I'm new around here. This is my first blog post in effort to spark some interesting discussions. Depending on the feedback, I may write more! Let me know what you think.

I am having a bit of a struggle understanding what my approach should be when I am having debates with theists. On the one hand, I feel that proving whether or not there is a god is an impossible task. This would make me an atheist. On the other, I would like to use reason, understanding, and tangible evidence to determine whether or not a god exists. Why even posit a god if you cannot see evidence? This makes me lean more toward anti-theist. I am of the opinion that one can have a discussion about a god but all of these discussions are irrelevant and inconsequential. The way we should determine the things that we can truly know is if we have evidence for this knowledge. Otherwise, why are we having a conversation about something that does not exist?

I would personally like to assert that no gods exist for the simple reason that I have never seen evidence of one. Until evidence is provided, it is nonsensical to make claims about a being that does not reveal himself. For example, everyone who has read the story of Humpty Dumpty can reasonably assume that the entire story is a false story. Plain and simple. The story was made up. Eggs are not anthropomorphic. I have never seen an anthropomorphic egg, nor has anyone else. Anthropomorphic eggs are not evident in any reasonable body of knowledge. Sure, we can have a philosophical conversation of what an anthropomorphic egg would be like. This does nothing to convey the reality of all anthropomorphic eggs BECAUSE THEY DO NOT EXIST. And I can say this with *reasonable certainty* because that which does not provide evidence of itself is ridiculous. I object with a reasonable disdain to the argument that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." I would argue that the "absence of evidence IS, in fact, evidence of absence" because it simply does not make reasonable sense to make up stories to make one feel better. Also, arguing logical fallacies simply cannot work in the case of a faith-based claim, but this is another topic entirely.

It literally pains me to see people waste time and money (through church-going, among other things) on such a nonsensical subject. Philosophical arguments for the existence of the universe and everything in it are not impressive in the least. One cannot simply introduce an unknowable creator-of-everything into a debate. Faith is very unsatisfying. The truth of reality is a much more wonderful understanding than any supernatural explanation. One can be spiritual without the need for divine intervention. Through looking up at the universe at night, smelling the roses, and observing a flock of birds, there is a feeling of awe that can strike our human emotions. This is spirituality in the truest sense. I am of the mind that religion is quite perverse to spirituality. We should all satisfied with pondering the things that are real, not the supernatural.

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Comment by kris feenstra on April 24, 2013 at 3:34pm

In terms of labels, think of it simply as shorthand for communicating a basic concept. 'Atheism' and 'anti-theism' in themselves are not belief structures to which you are beholden: the former indicates disbelief, and the latter indicates a pointed focus on countering religion. You can counter religion as a mere atheist and you can show tolerance for religious beliefs and considerations in certain contexts as an anti-theist (worded differently, you don't have to be a hardliner). You can adopt either term at any given time as it best facilitates communication.

In terms of asserting that no gods exist, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you bear in mind that the way you make your claims alters the way you need to defend them. I believe no gods exist and I have no problems saying that openly. It is, however, a statement of personal belief. Much like you, I can make a case for why it is reasonable to believe no gods exist. All the same, I will only make the claim as a statement of belief and not as a factual claim. There is a distinction between beliefs which are reasonable, and things which I can prove though logic and evidence. I cannot prove the nonexistence of gods altogether so I won't take on that burden.

While it may seem like semantics, it really just comes down internal consistency in my philosophy. It comes down to understanding what I can and cannot prove coupled with understanding my limitations. This is ultimately the point I am getting at. Whatever terms or views you adopt, just make sure that you understand why you have adopted them and that they are internally consistent with your overall views. It makes it much easier to defend your position that way.

Comment by Joseph Martin on April 24, 2013 at 8:12pm

Thank you for the pleasant and well thought-out reply. :)

Comment by diggerbanks on April 25, 2013 at 5:31am

But Humpty Dumpty was real. I have no doubt that the nursery rhyme (and most nursery rhymes) has a historical truth at the core of its existence. 

There is speculation that the nursery rhyme had an underlying meaning – in which Humpty Dumpty represents King Richard III of England and the wall his horse. Others have suggested that it refers to the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey at the hand of King Henry VIII.

Sorry, I didn't get past that part, but this is important. If you'd said Bilbo Baggins or Lord Voldermort then your point is valid. This is the minefield we have to deal with as deniers. People occupy different layers of belief and if one is valid then they are all valid.

Jesus was a man. He existed. He had followers and was wise and loved.

It is the bells and whistles added by people embellishing the story to make it stick and to herd the sheep is what we need to be vigilant about.

Comment by Joseph Martin on April 25, 2013 at 9:23am

No. Humpty Dumpty was not real. Humpty Dumpty is a historical metaphor for King Richard III's existence. A metaphor cannot be used as justification to argue a faith position as true.

But more importantly, you missed the point entirely. My point was that anthropomorphic eggs do not exist. And I can say that with a ridiculous amount of certainty -- to the point where people would say I am ridiculous for holding the belief that anthropomorphic eggs are real.

By the way, Jesus was not real. Might want to do a bit of history on the existence of Jesus. His identity was completely made up. He just-so-happened to become the basis of the new testament for the christian faith.

Check out Cult of Dusty for more info on the falsehood of Jesus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTqyocFOMXE

Comment by Joseph Martin on April 25, 2013 at 12:41pm

Extremely sound reasoning, RockyShukura.

I think the part where I would like to differ from other nonbelievers is that I would like to obtain knowledge based on what is true, factually, with evidence. In my eyes: if it can be demonstrated then it is true. Otherwise, it is false. Until someone can demonstrate that it is not false only then will I believe it to be true. I do not see any unsound reason for accepting ideas as true or false under this "paradigm."

Otherwise, blind faith beliefs are fairy tales and should be treated as such.

Comment by Joseph Martin on April 25, 2013 at 7:34pm

I have received some very interesting responses. I suppose for all practical purposes it would be better to assert the lack of a belief in a god for discussions related to debunking. I do, however, firmly hold it to be true that there are no gods. And even if there are (because we have not discovered them yet), I have no problem revising my conclusion and admitting that I was wrong. But I have a feeling we will not discover such in my lifetime. Too bad most hard-headed theists can't say the same. =/

Thank you all for the nifty responses!

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