Hey all, this is kind of my foundation of atheism so I thought i'd post it as my introduction. First post! I've mostly been an agnostic throughout my life but I came to find that I don't even believe in the soul. There is just as little evidence in a soul as there is in evidence of a god. That is what made start calling myself an atheist. In fact I find it hard to understand how an atheist could believe in souls and if one does i'd like to know their reasoning behind it. Anyway, this is my take on it...

 

I believe consciousness is an emergent property of our incredibly complex biology. This belief does not make me any less in awe of life.

 

I believe the soul is something humans invented to ease man's natural fear of death. A fear shared by all life. The idea of the soul came before their respective religions. Tribes of early man wanted to understand this thing called death and wanted to give hope and understanding to those mourning lost loved ones. So they implanted the idea that when one dies they are merely shifting onto another plain of existence. They could again see their loved ones. They would again be able to experience life in another form.

 

This idea then needed to evolve with man. It needed a "backstory" or mythology, if you will an explanation or religion. So man, governments, those in power began inventing them. Most incarnations of these mythologies (religions) if you think about it are nothing more than explanations for where your soul goes when you die. But noone stops to think about WHY they actually believe they have a soul to begin with.

 

I believe when we die we will once again experience that which we experienced before we were born. Nothingness. Remember that time? Before you were born. There was nothing. That is what we will be returned to in death. Can this not be beautiful?

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Um. No. 

All 'atheist' means is someone who does not believe in a god or gods. 

Just because you don't agree with another atheist on any subject matter BUT the existence of a deity does not make them any less of an atheist than you. 

The True Scotsman Fallacy is titled a 'fallacy' for a reason. 

 

If I said I believed that we lived in a closed universe with a finite amount of matter, I could say that in the course of eternity, statistically speaking, the exact matter that makes up this body now will later re-assimilate in the exact same pattern. (Think monkeys, keyboards and Shakespeare.) Since that body would theoretically be identical to 'me' in every single way, biologically speaking, it would be 'me.' Without contradicting science at all, I could theorize that this re-assimilation of matter was a form of reincarnation. 

 

Now, I'm not saying I actually believe this.

I'm just saying that there are still a whole lot of things that science can't yet explain because we haven't yet developed the technology or even language to do so.

In the absence of real understanding, we can pink teapot ourselves into a coma if we wanted. 

All without ever even mentioning a deity or the supernatural at all.


 

Actually the amount to matter in the universe if finite.

We are made up of star dust & so is everything around us.

I'm sorry, but if you believe in a "soul" that carries on in the afterlife in some other "conscious" form (rather than just a random array of energy particles like Akshay hinted) you are not atheist. You are more like Buddhist or some near-eastern mythology-type of belief...atheists do not believe in the supernatural, souls, or any sorts of afterlife. We do not believe consciousness can "live on" after we die.

I'm sorry, but you don't get to make up your own definitions and apply them to words that already have definitions. 

This is what the word atheism means. 

a·the·ist    (th-st)

n.
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
This is my source for that word.
It comes from a dictionary.
In every language, every educated culture and every educated community on the planet, the dictionary is the deciding judge on definition. 
NOT you. 
So even if my off handed scenario slid past on the exception clause, the fact still remains that the only thing it takes to be an atheist is a lack of belief in deities. 
People that claim they believe in some natural universal energy are still atheist if they do not believe that energy is being guided by a creator/supernatural being. 
Please read up on the NTSF.
It will explain why your argument us fundamentally flawed. 

 

 

I don't need to start any debates or rely on outdated philosophical arguments but the fact is that believing in an afterlife or believing in "souls" that somehow are an "extension" of our consciousness when we die is not being an atheist. An atheist does not believe in supernatural forces and having a soul that is a "continuation" of a consciousness is believing in the supernatural. We call those people Buddhist or some familiar philosophy.

Atheists rely on science, evidence, and rationality. Again, people who make supernatural claims are very well fitted into the Buddhist faith or other similar near-eastern faiths. So regardless of the definition, a new age atheist which may fit narrower into the "definition" or "semantics" you seem to like or a "rationalist/scientific" atheist does not believe in any sorts of supernatural/superstitious/unscientific claims of any sorts of beliefs. Those who believe in souls or the likes simply are not real atheists since they do not base and live their lives and beliefs on logic, rationality, and evidence.

Since you obviously did not read the information in the link I provided you on the True Scotsman Fallacy, I'm not going to read yours arguments anymore.

