Atheism is a belief.

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Tht1Gy!, Nov 3, 2007.


I know how to use a dictionary.

  1. Yes, and I incorporate its info.

  2. Yes, but I still like to make up definitions as I go along.

  3. No, I believe in "Truthiness"

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    No, you are confusing yourself. Much of what you say I said, I did not say.
    Evolution is not a belief. Evolution is a theory which may be partly true, completely true or completely false. Some people believe it & some don't. Perhaps mistakes are made in testing the theory & putting the facts together. It's currently accepted by most scientists. That may or may not change. All too human scientists yet do a much better job of figuring things out than all too human faith believers.
    If we assume something in order to test it, that's not actually assuming it for a fact. It's conditional upon the results of that test & succeeding tests.
    It's not the least bit tricky.
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  3. electrafixtion Registered Senior Member

    You could not be more incorrect. (incidentally, come on! proof read my friend, look at the above in bold)

    I suggest you look up the term "belief" which is a product of the verb "believe"

    The way you are using the term would make sense if it were noun because then it could be present or not. As the verb which the term believe is, as well as the post form of believe which is belief, it has no correct application as a noun.
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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    I'm beginning to suspect you guys can keep this up longer than I can.
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  7. Nin' Registered Member

    I'm not arguing the definition of the word, more I'm arguing what it means to be an atheist. If you are an atheist you have beliefs based on that title.
  8. MarcAC Curious Registered Senior Member

    I Don't Believe, I Believe There Is No

    "I don't believe in god" and "I believe there is no god" is essentially the same thing.

    So stoopid...

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  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Here we go again. Well ... ... not I. I hope.
  10. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Well, there's good reason to believe it covers both kinds position. Here's what the Oxford English Dictionary says:

    My emphasis of the 'controversial' - and very clearly supported - part of the definition.

    If you Google 'strong atheism' you will see that quite large number of people in philosophy use the term 'atheism' to cover a lack of belief AND the belief there is no God.

    And then within the community of atheists people who will state 'there is no God' and people who simply lack a belief in God BOTH call themselves atheists. So we have a reputable dictionary - and others of course - philosophers, theologians, religious people AND a good number of atheists who use the term atheism to cover both.

    As much as it annoys atheists, I think they need to work with the fact that, in fact, it is quite reasonable to consider the term covering both kinds of people.

    All one needs to do is clarify, from that point forward, which kind of atheist one is.

    Just as a theist who suddenly finds himself attacked as if he was a Christian or a monotheist can clarify that he is a pantheist or a polytheist or a monotheist that does not believe in sin or crusades or whatever the attack includes.
  11. Balerion Banned Banned

    I'm quoting Simon, but this is also directed at Nin' and MarcAC.

    I do not agree with the Oxford dictionary's definition of the word. They make it as if Abrahamic religion is the standard, the way everyone believes until convinced otherwise, and that those who do not believe must be "denying" the existence of that god. I disagree with that completely. I have denied nothing. I have simply never believed.

    And to that point, there is a great difference between believing there is no god, and not believing in god.

    I do not believe I should have to qualify myself to the believer. Again, this is simply a way for the believer to shift the burden on the non-believer, and that's pretty bogus if you ask me. I will not call myself a "weak atheist" if I have no belief in god rather than believe there is no god. I will not call myself a "strong atheist" if my opinion is the inverse, because I really don't think those terms are fitting.

    And no, my beliefs are not based on atheism. There are no beliefs that are inherent to atheism, so I therefore cannot have an atheistic set of values or morals or beliefs. Even if I believed there was no god, as opposed to not believing in god, I would not have a set of values or morals based on my "strong atheism", because atheism provides none. Instead, my values and morals are based on society--as are yours.
  12. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    No, they don't say that. Look again. Either a person disbelieves OR denies. So to say you are an atheist, according to the OED, does not mean you are necessarily denying the existence of God.

    I agree. And I wish the two types of atheists would slug it out on that issue.

    You don't have to use those terms.

    My father puts it like this: I am an atheist, I see no good reason to believe there is a god. He does not always add that second part, but does if someone says 'But how do you know there is no God.'

