10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

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Tulip1
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by Tulip1 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:48 pm

Scania wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: Atheism can be stated as a lack of belief that any gods exist. No belief required. Here we are again with the atheism 101 lesson :shock:
An Atheist believes that God does not exist, spinning it will not remove the fact that is a belief in a particular position. No different from saying that you believe the big bang theory is/is not correct. It's just basic english.
we don't believe that god doesn't exist is a wrong statement.

We looked at the available evidence and then have to conclude there is none. It is not a believe.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:29 am

Scania wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: Atheism can be stated as a lack of belief that any gods exist. No belief required. Here we are again with the atheism 101 lesson :shock:
An Atheist believes that God does not exist, spinning it will not remove the fact that is a belief in a particular position. No different from saying that you believe the big bang theory is/is not correct. It's just basic english.
That's your definition. Guess who's not an atheist under that definition... Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Me, Most people here, the kitchen sink, Steven Pinker, Stephen Hawking... have fun with that one.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by bockedy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am

I'm sorry Scania, but this really is Atheism 101.

Every so often we get Christians and others on here who don't know the basics or in some cases obviously do know but put it on in order to pick up some evangelisation brownie points or something. It's really really irritating, because these types are all the same and the conversation always progresses down the same tired, boring, fruitless old path for everyone concerned.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you fall into the first category.

If I may paraphrase what you've said earlier: "I believe no gods exist" is not semantically equal to "I have no belief in gods". The distinction is critical. Where the first statement means that I have a firm position that gods don't exist (gnostic atheism), the second statement makes no such claim (agnostic atheism). It is an absence of a position. Most rational atheists associate with the second rather than the first statement, and as part of that rational standpoint, are prepared to take or amend a belief position but only contingent on evidence.

The crucial difference is this: Neither those who believe in god/gods nor those who believe that gods don't exist are likely to move their belief position, because such a belief position is irrational, is lacking in evidence and thus is an article of faith.
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by Scania » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:49 am

bockedy wrote:I'm sorry Scania, but this really is Atheism 101.

Every so often we get Christians and others on here who don't know the basics or in some cases obviously do know but put it on in order to pick up some evangelisation brownie points or something. It's really really irritating, because these types are all the same and the conversation always progresses down the same tired, boring, fruitless old path for everyone concerned.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you fall into the first category.

If I may paraphrase what you've said earlier: "I believe no gods exist" is not semantically equal to "I have no belief in gods". The distinction is critical. Where the first statement means that I have a firm position that gods don't exist (gnostic atheism), the second statement makes no such claim (agnostic atheism). It is an absence of a position. Most rational atheists associate with the second rather than the first statement, and as part of that rational standpoint, are prepared to take or amend a belief position but only contingent on evidence.

The crucial difference is this: Neither those who believe in god/gods nor those who believe that gods don't exist are likely to move their belief position, because such a belief position is irrational, is lacking in evidence and thus is an article of faith.
Which is still a belief in a particular position :
There are several specific beliefs that are within the defined limits of agnostic atheism. An agnostic atheist may be described as a person who does not believe in God or gods and who holds one or more of the following to be true:

The existence or nonexistence of deities is not known or is unknowable.
The knowledge of the existence or nonexistence of deities is unimportant.
The claim to knowledge of existence or nonexistence of deities is best avoided. http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/agnos ... st-faq.htm
Quo vadis?
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by bockedy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:53 am

Scania wrote:Which is still a belief in a particular position :
*facepalm*
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by Ter » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:32 am

Scania wrote:An Atheist believes that God does not exist, spinning it will not remove the fact that is a belief in a particular position. No different from saying that you believe the big bang theory is/is not correct. It's just basic english.
I'm a benefit of the doubt kinda fella so, I personally don't "believe" that god does does not exist, I simply see no reason to believe that he/she/it does. The bang bang theory is a work in progress, as are all acientific theories, when new information arises it either, adds to, confirms or disproves the current model. It's a common mistake to think that a scientific theory is set in stone. Or that people BELIEVE it, rather than accept it.

If the standard Big Bang theory were proven to be incorrect, tomorrow, It will prove nothing other than that the model was incorrect. Perhaps other models (i.e. The No Boundary model, The Ekpyrotic model and various other osscilatotry/multiverse universe models) are correct. I think you might be confusing "BELIEVE" with "ACCEPT".

As someone with some little background in science, I can tell you that the most inportant lesson I learned, in the first class I had with a particular lecturer was something like this (paraphrasing) "Always remember that what you learn in this class could be proven wrong in 10-15 years". No belief required, merely acceptance of current understanding.

For me to BELIEVE in a god, your gonna need to provide me with some evidence.
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by funkyderek » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:52 am

Scania wrote:An Atheist believes that God does not exist, spinning it will not remove the fact that is a belief in a particular position
Maybe you're getting too hung up on attaching particular words - which have multiple nuanced meanings - to a position.

