• Pinprick
    272
    In a different thread, Atheism was being defined, by some, as a belief that there is no God. Doesn’t this essentially equate to a belief in “nothing?” If so, isn’t that self-defeating? A belief requires an object, that is, something as opposed to nothing. If there is no object your “belief” is referring to, then you don’t have an actual belief. You can have beliefs about the premises leading up to the conclusion that there is no God (Theists haven’t provided evidence, it isn’t logical, etc.), but that isn’t the same thing. So, my question would be ”What is the object of the belief in the above definition of Atheism?”
  • xyzmix
    40
    no, just deities. That should address your query. It's such a pointless question, whether God specifically exists over people from other universe life, or imaginary things.

    Yes this thing exists which created us, you know nothing about it's face unless you find a trace. 1. You cannot call it by name. 2. You can because you have found evidence. You cannot describe it as with a face, and this would counter Christianity.

    Think about it, it isn't worshipped this way. We are playing who done it, we don't have an answer. The real God would tell us to worship more our environment.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    Is there a stegosaurus in your room right now? Probably not. So which do you believe: that there is a stegosaurus in your room, or that there's not? Hopefully, you believe that there is not. (You could in principle believe neither, if you're unsure, but that's almost as crazy as believing that there is one, so hopefully you don't only lack belief that there is one but also possess belief that there is not one).

    Strong atheists have the same kind of belief about gods as you (hopefully) do about stegosauruses in your room. (Weak atheists just lack belief that there is).

    They also believe, like you probably do, that there are trees outside and that the midday sky is blue and that Paris is the capital of France, and all kinds of other things, so they definitely don't believe in nothing, and their beliefs aren't even all negative like your belief abut stegosauruses in your room are.
  • 180 Proof
    1.4k
    In a different thread, Atheism was being defined, by some, as a belief that there is no God. Doesn’t this essentially equate to a belief in “nothing?”Pinprick
    No. Atheism isn't a "belief" any more than Off is a television channel. We don't watch "nothing" when the tv is off, we're just not watching tv.

    So, my question would be ”What is the object of the belief in the above definition of Atheism?”
    Like the pseudo-question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" can be reformulated more coherently as "Why anything at all?" (or less speculatively "How did the universe come-to-be, does it continue-to-be, and will it (ever) cease-to-be?"), positive / strong / explicit atheism's "belief there are no g/Gs" can be reformulated e.g. "disbelief that there are any g/Gs".

    I prefer anti-theism to atheism (of any flavor), which I understand as a 2nd order objection to 1st order theism, or defeasible claim that theism is not true (because predicates attributed by (philosophical or religious) theism to any g/G are either easily falsified or conceptually incoherent and/or inconsistent with one another). The essential question concerns, as I see it, the truth-value of what we (can) say, or has ever been said, about a theistic g/G - as it was for the apophatics - and not 'whether or not any g/G exists'.
  • Pinprick
    272

    Is there a stegosaurus in your room right now? Probably not. So which do you believe: that there is a stegosaurus in your room, or that there's not?
    I would say that I don’t believe that there is a stegosaurus in my room.
  • Pinprick
    272

    Atheism isn't a "belief" any more than Off is television channel. We don't watch "nothing" when the tv is off, we're just not watching tv.
    Agreed.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k



    The problem with this issue is that atheists are so intent on pretending that they do not possess "beliefs"...that they start arguing from a position of weakness.

    On the question of "Is there at least one god...or are there no gods"...the best anyone can do is to make a blind guess. There is no way whatsoever that one can get to a "yes there is at least one" or "no, there are none" using logic, reason, science, or math. It just cannot happen that way right now.

    So any theist saying, "I believe (in) God"...is merely making a blind guess in that direction...and disguising the fact that it is a blind guess by using the word "believe."

    But it has become VERY OBVIOUS to me that the reason ANYONE uses the descriptor "atheist" is doing so because that person HAS MADE A BLIND GUESS that no gods exist...or a blind guess that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does. (An assertion that one is more likely than the other...is also a blind guess, not a result of logic, reason, science, or math.)

