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Author Topic:   Is science atheism?
Raphael
Member
Posts: 171
From: Southern California, United States
Joined: 09-29-2007


Message 61 of 126 (886513)
05-22-2021 9:57 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by nwr
05-22-2021 9:47 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
nwr writes:

You are confused between "atheist" and "anti-theist". There are plenty of atheists who are not anti-theist and who have not ruled out the possibility that there's a god.

I appreciate this clarification man. I always want to be a learner. Help me understand, how do you personally understand and differentiate between atheism and agnosticism? I am curious if the others who take such stances would agree. My hypothesis is, as stated above, I do not think there is clarity among non-believing folks. Either way, appreciate the learning.

- Raph

Edited by Raphael, : oops, quote code mistake, fixed


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by nwr, posted 05-22-2021 9:47 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by nwr, posted 05-22-2021 11:01 PM Raphael has not yet responded
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 Message 64 by Tanypteryx, posted 05-23-2021 12:24 AM Raphael has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5791
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
Message 62 of 126 (886515)
05-22-2021 11:01 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:57 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Help me understand, how do you personally understand and differentiate between atheism and agnosticism?

There is a distinction. One can be an agnostic theist.

However, personally, I just use "agnostic" or "non-religious" because those terms cause less confusion.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
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anglagard
Member
Posts: 2329
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006
Member Rating: 6.7


(1)
Message 63 of 126 (886517)
05-22-2021 11:02 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:57 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Raphael writes:

I appreciate this clarification man. I always want to be a learner. Help me understand, how do you personally understand and differentiate between atheism and agnosticism? I am curious if the others who take such stances would agree. My hypothesis is, as stated above, I do not think there is clarity among non-believing folks. Either way, appreciate the learning.

Not to add to any confusion but there is a third category. In addition to Atheism and Agnosticism there is Ignosticsm. This is the position that:

quote:
the word "God" is meaningless until it is defined. Until one defines "God" they might as well be saying "Fob".

This also means that until you are debating a definition of God that is able to be proven false, you might as well be debating about the word "Fob".


Well, all you have to do to turn me into something I am not, that may be more to others liking, is the demand that I stop learning from the critters, stop communing with nature, stop doing hallucinogenics, stop asking questions, and stop loving life.

No fucking chance in hell.

So, in conclusion, if my Spinoza neopantheism, my Thoreau appreciation of nature and it's lessons, my testing of the limitations of perception, my Humanism, my primate curiosity, makes me a heretic unworthy of continued existence:

If I am not allowed freedom of religion, count me in as Ignostic.


The problem with knowing everything is learning nothing.

If you don't know what you're doing, find someone who does, and do what they do.

Republican = death


This message is a reply to:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 2572
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 5.5


(5)
Message 64 of 126 (886519)
05-23-2021 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:57 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
I do not think there is clarity among non-believing folks.

That should maybe be a clue that you're missing something. There is no clarity among non-believing people because we're not organized and have not codified our thoughts into some common creed. I only vaguely know what the other atheists here at EvC think about religion and how they define atheism. I don't read what other atheists have to say about atheism or religion, because I don't care what they think, because not one of them know any more than I do about it or I already would have heard about it.

You arrogantly seem to think that you can define what we think and how we think about it. You are mistaken.

I define myself as an atheist. I DO NOT believe that god does not exist. I DO KNOW that I have never seen any evidence that supports any deities, magic, or the supernatural. Not once have I seen or heard of any evidence for anything supernatural. Clearly there are not any gaps in nature where god or the supernatural can hide anymore.

I know some people, even atheists, are joiners and like meetings and that kind of crap, but none of the people I know socialize because we're atheists, we socialize because we are friends and share common interests. None of us are stamp collectors, but we don't sit around talking about not collecting stamps, just like we don't sit around talking about atheism. Being an atheist is not an activity.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16977
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 65 of 126 (886520)
05-23-2021 2:10 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:33 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
quote:
Really? I don't think you actually believe that. What about essentially every culture known to mankind throughout history that did exactly this? Superstition, creating a shared mythos or understanding of how the world works, this is what almost every people group we have ever observed does.