Do I believe that God doesn't exist? I suppose so, but that's not how I'd phrase it. I'm more likely to say I don't believe that God exists.
Similarly, do I believe that aliens are not abducting people? Probably, but it makes more sense - at least to me - to say that I don't believe aliens are abducting people.

If I suddenly got evidence that there is a god or that little green men are beaming people up, I would then say I believed in God / alien abductions. I would not say that I don't believe there is not a god or that I don't believe aliens are not abducting people.

If thinking that to the best of my knowledge, a certain proposition does not have enough evidence for me to consider it true is a belief, then sure, I believe that there is no God, but it's certainly not the same kind of thing as a belief that there is a god. This difference is important and it's no good simply stretching the definitions to cover both and then pretending we're talking about the same thing.
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by MichaelNugent » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:20 pm

Scania wrote:An Atheist believes that God does not exist, spinning it will not remove the fact that is a belief in a particular position.
funkyderek wrote:If thinking that to the best of my knowledge, a certain proposition does not have enough evidence for me to consider it true is a belief, then sure, I believe that there is no God, but it's certainly not the same kind of thing as a belief that there is a god. This difference is important and it's no good simply stretching the definitions to cover both and then pretending we're talking about the same thing.
I believe that that Scania is partly correct, once you add in FunkyDerek’s important clarification.

As a general rule, not believing that X exists means the same thing as believing that X does not exist. There are some exceptions where a middle ground exists: for example, if you believe that you have absolutely no information to tip the balance either way, or you believe there is exactly a 50-50 chance of it existing or not. You could also believe that the concept of X is meaningless, and therefore the question of whether or not it exists does not arise. All of these are beliefs.

The word “atheism” has traditionally been used as the word for the belief that gods do not exist. In relatively recent times (out of curiosity, I will have to research when this happened), some atheists have started to use the word “atheism” to mean “lack of belief in gods” or “absence of belief in gods”. Most reputable dictionaries still use some variation of the traditional definition (“belief that gods do not exist”) and some use variations of both definitions.

I believe that this recent attempt to redefine the word “atheism” as “lack of belief” or “absence of belief” is a mistake. I believe that it probably arose as an attempt to avoid atheism being seen as the same type of belief as a typical religious belief. It can also be useful in debates to emphasise that the burden of proof lies with the theist. However, it requires also redefining the idea of “belief” to something close to its typical usage by theists, conflating belief with claims of certainty or knowledge or faith.

Personally, I think both of the reasons for this attempted redefinition are better served by explaining why believing that no gods exist is a more reasonable position than believing that one or more gods do exist, because one is a belief supported by the available evidence and the other is a belief unsupported by any reliable evidence. That said, I am happy to work alongside people who use either definition of atheism, in the interests of furthering the practical impact of having more people adopting either position.
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by oldrnwisr » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:46 pm

I believe that this recent attempt to redefine the word “atheism” as “lack of belief” or “absence of belief” is a mistake.
With all due respect Michael, I disagree. The fact is that there is a philosophical position which rejects belief in a deity. Belief is an active process and there has to be a null value or a switched off belief mode. Most of us choose to define this as atheism. Whether or not this is a corruption of the traditional meaning of atheism, the philosophical position remains unchanged. So we can either choose to link the label atheism to the position or find an entirely new word to describe it.

To simplify or possibly over simplify matters, I propose the following value system:

+1 - Belief in a deity, theism

0 - Lack or absence of belief, currently accepted definition of atheism

-1 - Belief that there are no deities, traditional atheist definition.
"Science doesn't know everything. Religion doesn't know anything." AronRa - WAC 2011
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Re: 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On ?

Post by MichaelNugent » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:52 pm

oldrnwisr wrote:
I believe that this recent attempt to redefine the word “atheism” as “lack of belief” or “absence of belief” is a mistake.
With all due respect Michael, I disagree. The fact is that there is a philosophical position which rejects belief in a deity. Belief is an active process and there has to be a null value or a switched off belief mode. Most of us choose to define this as atheism. Whether or not this is a corruption of the traditional meaning of atheism, the philosophical position remains unchanged. So we can either choose to link the label atheism to the position or find an entirely new word to describe it.
I'll come back to the substance of your analysis later, as I have some questions about it, but if we assume it as being correct then I would choose the latter of your two options. I would not choose to link the label atheism to this philosophical position. Instead, I would prefer find a new word to describe it. The most popular candidate at the moment seems to be non-theism.
oldrnwisr wrote:To simplify or possibly over simplify matters, I propose the following value system:

+1 - Belief in a deity, theism

0 - Lack or absence of belief, currently accepted definition of atheism

-1 - Belief that there are no deities, traditional atheist definition.
This is a useful way of examining the issue, though for accuracy I would use something like "alternative new definition of atheism" rather than "currently accepted definition of atheism".

As I said, I will come back to it later when I have a bit more time to do it justice.
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