On faith

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Magical Realist, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Worth repeating.
    'Not holding a belief in X' is the ground state. It has to be, because there are literally an infinite number of things on The List of Things That One Could Not Hold a Belief In.

    You, for example, surely don't hold the belief that invisible dragons inhabit garages or purple mushroom men inhabit rotting logs in forests, or fnords like the taste of greeblies. The list is infinite.

    That is not the same as taking the stance that these things do not exist.

    Atheists*, at the base level, simply see God as one more thing on a list of inifinite things that are superfluous.

    * I should clarify: moderate atheists. Certainly, many atheists take an opinionated, strong stance that God does not exist. But that is not a required condition in being an atheist. Many atheists consider God just another non-issue.

    Atheist, literally, and simply, means without god. Much like aunicornist simply means without unicorns.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικόςgnostikos, "having knowledge"
    agnostic = without knowledge = ignorant
    = the ground state?
    Yazata likes this.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Well, sure. There's a ground state of ignorance, but it's hardly applicable in today's society. It's pretty much impossible to not be aware of the concepts of God.

    This, of course, raises the question of how much knowledge is enough? to which the answer, as with everything, is: just enough. I am aware of the concept of a teapot orbiting beyond Mars, but I don't need to know much detail in order to not subscribe to it.

    I am aware of many, many concepts to which I do not subscribe. That does not mean I must believe they can't exist.
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't like that definition, because (1) it implies that new-born babies and even stones are atheists which seems ridiculous, and because (2) it is often part of a rhetorical strategy in which atheists insist that they have no burden of proof for their atheist assertions. I find that a little dishonest.

    I prefer to define 'atheist' as it is most often defined in the academic world:

    "Atheism is ostensibly the doctrine that there is no God. Some atheists support this claim by arguments. But these arguments are usually directed against the Christian concept of God, and are largely irrelevant to other possible gods. Thus much Western atheism may be better understood as the doctrine that the Christian God does not exist."

    Oxford Guide to Philosophy p.64


    "Atheism. Disbelief in the existence of any GODS or of God. This may take the form of (a) dogmatic rejection of specific beliefs, e.g. of THEISM, (b) skepticism about all religious claims, or (c) agnosticism, the view that humans can never be certain in matters of so-called religious knowledge (e.g. whether God exists or not). An atheist may hold belief in God to be false, or irrational, or meaningless."

    The Penguin Dictionary of Religions pp. 53-4


    "Atheism. Denial of the existence of god. Broadly conceived, it indicates the denial of any principle or being as worthy of divinity. Specific meanings vary widely in accordance with the conception of god that is denied."

    The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions p.76


    "According to the most usual definition, an "atheist" is a person who maintains that there is no God, that is, that the sentence "God exists" expresses a false proposition. In contrast, an agnostic maintains that it is not known or cannot be known whether there is a God, that is, whether the sentence "God exists" expresses a true proposition. On our definition, an "atheist" is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that "God exists" expresses a false proposition. People frequently adopt an attitude of rejection toward a position for reasons other than it is a false proposition. It is common among contemporary philosophers, and indeed it was not uncommon in earlier centuries, to reject positions on the ground that they are meaningless. Sometimes too, a theory is rejected on such grounds as that it is sterile or redundant or capricious..."

    Encyclopedia of Philosophy Paul Edwards ed., 1st ed. vol.I , p. 175

    True, but I don't think that I want to define 'atheist' as somebody who has no ideas or opinions whatsoever on the existence of God or religious deities.

    But doesn't the idea that God is superfluous go well beyond having no opinions about God one way or the other? If something exists that satisfies the typical definitions of 'God', then it would be the farthest thing from superfluous. It would be the most important being in existence.

    True. But I'm not convinced that the word was ever used that way before modern times. The ancient Greeks, who coined the word, used it to refer to those who didn't participate in the civic religious observances. It wasn't about personal belief at all. I don't think that the Greeks cared a whole lot about what people believed privately, as long as they behaved publicly as a citizen should, honoring their city's patron deity on the proper occasions. I'm sure that many Athenians thought of that stuff much as we think of standing for the national anthem today. It was as much about patriotism as it was about religion.

