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Tags atheism , atheism definitions

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Old 6th June 2018, 09:06 AM   #281
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
If you weren't more interested in being patronizing I might take your questions more seriously.
The question was entirely serious.
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Old 6th June 2018, 09:44 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Well I don’t see how this . .

in any way “dealt with”, or in any way answered this . . .

If you believe it does please explain how.
I have already explained it so simply that a child could understand it. I don't know how to dumb it down any further.

"Lack of belief" goes either way. If you described yourself that way then you would be open to the existence of a deity just as much as to the non-existence of a deity. That is not how an atheist thinks. You are clearly not open to the existence of any deity whatsoever. That makes your position one of "disbelief".
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Old 6th June 2018, 10:41 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I have already explained it so simply that a child could understand it. I don't know how to dumb it down any further.

"Lack of belief" goes either way. If you described yourself that way then you would be open to the existence of a deity just as much as to the non-existence of a deity. That is not how an atheist thinks. You are clearly not open to the existence of any deity whatsoever. That makes your position one of "disbelief".
Is all your playing with semantics earning you money or points on another website we are not aware of? You seem quite insistent on telling other people what they think, based entirely to your own definitions.

The fact is that gods do not exist, and anyone who thinks they do, or tries to make other people appear as if they think they do, has to be a little loopy.
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Old 6th June 2018, 12:36 PM   #284
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Atheism is the belief that there are no gods or at least that the contemporary gods are a false belief.

I know that in this forum, atheism is re-defined as a "lack of belief". It makes acting as if there are no gods seem more rational.

Sorry, no. There is no more rational way to act than as if there are no gods. Unless you can offer a better idea?
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Old 6th June 2018, 02:20 PM   #285
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Only the religious these days demand that atheism is a belief in there being no god/s.
Right on cue!

Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
there are few beliefs so fervently held as some modern atheist's belief that the definition of atheist must not include even a hint that atheists believe there is no God
Thanks for that.
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Old 6th June 2018, 02:27 PM   #286
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I have already explained it so simply that a child could understand it. I don't know how to dumb it down any further.
I suggest you put more effort into making your explanations more adult and intelligent rather than childishly simply and dumb . . .

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
"Lack of belief" goes either way. If you described yourself that way then you would be open to the existence of a deity just as much as to the non-existence of a deity. That is not how an atheist thinks. You are clearly not open to the existence of any deity whatsoever. That makes your position one of "disbelief".
“Lack of belief” is NOT how I describe myself as a type of atheist, it describes how I define atheism (a generic definition that covers all atheist types). “Lack of belief” is an appropriate description of other atheists types however. All atheists lack belief in god(s), reasons why they lack belief isn't what defines them as "atheists", it merely defines their atheist types. I describe my atheist type as being "knows there's no god(s)" (no belief required). I know there are no gods by the same category of knowledge I know there are no dragons.

If you’re as open to the existence of dragons just as much as to the non-existence of a dragons, then you’re being childishly dumb. Is it more appropriate to describe not believing in dragons as “disbelief” or “lack of belief/non-belief”?

This is your post that started this particular debate . . .
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Atheism is the belief that there are no gods or at least that the contemporary gods are a false belief.

I know that in this forum, atheism is re-defined as a "lack of belief". It makes acting as if there are no gods seem more rational.
That you and other theists want to define all atheists (atheism) as being “believes there is no god(s)” is merely a pathetic attempt to make atheism appear as much an irrational belief as theism.
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Old 6th June 2018, 02:36 PM   #287
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Care to answer this? . . .
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
There are always degrees of belief. Some atheists are willing to change their belief in the face of overwhelming evidence and some are not.
Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Provide an example of your merely claimed "overwhelming evidence".
. . .
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Old 6th June 2018, 06:03 PM   #288
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
The fact is that gods do not exist, and anyone who thinks they do, or tries to make other people appear as if they think they do, has to be a little loopy.
You are an atheist. You believe/know that there are no gods. And that is fine.

