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Tags atheism , atheism definitions

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Old 2nd May 2018, 09:55 PM   #41
SusanB-M1
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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 entirely agree, but since there's always someone who will then come along and trot out the negative proof fallacy in one form or another, I acknowledge that there must be the microscopically small gap allowed for a god to appear one day.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 10:27 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Atheist: Someone with a godless religion.
No, again. Someone with a godless religion would be an atheist, but that is only a sub-set of the people covered by the definition of the word.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 11:53 PM   #43
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Definitions are conventional. They are ways of ordering a messy set of things. One can invent one's own definition. But this can lead to confusion and communication missunderstandings. In general, it is preferable to stick to the usual or common use of a word and, if you change a definition, explain what the advantage of doing so would be.

So not every definition is valid. Some definitions are better than others depending on the circumstances.

I use the definitions provided by Justin P. McBrayer in “Skeptical Theism” in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy*(IEP). I think they are clearer than otherclassifications that usually lead to verbal discussions. Also: it comes from an authoritative source.

Agnosticism is the philosophical view that neither affirms that God exists nor affirms that God does not exist.On the other hand, atheism is the view that God does not exist. (http://www.iep.utm.edu/skept-th/).

Why don’t you agree?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 12:04 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
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.
Instead of commenting on your beliefs about what atheists [b]are[/B ]like, it would be better if you just gave a definition of the use of "atheist" that can be accepted by all those we are discussing. Can you limit yourself to that?

I understand that you use the word "atheist" in two ways:
One who simply does not believe that God exists without affirming that God does not exist.
Another who claims that there is no god.
You value the two types of atheism very differently. To avoid confusion, wouldn't it be better to use two different words?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 12:23 AM   #45
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It is someone who believes in the material that is supposed to fill the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere? I always get Atheist and Aetheist mixed up.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 12:23 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I use the definitions provided by Justin P. McBrayer in “Skeptical Theism” in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy*(IEP). I think they are clearer than otherclassifications that usually lead to verbal discussions. Also: it comes from an authoritative source.

Agnosticism is the philosophical view that neither affirms that God exists nor affirms that God does not exist.On the other hand, a type of atheism is the view that God does not exist. (http://www.iep.utm.edu/skept-th/).

Why don’t you agree?
Nitpick - I don't like God with a capital G being use as it ignores all other god beliefs (yes I know you were quoting).

Is a person that neither affirms that god(s) exists nor affirms that god(s) does not exist, but believes in god(s), a theist?

Is a person that neither affirms that god(s)exists nor affirms that god(s) does not exist, but doesn't believe in god(s), an atheist?

If your answer is "yes" to both questions above, and the hilited bit I added is accepted, then I agree. Otherwise I don't.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 12:52 AM   #47
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“Atheist” defines what a person is not, not what a person is. An atheist is not a theist and therefore is not a believer in a god or gods.

A reason why a particular person is an atheists only defines what type of atheist that particular person is. It doesn’t provide a generic definition that covers all atheists, and is therefore an inadequate definition of “atheist” per se. If one atheist type is to be used to define "atheist" then all atheist types should also be used as definitions as well. This would negate any meaningful generic definition of “atheist”.

This why I claim “Not a theist and therefore not a believer in a god or gods” is the most valid and meaningful definition of “atheist”.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 12:58 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 View Post
I entirely agree, but since there's always someone who will then come along and trot out the negative proof fallacy in one form or another, I acknowledge that there must be the microscopically small gap allowed for a god to appear one day.
Do you also allow a microscopically small gap for the possibility that all the large dinosaurs species that once existed are not now extinct?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 01:19 AM   #49
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The word dictator needs to read China Miéville’s novel The City & The City:

Quote:
In The City & The City the ability of language to cement an ideology of seeing and unseeing is on show in a single city of two psychological halves, the inhabitants of one literally not seeing what is in front of their eyes. In Embassytown, a species incapable of understanding metaphor, for whom each word can mean one thing only since meaning does not depend on a system of differences, discovers what it means to use words non-literally.Spring Reading Selection (Irish Left Review, Apr. 20, 2016

I don't know how they'd cope if they ever found out that a word can have several literal meanings! The horror!!!
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:23 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
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.
Isn't one a subset of the other? So if one definition is valid, the other would automatically be included in it?

