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Does being an Atheist make you closed minded? [Answered: NO]


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Not that I agree with any or all of what Evobulgarevo has said, but to throw forum rules at his opinions of atheists is a little rich, given what is usually said about religious people on this forum ( even by me sometimes ).

 

I disagree - when you take your personal experience of a subset of a group of people and use it to characterize the entire group using a hasty generalization, you're making a fallacious and prejudiced statement. I'd like to hope that if someone characterized any group of people as overly sensitive, presumptuous, arrogant and egotistical based on anecdotes, we'd take them to task, and I think the forum as a whole usually does a pretty good job of calling out discrimination of other groups.

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The dictionary definition of closed minded -- having a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments -- seems to be the antithesis of the scientific mind, which has to be open to new ideas and arg

Stereotypes are often accurate.

1) I haven't mentioned my beliefs, so I'm not sure how this applies.   2) My beliefs are irrelevant. I would have taken you to task if you've made the same bigoted statements about Christians, Jews

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( as proof I offer that Ophiolite has never bought a round in my presence )

 

Anecdotally, legend has it that O walked into a bar in Liverpool in the summer of '84 and ordered a round for the house. As everyone stood there dumbstruck, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit 65 miles away in Wales and cleared the bar of customers before orders could be taken.

 

To this day, nobody knows how he did it.

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I disagree - when you take your personal experience of a subset of a group of people and use it to characterize the entire group using a hasty generalization, you're making a fallacious and prejudiced statement. I'd like to hope that if someone characterized any group of people as overly sensitive, presumptuous, arrogant and egotistical based on anecdotes, we'd take them to task, and I think the forum as a whole usually does a pretty good job of calling out discrimination of other groups.

I remember a thread called "People who believe in God are broken" that went on for four months and over 1600 posts. While it is still one of my favorite threads, it seemed to me that characterizing theists as a whole as 'broken' based on knowledge of a subset of those people was not only NOT called out, but applauded by many people on this site.

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^shameless attempt to drive participation via an intentionally provocative title? </sheepishly blushes while acknowledging the point>

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/65651-people-who-believe-in-god-are-broken/

What inspired the thread is some of the arguments used to support belief in god or god(s). For example, "Because things are complex, god exists." Or, "because something cannot come from nothing, god exists." That led me to think about broken logic, and then... more simply... broken people.

Further, I WAS called out for it:

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/65651-people-who-believe-in-god-are-broken/?p=670734

!

Moderator Note

iNow, you need to choose your thread titles better or at least give a bit more of an OP so as not to give the appearance of deliberately antagonising theists.

If this thread starts turning sour, it will be closed without hesitation. The flaming often found in the Religion forum needs to stop, so everyone can take this as a preemtive warning to choose your words wisely.

EDIT: And Phi and others also kept challenging me to define what I meant by "broken" because it could be taken as an invective or ad hom: http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/65651-people-who-believe-in-god-are-broken/?p=674863

 

Then imatfaal, as well: http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/65651-people-who-believe-in-god-are-broken/?p=675943

 

 

 

Interestingly, while scrolling through that thread I found a post from almost four years ago that had the video below (which serendipitously is on-topic for the current thread):

 

Edited by iNow
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^shameless attempt to drive participation via an intentionally provocative title? </sheepishly blushes while acknowledging the point>

 

 

 

Further, I WAS called out for it:

 

 

Haha. As I said that thread was probably the most fun I've had here. And that comment certainly was not directed at you or meant to imply that thread was entirely unfair.

 

But as I asserted multiple times in that thread and elsewhere, it seems clear to me that in general the people here are less critical of statements that support their position and more critical of those that do not. Given that there appear to be more atheists than theists on this site, the theists seem to be treated with less, um, consideration than the atheists.

 

It is usually a small thing, but people who agree with the majority tend not to call out things like unsupported assertions that they would never let go in a discussion of, say, QM.

 

But no surprise really. Join a discussion board about the Kansas City Royals and you'll find that the umpires in the World Series did a pretty good job and can't be expected to get every call just exactly right. Umpiring is hard! But join a similar discussion board about the New York Mets and it becomes clear that the quality of umpiring has been in a death spiral for years, and that something has got to be done! When you have no skin in the game (I'm from St. Louis) it is easier to tell when people aren't treating both sides of an argument with complete fairness.

 

Not many people here are unfair to a great degree, but when you are on the receiving end of those discussions, it sure feels like we're not yet totally fair and balanced.

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Not that I agree with any or all of what Evobulgarevo has said, but to throw forum rules at his opinions of atheists is a little rich, given what is usually said about religious people on this forum ( even by me sometimes ).

