You've all heard the claim that we aren't really atheists, we are just mad at god. (Or you will see such things as "so and so claims to be an atheist.")
Today, though I saw an argument in chat with a theist, and someone else's account of an argument they had out in public, and I stopped to wonder if maybe we aren't sometimes encouraging this line of bullshit, albeit unwittingly.
What happened in both cases was the atheist began recounting all the sorts of horrible things Yahweh is portrayed as doing or believing or commanding. In one case, I saw the atheist say "why should I love god when he won't love me back?"
The problem with this sort of thing is we usually don't take care to phrase our remarks to make it clear that god is a character of fiction. When discussing the misdeeds of Yahweh we tend to fall back on a convention we use when we talk about a fictional character in a book. We refer to him by name and talk as if the guy was real and the book was not fiction, for example, "In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith was arrested for thoughtcrime," not, "In George Orwell's 1984, the character Winston Smith..."
We know what we mean, because we both know Winston Smith (or god) is fictitious. But they don't know god is fictitious.
Talking this way with someone who believes the fictional character is real might cause him not to understand you are just following the convention. Your phrasing sounds to him like you accept god as real, he "knows" god is real, so he assumes at some level you think god is real.
What I am suggesting here is that you ever want to bring up how nasty this being is, you make it clear that you don't think he exists, make sure you put "fictitious" (or equivalent) in every other sentence at least, and not let them think for a minute that you assume the existence of god.
Yes I know that when you just said you were an atheist this shouldn't be necessary, but obviously many of these people don't understand atheism in their guts, so don't let their paradigm default you into a "believer but mad at god" box.
I agree. And I am guilty of this myself, as you, SteveInCO, already know since we just had that discussion. I have said many negative things about god when arguing with theists without clarifying each time that I DO NOT actually believe in him. But I do think it's important to continually state that the fictitious character of god is _______. You know, whatever it is you want to say about him. It sucks that they can't just wrap their head around the idea that we do not believe in god so we wouldn't have to constantly state our stance on god before we make any other statement about him. I have been told that I'm just angry at god, or that I'm rebelling for something bad that has happened to me, I think (almost) every atheist that has come out has heard one of those before. From now on, I definitely want to take more care in phrasing my statements. It's not what you say, but how you say it.
I agree completely. I have phased out a lot words when I talk about these things (words like "designed", "created", "guided") and I always refer to the word god as a normal now ("the existence of a god has these implications...").
Even then, you have to make it more personal at times. Earlier today, actually, I was having a discussion and using the term "your god", which further relates the idea that it's THEIR idea, and I don't share it.
It is pretty annoying though.
It's crazy that the word "atheist" just doesn't seem to sink in, isn't it?
I have a feeling most Christians don't can't even begin to understand what 'not believing in God' is even like or that it is even possible because they were so indoctrinated and take it all for granted.
I don't disagree with that. I've occasionally managed to get to that point in a conversation with someone, where it eventually becomes clear to me that they truly cannot understand where I am coming from.
I am more concerned here with those who could understand it being misled (inadvertently) by the way we are presenting our argument.
Unfortunately you can't tell the difference between the two types of Xian right off the bat.
Dont say fictious character or they might bark at you..even cry like my theist friend. Idea or concept is a better way to get across that you have no belief in god
" I DO NOT actually believe in him" - HIM?
I avoid saying "I don't believe in God." The way this parses, there IS a God in whom I do not believe. I say, "There is no god" or words to that effect.
very true.. in the midst of discussing god many arguements are based on the assumption that god exists.. i usually like to say something like "for the sake of debate,......hypothetically speaking" and continue...
To you nes:
You are atheist now,so you should not blame (allah subhanahu wa taala)but human being not him,why,because as atheist you believe there is no Allah,to be responsible of our deeds and sin he is no longer exist and never be. What those people have done is because there delusion that him obliged them to do stoning, so the fact that there is no god to oblige or to ask them to follow him in this cruelty matter, puts all responsibility on people not their faith or believes, which is(their believes and faith in allah) wrong and such primitive custom. Now think twice the fact that there is no god put all the blames on Man and since the beginning of this life that Man should be and only him responsible on all the criminal and inhuman history for all races and gender, now dear, allah as the mother of this life(),didn’t ask anyone to take his place in judging people and what they do, but people mistakenly treat themselves as God, or mistakenly treat him as human being. I am not with stoning, simply because aggression (to put s.o in a whole and stoning him or her is aggression whatever he or she has done, no Coercion in religion) would never been fair and just even with charia law or whatever law.Allah subhanahu wa taala did not throw a single stone on men or women, if you saw him did tell me when and where.
True, I agree that all evil is mankind's responsibility, not God's or Allah's.
Mankind has always been responsible for inventing God, Allah, other gods & scripture, starting from thousands of years ago when stoning (and other cruel behavior) was sometimes considered acceptable, or at least manageable.
So to blame any supernatural power for anything is just scapegoating; and (conversely) to give any supernatural power credit for good things that happen is delusional, and in some cases it's even arrogant to claim that a supernatural power was acting on one's behalf.
True,i agree that should not blame him or praise him.let's rethink about "Mankind has .....for inventing God"if this is a fact! where is he as Mankind invention or why we are arguing till now about his existence?in other words,God neither mankind invention,neither responsible to what the Mankind are doing in this world.let’s say that we invented him one day,than as human we denied him to day,so which statement is wrong?if we can not find him as car or a toy(mankind invention) so we did not invent him,also if we denied him to day how we can deny something non existing originally? He is masked but not masked in his masking,this is a fact.
It's no different from denying any other god we invented, like Zeus, or Santa Claus. Some people still believe in older, invented gods, and you and I both know that they're wrong.
What do you think is different about your god that makes him/her/it more believable than any other god that you know for a fact we invented? People tend to believe whatever the local culture believes in. How about you, do you also believe in the same god that your local culture believes in?
(It was my decision to not follow my local culture's belief in Chrisitianity, or any other culture that believes that they are the only ones who "know the truth".)