I am not ashamed of being an atheist. I'm ok w/being rational. But I had a discussion with my sister in law today regarding having been Roman Catholic. We both come from Catholic families -- she is SBNR (spiritual but not religious, a point of view that I find to be namby-pamby), and I am an atheist. I caught myself candy-coating my point of view. I said that I was extremely agnostic. And as I was saying it, I was thinking, "WTF? Atheist!". Now, to a degree, I didn't want to offend her. And to a degree, I didn't want to get into a discussion, muchless an argument, about it. But I do feel cowardly. 
Any body else been here? 

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"I think that it is logically sound to be a gnostic atheist in regards to the existence of a god who created the world in six days only six thousand years ago because we have indubitable evidence which directly contradicts this assertion."

I really wanted to include something like this in my previous comment but didn't know how to word it... I 100% agree.
I would say that there is almost certainly no god (as traditionally defined gods). I might even say in casual conversation quite bluntly that "there are no gods". I am still agnostic about it because I can't know for certain. Maybe you mistake atheists like me for gnostic atheists?

We are probably splitting hairs here. :-)
Maybe you mistake atheists like me for gnostic atheists?

Nah, I think that I would also endorse the statement, "There are no gods" in conversation, as well. I'm thinking more along the lines of anyone who actually claims the position of gnostic atheism. Not that I can necessarily bring anyone to mind at present (ah, the joys of Irish Stout and its corresponding memory impairment) who claims such a position, mind you. You still recognize the inevitable agnosticism, regardless of it being infinitesimally small; therefore, I don't think you can fall into the flawed logic of gnostic atheism.

For me, I think it comes down to something like being a gnostic atheist specifically regarding every proposed concept of a deity that I have encountered; no description of a god that any human has every proposed has demonstrated that any of these purported beings actually exist. However, because it is impossible to discard the existence of something which has not yet been proposed, I must ultimately retain the tiniest degree of agnosticism in regards to the mere possibility of a deity.

So I guess that I espouse gnostic atheism in regards to current definitions of any gods, but must remain an agnostic atheist in regards to the ultimate existence of a supernatural being.

Maybe I am just misunderstanding the definition of gnostic atheism? I was under the impression that it applied to any possible existence of a deity.

We are probably splitting hairs here. :-)

I would be disappointed if we were not! ;)
You sound a lot like me here when I am discussing god with people.... sometimes it's just much easier to get the point across by saying point blank "there are no gods".
I agree that it's much more direct and concise to just state that there are no gods. I wonder if the difference between someone claiming totally gnostic atheism and someone claiming gnostis regarding specific definitions of a deity yet remaining ultimately agnostic is that the gnostic would say, "I know that there are no gods" whereas the agnostic atheist would preface the statement with, "I do not believe that there are any gods." (Or perhaps the agnostic would say, "I believe that there are no gods." Is that the same sentiment or is it altered by switching the negative?)

But then again, both of those statements tend to become rather wordy and defeat the purpose of being direct.

I wonder what designates someone as a gnostic atheist; do they necessarily need to implicitly state a claim of gnosis? Or would the statement, "I know that there are no gods" suffice?
Would your sister really be offended by your atheism? I don't bother people with my atheism, but if asked, I never shy away from it. Noone has ever seemed offended.
She's sister in law, not immediate sister. I didn't think she'd be offended, exactly, but it might have ruffled her feathers a bit to know that I think she's wrong. For her, spiritual but not religious is godly without organized religion, without ritual, without someone telling you what to do or think. I don't address the issue of atheism unless someone asks outright, which she didn't, but I didn't want to get into it w/her.
I don’t believe there is such an animal as a ‘spiritual’ being, though many claim
to be (Adolph Hitler for one and all our politicians, with one or two exceptions). I believe they are, also, called hypocrites.

An atheist, is merely someone who rejects the super naturalism of theism and its
irrationality. I find it wearying to be around 'spiritual' people who are so egotistical as to think that
they have ‘a mind or emotions of a high and delicately refined quality. ’ [see #4]

As for Christians, I never met one who wasn’t a liar and a coward. I know that sounds
harsh, but consider--what person with reasoning ability steadfastly claims to believe
in an absurdity with a straight face, and isn't their mindless belief based ultimately on an irrational fear of burning in hell--or some other bizarre form punishment?

If their ‘beliefs’ harmed no one, I would still feel contempt for their disingenuousness, but they do do harm by proselytizing their warped views on others--many who are children who have not developed critical thinking abilities.

It is incumbent on atheists not to enable them--these 'Christians and spiritual' beings--or pander to them by remaining silent. They are not poor 'misguided' souls--they are willfully ignorant and want all others to be so.


SPIRITUAL (adj.)
1. relating to the spirit or soul and not to physical nature or matter; intangible
2. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) of, relating to, or characteristic of sacred things, the
Church, religion, etc.
3. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) standing in a relationship based on communication
between the souls or minds of the persons involved a spiritual father
4. having a mind or emotions of a high and delicately refined quality.


Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of in the belief in the existence of deities. In a
narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively,
atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with
theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Thank you, willailla. Very well said.
So is spiritualism just another form of supernaturalism then? I've often felt a connectedness to nature, and perhaps the universe as a whole that the term "spiritual" is sometimes used to describe. But the connectedness I am referring to is grounded in reality and supported by scientific observation. Perhaps there is a better term for it than spiritual...
Perhaps a better term would be 'a lover of nature' like Thoreau, Muir, Burroughs, etc. who were naturalists.

naturalism - A state of nature; conformity to nature; Metaphoric: The doctrine that denies
a supernatural agency in the miracles and revelations recorded in the Bible, and in spiritual
influences; Any system of philosophy which refers the phenomena of nature as a blind force
or forces acting necessarily ...
I have actually referred to myself as a naturalist. It's a bit old fashioned, but I can't see any reason not to recommend it.

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