I have had this discussion on other threads and I wanted to get your opinions on what most fellow Atheists consider an "Atheist".
I have always considered an "Atheist" as someone who does not believe in even the possibility of a God/Gods, an afterlife, reincarnation of any kind, energies "living on" or being "transferred to other forms" after death, ghosts/souls, and/or superstitious beliefs.
I have not considered Buddhists atheists as they still believe in "energies" and the sorts; and believe that people who say that they believe in the "possibility" of an afterlife as agnostics or the sorts - I have been an atheist for example since I was 15-16 and maybe an agnostic for a couple of years before then.
For example, I am sure that Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the likes all fit into the aforementioned definition of an "Atheist". So, what do you think?
I'm with Jared on this one - I have been having some thought on this and I remain convicned and bewildered why anyone who would consider the possibility of god (other than in the sense that I can't disprove the existence of god because it is not falsifiable just like I can't disprove dragons) would call themselves atheist. Being atheist has the connotation of intellect and reason. It also bewilders me how someone who believed in reincarnation, some type of afterlife, or ghosts or souls would call themselves atheist. They still believe in irrationality.
While there might be a dictionary definition - in practice and reality - I don't think the atheists who are scientists and intellectuals would consider the self-proclaimed atheists that fit the other category as true atheists. This is my only conclusion based not on a dictionary definition - but in common practice among the intellectual atheists who consider themselves atheist - and what it means to be an atheist.
Oh now we have "true" atheists and not true atheists.Should we have multiple sects of atheists as Christians have numerous denominations? I'm being sarcastic, but if we squabble over what is a "true" atheist, then we sound like some religious people who say "if you don't believe exactly as I do, then you're going to hell".
They qualify for the title. That does not mean that they are rational in the way they apply their non-belief to one or more supernatural beings. Those who don't believe in a god because they do not have the cognitive capacity or intellectual maturity to conceive of such a thing also qualify for the title. They are also not an atheist for rational or mature reasons.
The fact that there are different types of atheists, some rational and informed and some not, is the basis for a lot of confusion over the characteristics of an "atheist". This fact feeds the common stereotypical Christian definition of the term which actually fits very few people who identify themselves by this word.
Few people who went through an emotional conversion experience ever referred to themselves as "atheists" before this conversion, but ironically frequently refer to themselves as "ex-atheists" in retrospect. When pressed it becomes clear that the previous "atheism" of these converts was neither informed nor rational. They can rarely, if ever, give you any rational reasons why they failed to believe in the existence of a god at that time. They generally fall back on explanations that actually presume that they DID believe in some form of god at the time. They say that they "hated god" or that they "did not want to follow god's teachings" or they wanted to live a life of self-indulgence that could not be lived by someone who loved god. All these explanations presume that they actually believed that a god such as they now worship existed. Most of the time the real reason is that they just did not have much knowledge of the subject or any interest in critically examining it.
To avoid this type of confusion and the straw man arguments that lead to so much unwarranted discrimination and prejudice against atheists, especially in socially and educationally backward countries and areas, groups of "informed" atheists should start to acknowledge that different forms of atheism exist and spell out what these differences mean.
Being atheist has the connotation of intellect and reason
I readily admit that I held close to the same position quoted above. What was a brutal smack to my much needed stances on this topic came in the form of a simple assumption brought fourth to be tested, quite shocking to note again. I was in a debate chat room, where all were known to me well enough to know them just by a single utterance over the mic.
My assumption was in the form of atheist held a near intrinsic connection to critical thinking in near, if not all aspects of life, when applicable. This lead to a more hopeful tone that freethinker mindset also was a part of this wellspring of truth seeking, although never fully assumed to be as such.
I found my views of what an atheist means by the simplest of tests. It came in the form of making a comment in regards to a at the time new news published from some source that NORML.ORG had aptly analyzed and refuted. It was a so called research study dealing with the harms of cannabis, one directly from bunk central namely Australia if I recall correctly.
This was an instance of a case closed malarkey study that was nothing more than a meta analysis that offered nothing new in terms of actual research and was a prime example of cherry-picking mixed with foolery with statistics that could be formed into whatever your funder's
The significance here is that the refutation was clear and easily understood to anyone that cares enough to expend the several minutes of reading comprehension to learn the truth of the matter.
What did I receive in response to the the article dealing with cannabis, with claims long since refuted time and time again?
First off, it is is fine and dandy (to some extent) that there was skepticism that the research claiming the specified harms were bunk.
There were tales of a brother who was addicted to cannabis, it ruined his life. There were other condemnations of medical use as a way for people to get "high," even in regard to cancer patients this was applied.
In shock, I hurriedly cited every bit which refuted their claims, while making sure to also provide concise understanding of what "drug addiction" is and is not. To my dismay, the cited research was scoffed at and not even glanced at, with reasoning along the lines of "they will just release another research study that refutes these, therefore, none should be considered." With that stance, what remains except their personal biases, quite immune to hard scientific research.
That which they would toss out as why the other side ought to have their belief/positions changed, all the while seemingly unaware they are what it is they shun and spit at.