    So, in effect, people who proclaim themselves atheists...do have a belief.

    The bullshit that atheism is no more a belief than "off" is a TV channel or "bald" is a hair color...is just that...bullshit.

    Just sayin'!
  • xyzmix
    40
    Athiesm is a belief if this next statement is true:

    I'm confident God doesn't exist.

    It is also a stance on the God topic, no person is born an Atheist in the same way we're not born a Theist.

    Meaning that, in a way off is right, but it's contrary to an on, a on and off which are, if a strong Atheist, needless.
  • xyzmix
    40

    People will be people, the atheist guise never fooled me, but the Theist one did when I was young. Even though I was atheistic, I felt concern for the amount of evil in the world.

    What I believed was more kin to a Theist, and it led me to study esoteric sciences.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k


    Yeah, I went hook, line, and sinker for religion earlier. Raised Catholic. Goes with the territory.
  • xyzmix
    40
    that's okay bro but consider you can be doing statistically better on average on the other side.

    Literally? We are Theist too, but God is not good.
  • xyzmix
    40
    It's like saying past is not there because at that moment it is memory in the present. God is not there, because at the moment of worship you are an ordinated action.

    Would you rather be this clean body or the tormented one (theism).

    People take the easiest imagination of friend and call it Jesus.

    I prefer to call it something more than the bigger term psychology, schizophrenia, visualization and so forth...

    You at least hold me back in your current formation.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    If someone asked you if there was a waterbufflo in your bedroom because they heard a sound, and you said no, I don't believe there is one. (or used a more normal utterance that means the same thing) you would during that time have a belief there is no waterbuffalo in your bedroom, even if you're not sure what made that sound. During that time. In a world where God is constantly brought up that kind of time is extended and repeated so it makes sense to say once does not believe in God or believes there is no God. If no one brought up the topic, it would fade away as a description. People would not identify with that label, because there would no longer be a trigger for it. And that's me as a theist saying this.

    There are all sorts of things we believe did not happen do not exist. You must have some have some yourself. FAiries, ghosts, ufo abductions, vampires whatever, or perhaps global warming. Everyone has things about which it is perfectly logical to say I do not believe X exists. And by the way my above possible examples are not a list of things I am saying are real or not. Just choosing some things that many people do not believe are real.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    Everyone has things about which it is perfectly logical to say I do not believe X exists. And by the way my above possible examples are not a list of things I am saying are real or not. Just choosing some things that many people do not believe are real.Coben



    Yeah.

    So long as we are clear that a person saying, "I do not 'believe' X is real"...does not mean that person is saying "I 'believe' X is not real."

    It is totally reasonable and LOGICAL to say, "I do not 'believe' X is real...and I also do not 'believe' X is not real."

    That is a very important proviso.
  • 3017amen
    1.9k
    problem with this issue is that atheists are so intent on pretending that they do not possess "beliefs"...that they start arguing from a position of weakness.Frank Apisa



    I think Frank nailed it. Here's the problem. When an Atheist makes any and all oral or written statements, judgements, and/or propositions about his/her belief in no God's, that puts them in the precarious and untenable position of having to defend same.

    Therefore, from 180's metaphor, the best thing an Atheist can do is niether show interest in TV to begin with, nor comment on same. In other words when topics of EOG rear their heads, simply say nothing and walk away. I think in that way, it would prove their belief system is strong.

    ( Otherwise, per OP, what's the point about talking about nothing?)
  • Coben
    1.5k
    Yes, that is precisely how I view agnosticism.
  • Pinprick
    272

    The problem with this issue is that atheists are so intent on pretending that they do not possess "beliefs"...that they start arguing from a position of weakness.
    If I say that I do not believe that any God exists, that isn’t a false statement. There’s no pretending. Conversely, couldn’t it be said that the issue actually is non-Atheists trying to define Atheism in a way that better serves their needs? Also, wouldn’t those people who identify as Atheists be the people best suited to define what Atheism is in the first place? I am not a Theist. Therefore I have no right to try to tell people who identify as Theists that actually they are defining Theism wrong. I have to accept whatever definition they provide.