Yet the mere suggestion that this is what makes an atheist has others frothing at the mouth.
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Old 6th June 2018, 06:05 PM   #289
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Care to answer this? . . .


. . .
This is what make communicating with you so difficult. Anybody else would understand that I am saying that it would take overwhelming evidence to make you change your POV. For some unfathomable reason, you are interpreting this to mean that I am claiming to have such overwhelming evidence.
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:06 PM   #290
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
This is what make communicating with you so difficult. Anybody else would understand that I am saying that it would take overwhelming evidence to make you change your POV. For some unfathomable reason, you are interpreting this to mean that I am claiming to have such overwhelming evidence.
When did you gain the right speak on behalf of “anybody else”? Wonder how many others would understand what you’re saying when you change what you’re saying in the first instance to what you’re saying differently in the second? Wonder how many interpreted the first as being the same as the second before (or even after) you posted the second?

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
There are always degrees of belief. Some atheists are willing to change their belief in the face of overwhelming evidence and some are not.
Rather pointless to claim “Some atheists are willing to change their belief in the face of overwhelming evidence” if no such “overwhelming evidence” even exists. To say “Some atheists are willing” indicates (at the very least) that there is some overwhelming evidence for the existence of god(s) that has changed the POV of some atheists.

Saying “Some atheists are willing to change their belief in the face of overwhelming evidence” is NOT the same as saying “it would take overwhelming evidence to make you change your POV” (not even close). Perhaps if you took more care with your words communication might be less difficult for everyone.

Obviously any rational person would change their POV if presented with credible overwhelming evidence that proved their POV wrong. Provide credible overwhelming evidence that dragons exist and I will change my POV on the existence of dragons. I'm not prepared however to merely change my POV and merely believe dragons exist because it might be emotionally comforting for me to do so (you can replace "dragons" with "gods" of course).
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:17 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Saying “Some atheists are willing to change their belief in the face of overwhelming evidence” is NOT the same as saying “it would take overwhelming evidence to make you change your POV” (not even close).
That is seriously twisted.
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:25 PM   #292
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That is seriously twisted.
I agree. They're your words. So why did you so seriously twist them?
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:34 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You are an atheist. You believe/know that there are no gods. And that is fine.

Yet the mere suggestion that this is what makes an atheist has others frothing at the mouth.
What do you call a person that isn't sure, or hasn't yet decided to believe, that god(s) exists?

Oh that's right, you would also call them "atheists" . . .
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
"Agnostic" sounds kind of wishy-washy so in this forum, it has been re-defined to be exclusively about the belief in the provability of the existence of a god. This means that only the term "atheist" remains to describe the point half-way in between belief and disbelief.
Kinda ruins the "Believes there's no god(s)" definition of "atheist".

ETA - There's no half-way-point between belief and lack of belief.
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Old 6th June 2018, 10:22 PM   #294
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I come at this problem by first asking - what do you call someone who doesn't have any belief in a god or gods?

Agnostic doesn't seem to fit here because the non believers are not saying "I don't know", and they are also not saying "I know/believe that gods do not exist" either (well they may say that too, but they don't have to). Here from the above "I have no belief in any God or Gods" the label Atheist seems most appropriate. If not then what are they (label wise since we are talking about labels here)

Also, a response to the question "do you have a believe in a God or Gods" as "I don't know" which is supposedly what an Agnostic would say, just means they haven't made up there mind yet. But for me, that still makes them an Atheist - tentatively, they can't not know if they have a belief and have a belief at the same time. So until they decide they do believe in a God, they are an atheist (as per above). So because Agnostic doesn't appear to make any sense - an Agnostic must be about something else.

However, the question "do you have a believe in a God or Gods" is different from the question "Do you know if a God exists, or Do you know that a God doesn't exist". The Agnostic answers "I don't know" and the or Gnostic answers "yes, definitely he exists" seems to fit nicely.
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Old 6th June 2018, 11:01 PM   #295
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
I come at this problem by first asking - what do you call someone who doesn't have any belief in a god or gods?

