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Definition of Atheism


MissThundra86
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Hello guys,

So it turns out that the definition of atheism as "lack of belief in god(s)" is almost non existent in the field of philosophy itself.
In almost all the encyclopedia & dictionaries of philosophy and amongst philosophers and in academia the standard definition of atheism is " the belief/view that there is no god(s)" or put in another way "The proposition that God(s) do not exist."

You can check
Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy( one of the most cited encyclopedia of philosophy)

Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy

Internet encyclopedia of philosophy

Encyclopedia Britannica

some commercial url

The oxford companion to philosophy

oxford dictionary of philosophy

Blackwell dictionary of western philosophy

Cambridge dictionary of philosophy (the only dictionary to include the none-standard definition in a positive light but it itself holds to the standard definition as it's preferred one)

and so on

And it's what noting that the standard definition in this dictionaries/encyclopedias are written by atheist philosophers themselves.

So amongst the vast majorities dictionaries of philosophy and within philosophical discourse itself, the standard definition is used. 

That I think begs the question why the vast majority of people on the internet and atheist activists still chose to insist that atheism is simply " the lack of belief in god(s)"? A definition that's almost none existent in academia itself.

Edited by Phi for All
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43 minutes ago, MissThundra86 said:

That I think begs the question why the vast majority of people on the internet and atheist activists still chose to insist that atheism is simply " the lack of belief in god(s)"? A definition that's almost none existent in academia itself.

I think this would simply be because most people on the Internet aren’t themselves academics, and thus may not immediately grasp the difference between these - superficially similar-sounding - definitions. 

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1 hour ago, MissThundra86 said:

Hello guys,

So it turns out that the definition of atheism as "lack of belief in god(s)" is almost non existent in the field of philosophy itself.
In almost all the encyclopedia & dictionaries of philosophy and amongst philosophers and in academia the standard definition of atheism is " the belief/view that there is no god(s)" or put in another way "The proposition that God(s) do not exist."

You can check
Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy( one of the most cited encyclopedia of philosophy)

Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy

Internet encyclopedia of philosophy

Encyclopedia Britannica

ismbook.com/ism-list/

The oxford companion to philosophy

oxford dictionary of philosophy

Blackwell dictionary of western philosophy

Cambridge dictionary of philosophy (the only dictionary to include the none-standard definition in a positive light but it itself holds to the standard definition as it's preferred one)

and so on

And it's what noting that the standard definition in this dictionaries/encyclopedias are written by atheist philosophers themselves.

So amongst the vast majorities dictionaries of philosophy and within philosophical discourse itself, the standard definition is used. 

That I think begs the question why the vast majority of people on the internet and atheist activists still chose to insist that atheism is simply " the lack of belief in god(s)"? A definition that's almost none existent in academia itself.

 

You may have offered me an explanation I hadn't thought of, although I don't see why you have introduced a definition given by Philosophers since they have no patent on it.

26 minutes ago, Markus Hanke said:

I think this would simply be because most people on the Internet aren’t themselves academics, and thus may not immediately grasp the difference between these - superficially similar-sounding - definitions. 

Possibly, even probably but I do not agree that the difference is superficial.

Denying the existence of a God is much stronger than simply not possessing a God to believe in.

 

It is noteworthy that the trusty OED uses the word 'denying'  - an active state.

I suppose that Philosphers might argue that the positive state (theism) is belief in a God and that atheism is simply the negative of this, which could be taken to include those who not only do not believe  but also those who actively expound against.

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3 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

That I think begs the question why the vast majority of people on the internet and atheist activists still chose to insist that atheism is simply " the lack of belief in god(s)"? A definition that's almost none existent in academia itself.

For me, it most closely aligns with my stance on the matter. In science, it's better to say "We don't know" rather than conclude something there's no evidence for. Since science deals with the natural world, and the concept of deities is a supernatural one, I think the scientific stance is to withhold any judgement until there's some evidence to analyze. Science doesn't have the tools to measure god(s) until they agree to become observable, predictable, and consistent.

