My path to atheism: Yours? Rebuttals?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Dinosaur, Apr 1, 2017.

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  1. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    That's okay, I'm a past master at pulling the wings off flies.
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  3. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    So if evidence was to surface, would you believe in God?

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  5. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    I've never said that. But I get that you need me to say that.

    Just look at any definitions of lack, and you will find no implication of lacking anything that does not exist.

    the state of being without or not having enough of something.

    be without or deficient in.

    to be deficient or missing
    • time is lacking for a full explanation
    to be short or have need of something
    • he will not lackfor advisers
    • The area does not lack for good restaurants
    to stand in need of :suffer from the absence or deficiency of
    • lack the necessities of life
    • Shelacked confidence.
    1. His book lacks any coherent structure.

    2. They lack a good strategy for winning the election.

    3. This painting lacks any artistic value.

    4. She has never been accused of lacking confidence.
    ... The list could go on and on.

    Why do you think it is okay to personalise your own definition of a word?

    Show me where it is implied that one can lack something that doesn't exist.

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  7. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    Nope, because there is none.
  8. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You can't even comprehend the logical implications of what you say.
    Makes further conversation difficult.
  9. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

    What atheists lack is a belief that god(s) definitely exist. The atheist does not claim that the belief does not exist. For example, all the atheists and agnostics here accept that you have a belief that god definitely exists, or at least that "god IS," whatever that distinction is supposed to mean. Perhaps you could answer JamesR's question about the difference there, if there is one.

    Meanwhile, there is nothing wrong with the sentence, "I lack an eleventh toe," even though that toe does not exist.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  10. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    This has been explained to Jan repeatedly.
    But Jan refuses to accept the truth of it.
  11. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    Jan thinks stairstepping is clever. Apparent confusion when we don't follow the script.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Just a quicky: nobody is disputing that belief in God exists. Thus, it is quite possible to lack belief in God. However, the fact that the belief exists does not mean that the object of the belief exists.

    (Edit: just noticed Neddy got to this before me.)
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    I think now would be a good point for me to try to take stock and say what I think your position is, as best I can. I'll reply more specifically to your posts after this, but I feel that both of us are essentially repeating ourselves now.

    Your claim is that the term "atheist" implies that "God IS".

    You advocate an exceptionalist view of God, in which God is unlike anything else that exists. Hence you refuse to discuss whether God exists, and think it is beside the point. Instead you simply hold that "God IS", where "IS" is defined in rather vague terms. Sometimes IS-ness expressly excludes existence, and at other times is seems to imply existence.

    As far as I can tell, by "God IS", you mean, essentially, that God is everything. God is the rocks and the trees; God is you and me; God is the universe as a whole; God is everything that ever was or could be. That is, everything that exists is God. But then you also say that God is more than mere existence, so that God is a special category all of its own where the term "exists" supposedly becomes irrelevant, and you can only approximate what you mean when you talk about God by saying "God IS", and you can't commit to saying "God exists".

    You say that atheists, in effect, deny the "obvious" IS-ness of God. From your perspective, I imagine it feels strange to come across people who see that things exist, and yet apparently fail to realise that God is behind everything. They must be in denial, or else deliberately choosing to reject God.

    At the same time, if you feel you must descend from the lofty heights of IS-ness to talk about mere existence with clueless atheists, then you espouse a relativist view of existence. That is, you claim that if somebody believes in something, then it exists for them. Moreover, as soon as somebody believes in something, then anybody who does not share that belief for some reason must nevertheless acknowledge the existence of the thing they say they don't believe in.

    This is, I think, the most problematic part of your argument (and let's face it, your argument is full of problems). If I say I don't believe in Bigfoot, but then I learn that Magical Realist believes, then according to you (1) Bigfoot now exists, and (2) I am somehow forced to agree that Bigfoot exists, despite my avowed non-belief. If Bigfoot "exists for Magical Realist" and "as far as I am aware" Bigfoot does not exist, then apparently the Jan-default position is that Bigfoot exists. It follows that if Jan believes in God, then God exists for Jan, and I must therefore agree that God exists (in general, for everybody) even if I don't share Jan's belief. If I do not accept that God exists, then I am in denial.