So you are assuming ignorance about the way the world works, too? Religious belief, I’ll add is not necessarily theistic. Nor is that degree of cultural development necessarily going to occur in a single generation. So I have to say that I don’t agree.

quote:
I agree in the first half, but disagree with the second; atheism would be equally as much of a nonsense term. What's more, as seen throughout history, the human default seems to be attaching spiritual significance and meaning to things, even if they are not inherently spiritual. We are spiritual beings, it seems.

I think you are exaggerating here, too. I think a lot of people pay lip service to “spiritual significance” without considering much of it truly significant. And, again, the ‘spiritual” is not limited to the theistic.

Further, “atheism” is often extended to include the absence of the belief that a God exists, which would cover the situation perfectly.

quote:
Whew, a lot to unpack here. Haha. I never declared any belief off-limits!

You’ve declared that holding the belief that there is no God is arrogant in itself. No matter how it’s held or why.

quote:
I have been an atheist and have atheist friends who I love. If you're an atheist, cool man. I'm not mad about it, and I'd love to understand how you got there. However, to not acknowledge that atheism is a faith stance, and for one to act as if they are more objective than anyone else, or have received some objective truth nobody else has is pretty intellectually arrogant.

You’re adding to your original claim:

To me, atheism is just as arrogant as fundamentalist religion or dogmatic scientism, and I have the same issues with all three

None of the things you object to above are necessary parts of atheism. Even if you stick with the common definition of “atheism” as the belief that there is no God.

Now, I will contend that my view is not a “faith position” unless you extend that term to include any belief that is not held with absolute certainty. I would further contend it is rational - and more rational than many of the arguments I’ve seen here to the contrary. I certainly don’t claim to “received some objective truth nobody else has” and I regard such a claim as ludicrous.

quote:
It's the same sort of dogmatism non-religious folks dislike in fundamentalist religious people, and I would come against that just as strong.

So you were claiming that all atheists display that dogmatism? Because you didn’t include any qualifications - you just referred to “atheism” - and therefore all atheists.

quote:
You define atheism as a provisional stance

No, I don’t. I define “atheism” as holding the belief that there is no God (in deference to common use). That does not say anything about how the belief is held. Dogmatic atheism is possible, but it’s certainly not the only possibility.

quote:
Curious how this differs in your mind from a more agnostic stance?

Under the original definition it is agnosticism, since I don’t claim to know that there is no God. However agnosticism is more commonly thought of as not taking even a provisional position on the existence of God. So that is a pretty clear distinction.

quote:
To me, when the word "atheism" is used, it is used to mean a non-openness to supernatural data. Do you feel like this is an accurate representation of where you are at?

I don’t think that is part of any definition of “atheism” I’ve ever seen. I take a very sceptical view of supernatural claims and I believe that is justified. False claims of the supernatural are certainly common, while stringently confirmed claims seem to be non-existent. For instance we had an extended discussion of an alleged “prophet” here, some years ago, and I have to say that the evidence gave no reason to believe that there was anything supernatural going on.

Edited by PaulK, : Correct a couple of typos


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Raphael, posted 05-22-2021 9:33 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


(3)
Message 66 of 126 (886524)
05-23-2021 4:07 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:06 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Raphael writes:

The atheist […] believes by faith that no God exists.

That's certainly what believers seem to need to think.

They think that because they can't imagine what a non-belief is. Which is odd because, with the exception of the one god they believe in, they have non-beliefs in all other gods and a zillion other things too. Leprechauns being only one them; usually. You'd think they'd be able to get it, but they just can't.

Atheists are not a collective with a creed, we're just people that are occasionally reminded that there are mad people around us that believe in weird crap. This does NOT mean we have a faith in non-belief. We just don't think about it. It's a non-thing, an absence, a nothing.

You believers have imposed a name on something that we non-believers would not have a name for had you not made up your belief.

