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I think you misunderstand.

 

For instance: You believe that there are WMDs hidden somewhere on Earth, but due to financial limitations, you cannot search every cubic cenimetre to find out; thus you believe but you know you cannot know for sure. Is that contradictory? In much a similar fashion, one can believe in god(s) but also believe that it is impossible to know for an empirical fact that such god(s) exist(s).

 

I take your point.... I guess the problem is partly a semantic one. From my inference it doesn't seem that the argument about WMDs necessarily relays an absolute belief. For example, I will swap the word belief with one I think will provide more amenable connotations to carry my point:

 

"I reckon that there are WMDs hidden somewhere on Earth, but due to financial limitations, I cannot search every cubic centimetre to find out; thus I cannot know for sure."

Such a statement shows doubt, and I guess, I may be wrong with this but I thought strictly; if you believed something you had to be absolutely sure about it.

 

Now, logically I can see such a belief being untenable(regardless of the phenomenon under discussion), but that is what I thought the definition was. Hence this is why I would stress the difference between the word belief and "reckon", that I have used as a device to help illustrate my point.

 

Also, though it could be pursued arbitrarily, the perspective of proof from such an absolutist perspective would be irrelevant. I apologise if I have made errors along the way, but to me, it seems if we try and apply rigorous definitions to the words we are using; then the statement "agnostic theist" does not hold well.

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Currently we don't discuss religion much. We may be reinstating a Philosophy & Religion subforum but even if we do, its aim will not be to argue whether or not God exists or any one religion is r

that sounds like a good idea as a natural man one has certain urges and hungers including spiritual ones and so one ought to be able to have one's atheism feel satisfying   and if that means havin

So, that has nothing to do with deities, agnosticism is about knowledge.     On the axis of theism there are 3 groups of people, those that firmly believe that God exists, those that firmly believ

I take your point.... I guess the problem is partly a semantic one. From my inference it doesn't seem that the argument about WMDs necessarily relays an absolute belief. For example, I will swap the word belief with one I think will provide more amenable connotations to carry my point:

 

"I reckon that there are WMDs hidden somewhere on Earth, but due to financial limitations, I cannot search every cubic centimetre to find out; thus I cannot know for sure."

Such a statement shows doubt, and I guess, I may be wrong with this but I thought strictly; if you believed something you had to be absolutely sure about it.

Is it any shock that the example now shows doubt when you replace a word with a connotation of having no doubt with a word with a connotation of having doubt? It may have indeed been a bad example, but I did come up with at that moment.

 

Does the word "faith" not suggest that the faithful cannot know for an empirical fact that deities exist? Any theistic religion which requires faith is some sort of Agnostic Theism.

 

 

Now, logically I can see such a belief being untenable(regardless of the phenomenon under discussion), but that is what I thought the definition was.
I apologize, but I can't seem to see why you think that it is untenable to hold a belief while simultaneously believing it is not possible to have proof that such belief is correct. Haven't several theists here stated that their belief is "outside science"? They would be agnostic theists. Are they contradicting themselves?
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I apologize, but I can't seem to see why you think that it is untenable to hold a belief while simultaneously believing it is not possible to have proof that such belief is correct.

I guess, I am equating believing something absolutely a 100% and knowing it for a fact in terms of certainty for a person. In such a case proof would be erroneous. Thereby, what you are referring to as having "faith" could not really be called believing, as the fact that the notion of proof is even entertained shows doubt and disbelief.

 

In short why would something that is fully believed need proving?

 

I'm sorry if I'm going nowhere, I'm now thinking about withdrawing from this thread and having a deep long think(some sleep would be good too!)....thanks for the responses though.

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Simply because one must affirmatively believe in God to be a theist and everyone else is a not-theist or atheist.

 

Atheists include everyone that affirmatively denies the existence of God(s) and those that simply withhold judgement on the truth or falsity of the God hypothesis. I am the later, I do not claim that there could not be a God but I refuse to accept Gods existence as fact because there is no evidence to support such a conclusion. That makes me an atheist becauuse of my skepticism, or lack of faith, instead of a faith that God does not exist, the other kind of atheist.

 

The problem is that atheism is defined as :

 

1.Only those who deny the existance of God

 

AND

 

2. Those who deny the existance of God and those that simply withhold judgement on the truth or falsity of the God hypothesis

 

Since the above two definitions are not compatible, atheism, like many words, has no clear meaning, but must be taken in the context intended, which is often not clear.

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In short why would something that is fully believed need proving?

One may need proof if one were interested in persuading others to share their belief.

 

 

The problem is that atheism is defined as :

 

1.Only those who deny the existance of God

 

AND

 

2. Those who deny the existance of God and those that simply withhold judgement on the truth or falsity of the God hypothesis

 

Since the above two definitions are not compatible, atheism, like many words, has no clear meaning, but must be taken in the context intended, which is often not clear.

 

See post #145

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Since the above two definitions are not compatible, atheism, like many words, has no clear meaning, but must be taken in the context intended, which is often not clear.