    Your preferred form of words to express this idea is "If a person believes that Bigfoot does not exist, then Bigfoot does not exist as far as they are aware." But at the same time, your assumption is that if somebody else believes that Bigfoot exists then Bigfoot does exist for them, and your conclusion is that the believer is correct and the non-believer is in denial about the existence of Bigfoot.

    And then we get to the issue of knowledge. "The reason why you don't know if God exists, or not, is because God doesn't exist, as far as you're aware."

    The rationale for this seems to go like something like this: Jan believes that God IS. Moreover, due to Jan's realisation that God IS, Jan now knows that God exists, because it is only God who makes realising anything possible in the first place (nothing circular about that, is there?). When an atheist says "I don't believe that God exists", the atheist is in denial, if for no other reason that Jan's belief in God has conjured God into existence. Logically (?) the atheist ought to accept that God exists because God is real for Jan. The atheist's problem is that the atheist is not aware of God, despite God's IS-ness. And (here's where I get a little lost in the contradictions) now God doesn't exist for the atheist. Therefore the atheist can't know that God exists.

    To sum up, you insist that atheism is a denial or rejection of God, conscious or unconscious, regardless of anything atheists have to say about the matter. This is because for you, God IS, and therefore - the argument goes - atheists are forced, whether they like it or not, to acknowledge that God exists (though maybe only for theists - it's not clear). Therefore, whenever the word "atheist" is used, the implication is that it describes a person who lives in a universe in which God IS, and that person is in conscious or unconscious denial about that fact.

    You describe the following methods of reasoning about God as not "grounded, rational [or] reasonable":
    "You believe that God should exists, like other objects.
    You believe that evidence is the way to validate God.
    You believe theists believe in some magical concoction."

    I leave readers to form their own opinions on what is grounded, rational and reasonable.

    Ideally, according to you, we shouldn't be even discussing whether God exists. Instead, we should all accept that God IS, and all atheists should admit they know nothing about God because God "doesn't exist, as far as they are aware". And everybody, atheist or theist or fence-sitter, should agree that "atheism" only exists at all because God IS, and stop pretending that it is possible that God ISN'T.

    Would that be a fair summary?
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Here's a more specific reply.

    Your consistent claim is that the term "atheism" implies that God IS. Atheists reject your claim.

    This is a special pleading for God - exceptionalism that says that God is unlike anything else in our experience. And yet, your actual claim is, in part, that God actually is everything in our experience and more.

    This is your argument, not mine, isn't it?

    The problem with this exceptionalist approach to God is that, when all is said and done, you're not suggesting any real alternative way to know that God is real, other than the usual theist "gut feeling" or the magical God sense that you keep implying we all have but which atheists choose not to turn on for whatever reason.

    Interestingly, there was quite a public debate when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous creator of Sherlock Holmes, came out as a believer in fairies way back when.

    You are saying here, I assume, that you are willing to believe that fairies exist, as long as some people believe in them. Correct? Does that apply to any belief, as far as you're concerned? Or do you again make a special excuse for God?

    Once again, we're in Jan's Relativist World of Existence here, in which things can exist for one person and simultaneously not exist for somebody else. Do you think we could have a discussion in which we talk about objective existence, Jan, rather than the purely subjective kind you keep insisting on?

    That's the objective view - either things exist for all of us, or they exist for none of us. In opposition is your subjectivist view that things can exist for one person and not exist for another, which is very convenient for you when it comes to discussing God, but which presents problems with your attempt to foist your preferred meaning of "atheism" onto atheists.

    Then you should be content to say that theists believe in God and atheists do not believe in God. But you won't stop there, will you?

    Ignoring the nuances that I have explained to you in previous posts, that is almost correct.

    ... which is only really saying you believe in God. But you won't stop there, will you?

    Unfortunately, your "position" has many facets, some of which I accept and some of which I utterly reject. I have no issue with you believing whatever you like about God, but in this thread you're also trying to tell me what I (tacitly) believe, and why. And not just me. And this you do in spite of everything you are told that contradicts your portrait of atheists. In fact, you're even arrogant enough to say that it doesn't matter what atheists think about what it means to be atheist.

    The fact is, neither you nor I know if God exists. Your "position", as you keep telling me, is that God IS. That's an assumption. That's your "starting point", you say. You think knowledge follows from your belief. You are wrong. Knowledge doesn't follow from belief. Rightly, belief ought to follow from knowledge. This is why I say I don't know if God exists.