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5 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

For me, it most closely aligns with my stance on the matter. In science, it's better to say "We don't know" rather than conclude something there's no evidence for. Since science deals with the natural world, and the concept of deities is a supernatural one, I think the scientific stance is to withhold any judgement until there's some evidence to analyze. Science doesn't have the tools to measure god(s) until they agree to become observable, predictable, and consistent.

Indeed +1, we don't know, it's like asking for permission to question... 

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There are different "flavors" of atheist, but pretty much all of them simply mean "not theist." It's right there in the word... A (not) - theist.

But there is weak atheism: I don't believe in god or gods.

And there is strong atheism: I actively believe there are NO gods.

These are subtly, but importantly different. 

There's also agonistic atheism (I don't believe, but cannot know for sure), and agnostic theism (I do believe, but cannot be sure I'm right).

Anyway... looks like our OP was just here to spam us anyway, and I have strong beliefs about spammers.

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5 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

So it turns out that the definition of atheism as "lack of belief in god(s)" is almost non existent in the field of philosophy itself.

What purpose would it serve in modern philosophy? If it didn't appear 12th - 19th century European philosophy, that may have been because the Christian god was taken for granted - indeed, had to be taken for granted, because questioning his existence was subject to punishment ranging from social disapprobation to public execution. In the definition you cite, there is a nod to other religions (gods) that would not have occurred to a European philosopher in the 1700's - they were all more theologians than philosophers: their categorization of thought-systems was quite different from those of the ancient Greeks, their Asians counterparts and modern ethicists. The god(s) thing is an afterthought; none besides Jehovah and his two alter egos is seriously considered as objects of faith between 400AD and 1900AD.

5 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

And it's what noting that the standard definition in this dictionaries/encyclopedias are written by atheist philosophers themselves.

How do you know this? And why is it relevant?

5 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

So amongst the vast majorities dictionaries of philosophy and within philosophical discourse itself, the standard definition is used. 

Is this accurate? I don't think philosophical reference books do stop at that skimpy definition. For instance, from the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy:

Quote

The purpose of this entry is to explore how atheism and agnosticism are related to theism and, more importantly, to each other. This requires examining the surprisingly contentious issue of how best to define the terms “atheism” and “agnosticism”. Settling this issue, at least for the purposes of this entry, will set the stage for discussing an important distinction between global atheism and local atheism, which in turn will be helpful for distinguishing different forms of agnosticism.

It goes on to explore seven main aspects of the question in detail. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy has a short entry (by William Clifford) that reads, in part:

Quote

Atheism is ostensibly the doctrine that there is no God. Some atheists support this claim arguments. But these arguments are usually directed against the Christian concept of God, and are largely irrelevant to other possible gods

So he's expressly putting atheism in opposition to one other belief, and not in any larger context.  

 If theism is referred-to as a 'positive state', that reveals a fundamental bias - one that was prevalent in Eurocentric philosophy of the 19th and early 20th century. It places one single belief at the center of a world-view which is not further elaborated. But the seeds of dissent were present in the late 19th, and non-, as well as anti-religious thought surged in the second half of the 20th century. Euro-phil is liberated from the Christian doctrine by Bertrand Russell and his cohort, c 1930. 

One idea does not make a philosophy. A belief in gods, ghosts, Manifest Destiny, Justice, Fate, the Unity of all Things, dark matter or the Rules of Acquisition, is but one aspect of a world view, a basis for one's attitude to life, other life forms, the physical world, moral standards, social organization and the drafting of laws.
A conscientious philosopher would not regard either the lack of belief or the denial - even the vehement denial - of a single proposition as an end in itself, but proceed to explore the conceptual worlds to which that proposition logically gives rise.  Of course, in the past century and a half, quite a few philosophers have done so.

5 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

That I think begs the question why the vast majority of people on the internet and atheist activists still chose to insist that atheism is simply " the lack of belief in god(s)"? A definition that's almost none existent in academia itself.