Agnostic doesn't seem to fit here because the non believers are not saying "I don't know", and they are also not saying "I know/believe that gods do not exist" either (well they may say that too, but they don't have to). Here from the above "I have no belief in any God or Gods" the label Atheist seems most appropriate. If not then what are they (label wise since we are talking about labels here)

Also, a response to the question "do you have a believe in a God or Gods" as "I don't know" which is supposedly what an Agnostic would say, just means they haven't made up there mind yet. But for me, that still makes them an Atheist - tentatively, they can't not know if they have a belief and have a belief at the same time. So until they decide they do believe in a God, they are an atheist (as per above). So because Agnostic doesn't appear to make any sense - an Agnostic must be about something else.

However, the question "do you have a believe in a God or Gods" is different from the question "Do you know if a God exists, or Do you know that a God doesn't exist". The Agnostic answers "I don't know" and the or Gnostic answers "yes, definitely he exists" seems to fit nicely.
Close enough. It's really not complicated. “Atheist” is defined by not being a theist. Why a person isn’t a theist merely defines what type of atheist they are.
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Old 7th June 2018, 12:47 AM   #296
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Close enough. It's really not complicated. “Atheist” is defined by not being a theist. Why a person isn’t a theist merely defines what type of atheist they are.
Generally I'm of the impression that discussions regarding the belief or existence of a God should follow on from stated positions rather than labels (whatever label the theist and atheist may want to adopt) and proceeding on to discussing the concepts, ignoring labels to prevent getting hung up on them.

However, more than once I have got into a lunchtime debate that got hung up on the definition of Atheist. What I found to be irritating was that somehow if I conceded that if I didn't know if a God existed, only that I wasn't convinced there were any, made me an Agnostic rather than an Atheist that they somehow won the argument.

It was like the Theist was suggesting that because I was an Agnostic that somehow that wasn't so bad, and that I was just a bit lost and needed to find the right path was all. "Oh, those Agnostics over there we can ignore, they are not even part of the debate as they just haven't figured it out yet - one way or another, they just don't know or understand what I know - they are harmless and disinterested and really not in any way significant".

But in fact, based on their labeling of my position as Agnostic, this "Agnostic" is saying "you guys (theists) appear to be confused, mixed up with circular reasoning, irrational and delusional. Call me an Agnostic or an Atheist - your theist position is still full of crap and need much more work before I go anywhere near it".
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Old 7th June 2018, 01:12 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
It was like the Theist was suggesting that because I was an Agnostic that somehow that wasn't so bad, and that I was just a bit lost and needed to find the right path was all.
I am not trying to set anybody on the "right" path. I am just puzzled as to why dyed in the wool atheists here refuse to accept the common definition of atheist that is used in the real world.

"Lack of belief" can only stem from lack of knowledge. For example, (assuming that you are not a computer geek) you might lack a belief about the running times of a comparison based sort. Once you have been given some information about it (such as what a "comparison based sort" is), you can choose to believe it or disbelieve it. You might choose to disbelieve the information you have been given until supporting evidence is given or you may choose to assume it is true in some circumstances and false in other circumstances.

Whatever the case, "lack of belief" can no longer exist. It should be noted that how willing somebody might be to be persuaded to change their POV is not the issue here. It is only what a person currently believes.
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Old 7th June 2018, 01:35 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I am not trying to set anybody on the "right" path. I am just puzzled as to why dyed in the wool atheists here refuse to accept the common definition of atheist that is used in the real world.

"Lack of belief" can only stem from lack of knowledge. For example, (assuming that you are not a computer geek) you might lack a belief about the running times of a comparison based sort. Once you have been given some information about it (such as what a "comparison based sort" is), you can choose to believe it or disbelieve it. You might choose to disbelieve the information you have been given until supporting evidence is given or you may choose to assume it is true in some circumstances and false in other circumstances.

Whatever the case, "lack of belief" can no longer exist. It should be noted that how willing somebody might be to be persuaded to change their POV is not the issue here. It is only what a person currently believes.
Matt Dillahunty gives the jar of gumballs as an example.

