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Author Topic:   Atheists can't hold office in the USA?
dwise1
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Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(2)
Message 22 of 777 (747306)
01-14-2015 3:55 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Tangle
01-13-2015 2:27 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
But why isn't the very existance of those laws unconstitutional? Why aren't atheists campaigning to get them revoked
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so I'm speaking as a layman.
It's been pointed out that the US has a legal system, not a justice system. There are procedures in place for changing the laws. There is also a simple fact that not all laws are enforced. If a law has been ruled unconstitutional, does that require that the law be revoked? Or merely that it not be enforced? And what does it take to revoke a law? Does the legislature have to vote on it? If popular opinion supports the unconstitutional law, wouldn't voting to revoke that law be a form of political suicide for an elected legislator? Just look at the repeated waste of valuable legislative time voting for outrageous bills that have absolutely no chance of passing or not getting vetoed, but which are popular with one's constituents.
To be honest, I really envy the UK attitude about politicians who display their religion prominently in public. In the UK, that would be the kiss of death, whereas in the US it's a basic requirement.
Here's a recent true story that I haven't seen mentioned on this forum yet. I am a veteran of 35 years of military service, 6 years active and 29 reserve. In every leadership school I have attended in that time, we went through the exercise of starting with the US Constitution and showing how that authorizes the entire chain of laws and regulations which filters down to the authority of NCOs, petty officers, and chief petty officers, as well as the regulations and instructions by which each branch of the military operates.
That includes US Code Title 10 which are the laws governing the military, including enlistment requirements. In the middle of the McCarthyist Red Scare of the 1950's and under a Republican controlled Congress under a Republican President, Congress passed bills (and Eisenhower signed them into law) that in 1954 added the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, in 1955 mandated that all our currency would bear the words "In God We Trust", and in 1956 that we scrap our original National Motto since 1776, "E Pluribus Unum", for the sectarian religious "In God We Trust". To provide some perspective, I was born in 1951, so all those changes occurred within my own lifetime.
Perhaps in that same vein, the current oath of enlisted into the military for enlisted members was established in 1960 as part of US Code Title 10. That oath ends with the words, "so help me God", which were not part of the original oath in the Continental Army (according to the US Army's history site at http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html, though it does not say what it was leading up to 1960). But Title 10 was amended in 1962 to allow allow for the omission of those words if the individual so chooses. Being required to say those words would amount to a religious test, which is prohibited by the US Constitution (Article VI, Paragraph 3) and by US Code Title 10 since 1962.
In October 2013, the US Air Force changed its Air Force Instructions (AFI) to require all active duty members enlisting (and reenlisting -- during reenlistment, you first are discharged honorably, then you enlist again in two separate actions; the officer officiating the enlistment often mentions that the member is now free for less than a minute to say what he really feels) saying those very words without being allowed to omit them or make any kind of substitution. In so doing, the USAF was in violation of US Code Title 10 as well as of the Constitution of the United States of America, the protection and defense of which every single member of the US military swears to provide when he enlists.
What could anybody do about that? There is no system in place to review every decision made for it being legal -- well, not then, but perhaps now. Some USAF member, probably an NCO, proposed a change to the Air Force Instructions (AFIs -- "when I was in the war", i.e. when I served in the Air Force 1976 to 1982, we had the Air Force Regulations (AFR) and Air Force Manual (AFM), so I assume that the AFMs were renamed AFIs, no unlike the NAVINSTs. It went through their procedural channels which undoubtedly did not include a blessing from legal (though it may have), and eventually got signed off on by an officer.
But there may be much more at work under the surface. For the past few decades, there's been a growing scandal of how Christian fundamentalists have been working to take over the chaplaincy of the US Air Force and possibly the other services as well (eg, the US Army now mandates that all members going through marital separation or divorce be enrolled in a Baptist program, DivorceCare, which is only appropriate for conservative Christians and completely inappropriate, even harmful, for non-Christians). Furthermore, severe problems were surfacing at the US Air Force Academy a decade or two ago because of the undue influence of fundamentalist Christian ministries. Even though the Academy currently appears to be trying to rectify the problem, reports of abuse of power by military superiors in the Air Force continue to surface. I would not be surprised to learn that this change to the AFIs had been orchestrated by religious zealots within the ranks.
That change to the AFIs that created a religious test for enlistment was made in October 2013. An atheist Technical Sergeant (TSgt, E-6) came up for reenlistment after that date. The oath of enlistment is printed on the enlistment contract. He crossed off the offending sectarian words and signed his paperwork. Because he had crossed off those offending sectarian words, Admin refused to process his reenlistment papers (sorry, much more Navy time than Air Force, so I don't know the proper USAF terminology). His career would have been doomed if the story hadn't leaked out to a humanist organization that publicized his case. In response, the USAF looked into the matter, which probably involved a JAG officer looking at the new AFI for the first time. Immediately, the US Air Force declared the new AFI invalid and allowed the TSgt's reenlistment paperwork to be properly processed. Any half-sober JAG officer who was half-awake would have immediately realized how many laws that AFI was in flagrant violation of.
Here are some links for more information:
http://www.theguardian.com/...force-atheist-airman-reeinlist
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...e-god-from-enlistment-oaths
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...e-god-from-enlistment-oaths
If you Google about on this, you should find some conservative pieces about humanists having brow-beaten the Air Force. I'm sorry, but as a former airman, I find that characterization very insulting.
For more information on the fundamentalist take-over of the US Air Force Academy, refer to the documentary, Constantine's Sword, on NetFlix at http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70073043?trkid=13752289. There are criticisms of this documentary which I will not attempt to refute (eg, it's a three-pronged attack on three different fronts), but it does demonstrate something about the problems that did exist (eg, Jewish cadets being harrassed). And it is not my only source to reports of problems at the Academy (and hence within the officer corps itself) because of Christian fundamentalism. And while my subsequent on-line research shows that atheist and non-Christian cadets, as well as the administration itself, are working hard to make known the religious issues there, the chaplaincy is working against them, especially against the cadets.
Tangle, here's the bottom line: if nobody challenges the law, then there can be no change. In the USA, there is no automatic review of any or all laws at any level of government to verify that they are in accordance with the US Constitution. The only way that can happen is for the law to be challenged.
Please let me repeat that: The only way that can happen is for the law to be challenged.
In the 1920's, four states enacted laws forbidding the teaching of evolution on religious grounds. The ACLU talked a PE teacher, John Scopes, to deliberately violate Tennessee's "monkey law" in the hope that his conviction would work its way up to the US Supreme Court. Their effort failed when Scopes' conviction was overturned at the appellate level because of a legal technicality (the judge had levied the fine instead of the bailiff). That decision had to wait another four decades for Susan Epperson to challenge the Arkansas "monkey law" since her school district's requiring her to teach from the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), whose cornerstone was evolution, brought her in direct violation of the Arkansas "monkey law" what would punish her mere mention of the word "evolution" with life-long banishment from the teaching profession.
Thus, in 1968, the clearly unconstitutional "monkey laws" were abolished. Why? Because finally somebody had a compelling case to strike them down.
Now here's an interesting question: What is the status of those "monkey laws" in those four states? Have they been revoked? Or are they still on the books, but merely not enforced?
I am not a lawyer. I am really curious to know.

