Thought you guys would enjoy this... I have a friend who lives close to me, lovely old guy, who used to be a minister at a local church. We get on well, share gardening tips, small talk, the odd cup of coffee. I have been fascinated for a long time with finding out his story - as the reasons why he left the church seem shrouded in mystery.
Well one day, I was feeling a little mischevious and steered the conversation subtley on to religious belief, we quickly began debating the usual parry and repostes we have come to expect i.e. evolution, lack of evidence, biblical floods, big bang etc etc. Getting tired of going nowhere fast I decided to go in for the kill...asking him how he justified his belief (as he did) in the old testament namely Duter. and Levit. (I quoted chapter and verse from my "ready to hand - in case a christian comes a-callin" worse aspects of these wretched books.
He answered me as plainly as I tell you now...
" I just ignore them"
Thats it, folks.... by far the most honest answer yet provided by a christian defending the bible!
Belief or non-belief doesn't require any action against another, so your analogy fails there. The philosophy connected to what someone believes might, however. For example, Christianity has a strong evangelical nature, so it could be seen as having a strong aggressive aspect. Jainism, however, does not go around trying to convert people, so it is far more passive. They both are religions with strong beliefs, just with different connected philosophies.
Belief or non-belief(disbelief) may not require any action, however we are not discussing this as an animate object. Instead that of a person, who in their time chooses to belief or not to. Like the nation between they remain neutral until a decision is made.
Side note, the most aggressive religion observed was that of Islam, which has many varieties of radicals, who like in the past declared Jihads on various parts o the world.
Lack of evidence, is not evidence at all, but rather a critical analysis of the evidence for. When the same lack of evidence occurs just on the other side of the border.
As such, it requires a leap of faith to cross a line which is not there, and is claimed to be. Being such, that you have passed the realm of all provable evidence, everything becomes hypothetical, in such a way that everything becomes faith.
You have a point, GPP. The position that 'There absolutely is no god or gods' is a statement of faith, as it requires evidence that we do not possess. It is a positive statement, and as such it is a statement of belief that there is no such being.
Non-belief does not claim that. It is simply a position that sufficient evidence has not been presented, and thus there is no reason to believe. If additional evidence that proves the existence of a deity is forthcoming, then I will reevaluate my belief/non-believe based on that evidence.
Note that specific gods can be disproved, based on logical fallacies in their presented properties or claims that are shown to be false. For example, if someone claims that their god changes everyone's hair color to blue every Thursday the 29th, without fail, that would be an easy thing to test.
You cannot live life in a state of neutrality of belief. You believe that the floor is solid, so you walk upon it. You believe we exist, so you talk to us. You do not believe there is an invisble axe in your doorway, so you walk through it. You cannot remain neutral about such things, because in doing so life would be impossible to live.
Coming back to the idea of god, atheists do not believe that we will go to hell if we teach that the world was older than 10,000 years, we do not believe we will go to hell if we don't pray, so therefore we continue with our actions. In a state of non-belief.
However, there is a slight difference. I only trust the things know to be true, the observable. Calling all else into question. Therefore, I do not take a stance on the unknown, as I do not know the answer to it.
What do you mean, not in the matrix? We are. ;) You see, this is the same unknown just as is the subject of god, we cannot know. Just as mankind will never known what logic really is, only being able to preconceive ideas of what they belief it to be.