If a jar of gumballs is presented to me and a friend, and my friend says "there are an even number of gumballs in that jar", even though I know he has never seen the jar before, I can say "I'm not convinced of that".

I am agnostic about how many gumballs there are myself, but I am an Atheist regarding his specific claim that there are an even number of sweets in the jar. I either agree or disagree. But disagreeing doesn't mean I think there is an Odd number.

So I am happy defining Atheist in the hard or soft sense, as long as theists don't expect that I am adopting a burden of proof here because most Atheists who have come to their position intellectually have done so because the Theist claim doesn't appear to hold together at closer inspection. Also it's worth noting that the meaning of words can change over time and as I suggested above, the words make more sense when Agnostics don't know if a God exists or not, Atheists reject the claim that one does.
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Old 7th June 2018, 02:05 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
I am agnostic about how many gumballs there are myself, but I am an Atheist regarding his specific claim that there are an even number of sweets in the jar. I either agree or disagree. But disagreeing doesn't mean I think there is an Odd number.
Saying "you are full of ****" doesn't mean that you are agreeing with or disagreeing with your "friend".
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Old 7th June 2018, 02:23 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Saying "you are full of ****" doesn't mean that you are agreeing with or disagreeing with your "friend".


Lol



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Old 7th June 2018, 02:23 AM   #301
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Saying "I am apolitical" does not imply a lack of belief in the existence of politics. It's simply a personal ontological declaration about one's relationship with the issue under consideration.

It's entirely logical to be an atheist and agnostic at the same time.

One simply needs to understand the difference between:
  • the ontological ("I don't have a belief in a god" | "I'm not theistic");
  • the epistemological ("I don't know whether there is a god or not").
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Old 7th June 2018, 12:49 PM   #302
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
"Lack of belief" can only stem from lack of knowledge.
Having a belief is what stems from lack of knowledge. Knowledge that others have a belief doesn’t mean you have to accept or reject that belief, but until and unless you do accept and adopt that belief, you lack (don’t have) that belief.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
you can choose to believe it or disbelieve it.
A typical “You’re either with us or you’re against us” theistic attitude. You can of course also not choose to either believe it or disbelieve it. This “You have to either accept or reject a god belief” is really “You have to either accept or reject my God” (because the “good book” says you have to make a choice). Seems it’s important for theists to believe that all atheists are nasty sinners that have rejected/denied their loving god that everyone (including atheists) knows actually exists.
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Old 13th June 2018, 05:18 AM   #303
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I'm answering the thread in general from the title, so I don't know where it's been.

Atheism is a term that assumes theism as the default. We don't usually name the lack of something unless we assume that it is a needed and proper thing that people shouldn't lack. Take a group of people and demand that they divide themselves by their favorite god. Atheists are among those that didn't choose. More specifically, atheists are the people that refused to participate on the grounds that they don't know that any gods exist. They aren't properly a named group. The question they answered isn't the same one as the other groups answered. In very real social terms, atheists are the ones refusing to play a game that religionists demand they play.

I suppose I'm a de facto atheist, but I refuse to identify with the term because its framing suggests deviance. On the contrary, it's actually the norm in some circles. Since when are we required to participate in groupthink about deities? While it is true that some societies have required it of us for centuries, that's not a good thing. I'm not deviant or rebellious. I only seem such to some because they wrongly assume that religion is required. The question it answers presumes an authority which I never ceded. I am not required to answer the question of deities at all, and usually, I prefer not to answer absurd questions. I'll just leave that one blank. It doesn't deserve an answer. It's a false dichotomy, for one. People aren't entirely temporally consistent, and sometimes their answer will depend on context. We assume by the way we attribute it that people aren't sometimes an atheist and sometimes not, but the fact is that this is actually a fairly common condition. To top it off, you don't even have an opinion all the time unless you're constantly thinking about it.