I do consider the "a"-prefix to mean "not". So an Atheist is not a Theist, i.e. someone who does not believe in a God or Gods, as being a "Theist" means exactly that.

I think the so-called double definition of "Atheist" stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of "belief" as well as from a misunderstanding of the nature of accepting or not accepting claims. If I reject the claim (e.g. in absence of evidence) that it will be raining later today, I do not automatically claim that there will be sunshine. Or even a lack of rain, for what it's worth.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:41 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Nitpick - I don't like God with a capital G being use as it ignores all other god beliefs (yes I know you were quoting).
No problem for me.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Is a person that neither affirms that god(s) exists nor affirms that god(s) does not exist, but believes in god(s), a theist?
One person that believes that a god exists affirms that this god exists. Otherwise he'd be making a mess with the words. You can't believe in something you believe doesn't exist. Or I don't understand what you're saying.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Is a person that neither affirms that god(s)exists nor affirms that god(s) does not exist, but doesn't believe in god(s), an atheist?
I would call him an agnostic. According to IEP. Agnosticism is well defined as the strictly sceptical position: it refrains from any affirmative or negative judgment. The agnostic will face both the one who claims that a god exists and the one who denies that a god exists.
Originally Posted by ynot View Post
If your answer is "yes" to both questions above, and the hilited bit I added is accepted, then I agree. Otherwise I don't.
Why? Perhaps you prefer to make some distinction between some types of atheism? Which ones?

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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:45 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
“Atheist” defines what a person is not, not what a person is. An atheist is not a theist and therefore is not a believer in a god or gods.

A reason why a particular person is an atheists only defines what type of atheist that particular person is. It doesn’t provide a generic definition that covers all atheists, and is therefore an inadequate definition of “atheist” per se. If one atheist type is to be used to define "atheist" then all atheist types should also be used as definitions as well. This would negate any meaningful generic definition of “atheist”.

This why I claim “Not a theist and therefore not a believer in a god or gods” is the most valid and meaningful definition of “atheist”.
This. The whole point of the word atheist is that it makes a distinction from theist.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:52 AM   #53
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Atheist = Person who has seen no reason to believe in deities or religious myth. Not convinced if exposed to any such narrative, or never exposed and so free of such dogma.

[Skeptic = Thoroughly tests and debunks received opinions and supposed facts to ensure only reliable knowledge remains. Bye-bye deities, myth, magic, and bad science. (Sorry, OP, could not resist.)]
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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:59 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
Atheist = Person who has seen no reason to believe in deities or religious myth. Not convinced if exposed to any such narrative, or never exposed and so free of such dogma.

[Skeptic = Thoroughly tests and debunks received opinions and supposed facts to ensure only reliable knowledge remains. Bye-bye deities, myth, magic, and bad science. (Sorry, OP, could not resist.)]
Is your atheist also opposed to the one who claims that a god exists or believes that this claim is justified?
Or does your atheist simply say that both those who believe that God exists and those who believe that God does not exist are wrong?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 03:03 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
This. The whole point of the word atheist is that it makes a distinction from theist.
NO. The question is to distinguish between one who claims that no position can be justified about the gods and one who believes that it can be justified to say that the gods do not exist.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 03:07 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Oh, atheists people worship all sorts of things.
Fixed the intended slander, as this is a generic observation if it is to stand at all (and barely), and one in which "worship" has the meaning "to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion" (Webster entry 2), not strictly "to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power (Webster entry 1)." If you stick to the latter, your statement is false on its own demerits. If you go with the former, the claim is either intended as slander, or shows lack of knowledge. Your dilemma, your choice.

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?
Oops. See above.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 04:28 AM   #57
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Why try and complicate it. An atheist is someone who does not belive in a god. Doesn't matter then if you think a "god" might exist, or some other possibility belief.

