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Author Topic:   Atheists can't hold office in the USA?
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 575 of 777 (750541)
02-17-2015 2:31 PM


Fresh meat. :-)
I'll enter the fray with this: Published labels suck and usually don't fit anyone perfectly.
If I'm asked if I'm an atheist or agnostic or believe in god, I simply ask in return "Define what you mean by god or which god you are asking about and define the terms atheist and agnostic". I simply can't answer that question without those inputs. I don't particularly care what definition you choose -- You just pick the definition and I'll answer according your chosen one.
The options are far too many for me to answer with one label to all them.
JB
Edited by ThinAirDesigns, : typo

Replies to this message:
 Message 576 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-17-2015 2:42 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 578 of 777 (750549)
02-17-2015 10:26 PM
Reply to: Message 576 by New Cat's Eye
02-17-2015 2:42 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Cat Sci writes:
Question: Do you like cake or pie more?
Answer: Define what you mean by "like" and "more", as well as what you mean by "cake" and "pie", and then I'll answer the question.
Really? Is that how conversations need to go these days?
Well, if I sense that the cake/pie question entails issues of eternal life, the meaning of life, life after death, eternal tortures/rapture and the chance that I might be killed for my preferences, I'll likely ask for those definitions.
But normally I'd just say: "I prefer pie"
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 576 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-17-2015 2:42 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 584 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2015 9:22 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 587 of 777 (750563)
02-18-2015 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 584 by New Cat's Eye
02-18-2015 9:22 AM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Cat Sci writes:
Why? Are the responses going to change your answer?
Yes. On issues of such importance, I wish to be more clear and be able to explain myself. On issues of pie, I just want some.
Like, if I say that an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in god, then you're going to answer one way. But if I say that an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in god and they're going to spend their afterlife in eternal torture, then that is going to make you respond differently?
Nope.
Based on a given definition of a god, and based on a given definition of atheist/agnostic, I can answer rationally how I stand on the proposition. Since the definitions of god are myriad and the definitions of atheist/agnostic less so but still rather broad in spectrum, to answer rationally I must understand the definitions used by the questioner.
For any given definition of atheist/agnostic, there are some propositions of god I will likely be agnostic about and other proposition that I will be atheistic about.
JB
Edited by ThinAirDesigns, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 584 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2015 9:22 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 588 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 11:32 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 590 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2015 11:38 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 591 of 777 (750571)
02-18-2015 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 588 by Tangle
02-18-2015 11:32 AM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
You could perhaps cut to the chase and tell us which god/s if any, you are prepared to say you believe in.
There isn't a single god that has ever been described to me by a believer (or I have read about) that the evidence has been convincing enough for me to adopt a position of belief in that god.
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 588 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 11:32 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 593 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 12:08 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 592 of 777 (750573)
02-18-2015 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 590 by New Cat's Eye
02-18-2015 11:38 AM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Cat Sci writes:
Weird. If you're an atheist, I don't see how any of that stuff could matter.
(First, there's an assumption in that question that I'm an atheist - so for this post let's suppose I am.)
It only matters in that if a person is honestly asking for my position (and I respect them enough to want to answer), I value them formulating an accurate picture of my position in their mind. It's communication 101 -- if feel inclined to describe my position, when I'm done I'd just as soon they understand my position correctly.
(BTW, in most Hare Krishna encounters I would likely do something very similar to your example. I'm not interested in stating my position to someone who isn't actually interested in hearing it.)
You could just build the definitions into your answer, no?
Sure, but that can be horribly inefficient. If someone says "Hey, my wife just cooked a big dinner and we have extra. Please give me a list of the foods you like and dislike, sensitivities/allergies, etc. and I'll use that information to decide if I should invite you in.", it might be easier for him to just tell you what his wife cooked and then you tell him if it fits within your dietary boundaries.
Maybe you can help Tangle understand how you can be agnostic on god-stuff.
Yes, it's all about the definitions.
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 590 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2015 11:38 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 596 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2015 1:04 PM ThinAirDesigns has not replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 594 of 777 (750577)
02-18-2015 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 593 by Tangle
02-18-2015 12:08 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
Then I can you can say that you are an atheist......what's the problem?
Since it clearly involves some missing or added words, I'm going to interpret the above to say something like "why not just say you are an atheist - what's the problem?"
The problem is that there are commonly used definitions of atheism that don't apply to what I described as my position. Thus many MANY people upon hearing me declare my atheism would ascribe to me a position I don't hold. I'm particularly referring to the definition of atheism that states one is then asserting that god does not exist.
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 593 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 12:08 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 595 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 12:30 PM ThinAirDesigns has not replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 603 of 777 (750594)
02-18-2015 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 599 by New Cat's Eye
02-18-2015 3:54 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Cat Sci writes:
If you care about gods as little as I care about leprechauns, then why not just shrug, giggle, and then go about your day? Why even talk about it?
Not that it's going to do any good to tell you this (as that question has been asked and answered countless times all over the place), but there is simply no equating leprechauns and gods when it comes to the impact on humanity now or ever. You have presented one of the least logically formed arguments of all for the behavior of nonbelievers.
If people were harming children, making morally reprehensible laws, slowing societal progress, spreading disease, advocating and defending slavery, discriminating against, threatening, intimidating and killing people based on their belief in leprechauns, I suspect you might not shrug and giggle about it.
If people were only creating entertaining and humorous stories along with sugary breakfast cereals celebrating gods, I too would giggle and grin upon encountering the poor sucker who still believed.
People's actions are informed by their beliefs. There is a strong causal relationship between the quality of an action and whether it's based on something that's demonstrably true. Because of this relationship and my desire to exhibit character and actions of quality, I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. I want to live in a society that raises our youth to seek out truth and not ignore it. That is what motivates me to not stand idly by.
JB