 

The rules are not raised in regard to his opinions, but the way he expresses them. If he had started out by saying, "my limited experience of atheists has been negative (I hope they are not all like that)" it would be different matter. But by making (what appear to be) general statements of fact about atheists (in general) he gives the impression of making slurs against an entire group.

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And that comment certainly was not directed at you or meant to imply that thread was entirely unfair.

Thank you, sir. Looking back at it, that thread was exhausting, and you did a solid job throughout pushing back on me and challenging my points in a way that would resonate. Reading some of it, I also realize that I've softened a bit in my tone since becoming a father. Amazing the difference then versus now.

 

But as I asserted multiple times in that thread and elsewhere, it seems clear to me that in general the people here are less critical of statements that support their position and more critical of those that do not. Given that there appear to be more atheists than theists on this site, the theists seem to be treated with less, um, consideration than the atheists.

Though the same could be said of evolution deniers, climate change deniers, homeopathy supporters, anti-vaccers, relativity deniers, and all manner of other folks. That's what happens when you're trying to argue an indefensible position. I also suggest that how people are treated is much less related to the persons beliefs (whether they're theist or not) and is instead much more related to their general tone/approach, use of fallacies, and ability to defend their position in a logical and coherent manner.

 

It is usually a small thing, but people who agree with the majority tend not to call out things like unsupported assertions that they would never let go in a discussion of, say, QM.

There's a certain truth to this, I don't disagree. Even I'm guilt of failing to call out those with whom I agree when they err from time to time, but if it's an obvious falsehood or crap argument it's much easier to weigh in and comment and know it will be well received / acknowledged. "Hey mate, while I agree with you overall, what you just said isn't really valid... I'd say it this other way instead," though there are times where I'm just being lazy and don't want to give any additional ammunition to a person that's clearly wrong. Guess I'm human, too.

 

But no surprise really. Join a discussion board about the Kansas City Royals and you'll find that the umpires in the World Series did a pretty good job and can't be expected to get every call just exactly right. Umpiring is hard! But join a similar discussion board about the New York Mets and it becomes clear that the quality of umpiring has been in a death spiral for years, and that something has got to be done!

Lol. No. This one had nothing to do with the umps. The Mets simply forgot to show up. They arrived to the series and couldn't even get the basics right. With only a handful of exceptions, they played HORRIBLE atrocious pee-wee league ball. So. Very. Disappointing... Especially after that amazing Game 1 that kept me up until 2 in the morning. Cheers, old friend. Enjoy your night.
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“Does being an atheist make you close minded?”

 

I don’t think being either atheist or religious makes you close minded. It is my personal experience that people in general just don’t like being “wrong”. I think if someone believes in anything strongly enough then even the existence of dissenting opinions can basically be seen as an attack against their belief, especially if that belief is regarding forbidden: behavior, thoughts or ideas. The simple fact that others can believe in something other than ones own belief, or live contrary to ones own rules, without fear, guilt, or shame causes some people a great deal of mental anguish. This forces them to question the validity of their belief (that is extremely important to them) being a universal truth. In a weird way I think it is completely understandable that people tend to lash out at others when put in that situation.

 

As I said I think this basic idea is applicable to any system of belief, cultural practice, or even form governance. Neither Science nor Religion as institutions are perfect, no institution is perfect. Say you are a scientist and you have spent 1 year of your life working on theory or device X, and at the end of that year some plucky new young scientist comes along with theory or device Y that completely outperforms X, you are obviously not going to be happy. How you deal with this situation I think is far more dependent upon what kind of person you are as opposed to your belief or disbelief in a higher power. The exact same thing could be said of someone training to become a priest who studies theology for a year, for hours a day one day meets someone who says that religion is a waste of time, or the source of most of the worlds problems.

 

Religious people created stoning as a method of punishment / execution, scientists made napalm. Religious people in the dark ages burned people at the stake who studied science as heretics, if you’ve ever watched the documentary “Who Killed The Electric Car?”, or know the story about how the entire anti vaccine movement started (a scientist faking results) you would know how scientists and engineers engage in morally bankrupt practices for their own gain almost as much as anyone else. Institutions are created and run by people, and to quote Harper Lee “people is people no matter what kind of people they are”. I think good and evil, right and wrong, stupidity and brilliance are all normally distributed, just like everything else.

 

I think people seem to forget that social skills, like tolerance, patience, even empathy to a degree, are skills. They require practice.

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I think that in the case of hard atheists this is true. I am what I call an Effective Atheist. I acknowledge that there may or may not be a god, but it is totally irrelevant to my life. Even scientifically proving god's existence doesn't mean anything to me besides another fact.

