• Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    I suspect that fear and hierarchies/power structures and indoctrination are behind peoples religious/superstitious beliefs. I grew up in a strict Christian environment where you were not allowed to ask questions or express doubts.Andrew4Handel

    You forgot they came to that belief after a thoughtful and informed deliberation.

    Your comment is dismissive and ignorant. The equivalent of me saying most atheist beliefs are based on nothing deeper that jumping on the Dawkins bandwagon. The analysis being " there are all these "smart" people who are atheists, i'm a smart person - I'll be an atheist too " but I would never say that.
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    So, atheism isn't a belief.

    What is it then?

    Ignorance?

    A lack of belief has another term more apt to it viz. Ignorance. A child who is god-naive is ignorant, not an atheist. An atheist, I'm sure, will never consider himself/herself an ignorant for s/he claims to be rational which by its very nature implies every position held be justified. So, unless tye atheist admits himself as ignorant s/he better justify his position on God.

    Just so you know I'm not an agnostic.
  • S
    10.2k
    Are you implying religious people can't accept science? Smells like an ad hominem.BlueBanana

    That is not implied by what I said. You would be reading that into my comment.

    There's no contradiction between science and the parts of religion that matter.BlueBanana

    That depends on what parts matter and how they're interpreted. That's a can of worms right there.

    Which is why hand saws don't replace drills or vice versa, and why religion and science don't replace each other. Science doesn't provide better answers, just different ones.BlueBanana

    No, it provides better answers to the kind of questions I had in mind when I made those comments than the answers to be found in religion. I already clarified that I was making a like for like comparison. Like a comparison between a power tool and a hand tool both designed for the same kind of job. You can definitely replace a hand tool with a power tool which does a better job of it, but some people decide to use a hand tool nevertheless. Just because there's a better alternative available, that doesn't necessarily mean that the inferior tool will disappear or fall out of use completely. It's inappropriate to look for answers to normative ethics in science, but it's not inappropriate to look for answers about the world in religion, in spite of the normative ethical aspect to religion, so it doesn't work both ways. Religion tries to be a multi-function tool. Science knows its limits.
  • S
    10.2k
    Right on. How the world actually is doesn't give an answer to how it should be. Or how you should live your life and what is good and what is bad.ssu

    Right on? That's a red herring, mate.
  • S
    10.2k
    Even if I were to accept the exclusion of those who have an unconscious lack of belief from the category of atheism, it seems wrong and futile to exclude those who only have a conscious lack of belief from the category of atheism, because that's commonly how the term is used and understood.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    The equivalent of me saying most atheist beliefs are based on nothing deeper that jumping on the Dawkins bandwagonRank Amateur

    I have no problem with the idea that atheists reached their position based on weak arguments etc.

    I know from my own experience that I was immensely forced into religion and had no choice. I think you will find statistically that most religious people are the same religion as their parents. Explain that.

    They just happen to believe the same thing their parents and society believe.

    You forgot they came to that belief after a thoughtful and informed deliberation.Rank Amateur

    That is about the most unlikely scenario of all.
  • DingoJones
    796


    If the answer to the question “do you believe in god?” Is anything other than “yes”, then you are an atheist.

    So one could be an atheist becuase one is ignorant of god, or a variety of reasons.
    Likewise, atheism or atheists have no special claim of rationality or science...those are additional or seperate things about a persons view.
    Like a theist, there are different kinds of atheists but that doesnt change the basic definitions of Theism=belief in god and Atheism=lack of belief in god.
    The confusion comes from uninformed, anti theists (opposed to religion) who confuse their antitheism for atheism and then go around attacking theists and people listen to them self identify as atheists and walk away with the impression that atheists are assholes. Some are (probly many, as they are humans and humans are kinda assholes in general) but its not because they are atheists.
  • S
    10.2k
    You forgot they came to that belief after a thoughtful and informed deliberation.
    — Rank Amateur

    That is about the most unlikely scenario of all.
    Andrew4Handel

    Yeah. Could it be that he's getting all defensive because he takes that as a slight, or maybe he's making the mistake of assuming that "they" are just like him? I think the theists on the forum are more of an exception to the rule.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    the former - but more reacting to the implicit assumption that theism is some how a less sophisticated or thoughtful position than atheism.
  • S
    10.2k
    the former - but more reacting to the implicit assumption that theism is some how a less sophisticated or thoughtful position than atheism.Rank Amateur

    It is so for thinkers in comparison to my kind of atheism. It's the difference between stopping at the edge of a chasm and taking that extra step which causes you to fall in. Theists take that extra step.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    interested then - answer philosophically not literally please to Camus question -

    start of myth of sisyphus

    "HERE is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is
    not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest— whether
    or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards.