Believe what you like, but don't tell me that I have a belief in not believing what you believe. That's self-serving garbage and pig ignorance. You guys won't accept the testimony of atheists about what it is not to belief in what you believe in. You have to believe in belief so you think we do to. Well no we don't. If you care at all about understanding atheism, just accept what we say about it.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Raphael, posted 05-22-2021 9:06 PM Raphael has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Phat, posted 05-23-2021 6:26 AM Tangle has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 15602
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 67 of 126 (886525)
05-23-2021 6:26 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Tangle
05-23-2021 4:07 AM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Tangle writes:

They think that because they can't imagine what a non-belief is. Which is odd because, with the exception of the one god they believe in, they have non-beliefs in all other gods and a zillion other things too. Leprechauns being only one them; usually. You'd think they'd be able to get it, but they just can't.

We call it Trinitarian Monotheism. We believe in One God. period. Not a zillion others. You are correct in that you guys believe in One God less than we do. In other words zip. zero nada.
Atheists are not a collective with a creed, we're just people that are occasionally reminded that there are mad people around us that believe in weird crap. This does NOT mean we have a faith in non-belief. We just don't think about it. It's a non-thing, an absence, a nothing.
Bingo.
You have to believe in belief so you think we do to.
We believe in a Creator greater than ourselves. You don't. You never even think about it. But then we dont fully understand you any more than you do us.
You have to believe in belief so you think we do to.
If you wanna put it like that. I would say that for us, God existing is a default. You cant fathom such thought. I would change your sentence though.

You have to believe in belief A Creator of all seen and unseen known through Jesus Christ so you think we do too.
You have argued before about why God supposedly chose us and not you. My response? You dont even think about it. Evidently you are meant to be the way you are. As are we. Live and let live.

We do find it puzzling why you dont even think about what we consider the most important belief in our lives. You channel that energy other ways. Imagination. Creativity. Snuggle Love. Sipping wine looking at a sunset.You imagine us as authoritarian despots eager to own the world.

We imagine you as unknowing idolators...basking in the joy of the creation yet not ever considering who made it. You may argue that science shows *us* exactly how it was made--no Creator necessary.

We probably are not our own best advertisement. Nor His.

Edited by Phat, : fixed awkward points


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Tangle, posted 05-23-2021 4:07 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Tangle, posted 05-23-2021 6:36 AM Phat has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 68 of 126 (886526)
05-23-2021 6:36 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by Phat
05-23-2021 6:26 AM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Phat writes:

Yes we do find it puzzling why you dont even think about what we consider the most important belief in our lives.

Fine, be puzzled about it, just don't say dumb thing like atheism is a faith or a believe.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Phat, posted 05-23-2021 6:26 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Phat, posted 05-23-2021 6:40 AM Tangle has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 15602
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 69 of 126 (886527)
05-23-2021 6:40 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by Tangle
05-23-2021 6:36 AM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Tangle writes:

Fine, be puzzled about it, just don't say dumb thing like atheism is a faith or a belief.

I would say that atheism is an observation. There is no room for belief as you are never moved by feelings but only facts. Verifiable reality.

The question I ask myself is why. Why is God not plainly visible to everybody? Why do I care so much about Him being real to you? How delusional could I be?


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Tangle, posted 05-23-2021 6:36 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Tangle, posted 05-23-2021 8:40 AM Phat has not yet responded
 Message 72 by ringo, posted 05-23-2021 11:46 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 112 by Aussie, posted 06-18-2021 11:47 AM Phat has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 70 of 126 (886529)
05-23-2021 8:40 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by Phat
05-23-2021 6:40 AM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Phat writes:

I would say that atheism is an observation.

ffs Phat. Atheism is nothing! There's no observation or anything. It's just not a thing at all. It's a label you guys have given us for not believing what you believe.

There is no room for belief as you are never moved by feelings but only facts.

Utter crap. Year after year you say this kind of nonsense. Atheists have no feeling? I feel like punching you in the mouth does that prove it to you?