    I am not claiming to know things I don't know. You're the only one making those sorts of claims.

    This is in apparent contradiction to your repeated insistence that God can exist for you but not for me, simultaneously.

    I think you need to sort out this issue of relativism in your own mind. That's if you're not just trying to wind us all up with deliberate contradictions.

    I see no reason to make a special pleading for God when it comes to existence. Why should God's existence be subject to a completely separate set of rules? Why should we use one set of criteria for deciding whether Donald Trump exists, and a completely different set of criteria for deciding whether God exists?
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I appreciate that your position is that since God is everything, God is necessarily all gods as well.

    Maybe you'd say something like: the deist God exists for deists, Zeus exists for the ancient Greeks etc. And therefore all atheists must recognise that these gods ARE, or more accurately that your one super-God IS.

    I guess the contradictions between different gods can all be glossed over as different people seeing the one God in different ways. Or something.

    Wouldn't you say "If you do not believe in sight, then sight does not exist as far as you're aware"? These aren't my words (I have only substituted "sight" for "God") - they are yours.

    It's OK. I've worked out what you mean.

    It is a necessary part of the discussion, since your claim is that atheism implies that God IS, which in turn implies that God exists.

    And neither do you, despite what your believe. Knowledge does not follow from belief.


    And neither can you. Fine.

    Fine, as long as you recognise that this applies equally to you (and I don't think you do).

    Knowledge does not follow from belief, regardless of what you think.

    It's not problem that you don't like the implications. Plus, it doesn't matter, because you're content to start from God IS. That could well be the reason you are theist.


    I know. For you, the "natural" includes magic. I don't think you have a clear line of demarcation between the two, in your mind.

    And starting from the assumption that God IS, we conclude that it is contingent upon God, just like everything else. I get it. But it's the assumption that gets you there, nothing else.
  16. Michael 345 Bali in Nov closer Valued Senior Member

    I've been debating with myself (me with Huey Dewey and Louie) if I should rejoin. I convinced HDL I should for a one only post

    I'm sure you (that is just you specifically I have no idea about the other) understand the laws of physics are fixed and unchangeable. The values are being refined as more accurate measurements are able to be made and one, the speed of light, is considered IT. I understand nobody bothers checking it anymore. Only perhaps students learning science or those who think THEY have found a loophole

    Recently at another venue a question was as about the speed of light and why it is what it is. Why not 10 or 100 klm faster or slower? Why the speed is exactly what it is? I'm not talking or meaning cases where it slows (has a different speed). Why is the max speed is in a vacuum etc etc what it is? Other values in physics appear to be strange but like I mentioned they are what they are

    One "reason" put forward was "The speed of light cannot be 0 klm, also the speed of light cannot be instantaneous, it has to be somewhere in between and light speed is just IS"

    Now I would contend LIGHT SPEED does not have a PHYSICALITY and it is obvious Earthlings units are arbitrary and when we meet the Martians in a few years time we will have to make conversion tables between ours and their speed measurements

    So here we have something (LIGHTSPEED) which has no PHYSICALITY but can be given various names and just IS

    I bow out again. If you require further info I will need to convince Huey Dewey and Louie again so please make a powerful case

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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  17. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    What do you mean by "there is none".?

  18. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    It's three words. Not complicated.
  19. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    As opposed to not definitely exist?

    Already have. God's existence is different to how we perceive existence.
    By definition God doesn't come into, or go out of being. God just Is.

    Some people do have eleven toes. So you could me lacking an eleventh toe.

  20. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    You want proofs from us, but "God just Is." Why do you get a bye?
  21. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    So God doesn't exist as far as you're aware. I get that. But if, from an atheist viewpoint, evidence became available, you still wouldn't believe in God?

    May I ask why?

    I don't really need anything from you. Everything I need is the meaning of atheist/atheism.


  22. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    You want proof from us, we want proof from you. You can dodge if you want, but you are trying to disprove our stance on atheism and your imaginary friends. Dancing around the topic is disingenuous.
  23. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    So it is the actual belief, the other person possesses, that you lack.
    Makes no difference. God still doesn't exist as far as any atheist, ever, is aware.

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