• Marcus de Brun
    434


    "No, the atheist just claims not to believe in the existence of one or more deities."

    You have missed the point entirely, and I apologize for having not made it clear enough for you.

    M
  • praxis
    706
    God is merely a refinement of the original thought-construct and is non-essential to a Theism or belief system that is constructed upon a notion of the immaterial.Marcus de Brun

    God or gods are essential to theism. Theism means belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures.

    A god or gods are not essential for a belief system constructed upon the notion of the immaterial.

    Your error appears to be falsely assuming that religion is necessarily theistic.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.2k
    I have used this statement in another thread as a reply to a theist on the subject of morality. However I think it is deserving of some analysis. So lets begin as such:

    Q: What is a theism?

    A: A personal theology.

    Q: What is theology?

    A:The study of the nature of God and religious belief. (google-dictionary)

    Q What is religion or religious belief?

    A: A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion. (google dictionary)

    Q: Do atheists have beliefs about the self and the universe which they follow with great devotion?

    A: Yes all atheists must have such beliefs and follow those beliefs with great devotion.

    Q: Do Atheists have religious beliefs?

    A: Yes if they are to continue to live, they must have beliefs, and those beliefs must be followed 'with great and particular devotion'.

    Q What becomes of an atheist who does not follow the beliefs essential to his/her/it's continued existence?

    A: The atheist becomes a dead atheist!


    Ergo: The only real Atheist is a DEAD atheist.

    M
    Marcus de Brun

    This is just a string of equivocations amounting to nonsense.

    By your "logic", any devotion toward anything whatsoever constitutes a form of theism.

    A bird devoted to building a nest is a theist and a dog devoted to ass sniffing is a theist.

    Don't you think you've broadened the definition of theism too much to actually be useful?

    If everyone is a theist because being alive means you are devoted to something, then it's no longer a useful term.

    Theism and atheism refer to beliefs concerning god, not any old belief. Theists are emotionally devoted to their belief systems, but that emotional devotion (with which you wish to paint (read: sully) all atheists) isn't what makes theists "theists".

    Theism and atheism is about god belief, which is not the same as having "beliefs about the self and the universe" or following beliefs with great devotion.

    What's the point of this thread? If you're trying to show atheism to be incoherent, you're better off deleting this thread because all it really does is render theism nonsensical.
  • S
    6k
    Anyway, it's not so much of an analysis as an attempt at word play taking advantage of the inherent vagueness of dictionary definitions. We could probably prove God is a Panda using similar methods.Baden

    This. Coupled with an, "Oh, it's another 'atheists are religious too!'" thread. And an eye roll.

    What kind of an odd-ball statement is that.Marcus de Brun

    Coming from the guy claiming that the only real atheist is a dead atheist?

    Why the semantics?Marcus de Brun

    Yes, good question. Sums up my reaction to this thread of yours. I could take a stab at it, although I'm no Freud.
  • S
    6k
    No, he hasn't missed the point. He's rejecting it. As am I. As will anyone with good sense. Was that not clear enough for you?
  • Marcus de Brun
    434
    Let me reiterate the point.

    Theism, a belief in 'God' is a belief in an immaterial entity. This 'concept' like any other has had an origin, one that pre-dates the Judaeo Christian concept and that of all established religions. One who believes in a God or Gods as such, is termed a theist and one who does not have such a belief is considered an atheist.

    The refined concept 'God/Gods' is a refined concept and it has been continually refined since it originated. However it has an antecedent or original unrefined basis, that is perfectly in tact. Just as the instinctual urge to procreate remains perfectly in tact but is refined into the conception of sexual function and the associated beliefs around sexual function. The same for hunger and eating, there is a primordial and instinctual basis for these practices and their associated beliefs, a primordial basis that is related back to human instinct.

    So too does the concept God have a primordial psychological basis. Man will not engage in sex without the instinctual foundation. Man will not believe in God without the primordial basis for 'theism'. This primordial basis is likely to have originated from and be dependent upon 'thought upon the immaterial'.

    Awareness of ones thoughts constitutes thoughts upon the immaterial, and as such all men maintain the fundamental basis for theistic beliefs... they are essential to that which makes a thinking man distinct from other animals. It is not surprising then that other animals do not (apparently) have beliefs and do not have Gods. God as a concept is dependent upon the capacity to believe.

    Whilst an atheist and a theist clearly disagree upon the refined concept that happens to be a God, BOTH have a psychology that is dependent upon that which came before... the origin of the God concept, vis thought upon the immaterial.

    We have no way of knowing what form or logical construct was before the emergence of the particular and ephemeral God-thing, however it is likely (if we survive ourselves long enough) that the God-thing will be dispensed with or replaced by a different or more evolved 'form' of the primary basis which remains in tact. Man cannot survive without theism or that which is the basis of theism.