 

Actually it does, a·theist literally means not·theist. Everyone that is not a theist is an atheist....

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Atheists include everyone that affirmatively denies the existence of God(s) and those that simply withhold judgement on the truth or falsity of the God hypothesis.
I would disagree with the latter. Withholding judgment, for our purposes, makes you a skeptic, not a believer or denier.
I am the later, I do not claim that there could not be a God but I refuse to accept Gods existence as fact because there is no evidence to support such a conclusion.
Now you're back to trying to use science to refute faith in an unobservable entity. I'm telling you, *this* is where these discussions will always bog down. God doesn't make appearances anymore since you wouldn't need faith if It did. That makes It supernatural and science just isn't interested anymore.
That makes me an atheist becauuse of my skepticism, or lack of faith, instead of a faith that God does not exist, the other kind of atheist.
Your skepticism, like science, has NOTHING to do with faith, but saying God exists or doesn't exist is a statement based on faith, since it's about God and we know that science can't be applied to God, ever.

 

This, imo, is the only way we will be able to discuss religion successfully here on SFN. There may be all kinds of ways to split hairs on atheism but trust me, when any side of the issue tries to use science and religion to prove or disprove the other, the argument goes nowhere fast.

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I would disagree with the latter. Withholding judgment, for our purposes, makes you a skeptic, not a believer or denier.

 

 

if someone withholds judgment then they are not following a god. someone who doesnt believe in god is not a theist, in other words, an atheist.

 

i halfway see your point, but from the flat definition of the word i dont see much room to call such a person anything but an atheist.

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I would disagree with the latter. Withholding judgment, for our purposes, makes you a skeptic, not a believer or denier.

 

See post #156. One is a theist.....or not. I am not-theist. Happy now?

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See post #156. One is a theist.....or not. I am not-theist. Happy now?
Please concern yourself with your own happiness.

 

What you choose to call yourself is of less interest to me than how you present your arguments here on SFN. I'm sure many will object to your labels but that's what happens. People chafe under the restrictions imposed on them by other's labels.

 

Frankly it was always the people who had firmly made up their minds one way or the other that caused the most problems with our past attempts at a Philosophy & Religion subforum. Good points were lost among the traffic jams caused by continual sniping over the same old crap; atheists demanding proof and preachers claiming God transcends physical laws. If we are to attempt it again it will be with the provisos that God is inherently undetectable and cannot be proven, and that any statements about God, ANY statements, therefore require an element of faith that science cannot measure.

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This seems to contradict itself. Why would someone who doesn't deny the possibility of God be called an atheist (no-God)?

 

Because the term Atheist has two meanings.

 

1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. God = False

2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings. God <> True

 

 

1) Belief in "No God", so God = False (Definition 1 - based on faith)

 

and

 

2) Disbelief in God, or disbelief that God = True (no faith, simply rejecting the idea that God = True, thus leaving God = maybe)

 

THIS is where it all bogs down. Severian and yourself, and others, seem to reject the idea of "atheism" having this subtle ambiguity in definition. Semantics, maybe, but it matters here.

 

Agnosticism seems to contain some duality as well, one of them also including faith - faith that the ultimate knowledge or god, can never be known...

 

1) a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. God = will never know

 

2) a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study. God = I don't know

 

By these definitions, I'm an atheist and an agnostic. I'm the atheist that rejects the belief that God = true, because I do not know. I'm also the agnostic that believes God = I don't know.

 

It's these loose definitions of words being applied in a precise context, that seems to be the big problem here. As long as we don't address this directly, I'm afraid all anyone in here is going to really do is keep repeating themselves.

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When pressed for identity, especially by Christians, I will proclaim myself to be a Christian-Buddhist-Born-again Pagan. Very interesting statement by ParanoiA that agnostics have made a step of faith.

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THIS is where it all bogs down. Severian and yourself, and others, seem to reject the idea of "atheism" having this subtle ambiguity in definition. Semantics, maybe, but it matters here.
I know it matters to atheists. I know it's a distinction they want to forge in order to take their arguments away from a faith-based foundation. I can concede that it is important to them to establish there is no faith involved. But I still don't want the arguments to boil down to non-believers demanding non-existent proof from believers, and believers insisting that God is behind everything science tries to explain. That way lies madness.
It's these loose definitions of words being applied in a precise context, that seems to be the big problem here. As long as we don't address this directly, I'm afraid all anyone in here is going to really do is keep repeating themselves.
Clarification is always good, but I still think we need to stay away from the same old traps. IF we open a P&R section it will not be a place for those only interested in espousing religion or those only interested in trashing religion to come and post. It will be a place where established forum members can discuss these matters without using one to bash the other.
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I know it matters to atheists. I know it's a distinction they want to forge in order to take their arguments away from a faith-based foundation.

 

But, see, you're still doing it. Rather than explain to me, logically, how Atheism does NOT have an ambiguous meaning that suggests doubt in one way and certainty in another, you're ignoring that point, while still replying about what atheists need and want.