    On the question of "Is there at least one god...or are there no gods"...the best anyone can do is to make a blind guess. There is no way whatsoever that one can get to a "yes there is at least one" or "no, there are none" using logic, reason, science, or math. It just cannot happen that way right now.

    I think saying it is a blind guess is exaggerated. Atheists and Theists alike both have reasons for their stance. Something must have convinced them one way or the other.
  • Pinprick
    272
    How does confidence equate to belief? As an example, an Atheist could say the following. “Theists have been unable to convince me that at least one God exists. Therefore, I do not believe a God exists, and am confident that I am right.”
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    If I say that I do not believe that any God exists, that isn’t a false statement. There’s no pretending. Conversely, couldn’t it be said that the issue actually is non-Atheists trying to define Atheism in a way that better serves their needs? Also, wouldn’t those people who identify as Atheists be the people best suited to define what Atheism is in the first place? I am not a Theist. Therefore I have no right to try to tell people who identify as Theists that actually they are defining Theism wrong. I have to accept whatever definition they provide.Pinprick

    The problem is not non-atheists trying to define atheism in a way that better serves their needs...but rather with atheists trying to define it in a way that better serves their needs.

    Atheists are defining "atheism" in a way that requires people like me to be considered an atheist. They are defining "atheism" in a way that requires every newborn baby, every infant, every toddler...to be considered an atheist.

    That is abject nonsense, Pinprick.

    My guess is that EVERY person who uses "atheist" as a descriptor DOES "believe" that no gods exist...or that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does.

    THAT is the reason they use "atheist" as a descriptor...not because of a lack of belief in any gods.

    I LACK A "BELIEF" THAT ANY GODS EXIST. I ALSO LACK A "BELIEF" THAT THERE ARE NO GODS. There is absolutely no way I should be considered an atheist just because atheists want to define atheist in a way that better serves their needs.

    Can you truly not see that?
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    How does confidence equate to belief? As an example, an Atheist could say the following. “Theists have been unable to convince me that at least one God exists. Therefore, I do not believe a God exists, and am confident that I am right.”Pinprick



    My guess is that you have NO TROUBLE understanding that if a theist says "I am confident that a GOD does exist"...he/she is just expressing a "belief."
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    I think saying it is a blind guess is exaggerated. Atheists and Theists alike both have reasons for their stance. Something must have convinced them one way or the other.Pinprick

    There is the possibility that using "blind guess" is stretching things a bit...but I have searched diligently for years myself for any unambiguous evidence to persuade me "there is a GOD" or "there are no gods"...and have not found ANYTHING remotely edifying.

    My opinion (guess) is that every statement of "There is a GOD" or "There are no gods"...is nothing but a guess. I use "blind guess" because it more closely explain my feelings.
  • Relativist
    1.4k
    my question would be ”What is the object of the belief in the above definition of Atheism?”Pinprick
    I think you've muddled up ontology and epistemology. It is true that a statement of what does not exist doesn't say anything much about what does exist. But it's an indirect way of saying something like:

    Let E = the set of all existing things.
    God is not a member of E. E is the "object of belief".

    On the other hand epistemology deals directly with beliefs, and it is meaningful to simply say that atheism entails the belief that the following proposition is false:

    God exists
  • Pinprick
    272

    The problem is not non-atheists trying to define atheism in a way that better serves their needs...but rather with atheists trying to define it in a way that better serves their needs.
    Perhaps. But don’t Atheists have the right to define Atheism however they choose? If not, then who gets to define it?
    Atheists are defining "atheism" in a way that requires people like me to be considered an atheist.
    That’s how categories work. If you fit the criteria established for that group, then by definition you are a part of that group. It’s that way with political affiliations, sex, nationality, economic status, etc. If the shoe fits...

