Thread: What exactly is atheism?

  1. #361
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlogistician View Post
    Problem is, unless we start defining terms clearly, there will be ambiguity. We need words for things; let's not be shy about offering them.
    And I also agree with this.
    Despite our tiffs around the word, I do think the distinction between those who believe there is no God and those who simply lack a belief in God is significant enough to warrent two terms.

    I do not like anti-theism for reasons already said, though I do acknowledge dictionary and some usage support for it.

  2. #362
    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    I really don't understand the need for all these artificial 'sub-divisions' within the concept "atheism".
    Me either, which is why I dislike the 'strong' and 'weak' labels. Atheism is atheism, and there are other viewpoints which have things in common with atheism (are subsets, or intersecting sets) but they do not alter the definition of the superset.

  3. #363
    Quote Originally Posted by phlogistician View Post
    Problem is, unless we start defining terms clearly, there will be ambiguity. We need words for things; let's not be shy about offering them.
    If done properly, i.e. a definition to fit everyone, we would end up with hundreds of different shades of atheism. How is that making things better ?
    I don't fit any of the 'sub'-definitions perfectly, I doubt anyone does. Unless you keep them generalized enough..

  4. #364
    Quote Originally Posted by phlogistician View Post
    Me either, which is why I dislike the 'strong' and 'weak' labels. Atheism is atheism, and there are other viewpoints which have things in common with atheism (are subsets, or intersecting sets) but they do not alter the definition of the superset.
    I fully agree

  5. #365
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlogistician View Post
    Yes, because it's a faith based proposition. While I feel the chances of there being a God is approaching zero, to claim there is no God, and make a definitive statement is not scientific.
    Agreed. Or, rather, I think this makes sense for the definition of atheism you have.

  6. #366
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlogistician View Post
    Me either, which is why I dislike the 'strong' and 'weak' labels. Atheism is atheism, and there are other viewpoints which have things in common with atheism (are subsets, or intersecting sets) but they do not alter the definition of the superset.
    Any superset has subdivisions.

    See, the way I see it part of the problem is the fact that what you call anti-theists are calling themselves atheists. I think part of any taking back this word 'atheist' will have to involve internecine struggle. There is often reluctance to do this, but false unities blur everything and feed misconceptions.

  7. #367
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Anders View Post
    Any superset has subdivisions.

    See, the way I see it part of the problem is the fact that what you call anti-theists are calling themselves atheists. I think part of any taking back this word 'atheist' will have to involve internecine struggle. There is often reluctance to do this, but false unities blur everything and feed misconceptions.
    Yes, but we are forced to call it a superset now that all these subsets have been made up.. lol

  8. #368
    Encephaloid Martini (Q)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Anders View Post
    That is all fine and dandy. I share a lot of what they 'know' in that case. But they are making a claim to knowledge in relation to God in the specific case I mentioned.
    Perhaps then, an arbiter must step forward to announce just how many centuries must expire before gods existence is known. How much more must we endure of the claims of theists who have been unable to demonstrate anything for hundreds of years? Have we not gathered enough information together these past millennium demonstrating the utter impotence of theists claims of the supernatural?

    It is simply not good science or philosophy to decide something must be false because of the past behavior of those who believed it was true - even setting aside the behavior of some theists even anti-theists must admire.
    Then, let's just concentrate on the claims, and ignore their behavior, or are they one and the same?

    So to make a claim of knowledge about the existence of something is still a difference with atheists who simply lack a belief in God and who can also have all the kinds of knowing you listed above about religions.
    Simon, step back a moment and think about the claims of theists and the knowledge of god they purport. Has a theist ever been able to demonstrate one single claim of the supernatural? How long are we to give theists the opportunity to vindicate themselves and demonstrate their claims?

  9. #369
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q) View Post
    Perhaps then, an arbiter must step forward to announce just how many centuries must expire before gods existence is known. How much more must we endure of the claims of theists who have been unable to demonstrate anything for hundreds of years? Have we not gathered enough information together these past millennium demonstrating the utter impotence of theists claims of the supernatural?
    I'm not sure who your 'we' is.

