A lot of atheists claim to have no position on the existence of God and I see in this position a healthy portion of intellectual poverty if not outright dishonesty.
And yet clearly there not just isn't a God, there CAN'T be a God!
How can I make such a bold claim?
First, because the concept of God is at heart a logical impossibility. A God who is omniscient can't also be omnipotent, for example, because as an omniscient being he knows the future, but if he already knows what will happen, then he can't change it, so he can't be omnipotent.
This alone should give atheists the ability to say "I believe there is no God. Not only that, there CAN'T be a God, at least as commonly conceived."
Beyond that, there is the complete and utter ridiculousness of the notions upon which the concept of God is built. Christian theists ask us to believe that the entire universe with created by a ghost/spirit with a human personality encompassing childish properties like jealousy, poor anger management, and a very mean streak.
So, what is holding you back, guys? If all of the above isn't holding you back, what more would it take to agree to the obvious?
You might as well say that you believe God doesn't exist even if you're just pretty sure God doesn't exist because it's not asserting that God doesn't exist, only that you don't believe God exists. You're simply revealing an attitude and you're entitled to your attitudes. An attitude is a fact regarding your mind. As a fact it has facticity and is its own justification. Your knowledge of your own mind is infallible, unless you are unconscious.
I am in agreement.
If someone says to me “I believe in God” all they are informing me about is their subjective state of mind. They have informed me of how they think but they have not given me any knowledge. However it is more than just a statement - it is a value laden statement about much of how their personal thinking about the world is structured. I may tell them that I do not believe what they believe or I may challenge them for some objective evidence to see if their statement has any merit.
From their point of view I am not challenging some sort of knowledge claim. Rather I am criticizing some very personal beliefs about how they view the world or build their code of ethics etc. I am almost (if not directly) challenging them to explain who they are because their belief in God has made them the person they are.
Belief in God is not the opposite of not believing in God. A sincerely held belief in God will make a person the person they are. They have a concept of god in their minds that eventually becomes real to them. They cannot imagine life any other way. (I feel His presence). It is a delusion as far as I am concerned.
To me God simply does not exist. It is not a matter of belief or disbelief because I see nothing, no concept of any God, to be able to disbelieve it. My lack of belief in God does not make me who I am. I lack belief in the gods I have heard about but I am unable to entertain the intellectual position that maybe “A god”, one I have yet to hear about, may exist. I hear arguments about the possibility of every conceivable type of god existing in a multiverse but that is (imo) meaningless. If a theist cannot give me a clear definition of what “God” is, in this Universe, that I cannot render to be a meaningless definition in a few minutes, then please shut up already about Gods and String Theory.
I do not wonder if there is a God any more than I wonder if that celestial teapot is real. I no longer expend any intellectual energy on the subject within my own thinking processes. I no longer debate the question with myself. I cannot even begin to contemplate it because I simply have no concept of God. I cannot formulate one that could exist because any attribute I assign to it would immediately be contradicted by (my) logic. The concept does not exist in my mind because God does not exist. Again, it is that simple. I wish my explanation was that simple!!
The puzzle is why are so many atheists so reticent to say they disbelieve in God, when belief is never a knowledge claim about the external world. Rather,. it's a statement regarding in inner psychological state.
The concept of God flies in the face of logic and science(God as generally discussed is both logically impossible and additionally scientifically impossible for the reason that miracles are impossible). Miracles are defined as impossible because if we are wrong that the universe is consistent and governed by immutable pysical laws, and that basically anything can happen at any time contravening them (a miracle, in other words), then we can't trust any physical law.
There may be things we don't know, but if they aren't essentially lawful, they are useless. Miracles are useless knowledge.
No atheists I know of are reticent about saying they disbelieve in god (Lack a belief in god).
Some atheists want to avoid the slippery slope of equating a belief with a non-belief.
That seems to puzzle you, as the reason for avoiding that slippery slope is obvious to most here it seems...but not to you.
I agree 100% about the belief being an internal state. I just try to avoid the bait and switch of the word "belief" so that it sounds as though atheists beliefs and theists beliefs are equal.
Its much better to be clear, and to maintain the clarity of not believing there's a god or gods...to avoid falling into the subsequent trap, if the concept is ignored and your suggestions followed, of implying that we can prove a negative. (IE: We are now the claimant, and we have to prove the negative, which we can't, logically, because logic says you can't prove a negative.)
If you think the statements DO mean the same thing, then you are wasting time working so hard to get people to say both for no reason.
If you understand the difference - this would not be an issue.
And, to be clear, the definition of an atheist is one who lacks a belief in gods....so, really, that's what we, to be atheists, lack a belief in: Gods.