If you don't believe in a god you are an atheist.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 04:41 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why try an complicate it.
Theists just seem to not like that basic answer.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 05:30 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
An atheist is a person who believes there is no God


You carry on believing that if it suits you. No-one who is actually an atheist will accept that, but whatever. You have your little fantasies, and who are we to intrude.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 05:40 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Why not equally a semiatheist? Bit like being half-dead.

Or why not simply . . .

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.
I've lost the thread of your disagreement.

You seemed to argue my definition, then quote it as appropriate.

Semitheist was a quip, argue it as you will.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 05:45 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Tommok View Post
Isn't one a subset of the other? So if one definition is valid, the other would automatically be included in it?

I do consider the "a"-prefix to mean "not". So an Atheist is not a Theist, i.e. someone who does not believe in a God or Gods, as being a "Theist" means exactly that.

I think the so-called double definition of "Atheist" stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of "belief" as well as from a misunderstanding of the nature of accepting or not accepting claims. If I reject the claim (e.g. in absence of evidence) that it will be raining later today, I do not automatically claim that there will be sunshine. Or even a lack of rain, for what it's worth.
You quoted the explanation, not the definition. The explanation does describe the two meanings that people ever quibble about.

The definition I gave covers the subsets:

Atheist = a person that does not believe god(s) exist.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:02 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why try and complicate it. An atheist is someone who does not belive in a god. Doesn't matter then if you think a "god" might exist, or some other possibility belief.

If you don't believe in a god you are an atheist.
This is your definition, it is neither mine nor The Internet Enciclopedia of Philosophy definition.

So what do we do now?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:17 AM   #63
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Atheist: Someone who can argue about the definition of the word 'atheist' endlessly.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:21 AM   #64
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I like to use YouTuber Edward Tarte's definition, which is "I find no credible evidence for the existence of any gods".
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:22 AM   #65
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I am going to make a classification of the different positions that can be given to the question "Is there a god?" I'm not going to name them. If the classification seems convenient, we will do it later.

(A) I believe that God exists.
(B) I don't believe that God exists.

(A) May be divided into two:
(A1) I can justify my claim that God exists. (Justify = rationally).
(A2) I cannot justify that God exists. I just believe it.

(B) Can be divided into two
(B1) I can justify my belief that God does not exist. I affirm that there is no God.
(B2) It cannot be justified that God exists or does not exist. I abstain from all judgment.

All positions can be divided between those who affirm one thing absolutely and those who admit some degree of uncertainty, but for a first approximation these are the four basic positions on the existence of God or gods. One or more of them may be called atheism and one or more of them may be called agnosticism. I believe that any answer to the question fits into this scheme.

Does anyone disagree? Does anyone believe that their atheism or agnosticism is not reflected in these four - or eight - positions?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:23 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Do you also allow a microscopically small gap for the possibility that all the large dinosaurs species that once existed are not now extinct?
No, because there are enough bones to show otherwise! Most theists would agree too I think!
And besides, even if one were to appear somewhere, even if not quite so big, they would be recognised as animals, not any kind of god, wouldn't they?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:30 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Why not equally a semiatheist? Bit like being half-dead.

Or why not simply . . .

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.
This thinking is far too black-and-white for the subject. It attempts to put all but the most vehemently religious into the atheist category, and give a distorted sense of how people feel about the existence of god.

Your example of a car: it would depend on what you consider ownership. Say I buy a Jeep for my underage kid, but as the legal buyer the title and insurance are in my name. In terms of paperwork formality, the Jeep is mine. When the rubber hits the metaphorical road, the Jeep is my kid's.
A passing anachro-communist would opine that neither of us can own property. On and on.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:46 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am going to make a classification of the different positions that can be given to the question "Is there a god?" I'm not going to name them. If the classification seems convenient, we will do it later.

(A) I believe that God exists.
(B) I don't believe that God exists.

(A) May be divided into two:
(A1) I can justify my claim that God exists. (Justify = rationally).
(A2) I cannot justify that God exists. I just believe it.

(B) Can be divided into two
(B1) I can justify my belief that God does not exist. I affirm that there is no God.
(B2) It cannot be justified that God exists or does not exist. I abstain from all judgment.