 

Their motivations for removing "faith" from the definition of atheism is irrelevant. Only the logic they use to do it, matters. I don't share a conviction with any of these terms, but I do see a value in getting them defined correctly. That may not be possible, but if you keep ignoring this part of the issue it will never get pass this point.

 

Clarification is always good, but I still think we need to stay away from the same old traps.

 

So are you saying that the ambiguity of the definition of atheism is a "trap"? Because, from where I'm sitting, it sure seems to be the crux of the matter.

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I have got a bit muddled up here. Are all atheists agnostics in the same way that all Christians are?

I'm convinced there's no God (simply because I have no evidence to support the idea that there is one). I presume that most Christians have a similar belief that there are no fairies, again since there's no reason to believe in them.

In the same way that I'm agnostic about God (because I can't prove he doesn't exist) and have a "faith" in his non existance most Christians must be agnostic about Fairies.

So the atheists have faith and the theists are agnostics.

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This is getting funner. (My Dad was a Lutheran minister..) My usage would say the atheist makes the step of faith, and not the agnostic, who says they don't know. ParanoiA's point if you have decided it is not knowable, seems not so much faith to me as a perception of the world. There are people who say "I am unsure" and others who say "we cannot know", and both are agnostics.

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But, see, you're still doing it. Rather than explain to me, logically, how Atheism does NOT have an ambiguous meaning that suggests doubt in one way and certainty in another, you're ignoring that point, while still replying about what atheists need and want.

 

Their motivations for removing "faith" from the definition of atheism is irrelevant. Only the logic they use to do it, matters. I don't share a conviction with any of these terms, but I do see a value in getting them defined correctly. That may not be possible, but if you keep ignoring this part of the issue it will never get pass this point.

And now *you're* doing it again, asking for a logical answer about something to do with the existence or non-existence of God. Faith is illogical; it's outside of science and logic. I'm not ignoring the point about the ambiguity of atheistic definitions; I'm taking them as granted and practically irreconcilable. Most atheists don't want their stance associated with a lack of belief but if you're talking about God then faith, not logic, has to come into it somewhere.
So are you saying that the ambiguity of the definition of atheism is a "trap"? Because, from where I'm sitting, it sure seems to be the crux of the matter.
It may well be the crux of the matter. The trap is that many on both sides will never give up their definitions because they have already made up their minds what they want their stance to be. Often that stance means they will suggest doubt while implying certainty. The equation is unbalanced when skepticism isn't practiced.
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This is getting funner. (My Dad was a Lutheran minister..) My usage would say the atheist makes the step of faith, and not the agnostic, who says they don't know. ParanoiA's point if you have decided it is not knowable, seems not so much faith to me as a perception of the world. There are people who say "I am unsure" and others who say "we cannot know", and both are agnostics.

 

If you're determing something to be unknowable, then you're making an assumption about the future - you're predicting. If you believe in the prediction that we will never know something - then you must be doing so on faith.

 

And now *you're* doing it again, asking for a logical answer about something to do with the existence or non-existence of God.

 

No I'm not. I'm asking for a logical explanation on the definition of atheism. Atheism as man defines it. Then, once we all can agree on what the word "atheism" means, as well as "agnosticism", then we can audit ourselves and choose the terms that represent our position.

 

What I see is people choosing terms they think describe them, and then taken to task by others who define those terms differently. We're not really arguing about what we actually believe.

 

Take doG for instance. It's obvious his position is that he doesn't know whether god exists or not, so he doesn't believe either which way. But despite that, he's still accused of having "faith" that god doesn't exist because he's using the label of "atheist". We already know that he's not saying that god doesn't exist, yet he's being assailed as so.

 

This is because we're using imprecise labels to justify attacking belief, rather than what the person really believes. That, too, is intellectually dishonest, in my opinion.

 

Let's use logic and facts, and see if we can truly define what the words "atheism" and "agnosticism" means. This means pulling out source material, like dictionaries, and logically constructing arguments to prove their meanings.

 

I'm not ignoring the point about the ambiguity of atheistic definitions; I'm taking them as granted and practically irreconcilable. Most atheists don't want their stance associated with a lack of belief but if you're talking about God then faith, not logic, has to come into it somewhere.

 

I don't believe it's irreconcilable and sure don't care what atheists want - and neither should any responsible discussion. Let's forget about what they want and concern ourselves with the truth - what does the word actually mean, and to hell with the consequences. That doesn't require God at all. Just logic. We're dealing with our words here.

 

It may well be the crux of the matter. The trap is that many on both sides will never give up their definitions because they have already made up their minds what they want their stance to be.

 

And that's true of any discussion. Just careful avoiding traps to the extent you avoid the point. There's no reason these terms cannot be argued with facts and logic on this forum.

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You speak clearly, P...A, and it seems you are not allowing "quibblers" or people who say "I'm unsure". I think this is not the same posture as one saying, "we cannot know". The latter is, I agree, a decision.

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