The question I ask myself is why. Why is God not plainly visible to everybody? Why do I care so much about Him being real to you? How delusional could I be?

Totally deluded, that's how much. But I don't care, just stop telling me what I feel or believe because you haven't the first clue.

Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Phat, posted 05-23-2021 6:40 AM Phat has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 19228
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.8


(1)
Message 71 of 126 (886536)
05-23-2021 11:41 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:46 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Raphael writes:

People make up all sorts of things though. I think you are underestimating the human imagination


So you're admitting that gods are made up. And don't miss the plural there. A lot of gods have been made up, along with leprechauns, fairies, bigfeet, etc. People making things up is not an argument for the existence of those things.

Raphael writes:

1) How would one build a leprechaun trap if one has no data on leprechauns?


The same way that believers "confirm" the existence of their particular gods - by making up the data.

Raphael writes:

2) Consider after building said trap, how would one even know if their trap (test) was sufficient to trap (test for) leprechauns?


See above. The victory conditions are made up by the individual believers.

Raphael writes:

I trust observations. However, in this case, we have no way of knowing if our tests are even able to test what we are trying to test.


We know what we know. The mistake you make is adding in a lot of things that you don't know.

Raphael writes:

In conclusion, we remain leprechaun agnostics, never really knowing whether or not they are real, though an intellectually honest person would probably remain open to the possibility.


Bingo. That's exactly my stance on the existence of gods. Of course, I can't speak for any other atheists because we have no organization, no doctrines and no articles of faith.

"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by Raphael, posted 05-22-2021 9:46 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 19228
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 72 of 126 (886537)
05-23-2021 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by Phat
05-23-2021 6:40 AM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Phat writes:

Why is God not plainly visible to everybody?


Because he isn't plainly visible to anybody.

Edited by ringo, : Sbelling.


"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Phat, posted 05-23-2021 6:40 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 4702
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


(3)
Message 73 of 126 (886538)
05-23-2021 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:06 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
As a theist, I believe by faith that a God exists. This is not testable and therefore a truth claim based on faith.

The atheist ( I know this is not quite your position nwr) believes by faith that no God exists. This is not testable and therefore a truth claim based on faith.

Except you are misstating the atheist position and hence misrepresenting it. And in doing so you have created a strawman argument.

While some will go there, atheism is not about the existence of the gods (so many more gods have been created than just yours, you should know). Rather, it's that we don't buy your (plural) stories and assertions about your own particular gods.

Theists keep trying to sell us a bill of goods, a pig in a poke, Florida swamp land, the Brooklyn Bridge, and our response is "No thanks." That's the basic atheist position. Do any gods actually exist? Maybe, who knows? Who could possibly know? It is in the very nature of the supernatural that we humans can never have any objective knowledge of the supernatural (and even subjective "knowledge" can only be highly suspect), not the least of which is whether the supernatural even exists.

That is why agnosticism is the only truthful and rational position to take (outside of ignosticism): We cannot know anything about the supernatural. We cannot perceive it, we cannot observe it, we cannot test it, we cannot even tell whether it exists. That is also the reason that science does not include the supernatural, because it cannot even begin to work with it.

From that point, all we can do is make assumptions on the matter of the supernatural. Basically two assumptions: theistic or non-theistic -- though we may find that that is still too high-level. Within both of those basic assumptions there is a lot of latitude for the conclusions reached.

Basically, the theistic assumption is that the supernatural exists and that there exist powerful supernatural entities -- this is how we created the gods. The stories about the gods grew over time and continue to grow, becoming religions in which worshippers attempt to placate and cajole those gods to spare those worshippers, grant them their wishes, or otherwise control them. An interesting aspect of all these stories of created gods evolving into religious doctrines is that they become very extensive and extremely complex (extreme complexity being a common product of evolutionary processes), very intricate and highly detailed. Which is amazing given that there was no way for any human to have gathered that amount of information about the supernatural, something that is humanly impossible to observe, etc. So basically, it's all made up.