Do most of the people you know, in cyberspace or walking life, describe their own conviction about anything in academic terms? I suspect your internet atheists describe themselves that way, because they have, at some point, broken with a religious dogma, but not troubled to build an entire philosophy of their own, and the  'activists' are referring to a particular political issue, rather than a fully formed world-view. They're limiting their definition to a specific issue or context. 

Edited by Peterkin
accidentally cut off a paragraph
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1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

For me, it most closely aligns with my stance on the matter. In science, it's better to say "We don't know" rather than conclude something there's no evidence for. Since science deals with the natural world, and the concept of deities is a supernatural one, I think the scientific stance is to withhold any judgement until there's some evidence to analyze. Science doesn't have the tools to measure god(s) until they agree to become observable, predictable, and consistent.

Hmm... I hold a somewhat different view. Even if science cannot make a rigorous prof (and therefore a claim) that there is no God, it should still honestly advise general population that it is not smart to spend extensive resources (time/money/effort) only to please any god(s). Not having a rigorous proof does not mean you should refrain from making a honest advice... In fact, science must clearly state its best advice and not keep silent (I don't think it has much to do with quality of equipment available to science; even if science only has most rudimentary tools, it should provide advice the best it can at that moment... loud and clear, even if it has to apologize later).

 

Regarding OP, I am undecided which of the two would be a better definition of atheism. I think we should have different words for the two definitions (maybe we do, only I don't know them).

 

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Dan,  science currently has enough suspicion and hostility directed at it.   To have scientists start advising people on their religious practices and how to allocate their personal resources, would only worsen the situation.  Maybe putting flowers by the Buddha or the blessed Virgin,  while viewed by an atheist as a waste of effort, gives someone deep peace and satisfaction that ripples throughout their day.  Seems like science best remain silent on this. 

Atheism I've always taken to mean the active assertion there are no gods.  Agnosticism being the other view that knowledge of such an entity is beyond our human epistemic limits.   I go with the latter and find serious atheists smug and off-putting.  

Edited by TheVat
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I'm not sure what a serious atheist is. Hitchens? Okay, he was a bit smug and off-putting, poor guy. Russell and Huxley, I found quite engaging. Maybe it's the advantage of having a very class English at the tip of their pens. 

There are several types - flavours? yes - of Western atheism in the early 21st century, but the major challenge to all of them is the aggressive resurgence of state religion. If atheists are too loud and shrill, it's because they're shouting back at a hurricane.  

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2 hours ago, Danijel Gorupec said:

I think we should have different words for the two definitions (maybe we do, only I don't know them).

Would you settle for categories?

Quote

Then, there is the Dawkins scale... (he can be a off-putting, too, which doesn't mean he's right and doesn't prove he's wrong)

Here is some interesting commentary and more scales - Agnostic Universe (anonymous blog)

Having indulged in all that sorting, rating and decimal counting, I have to wonder:  How important is it to identify one's exact shade of unbelief? 

They're certainly more precise from the other perspective, which is far more important to some people: the types and degrees of deviation from a doctrine considered as the norm or standard - nonconformist, reformer, misbeliever, schismatic, skeptic, recusant,  dissenter, apostate, heretic, iconoclast, infidel....

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2 hours ago, TheVat said:

Atheism I've always taken to mean the active assertion there are no gods

This definition really only seems to apply at the margins. The literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods,” according to Merriam-Webster. Not believing is not the same as actively believing in none. 

https://theweek.com/articles/476559/rise-atheism-america

Quote

Only between 1.5 and 4 percent of Americans admit to so-called "hard atheism," the conviction that no higher power exists. But a much larger share of the American public (19 percent) spurns organized religion in favor of a nondefined skepticism about faith. This group, sometimes collectively labeled the "Nones," is growing faster than any religious faith in the U.S.