    The Romans had very similar ideas, which is why the early Christians were so often accused of atheism. It wasn't because they didn't believe in a God, it was because they refused to participate in public veneration of the pagan gods or the deified emperor who were symbolic of the state and of its divinely maintained well-being.
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Being aware of other's concepts and being knowledgeable about the core of those concepts are 2 quite different things.
    ie: my neighbors may have concepts about my sculpting, but I have core knowledge about that thing.
    And, I can do what they cannot in this one particular venue. For their venues, I am comfortable in/with my ignorance.
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Yadata, your sources seem to be contradictory, in that while the first seems to limit atheism to just the positive atheism of belief in the non-existence of God, the next two refer to "disbelief" and "denial", both of which are simply the rejection of, or inability to believe, something as true, but neither words express an affirmaction of the opposite. I.e. they allow both positive and negative atheism.
    The fourth definition has two definitions within what you have quoted, the "usual" definition but then goes on to define an atheist as someone who rejects belief in God, irrespective of whether they consider the claim "God exists" expresses a false proposition. I.e. the definition he goes with is the one that encompasses both positive and negative atheism.

    That said, I am happy to concede the need for an atheist to at least be aware of the notion of God that they are rejecting, denying, agnostic of, apathetic of etc.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    The thing about definitions is how and why.

    Without God. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I have tried inquiring about other things and every time the atheists retreat to "without God". We get it.

    "One more thing on a list of infinite things that are superfluous"? I'm sorry, but I've been told such things are specifically inappropriate to say about atheism. So, no, you don't get to say them, either.

    Here, I'll give you an example; since my dispute really isn't with you on this count, it might actually help:

    • Imagine you evangelize to and are about to convert a theist. What this soon to be former Christian needs to understand is the basis of morality, the way in which he will relate to right and wrong. Hitherto, God had been that anchor. Now there will be no God, no moral linchpin. How does he fill in the blank? After all, his entire life he has heard that there is no morality, no right and wrong, without God. Can you explain to him how right and wrong works when he finally admits there is no God?​

    Historically, this question has offended the hell out of atheists; those who have deigned it not too much to ask to explain why simply remind that all atheism means is "without God", and anything else anyone might try to attach is mean and hateful and prickly and awful.

    Seriously, man, you'd be amazed at some of the fits people have thrown over time.

    I don't know, it's just that the word eventually loses any meaning whatsoever.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I'm having trouble parsing your words here.
    1] You've been told that saying "One more thing on a list of infinite things that are superfluous" is specifically inappropriate to say? I don't know what that means.
    2] How does you being told something mean I don't get to say something? (Keep in mind, athiests are not an organization. No atheist speaks for - or is responsible for the words of - any other atheist*.)

    *something I acknowledge I am already guilty of. I have presumed to speak for other atheists. I do not, except on the one point that, presumably, we should all agree on.

    Sorry, I see where you misunderstood my point here. My description of atheism only addressed the single issue at-hand: God's existence or not.

    I am not saying "there is nothing to what an atheist believes except that there is no God." Atheists have lots of beliefs about lots of things, including morality, right and wrong. They just don;t stem from a belief in God.

    I'm simply saying that an atheist does not need to take so strong a stance as to declare there is no God.
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Thus, my inclusion of the second paragraph

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  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    When I ask about what else is on that list, atheists get pissed off.

    Without God, I am told. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I mean, in my experience, this is a teeth-gnashing, face-coloring, spittle-spraying, cussing offense.

    Now, it's not mine to oppose you particularly. If you, as an atheist, include a list of things superfluous, then you, as an atheist, include a list of things superfluous.

    I'm just trying to figure out what it means when one says "atheism" or "atheist".

    I've been around atheism, claimed it for myself, asserted all the stuff about logic and rational argument and being smart, and all that, for a long time. It's not that I "believe in God" any more or less than I did when I was nineteen. The intervening quarter-century, however, have rendered words like "atheist" and "atheism" completely meaningless.

    One of the interesting problems with the "without God" argument is that when we cut right through everything else, those aren't the atheists we hear from in discussions like this. Much like the religionists who keep their faith 'twixt themselves and God, we don't necessarily know these atheists are around, because God and considerations thereof are utterly irrelevant to them.

    It doesn't; like I said, my dispute isn't really with you.

    The reason I say you don't get to say that is to make a point.

    I've asked these questions before. I actually think they're important, and can help atheists communicate with their theistic neighbors. The atheists who take part in such discussions, like we have around here at Sciforums, even, simply refuse the question of what else is on that list of things superfluous. In the end, the functional result is actually a seed of supremacism; I've met many over the years whose argument is that atheists are smarter than other people because they refuse this irrational article of faith, yet it turns out that this is the only irrational article of faith one opposes.