There's kind of a gray area between the two assumptions which may indicate that theistic/non-theistic is not the proper line of demarcation here. In the discussion above one thing that is missing is the theist's lack of awareness of the necessity of agnosticism. Basically, they just assume that their made-up stuff is true and that somehow their predecessors were not only able to gain perfect knowledge of the supernatural but were able to transmit that perfect knowledge perfectly generation after generation for millennia.

However, there must also be theists who remain aware of the necessity of agnosticism, such that their theism includes the knowledge that there are problems with their doctrine. I would anticipate that they would be more thoughtful and less dogmatic and more open to discussion, but then we don't hear from them that much. Like honest creationists (who do sincere research), they don't go out to do battle like the dishonest creationists are driven to.

Another part of that gray area could be atheists who accept the possibility that the supernatural exists. So if the line of demarcation turned out to be supernatural-yes versus supernatural-no then this would be supernatural-maybe-but-it-doesn't-matter which would not lend itself very easily to pigeon-holing. Maybe the depletion zone at a PN junction would offer an analogy, though the effects of forward and reverse biasing might not apply (refer to basic diode theory).

Choosing the atheistic/non-theistic assumption would mainly be a rejection of the theistic assumption as untenable, unsupported, ill-conceived, and just plain not making any sense. It's not primarily a position of "God does not exist" (which makes no statement about Ganesha -- Christians seem to be drawn to this particular definition of the atheist position because it sounds enough like it's anti-Christian and anti-YHWH so as to serve their hypocritical persecution rhetorics). Rather, it's strong skepticism about the existence of the supernatural let alone the gods (ie, if the supernatural does not exist, then neither can supernatural entities; eg, if the American nation of Poyais did not exist, then neither would any of the kings of Poyais -- it didn't exist but rather was a scam) and whether it even matters. That can range from accepting that the evidence for the supernatural is so non-existent that one can safely assume that the supernatural does not exist to not denying the possibility that the supernatural might exist (who can tell, after all?) we still cannot do anything with it so what does it matter?

More specifically, atheism is often a reaction against the prevailing religion which is most frequently motivated by self-defense against theists seeking to gain political power to impose their religion on everybody else; eg, school prayer (which Jesus taught against, but since when did Christians care about what Jesus said?), destroying education (eg, science, history), curtailing or eliminating reproductive rights (eg, birth control), silencing any criticism of them. On a more personal level, the motivation can come from the umpteenth proselytizer using the same tired old tricks (most of which I had learned with the Jesus Freaks half a century ago) and the same tired old false assertions about atheists.

Basically, they're trying to pressure and trick us into buying their theology while arrogantly ignoring the facts of the weaknesses and problems with it that we are all too aware of and familiar with. They're trying to sell us a pig in a poke (which more often than not turns out to be a dead cat) and our response is "No!" So for that you call us "arrogant"?

It's not really that hard to understand lol, at least in my view, but maybe I'm missing something.

No, it's not hard to understand. As long as you stop making it so hard. Hopefully you're starting to think it through.

Besides, not only have I been an atheist myself for a time, ...

One of those, huh? So many times Christians and especially creationists will claim "I used to be an atheist for many years." or "I was raised an evolutionist and studied it for years before I learned the truth." But they always had the oddest misconceptions about atheism and the "former evolutionists" demonstrated repeatedly that they didn't understand a single thing about evolution, but rather all they "knew" were the lies that the creationists had taught them.

For example, a local creationist activist repeatedly claims that he used to be an atheist and he even tells the story of how "evolution had turned him into an atheist when he was in jr high" -- I can pass that text on to you if you want. But as the story clearly shows, it was his own Christian training that had him "become an atheist" (though he was only pretending to be an atheist in order to satisfy his "bubbling hormones" and to sin without guilt). The only role that evolution had played was as a convenient excuse. Indeed, throughout his years of "atheism" he continued to believe in God and prayed to God every night -- he freely admitted that. And now he proclaims that he knows why people become atheists: they want to escape responsibility for their actions. That's ironic since the rules-based morality they promote is the same as the "Nürnberg Defense" and as was studied in the infamous Milgram Experiment in which normal people can commit the most heinous acts as long as an authority figure (such as God) assumes the responsibility. In contrast to theists transferring responsibility to their gods, atheists accept personal responsibility for their own actions. He is firmly convinced of that and refuses to listen to reason because that is why he had pretended to be an atheist.