My definition of atheism would be: "The practice of answering a ridiculous question that doesn't even deserve consideration with a negative, ignoring the fact that the question itself is illegitimate and manipulative." The real question intended isn't about whether gods exist or not. It's about which one you grovel to. Their existence or lack thereof is irrelevant to any meaningful discussion of religion. The dividing lines aren't even where we pretend that they are. There are people who don't believe in the factual existence of gods who nonetheless identify with a theistic religion, and there are people who believe in some vague concept of a deity who don't follow a religion. There are even people that believe one way in some situations, and another in others. This particular episode of "separate and classify" doesn't clarify anything meaningful. It's mostly just an identity crutch. In that, it's not notably different from religion. It makes much more sense to me to just be a non-participant and decline to discuss the matter.

That said, I can't resist discussing the matter because I find it fascinating.

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Old 13th June 2018, 07:27 AM   #304
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In other words, atheism and theism are like all the other "personal identity" words: completely unnecessary and misleading. It is more a role to play than it is a designation of an actual condition, although some are more attracted to one role than the others. Even between these concepts, there are some who decline to play the game. You can't find a word for us we'll accept, because the whole point is to remain unclassified, and thus, free. Atheism happens to be one that pretends to name the unnamable -- but you can't put a name to it without accepting the rules and participating in the game. Once you accept a name for it, you're in a box and have a designated role to play, which is kind of silly if your intent was to decline to participate. It's better to leave that blank unfilled. The only way to end a stupidity is to decline to participate. Actively fighting against it just gives them an enemy to add as fuel to their fire.

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Old 13th June 2018, 09:58 AM   #305
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If an Atheist can be anything from someone who actively believes there is no god to a religious person who thinks god is a matter of faith not physical evidence why bother with the concept at all? Telling us you are one tells us nothing, so as a concept it’s DOA.
Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
I come at this problem by first asking - what do you call someone who doesn't have any belief in a god or gods?

Agnostic doesn't seem to fit here because the non believers are not saying "I don't know", and they are also not saying "I know/believe that gods do not exist" either (well they may say that too, but they don't have to). Here from the above "I have no belief in any God or Gods" the label Atheist seems most appropriate. If not then what are they (label wise since we are talking about labels here)
How are these meaningfully different? All that appears to be happening is that the second seems to be trying to disavow any responsibility for the formation of one’s beliefs. Essentially all it really tells us is that you have no particular reason for your beliefs, or at least no reason you are willing to stand behind.
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Old 13th June 2018, 10:34 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
Matt Dillahunty gives the jar of gumballs as an example.

If a jar of gumballs is presented to me and a friend, and my friend says "there are an even number of gumballs in that jar", even though I know he has never seen the jar before, I can say "I'm not convinced of that".
A more apt analogy would be they believe the number of gumballs to be even because someone wrote “100 gumballs” on the container. IOW whether it’s a good reason or not, they have an actual reason for their conclusion. Conversely the “Atheist” in this scenario has no particularly reason for saying the number is not even but is simply saying they don’t believe that it is, no reason given.


While not strictly wrong it’s a position that neither convincing nor constructive and one you could fully justify ignoring out of hand.
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Old 13th June 2018, 04:50 PM   #307
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
Atheism is a term that assumes theism as the default. We don't usually name the lack of something unless we assume that it is a needed and proper thing that people shouldn't lack.
Wrong!

Theist is a term that assumes theism as the default and is a needed and proper thing that people shouldn't lack.

Atheism/atheist are terms that don't assume theism as the default and is a needed and proper thing that people shouldn't lack.

Atheism merely defines that an atheist isn't a theist. Atheism is the default, people become theists.
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Old 13th June 2018, 06:06 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Wrong!

Theist is a term that assumes theism as the default and is a needed and proper thing that people shouldn't lack.

Atheism/atheist are terms that don't assume theism as the default and is a needed and proper thing that people shouldn't lack.