    Yeah, I do kind of resent the idea that someone calling himself an atheist will so blithely declare what offends the fuck out of other atheists, but that's the thing, atheists get to define atheism for themselves; as I said, the word loses any meaning. To wit―

    ―I hold myself answered: There is nothing to discuss with this assertion of atheism.

    Thank you for clarifying.
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yeah. They do that a lot.

    It would be interesting to subcategorize atheism to those who merely hold a personal view of not believing in God, and those who actively hate anything to do with it. Too many people think it's a club (the beating people kind, not the gathering for drinks kind).

    One of the secondary effects of discussing it is that, often, people will try to frame atheism within ther own beliefs. And that invariably involves questions of the form "So, you think the universe is just random chance - meaningless..." etc. or "So what stops you from killing..." etc.

    It's not really something that most people can discuss academically, as opposed to personally.

    There is anotther thread elsewhere where someone asked how God can allow suffering. I took the stance of Devil's Advocate - I accepted the premise for the purpose is discussing the logic of an ambivalent God. It is rare that a theist will accept the premise that the world turns without God, long enough to discuss it.

    They're not alone in that. To re-iterate, atheists are just as bad.

    That makes sense.

    There is no rule book for atheism, like there are (in essence) for theism. Atheists are not a group; they don't rally around their beliefs, or discuss them, or come to any agreement. There is no wsuch thing as 'We are atheists' there is only 'I am atheist'.

    (Then again, I've always thought that to be the case for theists as well. Spiritual belief is a deeply personal, private thing.)


    That's what I thought. Just checking.

    Yeah, the vocal ones tend to be the ones who have an axe to grind.

    Yep. It is a form of generalization. "All theists must be poor critical thinkers."

    I try to argue the expressed logic, not the underlying belief. If a theist has poor critical thinking skills, and lousy debate skills, then they'll atch a lot of flack. But theism and poor communcation do not have a 1:1 correlation.

    Certainly, atheism does not rid one of all sorts of faith beliefs.

    Well, it loses universal meaning. Like love or charity or hope or politics, the meaning is individualistic.

    If someone declared they don't believe in love, surely that would not be a discussion-closer. One would go on to ask for details.

    Sure. It's just a word. As with anything, such as the examples above, any discusuon would be more nuanced - about about the broader topic of personal beliefs around atheism.
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Faith on God helps to create one important difference between atheism and theism. Since a theist believes in God and has faith in his laws, sin is always sin, whether it is legal or not. In atheism, since humans have the last say, men have the final say as to what will be called a sin. Sin can be changed on a whim. What that means is if someone commits a crime and gets off due to legal reasons, or by killing off all the eye witness, they are legally, sinless. In theism, lawyers and the actions of criminals are unable to pervert this, since the rules are not subject to change.

    A good example is Hillary Clinton and the main stream media. In atheism, lying is not lying, if you can get away with it. You can call it spin. With theism lying is still lying even of you get away with it or call it spin.

    A good example of the difference can seen with an example. President Nixon was almost impeached for erasing 14 1/2 minutes of audio tape. Hillary erased 30,000 E-mails. The theist will weight both by the same set of rules. Atheism will change the rules to suit the occasion.

    Another analogy is sports. With theism there are referees, who watching from the outside, for rule violations. With atheism there are no referees, who are not also playing in the game. Cheating is allowed, if you can get away with it.
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    There's so much wrong with this. But I'll just pick the most egregious.

    You confuse atheism with amorality. And then you compound it by confusing atheism with legality.

    And this, by the way, is why many atheists don"t discuss it. To reiterate:

    Many people are ignorant of atheistic tenets, put words in their mouths, and generally ascribe to them utterly fabricated tenets.
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'm assuming that the word "legal" there refers to secular civil law, and not to the "his laws" that preceeded it.

    I agree that the ancient Hebrews and the majority of present day Muslims think in the legalistic way you describe. God is their Lawgiver, so when they enter into a civil society like that in the West, they encounter situations where God's Law contradicts civil law. And many believe that it is the height of virtue for them to hold strictly to God's Law as opposed to the civil law of the country they live in. We see it with Muslim fundamentalists in their beards and hijabs, and we still see it with orthodox Jews. (Unlike Muslims, most Jews are hugely secularized.)

