There are no atheists

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Benjamin8urns
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There are no atheists

Post by Benjamin8urns » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:19 pm

Hello all.

I could not be called an atheist. I could not be called a believer.

In fact, I think it would be better to say that I cannot be either.

Nor can I be agnostic. It isn't that I am undecided or that I don't know. Rather, it is that I cannot know.

I cannot know whether God exists or not, because both answers to the question 'Does God exist?' are inconclusive, and just present a long way round of getting to the same conclusion, that is, the contradictions inherent in existence.

Given a choice between two contradictory answers, neither of which can completely answer the question, I have to stop myself and say, 'hang on, is this a choice at all?'

And I realise. No. This is not a choice which I have to make. I don't have to decide, because either way I cannot know.

Nobody can know. And so nobody is an atheist, a believer or agnostic. These are merely words we call ourselves to describe our position in a debate which makes no sense.

And in the words of Jacques Derrida -

"Who can confirm this ‘I am a believer?’ And who can say, ‘I am an atheist?’"


Edit: I am actually agnostic, though not in the modern sense of the word. Thanks to nozzferrahhtoo for pointing that out.
Last edited by Benjamin8urns on Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
anadub25
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by anadub25 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:38 pm

True true but personally i still use the term atheist for the sake of brevity aswell as necessary impact.
"Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis."

- Sigmund Freud -
nozzferrahhtoo
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:50 pm

Actually you would do well to research the full etymology of the word Agnostic. You will find it describes you better than you think as the man who coined it. Thomas Huxley, coined it very specifically to describe people who beleive we can not know.

The modern day use of the word if different, so I can see where you are coming from however.

But read up on it, and read up on Huxley and why he made it. You will find all of what you just said has been said before and a lot of it within his writings.
Benjamin8urns
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Post by Benjamin8urns » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:53 pm

anadub25:

Why is impact necessary? I can see the need for brevity.

I would say, 'I cannot know.' If asked, 'do you believe in God?'

And if then asked, 'are you atheist then, or agnostic?'

I would say, 'Neither. There is no word for someone who admits they cannot know.'

They would be left to either figure this out for themselves, or if they were curious I wouldn't mind discussing it.



By the way, I just realised that the thread topic 'there are no atheists' is incorrect. It should read something like 'Nobody can be sure that they are an atheist'.


Edit: I now know that agnostic does in fact describe my position. I'm the decisive kind.
Last edited by Benjamin8urns on Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Benjamin8urns
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by Benjamin8urns » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:57 pm

nozzferrahhtoo

Thanks for that! I never thought to look up the word agnostic, as in my experience it's usually used by those who are unsure what to think.

I have a certain amount of surity about my philosophical beliefs, so I'll have to be careful when using the term agnostic to describe myself. I do not want to be thought of as someone who sits on the fence. There is no fence to sit on as far as I'm concerned.

I'll be sure to read some Thomas Huxley.
Beebub
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by Beebub » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:04 pm

'Nobody can be sure that they are an atheist'.
Nonsense. I can. I am sure I'm an Atheist. While you're looking up Agnostic in the dictionary, look up the word Atheist.
Noun. A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
I don't have to decide, because either way I cannot know.
Do you see any reference to the word 'know' in the definition?

It sounds very much like you're suggesting that due to lack of evidence it's a bit of a 50-50 as whether or not he exists. Before I comment on that aspect, can you clarify this issue?
Benjamin8urns
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by Benjamin8urns » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:22 pm

So you would say that you disbelieve Gods existence, rather than that you deny his existence?

Now, would you say that you are 100 percent sure in your disbelief? If you say yes, then I think you are mistaken. No-one can be 100 percent sure of what they think. So you are not an atheist. You are someone who thinks that you don't believe in God. There is a big difference between thinking you don't believe and actually not believing. Nobody can truly know what lies at the centre of the self, and so no-one can be certain that they are an atheist.

Existence is a contradiction which cannot be explained. That said, think about this. Everything in existence, once broken down, consists of contradictions which mirror the irreconcilable contradictions of existence. And so no self can be sure of anything it thinks it believes (or disbelieves). We cannot in this sense believe, merely be, and not know, but do our best to work within a framework in which there can be no getting beyond the mystery of the contradiction.



It wouldn't be correct to say that I believe God's existence is 50/50. I believe in so far is as possible to do so, that it is most likely neither possible nor impossible. Neither scenario can be true. He cannot exist. He cannot not exist. This question of whether or not he exists mirrors, like everything else in existence, the contradiction of existence itself. So, most of all, we cannot know, nor claim to know. I reject the question.
Benjamin8urns
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Post by Benjamin8urns » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:39 pm

Moreover, it depends on what you think of as existence.

I am probably best described as a metaphysical naturalist, in that I don't believe in that which is beyond the material world.

However, this doesn't mean that I think that God doesn't exist.

Take for example the imagination. Are the things we imagine exist not real? How can they be not real if there is no distinction between the material world and the 'spiritual world'? If there is no distinction then everything we think about exists. It exists within the neurons of our brains.

It is therefore silly to deny Gods existence. For if you deny Gods existence you deny the existence of love and beauty and hate.
Last edited by Benjamin8urns on Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Feardorcha
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by Feardorcha » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Tea or coffee Benjamin? No rush. Take your time.
anadub25
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Re: There are no atheists

Post by anadub25 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:08 pm

The spiritual world? This smacks of post-structuralist, solipsistic nonsense.
There is objective reality which can be tested and explored via the hard sciences. Love, beauty etc are not contingent upon a concept of god.
Impact is necessary to protest the blasphemy law, to lobby for secular education, to encourage more people to believe based on evidence and subsequent probability rather than faith and religious sophistry.
"Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis."

- Sigmund Freud -
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