To be absolutely clear here, we are talking about not just one or two atheists but a small group of individuals who had for many months had shown patterns of critical thinking which one would assume would carry over to all aspects of their lives.
This continued on to where I became acutely aware to how rational and logical they were on certain topics, then when tested, failed to be consistent.
This expands into neuroscience and psychotherapy as well, and it did no stop with them. I have seen more than enough examples of delusional and irrational thinking with "atheists" to make it utterly sinful to dare to ascribe more than the general definition to what it means to be an atheist.
The fairly easy test I have found is that of the legal status of cannabis in the USA. It is only through disingenuous, willful ignorance or outright delusional thinking to oppose cannabis in the least in terms of medicinal application. This does hold close proximity to the regulation of cannabis for adult use for non-medical reasons, along with the removal of restrictions of growing hemp (which has been shown to not have even remote levels of psychoactivity for many decades) for the innumerable sources of utilization.
With intellect and reason, I *SEE* the harm reduction philosophy as inevitable due to the consequences of reason and intellect mixing, with the assumption of no cultural dogma casting its weight into the mind.
As this is not the case with atheism defacto, I perish the notion that you attribute to an atheist.
That and, what I had posted previously.
Gnosis = Greek word for knowledge
Theism = Greek word for god belief
a = Greek particle for lack of, absence of
Thus a-gnosis = lack of complete knowledge about something
And a-theism = lack of god belief
An agnostic atheist is a person who has no god belief but no certainty about it because of lack fo complete knowledge. Most atheists fall in this category, although the uncertainty level may be extremely low.
A gnostic atheist is a person who has no god belief and is certain (has knowledge that) there is not a god. This can apply to one particular god or to all gods. Many atheists and some theists have this type of certain non-belief about at least one god, usually because the claims and concept are logically contradictory. For example, an all-knowing, all-good god cannot exist in the face of evil in the world that is not the fault of the sufferer - famine, starvation, tsunamis, earth-quakes, hurricanes, the necessity for carnivores to kill other life forms in order to survive themselves, and so on.
An agnostic theist is a person who believes in the existence of a god but has no certainty (complete knowledege) of this. There are various levels of uncertainty so presumably a theist of this type believes that it is more likely that there is a god than that there is not a god of their chosen variety.
A gnostic theist is a person who believes in the existence of a god and is certain (has complete knowledge) that they are correct in this belief. Fanatics and most active evangelicals fall into this realm. If they do not then they have enormous cognitive dissonance issues that is likely to create serious psychological problems for them.
Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they do not claim to know with certainty whether any deity exists. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who does believe that one or more deities exist but does not claim to have absolute knowledge of such.
Bertrand Russell uses the example of the celestial teapot. He argues that although it is impossible to know that the teapot does not exist, most people would not believe in it. Therefore, one's view with respect to the teapot would be an agnostic "ateapotist", because while they don't believe in the existence of the teapot, they don't claim to know for certain.
Son of a! I forgot to get your input on what was intended to be in my first reply.
A very quick estimate of atheists in China has a tally of 182 million.
My knowledge of what it is like over in China or to that of the varieties of mentalities and personalities is not adequate for me to form any acceptable position, beyond as follows.
From what I have been told by a native from China, who lived there until at least she was 30, what you should find over there is that "god" is as I find fitting to use, moot for the atheist. Moot in that the don't chit-chat about it, and unfortunately she was not able to elaborate enough for more than what I have presented.
Asking her about what she believes, does not, has a lack of belief in, etc, she also carried the nonissue and nonchalant sentiment in her body language and eyes, in place of verbal articulation due to her still learning good ole English.
She is not the most mature person, not a deep thinker, very materialistic driven in terms of happiness achieved through lots of shopping and a bit spoiled due to the enormous wealth generated from her parents.
So, why am I saying all of this?
With the assistance of an abundantly fluent English and Chinese (her dialect and quite a few more) translator stud, more than once, she had shown me by her thought processes and ponderings, that critical thinking is not readily available, possibly just lazy thinking.
And, there was at least two instances where she had in all seriousness felt whatever the action taken would be bad luck (bleh, no idea what they were, nothing that I was use to hearing).
I no longer have access to communicate with her, but my guess is the bad luck thing (I would assume there is "good" luck as well) is cultural, could even be firming proven to her due to coincidence, confirmation bias, ignorance and so on.
For me, there is a logical consequence of not believe in luck that leads to lack of belief in "god." Heck, the lack of belief in a god could also lead to losing belief in luck.
The problem is that is not how humans work.
When I explained what sleep paralysis is to provide good reasons they should reconsider their "visitation," tossing in that I have personally experienced hundreds of sleep paralysis events. That I KNOW how real it feels, that it IS real, in respect to what is being presented to us as existing outside of our body is a phenomena within. That it can and does feel MORE real than how we typically feel reality is as what real 'feels' like.
Did this have any sway, did their ACC let this data in so the formed beliefs could be susceptible to refutation and modification by use of reason and the desire for truth?
Oh, heh, the sleep paralysis chap is an atheist but believes in...
dun dun dunnnnn
spirits or "something unknown"
however, has a lack of belief in "god"
Okay, I shall not harass you anymore on this topic.
Jesus loves you!