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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:03 PM   #1
ynot
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Define ďAtheistĒ

This thread is for the exclusive purpose of debating the meaning of the word ďatheistĒ. It isnít for debating other words like ďagnosticĒ. Please donít derail this thread.

Hereís my current definition of ďatheistĒ. Iím happy to change it if anyone comes up with a better one.

An atheist is a person that is not a theist (doesnít have a belief in a god or gods).

Why a person isnít a theist isnít what defines them as an atheist, itís merely that theyíre not a theist that does.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:07 PM   #2
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Mine's the same as yours.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:11 PM   #3
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An atheist is a person who believes there is no God
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
An atheist is a person who believes there is no God
What is a person that's not sure if there's a god?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
What is a person that's not sure if there's a god?
That's agnostic (or weak atheist, if you don't want to stray from atheism).
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
This thread is for the exclusive purpose of debating the meaning of the word “atheist”. It isn’t for debating other words like “agnostic”. Please don’t derail this thread.

Here’s my current definition of “atheist”. I’m happy to change it if anyone comes up with a better one.

An atheist is a person that is not a theist (doesn’t have a belief in a god or gods).

Why a person isn’t a theist isn’t what defines them as an atheist, it’s merely that they’re not a theist that does.
Your definition is incomplete because there are two ways a non-theist can go:
A) I don't know if there are any god(s)
B) I know for certain there are no god(s)
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:21 PM   #7
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I believe gods do not exist. I have posted the reasoning before. I don't simply lack a belief in gods, I believe the evidence is overwhelming there are none.

Time for the human species to evolve beyond primitive beliefs in gods.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Your definition is incomplete because there are two ways a non-theist can go:
A) I don't know if there are any god(s)
B) I know for certain there are no god(s)
So what? Neither are theists, therefore they're both atheists (non-theists if you prefer)
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I believe gods do not exist. I have posted the reasoning before. I don't simply lack a belief in gods, I believe the evidence is overwhelming there are none.

Time for the human species to evolve beyond primitive beliefs in gods.
I agree. But what has that got to do with this thread?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
So what? Neither are theists, therefore they're atheists
Which is why you see distinction strong/weak atheism.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I agree. But what has that got to do with this thread?
Looks to me like another good definition.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
That's agnostic (or weak atheist, if you don't want to stray from atheism).
I was wanting to stay away from "agnostic" in this thread.

That defines a type of atheist. As does "is a person who believes there is no God". Defining the make of a car doesn't define what a car is.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by fishbob View Post
Looks to me like another good definition.
Really? Perhaps I need to give it more interpretation and consideration then.

ETA - Did that. See post #15
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:31 PM   #14
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My definition is the same as yours ynot, however I think if you are thinking, you will lay the matter to rest here you will be disappointed.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I believe gods do not exist. I have posted the reasoning before. I don't simply lack a belief in gods, I believe the evidence is overwhelming there are none.

Time for the human species to evolve beyond primitive beliefs in gods.
That you believe gods do not exist is a reason (definition) why you an atheist. It's not a definition of the word atheist. Defining the make of a car doesn't define what a car is.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
My definition is the same as yours ynot, however I think if you are thinking, you will lay the matter to rest here you will be disappointed.
I know. Guess I'm a hopeless optimist to even hope that creating threads for word definition debates will in any way prevent word definition debates from derailing other threads.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:45 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
That you believe gods do not exist is a reason (definition) why you an atheist. It's not a definition of the word atheist. Defining the make of a car doesn't define what a car is.
So what is the point of the thread? There are two definitions for atheist, 1) one believes gods don't exist and 2) one believes the word means 'no belief' in gods.

It's a stupid argument (no offense). It's not like you are going to change the fact there are two definitions of the word.


I will go away now.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:47 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Which is why you see distinction strong/weak atheism.
So What? Defining car makes doesn't define what a car is.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:52 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
So what is the point of the thread? There are two definitions for atheist, 1) one believes gods don't exist and 2) one believes the word means 'no belief' in gods.

It's a stupid argument (no offense). It's not like you are going to change the fact there are two definitions of the word.

I will go away now.
The point of the thread is to argue that . . .

"1)" defines a type of atheist (why the person is an atheist).

and "2)" defines the meaning of the word "atheist" (defines default atheism).

I'm happy if you stay.

But I have to go right now. I'll be back.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:59 PM   #20
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I define as a person who lacks belief in god however there is another accepted definition, a person that believes there is no god. This can cause confusion.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
So What? Defining car makes doesn't define what a car is.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
I define as a person who lacks belief in god however there is another accepted definition, a person that believes there is no god. This can cause confusion.
There's also a person that's not sure if there's gods.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:04 PM   #23
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Atheist = A person that does not believe god(s) exist.