    The vast majority of atheists don't believe in the existence of sin. Sin is falling short in the eyes of God, and if you don't believe in God, that isn't an issue.

    Atheists do typically think in terms of right and wrong, good and evil though, which play a very similar role.

    Everyone is technically sinless if sin doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean that your criminal is morally good or that what he did was right.

    I think that you will find that atheists are oftentimes very strong and aggressive moralists. (We see it right here on Sciforums.) Atheists can behave like little puritans, constantly judging others and condemning what they perceive as moral abuses. That's even one of the rhetorical strategies that they use to attack religion, pointing out the perceived moral failings of religious traditions and individual believers.

    Being unable to change divine Law isn't necessarily a good thing, Wellwisher. Imagine that your divine law was promulgated and codified back in the dark ages (7th century Arabia say) and includes what you are convinced are divine commands that anyone who tries to leave your religion or anyone who blasphemes be killed.

    With right and wrong, good and evil, it's more of a matter of community intuition. Nobody is really sure what, if anything, justifies it, but there it is. Many people, often the most secular among us, feel it very strongly. (My own view is that it's based on social instinct.)

    And historically speaking, societies change over time. Our common intuitions in the Western world have changed and we no longer see the world as 7th century Arabians did. We certainly don't all agree with each other about what is and isn't right, but as a group, we've moved. But the currently ascendant Muslim Salafism can't. They are locked into a dark ages sensibility because they are convinced that it's unchanging and comes straight from God.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  18. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Everyday speak does not necessarily convey the correct meaning.
    How can 'I believe in God' mean the same thing as 'I believe in the existence of God', outside of taking it for granted, and not paying attention to the detail?

    Even the term 'I believe in the existence of God', makes no real sense. The correct meaning of that term is 'I believe God exists'. They are two different statemensts.
    To believe IN the existence of something, means that the very existence of that thing is the fulfilment of the relationship you have with it.

    Photons exist. What is it about their existence that makes you believe in their existence.
    For theists, God exists. Theists believe in God. That God exists, is a forgone conclusion. There is no need to believe in it.
    The fulfilment of a theist is their relationship with God, not Gods existence.
    If I believe in Yazata, then it is obvious that Yazata exists/
    If I believe in the existence of Yazata, then it Yazata is secondary to the existence.

    The atheist does not have a relationship with God. Agreed?
    The atheist does not fully understand what is God. Agreed?
    The atheist can, at best, research this concept, and draw his/her conclusion. Agreed.

    But there is no question of a relationship.
    The atheist, in his/her mindset, can come to the conclusion, that God could possibly exist under certain circumstances. Agreed?
    Can the atheist believe in a personal, transcendental God who dwells within the heart of all His creatures? I doubt it.

    So, the atheist can believe in the existence of an aspect of God that does not transcend the boundary of the particular atheists scope.
    Therefore belief in the existence of God, is an atheist ideology, not a theistic one.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that you acknowledge this, but I'm not that impressed, as I know that anyone who can read and comprehend meanings of words and phrases, acknowledge it too.

    If they are ''letting'' God play a role in their psychology, then they are using an atheist mindset. Theists do not use language like that.
    Theists understand that God exists. They do not dwell on it. That is the atheist thought/obsession.

    I dare say there are people out there that believe such a being exists. But no one gives a damn. Why? Because they don't believe it, and if they did, it would absolutely no purpose to them.

    Again, theists have no need to believe in the ''existence'' of God. They believe IN God. It's that simple.

  19. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    I accept that it is. But it is nonsense. The two are clearly distinguishable from each other. All you have to do is look at the wording.

    Yes it could mean what you say, but that is based on a common understanding just like the word 'theory' could be merely idea.
    But if we are in serious conversation about scientific theories, it wouldn't mean the same thing.

    The correct terminology is 'I believe faries exist'', that way there is no ambiguity.
    Atheists, especially intelligent ones, can comprehend the difference. That they choose not to, is, in my opinion, to give the effect of confusion, on the part of the theist.

    You are correct from your own (atheist) perspective, but it would be very confusing for a theist.
    I suspect that people who call themselves theists, and think like that, are deluding themselves.
    At some point in their lives, those folks tend to become atheists, or simply remain in that ideology because of the reasons you mentioned (desire, security, etc..)

    That is because you are looking for God from your own perspective.