    These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect.

    If I ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, I reply that one judges by the
    actions it entails. I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument. Galileo, who held a scientific truth of great importance, abjured it with the greatest ease as soon as it endangered his life. In a certain sense, he did

    That truth was not worth the stake. Whether the earth or the sun revolves around the other is a matter of profound indifference. To tell the truth, it is a futile question. On the other hand, I see many people die
    because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or
    illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason
    for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions. How to answer it? "
  • S
    10.2k
    interested then - answer philosophically not literally please to Camus question -

    start of myth of sisyphus

    "HERE is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is
    not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest— whether
    or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards.

    These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect.

    If I ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, I reply that one judges by the
    actions it entails. I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument. Galileo, who held a scientific truth of great importance, abjured it with the greatest ease as soon as it endangered his life. In a certain sense, he did

    That truth was not worth the stake. Whether the earth or the sun revolves around the other is a matter of profound indifference. To tell the truth, it is a futile question. On the other hand, I see many people die
    because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or
    illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason
    for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions. How to answer it? "
    Rank Amateur

    The only sensible way to answer a loaded question is to identify it as such and await a response from the questioner.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    tactic is no substitute for an honest exchange of ideas in search of truth.

    Camus question was not loaded, it was fundamental, and he had an answer that worked for him. I disagree with his answer, but it was thoughtful and honest. I like to think he would say the same about mine.
  • S
    10.2k
    tactic is no substitute for an honest exchange of ideas in search of truth.Rank Amateur

    Oh the irony. You don't like my answer, so you respond with an ad hominem.

    Camus question was not loaded, it was fundamental, and he had an answer that worked for him. I disagree with his answer, but it was thoughtful and honest. I like to think he would say the same about mine.Rank Amateur

    I highlighted the wording which makes it a loaded question. Before we can talk about how to answer any question about "the" meaning of life, we need to ask whether there is one. That's "a" meaning, not "the" meaning. The latter controversially assumes the former.

    It's a bit like talk about the present King of France. How would you deal with the question of the present King of France? Wouldn't you object that we need to first ask whether there is a present King of France?
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    Never mind - I have my answer
  • S
    10.2k
    Never mind - I have my answer.Rank Amateur

    After all that, that's what you respond with? So be it. I kind of feel like you've wasted my time. I was under the impression that you were trying to confront me with some sort of challenge to what I'd said that you were interested in pursuing. But then you cut it short.

    If your position requires an additional step which is erroneous or outside the bounds of reason, then I don't think that it's right to say that your position is of equal or greater sophistication or thoughtfulness than mine. This isn't intended as a slight, it's just how I think it is.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Before we can talk about how to answer any question about "the" meaning of life, we need to ask whether there is one. That's "a" meaning, not "the" meaning.S

    They say philosophy is like a 2500 year old conversation. So you walk into the laundromat and there are two guys standing by a dryer arguing about THE meaning of life. One of them quotes Camus, the other doesn't. Or is it A meaning or THE meaning of life?

    I used to think that quote sounded good... really deep. Not so much now. The people who are most likely to be thinking about whether life is worth living or not are adolescents, and they should be discouraged from coming to negative conclusions. Why? Because, for adolescents and other immature people the benchmark value of life is too volatile to trust. It can swing between "life sucks" to "life is sweet" in 15 minutes. Pity to jump out of the window just because the going price on the worth of living dropped 50 points.

    You are here. Get used to it. There are a number of questions that rank as important, and generally the answers don't involve blowing one's brains out or not. Like “What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope?” Kant posed a more useful question than Camus. For that matter, "What shall I have for lunch?" beats Camus' question.

    Life has a whole bunch of meanings, depending on the year, the proper functioning of one's various body parts, the price of tea in China, and numerous other factors. So you think your life has reached junk bond status. Well, you can make money on junk bonds if you chose carefully. Meaning, of course, you can make a life worth living.
  • S
    10.2k
    I think that it's very important to think about meaning in relation to life, and I also believe that there are a number of similarly important questions, like those you gave as examples. But perhaps more important than any of that is getting the questions right in the first place. I think that Wittgenstein was onto something there. He said that philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language. What might at first seem profound can in some cases turn out to be deceptive when analysed.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    We were in discussion on the thoughtfulness behind people's decision for or against theism.