    The a-theist can deny God, but cannot deny or refute the instinctual or primary basis for the belief in God.
    God is merely a somewhat fashionable refinement of mans essential thought. Beliefs come and go but their fundamental basis remains in tact.

    All the very intelligent people who have made themselves feel great in the refutation of 'my point' should pat themselves on the back. Well done! I love you too.

    However it takes a little more courage and thought to go against the grain and think upon the idea in a constructive manner.. I am not posting the idea to cause people to get into a strop. I don't mind arguing a point, however not everything within the idea is false and little is gained by simply applying the sometimes angry boot.

    When an idea is posted, the usual format is to point to all of its faults (great there are plenty) there is never a shortage of flies when there is shit.

    However if Philosophy is to evolve we should also try to engage with the possible kernals of truth, in a manner that permits the 'idea' to evolve, and permits others to feel they are not entering the lions den.

    There are a lot of lions about.

    Take a chill pill, have a wank... relax.. we are here to consider ideas.. not savage them.

    M
  • chatterbears
    240
    Q: Do atheists have beliefs about the self and the universe which they follow with great devotion?Marcus de Brun

    Not in remotely the same way that religious people do. Atheists generally base their beliefs on scientific fact and research. And their beliefs can change over time as new information arises and science books change. Religious belief, which is based on ancient text, does NOT change. This is the main difference here.
  • Kbear
    2
    marcus, you truly have a talent for discourse! But your logic can be spotty. e.g. God = panda, panda = God, all smokers are human, not all humans are smokers. Also, I doubt anyone is a true atheist. But this is my own logic and experience speaking, I would be thrilled to hear your take.
  • Sir2u
    1.3k
    Do atheists have beliefs about the self and the universe which they follow with great devotion?

    A: Yes all atheists must have such beliefs and follow those beliefs with great devotion.
    Marcus de Brun

    I have to call BS on this, where did you ever get such an idea?

    Every thinking human has ideas about self and the universe but to call them beliefs is ridiculous.
  • praxis
    706
    The same for hunger and eating, there is a primordial and instinctual basis for these practices and their associated beliefs, a primordial basis that is related back to human instinct.Marcus de Brun

    Again, your error is in assuming this instinct is necessarily expressed as theism. It can be expressed in many different forms.
  • Kbear
    2
    But to be a true atheist, you must first logically debunk the existence of any form of god, such argument I have not heard.
  • SicklerTroy
    3
    You have literally formed your whole premise off of the fact that there are no true atheists, as every atheist has a belief, which by definition, makes them a theist. This is too broadened of a definition of the word theist.

    What you seem to overlook, is the fact that theists have fundamental beliefs about the singular governing entity of the universe. And that belief is predicated on no scientific evidence, and often times contradicts scientific evidence.

    An atheist's fundamental belief system is based off of a malleable foundation, that is affected by scientific discovery, and is rooted in a logical, scientific paradigm. At this point it is not even a belief, but rather, the truth. You can choose to believe that 2+2 is 4, or you can choose not to, one is the wrong belief, and the other is simply true, regardless of belief or not. Similarly, an atheists belief if not as much of a belief, as it is true due to the aforementioned scientific foundation..

    With regards to atheists's belief of the non existence of god, this, whilst can be viewed as a belief, is predicated on a scientific foundation, whilst a theists belief of the existence of god, is not.
    To elaborate, one of the many discrepancies in the bible is, that the earth is 5000 years old. This is quite obviously contradictory to scientific discovery, and hence, modern science itself. Hence, the belief in the bible despite scientific evidence that suggests the contrary, is an illogical and unscientific belief. Therein lies the difference between an atheist and theist.

    Idealistically (i say idealistically, to account for the people who are atheists but still believe in the tooth fairy, etc.) an atheist would never have a belief that is contradictory to scientific discovery and justification, whilst a theist does the opposite.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434
    Again, your error is in assuming this instinct is necessarily expressed as theism. It can be expressed in many different forms.praxis

    Again you are applying a rather shallow and 'criticism-hunting' approach to what I write. I dont mind the criticism if it is a reflection of what I am attempting to say.


    The same for hunger and eating, there is a primordial and instinctual basis for these practices and their associated beliefs, a primordial basis that is related back to human instinct.Marcus de Brun



    There is a primordial basis for these practices 'eating & sex'. That primordial basis is instinctual or related back to human instinct. I am not stating that the belief in God is instinctual, but rather that the theistic system, the expressed logic of Theism, has a primordial basis, similar to, but not the same as, the instinctual basis of belief systems constructed upon the instinctual imperatives towards sex and food.

    Theism, as it is equally a belief system about a God-thing is constructed upon a thought construct a basis that is common to all men as it is essential to the mechanistic function of thought, and most importantly in the human context of meta-thought or thought upon thought. Thought as the practice 'suicide' indicates may not be entirely subservient to instinct.

