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Author Topic:   Atheism is a belief (Why Atheists don't believe part 2)
riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 853 days)
Posts: 5746
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 1 of 302 (314727)
05-23-2006 7:37 PM


A continuation of this thread:
Why Atheists don't believe

Ok, ready for this one?

This quote from jar sparked a thought in my head, and I will try to explain it to you.

I can't think of a single reason for an atheist to believe in a God. There isn't any really good verifiable evidence there is one, or any strong reason to suppose there might be a God. Most atheists I've had dealings with seem to be pretty reasonable, rational individual, and if they were presented with overwhelming evidence that GOD existed, then would likely accept that fact. But until presented with such evidence, why should they believe?

I will agree that most atheists are pretty reasonable, ok no prejudice here, now on with it.

Why should they believe? Well the bible clearly states, that it is faith that gets you your evidence.

I am going to make the claim that atheism is a belief, and here is why.

You have a thought, you express the thought, someone can choose to believe it or not. We went over that in the previous thread. Some atheists take some things on faith, without evidence, or checking on the evidence.

Now the thought is God. You can choose to believe it or not. You can look for evidence, and you may find none. You may find only subjective evidence. But either way, you have chosen not to believe in God.

This does not mean there is no God. We are only unable to prove His existence objectively.

So you have chosen to believe there is no God. You cannot prove that there is no God, so it is a belief. A belief backed by lack of empirical evidence, fine.

Let's reverse roles. You are trying to convince me that there is no God. I say to you prove it. You can't.

The only way you could be a true atheist, is if you have never heard the word God, and you have no inner feeling that there is one. The thought has never crossed your mind.

I hate it when an atheist tries to portray himself as someone like that, when it is just not the case.

There is more to the thought, it goes on to the mathematical possibility of God, but I guess I should stop it here.

Edited by AdminNWR, : fixed link ([thread=-14,1406] in place of [thread=1406] )


Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by fallacycop, posted 05-24-2006 8:26 AM riVeRraT has responded
 Message 7 by RickJB, posted 05-24-2006 8:29 AM riVeRraT has responded
 Message 8 by Larni, posted 05-24-2006 8:52 AM riVeRraT has responded
 Message 9 by ikabod, posted 05-24-2006 9:07 AM riVeRraT has responded
 Message 10 by Modulous, posted 05-24-2006 9:11 AM riVeRraT has responded
 Message 13 by Dr Jack, posted 05-24-2006 9:54 AM riVeRraT has responded
 Message 16 by sidelined, posted 05-24-2006 11:25 AM riVeRraT has responded
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AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1988
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 2 of 302 (314730)
05-23-2006 7:48 PM


Thread moved here from the Coffee House forum.

Rat---we really need to start these types of topics here rather than the Coffee House. I have to go to work now, but I will chat with you later about placing this in Faith/Belief.

Edited by AdminPhat, : No reason given.



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    Message 3 of 302 (314744)
    05-23-2006 8:33 PM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    We have had this debate before
    See Atheism isn't a belief? for a previous incarnation of this study.

    Maybe it is time to debate it again. I thought it useful to at least provide a reference to the previous discussion of the topic.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by riVeRraT, posted 05-23-2006 7:37 PM riVeRraT has responded

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    riVeRraT
    Member (Idle past 853 days)
    Posts: 5746
    From: NY USA
    Joined: 05-09-2004


    Message 4 of 302 (314770)
    05-23-2006 9:53 PM
    Reply to: Message 3 by AdminNWR
    05-23-2006 8:33 PM


    Re: We have had this debate before
    Rodger that.

    I figured it was covered already somewhere, but since the first part went pretty well, and it was in the coffee house, I just figured I continue it there.

    But I guess I switched gears on it a little.


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     Message 3 by AdminNWR, posted 05-23-2006 8:33 PM AdminNWR has not yet responded

    AdminPhat
    Administrator
    Posts: 1988
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-03-2004


    Message 5 of 302 (314825)
    05-24-2006 8:02 AM


    Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

    fallacycop
    Member (Idle past 4454 days)
    Posts: 692
    From: Fortaleza-CE Brazil
    Joined: 02-18-2006


    Message 6 of 302 (314831)
    05-24-2006 8:26 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    Suficient Condition?
    The only way you could be a true atheist, is if you have never heard the word God, and you have no inner feeling that there is one. The thought has never crossed your mind.
    I don`t understand that. It seems that an inner feeling that there is no god would be enough

    This message is a reply to:
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    RickJB
    Member (Idle past 3924 days)
    Posts: 917
    From: London, UK
    Joined: 04-14-2006


    Message 7 of 302 (314833)
    05-24-2006 8:29 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    riverrat writes:

    So you have chosen to believe there is no God.

    I'm quite comfortable with the fact their might be a God, so I guess that would make me an Agnostic. But either way, if God's existence cannot be shown objectively and all natural phenomena can be explained otherwise then there is sufficient grounds to simply disregard Him as a factor.

