Who come first the theist or the atheist

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by arauca, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Seconded.
    What...??
     
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  3. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    ZAV,

    I have proven that polytheism preceded monotheism. You object to my post: "In the beginning the gods created the heavens and the earth." You bring the grammar argument: "In the beginning Elohim [he] created the heavens and the earth." As I said before, this is moot here, as it belongs to the polemic over grammar. This polemic is futile to establishing the best evidence of polytheism.

    It is the existence of the term Elohim itself that links the passage to its polytheistic roots.

    I was not addressing linguists, since their study of etymology necessarily would have already led them to an understanding that polytheism precedes monotheism.

    I was addressing the (mostly) fundamentalist worldview that historical humans first awoke in the creation by a singular God. This is implicit among them in the claim that "theism came first".

    It's yours to drive a grammarian's wedge into the bedrock of hard cultural artifacts, and they speak for themselves. I'm over here, puttering around in the loose ground where they were discovered.

    If you like, to propitiate the god of writing, I can sacrifice the clarification I directed at fundamentalists, as follows:

    "In the beginning Elohim (an imbedded reference to an ancestral pantheon of powers that ruled over nature) [he] created the heavens and the earth."

    If this appeases Thoth then maybe he will not send Marduk to summon the winds to blow down my infinitesimal posts. But let us not disrespect Elohim.
     
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  5. michael_taylor Registered Senior Member

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    It's probably bad form to answer a question with a question, but is anyone born religious?

    If they are, it is possible for religion to pre-date non-religion. Otherwise the 'first' religious person had to have started off non-religious.
     
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  7. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    That's simply equating atheism with ignorance
    :shrug:
     
  8. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    First definition: ..with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation..

    Second definition: an unproved or false collective belief
    (note: 'unproved' does not mean 'false' or 'fictitious', it means it could be true)
     
  9. michael_taylor Registered Senior Member

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    Not equating, no, that isn't what equating means.

    One possible cause of atheism is being ignorant of the claims some people make about whichever god they like. In the sense that a person might be atheist in relation to the gods of faraway or isolated peoples, a newborn is atheist in relation to all gods discussed by people old enough to speak.

    If the child is taught nothing about gods, or everything about gods, they will likely remain atheist. If they are told the appropriate and useful parts about one religion, and told nothing (or lies) about the other religions and atheism, they will likely become religious themselves.

    I should have thought that was obvious.
     
  10. ZAV Registered Member

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    AID-






    AID-


    The reason Elohim is important is because you’re specific argument is wrong, and it is not moot. You claimed that the text was itself Polytheistic, not that the word was proof of earlier Polytheism. It is not, however, Polytheistic.

    But, Even if we accept the new directin you take the argument, you are still wrong. There is no evidence that Elohim was ever meant to refer to a Hebrew Pantheon. There isn't even real evidence to suggest Elohim was originally the name of the Creator god in an earlier Polytheistic Hebrew culture. That is supposition and speculation, which you pass off then as proven fact simplybecause you can quot one source that said so.

    You have no evidence that Elohim was originally mesnt to be purely Plural and is a holdover from earlier Polytheistic beleifs, and your other argument is simply disproven. By clinging to it, thugh, you give us the Real Revelation we need. The real reveal is the tenacity you display in adhering to your theory. This really proves my overall point, you are not interested in Science and Reason, you just drape your idea in the Authority of Science and Reason and then adhere blindly to them as Dogma, never questioning them and creating cheap apologetics when others challenge you.

    Your argument is still, however, wrong.



    That said, You haven't proven that Polytheism came before Monotheism, what you have done is to selectively quote specific sources to back what is essentially a regurgitation of the "History of Religions" School of thought that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th Century but was largely abandoned by the mid 20th Century owing to contemporary studies. The sources you use are outdated and to be Frank with you I doubt that you bothered to actually read the books you got the quotes from. You more than likely simply got them off some website or perhaps a book by a publisher such as Prometheus Press. You certainly haven' t kept up with anything in Modern Scholarship.