    I do not think one can be an honest or authentic atheist if one can not answer the question of if not "God" what is the meaning and purpose of my life. That is what Camus was asking. And that is all I was asking S, what is his meaning and purpose for living, not THE meaning. If one is a thoughtful person, one should have an individual answer for that question, at least IMO.

    I was looking for an honest answer to a serious question, and got a dodge. I have no interest in a debate, I did have interest in what S found gave his life meaning. There is no right answer. Camus would have called my theism a form of philosophical suicide. An easy out to avoid a difficult question. He maybe right, but it works for me.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    I was looking for an honest answer to a serious question, and got a dodgeRank Amateur

    I too would dodge the direct question because I can not give you a full explication of my life's meaning. My life has meanings, I am quite sure, but I have not parsed all of them out. I find some meaning in serving others for a while, as long as they are not too demanding. I find some meaning in loving others in the several ways there are to love. I find meaning in discovering (or reading others' discoveries) in history, sociology, psychology, etc. I find meaning in food, clothing, warmth, exercise, sunshine... and various bodily functions (we are after all, embodied beings, and it is our bodies that have all the fun and do most of the suffering). Everyone has some historical meaning -- I don't really know what mine is, yet. I myself will probably never know.

    An individual's total sum of meaning is difficult to name, composite, dynamic, unfinished, and relative to other people. So, I can't just dash off a few lines describing my meaning. Even if I say, "serving others for a while..." I haven't spelled out meaning, I just indicated a place where some meaning develops. Loving and being the object of love gives us meaning. But "I love him" isn't exactly the meaning, is it? I love him, he loves me is a relationship. The meaning can be approximated by "I am loved" but I am not sure "I am loved" is the meaning. The meaning that "I am loved" gives is, in some ways, unsayable. Not unmentionable, just not named.

    So... people dodge the question.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    that was a much more thoughtful dodge. Only you can know if that works for you. I truly hope it does.
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    If the answer to the question “do you believe in god?” Is anything other than “yes”, then you are an atheist.

    So one could be an atheist because one is ignorant of god
    DingoJones

    I don't find this reasonable at all.

    Theists differentiate between the ignorant and the heretic.

    I'm reading Christopher Hitchens' book "God is Not Great" and in it he mentions that those who died before Jesus Christ (the ignorant) go to limbo and not hell. However, those who deny the words of Jesus (atheists) go to hell.

    Atheists, I've seen, usually claim their position is a lack of belief and then use this to avoid justifying their position. Ignorance is a state that needs no justification but may be an explanation. Atheism needs justification just as theism does.
  • DingoJones
    796


    Hitchens was an anti-theist, and an atheist. Im actually not sure how that is relevent.
    Ok, so what is unreasonable exactly? It doesnt matter that theists differentiate between the heretic and the ignorant...they do not get to impose their standards on anyone but themselves. We are talking about atheism and what it means.
    You said you do not find “this reasonable at all” in reference to my post. What exactly do you think is unreasonable and why?
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    Hitchens was an anti-theist, and an atheist. Im actually not sure how that is relevent.
    Ok, so what is unreasonable exactly? It doesnt matter that theists differentiate between the heretic and the ignorant...they do not get to impose their standards on anyone but themselves. We are talking about atheism and what it means.
    You said you do not find “this reasonable at all” in reference to my post. What exactly do you think is unreasonable and why?
    DingoJones

    There's a difference, in the eyes of theists, between ignorance and atheism. This is not an idiosyncratic observation as it's just an instance of the difference between ignorance and knowledge which, I hope, we all can agree on.

    Atheism is the claim: God doesn't exist. It's, to atheists, a justified claim and hence it is knowledge and knowledge is, most definitely, not ignorance.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k


    Every philosophical question has a musical answer.

    The dodger from the American Song Book, Aaron Copland



    Oh, the candidate's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
    Oh, the candidate's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger too.
    He'll meet you and treat you and ask you for your vote,
    But look out, boys, he's a-dodgin' for your note.
    We're all a-dodgin',
    Dodgin', dodgin', dodgin',
    Oh, we're all a-dodgin' out the way through the world.

    Oh, the preacher, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
    Oh, the preacher, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
    He'll preach the gospel and tell you of your
    crimes, But look out, boys, he's dodgin' for your dimes.