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 Message 599 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2015 3:54 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 604 of 777 (750595)
02-18-2015 6:18 PM
Reply to: Message 602 by Tangle
02-18-2015 6:14 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
Simple enough question.
And answered.
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 602 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 6:14 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 605 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 6:22 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 606 of 777 (750597)
02-18-2015 6:29 PM
Reply to: Message 605 by Tangle
02-18-2015 6:22 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
I must have missed it, what was the answer?
You quoted my answer in your own post #593 (sorry, I haven't yet learned how to embed a link to a specific post).
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 605 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 6:22 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 607 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 6:43 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 618 by RAZD, posted 02-19-2015 9:40 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 608 of 777 (750600)
02-18-2015 7:23 PM
Reply to: Message 607 by Tangle
02-18-2015 6:43 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
That one then. Ok, I'm not sure why you're being so coy, ...
It's a clear answer that includes the reasons behind it. But feel free to consider that coy.
...but that makes you an atheist.
By certain dictionary definitions, yes. By other dictionary definitions no. You've got one you like - good for you.
Your position on this is the perfect example of the reasoning behind my original post in this thread and why I prefer to state my position rather than apply a label - I find it hard to predict which definition someone is going to like.
JB
Edited by ThinAirDesigns, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 607 by Tangle, posted 02-18-2015 6:43 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 612 by Tangle, posted 02-19-2015 3:26 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 613 of 777 (750606)
02-19-2015 4:02 AM
Reply to: Message 612 by Tangle
02-19-2015 3:26 AM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
Can you show me a definition of atheist that doesn't mean a lack of belief or disbelief in god?
(Perhaps that is a carefully worded question intending a semantic game (we'll see), but I'll bite.)
I find it extremely hard to believe (so hard in fact, that I don't believe it) that you would not be aware of definitions straight out of Websters that include much more than wording in your question.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist
JB
Edited by ThinAirDesigns, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 612 by Tangle, posted 02-19-2015 3:26 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 614 by vimesey, posted 02-19-2015 4:48 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 621 by Tangle, posted 02-19-2015 1:23 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 615 of 777 (750608)
02-19-2015 5:38 AM
Reply to: Message 614 by vimesey
02-19-2015 4:48 AM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
vimesey writes:
I would humbly submit that the OE version is etymologically more accurate (from the Greek "a", meaning without and "theos" meaning a god), but that doesn't matter too much.
I absolutely agree with you on both counts. I used to self identify as an atheist (using what I consider to be the more accurate interpretation) but found myself engaging in near endless explanations and debates about the *word* rather than about the position. Since I'm not particularly interested in arguments centered around definitions, I have found it more productive to allow other declared definitions without resistance and then to respond based on those. Saves time, saves frustration and in the end I'm better understood.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 619 of 777 (750613)
02-19-2015 9:52 AM
Reply to: Message 618 by RAZD
02-19-2015 9:40 AM