 

The problem is it's close minded and unscientific to exclude anything that hasn't been entirely ruled out. But that's about as far as it goes, embracing the idea of a god is just as close minded. Neutrality is the only open minded stance.

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As I said I think this basic idea is applicable to any system of belief, cultural practice, or even form governance. Neither Science nor Religion as institutions are perfect, no institution is perfect. Say you are a scientist and you have spent 1 year of your life working on theory or device X, and at the end of that year some plucky new young scientist comes along with theory or device Y that completely outperforms X, you are obviously not going to be happy. How you deal with this situation I think is far more dependent upon what kind of person you are as opposed to your belief or disbelief in a higher power. The exact same thing could be said of someone training to become a priest who studies theology for a year, for hours a day one day meets someone who says that religion is a waste of time, or the source of most of the worlds problems.

I see where you're coming from on this, but science actually goes out of its way to remove as much subjectivity from it's process as possible, something none of the other "beliefs" you mentioned attempt. The scientist who spent a year on his theory, only to have it improved by someone else, may be unhappy, but science is looking for the best explanations, so it's unlikely his unhappiness is going to impact the science. Peer review will most likely choose the best of the theories, the way it should be.

 

Dealing with science really isn't a "belief". Nobody is asking you to have faith in something that can't be supported rationally. Nobody is asking you to believe strongly in something you can't possibly know. When science makes a claim, the data it's based on becomes freely available so you can check it if you have the knowledge to understand what you're looking at. If you can do that, you don't have to believe, you can trust instead.

 

I think that in the case of hard atheists this is true. I am what I call an Effective Atheist. I acknowledge that there may or may not be a god, but it is totally irrelevant to my life. Even scientifically proving god's existence doesn't mean anything to me besides another fact.

 

The problem is it's close minded and unscientific to exclude anything that hasn't been entirely ruled out. But that's about as far as it goes, embracing the idea of a god is just as close minded. Neutrality is the only open minded stance.

 

"Entirely ruled out" is NEVER going to happen. No theory is ever going to give us that, but they do give us what faith can't, and that's trustworthiness. You can trust that a mainstream theory is one of the best explanation we currently have, and is constantly being tested and improved.

 

I'm not sure what you're saying regarding scientifically proving god(s) existence wouldn't mean anything to you. Does this mean that if the Christian God suddenly became available for observation and measurement, and all claims proved to be true, it would just be a fact to you, it wouldn't cause you to do anything differently? I recall reading that He has quite a few hoops to jump through for believers. If He was scientifically proven, would you be a worshipper?

 

I also prefer neutrality on the issue, as long as neutrality doesn't mean I'm equally divided. My neutrality is more like "I'll believe in what I can trust. I'm open to being persuaded rationally that god(s) exist, but I'm not holding my breath." My atheism is more implicit than explicit.

 

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I see where you're coming from on this, but science actually goes out of its way to remove as much subjectivity from it's process as possible, something none of the other "beliefs" you mentioned attempt. The scientist who spent a year on his theory, only to have it improved by someone else, may be unhappy, but science is looking for the best explanations, so it's unlikely his unhappiness is going to impact the science. Peer review will most likely choose the best of the theories, the way it should be.

 

Dealing with science really isn't a "belief". Nobody is asking you to have faith in something that can't be supported rationally. Nobody is asking you to believe strongly in something you can't possibly know. When science makes a claim, the data it's based on becomes freely available so you can check it if you have the knowledge to understand what you're looking at. If you can do that, you don't have to believe, you can trust instead.

 

 

"Entirely ruled out" is NEVER going to happen. No theory is ever going to give us that, but they do give us what faith can't, and that's trustworthiness. You can trust that a mainstream theory is one of the best explanation we currently have, and is constantly being tested and improved.

 

I'm not sure what you're saying regarding scientifically proving god(s) existence wouldn't mean anything to you. Does this mean that if the Christian God suddenly became available for observation and measurement, and all claims proved to be true, it would just be a fact to you, it wouldn't cause you to do anything differently? I recall reading that He has quite a few hoops to jump through for believers. If He was scientifically proven, would you be a worshipper?

 

I also prefer neutrality on the issue, as long as neutrality doesn't mean I'm equally divided. My neutrality is more like "I'll believe in what I can trust. I'm open to being persuaded rationally that god(s) exist, but I'm not holding my breath." My atheism is more implicit than explicit.

 

 

 

You basically have the same stance as me. I don't think there is a god. I haven't ruled it out. You would have to convince me and it would take a LOT. But even if you did you would not convince me that the existing god is the christian god. Or any other specific god. I simply think all religions are dumb.