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 23 of 777 (747308)
01-14-2015 4:55 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Tangle
01-14-2015 3:31 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
I was genuinely surprised to see that 7 states in the USA appeared to ban atheists from public office.
From 1977 to 1982, I was on active duty during which time I was isolated in North Dakota. Since my duty hours were in the evening, I had no access to national news except for the local newspaper which only devoted one, maybe two, pages to national or even international news. At that time only National Public Radio (NPR) provided me with any real news. After that, I have remained faithful to NPR for my news.
One commanding officer I had in the Navy Reserve was a conservative Christian. On Sundays during the drill weekends, he decided to have a kind of Christian services. As his chief petty officer and according to my own religious convictions as an atheist of many years (now at half a century), I was very supportive of his efforts. One weekend I overheard him talking to other officers about some time he had spent in Boston where he could tune in to six different NPR stations. I immediately thought, "Cool!", but then it occurred to me that he was actually complaining about that situation.
Now to the point. Last week on NPR ("The World", I think), the host was talking with correspondents in various countries about the Islamic attack on Charlie Hebdo. The correspondent in France distinguished a difference between the attitudes between religion and government that were created in the American and French Revolutions. In France, that distinction was to protect the government from religion, whereas in America the distinction was to protect religion from the government.
As for my history, I'm also genuinely puzzled why a modern Western democracy, for which I have otherwise great respect, has such a high proportion of it's population holding primitive religious views (and such a destructive gun culture).
So what is democracy, except for the rule of the people? There is a political curse that I have heard, that you should be governed by the kind of people who truly represent what you are.
Does the majority believe in "creation science"? Well, then, reality be damned!
Why ban atheists from holding office? I have absolutely not idea why.
Knowing what I know about the convoluted and perverted thought processes of fucking stupid Christians, they do not believe that atheists can be honest. They believe stupid nonsense that absolutely only the God-given threat of total and abject fear of eternal damnation could ever possibly force our utterly corrupt natures to even begin to contemplate even thinking of doing anything ... dare I say it? ... uh ... er ... uhhh ... good.
Oh, what the fuck.
Far too many Americans are fucking idiots. I cannot defend them.
You know, there is a retort that I have frequently contemplated, but never had the opportunity to deliver: "No, I am not lying. I have no reason to lie. I am not a creationist."
One of the few voices of sani