All positions can be divided between those who affirm one thing absolutely and those who admit some degree of uncertainty, but for a first approximation these are the four basic positions on the existence of God or gods. One or more of them may be called atheism and one or more of them may be called agnosticism. I believe that any answer to the question fits into this scheme.

Does anyone disagree? Does anyone believe that their atheism or agnosticism is not reflected in these four - or eight - positions?
B1a, I can justify my belief that god(s) do not exist but its by the absence of evidence and absence of evidence isn't really evidence, but sometimes it's close enough.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:50 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am going to make a classification of the different positions that can be given to the question "Is there a god?" I'm not going to name them. If the classification seems convenient, we will do it later.

(A) I believe that God exists.
(B) I don't believe that God exists.

(A) May be divided into two:
(A1) I can justify my claim that God exists. (Justify = rationally).
(A2) I cannot justify that God exists. I just believe it.

(B) Can be divided into two
(B1) I can justify my belief that God does not exist. I affirm that there is no God.
(B2) It cannot be justified that God exists or does not exist. I abstain from all judgment.

All positions can be divided between those who affirm one thing absolutely and those who admit some degree of uncertainty, but for a first approximation these are the four basic positions on the existence of God or gods. One or more of them may be called atheism and one or more of them may be called agnosticism. I believe that any answer to the question fits into this scheme.

Does anyone disagree? Does anyone believe that their atheism or agnosticism is not reflected in these four - or eight - positions?
Me?

Your positions are at the moment meaningless since no definition is given for "god". Until a definition is given one can't take any view on whatever it is you are talking about.

Plus I'm still curious why this always ends up with a general "god that we won't define", such a god is not the god of the major Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and so on religions, why don't we stick to the definitions/descriptions of gods that those that claim a god or gods exist use?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:58 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
This is your definition, it is neither mine nor The Internet Enciclopedia of Philosophy definition.

So what do we do now?
Er... nothing? Carry on discussing this? Make a cup of The TEA?

My definition makes sense in how we define "theist" i.e. someone who believes in god*, since atheist is meant to be the converse/opposite it seems to me to make sense to make the definition the same type of definition i.e. someone who doesn't believe in god**.


*Obviously to be specific about any one theist you would have to include their definition for god.***

**Obviously to be specific about any one atheist you would have to include their definition for god.

***Which is why I keep going back to saying we have to define "god" for all these questions to have any kind of meaning, otherwise we are talking about "the entire set of all things people can mean when they use the word 'god'" which could include anything!****

****Which is why I keep asking why don't we stick to the gods that theists say they believe in?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 07:09 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am going to make a classification of the different positions that can be given to the question "Is there a god?" I'm not going to name them. If the classification seems convenient, we will do it later.

(A) I believe that God exists.
(B) I don't believe that God exists.

(A) May be divided into two:
(A1) I can justify my claim that God exists. (Justify = rationally).
(A2) I cannot justify that God exists. I just believe it.

(B) Can be divided into two
(B1) I can justify my belief that God does not exist. I affirm that there is no God.
(B2) It cannot be justified that God exists or does not exist. I abstain from all judgment.

All positions can be divided between those who affirm one thing absolutely and those who admit some degree of uncertainty, but for a first approximation these are the four basic positions on the existence of God or gods. One or more of them may be called atheism and one or more of them may be called agnosticism. I believe that any answer to the question fits into this scheme.

Does anyone disagree? Does anyone believe that their atheism or agnosticism is not reflected in these four - or eight - positions?
These are not the same, and why your attempt at answering the question is fatally flawed. Further, your two categories for B are not the only 2 possible categories.

So yes, I don't accept that anything in your flawed analysis represents my position.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 07:11 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
My definition makes sense in how we define "theist" i.e. someone who believes in god*, since atheist is meant to be the converse/opposite it seems to me to make sense to make the definition the same type of definition i.e. someone who doesn't believe in god**.
But... that means the word atheist can mean several similar but distinct things at the same time.
How ever will we manage?