Re: message links -- and suggesting skeptic/skepticism
THANKS RAZD.
JB

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 Message 618 by RAZD, posted 02-19-2015 9:40 AM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 626 of 777 (750628)
02-19-2015 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 621 by Tangle
02-19-2015 1:23 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
This is not a trick question, n writes:
This is not a trick question, ...
Thank you for that. I'll accept your word on that and continue.
Are you simply objecting to the use of the term 'believes a deity doesn't exist?' But would agree to 'doesn't believe in any deity?'
I don't have any objection to any definition as long as both people agree on the one being used for the exchange. If you are asking a question related to my position, then you have it correct but I word it slightly differently for clarity. I do not hold a belief that a deity doesn't exist. I also do not hold a belief in any deity that has been presented to me. The reason for that is a lack of evidence to convince me. Though there is nothing in your wording "doesn't' believe in any deity" that is wrong, many conservative people will take that wording "any deity" - full stop - and assign to you a position that you are now closed to evidence, which for me is false (as I suspect is the case for most atheists).
You should know that in some circles (more educated and liberal parts of California for instance), I will often self ident as an atheist. This is because here in the US a more educated population tends to agree on and use the term in a way more consistent with the original greek. If I am in more conservative circles, but not fundamentalist circles, I will often ident as an agnostic - because I know they way they use that term is very close to my actual position. If I am in fundamentalist circles, I prefer not to ever ident with a label, but with a position - because once a label is applied and baggage piled on, no amount of explanation can sway them that they tossed you the wrong baggage.
I find the usage of different term for different audiences to be no more frustrating than the differences in regional names for meals. Here in the US, in the rural south the mid-day meal is called "dinner" (as in breakfast, dinner and supper). In many other areas of the country, dinner is the evening meal. (as in breakfast, lunch and dinner). If you are invited to dinner, you better know and adapt to the region you are in or embarrassment will ensue. (ask me how I know).
(Or are you with Dwise1 in thinking that the word 'god' only means YHWH?) Help me out here. Does using one term rather than another make any difference when discussing it with a devout Christian?
If you want a blank stare in the US, answer "which god?" when asked if you believe in god. They will look at you as if you just asked them a totally nonsensical question (because to them, you did). "God" is the interchangeable synonym for YHWH in this country - it's that way in political, legal (swearing in on a bible) and social circles.
Also, there exist rather significant swaths of our population who DO consider you to be an atheist if your God is other than YHWH because its obvious that there is no other God than YHWH and thus you don't believe in God and deny his existence. Therefore you are an atheist, automatically a 'Murica hater and rape puppies for pleasure.
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 621 by Tangle, posted 02-19-2015 1:23 PM Tangle has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 628 by RAZD, posted 02-19-2015 4:44 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 2488 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 627 of 777 (750632)
02-19-2015 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 625 by Tangle
02-19-2015 3:13 PM


Re: Fresh meat. :-)
Tangle writes:
But TAD has dismissed all gods he's ever heard of. That by any normal definition means that he's an atheist. He doesn't even appear to be saying that he's agnostic about any of them. And that's without me having to suggest that belief and knowledge are not equivalent.
A: I do acknowledge the difference between belief and knowledge, though I'm not sure we would agree on "knowledge" as you are using it (I can't say for sure because I haven't read all pages of this thread and am filling in pieces and could be incorrect).
B: Though I am consistent in my lack of belief in all god's I've been exposed to, there is a range of responses to each one that (depending on the definition) runs from hard atheism to agnosticism. I have not studied the origins of all gods, but generally speaking I make very few assertions regarding gods that I haven't studied and it seems the more I study about any given god, the more willing I am to assert with higher and higher confidence that it doesn't actually exist.
As an example, Santa is considered real by some who have done no research(kids), but with research into the history and use of the character one can come to a rather high certainty that Santa is indeed a mythological character. A kid of 3yo could be the equivalent of a 'theist' when it comes to Santa. At 6yo the kid is 'agnostic' (again, depends on definition) and by 10 every kid is pretty much 'atheist' on the proposition. While technically it's impossible to prove a negative ("Santa doesn't exist") knowledge changes the ability to rationally assert it close enough for our purposes.
If you describe your god to me and your belief is basically deism (no supernatural revelation, non interventionist), then I have no ability whatsoever to refute your claim so I wouldn't try. Starting telling me what your god is responsible for on a day to day basis and the results of his actions and you've now entered into the realm of the testable. Give me an ancient text and claim it's infallible and I'm off to the races (that's a LOT of testable).
Tell me your God ran the table with a flood 4000 years ago and saved all living things with a boat of stated dimensions, that is testable. If the tests show it's nonsense and I find that origins can be traced to other ancient myths, before long I'm going to be a hard atheist to your claims. I can reach that conclusion, because I have both tested claims and come to a clear enough understanding of the origins of the myth to put it in Santa land.
Tell me that your god created us through means that we can follow and verify (evolution) and that your book is written as a guide not as a historical text and I have less to test and less to assert regarding that god.
And all of that has NOTHING to do with whether I would respect a god that I did come to believe in -- belief and respect are two very different things.
That's me. Your results may vary.
JB

This message is a reply to:
 Message 625 by Tangle, posted 02-19-2015 3:13 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
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