 

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3 hours ago, Peterkin said:

What purpose would it serve in modern philosophy? If it didn't appear 12th - 19th century European philosophy, that may have been because the Christian god was taken for granted - indeed, had to be taken for granted, because questioning his existence was subject to punishment ranging from social disapprobation to public execution. In the definition you cite, there is a nod to other religions (gods) that would not have occurred to a European philosopher in the 1700's - they were all more theologians than philosophers: their categorization of thought-systems was quite different from those of the ancient Greeks, their Asians counterparts and modern ethicists. The god(s) thing is an afterthought; none besides Jehovah and his two alter egos is seriously considered as objects of faith between 400AD and 1900AD.

How do you know this? And why is it relevant?

Is this accurate? I don't think philosophical reference books do stop at that skimpy definition. For instance, from the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy:

It goes on to explore seven main aspects of the question in detail. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy has a short entry (by William Clifford) that reads, in part:

So he's expressly putting atheism in opposition to one other belief, and not in any larger context.  

 If theism is referred-to as a 'positive state', that reveals a fundamental bias - one that was prevalent in Eurocentric philosophy of the 19th and early 20th century. It places one single belief at the center of a world-view which is not further elaborated. But the seeds of dissent were present in the late 19th, and non-, as well as anti-religious thought surged in the second half of the 20th century. Euro-phil is liberated from the Christian doctrine by Bertrand Russell and his cohort, c 1930. 

One idea does not make a philosophy. A belief in gods, ghosts, Manifest Destiny, Justice, Fate, the Unity of all Things, dark matter or the Rules of Acquisition, is but one aspect of a world view, a basis for one's attitude to life, other life forms, the physical world, moral standards, social organization and the drafting of laws.
A conscientious philosopher would not regard either the lack of belief or the denial - even the vehement denial - of a single proposition as an end in itself, but proceed to explore the conceptual worlds to which that proposition logically gives rise.  Of course, in the past century and a half, quite a few philosophers have done so.

Do most of the people you know, in cyberspace or walking life, describe their own conviction about anything in academic terms? I suspect your internet atheists describe themselves that way, because they have, at some point, broken with a religious dogma, but not troubled to build an entire philosophy of their own, and the  'activists' are referring to a particular political issue, rather than a fully formed world-view. They're limiting their definition to a specific issue or context. 

There's a lot to unpack here but I think you missed the central points of my claims.

Technically (at least from a philosopher's point of view) to withhold or suspend belief for whatever reason does not make one an atheist (at least not under the standard definition). 
The problem statement is, Does God exist? Theism give a positive answer of yes.
The "a" in a-theism should be considered as a negation, so if theism is construed as the proposition that God does exist, then atheism is an answer to the question by stating that No, God(s) do not exist.
And if theism is to be broadened to a set of religious beliefs then atheism is more broadly a rejection of all forms of religious beliefs, regardless of their position about the divine
The answer "lack of belief" is just a claim about the state of mind of the person, not a claim about existence/inexistence of God. It is not an answer to the question itself.

With that being said,their are many people who don't fall under the standard definition but self identify as atheist or theist and to me that's totally fine. Their are those who are technically irreligious or "nones" who might subscribe to belief in spiritual realities but reject an form of organized religion who self identify as atheist. And their those who are truly atheist but do not self identify as such because they don't want to be identified with the New atheist movement (Neil deGrasse Tyson I believe falls under the category). And their are those who are theist(eg christians) who are practical atheist because even though they say they believe in a deity, they live as if their is no deity.
This view does make having conversations a bit harder cos we all have to define or redefine what we mean but that's just part of the complexity of human interaction (in my opinion).

So do I have a problem with people using "lack of belief" as their definition of atheism? Not really
What is kinda of unsettling is when people choose to make it the universal definition whilst willfully rejecting the standard definition(perhaps because it's unsettling to them and their worldview ); Especially since their definition is almost non existent amongst the people who study the subject matter for a living.

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44 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Would you settle for categories?