I demand that it only has one possible meaning.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 07:31 AM   #73
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I have always found it curious that my definition of an atheist "An atheist is a person who believes there is no God," draws such didactic, indeed even emotional answers, particularly when my definition is but my definition.

Further, I personally believe it is superior as it is both an affirmative description, which I am certain one can easily understand, and also does not suffer the problem of being an "absolute" statement which skeptics are quite correct to see the flaws in making.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 07:40 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
I have always found it curious that my definition of an atheist "An atheist is a person who believes there is no God," draws such didactic, indeed even emotional answers, particularly when my definition is but my definition.

Further, I personally believe it is superior as it is both an affirmative description, which I am certain one can easily understand, and also does not suffer the problem of being an "absolute" statement which skeptics are quite correct to see the flaws in making.
Then I am not an atheist, yet I am not a theist as in a theist is a person who believes there is a God.
Yet as per this definition, lack of belief or disbelief in any god, I am an atheist.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 08:11 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
Then I am not an atheist, yet I am not a theist as in a theist is a person who believes there is a God.
Yet as per this definition, lack of belief or disbelief in any god, I am an atheist.
Theists simply cannot comprehend that others don't "believe in" stuff. It messes with their brains. Hence the desire to call atheism a belief, which is in fact the opposite of what it is. Having us "believe in" something acts as affirmation that belief itself is OK, even though us atheists are obviously misguided enough to believe in the wrong thing. Oh, the knots they tangle themselves up in........
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Old 3rd May 2018, 08:45 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Instead of commenting on your beliefs about what atheists [b]are[/B ]like, it would be better if you just gave a definition of the use of "atheist" that can be accepted by all those we are discussing. Can you limit yourself to that?

I understand that you use the word "atheist" in two ways:
One who simply does not believe that God exists without affirming that God does not exist.
Another who claims that there is no god.
You value the two types of atheism very differently. To avoid confusion, wouldn't it be better to use two different words?
Thanks!
Yes. I will limit myself to the provided dictionary definition.
I think that so I won't create more confusion, I'll not invent some new word but simply leave things as they are.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 09:00 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
But... that means the word atheist can mean several similar but distinct things at the same time.
How ever will we manage?

I demand that it only has one possible meaning.
It is strange, folk seem to have no problem in understanding that a theist doesn't believe in every single thing people label god, yet the converse causes confusion.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 09:05 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
I have always found it curious that my definition of an atheist "An atheist is a person who believes there is no God," draws such didactic, indeed even emotional answers, particularly when my definition is but my definition.
Not seen the "emotional responses" you have seen? Any examples?
Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Further, I personally believe it is superior as it is both an affirmative description, which I am certain one can easily understand, and also does not suffer the problem of being an "absolute" statement which skeptics are quite correct to see the flaws in making.
In a "serious" discussion I think it is fine to not make the simple declarative comments we probably all make in our day to day lives. So if you asked me here do I believe in "god" I'd have to ask you to define your use of the word "god". But in day to day life I'd probably assume people are talking about the CofE/RCC/Sunni/Judaic god so would be able to say "no".
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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:12 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Semitheist was a quip, argue it as you will.
Neither being “half-dead” or “half-alive” is being dead.

Neither being a “semi-theist” or “semi-atheist” is being a theist.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:27 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Theists simply cannot comprehend that others don't "believe in" stuff. It messes with their brains. Hence the desire to call atheism a belief, which is in fact the opposite of what it is. Having us "believe in" something acts as affirmation that belief itself is OK, even though us atheists are obviously misguided enough to believe in the wrong thing. Oh, the knots they tangle themselves up in........
Many theists simply cannot comprehend that others don't believe in their god or any god.

Seems to be mainly theists* that most want “atheist” to be defined as “Believes there is no god or gods”. Obviously this definition better suits their purpose as they can counter “You merely believe a god exists” with “You merely believe a god doesn’t exist”. Which they quickly slam dunk with “You can’t prove a god doesn’t exist”. As if this makes the realistic odds of a god existing or not equally possible.

*Or psychowankists that speak with a heavily theistic accent.
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