    Also JDawg, the word directly relates to theism. A theism, so the word itself is a reaction to what once was the standard. You are already in that position if you use the word atheism, which means you are defining yourself or your position in reaction. It would be better not to label yourself and volunteer or respond or assert your view when it comes up. No matter how you define the word atheism you are using a term that sets religion as the standard.

    And I would guess the word came out of the church or from believers in any case.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  13. Vkothii Banned Banned

    Atheism is NOT a "lack of belief", ignorance is lack (absence) of belief.
    Atheism is a belief in the non-existence of something. It requires at least as much belief as theism.
    It is completely illogical to claim that a belief depends on a lack of belief - this does not scan.

    At least be logical about your beliefs (or lack of them). Or admit you don't know what belief is otherwise.
  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    This should go into the Cesspool.
  15. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Who are you addressing?
  16. Vkothii Banned Banned

    I'm addressing irrational atheists, of course.
  17. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    I'm glad someone is going at the 'lack of belief' position, also. I am not sure your line will hold.

    If someone says that George Bush wears women's underwear and yet does not produce evidence or what I consider evidence must I choose between belief in GB's minor crossdressing or its nonexistence.

    Can I not lack a belief in regard to his women's underwear wearing?
    And the truth is I do lack a belief on that issue. I believe neither in the existence nor the non-existence of this phenomenon. I consider it unlikely, based on intuition. But I can't even say I have a strong belief in the unlikliness of it.
  18. Vkothii Banned Banned

    So you're saying you believe George Bush either does, or doesn't wear women's underwear?
    How did you get to believe that, based on someone's say-so?
    Of course you can defer belief until you actually verify something for yourself. Meanwhile you only have a conditional belief.

    If you didn't know who George Bush was (or that men's and women's underwear are considered different), then you would lack belief (being ignorant); otherwise you're obliged to have a belief, conditional or actually verified, but still belief. Otherwise how do you explain that you: "consider it unlikely, based on intuition."??

    To consider, implies knowledge of, and so belief in at least the possibility, that GW wears women's undies?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  19. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    I believed in it before they said anything. I continued to believe it after they said it.

    Can you tell me a bit more about what a conditional belief is?

    I half get where you are going. But there might be other issues where I either would not venture a guess or would not have the interest. IOW, in the latter case, I might fail to estimate and thus would not construct a conditional belief. I assume for some this might happen with the underwear issue.

    To consider, implies knowledge of, and so belief in at least the possibility, that GW wears women's undies?[/QUOTE]I believe it is possible he has these undies.

    So you are saying that since an atheist claims to lack a belief he is either claiming ignorance or claiming, in fact, a conditional belief?

    Must we always form a conditional belief when one is possible?
  20. Tht1Gy! Life, The universe, and e... Registered Senior Member

    I have yet to see a distinction between "I don't believe in god" and "there is no god".
    Answer the question: Is there a God? Yes- No- or I don't know.
    It's one of the three.
    I have 4 dictionaries circa 1920, 1950, 1970, 2005. they all say the same thing.
    I don't give a fuck what YOU think, or want the word to mean. You are wrong. It's not a question of opinion. Look it up.
  21. Vkothii Banned Banned

    I'm saying that claiming a lack of belief is only true when there is no knowledge, when there's nothing to believe.

    Ignorance is the only way you can lack belief, otherwise claiming you "don't believe" something, requires the same knowledge (of the something), that a claim you "do believe" it exists, or is true or false, requires. Is that logical, or not?
  22. phlogistician Banned Banned

    I don't have to prove anything. I'm not in a pro position. I'm in a null position. It's about belief, and simply, I don't have belief.

    It's very simple, but you can't grasp it.
  23. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Common usage is incorrect.

    The word, etymologically, means 'without faith'.

    It is widely used incorrectly, and dictionaries record this misconception. There is a move amongst atheists to correct this. Soon, hopefully, once the public have been educated, and the correct usage is commonly used, dictionaries will record a more accurate usage.

    It seems the only obstacle to this correction are theists, oddly.

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