    They are defining "atheism" in a way that requires every newborn baby, every infant, every toddler...to be considered an atheist.
    I think it’s at least debatable whether or not infants are even capable of forming a belief. Especially a belief about an abstract concept that requires abstract thought.
  • Pinprick
    272

    My guess is that you have NO TROUBLE understanding that if a theist says "I am confident that a GOD does exist"...he/she is just expressing a "belief."
    Yes, but only because their belief has an object; God. I’m debating that without an object there is no belief.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    Pinprick
    25
    ↪Frank Apisa
    The problem is not non-atheists trying to define atheism in a way that better serves their needs...but rather with atheists trying to define it in a way that better serves their needs.
    Perhaps. But don’t Atheists have the right to define Atheism however they choose? If not, then who gets to define it?
    Pinprick

    Hell no...not if it impacts ME. Suppose you guys decide to define atheism as "Anyone who uses oxygen to stay alive."

    Would that be reasonable in your opinion?

    If not...why do you suppose it is reasonable to define it as "Anyone who does not express a belief in any gods?"



    That’s how categories work. If you fit the criteria established for that group, then by definition you are a part of that group. It’s that way with political affiliations, sex, nationality, economic status, etc. If the shoe fits... — Pinprick

    No it doesn't...not when there are alternatives. ESPECIALLY when there are alternatives that make more sense.




    I think it’s at least debatable whether or not infants are even capable of forming a belief. Especially a belief about an abstract concept that requires abstract thought. — Pinprick

    It is not debatable at all. THEY CAN'T!

    But there are atheists here in this forum (which now includes you) who INSIST that anyone lacking a "belief" that any gods exist...is perforce an atheist. That includes agnostics...and all newborn babies, infants, and toddlers.

    That is nonsense, Pinprick...and you should be able to see it as nonsense.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    Pinprick
    25
    ↪Frank Apisa
    My guess is that you have NO TROUBLE understanding that if a theist says "I am confident that a GOD does exist"...he/she is just expressing a "belief."
    Yes, but only because their belief has an object; God. I’m debating that without an object there is no belief.
    Pinprick

    I can see that there is precious little chance that we will ever agree on a proper definition of “atheist” or “atheism.” I will try to avoid using them without modifying statements.

    I am saying this, though: Anyone who asserts “There are no gods” or “It is more likely that there are no gods than that there is at least one”…

    …is simply making a blind guess about the REALITY of existence.

    That same thing holds for anyone asserting “There is at least one GOD” or “It is more likely that there is at least one GOD than that there are none.”

    BOTH are nothing more than blind guesses. And each, if made an assertion, bears the burden of providing proof.
  • tim wood
    4.6k
    All the non-atheists posting here will please tell us what they mean whenever they use the word "god." In substantive terms, so that everyone can tell if they're on point in commenting, or off on a tangent, or on a woods-path.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    tim wood
    3.9k
    All the non-atheists posting here will please tell us what they mean whenever they use the word "god." In substantive terms, so that everyone can tell if they're on point in commenting, or off on a tangent, or on a woods-path.
    tim wood

    Ummm...when I suggest "gods" may or may not exist, I mean any of several things…all of which can be considered a GOD.

    1) For instance (but not limited to)…an eternally existing creator of all the stuff we humans consider “the universe.”

    2) Beings that have specialties…creators of individual items in this thing we humans consider “the universe.” A creator of living things…of animals...of plants...of inorganic matter...of space...of time.

    3) Beings like those (perhaps invented by primitive peoples) with the qualities those primitives envisioned. Ya know, the likes of Zeus, Yahweh, Aton, and that ilk.

    So...what do those who doubt the existence of any gods mean when they use the word"god" in sentences like, “There are no gods?”
  • tim wood
    4.6k
    Hmm. I have to ask what you mean in your !), 2) 3) by "existing," "Beings" and again, "Beings."