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 48 of 777 (747422)
01-15-2015 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by Taq
01-14-2015 7:00 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
I am unaware of anyone in recent history being forced out of public office or an election for being an atheist. People saying that you are unfit for office does not violate any constitutional rights.
Just this past year, that US Air Force Tech Sergeant whose reenlistment was being denied because, as an atheist, he crossed out "so help me God" in the oath as he may choose to do under Title 10, but which the new (Oct 2013) Air Force Instruction (AFI) did not allow. If a humanist organization had not publicized his situation, the Air Force would not have referred their complaints to Legal, that new AFI would not have been recognized as illegal and unconstitutional, and we would have lost a loyal airman.
Again:
http://www.theguardian.com/...force-atheist-airman-reeinlist
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...e-god-from-enlistment-oaths
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...e-god-from-enlistment-oaths
While military service is not a public office, it is a public trust which is covered under Article VI's "no religious test" clause. And this incident does demonstrate that laws and regulations that discriminate against atheists have indeed been used very recently against atheists.

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 Message 39 by Taq, posted 01-14-2015 7:00 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 56 of 777 (747485)
01-15-2015 2:00 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Taq
01-15-2015 1:42 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
It's the same mentality as such state laws and demonstrates the effects of enforcing them. The other difference is that procedures are in place to modify AFIs on a regular basis, removing and/or replacing parts that are found to not work.
But mainly, it shows the will of Christians to enforce laws and rules against atheists regardless of the negative impact that it has on people (OK, so maybe they believe us atheists to be sub-human or something). And the only thing preventing them from acting on their hatred of atheists is that doing so is prohibited by federal law (eg, Title 10 in this case) and the US Constitution. At least when it's about holding a public office or a public trust (eg, military service). I do not doubt that atheists have been made to suffer in the private sector and continue to at the hands of "true Christians."
PS
I just had to repeat myself there. Here's the part of my message that you left out of your quoting:
DWise1 writes:
While military service is not a public office, it is a public trust which is covered under Article VI's "no religious test" clause. And this incident does demonstrate that laws and regulations that discriminate against atheists have indeed been used very recently against atheists.
Edited by dwise1, : PS

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 68 of 777 (747660)
01-18-2015 3:14 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by RAZD
01-17-2015 5:43 PM