But more often, I suspect that it's their having no understanding of atheism so that they think that they had been atheists when they weren't. For example, many people who become religious have the story of how they had become religious which included a prior period of time when they weren't. Maybe they were nominally religious, being dragged by their parents to show up and put in their pew time. Or they had grown up in another church or religion. Or no religious background. While they had undoubtedly felt a general apathy about religion, there wouldn't have been a decision of "Uh, no thank you." which I would associate with being an atheist.

Of course, actual mileage may vary in individual cases.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Raphael, posted 05-22-2021 9:06 PM Raphael has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Raphael, posted 05-23-2021 5:56 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 4702
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 74 of 126 (886553)
05-23-2021 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Raphael
05-21-2021 10:21 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Sorry your experience with a church and Christians during that time sucked and you did not feel valued. We are almost always our own worst enemy.

Yeah, here we go again. It's amazing how much Christians' training misinforms them about atheists and atheism. Your "atheist arrogance" below is another example.

I decided I needed to learn more about what I was supposed to believe as a Christian, so I started reading the Bible. What I read was so incredibly incredible (as in "unbelievable") that I realized that if I could not believe any of it, then I shouldn't be there. BTW, I'm not the only person for whom reading the Bible led to atheism.

The mistake I had made was assuming biblical literalism which I'm not even sure was part of my church's doctrine. But then half a decade later along came the Jesus Freak Movement and the sudden growth of fundamentalism. Now biblical literalism was de rigueur and it still made no sense. With that and also having learned about Christian history informed me that having left Christianity was a good decision. Then I started studying "creation science" and encountering creationists -- a culture of lies and deception practiced by some of the worst people I've ever encountered. Truly the wicked fruit which causes Christianity to fail the Matthew 7:20 Test.

That said, I just wanted to respond to this statement. While I agree atheism is not a religion, it is a belief and sometimes even a set of beliefs depending what brand of atheism you subscribe to.

So just believing something makes it like a religion? Like being a Democrat or a Republican? Or choosing Windows over Apple? Or believing that coffee ice cream is better than vanilla?

There is no atheist doctrine nor dogma. There is no atheist proselytizing. Every atheist is different since every atheist had arrived there in his own way. The most basic thing that we have in common is that we don't buy what theists are trying to force us to buy. For that you call us "arrogant", whereas the true arrogance in all that is in Christians' thinking that they have a right to force their beliefs on everybody else.

Here's a test demonstrating this: If you were on an abandoned island and you never heard of any religion, would the position you come to naturally be atheism?

You are leaving too much out. In that scenario, am I knowledgeable in how nature works (eg, as we can know through science) or am I an ignorant savage who is prone to superstition? And if your scenario would result in ignorant savages resorting to superstition to try to make some sense of what's happening around, do you think that that would be a good thing? Why would you think that?

Also, your scenario begs of question of what you would call "atheism." To us atheists, it means "not theism." Theism is belief in any or all of the gods. However, the definition I've heard from so many Christians restricts consider to only their peculiar version of YHWH. In addition, I have encountered Christians over the years who seemed to apply "atheist" to other theists. For example, consider the case of Kala in Mumbai. She's a Hindu who worships Ganesha. Atheist or theist? Should be easy except for those who would call her an "atheist" for being of a religion that is different from theirs.