Then, there is the Dawkins scale... (he can be a off-putting, too, which doesn't mean he's right and doesn't prove he's wrong)

Here is some interesting commentary and more scales - Agnostic Universe (anonymous blog)

Having indulged in all that sorting, rating and decimal counting, I have to wonder:  How important is it to identify one's exact shade of unbelief? 

They're certainly more precise from the other perspective, which is far more important to some people: the types and degrees of deviation from a doctrine considered as the norm or standard - nonconformist, reformer, misbeliever, schismatic, skeptic, recusant,  dissenter, apostate, heretic, iconoclast, infidel....

Why do folks always miss my point of view ?

I just don't care.

But there doesn't seem to be a category for that.

Edited by studiot
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34 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Would you settle for categories?

I see... there is the whole zoo :).

2 hours ago, TheVat said:

Dan,  science currently has enough suspicion and hostility directed at it.   To have scientists start advising people on their religious practices and how to allocate their personal resources, would only worsen the situation.  Maybe putting flowers by the Buddha or the blessed Virgin,  while viewed by an atheist as a waste of effort, gives someone deep peace and satisfaction that ripples throughout their day.  Seems like science best remain silent on this. 

Atheism I've always taken to mean the active assertion there are no gods.  Agnosticism being the other view that knowledge of such an entity is beyond our human epistemic limits.   I go with the latter and find serious atheists smug and off-putting.  

Ok... I am a practical person... if too many people would suffer, then science may tactically tone down some of its conclusions... (but that is quite a question to discuss, I would say)

What do you mean by 'serious atheists'? If you speak about those anti-theists, then I agree... I consider myself an atheist (not agnostic, if I understand the positions correctly), but still find anti-theists scary.

12 minutes ago, studiot said:

Why do folks always miss my point of view ?

I just don't care.

But there doesn't seem to be a category for that.

Hey... but that would make you a non-theist (I just read this from the article - as they say, that would put you among the rarest atheists)

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15 minutes ago, MissThundra86 said:

What is kinda of unsettling is when people choose to make it the universal definition whilst willfully rejecting the standard definition

You have not successfully made the case that there is One True Definition. If two different dictionaries have two different definitions, how do you get to claim one is the standard and the other is not?

On another subject, why do you think everyone is "willfully" rejecting what you claim to be the "standard" definition? Did anyone check to see if these people using the supposedly wrong definition were even aware there was a "standard" definition in the first place, and that it didn't match their definition? And further, how could a disagreement about word usage be unsettling? Is this disagreement disrupting the world order in some way?

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1 hour ago, MissThundra86 said:

The answer "lack of belief" is just a claim about the state of mind of the person, not a claim about existence/inexistence of God. It is not an answer to the question itself.

On the contrary, I think "lack of belief" is an excellent claim, and is basically the null hypothesis between "I believe god(s) exist" and "I don't believe god(s) exist. I can assume that a lack of belief is appropriate until evidence shows otherwise.

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12 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

That I think begs the question why the vast majority of people on the internet and atheist activists still chose to insist that atheism is simply " the lack of belief in god(s)"? A definition that's almost none existent in academia itself.

 

Usage defines words and ultimately trumps any prior dictionary definitions. Even the compilers of dictionaries must bow to common usage - ie even 'standard' and agreed meanings of words get revised (usually by adding a numbered alt definition) according to how people actually use them in practice. If you are engaging in discussions and debates about atheism you need to accept that there are no absolute rules about word usage and if what someone means is not explicit or apparent from context you should ask for clarity.

I am not sure it serves any purpose to argue over those differences when it is usually easy to work out what is actually meant so you can argue about that. A bit like how I think arguing about calling anthopogenic climate change "global warming" or "climate change" for common usage is a distraction from what is important and serves no real purpose.

.

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4 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

Technically (at least from a philosopher's point of view) to withhold or suspend belief for whatever reason does not make one an atheist (at least not under the standard definition). 
 

Then you need to change "the standard definition". To withhold belief from a concept does, indeed make one an a- or non- ist. An ism requires commitment to a belief or system of thought. A theist subscribes to the cult of deity, just as relativists, socialists, pragmatists, hedonists etc. subscribe to a set of philosophical principles. 