    Oh, the lover is a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
    Oh, the lover is a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
    He'll hug you and kiss you and call you his
    bride, But look out, girls, he's telling you a lie.
  • S
    10.2k
    I do not think one can be an honest or authentic atheist if one can not answer the question of if not "God" what is the meaning and purpose of my life. That is what Camus was asking. And that is all I was asking S, what is his meaning and purpose for living, not THE meaning. If one is a thoughtful person, one should have an individual answer for that question, at least IMO.Rank Amateur

    If you had've clarified sooner, you would've gotten a different answer from me. Instead, you keep pushing these insidious suggestions about dishonesty.

    I do have an answer, but I don't really understand why you're asking me that question. It's not as though it's a dilemma. At least, not for me, and not for many, many other people. There are innumerable potential answers to that question. I'm spoilt for choice.

    Like most people, I get meaning out of my life from the things I enjoy, the stuff I value, and the people I have feelings for. And my cat. I have no purpose other than maybe doing what I want or think is right.

    I was looking for an honest answer to a serious question, and got a dodge.Rank Amateur

    Bullshit. You were the one being evasive. I gave you my honest analysis of what I understood to be the question. You did not helpfully engage with my analysis. You took one brief look at it and then fell back on your negative assumptions and took off.

    Camus would have called my theism a form of philosophical suicide. An easy out to avoid a difficult question. He maybe right, but it works for me.Rank Amateur

    I agree with him.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Camus would have called my theism a form of philosophical suicide. An easy out to avoid a difficult question. He maybe right, but it works for me.Rank Amateur

    Why would Camus called your theism a form of philosophical suicide? Explain further, if you would.
  • S
    10.2k
    I don't find this reasonable at all.

    Theists differentiate between the ignorant and the heretic.

    I'm reading Christopher Hitchens' book "God is Not Great" and in it he mentions that those who died before Jesus Christ (the ignorant) go to limbo and not hell. However, those who deny the words of Jesus (atheists) go to hell.
    TheMadFool

    If the ignorant refers only to those who have an unconscious lack of belief, then we aren't necessarily in disagreement. I get the argument for excluding them.

    Atheists, I've seen, usually claim their position is a lack of belief and then use this to avoid justifying their position. Ignorance is a state that needs no justification but may be an explanation. Atheism needs justification just as theism does.TheMadFool

    I justify my lack of belief through the absence of sufficient evidence for theism. I have seen other atheists do this on many occasions. Haven't you?
  • S
    10.2k
    There's a difference, in the eyes of theists, between ignorance and atheism. This is not an idiosyncratic observation as it's just an instance of the difference between ignorance and knowledge which, I hope, we all can agree on.

    Atheism is the claim: God doesn't exist. It's, to atheists, a justified claim and hence it is knowledge and knowledge is, most definitely, not ignorance.
    TheMadFool

    There's a difference between known unknowns and unknown unknowns which is of relevance here.

    That claim you refer to above is rightly categorised under atheism, but it is a bad definition. I don't want to get dragged too far into an argument over that. I'll just say that, to me, it seems futile and rather foolish to try to dictate language against common usage rather than adapt accordingly.
  • DingoJones
    796
    Atheism is the claim: God doesn't exist. It's, to atheists, a justified claim and hence it is knowledge and knowledge is, most definitely, not ignorance.TheMadFool

    An obvious attempt at obfuscation. This is no different than the argument as it has already been put except some shifting semantics.
    Here is the problem with using your standard: I could make something up, and make it up as I go in appropriately vague answers and you would be burdened to prove it does not exist. Worse, you will have burdened yourself with an endless amount of such proofs and your only other option is to refusal to address them. If you do, then this made up thing is equally justified as whatever anyone believes.
    But wait, it gets worse yet. With your standards in place, no person can ever be justified in belief in one god until they have disproven every other god. After all, the burden of proof lies with all involved parties, each has a responsibility to the others claims, right? Right.
    Now, you are certainly welcome to look at the burden of proof in this way but A) I would be very surprised if you thought of other claims this way and B) you shouldnt be at all surprised when someone tells you that you can keep you standard, for the workload alone.
    No, atheism on its own is someone who hasnt been convinced, who simply lacks belief. Something else must be added, anti-theism, a closed mind, a grudge against religion or personal agenda etc etc, before it graduates to actually making a claim.


    There's a difference, in the eyes of theists, between ignorance and atheism. This is not an idiosyncratic observation as it's just an instance of the difference between ignorance and knowledge which, I hope, we all can agree on.TheMadFool

    Still Irrelevant.
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