Re: agnostic anyone?
And what about agnostic?
quote:
Well, everybody knows that "agnostic" is just a polite word for "atheist."
(Dr. Duane Gish, vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), on the radio show, The Ray Briem Show, 1984)

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 71 of 777 (747703)
01-18-2015 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by RAZD
01-18-2015 5:29 PM


Re: agnostic anyone?
And we all know that Gish is not a credible source ...
Abundantly true. I threw that in in order to show what the anti-atheists think about agnosticism. To them, an agnostic is the same thing as an atheist.
quote: ...
I do agree. I am strongly agnostic in that I cannot see how humans could possibly have such extensively detailed and elaborated knowledge about the supernatural, something that we cannot observe or sense in any manner, nor even determine whether it even exists. I believe the agnostic position to be the only honest one from which we have to rely on assumptions in either the theist or atheist directions, but to keep ourselves honest we must constantly remember that we are relying on assumptions. I am also an atheist in that I do not believe in the gods; even though I cannot completely eliminate the possibility of some kind of supernatural entity of great enough power to be considered a god, I cannot assign more than near-zero probability that it would be anything like the elaborate gods that the theists have constructed.
But since when has the actual meanings of words or even the truth ever meant anything to the anti-atheistic rabble? Or to any kind of rabble, for that matter?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by RAZD, posted 01-18-2015 5:29 PM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 89 of 777 (747758)
01-19-2015 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 86 by Tangle
01-19-2015 9:11 AM


Re: agnostic anyone?
I'm saying that agnostics don't exist.
Demonstrably wrong. I shaved this morning, so I looked at myself in the mirror. In doing so, I verified that I do still exist. Sorry, you cannot redefine me out of existence.
If they don't know whether they believe in God or not, they don't believe in god.
That is not what an agnostic is. Please refer to my previous message.
They either believe in a god or they don't.
At least there you have the definition of "atheist" right.
However, the common Christian definition of "atheist" is "someone who doesn't believe in God." That refers to belief in one very specific god. Hence Hindus who are theists are redefined to be "atheists". I have encountered on several occasions Christians who use "atheist" in precisely that manner, meant to include all believers in any of the other gods. Even Dr. Henry Morris of the ICR described the "atheistic" "evolution model" as including "most of the world's religions, ancient and modern."
Instead of trying to define people away or redefining them as something that they are not, why not take them at their word about what they believe?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Tangle, posted 01-19-2015 9:11 AM Tangle has replied

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 112 of 777 (747896)
01-20-2015 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Tangle
01-19-2015 12:38 PM