    It does not follow that ALL of our thoughts arise from simple instinctual imperatives (perhaps most do) I have not asserted this, (as you seem to suggest). The theistic logic, the belief system that all humans have, arises out of 'thought upon the immaterial', which in the human context begins with a consciousness of, and an awareness of ones thought. It is the basis of man's humanity and is the essential distinction between man and animal.

    The theist therefore can only assert that he has a God (+) Theism and the atheist can only assert that he has a God (-) Theism. Both are wearing the same underpants but one believes the other is naked whilst the other believes his companion to be dressed in a ridiculous superfluity of sorts.
    Both the assertions 'atheism' and 'theism' alike serve to reassert the underlying universal theism and render us blind to IT's; principles, mechanics, origins and trajectory. They and their empty distinction, are the fountainhead of philosophical and intellectual paralysis.

    The basis of man's theism presently has, superimposed upon it, a rather silly debate about the existence or non existence of a God thing. Now the inclusion of a God thing into or upon the true theistic basis of human existence may well have an instinctual basis in itself , in that the God-thing might well be a consequence of man's; fear of dying, his materialism, his superior notions of himself, his cruelty etc. The God-thing (and the puff and smoke it entails) allows for man to be cruel to his fellows in the name of the presence or absence of the God-thing; and in this sense the God thing does allow for man to behave and think as a trousered ape. However this God-thing is merely an ephemeral flatulence that arises from a deeper universal base.


    Philosophy continues to plead with man to extract himself from the God-thing (presence or absence etc), and think about himself in a reasonable and honest way. The God-thing is the child of philosophy let us help it mature rather than listen to the squabbling over the color of ones underpants.


    M
  • S
    6k
    There's nothing wrong with treating good ideas with due consideration and savaging bad ones, so your call for passivity and restraint should be rejected.

    You can submit much wordier comments to try to salvage your original point, but there's only so much that words can do. If your "great idea" is fundamentally flawed and not so great, then all of these words are tantamount to salad dressing.

    Now, to boil it down, your point seems to be fundamentally flawed, whichever way you look at it. If you take it at face value, then it seems simply mistaken, as Michael has effectively shown, yet if you delve deeper into your subsequent ramblings, then it seems trivial. Yes, an atheist can believe in an immaterial entity, but no, this doesn't in itself contradict atheism when properly defined, since the immaterial entity is left unspecified. Does that have a vague relation to theism? Yes. Are there other such vague relations, like certain rituals or practises, such as funerals and weddings and so on? Yes. Is that particularly insightful or significant? No, I don't think so. Is that what all of the fanfare was about? Your title is major clickbait.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    Where did the quotation marks come from in respect of the "great idea"?

    Please put me in contact with he who has penned these fine words! :grin:

    The number one fan of an apparently great idea?

    Indeed we are in disagreement, I see no way out of this; and indeed you have every right to think, not-think and write as savagely as you wish.

    Warmest thanks.

    Respectfully yours etc.

    M
  • Marcus de Brun
    434
    You have literally formed your whole premise off of the fact that there are no true atheists, as every atheist has a belief, which by definition, makes them a theist. This is too broadened of a definition of the word theist.SicklerTroy

    One is not broadening the theistic definition (it already reaches out imploringly, towards a ridiculously impossible vista of magic and heavens etc).

    We are (some of us at least) trying to get behind the definition to its fundamental basis and atheistic origin or foundation.

    M
  • SicklerTroy
    3
    ok here's a fundamental definition for you---- An atheist can be defined as a person who predicates his/her beliefs of the creation of the universe onto scientific theory, and probability. A theist, is someone who predicates it unto an external influence that is impossible to prove or disprove, and is derived off of ancient explanations of how the universe works.
  • praxis
    706
    Again, your error is in assuming this instinct is necessarily expressed as theism. It can be expressed in many different forms.
    — praxis

    Again you are applying a rather shallow and 'criticism-hunting' approach to what I write. I dont mind the criticism if it is a reflection of what I am attempting to say.
    Marcus de Brun

    I'm merely pointing out the fundamental flaw in your understanding. Whether or not it's shallow or "criticism hunting" is irrelevant to its validity. Further, you don't address and refute the criticism but only reiterate what you've already expressed, claiming that my criticism is unrelated to what you're trying to say.

    Theism, ... is constructed upon a thought construct a basis that is common to all men — Marcus de Brun

    The theistic logic, the belief system that all humans have — Marcus de Brun

    the underlying universal theism — Marcus de Brun

    the true theistic basis of human existence — Marcus de Brun

    This muddy idea you keep driving about an underlying universal theism is silly on the face of it simply because, as anyone making such a claim should know, there are non-theistic religions in the world.

