ATHIEST vs AGNOSTIC - please read this. its why im here (sorta)...

I am not into any religions, and im also not an athiest. im AGNOSTIC. I want to learn here at thinkathiest. I always hear Athiests telling me 'youre almost there man, just come over!!!!! JUMP THAT FENCE!!!!" and I dont understand why. I dont know what happens when i die, so how can i say this is it. or there isnt anything else. I dont mean gods and heaven stuff. Im saying WHO KNOWS?!? To me an athiest is someone who believes there IS NO GOD. DONE DEAL. to me thats almost like believing in some higher power... thats why im so confused. what am i missing???? this is a serious question for ME. I guess ill say this. ok.. when we are talking about santa clause there isn't a group of people called 'something' who dont believe in santa. okk. there is no need for any word at all, but there is... atheists... or atheism... PLEASE DONT RESPOND TO THIS with the stuff about theists and non theists stuff unless necessary. im looking for an answer from someone like me who just has questions and want an answer like im talking to a friend, not the awesomest atheist in the village.. lol with all due respect. some Atheists are overbearing, although totally cool because youve obviously figured out that life is HERE and NOW and not waiting in some cloud with a bunch of virgins and bacon.. or whatever religious crap they spew. I LOVE Bill Mahr, Dawkins, Hitchens, Bill Nye, Neil Degrassi (i think its spelled right).

HOW CAN ATHIESTS SAY THERE IS NOTHING when NO ONE KNOWS?!?! Its the whole point! anyway, im new here so dont clobber me.. lol Thanks for reading this and responding.
(anyone can reply, i was just saying, im not an amateur and dont need the 101 on words that shouldn't even really exist... )

-Ryan

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That is incorrect. Atheists are happy to examine new evidence as well. Atheism is a judgement based on the evidence that is available right now. It makes no claims about rejecting any future evidence. That would be irrational.

Cheers
Shane

It's not incorrect. You're describing those of us who describe ourselves as agnostic atheists. Anyone who's atheist without also being agnostic IS being irrational.

Prosit
Unseen

Where did you get the definition that precludes an atheist from examining new evidence? Where have you heard an atheist say that nothing would change his mind regarding his disbelief in a god? Agnosticism has nothing to do with the willingness to examine new evidence.

Respectfully
Shane

The normal atheist does keep and open mind and is thus also agnostic even if he can't see his way to describe himself as an agnostic atheist. But don't you agree that there are at least occasional self-described atheists with minds closed to the matter? If you don't, then, indeed, it is you who has a closed mind.

Again, agnosticism has nothing to do with the willingness to examine new evidence. You are using it incorrectly when you add it as a descriptor in that way.

An atheist means someone who lacks a belief in god. Exactly that. Adding any sort of adjective to describe what might happen in the future is irrelevant and pointless.

Respectfully
Shane

"Agnostic," like many words, has many meanings and many shades of meanings.

Dictionary.com:

1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Synonyms:disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter, skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel, pagan.

Discussion:

What does "...human knowledge is limited to experience" mean that conflicts in any way with my use of the term "agnostic"? All I say is that someone whose mind can be changed by new experiences is agnostic. There are closed minded atheists who are just atheists, then there are people like me (and apparently you) who are agnostic atheists. You can make whatever claim you like, but this is how I view open-minded atheists.

Note also that "agnostic" is a synonym for "skeptic." Those atheists who can't examine the claims (at least the new ones) of theists have lost their skepticism, and I'm sure there are atheists like that.

In this instance you grabbed the definition that was not related to the question of God, which is odd since that is what we are talking about. But even the definition of "limited to human experience" means an agnostic posits that we can never know that God is real without direct interaction with him. It means it doesn't matter how much the evidence infers there might be a god we can never know for sure. An atheist, however, says there is no evidence to show that god exists. But maybe there might be in the future to change their mind. That is quite different to an agnostic, who believes that no evidence could get them to change their mind.

Cheers
Shane

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

The definition I used may not USE the word God but you've a long way to go to demonstrate that it's inapplicable.

Tag, you're it

Lol.

Okay, last attempt. You said:

"One can have concluded that God doesn't exist based on the evidence one has considered (atheism"

That is not atheism. Atheism is considering that there is not enough evidence to prove that god exists. We do not believing in god. That is different to believing there is no god.

If any new evidence came forward to prove god existed it would be examined and a decision made. This is entirely within the realm of atheism. Then you said:

"and yet at the same time be ready to consider new evidence (agnosticism)."

Agnosticism makes no claim to examine new evidence that atheism does not. By your own definition, it is the claim that we can never know if god is real except for first hand experience of him. Any evidence given by another person that cannot be experienced first hand by the agnostic is dismissed out of hand. In that way the agnostic is more close minded than the atheist who will examine evidence from other parties.

"It is just being open-minded and thus not subject to theist criticism that one is closed-minded."

Atheism is always open to new information or evidence. That is the premise of it. To suggest that we are better off using the term agnostic to be beyond theists criticism is to miss the points that they will still criticise us, and that they would be wrong to do so either say. I care not at all about the opinions of theists who mistakenly think I am close-minded.

"Basically, if a theist makes a claim and you take it seriously enough to look at it and answer it, you're showing your agnostic side."

Entirely incorrect, as I explained above. The agnostic, according to your definitions, either believes the existence of god is unknown or unknowable, no matter what evidence is put forward OR he believes human knowledge of god is limited to first hand experience of him, which of course doesn't exist.

Are there anti theists who are closed minded and refuse to examine any new evidence with regards to the existence of god? Probably. But they are few in number. Far fewer than the closed minded religious fundamentalist who refuses to examine the scientific evidence that explains the world through natural means.

Cheers
Shane
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who have helped me on my journey in life. It's unfortunate we live in a world where humans still fight and go to war over who's imaginary friend is better. We need to take over the asylum and get our world back in shape. On the PLUS side, the 'fortunate' aspect if you will, we are able to have discussions like this.
Thank you so much. I wasn't expecting the response I received. It's official, thinkatheist.com has my respect. And so do the people who are here.

-ryan beatty

Perceptually many people place agnosticsm in fence sitter position in between theist/deist and atheist.  It is not, most people who would title themselves atheist are by definition agnostic. 

Atheism means a lot less than people think, it really is just not worshiping a god. It is meaning that someone who is atheist may think that many, none, or one god exist, just that they do not see fit to worship any.  Often this is a matter of the atheist not believing in any gods, but this is only the most common case and not a definition. If you go to church/pray at alters/leave presents for your ancestors (debatable), then you are not atheist. Otherwise, you might be.

Agnosticism like so many have explained is a much more accurate definition of what people think of when they think atheist. Much to the chagrin of those with self styled agnostic fence sitting culpability.  Agnostic is either a claim of the nature/existence of any god(s) as unknowable, or that knowledge we have right now can't suggest the existence of a god. 

Agnosticsm is a much stronger position than atheism, it doesn't mean that either 'side' might be right 'I can't make up my mind". It is a position stating that no one, not you, not your neighbor, not your mom, not your preacher can possibly know the mind/existence of a god because no one has that information.  In this case the agnostic would likely perceive those around him as delusional for taking too many assumptions for truth. 

If you would like to get along with theists, but not compromise your integrity as a free thinking individual. Try changing your 'label' to something like  "Humanist".  If only for accuracy right, might as well stop confusing people with the whole 'Agnostic' approach.

Perfectly said :)

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