unless we want to change the accepted definition of the word, or redefine it with caveats.
 

celtic_crippler

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People are going to believe what they want to believe and seek ways to validate those beliefs.

They will either accept the existence of a higher power or they will not.

I don't care what anyone believes as long as they aren't trying to legislate it onto me and extend the same courtesy to them.

I find that people will usually wind up hangin' with those who are like-minded regardless.

So, enjoy whatever it is you believe or don't believe in.

As I stated and it has yet to be challenged: we will all die eventually. At that time, any doubts or questions you had either way will definitely be laid to rest along with your body.
 

Omar B

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Yeah, I have wondered what these groups are myself.

Anytime some atheist does something that some religious group does not agree with it becomes "those atheists." As if we have meetings and stuff. It's christian way of painting us with one brush when really they are the huge monolith.

Some guy puts up an anti-religion billboard, has nothing to do with me, I was not consulted, I wasn't at "church" in the meeting. Usually I find some anti-religion thing funny because it becomes this huge finger pointing thing, except the finger doesn't point to the catholics or the anglicans, but an individual or a couple individuals trying to rustle the religionists jimmies (Stay rustled loosers!). Personally I don't care. If I were to take issue with everything religion related on a daily basis it would drive me crazy. But then I'm not some busybody trying to convert anyone and shield people from differing opinions on an insignificant topic.
 
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