    If by these you mean idea, that god corresponds exactly (i.e., no more and no less) to what mind(s) think he is, then I have no problem. Is that what you mean?
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k
    tim wood
    3.9k
    ↪Frank Apisa Hmm. I have to ask what you mean in your !), 2) 3) by "existing," "Beings" and again, "Beings."

    If by these you mean idea, that god corresponds exactly (i.e., no more and no less) to what mind(s) think he is, then I have no problem. Is that what you mean?
    tim wood

    I'm not exactly sure.

    For one thing, I doubt I would ever use that pronoun in describing what I mean...despite the fact that so many of the examples I gave were of male gender.

    By "beings" I mean to denote "existence." I often mention that I never use that "supernatural" designation in my (rather pathetic) attempts to define what I mean. If any gods exist...they are not "supernatural," but rather are a part of what exists...which to me means...a part of nature.

    Discussing gods (I try always to use that plural form) for me is mostly about trying to understand what "existence" is all about. "Being" is so mysterious...I sometimes recoil from trying to think too deeply into it. It "scares me" for want of a better way to express it. (Fills me with awe, might work.)

    Anyway...the entire of the "There is a GOD"/"There are no gods" works best with a simple...I do not know and cannot meaningfully guess.

    When pressed in a forum for a guess...I use Mr. Coin...a Sacajawea coin my wife and I use during football season to settle disputes about who to choose in our Pool. Heads - I guess there is at least one god...tails - I guess there are none. (For the pool, it is heads - Home Team...Tails - visitors.)

    Says everything I want to say about "choosing" on the issue.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I would say that I don’t believe that there is a stegosaurus in my room.Pinprick

    Great. Now would you also say you believe there is not a stegosaurus in your room, or are you undecided about the existence of stegosauruses in your room?

    The problem with this issue is that atheists are so intent on pretending that they do not possess "beliefs"Frank Apisa

    Not necessarily. I'm an atheist and I positively affirm that I believe there are no gods, and am happy to defend that.

    It's just that someone who does not believe either way still does not believe there are any gods, and so still counts as an atheist. There are different shades of atheism, weak and strong. I'm a strong atheist, but weak atheists are atheists too.

    On the question of "Is there at least one god...or are there no gods"...the best anyone can do is to make a blind guess. There is no way whatsoever that one can get to a "yes there is at least one" or "no, there are none" using logic, reason, science, or math.Frank Apisa

    In your opinion. The position you're espousing is called "strong agnosticism", which is the view that not only is it not known to oneself (as in weak agnosticism), but it cannot be known to anyone, whether or not there is a god.

    That's far from proven though, and many if not most people think differently, including myself. I was raised in a theist household and so grew up just inheriting a nominal belief in God from my parents, then grew up and realized that the picture of God they held didn't accord with what I had since learned of the world, tried for a long while to figure out some other "better" picture of how God could still exist, for a while even thought I had "proven" that he "must" (in what I now look back on as laughably bad arguments about how we must be in a simulation, basically), eventually ended up identifying God with the universe itself (after proving to my satisfaction that nothing within the universe could count as God and nothing outside the universe can exist) and calling myself a pantheist, before eventually deciding that that was a uselessly confusing label and that nothing I believe differed from the things atheists believe, and just calling myself that instead.

    To cut a lot philosophical arguments short, my current position is that while it is possible that (a) very powerful, very knowledgeable, and very good being(s) could exist somewhere in the universe (but only in the universe, because physicalism; including in some layer of reality outside of what we falsely think is the universe if we are in something like a simulation, for instance), what you're talking about there now is basically an alien, and there is evidently (because Problem of Evil) no such being sufficiently powerful, knowledgeable, and good to fulfill the role of "God" here on Earth. So sure, I'm (weakly) agnostic about the generic existence of nice, smart super-aliens somewhere, but there is definitely no God in the usual sense around these parts.
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