Re: agnostic anyone?
Tangle writes:
DWise1 writes:
Tangle writes:
I'm saying that agnostics don't exist.
Demonstrably wrong. I shaved this morning, so I looked at myself in the mirror. In doing so, I verified that I do still exist. Sorry, you cannot redefine me out of existence.
I just checked with my mirror and I too exist. I don't know whether god exists or not but believe that it/he/she/they doesn't/don't.
I am therefore an atheist. I do not believe in any god(s).
Non sequitur. You tried to define me out of existence, hence the empirical evidence that I gathered while shaving that confirmed my continued existence disproves your spurious claims that I do not exist. As far as I know, nobody has tried to claim that you do not exist, therefore the fact of your continued existence is moot and does not pertain in any manner to this discussion.
I am an atheist. I am also an agnostic. I am also many other things (eg, software engineer, US citizen, California resident, male, Irish, Scottish, German, veteran and retiree, chief, Trekker (by definition, a Trekkie owns two pairs of Vulcan ears while a Trekker only owns one pair; I own none), Whovian, polyglot, Unitarian Universalist, dancer), none of which contradicts any of the other many things that I am.
Being an atheist may be slightly related to being agnostic, but they are still two different things pertain to two distinctly different questions. You are making the mistake of conflating them to both be answers to only one single question. That is incorrect.
Agnostics do not exist - they seem desperately to want to avoid admitting it, but by definition they can not.
atheist
'e????st
noun
a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
IOW, you do not understand what agnosticism is and so you persist in conflating it with atheism.
But if you want to play the silly game of "Argumentum ad dizionario" (usually the last desperate act of a failed argument), then you need to administer full disclosure. What is the definition of "agnostic" in your dictionary? Is it defined as being synonymous with "atheist"? Or does it reveal that your argument is incorrect?
Here is what my dictionary, The Merriam Webster Dictionary, says:
quote:
atheist -- one who denies the existence of God
agnostic -- of or relating to the belief that the existence of any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and prob. unknowable.
They are not the same thing! As I have already said, agnosticism deals with the question, "Is it possible for us to know about the existence of the gods?", whereas atheism deals with the entirely different question of "Do I believe in any of the gods?" Those are two different questions! Do not conflate them!
As I already said in Message 71:
DWise1 writes:
I am strongly agnostic in that I cannot see how humans could possibly have such extensively detailed and elaborated knowledge about the supernatural, something that we cannot observe or sense in any manner, nor even determine whether it even exists. I believe the agnostic position to be the only honest one from which we have to rely on assumptions in either the theist or atheist directions, but to keep ourselves honest we must constantly remember that we are relying on assumptions. I am also an atheist in that I do not believe in the gods; even though I cannot completely eliminate the possibility of some kind of supernatural entity of great enough power to be considered a god, I cannot assign more than near-zero probability that it would be anything like the elaborate gods that the theists have constructed.
I am agnostic because I do not believe that humans could acquire actual knowledge of the supernatural, but rather have had to make stuff up about it over several millennia. The gods are all of human invention, attempts by fallible humans to describe and account for things that they could not understand or that they have imagined. Since I cannot trust or believe any such groundless and wild speculation, I cannot bring myself to believe in any of the gods nor in any of their accompanying theologies, all of which are man-made. If the supernatural were to actually exist, I am extremely doubtful that it would resemble what human imagination has produced. And if supernatural entities were to actually exist, I am extremely doubtful that they would resemble the gods that human imagination has created.
I am both an atheist and an agnostic. No, those are not the same thing.
BTW, remember that in Message 89, to which you replied, I also said:
DWise1 writes:
However, the common Christian definition of "atheist" is "someone who doesn't believe in God." That refers to belief in one very specific god. Hence Hindus who are theists are redefined to be "atheists". I have encountered on several occasions Christians who use "atheist" in precisely that manner, meant to include all believers in any of the other gods. Even Dr. Henry Morris of the ICR described the "atheistic" "evolution model" as including "most of the world's religions, ancient and modern."
And what did we find in my Merriam Webster Dictionary? Precisely that definition (the only definition it offers):
quote:
atheist -- one who denies the existence of God
So you see, I'm not making any of this up!

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 114 of 777 (747898)
01-20-2015 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 104 by Tangle
01-20-2015 6:41 AM


Re: agnostic anyone?
If they have a belief then they are theists, if they do not, they are atheists. How conviced they are of their choices is a seperate issue - neither are agnostic.
But what about the third group, a large one, that simply couldn't care less?
Imagine some kind of over-blown sports event that inexplicably excites much of the national or regional or world population, possibly because it gets hyped-up all out of all proportion. Two opposing teams. Applying your argument, everybody must support either one team or the other; there can be no third position. But there is a third position, the only sane one: "I couldn't possibly care less!"
A very large number of people just do not care about religion and many of them even try to avoid the subject as much as possible. They're not believers, but they're also not non-believers; they just do not take any kind of position. They couldn't possibly care less.
But then none of that has anything to do with agnosticism, which is an entirely different question from atheism. They are not the same thing!

