Some people believe that it requires some leap of faith to disbelieve god's existence. This is absolutely idiotic. Atheism is a lack of a belief in god. If you are religious, ask yourself: "Why do I believe in god?" Whether or not you claim to have evidence for your faith, the correct answer is because someone taught you about god. You did not know what god was until someone told you. Either you were taught, or you invented your own version of god, deluded yourself, and poisoned other minds with your falsehoods.

One cannot make the argument that atheism requires a leap of faith. Nonbelief is not an active conscious process. One would not continue throughout their day repeating "I don't believe. I don't believe. I don't believe." Justification of disbelief is a different process entirely. Rejecting belief is an active conscious process but maintaining disbelief is not because there is nothing to maintain. Belief is always an active conscious process. Belief requires constant reaffirmation e.g. "I believe because of this, that, and the other." Disbelief does not require this. Faith can only exist in the presence of a conscious appeal to the mind. If the conscious appeal is gone (or never existed in the first place) then one cannot believe. Arguing for the case of the opposite simply does not make sense. There is no conscious appeal to disbelief. The truth is, god is a concept invented by man.

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Comment by Joseph Martin on May 14, 2013 at 4:00pm

"Actively rejecting" falls under the category of "justification of disbelief." Disbelief still does not require a conscious appeal to the mind. It is exactly the opposite because if a claim does sit right, I reject it because it is UN appealing.

Comment by Daniel Rockwell on May 14, 2013 at 4:09pm

No matter the topic, if you have been presented with options, and you have selected one of them, you have made an active choice.

Being aware of the concept of God, yet not accepting it is, in actuality, rejecting it.  It is not and can not be a passive non-acceptance.  There is no such thing.

You can believe in God, or you can not believe in God.  Once you are aware of the concept, there is no way to honestly remain neutral.

The only state that does not require a conscious appeal of the mind is one of complete neutrality, which can only arise from complete ignorance of the subject.  Obviously none of us here could ever claim that.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on May 14, 2013 at 9:34pm

Daniel: "There is no way to sit directly on the fence.  Simply knowing that the fence exists precludes that."

You're saying that to a guy who sat on the fence from for about fifty years? Are you counting on the word "directly" to save your case?

You appear to be saying too that in ~1958 I knew there was a fence.

Majoring in math and science, where evidence is required, all I did was decide that the college atheists had no more evidence for knowing there is no god than Catholics had for knowing there is a god.

Your words "...one that has never been presented with the notion in any form whatsoever" resemble closely words I heard in Catholic schools, where nuns said that for non-Catholics to avoid the fire, they had to have never been presented with Catholicism.

You appear to have changed one dogma for another.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on May 14, 2013 at 9:59pm

Joseph, a conclusion that I'm trolling requires a good deal more evidence than I've given you.

Comment by Daniel Rockwell on May 15, 2013 at 8:29am

"You're saying that to a guy who sat on the fence from for about fifty years? Are you counting on the word "directly" to save your case?"

I would argue that you were likely only sitting on the fence about whether or not you should be a believer, not whether or not you actually were one.  If your mind hadn't already made the switch, there would have been no conflict.  You saw the other side, and it drew you towards what you ultimately agreed to be the truth.

You weren't sitting on the fence, you were climbing over it.

Comment by Daniel Rockwell on May 15, 2013 at 8:40am

A person has to be honest with himself.  As I've said a couple of times in this very comment thread, in my mind I can toy with the idea of agnosticism.  I can entertain the notion of neutrality, and admit to myself that there is no way to prove or disprove of God's existence.  He is a possibility (in any form; not necessarily the Christian view).

However, when I get right down to it, I find that I do not believe that he exists.  Sure, he might, no one can prove that he doesn't, but I can never truly accept that.

I know that he is possible, I feel that he is impossible.

And what I am saying is that I believe that everyone (again, who has been presented with any information on the subject) has also made the same on/off switch in their "heart of hearts", no matter what their more rational mind might tell them that they should be thinking.

Perhaps this means that a true agnostic (or an atheist under Joseph's definition) does not actually exist.  Perhaps anyone claiming to have that viewpoint is just lying to themselves.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on May 16, 2013 at 3:24am

Daniel, I didn't know you were with me from about 1958 until several years ago, knowing better than I what was happening. How did you do it?

Or are you finding it easier to change dogmas than to give up the need for a dogma?

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on May 16, 2013 at 5:04am

Daniel, your "I know that he is possible, I feel that he is impossible" reminds me of the words of a man I knew who was nearing a Ph D. in psychology.

He said After the words "I feel", the word "that" precedes a thought, not a feeling.

No one has asked me to complete the sentence "I know that he is impossible, I feel...."

If someone does ask, I might say, "I feel safe in denying her/his/its existence."

Comment by Gary Clouse on May 16, 2013 at 8:29am

Daniel,

  Why would any one think there is a fence? A major precept of religious dogmas is the misconception of absolute opposites. The opposite of black is white. Why is black the opposite of white? Why not green or some shade of gray? Absolute opposites are a logical fallacy because they are often assigned arbitrarily.

 If you accept logical opposites, then the "us vs them" slogans and arguments reinforce this concept. "You're either with us or against us".  "If you are not part of the solution, you're part of the problem", and so on.   If the opposite of a cop is a criminal, then every law abiding citizen who is not a cop must be a criminal.

 Logically speaking, the opposite of black is not black,

 In his book "Stranger in a Strange Land", Robert Heinlein posited the idea of the "Fair Witness", a person trained to only report that which they witness, while making no assumptions. When asked  "What color is that wall?", the Fair Witness may  answer:"The side I see appears to be painted white."

  There is no fence to straddle. Instead there is a broad plain separating small walled cities whose denizens believe only what they are allowed to see within their walls..

Comment by archaeopteryx on May 16, 2013 at 12:06pm

RE: "He said After the words "I feel", the word "that" precedes a thought, not a feeling."

VERY perceptive, Thomas, I like that!

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