    For me, my lack of faith has less to do with whether God exists and more to do with how I relate to Him. I, for one, don't believe IN God insofar as I seek neither His guidance or approval.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by riVeRraT, posted 05-23-2006 7:37 PM riVeRraT has responded

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    Larni
    Member (Idle past 9 days)
    Posts: 3999
    From: Liverpool
    Joined: 09-16-2005


    Message 8 of 302 (314835)
    05-24-2006 8:52 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    The problem here is that you accept anecdotal evidence: in this case the Bible.

    It is from this document that the tenents of your faith spring.

    I would argue that a dyed in the wool atheist simply does not accept this arbitary collection of writings as factual.

    We are born with no concept of the xian god. We learn about it, we examine whether the balance of evidence would support the hypothesis that your god exist and we regect or accept it.

    I woulds argue that people who do not believe in gods and demons and spirits and all manner of superstitious thought (JP Sartre called it Magical Thinking I seem to recall - my Psychology comes back to me in fits and starts :)) are only willing to accept more reliable and valid (in the scientific sense) data than believers.

    I contend that believers also stop at 'godidit'.

    Why atheist don't beleive is because 'godidit' is an inadequate conclusion.

    I beleive 'godidit' is a ridiculous conclusion untill I see a reason not to.

    Anyones default position on belief in your god is non belief untill they are exposed to evidence. Then anyone will hold that evidence up to scrutiny and make a choice.

    If you chose to change the default position from non belief you are making a positive choice and must be able to justify that choice (if only to your self).

    If you chose not to alter your default position, this is an omission of action and need not be justified.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by riVeRraT, posted 05-23-2006 7:37 PM riVeRraT has responded

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    ikabod
    Member (Idle past 3427 days)
    Posts: 365
    From: UK
    Joined: 03-13-2006


    Message 9 of 302 (314840)
    05-24-2006 9:07 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    "The only way you could be a true atheist, is if you have never heard the word God, and you have no inner feeling that there is one. The thought has never crossed your mind.

    I hate it when an atheist tries to portray himself as someone like that, when it is just not the case."

    What do you mean by heard the word of god , by this do you mean the bible ? or the hindu texts ? or the saga's about odin and thor ?

    the physical book the bible is a material product of human hands , the papaer the binding the ink are all man-made , iyt is only belief that enpowers the words as the words of god ...
    to an atheist its a cultral historic /myth text

    to encounter the "word of god " must be a spiritual event and would make a belive out of any one .

    atheist just do not make any conection to the religious experence , in the same way as some people feel great passion for a football term and some dont.,
    In the same way you cannot be logical about why some one has faith you cant look for a logical reason that some one is an atheist .. they just are ..


    This message is a reply to:
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    Modulous
    Member (Idle past 1038 days)
    Posts: 7789
    From: Manchester, UK
    Joined: 05-01-2005


    Message 10 of 302 (314841)
    05-24-2006 9:11 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    The utility of language
    Is making a decision to not believe something, belief in itself? Perhaps it is, but then everyone believes one way or another about pretty much everything they've ever encountered. Indeed, it is possible to make a case that everything I know is a belief and the only thing that can be demonstrated is that I exist (and then only to myself, ala Descartes).

    Is it practical to define belief in such a way? Perhaps sometimes it is, we are all believers. Sometimes, however, a word which applies to everyone becomes useless. If we are all believers, what is the use in the label? It becomes redundant.

    Let us imagine a world with no concept of God. Everybody was an atheist as per your definition:

    The only way you could be a true atheist*, is if you have never heard the word God, and you have no inner feeling that there is one. The thought has never crossed your mind.

    One day a man walks up to you and says "There is an invisible pink unicorn living in my beard. She's shy but her way leads to salvation and eternal life". A word is invented to describe this man - his belief makes him a theist. You think 'this guy is a lunatic, how can something that is invisible have a colour, and its general intangibleness means it leaves no evidece. We have this guys word that she exists. I choose not to take his word for it - he is either deluded or a liar.'. You can't prove there isn't an IPU, so (technically) you have now developed a belief one way or another. Does this mean you cannot be a true atheist?

    If you do not believe what the theists believe, but you have a concept of a god...does that mean you aren't a true atheist? What word shall we have to describe them? untheist? Anti-theist, counter-theist? Contratheist? We are just needlessly complicating what is a perfectly functioning word.

    'True atheists' as you describe them are so rare, that it would be easier to create a word to describe them, and leave atheist for those who are already thus labelled.

    Personally, I don't think it is useful to consider the lack of belief in a concept you have been exposed to as a belief in its own right. In certain circumstances it might be, but it should not automatically be the case. Certainly, the lack of belief in a concept which requires faith in the unevidenced to believe, should not be considered a belief - since it confuses the matter pointlessly. If you want you could coin a new word for the lack of belief in a concept which is unfalsifiable (perhaps abelief), but why bother? We'd all end up being abelievers of a near infiniteσ number of unfalsifiable propositions (limited only by our imaginations and time to think them up).