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 Message 104 by Tangle, posted 01-20-2015 6:41 AM Tangle has replied

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 116 of 777 (747926)
01-21-2015 1:04 AM
Reply to: Message 115 by Tangle
01-20-2015 4:16 PM


Re: agnostic anyone?
Those that couldn't care less, obviously do not believe.
. . .
If they couldn't care less, then they do not believe and are therefore atheistic.
Really? Are you sure about that?
To begin with, by my sports analogy you are expecting everybody to choose between Team A and Team B. No other choice is allow, like "neither". So, by your logic, if anyone who couldn't care less is obviously cheering from Team B. How much sense would that make? Absolutely none.
But we don't need an analogy, because we have real-world people who do not fit your model. People who are not interested in religion, couldn't care less, and yet identify as belonging to a religious group. A common scenario would be one who grew up in a church, had put in his pew-time, and is not inclined to continue to participate while still self-identifying. Couldn't care less, but still not an atheist.
For example, my cabin mate on one cruise was completely uninterested in religion. He grew up in an extreme sect, something like Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists, but was no longer active and was very disinclined to have anything to do with religion. In case you are tempted to think that he had deconverted, his position was that what they had taught him was true, period. Before you try to tell him that he's an atheist, you should know that he traveled over half the Caribbean looking for a chain necklace with links large and heavy enough for that necklace to serve as an emergency set of brass knuckles.
In most situations where you cast a vote, you have three choices: yea, nay, or abstain. In the situation under discussion, those who are interested in religion will deliberate and decide yea or nay or possibly abstain. Those who are not interested will abstain, most commonly by default since they are not interested and won't even consider that they should make a choice. In the case of those who are not interested, they will simply gravitate to their own default setting, which would be just as likely to be theistic than atheistic.
Tangle, your extreme either-or position makes you sound like a creationist. In their infamous "Two Model Approach" (TMA), they claim that there are two and only two mutually exclusive "models" for origins: the "creation model" and the "atheistic" "evolution model". They never devote much effort in presenting their "creation model", which they hand-wave as being some generic "some unidentified Creator done it" and that it includes all such creation accounts, whereas in reality it only includes the fundamentalist Christian beliefs that we know all to well as YEC. They devote all their effort in attacking and "disproving" their "evolution model", which is everything that is not in the "creation model". Their "evolution model" includes all scientific and quasi-scientific and worse ideas about "origins", almost all of which contradict each other and have been rejected by science. Their "evolution model" also includes all religions, both ancient and modern, with mythologies that differ from those of fundamentalist Christianity.
So you're starting from a definitely defined theistic position and positing that everything that differs from it is atheism. That is simply not true.
DWise1 writes:
But then none of that has anything to do with agnosticism, which is an entirely different question from atheism. They are not the same thing!
Of course they're not the same thing! In matters of belief, agnosticism is irrelevant. It concerns itself with knowledge not belief.
Well if you do realize that they are not the same thing, then why do you persist in conflating them?
And, no, agnosticism is not irrelevant in matters of belief. Those who do attempt to make a choice need to have something to base that choice on. The question of whether it is possible for you to actually know about the supernatural or of how reliable you can consider other sources of information to be could very well play a role.
And remember that an agnostic could choose to become or remain a theist.

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 Message 115 by Tangle, posted 01-20-2015 4:16 PM Tangle has replied

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(2)
Message 120 of 777 (747945)
01-21-2015 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 117 by Tangle
01-21-2015 3:42 AM


Re: agnostic anyone?
How do you know what he actually believes? He could be believe or not.
How do you know what he actually believes?
I went with the actual evidence, his own testimony that he believes that what he was taught as a child is true and that settles that.
You are pushing your own idea in spite of the actual evidence.
Like the Two Model Approach which is the principal tool of "creation science", you are creating a false dichotomy by artificially insisting that there are two and only two mutually exclusive positions, thus excluding the other positions that do exist. Such as abstaining. Such as not caring.
Not knowing is not a reliable predictor for atheism. Nor is abstaining from deciding. Nor is not having any interest.
And agnostics do indeed exist!
Also, you are thinking like a "true Christian". You pose the question as "Do you believe in God?", which only asks about YHWH. To a "true Christian", not believing in YHWH would make one an atheist, but that would include those who believe in a different god. Remember, the gods are many. But if one believes in any of the other gods, then he would in fact not be an atheist regardless of how much others misunderstand atheism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by Tangle, posted 01-21-2015 3:42 AM Tangle has replied