When adults have a discussion, they consider the points of the other person talking as well.  They don't just keep copy and pasting their own opinion without addressing the points made against them.

Without citing any sources, this is simply your opinion and it goes against a dictionary definition. I'm not going to argue opinions with you. I like facts and logic. 

Your discussion tactics are ignorant. 

I won't be communicating with you any longer. 

You don't need to communicate with me any longer, that's your prerogative. I did read the links you posted; I mentioned that while some may play with the semantics of the definition such as in the sites you provided, I have never ever met someone who considers him or herself atheist while holding the belief in "souls", "ghosts", "reincarnation", etc. Someone who believes in reincarnation for example is very suited to be a Buddhist or some similar near-east philosophy/belief.

I bet if we took a poll of self-affirmed atheists nearly 99% of them would believe in nothing supernatural. Believing in supernatural phenomena is a belief in something without evidence; that is against rationality, logic, and my understanding of all the atheists I have ever come into contact with.. I would not consider them a real atheist and I don't think the vast majority of atheists would consider such people atheists either.

Personally I consider my lack of belief in a god to be Atheism and my lack of belief in the supernatural to be rational skepticism.  Although most Atheists seem to be rational skeptics as well, I do not see any reason to start lumping the two together and overriding the accepted definition.  I'm sure you are correct that 99% of Atheists are also rational skeptics, but I also believe that 90% of Atheists would accept the dictionary as a good source for a definition of the word 'atheist' - mostly because as rational skeptics they would acknowledge a reliable source.

Believing in supernatural phenomena is a belief in something without evidence; that is against rationality, logic, and my understanding of all the atheists I have ever come into contact with

As long as the belief isn't in a god, they can be an atheist. The belief in supernatural could have some rational thought behind it. Like the link between telekinesis and consciously using more than 90% of your brain. Such a belief could have been built, maybe when someone heard/read about the Coral Castle. Its pseudo-science, but you can't just dismiss it so offhandedly. I would give more credence to such claims than those made by religions.

The way you're aggressively pushing your beliefs and dismissing any comment, which isn't compatible with your views, made by others makes you no different than the bible regurgitating theists that come to debate here.

@Misty: You are correct: Atheism ≠ Rationalism

However, a lot of rationalists do not see how it's possible to come to one conclusion without the other following. I agree with Sassan in that respect - Schopenhauer over Kant ;)

I'm sorry, but if you believe in a "soul" that carries on in the afterlife in some other "conscious" form (rather than just a random array of energy particles like Akshay hinted)

I never hinted any such thing. I was mentioning the fact that we are made out of matter that was spread by a supernova, so we literally are made up of star dust.

I'm replying to your other reply above.. which I think was to me, but I'm actually not sure because the reply-tree has sort of become muddled.
Was this to me or to Sassam?
"The way you're aggressively pushing your beliefs and dismissing any comment, which isn't compatible with your views, made by others makes you no different than the bible regurgitating theists that come to debate here."

If it was to me, I'd like to say that I am not dismissing any comment. I simply refuse to engage a person that doesn't acknowledge points that are backed up by cited sources. I made a point. I cited my sources. (The dictionary) and I left a very great article on WHY making up your own definitions are considered an invalid argument (No True Scotsman Fallacy.)
Note that Sassam never disagreed with his claim being a fallacy. That is why I feel he refused to acknowledge my point.
Fallacies in general are frowned upon on TA. Please see the very first notation in the guidelines.
http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/guidelines-governing-the-use After all, we are supposed to be rational, free thinkers. Not argumentative douche bags overly attached to an emotional plea. (That's not aimed at anyone in particular in this discussion.) We are here to discuss...not to always be 'right.' We are here to exchange ideas, not just yell over one another to the point that all we can hear is our own noise.
That's why we also have a common courtesy section.
Further, if you look in the common courtesy section on the guideline page:
You will see the very last suggestion, which actually used to be a rule.
I feel that not only is Sassam refusing to note he is using a logical fallacy, he is also dismissing the fact that his fallacy was pointed out, and is continuing to repeat his same failed argument.
While this is not an offense I would like to see him banned for, It is not a responsible style of discussion, either.
I have neither the time nor the patience for anyone who thinks shoving their fingers in their ears and screaming "AM NOT!" is a viable debate tactic.
That's why I won't be associating with him in the future.
No hard feelings. I'm not angry. I don't hate him or wish him harm.
I'll just be somewhere he's not.

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