 

If we add to the hypothetical situation that god comes out and says he is the Christian god then I guess so. Or it's a higher life form messing with us. But if I assume an intelligent designer created the whole universe for us and did it this badly (the universe is amazing, just not for us specifically) I will have words for that God.

Edited by TheGeckomancer
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We should consider age. Despite originally becoming atheist/agnostic through open-mindedness, some may become closed-minded if their brain loses its plasticity in old age. In fact, the only closed-minded atheist I've spoken was old in his avatar photo.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201003/creativity-and-successful-brain-aging-going-the-flow

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The truth is that atheists score higher on "openness to experience", a big five personality trait that encompasses openness to new ideas, making this entire thread misguided. The real deficit in atheists and agnostics appears to be a primarily autistic-like dimished ability or inclination to empathize with others. Additionally considering that we're less "agreeable" and less "conscientious", we may not make great people persons. We might also be slightly more sociopathic, but the evidence is pretty weak, and sociopaths tend to be charming, "glib", and don't come off as such at all. Men are both more sociopathic and more often atheist.

 

I ran across this.

Personality and Self-Insight in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

"Individuals with ASD were more Neurotic and less Extraverted, Agreeable, Conscientious, and Open to Experience."

Given that autism is a strong hereditary component, I believe about 60 to 90% in the twin studies thus far, autism may account for some of the lessened agreeableness and conscientiousness. However this also suggests that non-autistic atheists may actually be even more open-minded.

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The dictionary definition of closed minded -- having a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments -- seems to be the antithesis of the scientific mind, which has to be open to new ideas and arguments. Whereas religion is based on unchanging tradition and rejects new ideas and arguments. If religious beliefs were provable, athesists would have an open mind and be receptive to new arguments about the validity of religion.

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Any type of belief that becomes catagorised and labeled in which many people catagorise and label themselves and follow. Is a reilgious mindset. You dont need to believe in a God to be a reilgious minded person.

 

Athiesm is also a religious mindset. Athiesm has followers.. Athiests also try to convert people to their beliefs, simply by trying to disprove Gods existence.. When people label or catagorise themselves by their belief or beliefs it is a religious mindset. Which mean Athiests are also Religious in their beliefs or belief. Athiesm is a Religion...

Edited by elizsia
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Any type of belief that becomes catagorised and labeled in which many people catagorise and label themselves and follow. Is a reilgious mindset. You dont need to believe in a God to be a reilgious minded person.

 

Athiesm is also a religious mindset. Athiesm has followers.. Athiests also try to convert people to their beliefs, simply by trying to disprove Gods existence.. When people label or catagorise themselves by their belief or beliefs it is a religious mindset. Which mean Athiests are also Religious in their beliefs or belief. Athiesm is a Religion...

 

Atheism is not a belief or a religion, just like not being interested in golf is not a sport.

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Atheism is not a belief or a religion, just like not being interested in golf is not a sport.

 

But yet they usually knee deep in it.

 

My step dads an avid atheist and its half he talks about, Dont get me wrong people like christopher hitchens are articulate and interesting but hes far more bothered then me.

 

Do you think atheists are more sceptical and nihilistic? Thats the impression i get. Something of a quieter, Like realisation takes grasp and nothing becomes easier than something.

 

I feel sorry for any true atheists, i always believed at the very minimum i was my own god. Ahhh well atleast the kids have celebrities as idols, cant be all bad......

 

I cant comprehend it i dont think, its not something i generally pay much mind to, accepting the non-existence of "something" is like telling me you can comprehend infinity. I know you think you can, but i know you cant. ( not you i dno what you are im just rambling )

 

 

OHH and by the way its as much a belief as false is to logic. You may say no thats not real i dont believe in "whatever", but that in itself is a belief. Like me not believing what you say, or not believing in lizard people on the moon. I honestly believe there are not any. But i have no proof.

Edited by DevilSolution
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But yet they usually knee deep in it.

 

Usually? Based on a sample size of 1. I think we can ignore that, then.

 

 

Do you think atheists are more sceptical and nihilistic?

 

Sceptical? Yes, in a good sense. I.e. not gullible and willing to accept things just because someone says so.

Nihilistic? No. Why should they be.

 

 

You may say no thats not real i dont believe in "whatever", but that in itself is a belief.

 

OF course it isn't. That is as stupid as saying that silence is a song.

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The dictionary definition of closed minded -- having a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments -- seems to be the antithesis of the scientific mind, which has to be open to new ideas and arguments. Whereas religion is based on unchanging tradition and rejects new ideas and arguments. If religious beliefs were provable, athesists would have an open mind and be receptive to new arguments about the validity of religion.