    The whole approach you are taking assumes a Linear progression of man and was how History was interpreted as a Philosophical development that tried to understand the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment. It assumed that the Modern Era is better than all past eras and Human progress and development are Eternal and moving inexorably to a higher, more noble, and more advanced end. It also presumed that "Advanced" meant that any form of Government or Philosophical belief held in the past but not in vogue in the present was inferior to the New Way.

    The trouble with this approach is that it fails to really factor in the amount of flux ideas go through or the resurgence of older ideas. It really isn't True that Humanity has developed in a straight, predictable, and inevitable Line toward modern culture, and no reason at all to believe that the way our society is now will be carried on into the Future, or that the ideals of the past that we no longer hold won't make their own comeback.


    In terms of Monotheism, there is actually contemporary research that suggests that rather than begin with gods for everything only to over Time decease the number of gods to a small number, then to one, a d finally to none that gods are usually proliferated so that the older a culture becomes, the more gods it has. But even this is only a statistical trend and not an absolute one.

    The oldest Religions we have record of have far fewer gods than their later developments allowed for, and there is even good evidence from Sumeria and Egypt that there may have been a sort of primal Monotheism before the later and more familiar Egyptian Religions emerged on the Scene.

    As to which occurred first we really don’t know, but we do know that the ideas that man started as Atheistic, only to have some bloke invent gods and have the idea spread is lunacy. Humanity has an instinctive awareness of such things, and whether you prefer to pretend this is all because a superstitious mind seeking answers leans toward the supernatural or prefer to look at real, actual studies is immaterial.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  11. ZAV Registered Member

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    94
    Mr. TAYLOR-


    I do wonder, why do we posit this as either being Born Atheists, or born Religious? Again, Atheism is not a lack of Religious bweleifs and Religion is nkot the same thing as Theism.
     
  12. michael_taylor Registered Senior Member

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    Born religious? Whatever do you mean?
     
  13. ZAV Registered Member

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    If you read the rest of my post you will see that I mean that Atheism is not reaslly the oppoite of Religion. I find it a false distinction to ask if peopel are Born Atheists or Born Religious as it assumes that if one is an Atheis one is not Religious. Religion doesn't require the beleif in a god.
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    With what you are saying above, you are implying that you know everything about "gods."

    Do you really know everything about "gods"?
     
  15. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    Perhaps if you could provide that list we could understand how it is neutral terminology ... but both you and I know that you won't be providing it because both you and I know that it is not a neutral term

    :shrug:
     
  16. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    16,330
    A child is born ignorant (not only of religion, but also science ... mainly due to being born 99% ignorant of language). If that ignorance is maintained throughout to adulthood, they remain ignorant.

    IOW if one is arguing that newborn children are representative of atheism, one is equating atheism with ignorance.

    Far from refuting that, everything you have written above confirms it.
    :shrug:
     
  17. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    @ZAV

    I said nothing for or against any school of thought, preferring the artifacts themselves over most analysis, contrary to your claim. I have said nothing for or against linear historical development, and in fact the first modern authority I cited – after your camp introduced him – was Boas, who already recognizes that development is not linear. Boas’ place on the timeline is irrelevant to modern scholarship, because he brings one of the last eyewitness accounts of primitive people before they disappeared. The particular observation that he made, regarding their fear of nature as the underlying cause for superstition and myth, is not impugned by your remarks. Nor is he to be dismissed for giving us this insight merely because new schools of thought, in other areas, have emerged.

    I never said anything for or against the presaging of Hebrew monotheism by prior cults, since I am not trying to prove their monotheism was unique. It’s an interesting subject. I have no doubt that the people of Canaan spread religious ideas from abroad and insinuated them into their own myths.