    Theists dwell of the existence of God when trying to convery God to those that do not believe that God even exists.
    Theists do not dwell on the existence of God amongs themselves.
    Religious people may, however, dwell on the existence of God when discussing God with people of other religions.

    Firstly there is nothing 'superior' about what I said. A simple deduction based on what Sarkus said, easily confirms my statement. Not to mention everything you have said about what you think God, and belief in God, is.

    Secondly, I am not going to get into my religious background as that has nothing to do with what we are talking about. IOW, it would add nothing to this, or most other threads in the Religious Forum.

    It not just about respect, as it is about understanding what God is/means.
    If you go into the lions den, you are forced to respect them. Respect is not the criterea.
    Cain respected God, by presenting Him the best sacrifice in terms of material quality, but wasn't favoured by God.
    Satan/Iblis respected God by asking His permission to sway the descendents of Adam away from Him.
    You have to accept the absolute grandeur of God, to even begin to comprehend what God is.

    What I say has nothing to do with religion. I am only using definitions, and descriptions of God from the scriptures. None of it comes from my own mind.
    I may be more attuned to God than others, but only because I accept God, whereas others don't. Or they may only accept a particular aspect of God, whereas I accept every aspect of God.

    These are particular religions, and they aren't necesserily theistic.
    God is easily recognised by theists, no matter the aspect. All theists accept that everything comes from God. That God never comes into or out of being.
    So any being that is described thusly, is God. You cannot have two Gods.
    People generally argue from the perspective of their religious affiliations, and any other religious affiliations that don't agree with them, are wrong.
    Religious affiliations, aren't God.

    What do their scriptures say?
    That is what we, as people discussing what God is, should be concerned with, because the concept of God ultimately has to come from God, not man if you accept the scriptures as comprehensive descriptions and definitions.
    If we can't understand that, and further choose to use our own little minds to decided what God is, then we will eventually become confused, and end up rejecting God. That is actually what is happening IMO.

    So it stems from what we accept.

    Because I accept what is written in the scriptures about God.
    And as such I have come to believe, through the information, that God exists.
    If I didn't accept God from scriptures, then I would be an atheist, even if I labelled myself a theist. Because I would have accepted God on my own terms. That's as good as being an atheist.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  20. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    It then follows that Theist literally, and simply means, with god.
    The term atheist exists because of theist. I like that you have disregarded existence altogether.
    Summary: We as humans basically choose to accept God, or not. Period.

  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Jan, unfortunately while the term "believe in" is undoubtedly ambiguous in some contexts, your distinction is not a formal one but merely one you would clearly like to see.
    Belief in a proposition is either simply to accept that proposition as true, but also could be used to mean that they have faith, confidence, etc, in the proposition.
    Belief in someone is to have confidence, faith, etc, in that person.

    Yes, the former could be written "belief that the proposition is true" but in English it is not incorrect to say "belief in the proposition".

    That there is ambiguity is not in dispute, and everyone here is quite clear of the difference in possible meanings, and no one here is arguing otherwise.
    Your distinction here is just a matter of confidence, not of semantics. Even if a state of affairs is taken for granted it is still a belief. Even if it is knowledge it is still a belief (using the good ol' Justified True Belief).
    The atheist doesn't think so.
    No, I don't necessarily agree. Who is to say that God isn't simply as some atheists understand it: a man-made concept? You? And how are you going to prove to anyone that God is more than that? You, as someone who believes that God exists and has belief IN God certainly thinks that your understanding is superior, but you have zero way of confirming it to anyone but those who already hold your own view in such matters.
    So no, you can not say that the atheist does not fully understand what God is, any more than they can say that you do not fully understand what is God (which to some of them would be a man-made concept).
    No different to the theist in this regard,
    Not while being an atheist, no, because by definition the atheist lacks such a belief. But if they come to believe in such then they would not be atheist,
    You might as well ask whether a vegan can eat meat... they can, as a person, but not while being a vegan. As soon as they eat meat they are not vegan.
    Non sequitur.
    As already explained, anything one claims to hold as knowledge is a belief. Theists claim to hold the existence of God as knowledge, thus it is a belief. That theists, at least in your view, do not consider the issue beyond that is irrelevant. Your perspective is simply your wishful thinking on the matter.
    You need to get over the semantic issues that you have, Jan. Rather than actually explore the intended meaning of what people say you are too haapp to simply tell them that their thinking is wrong because they are of a mindset that doesn't understand. If you don't want to converse with people of a different mindset then feel free to vacate the forum.
    Not entirely, no. Many theists dwell on the matter. Or do you claim to speak for all of them?
    And irrespective of whether or not theists dwell on the matter, given that the existence or otherwise of God is rather crucial to the atheist (at least in their capacity as an atheist) then why are you so reluctant to dwell on that subject when in conversation with atheists? It is the core distinction between the theist and atheist: one believes in... sorry, one "has belief that God exists" and the other does not share that belief. That is the delineating factor... that belief.
    Again, you know where the door is if you don't want to do dwell on that matter.
    So you say that there are people that do believe it, but then say that they don't....? Contradictory much?
    And with your coast comment you are also starting to glimpse one of many atheist perspectives on God... what purpose does God (as simply the Original Cause) serve, if God exists?
    They DO have a need, or do you think theists can believe IN God as a man-made concept, the way some may believe in democracy, for example?
    Again, if one claims something as knowledge then they are claiming not only a belief in that thing but also in that thing being true. If you accept that theists (at least claim to) know God to exist then this IS a belief, just one they think is true (hence they think is knowledge).
  22. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Theos = God (translation), existence is a forgone conclusion.
    A theist is the belief in Theos, God.
    Like I said to Yazata, I agree that belief in the existence of God is the commonly used term for theism. But that is not what it actually means.