 

Yeh alright how many bright idea's have you had? and when we say open minded we talking sadomasochistic??

 

Accepting god is accepting yourself. Being religious is more of social activity nowadays.

 

Hitler was an atheist and a good man and i wont hear no more about it, AND a vegetarian. <----- lentil dahl

 

There's reason to believe he was betrayed by a close ally, tsssk.

 

Usually? Based on a sample size of 1. I think we can ignore that, then.

 

 

Sceptical? Yes, in a good sense. I.e. not gullible and willing to accept things just because someone says so.

Nihilistic? No. Why should they be.

 

 

OF course it isn't. That is as stupid as saying that silence is a song.

 

Oh dear....i dont believe your real

 

amirite?

 

but i have to believe that your not real therefore brain overload dfssqg

 

Its such simple logic, true is true, false is false, false must exist for true to exist, regardless....

 

 

 

And not at all, example was an expression of how atheists like to debate religion and in some or most cases put religious ideologies down.

Not my only sample data, but pretty good data.

 

Why do you think nihilistic beliefs might come from atheism?? This is google source dataaaa

 

the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
synonyms: negativity, cynicism, pessimism; More
yeh so rejection of religion seems synonymous, morals are subjective, if you reject religion i presume all spiritually goes with that so i can see the point about having no purpose.
They are like what, wine and cheese....
down vote no reply, excellent performance my anonymous admirer.
Edited by DevilSolution
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And not at all, example was an expression of how atheists like to debate religion and in some or most cases put religious ideologies down.

Not my only sample data, but pretty good data.

 

Why do you think nihilistic beliefs might come from atheism?? This is google source dataaaa

 

the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
synonyms: negativity, cynicism, pessimism; More
yeh so rejection of religion seems synonymous, morals are subjective, if you reject religion i presume all spiritually goes with that so i can see the point about having no purpose.

 

 

 

 

There is no meaning of life, there probably is no god (not that I care either way); yet I have given my life meaning and have a specific moral code.

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Hitler was an atheist and a good man and i wont hear no more about it, AND a vegetarian. <----- lentil dahl

 

Don't post drunk. (Actually, I would recommend you don't post sober, either.)

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Do you believe that? because if you dont it doesnt exist....

 

 

I appreciate the response......


 

 

 

There is no meaning of life, there probably is no god (not that I care either way); yet I have given my life meaning and have a specific moral code.

 

Theres no meaning but you've given yourself meaning? care to share?

 

How can you give yourself something that doesnt exist?


 

Don't post drunk. (Actually, I would recommend you don't post sober, either.)

 

I'll take your response and raise you a.....oh wait it wasnt a response to my post.

 

Do you have one? i went all the way to google

 

and that was to Shelagh, an inside joke...

Edited by DevilSolution
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Do you believe that? because if you dont it doesnt exist....

 

 

I appreciate the response......

 

Theres no meaning but you've given yourself meaning? care to share?

 

How can you give yourself something that doesnt exist?

 

 

There’s no meaning of life or, said another way, there’s no reason for life, it just is.

 

My life has purpose, family, friends, work and play all help to give my life meaning even if the reason for my life is meaningless.

 

Like my moral code is derived from the bible (do unto others...) yet there is no god, the bible has some meaning even if the conclusion doesn't.

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Theres no meaning but you've given yourself meaning? care to share?

 

How can you give yourself something that doesnt exist?

Meaning is something we each author for ourselves. It is not something inherent in the world "out there" as implied by your posts, but is instead somewhat arbitrary and different from person to person, or even from moment to moment within the same person.

 

In essence, you're mixing reference frames and dimreepr was correcting you. He was not claiming that meaning cannot be assigned or is in any way nonexistent, only that "life" itself is merely a canvas on to which we each paint.

.

 

I feel sorry for any true atheists, i always believed at the very minimum i was my own god.

In many ways, you are: http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/11/30/creating-god-in-ones-own-image/

 

I cant comprehend it i dont think, its not something i generally pay much mind to, accepting the non-existence of "something" is like telling me you can comprehend infinity.

Perhaps comprehension will become simpler if you view the situation more clearly. To that end, you should note that it's much less about "accepting nonexistence" and much more about finding a lack of compelling reasons to accept the claim of existence itself.

 

Along similar lines, it's not that I actively disbelieve that the farts of unicorns cause erections in leprechauns, it's just that I find a lack of compelling reasons to accept that as true. Same with all of the countless many gods out there laying dead in the graveyard of human mythology.

 

Hope that helps provide you with additional perspective and improved understanding.

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