This seems to me to cover both accepted definitions:
A person that believes no god(s) exist does not believe god(s) exist;
A person that does not believe in god(s) does not believe god(s) exist.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
An atheist is a person who believes there is no God
No, an atheist is a person who does not believe in any god or gods.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:34 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
I define as a person who lacks belief in god however there is another accepted definition, a person that believes there is no god. This can cause confusion.
Yes. there's this hair's difference and maybe a difference in attitude.
As I see it simple Atheism is merely the lack of a belief in God or gods. It's not a belief. It makes no positive assertion.
However Atheism can also be a statement of theology, that is "God does not exist." And as such is a statement of belief, "I believe God does not exist."

One may not say it directly in those words, but by making it a view to be advocated, it can easily become such a theological belief.

The person who believes god does not exist may go out of hir way to disallow any position that might serve god belief. For example, since "consciousness" is seen by some as some kind of divine property, ze might simply advocate the position that "consciousness" doesn't really exist (The P-Zombie).

The person who believes God does not exist will have little tolerance for agnostics, and call that a coward's position.

But I'm sure that a good number reading this will reply that they don't believe that God doesn't exist. They know God doesn't exist.

I can't say that for myself. Having no basis to know God exists, I simply neither have that belief or that knowledge that God doesn't.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:38 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Atheist = A person that does not believe god(s) exist.

This seems to me to cover both accepted definitions:
A person that believes no god(s) exist does not believe god(s) exist;
A person that does not believe in god(s) does not believe god(s) exist.
However - "A person that does not believe god(s) exist" could also be a person that's not sure if a god or gods exist.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:49 PM   #27
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Atheist: Someone with a godless religion.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:00 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Atheist: Someone with a godless religion.
As I walked upon a stair, I saw a man the wasn't there.
I saw that man again today, I wish that man would go away.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:26 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
However - "A person that does not believe god(s) exist" could also be a person that's not sure if a god or gods exist.
That would be semitheist.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
That would be semitheist.
Why not equally a semiatheist? Bit like being half-dead.

Or why not simply . . .
Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Atheist = A person that does not believe god(s) exist.
A person that does not believe god(s) exist isn't a person that believes a god does exist. Therefore not a theist, therefore an atheist (not theist).

ETA - If you own a car you're a car owner. If you don't own a car you're not a car owner. If you're deciding whether or not to own a car (or don't think it's possible to own a car) you're not a car owner.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:41 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Atheist: Someone with a godless religion.
No, given that a religion requires a thing to worship. It can be a souvenier of a trumpf tird or a pile of dirty laundry, but it must be worshipped for it to be a religion.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:43 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
As I walked upon a stair, I saw a man the wasn't there.
I saw that man again today, I wish that man would go away
fall down the stairs and break every bone in his body.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:46 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
fall down the stairs and break every bone in his body.
If only he had a body and bones to break
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:53 PM   #34
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Oooops . . .
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Old 2nd May 2018, 05:05 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
No, given that a religion requires a thing to worship. It can be a souvenier of a trumpf tird or a pile of dirty laundry, but it must be worshipped for it to be a religion.
Oh, atheists worship all sorts of things.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:29 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Oh, atheists worship all sorts of things.
That's merely your belief.

By dictionary definitions of "worship" I don't worship anything.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 08:03 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
That's merely your belief.

By dictionary definitions of "worship" I don't worship anything.
I don't know anyone who goes to sleep at night comforted by the thought that whatever else, at least they lived up to the dictionary definitions of things. But hey, if that's your religion, who am I to judge?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 08:10 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't know anyone who goes to sleep at night comforted by the thought that whatever else, at least they lived up to the dictionary definitions of things. But hey, if that's your religion, who am I to judge?
Perhaps I should've said "By all definitions of "worship I know" (which just happen to be dictionary definitions).

If you have a definition of "worship" that's different from dictionary definitions then please share it with us all.

No, that's not my religion, but no doubt you will continue to judge anyway.

It really is pathetic when that type of reply is the best that some people can come up with.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 08:38 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Oh, atheists worship all sorts of things.
I certainly don't and if you are under the impression I do, you must be misinterpreting my words or misreading them. Though I do easily admit that I certainly and especially have no use for (i.e. anti-worship) republickers and their thug leader drumpf.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 09:39 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
The point of the thread is to argue that . . .

"1)" defines a type of atheist (why the person is an atheist).

and "2)" defines the meaning of the word "atheist" (defines default atheism).
But (1) only defines a type of atheist if you assume (2) is the definition.

I agree with the others who have pointed out that there are two understood and used definitions of "atheism" (which is essentially how dictionaries compile their definitions - and why monstrosities such as "irregardless" end up in dictionaries).

It seems pretty legitimate to see the word as either withoutgod - ism (belief in a godless universe) or without - godism (not having any god belief).

I'm not sure there's any real debate to be had there. If we were writing a dictionary, I'd feel we had to include both. Although I do quite like Wiki's opening line:
Quote:
Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities

We could debate which is the more useful definition.

As an aside, it helps to have an agreed definition of "belief", which is its own can of worms.
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"That's the thing with eggs: It's all about chicks and getting laid." - Wuschel
"A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg" - Samuel Butler
ďWhen arguing with a stone an egg is always wrongĒ - African proverb
ďA true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly crackedĒ - Bernard Meltzer
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