    You're right, the question does not follow, and I've no idea how it is remotely relevant.
    The confusion comes with the common conditioning that theism somehow means belief in the existence of God.
    I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who believes in the description, existence, of anyone, or thing.
    I doubt that actually exists. But feel free to demonstrate.

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    Of course it works. It works because it is true.

    'Religious faith' is faith in ones religion. If that religion is theistic, then the practioner has faith that the particular religion is the way to serve God. If the religion is not theistic (believe in God), then the practioner still has faith that the particular religion is the way to serve God. Religious faith is not necessarily theistic (by definition), unless you accept the common usage definition, which is unworkable.

    Apologies but I didn't quite understand what you were getting at with the Sufi quote. But here we can derive the proper meaning of religion which aligns itself with the original meaning of the term 'religion' with ancient times.
    Again the secular definition of religion (which you will NOW find in most dictionaries), is basically misinformation. Unfortunately when people look for definitions of Religion, Theism, Spirit, Spirituality, God, gods, and a whole host of other related words, they are likely to get watered-down nonsense.

    It is the meaning of religion. Re-ligare which mean to link, bind, again with God.
    Yoga is also means the same thing.
    This isn't a problem for theists, but atheists/secularists don't seem able to accept it. So now we are forced to accept something that atheists/secularists are happy with.

    Everyone exists.

    No. I don't believe people exist.
    People exist.

    Who is/was John Barren?

    I think the problem is that you give it too much thought.
    Can you ride a bicycle, or drive a car? Was there a time when you could do neither?
    If so, do you notice you get the best out of these activities when you don't actually think about how to use them.
    Yet those who currently can't ride or drive, will not master it untill they remove the thought process, and just do it.
    Belief in God is something like that. You simply have to give up all this complicated, confusing thought process, and just accept it.
    If it works, your belief will become stronger as it becomes obvious.

    Note for any idiots who will maintain that I am advocating 'One must believe in God, to believe in God' - I'm not.

    I think the emphasis here is, you don't care.

    I promise you it is not. But I can understand why you would think so.
    And that's coming from a theist, someone who does care and take time out to understand this issue.

    I haven't touched on faith as yet, which is unfortunate given the thread title.
    There is only faith. Religious faith is simply more animated.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    The meaning of "without god" was its original meaning and covered those who believed in the existence of God but didn't worship etc.
    The modern usage, as you well know, means lacking a belief that God exists, deriving its definition from theism (belief that God exists).
    So now you think belief is a choice? You think atheists simply wake up one morning from what you think is Man's default state of believing in God and go: "You know what, world? Today I'm going to not believe in God!" and then stick with it, all through choice?
    Please feel free to accept the existence of the celestial teapot, or the FSM, for example. And I don't mean just give acceptance some lip service, but genuinely accept their existence as true. Go on, it's just a matter of choice, right? Can you do that? Can you exert what you think of as your free will and do that? It's just a choice, Jan. No more difficult than deciding whether to have Wheaty Puffs or toast for breakfast (or heck, why not both!), I'm sure.

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    Getting an education might be a choice, but even then some can't learn to think critically.

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