    I did not change my position as you claim, I merely paid lip service to your paroxysm over grammar, without changing the point I originally directed towards the fundamentalists. You were the one spouting semantics. As I explained, I was addressing extremists. These folks adhere to the ultra-literal interpretation of their English translation with a worldview that denies history, among other things. I notice you do not rally your troops to marshal that unruly mob, with your Supreme Court of scholarship in tow.

    If the text had only borrowed El from the earlier society my point would still stand, in arguing against fundamentalism. From the beginning I have been demonstrating an often heard fallacy among common fundamentalists who deny not only all criticism of the text, but history itself. Yet the El of their religious devotion is a borrowed term from an earlier cult. That earlier cult was polytheistic, the reference is to a polytheistic creation myth that predates the Hebrew tradition, and which has left traces of its DNA at the crime scene. You will not find these kinds of morsels from among the chaff in their Bible annotations because it would invariably lead the editors’ sheep into apostasy. All I did was separate the wheat from the chaff. Come down off your high horse and have a bite. Down here we have no dietary restrictions against best evidence, and though we eat with our hands, we try to keep them clean.

    At some early point polytheism impinges upon Hebrew tradition. Much later we find the earliest codices. By that era monotheism was taking root. That’s the inescapable history in a nutshell.

    Now: are you going to argue that monotheism comes first? Don’t tell me, after all that bluster, that you’re a fundamentalist!
     
  18. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    No, he’s talking about before ignorance. Primitive people did not ignore thunderclaps, they took cover.

    Ignorance begins later, by deliberately ignoring the best evidence available, such as insisting that the world is flat and at the center of the universe. At some point that belief became grounded in ignorance, because it persisted despite best evidence to the contrary.

    Modern atheism is the opposition to ignorance, particularly as it is manifested in various forms of superstition. If anything, religion would tend to rely on ignorance, to the extent that it is founded on superstition.

    It’s hard to imagine a religion devoid of superstition. Do you know of any?
     
  19. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    6,152
    Since religion is commonly understood to require a belief in of some supernatural power over nature, maybe it would help to explain your broader definition.
     
  20. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Hah! Strawman-ad hom-misquote salad.

    Beyond mere world salad, in three biting flavors, but still a jumble.

    Hey Dywyddyr! Tell the salad chef to add this to the menu!
     
  21. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    Either your spelling is atrocious or your typing sucks. You really should do us the favour of at least proofreading your own posts before inflicting them upon us (we aren't after grammatical heaven, just passable text).

    "Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist."

    Atheism can be a lack of religious beliefs, namely belief in a deity.

    If we are talking about, say, the BELIEF that "Thou shalt not kill" then ok, lack of this belief doesn't make one an atheist. But when someone talks about religious belief/beliefs one generally assumes (technically/semantically wrongly or rightly) that belief in god is the subject?

    For you to state "Atheism is not a lack of Religious beliefs" is WRONG within many contexts where the assumption that "Religious beliefs" is referring to "belief in god".

    You cannot dictate the context someone is working within. You can question it and ask for clarification, but never dictate, well not on that one anyway.
     
  22. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    5,073
    Theism is faith in a single Creator. Atheism is FAITH in NO God. If faith is Michael, is there atheist Michael, or is there only one archangel for all faith?
     
  23. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I would agree that theism normally means monotheism, but not always. It does seem to be the intended definition of the OP.

    There also is a common meaning for atheism, that it is a rejection of theism, by folks exposed to religion in society. But the OP asks us to go back in time, to the roots of it all.

    In other words, the OP is defining atheist in another of its popular contexts, which is that of the person who is not exposed to religion and therefore is not a theist of any kind.

    But atheists do not express a faith as you believe. Atheists have no faith in the idea of an invisible being who rules over nature.

    Faith, which is a sacred principle of a believer, appears to the many atheists as a manifestation of irrational superstition.

    The atheist, accepting the visible and rejecting the invisible, is applying rational logic instead of faith. The theist, who accepts the invisible and (often) denies the visible, is necessarily placing belief, sometimes highly irrational, at a higher priority than logic normally dictates.
     

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