 
Your scenario reminds me of a story I stumbled upon on a British atheist site several years ago. That story follows a Christian missionary encountering a village that had never heard of any gods or religion before. First he meets two villagers on the road who are fascinated to hear what he has to say even though none of it makes any sense to them, so they invite him to their village.
Everybody crowds into the village square eager to hear what he has to say. Everything he tells them is standard Christian doctrine, but none of it makes any sense to the villagers. They keep asking him questions and ask for clarification, but with every answer they just get more confused. They very honestly want to learn what he has to tell them, but none of it makes any sense. Finally he runs away. As I recall, it is either because he is unable to explain what he believes in order to get it across to them (ie, he had never thought it through completely) or else because he finally realizes himself that what he believes doesn't make any sense (ie, he had never thought it through completely). Either way, the purpose of the scenario was to show that the only way Christian doctrine can make any sense is if we have been conditioned for years to accept it without question.

What objective knower of truth confirmed to you that your belief is true? We have no way of knowing what percentage of knowable information we know about the universe, so to make such a definitive claim is wild to me.

Wow! That's kind of a twisted approach. And yet another instance of believers projecting their own problematic traits onto others, which is rarely a good idea.

In my other reply (Message 73), I covered agnosticism and why it is the necessary approach (namely, because of the human impossibility of being able to know anything at all about the supernatural). When one then takes the theistic approach, one ends up having to invent a god and then make up everything about that god -- of course that happened over generations.

So a theist has to be absolutely sure that he is right, especially in an unforgiving religion like Christianity in which the slightest error in theology can damn you for Eternity (see joke at the end). And for that, theists have your so-called "objective knower of truth" to confirm to them that their belief is true -- except what they choose as their "objective knower of truth" is just one of their religious leaders past or present repeating the dogma that they had already been taught. Quoting from a minor novel: "[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."

In contrast, an atheist has not made up an extremely elaborate and intricate theology that would require any "objective knower of truth" to confirm. Rather an atheist is one who has examined your extremely elaborate and intricate theology and decided to pass on it. You don't need any "objective knower of truth" for that! Indeed, you have done the same thing several times in your life, looking at other religions and deciding to pass on them. Did you need some "objective knower of truth" to make those determinations? Or did your sense of smell suffice?

An old joke, now being used in a Red Bull commercial, has two friends about to be killed by a bear. The one stops to put on his running shoes. "Are you crazy? You can't outrun that bear!" "I don't have to. I only need to outrun you."
In effect, you and your elaborate made-up dogma need to be able to outrun that bear, whereas I, by not buying into your dogma, don't need to.

To put it a bit more succinctly, I don't have to submit my beliefs to some Grand Inquisitor for validation. I only need to be satisfied that I cannot believe in your religion.

 
Adding this joke to illustrate how picayune theology can get as it determines who's save and who's damned:

quote:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

"Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.



This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Raphael, posted 05-21-2021 10:21 PM Raphael has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by Raphael, posted 05-23-2021 6:35 PM dwise1 has responded

  
Raphael
Member
Posts: 171
From: Southern California, United States
Joined: 09-29-2007


(5)
Message 75 of 126 (886554)
05-23-2021 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by dwise1
05-23-2021 12:26 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
For the sake of time I won't respond to each response, but attempt a sort of synthesis of what I've been hearing from everyone.

First, just want to apologize. After reading all the responses, I recognize now that in my op it was definitely arrogant to assume I understood what atheism meant to everyone. I realize now this is a term many of you use in different, nuanced ways, and it was pretty reductionist of me to use it as a catch-all term. I also perceive that this word is very meaningful to you, and for me to simply make assumptions about its meaning was pretty gross and elementary. I also tend to be pretty silly in my typing and emoji use, I am a millennial after all . However, this may have come across as flippant or dismissive as well. Apologies for that.

I especially appreciated nwr, Tanypteryx, and dwise1's responses, which led me to understand better where y'all are coming from. I see now that I have been equating the term atheist with anti-theist, for one.

Anyway. This has been really helpful to me in my continued journey of learning! Appreciate y'all for helping to educate. I hope to be known as a learner who is able to intellectually shift when presented new information. Thank you.

Respectfully,

- Raph

Edited by Raphael, : grammar, couple things

Edited by Raphael, : one more thing lol


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by dwise1, posted 05-23-2021 12:26 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

  
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