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 121 of 777 (747946)
01-21-2015 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 118 by Minnemooseus
01-21-2015 4:32 AM


Re: agnostic anyone?
If you answer "No" to both (which is your "couldn't care less") , you are an "atheist".
It is demonstrably wrong to assume that "couldn't care less" makes one an atheist. My former cabin mate demonstrated that.
Choosing Team A or Team B is choosing between two different positions. That is a false dichotomy, which creationists and fundamentalists misuse all the time -- "either-or", "black or white". There are other positions outside of the two that we are artificially restricted to by the false dichotomy. "Couldn't care less" is one of those other positions.

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 Message 118 by Minnemooseus, posted 01-21-2015 4:32 AM Minnemooseus has seen this message but not replied

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 151 of 777 (748121)
01-22-2015 11:51 PM
Reply to: Message 149 by Faith
01-22-2015 11:03 PM


Re: Yes, no, or "I don't understand the question"
How about "I don't know if I believe in God or not yet, I've been working on learning about God for some time, I'll let you know when I've come to a conclusion."
Frankly, the second part is very close to what I feel should be the proper attitude of believers. As Dr. William F. Schulz, the head of our church in 1985 during the Boy Scouts' scandalous mistreatment of Unitarian Scout Paul Trout, quoted Augustine of Hippo:
quote:
God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. For if you understand, you have failed.
Learning about God is humanly unattainable, so saying that you have completed that learning is a sure sign that you have missed the mark. It should be more of a life journey, something that you continue to strive for. Will you ever actually complete that journey and arrive at a final conclusion? No. Will you have learned and grown during that journey? Hopefully so.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by Faith, posted 01-22-2015 11:03 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by Faith, posted 01-23-2015 12:05 AM dwise1 has replied

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 153 of 777 (748125)
01-23-2015 12:35 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by Faith
01-23-2015 12:05 AM


Re: Yes, no, or "I don't understand the question"
Yeah, well ... .
Part of the problem is that so many "true Believers" behave as if they do already understand God and have no more to learn. They believe that their doctrine is so correct that if reality begs to differ from it, then reality is wrong. Yes, Faith, I am looking directly at you.
Another part of the problem is that deciding to believe in God is of no importance to you. Rather, what is of utter importance to you is that one decides to believe in the right theology. If someone were to decide to believe in God, you'd be happy for them, right? But if he were to choose the Roman Catholic theology, then you'd have a fit. Theology matters; belief in God doesn't.
And is it necessary to believe in God in order to start understanding God? Can't one simply listen to what believers say and observe what believers actually do? "By their fruits you will know them." And we do indeed know "true Believers" all too well.
I once saw a bumper sticker:
quote:
Militant Agnostic:
"I don't know ... and neither do you!"
You think that you know, but do you really?
Again:
quote:
God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. For if you understand, you have failed.
(Augustine of Hippo)
Also:
quote:
{When you search for God, y}ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)
Edited by dwise1, : Augustine of Hippo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by Faith, posted 01-23-2015 12:05 AM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 166 by Faith, posted 01-23-2015 10:41 AM dwise1 has replied

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 154 of 777 (748128)
01-23-2015 1:27 AM
Reply to: Message 138 by Straggler
01-22-2015 10:44 AM


Re: agnostic anyone?
Would anyone who answers "No" to the question "Do you believe in God?" qualify as an "atheist".
Including Hindus? Or pagans? They most certainly do believe in gods, just not in God, which is to say YHWH, one very specific god.
But to Christians, believing in another god is the same thing as believing in none?
We've been approaching this in terms of how atheists define themselves, whereas the elephant in the room is how the theists define atheism. After all, it is their definition that is used to exclude atheists from politics.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Straggler, posted 01-22-2015 10:44 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 165 by Straggler, posted 01-23-2015 10:41 AM dwise1 has replied

  
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