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Atheist to theist to atheist





watersoul
I have been reading an interesting similarly themed topic in the Faith forum, but to avoid appearing a troll, or going off-topic I decided to create this thread to present my own position.

Atheism, no matter what bible-thumping theists may try to present, is simply a lack of belief in any gods. There are many different perspectives regarding personal faith as I mentioned there:
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* People who absolutely believe in gods and preach hell-fire and damnation to non-believers or different faiths
* People who absolutely believe in gods but hold a merciful and tolerant position towards non-believers and different faiths
* People who absolutely believe and will do everything in their power to convert people who do not
* People who believe and concern only themselves and fellow believers with their declarations of faith
* People who believe and worship essentially through fear of the consequences allegedly facing those who do not
* People who pretend to believe because of peer pressure or that they enjoy the community element provided by an organised church/religion
* People who do not believe and are unable to confirm there are none, but will critically question believers assertions when such discussions cross their life path
* People who don't believe and really don't care either way so avoid/dismiss such questions as irrelevant to their lives
* People who absolutely believe there are no gods and ignore such things as irrelevant to their lives
* People who absolutely believe there are no gods and will actively campaign against faith being imposed on their life in schools/workplaces/government etc
* People who question the many different opposing faiths so hold a position that they can't all be true
* People who have believed for many years in their life but felt 'let down' by whichever god they previously worshipped, so turn away and reject it based on their own understanding of what a moral god should or should not do

...but the simple term 'atheist' describes one who does not believe in gods. It does not describe one who believes gods do not exist, just one who does not believe they do.

It is tragic that some people struggle with this basic concept and have an apparent wish to distort the word into something akin to 'one who fights against gods'. That said, here is my own story which even the most passionate theist is unable to say is incorrect, because it is a personal and truthful account of my lack of faith.

I was born atheist, as everyone is.
Until I was taught about other the beliefs of others I had none. That is quite clear and obvious, so it is safe to say that everyone is atheist until indoctrination begins. Atheist being 'one who does not believe in gods' - the literal meaning of the descriptive word.

In my childhood I was taken to the local Anglican church every Sunday, taught about this alleged loving God who apparently would answer prayers and help out etc so long as I believed in him/her/it, and due to this teaching, as a vulnerable child, I of course believed every word of it.

I reached my teens, discovered that there were many different and opposing faiths with single gods, multiple gods, and even no gods, as in Buddhism. This created many questions so I went on a bit of a spiritual journey for over a decade. I attended different places of worship and realised that they all claimed to 'be the one' and that everyone else was wrong, but they all shared a lack of evidence to confirm that the others were 'wrong' and they were in fact the truth.

Eventually I reached the point where I could see no difference between any of them, in the sense that they all made claims which could not be established as fact, yet all asserting that the 'others' are lies.
I gradually lost any faith that there was a 'higher power' at all, and although I am unable to assert 'there are no gods' I do not hold any belief that there are. I do not 'believe there are no gods' because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but my current position remains atheist for the simple reason that 'I do not believe gods exist'.

So, atheist to theist to atheist is my personal chain of events, and I'm interested in anyone else's story. If there are no replies here that's of course cool, I can always use this topic as a place to refer others in future debates where I'm pushed to explain my position.
I am more than happy for anyone to believe whatever they like, provided said beliefs do not harm anyone or affect my life, but when people make wild generalised claims that atheists are some sort of campaigning force trying to destroy religious faith I shall always remind such folk that their claims can only apply to 'some' atheists. Atheism, or the lack of belief in gods, is not in itself a blanket term for anti-religious terrorism or whatever other ridiculous claims some theists would like the word to represent.
Bluedoll
It is not that I don’t understand your position because I do but why not atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist? It sounds a lot to me, like tying shoelaces doesn’t not?

I do understand what you mean though for anyone to believe whatever they like. We can agree on that. Where we may not understand each other has been indeed made obvious in previous discussion. Yes, I agree, there are differences in belief. I would never consider an unknowing child, an atheist, for example. I also see that bible thumpers are not just restricted to one group. Atheists seem to do that too.

In the end, as long as there are religious discussions, debates or arguments, there will always be some kind of belief system in place otherwise - well there couldn’t be one? How a person wishes to describe what they believe as true or handle their personal beliefs is of course their choice.

By all means use this thread to refer to as a non-believing atheist theist. I mean a believing atheist non-theist atheist. Not a theist but a non-theist atheist or is it non-belief believer of atheism? Yeah, I say go for it!
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
It is not that I don’t understand your position because I do
Ah, that's wonderful news.
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but why not atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist to theist to atheist?
Because that would not be a truthful account of my situation. I was born without belief, became indoctrinated with the beliefs of others through teachings as a child, then lost said beliefs when my adult questioning mind developed. It really is that clear cut and simple.
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It sounds a lot to me, like tying shoelaces doesn’t not?
Only when you describe it in the strange way you did with multiple copy n paste of 'atheist to theist'.
Born without belief, taught to believe, then cessation of belief seems to be a fairly simple chain of events to understand don't you think?