Quote

The problem statement is, Does God exist?

Yes. Is that the only possible way to phrase the question? What do you mean by a capitalized God? Why are you asking whether an undefined entity exists? Nobody could answer such a question intelligibly.  A strong theist would likely say "Yes, He does exist." A weak theist might hedge and say "Yes, I believe he exists". Whereupon you would either have to proceed on the assumption that both interlocutors are referring to same undefined entity (in which case you will have lost all claim to a philosophical exchange and moved on to a theological one between coreligionists) or ask "Which God?" , which could get complicated. Even if you managed to sort out the divine identity in question, you would then still have to face the questions "How do you know?" and "Why do you think your sources of information are reliable?" And at the end of all that, you still only got as far as "I believe a god of some kind exists." 

Now, why would a philosopher open that can in the first place, when they had the option of defining their terms and delimiting the scope of their inquiry before phrasing the first question?

4 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

then atheism is an answer to the question by stating that No, God(s) do not exist.

Maybe. But you can't ever be sure what an atheist will answer. I, for instance, usually say "I haven't bought that insurance policy." Asking a question does not oblige your respondent to choose one of your two answers.   

4 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

And if theism is to be broadened to a set of religious beliefs then atheism is more broadly a rejection of all forms of religious beliefs, regardless of their position about the divine

It very often is.

4 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

The answer "lack of belief" is just a claim about the state of mind of the person, not a claim about existence/inexistence of God. It is not an answer to the question itself.

That option is also included.

 

4 hours ago, MissThundra86 said:

With that being said,their are many people who don't fall under the standard definition but self identify as atheist or theist and to me that's totally fine.

There goes that 'standard definition' again! I thought we'd established that it's useless. 

Edited by Peterkin
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22 hours ago, studiot said:

Possibly, even probably but I do not agree that the difference is superficial.

I agree, the difference is in fact huge. What I meant by my comment is that the definitions may sound similar on the surface, to those who don’t think about them more carefully. 

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1 hour ago, Markus Hanke said:

I agree, the difference is in fact huge. What I meant by my comment is that the definitions may sound similar on the surface, to those who don’t think about them more carefully. 

Indeed, it's another one of them pesky spectrum's that stubbornly refuse a simple definition. 

I consider myself an athiest that believes in God's (are useful); I believe that puts me on one extreme...

I also consider myself a scientist (by nature, if not by nurture)... 😉

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many confuse A-Theist as Anti-Theist.

This is not the case. Its A-Theist in the same sense as A-Gender, meaning one that does not hold a theistic belief.

There are two types of Atheists:

Strong atheists are ones who claim not only they don't believe there is a God, rather they actively claim God does not exist.
This, of course has no validation what so ever as one cannot claim for absence of non-measurable concept.

The more common form of atheism (Dawkins, Claus, Hitchens and more) is simply the lack of belief (or acceptance) of the idea of a God (or any spiritual concept for that matter).

Don't confuse that with the idea that religion is dangerous. This has got no relation to being an Atheist or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Segev said:

Many confuse A-Theist as Anti-Theist.

This is not the case. Its A-Theist in the same sense as A-Gender, meaning one that does not hold a theistic belief.

There are two types of Atheists:

Strong atheists are ones who claim not only they don't believe there is a God, rather they actively claim God does not exist.
This, of course has no validation what so ever as one cannot claim for absence of non-measurable concept.

The more common form of atheism (Dawkins, Claus, Hitchens and more) is simply the lack of belief (or acceptance) of the idea of a God (or any spiritual concept for that matter).

Don't confuse that with the idea that religion is dangerous. This has got no relation to being an Atheist or not.

But isn't this only part of the story ?

Surely what matters is what the user of the word aetheist think it means or, if you like, means by it ?

If a user uses the word differently from others she has failed to communicate her meaning, before it is even received or interpreted.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Segev said:

There are two types of Atheists:

I've heard 3, 4, 5, 6, or even a spectrum from 0 to 100. (Hardly anything human comes in just two categories.)

