Good morning everyone.
As stated last night I am going to tell a little about myself. This may get a little confusing so please forgive me.
It all started many years ago when I was a small child. My parents were not religious so Sunday School was not high on their priority list. I did go to Sunday School intermittently while my mother attended services.
I don't recall whether I had any fun in Sunday School all I remember is that it didn't make much sense, the whole God loves you, Christ loves and protects you, he is a shepherd and you are his sheep and on and on. This Jesus Christ, for Christ sake (heehee) was dead and gone long before I came along so I couldn't see how he could love me and all that. And the whole God thing didn't make sense. I went along with it but saved it for Sundays, the rest of the week I lived in the real world far removed from the religious thing.
As I aged God, Jesus and religion in general faded into the background. Oh, they were there but not given much thought about. So I believed in God in a sort of amorphous way, he never intruded on my life. This went on for years and gradually the whole religious thing faded away into the great beyond. So the years passed.
I guess I was a nominal theist but with reservations. I knew there were atheists but I only knew the word atheist in it's connotative sense which is negative.
Last year for some reason I decided to check out atheist forums, exactly why I don't know. Surprise, surprise they resonated with me so I joined up. After reading through the posts I realized God had receded so far into the background I no longer believed in Him. As for the bible I'd always had problems with it. So much seemed so implausible that I found it unbelievable, at best the modern worlds, the Christians anyway, mythology.
A couple of weeks ago I began to realize there were people who were theists, some agnostic and others atheists. I was not a die hard atheist, had nothing against God but was disinterested in a supernatural force that was responsible for the universe and all it contained. Also religion, qua religion, was of no interest to me, it is/was there but, except for the fact I was born into a christian culture, of little to no interest to me. I wasn't an agnostic and as a weak, at best, atheist felt there had to be a forth possibility but couldn't say what label I could hang on myself.
Then I ran into the word apatheist. When I looked it up in Wikipedia I realized it fit me better than the other three labels. While I am a member of other atheist forums and enjoy the conversations I am rather unconcerned as to whether or not some sort of god like being/thing. To me it is a moot question especially since there is no way to prove or disprove that sort of existence. I will admit I am not at all big on the bible. Without the first book it has no meaning (at least to me) while with it we have a circular argument for the existence of some sort of supreme being. In any case whether or not a god exists has no impact on my life. Even if something like that showed itself it wouldn't cause me to do or be any different from how I presently live my life.
So I am here rather than on a religious forum, which the few I've dropped in on, spouted the same old drivel which I can no longer abide.
Somehow this whole post seems to me to be a bit out of kilter.
So I believed in God in a sort of amorphous way, he never intruded on my life.
That is an interesting way to phrase it Robert. Part of my life was like that. I just did not care if “he” existed. I never stopped to question it. It was only when I came to understand what “atheist” meant that I realised that I was already one. I was an atheist long before I applied the term to myself. What annoyed me was not that god never intruded on my life but that the religious did. They trespassed and infiltrated themselves into so many aspects of civil life such as the education system, the formation of discriminatory government policy etc. or even just knocking on my front door to peddle their wares. It is one of the main reasons I am “active” in atheist groups. The other is I just like to argue and debate with them. I find it a fascinating subject and I am often bewildered by the amount of adults that believe they can communicate with the Creator of the Universe.
There are many people who would not claim to be atheists but would not “really believe”. They will say things like “Ah but there must be a god” and are happy to leave it at that. There are also people who (unlike most of the members on TA) have no inclination to ponder whether or not a god exists. “It’s one thing not to believe in god but how could you be an atheist??”
Understanding that atheism is not a denial of any god existing but rather a lack of belief in one (or more) existing and that agnosticism is a position taken due to a lack of knowledge about any specific god existing is something that would make more people less amorphous.
BTW, if you ever fancy a return to Sunday School but this time one for atheists we host one every Sunday:-)
[quote]Understanding that atheism is not a denial of any god existing but rather a lack of belief in one (or more) existing and that agnosticism is a position taken due to a lack of knowledge about any specific god existing is something that would make more people less amorphous.[/quote]
I'm a bit confused here; what if I do deny the existence of a god. What would you call that someone? As I understand it atheism can either not deny the existence of a god as you say above or absolutely deny that a (or any) god(s) exists. At least that is my understanding.
As an apatheist I couldn't care less whether or not a god exists.
Apatheism (// a portmanteau of apathy and theism) is the philosophical view that one should be apathetic towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim or belief system.
An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or rejecting any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist may thus decide to live as if there are no gods. The existence of god(s) is not rejected, but may be designated irrelevant.
That is pretty much my feeling.
No, atheism is not a denial of anything. Atheism is only a lack of belief. I have heard of many gods but I do not believe they exist. I do not believe a word of what people claim or assert about their gods. I consider every theist to be deluded. I do not understand what they are talking about. I do not have to deny their gods existence because I just don’t believe they exist in the first place. There is nothing for me to deny.
If there was something to deny then it would have to exist in the first place. If it did then I would not be an atheist. I am agnostic because I have no knowledge of any god. I have no concept of a personal god in my head. I do not know what that could even be.
I live like there are no gods too. They do not enter into my thinking. At this stage of my life I see belief in god(s) as a relic of the Dark Ages. Theists will land on this site every few weeks or so to tell us we are wrong and that their God is real. But they remain unable to define these gods or offer any objective reasons as to why we should believe what they believe. I continue to remain an atheist, an unbeliever in any god until someone offers something other than their subjective opinion.