    I'm a theist.

    Simon, step back a moment and think about the claims of theists and the knowledge of god they purport. Has a theist ever been able to demonstrate one single claim of the supernatural? How long are we to give theists the opportunity to vindicate themselves and demonstrate their claims?
    You and I are in very different positions in relation to this. I do not expect you to give anyone opportunities of this sort. You can believe what you like.

  10. #370
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Yes, but we are forced to call it a superset now that all these subsets have been made up.. lol
    Well, no. The problem was there before. Unless you have a good name for those who believe there is no God, for example.

  11. #371
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Anders View Post
    Well, no. The problem was there before. Unless you have a good name for those who believe there is no God, for example.
    Sure, atheists..

  12. #372
    Refined Reinvention lixluke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q) View Post
    I'm not so sure anymore. It's all so confusing. I'm spinning round.

    How about this? I am skeptical of the claims of theists and don't accept what they cannot demonstrate.

    What would be the label for that?
    Are you also skeptical of the claims of atheists? The claim that there is no God? Most people around here who claim to be atheists are really undercover skeptics.

  13. #373
    Simon, could you please give your opinion about that image I posted ?

  14. #374
    Quote Originally Posted by lixluke View Post
    Are you also skeptical of the claims of atheists? The claim that there is no God? Most people around here who claim to be atheists are really undercover skeptics.
    Atheists make no such claim, not all at least.

  15. #375
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Simon, could you please give your opinion about that image I posted ?
    hey, it's OK. But then you have what Phlog calls anti-theists in that last category. Possibly also agnostics. If atheists are going to be upset about being confused with certain beliefs then the categories that atheists have need to be clear for others.

  16. #376
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Sure, atheists..
    And so the confusion will go on. I can live with it, but it sure spins the tail of some atheists.

  17. #377
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Anders View Post
    hey, it's OK. But then you have what Phlog calls anti-theists in that last category. Possibly also agnostics.
    Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Anders View Post
    If atheists are going to be upset about being confused with certain beliefs then the categories that atheists have need to be clear for others.
    What's not clear ? Not believing in any god is all that's required. All atheists fit that description.

  18. #378
    Encephaloid Martini (Q)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Anders View Post
    I'm not sure who your 'we' is.

    I'm a theist.
    And, you've been given every opportunity to demonstrate claims of the supernatural. You haven't, neither has anyone else. How much more time would you like before we can shelf your beliefs alongside the other myths and superstitions mankind has created, and start tearing down religious influence in society? Mankind would surely like to move on beyond the Bronze Age, if you please.

    You and I are in very different positions in relation to this. I do not expect you to give anyone opportunities of this sort. You can believe what you like.
    What, that's it?

    Of course, we're in very different positions. I can demonstrate nature, you cannot demonstrate gods. BIG difference. Yours is a position of faith in the invisible and undetectable, hence you can make up anything you want, and believe in it as a reality. Reality would abhor your position.

  19. #379
    Valued Senior Member Simon Anders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Exactly.


    What's not clear ? Not believing in any god is all that's required. All atheists fit that description.
    Phlog sees a trend where theists are assuming that atheists are all antitheists. Having an inclusive category will add to the confusion there.

    Having medicine woman, for example, calling herself an atheist and saying there are no gods will add to theists beliefs that atheists believe there are no gods.

    I also think the lack of confrontation between these two types of believers adds to the confusion.

    Further I think some people believe there are no gods and talk in this way to theists, but when it comes down to being careful about self-description they define themselves as simply lacking a belief.

    I think this also adds to tensions.

    I think there are language and behavioral patterns that add to the conflict. there is already a conflict and cleaning up the language and behavior will not end it. But still....

  20. #380
    Encephaloid Martini (Q)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lixluke View Post
    Are you also skeptical of the claims of atheists? The claim that there is no God?
    Yes, I am skeptical of atheists claims, but so far, they are the ones who are right demonstrating the non-existence of gods as opposed to theists unable to demonstrate anything.

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