An atheist can be a republican, democrat, independent, and believe that Elvis is still alive and that the easter bunny hid a basket for him at the flat earth party, which he's going to, as soon as he checks under his pillow for what the tooth fairy left him.
If you, personally, start requiring atheists to fit your personal description, and then harangue them for, in your opinion, not going along with it...you have to brace yourself for those who don't have other special appendages to their atheism.
This is especially relevant when the appendages you are tying to sew on act as handles for those who want to grab atheists by them.
The puzzle is why are so many atheists so reticent to say they disbelieve in God, when belief is never a knowledge claim about the external world.
There you go unseen...you've hit it on the nail. The reason some don't state any belief about God...is because they are unwilling to make a claim that is tantamount to an unfounded statement. Under any standards of critical thought...it is a massive fallacy to claim something when you have a fatal lack of information. Proving a negative existence of something in the universe...is impossible. I have no desire to believe anything about God either in his existence or non-existence because ultimately it is a belief...with a percentage of speculative or emotional or overconfidence in that 0.000000000000001% possibility that it does exist. I see no point in making any statement of any kind about supernatural phenomena because it is utterly of no benefit to anyone. To say I believe God doesn't exist is tantamount to making a claim of certanty with a lack of information. I'm not going to depart from the principles of critical thought just so that someone can fill in a box on where I stand per some false dichotomy.
Your definition of belief is entirely inadequate, all encompasing and doesn't distinguish belief with just about every other mental event there is. It is totally idiosyncratic and one that I have never heard to read from neither an academic nor in ordinary English. Your false dichotomy linking lack of belief with beleif in non-existence is a claim no modern philosopher makes because it is simply so easy and elementary to demonstrate how wrong it is. Your obsession of painting all atheists as something more than simply lacking belief in God (which is the definition of an atheist I don't care how stubborn you are in unwilling to accept that)....is an uncontrolable desire to project your own kind of atheism onto others. The question shouldn't be "why aren't atheists willing to admit x" but should be "why is an atheist so concerned about atheists having to be atheists + something more". Some don't hold beleifs about God. Move on. Get over it.
God simply doesn't (can't) exist
That's the most vacuous and terrible argument you've ever made on think atheist. Even worse than your "free will doesn't exist...how could it"?
Sometimes I get the feeling that we're twin sons of different mothers or something.
I love reading Davis Goodman's posts. Davis, you say what I can't possibly formulate in my head if given three days to attempt to formulate that response. Does that make sense?
Or, in the words of Slim Pickens, as Taggart in the most racist movie ever released, Blazing Saddles, :
Gosh darn it Mr Lammar, you use your tongue prettier than a ten dollar whore....
LMAO!!! Every single time. Thanks Davis.
"Or, in the words of Slim Pickens, as Taggart in the most racist movie ever released, Blazing Saddles, :
Gosh darn it Mr Lammar, you use your tongue prettier than a ten dollar whore...."
Noel, you could be missing the intended meaning Taggart was implying there, he was simply flirting with Mr. Lammar. The scene with Taggart and Lammar hooking up in the malecar was (unfortunately left on the cutting room floor.) :)
Laughing my ass off...
Part of the final scene with Dom DeLouise directing a gay musical...
it is a massive fallacy to claim something when you have a fatal lack of information.
An expression of belief is a self-referential statement about something of which one has infallible firsthand information.
Really, an expression of belief is based upon infallible first hand information?
That's news to me at least.
I observe people who believe that Hillary Clinton went to Benghazi and gunned down US soldiers and citizens...and, their information is not first hand, or infallible.
They express this belief, hence my ability to observe it.
So, again to use a bait and switch on the words, yes, they are expressing what they believe...and, as its their own thought, it is first hand...albeit, that doesn't make it infallible, unless, again to warp meanings, you mean that its infallible because its their own thought and they cannot not know what they themselves think.
That's not relevant though to the context of the conversation...its just words saying "A person thinks what he thinks".
So, some people misinterpret sensory inputs. They read or hear stories about the happenings in the world, talk to friends, etc, and come to conclusions that are incorrect/inaccurate.
So, thinking a thought is something anyone can do, even a monkey...but, in the context of whether the thought reflects reality or not, it being an original thought doesn't count for much.
So, if claiming something for which you have too little information to base that claim upon, it certainly can lead to a fallacy,
So, those who KNOW Hiillary gunned down the poor US personnel, are wrong. They had too little information, and, came to the wrong conclusion.
So, a statement CAN BE BELIEVED by the one making it, and, be wrong.