    In short - your argument is one merely of pedantic semantics. It would be much more practical if we stop looking at the literal meaning of the words (and their implications) and focus on the Pragmatics - the meaning intended by the speaker/user of the words.



    *no true atheist puts sugar on his lack of belief in a god

    σYes - I appreciate the term 'near infinite' is an oxymoronic nonsense phrase, and I appreciate the irony of it being used in a discussion about practical language.

    Edited by Modulous, : Formatting/and indefinite article error corrected.


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    iano
    Member (Idle past 875 days)
    Posts: 6165
    From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
    Joined: 07-27-2005


    Message 11 of 302 (314843)
    05-24-2006 9:20 AM
    Reply to: Message 7 by RickJB
    05-24-2006 8:29 AM


    RjB writes:

    if God's existence cannot be shown objectively

    Fortunately, God is reasonable (naturally enough, being the one that invented reason). He doesn't expect you to believe what you have no objective evidence for. If you come to believe it will be through firstly, objective evidence about yourself and your need for what he offers and secondly, objective evidence about him. Objective enough to convince you - if not everyone else.

    God deals with people one to one: close up and personal. He has all the time in the world to do so - as have we.


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    CK
    Member (Idle past 3061 days)
    Posts: 3221
    Joined: 07-04-2004


    Message 12 of 302 (314845)
    05-24-2006 9:22 AM
    Reply to: Message 11 by iano
    05-24-2006 9:20 AM


    quote:
    If you come to believe it will be through firstly, objective evidence about yourself and your need for what he offers and secondly, objective evidence about him. Objective enough to convince you - if not everyone else.

    hum... evidence that will convince you but not anyone else... that sounds awful...em.. subjective?


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    Dr Jack
    Member (Idle past 1039 days)
    Posts: 3507
    From: Leicester, England
    Joined: 07-14-2003


    Message 13 of 302 (314853)
    05-24-2006 9:54 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by riVeRraT
    05-23-2006 7:37 PM


    Atheism as a Positive Belief
    I wrote this for my LJ, but cross-posting it here seems appropriate:

    I self-identify as an Atheist.

    But I don't like the word. Naturalist or Materialist would be better, but they've long since been claimed by other ideas. So Atheist it is.

    Why don't I like the word? Because it is defined by negation - OMG? You, like, don't believe in god?. Yeah, I don't believe in god, I don't believe in fairies either, or unicorns, or spirits or ghosts or some mystical energy that, like, binds us together dude but that's not why I'm an Atheist. It's the other way round, I don't believe in those things because I'm an Atheist.

    I'm Atheist because a world that is driven not by will, but by the quiet machinations of mindless material things driven not by purpose or intent but by the simple and repeated application of rules (in other words a natural world or a material world) not only appears to be what actually is out there in terms of what our senses and sciences can reveal to us but is a world more intellectually fulfilling and aesthetically pleasing.

    There is, of course, much we don't understand and quite possibly will never understand - there is no real reason to suppose that the world is such that it can be understood by human minds, yet alone will be - but a naturalist view at least presents us with a world that is accessible. I believe consciousness is a product of the human brain; no brain = no consciousness. How it works I have no idea but it allows me to be very sure of certain things: you are conscious too, for example. It means we can, in principle at least, take a good shot at understanding why we are conscious, and whether our pets are conscious too; it means that we know already about brains and minds actually makes sense.

    In our naturalistic world, we choose our own path; make decisions about what is meaningful or desirable for ourselves, and use the information we can gather about the world to make the best decisions we can knowing full well that this is it; our one shot at life and that the only criteria we can meaningful judge it on are the ones we choose for ourselves.

    I choose Atheism not because I reject ideas of god, and the supernatural, but because I embrace the notion of a material world - one we can touch and feel and test.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by riVeRraT, posted 05-23-2006 7:37 PM riVeRraT has responded

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    iano
    Member (Idle past 875 days)
    Posts: 6165
    From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
    Joined: 07-27-2005


    Message 14 of 302 (314855)
    05-24-2006 10:01 AM
    Reply to: Message 12 by CK
    05-24-2006 9:22 AM


    Eyes wide shut
    One aspect of objective evidence is that it must be apparant to all observers. But if the biblical position poses that we are all blind then observe we patently all cannot.

    Is red not objectively red just because a blind man cannot see red?

    Hardly..


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    fallacycop
    Member (Idle past 4454 days)
    Posts: 692
    From: Fortaleza-CE Brazil
    Joined: 02-18-2006


    Message 15 of 302 (314869)
    05-24-2006 11:24 AM
    Reply to: Message 14 by iano
    05-24-2006 10:01 AM


    Re: Eyes wide shut
    iano writes:

    One aspect of objective evidence is that it must be apparant to all observers. But if the biblical position poses that we are all blind then observe we patently all cannot.
    Is red not objectively red just because a blind man cannot see red?

    I see no reason to believe that "redness" is an objective concept

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