1 hour ago, Segev said:

Strong atheists are ones who claim not only they don't believe there is a God, rather they actively claim God does not exist.
This, of course has no validation what so ever as one cannot claim for absence of non-measurable concept.

Actually, I've never heard an atheist claim that a god of some kind cannot exist - but you'd have to stretch the definition all out of recognizable shape. What they (we) often do say is that none of the gods of myth and legend exist. More frequently, the discussion centers on the specific deity (whether of one part, two or three) central to the modern Christian doctrine. These latter discussions commonly start with a challenge issued by a theist, who thereby establishes the identity of the God in question. 

However, it's not unreasonable to declare non-belief, skepticism, even incredulity at the suggestion that an intangible, invisible, non-measurable concept has known characteristics or habits - such as presence and absence - and still fits into that one little word with Jehovah and Thor.

1 hour ago, Segev said:

Don't confuse that with the idea that religion is dangerous. This has got no relation to being an Atheist or not.

I'll try not to confuse it, but I wonder:  How do we know what another person's unbelief relates to?  

Edited by Peterkin
mistakes, even more that usual
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On 10/30/2021 at 12:24 AM, Phi for All said:

For me, it most closely aligns with my stance on the matter. In science, it's better to say "We don't know" rather than conclude something there's no evidence for. Since science deals with the natural world, and the concept of deities is a supernatural one, I think the scientific stance is to withhold any judgement until there's some evidence to analyze. Science doesn't have the tools to measure god(s) until they agree to become observable, predictable, and consistent.

I actually reject being labeled an Atheist or anything else for that matter, other then recognising that science explains most of the universe and life around us, and continues to explain more and more. What need do we have for any deity when science can reasonably explain as far back as t+10-35th seconds? The problem as I see it, is that the universe is a cold, dark non caring product of evolution. And the evidence shows that once you are dead, you are dead..kaput, the end! Many humans do not like that answer and it sends a shiver up and down their spine. I'm aligned with Carl Sagan and his answer in the following 2 minute video...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EQDhtVl_50 specifically the part where he says, "If the general picture of the universe of a  BB followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the universe devoid of all matter and then suddenly the matter was created? How did that happen? In manny cultures the customary answers are that a god or gods created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish to persue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question, where did god come from? If we decide this is an unanswerable question, then why not conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or if we say that God always existed, why not save a step, and say that the Universe always existed. There's no need for a creation, the universe always existed. These are not easy questions, cosmology brings us face to face with the deepest mysteries and questions which were once treated only by religion and myth." 

As an amateur non scientist, who has grown [to late in his life sadly to really do anything constructive about it] to realise the beauty of science and its methodology, I understand that science does not have all the answers as yet, and probably never will, but I also understand that it has pushed back the need for any supernatural and paranormal explanation of the universe to near oblivion. In essence I don't even think about  any atheisitic or agnosticism definitions of what I have learnt from forums such as this, and the reading of a large amount of reputable  material that espouse the scientific methodology and its answers. I have also had one or two baggage laden individuals, claiming that my adherence to science and its methodology is a religion like belief, specifically of course when that science debunks the more mythical reasons that they may or may not hold. Science and its methodology to me is simply a refinement of everyday thinking, atheistic, agnosticism or whatever label some may chose to put on that.

 

5 hours ago, Segev said:

Don't confuse that with the idea that religion is dangerous. This has got no relation to being an Atheist or not.

Religion, belief in a particular deity offers comfort and solace to people. I would never ever attempt to destroy that unless that person projects their belief in attempts to deride science, and/or when and if such beliefs interferred with evidenced backed science and medicine.eg: blood transfusions for a minor and such. Just needed to recently attend a funeral of an old school mate of Maltese extraction and deeply religious. We/I respected his beliefs on prior visits and actually re-enforced those beliefs of his with comforting words for him and his family.

Edited by beecee
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