    There are gods within Buddhist doctrine, for instance, but these gods exist on the same existential plane as all sentient beings. They're not the childishly theistic 'father in the sky' gods but merely fellow sentient beings who do not realize their true nature of emptiness, according to Buddhist doctrine.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    "ok here's a fundamental definition for you---- An atheist can be defined as a person who predicates his/her beliefs of the creation of the universe onto scientific theory, and probability. A theist, is someone who predicates it unto an external influence that is impossible to prove or disprove, and is derived off of ancient explanations of how the universe works. "

    Your counter argument contains some of the point that is being made.

    " ok here's a fundamental definition for you---- An atheist can be defined as a person who predicates his/her beliefs of the creation of the universe onto scientific theory, and probability."


    As you state the atheist is "predicating" his beliefs onto whatever
    The theist "predicates it" onto something else.

    What we are attempting to determine is not the 'belief' (these are both pedestrian and ephemeral) but rather the nature of the predicate, behind the two; as "it" is likely to be the same in both cases.

    We must then ask; how and why has the same predicate produced or described two opposing subjects?

    This is the point at which (I believe) the puppeteers leave the stage, and 'Philosophy' 'breaks a leg'.

    M
  • Baden
    6.6k


    Can you please use the quote function by highlighting text and pressing the quote button or your replies may be missed (and it's messy).
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    Apologies Boss,

    I'm a bit of a slob!
    :yum:

    M
  • Baden
    6.6k


    Ok, well, like I said, it would help all round. Thanks.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.2k
    What we are attempting to determine is not the 'belief' (these are both pedestrian and ephemeral) but rather the nature of the predicate, behind the two; as "it" is likely to be the same in both cases.

    We must then ask; how and why has the same predicate produced or described two opposing subjects?

    This is the point at which (I believe) the puppeteers leave the stage, and 'Philosophy' 'breaks a leg'.

    M
    Marcus de Brun


    The reasons an atheist typically believes in a scientific description of the universe are generally quite different from the reasons a theist believes in a religious description of the universe.

    This is the difference between science and superstition (note: not all atheists are rational in their beliefs about the universe, and not all theists are superstitious; I am generalizing):

    • The theist is inducted into their particular world view from a young age. It is tied up with emotion, community, and forms the basis for passionate ethical and existential beliefs.
    • The atheist demands empirical and scientific evidence to demonstrate the accuracy and consistency of claims. Instead of setting all claims in stone by tying them to emotion, community, and one's purpose in life, they're encouraged to challenge and question with dispassion.

    One side makes a presumption and gets upset when that assumption is challenged, and the other side makes it their business to challenge assumptions.

    Science and superstition; they're not the same.

    Some other notable differences: superstitious beliefs diverge wildly while the results experimental science converge toward something consistent. Superstitious claims can be inherently normative as opposed to descriptive, scientific claims cannot (although they can come to bear on our ethical decisions, they cannot arbitrate what is ethical like superstitious beliefs can).

    An important difference is that superstitious beliefs have no or little predictive power (and if they do it's indirect or concealed from its adherents. E.g: the bible tells us to have priests bless houses with black mold and if that doesn't work to burn them down (which was a useful practice but not for reasons relating to god or spirits or blessings or any other such supernatural phenomena).

    Religion began when schizophrenic/schizotypal and stoned homo-sapiens started telling compelling stories to their forest-dwelling illiterate kin. Stories evolved into ritual and belief, and the whole enterprise exploded in diversity. The story of science isn't entirely dissimilar, but instead of being compelling though the mediums of emotion, ritual and spiritualism, it became compelling and spread thanks to the tangible results it delivers. But the deliverances of religion are no longer required... We have written language (for which we owe some thanks to religious thinking) and we can educate ourselves enough to expect ethical behavior without devout religious orthodoxy. We no longer need magically invent or intuit answers to our unending series of inquiries because science has been able to provide much more reliable answers to many of them

    Science cannot answer everything, and if people want to believe that their god lives hidden behind whatever empirical and epistemological barriers that remain, and that's their prerogative.

    As an atheist I've made it my own prerogative to eschew superstition and superstitious belief in every way I that I can.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    "Science and superstition; they're not the same"

    Science is the transient superstition of the atheist
    Superstition is the transient science of the theist

    They have the same propensity for change in time, and originate from the same 'thing'.

    If you doubt this, consider the history of science, and equally, consider the history of Superstition?

    I remain surprised at the reluctance to consider the cause, and the general obsession to reiterate the effect.

    M
  • praxis
    706
    I remain surprised at the reluctance to consider the causeMarcus de Brun

    I imagine that if you could explain universal underlying theism you would have already.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.2k


    Are you talking about our propensity to associate effects with causes (superstitiously (irrationally) or scientifically (empirically)) or our desire to gain answers in the first place?

    Do you think there is really no fundamental difference between the way superstitious beliefs are formed vs the way scientific beliefs are formed?
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