I am generally disappointed when someone tells me they are a believer. They seem so happy about it but all I hear in my head is someone telling me that they believe they can communicate with the Creator of the Universe via telepathy. They believe they are in a personal relationship with their god and are going to become immortal for believing this. I hear the words “Oh, not another one” in my head and if it was not for the amount of atheists I know, I could despair of humanity!!
I do understand what you mean though by denying their (or his) existence. It seems so improbable that it is hardly worth considering. However it is a positive assertion that will need to be defended and you will find yourself having to prove a negative. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. A denial is a claim. A lack of belief is not.
I am an atheist but I am more of an antitheist. I just love labels!! But not as much as discussing dangerous ideas!!
Hit it out of the park here Reg. I really dont care if people pursuit religion to gain happiness. I just don't want someone telling me how to live based on their myths, or even worse...wanting to harm those of us who do not believe. That really pisses me off big time and is why I can't be apathetic about the topic.
I suppose that there's no teapot or unicorn orbiting the sun, although I can't prove it. Same (to me) as supposing there's no god. Some would call me a denier, but that's their opinion, and I might think of them as a science denier.
I'm not ready to call myself and apatheist, because I still care about the topic, at least... because most of the world seems to be theists, so I want to be familiar with the arguments.
what if I do deny the existence of a god. What would you call that someone?
Then you are an atheist who on top of lacking belief in God (which is the most important part)...also claim there is no god. Some call it "strong atheism" or a 7 out of 7 or absolute atheist. But the most important thing...is your lack of belief. You can go wherever you like from your lack of belief including being an anti-theist (fight against God belief) be a total determinist (there is no free will) be a physical absolutist (everything is reduced to the physical) or even believe in spirits (many atheists do) or be repulsed by and disgusted by churches (many western atheists do) or not give the slightest thought to God (many asian atheists) or claim whole heartedly with absolute certainty there is no God (a minority of confident non-supernaturalists like you).
All that extra stuff on top, is mostly besides the point when it comes to belief or lack of belief. All we need to know is if you belief or lack belief. That tells us just about everything. The extra stuff...that tell you about your take on metaphysics or "the relationship between science, knowledge and the human condition". It's usually besides the point and often irrelevant to discussions between atheists or between atheists and the religious. The religious will TRY to make it about your strong atheists rather than your lack of belief...because they can attack the strong atheism more easily (because strong atheism is based on a non-air tight assumption). But they ignore the fact that even if you were to concede them that you aren't absolutely certain about God's non existence...your lack of belief is still by far the strongest wall you can put up between you and the intellectually insane sky-God believers. They cannot properly or rationally attack it without delving into the intellectually absurd or stupid (God is just a concept like energy bullshit). So I'm not even sure it's necesary to label yourself as one particular kind of atheists or not. You lack belief. It means you aren't in the group of the religiously-deluded-mob. Where you go from there is part of an entirely different intellectual world.
Where you go from there is part of an entirely different intellectual world.
Been there. Feels like a cartoon, but I can't tell if I'm in it, or am it. Or just the icing on it. It's just... complicated.
If I could only just remember where I parked my spaceship!!
It only takes four years of reading, beer drinking, studying the names of obscure pre-Socratic philosophers and their elipsical riddles...and tollerating endlessly painful terrible theology plus the horrors of symbolic logic...before you end up in the world where most graduates of philosophy never aimed to reach:
We are hopelessly ignorant about nearly everything.
What makes that world special? Most people are unaware of their ignorance or refuse to accept the limits of our knowledge. It's a world with an always present enormous gaping hole that our brain desperately tries to patch up with random ideas and other nonsense. Welcome to the exclusive world! The first belgian beer is free! Just try not to wake up naked in the hallway of a dormitory you don't recognise. Do annoyingly pester confident know-it-alls with those meddlesome questions like what? how? for example? are you sure? It's endless fun. Oh and just about everything is legal there! Though parking is expensive!
Alright already so I'm really a rabid atheist. But having said that the reality is I couldn't care less one way or the other about a "God's" existence or nonexistence except as it pertains to the fact i was born into a basically Christian culture therefore inculcated with certain ethos.
If one wishes to believe that a supernatural being of some sort caused the universe to come into being or at least the universe came about through the labors of something outside ourselves that's fine with me.
My belief is that the bible is as much myth as Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Roman religion/beliefs are. One can challange a theist of an atheist or anyone else to prove (or disprove) the existence of a god or gods. That argument can and will go on forever, neither side winning or loosing. As Shakespeare wrote in one of his plays " ...it's all sound and fury signifying nothing...". It's sort of like "what kind of noise annoys an oyster?" A noisy noise of course.
I refuse to get involved in one of those arguments as no one wins while both sides believe their proof prevails. And so it goes ad infinitum, an argument that can never be won by either side.
Alright already so I'm really a rabid atheist.
I don’t think anyone here is going to try to argue with you on that :-)
I have been called a “militant atheist” more than once, sometimes even by myself. I usually follow that up with “yes, I am furiously disbelieving in your god!!”
There is no proof either way. Only those making a claim for either position have to deal with the onus of proof.
“So it came to pass that a man of reason walked among the masses. Verily he said unto them “The onus of proof be upon those that spout extraordinary claims”. They replied, “But we have much evidence so take that you godless atheist"!
“Nay, ye do not for it is nothing but tedious arguments that ye cling to.”
But the crowd would not listen to the man of reason and returned to their knees where they seemed most content. Why do we need reason when we know the truth already? We have this book…….”
Robert and Reg...I think you are actually...both... fundamentalist-extremist-hostile-terrorizing-agressive-anti-everything-nihilistic-doom-spreading-perverted-atheists.
But I would still like to be friends and have our chats.