Atheism merely defines that an atheist isn't a theist. Atheism is the default, people become theists.
Well, yeah. An atheist would consider atheism a default (technically, "animism" has some small evidence in its favor, but whatever). However, it's sort of like non-stamp-collecters. The very existence of the term unnecessarily legitimizes its opposite and creates a name for further stereotypes. It's a matter of defining yourself by what you are not. It can become an archetype that people aspire to in some cases -- which is ridiculous. When it becomes something which defines in-groups and out-groups, it has effectively become a religion (and I have seen that on some websites, including here). Unfortunately, the better you define it, the more "devout" you become.

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Old 13th June 2018, 06:38 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
Well, yeah... an atheist would consider atheism a default. However, it's sort of like non-stamp-collecters. The very existence of the term unnecessarily legitimizes its opposite and creates a name for further stereotypes. It's almost a matter of defining yourself by what you are not. It can become an archetype that people aspire to in some cases -- which is ridiculous. When it becomes something which defines in-groups and out-groups, it has effectively become a religion (and I have seen that on some websites, including here).
Atheism is the default as a matter of fact, not consideration. No person is a theist before they're an atheist.

Sure the label "atheist" is superfluous, but as it's been used for some time and continues to be commonly used, then the label needs some defining (that doesn't make it a belief or religion). Seems clear that theists have a different definition from atheists and there will never be a consensus. Labeling someone as an atheist is defining them as "what they're not" by the "not theist" definition, but not by the "believes there's no god(s)" definition.

Perhaps theists should be defined as "not atheists" .
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Old 13th June 2018, 06:45 PM   #310
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Atheism is the default as a matter of fact, not consideration. No person is a theist before they're an atheist.

Sure the label "atheist" is superfluous, but as it's been used for some time and continues to be commonly used, then the label needs some defining (that doesn't make it a belief or religion). Seems clear that theists have a different definition from atheists and there will never be a consensus. Defining someone as an atheist is defining them as "what they're not" by the "not theist" definition, but not by the "believes there's no god(s)" definition.
I think we agree more than we disagree. I just don't like the term. My main beef has to do with the assumption of internal consistency on the subject. An atheist can accept the "hypothetical" existence of gods for the sake of a story or a metaphor, for instance. Does that mean that they're temporary theists when watching certain movies? There's this assumption of identity involved which seems inaccurate. I see belief as something that people do rather than something that people are.

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Old 13th June 2018, 06:58 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
I think we agree more than we disagree. I just don't like the term. My main beef has to do with the assumption of internal consistency on the subject. An atheist can accept the "hypothetical" existence of gods for the sake of a story or a metaphor, for instance. Does that mean that they're temporary theists when watching certain movies? There's this assumption of identity involved which seems inaccurate. I see belief more as "stuff that people do" than as "stuff that people are."
I don't particularly like the term/label either, but I can easily live with it.

Does watching murder movies make anyone a temporary murderer?

I see belief more as "stuff that people accept when they can't know".

Belief is what people think, not what they do or are.

Perhaps those that don't have any god(s) beliefs simply need to care less what those that do have god(s) beliefs think of and label them.
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Old 13th June 2018, 07:07 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Perhaps those that don't have any god(s) beliefs simply need to care less what those that do have god(s) beliefs think of and label them.
That I'd definitely agree with. I just don't like the idea of labeling ourselves.
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Old 13th June 2018, 07:17 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
That I'd definitely agree with. I just don't like the idea of labeling ourselves.
Appropriate labels can have a "shorthand" usefulness. Inappropriate labels with ulterior motives can be annoying however, but there are many worse things .
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Old 13th June 2018, 07:53 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by porch View Post
Sorry, no. There is no more rational way to act than as if there are no gods. Unless you can offer a better idea?
I have noticed that Atheism is often confused with deism. And if you think about it it is understandable as if god doesn't interfere with his creation then functionally it is as if there is o god.
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Old 14th June 2018, 05:28 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
I have noticed that Atheism is often confused with deism. And if you think about it it is understandable as if god doesn't interfere with his creation then functionally it is as if there is o god.
That applies equally to all claimed and merely believed gods (not that there's any other type).
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