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I do understand what you mean though for anyone to believe whatever they like. We can agree on that.
Yes, I agree. Although as a person who does not have any faith that gods exist (an atheist) I am pleased for you if your faith helps you to get through life and harms nobody else.
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Where we may not understand each other has been indeed made obvious in previous discussion. Yes, I agree, there are differences in belief. I would never consider an unknowing child, an atheist, for example.
That would of course be because you do not agree that the word atheist means 'one who does not believe in gods'. The generally accepted interpretation of the word is 'one who does not believe in gods' so anyone who has not been taught about the multitude of differing and opposing faiths in the world would hold no belief in any of them, and fall into the category 'atheist'. The word atheist describes such a person (adult or child) who holds no belief that gods exist, so a child who has not been taught such things would be atheist, as I was myself, prior to indoctrination.
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I also see that bible thumpers are not just restricted to one group. Atheists seem to do that too.
Agreed, 'some' atheists. As we have previously discussed, it is more than acceptable to make claims about 'some' atheists, as it is equally also acceptable to make claims about 'some' theists. It is just unfortunate when one attempts to distort the term atheist into a descriptive term for a sort of religion hating collective. That is of course incorrect as the word simply refers to 'one who does not believe in gods'.

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In the end, as long as there are religious discussions, debates or arguments, there will always be some kind of belief system in place otherwise - well there couldn’t be one?
Remember lack of belief though, when one is unable to assert there are no gods for the previously explained (and now repeated) reason that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. A reasonable position which requires no faith or belief.
It is the position I hold, even though you appear to struggle with understanding it.
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How a person wishes to describe what they believe as true or handle their personal beliefs is of course their choice.
Absolutely. As is a position which does not assert any particular belief. As you know, I do not state there are no gods but I do not believe in them, an atheist position which does not fall under the invented definition of the word which some incorrectly hold during discussion.

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By all means use this thread to refer to as a non-believing atheist theist. I mean a believing atheist non-theist atheist. Not a theist but a non-theist atheist or is it non-belief believer of atheism? Yeah, I say go for it!
Oh dear, you of course understand my transition from child who did not believe in gods, to child taught to believe, to adult who through reasoning and critical thinking stopped 'believing' in gods. I am unsure why you are attempting to distort my position in this way?
If you are genuinely struggling with the described chain of events leading to my current lack of faith in gods please feel free to PM me and I will be glad to explain it again.
Of course though, if your comments do not genuinely represent those of one who struggles to understand my position I would have to suspect that the multiple copy n paste 'atheist to non theist atheist' silliness is just a clumsy attempt at trolling in this topic.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
So, atheist to theist to atheist is my personal chain of events, and I'm interested in anyone else's story.
OK Watersoul. I can't understand why you think theists don't get it, but let's see whether it will help if we took God/gods out of it, as that is what you may be under the impression theists aren't getting? Let's focus on having an open mind. As an atheist you demand nothing less than scientific evidence for accepting the reality of anything. That means therefore that you cannot be open to possibilities without scientific evidence, particularly those that are based on faith only. And so this is where my point comes in. You can't have an open mind to everything, only that which can be scientifically proven.
Bluedoll
I am sorry. I’ve recently realized that I have made a mistake. That is mistake is that I’ve been trying to communicate with the people on this forum using words that they use continually. I did this out of consideration in hope that I could make myself understood. But it is to no avail, so I’m going to try to stop the practice as much as possible.

I will reason with you however and make my position clear because I can see by your last post you don’t understand me. Words like omi – science, theist, and atheists, all of the words that make up religious propaganda, that is religious teachings that do not even exist in the bible. People write this stuff and it is mostly not truthful in connection to God. Definitely atheism itself presents lies. The bible is the source of understand about God though it is one messed up book and the religions that have used it improperly have made things a lot worse. Still it is a ..........source.

Keep in mind what I mean by religious teachings. Your said you went on a spiritual journey. Did you stop traveling? If not you continued your journey with a lack of faith. If you continue traveling you will replace a belief with something else belief’s that you get from atheism. If you say you have stopped traveling then you say you do not have any spiritual interests. Then you are dead, that is spiritually. There are no other possibilities here.

Other common words I read in this forum like trolling, I am just really sick of reading and I am saying that these are hurtful, rude and ignorant. I know where it comes from. People here accuse members of doing something they are not but they themselves act much worse.

watersoul wrote:
Of course though, if your comments do not genuinely represent those of one who struggles to understand my position I would have to suspect that the multiple copy n paste 'atheist to non theist atheist' silliness is just a clumsy attempt at trolling in this topic.
What I meant in my comments, you didn’t understand.

Atheism is a lie. Atheism is not some vague status. Atheism is a real thing. I am not talking about specific atheists here at all but of real ideas and understandings about God. If you or anyone else defines what atheism is you can up with a definition but it does not make it absolute just because you defined it. It may be the definition you have created and how you understand atheism or for that matter it can be the same as someone else’s definition.

I am saying, I do not agree with your definition on atheism and I can do that!

watersoul wrote:
Absolutely. As is a position which does not assert any particular belief. As you know, I do not state there are no gods but I do not believe in them, an atheist position which does not fall under the invented definition of the word which some incorrectly hold during discussion.
You say you do not believe in a higher power but are not higher powers really something that is relative? Do you know more than google? It is sometimes a question of authority. To say someone is inventing a definition and using the word atheism incorrectly you must have some kind of authority over definitions?

I am not the only person that disagrees with the definition of atheism. (I have provided sources in http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-156376.html)

Atheism = God does not exist!
Bluedoll
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
So, atheist to theist to atheist is my personal chain of events, and I'm interested in anyone else's story.
OK Watersoul. I can't understand why you think theists don't get it, but let's see whether it will help if we took God/gods out of it, as that is what you may be under the impression theists aren't getting? Let's focus on having an open mind. As an atheist you demand nothing less than scientific evidence for accepting the reality of anything. That means therefore that you cannot be open to possibilities without scientific evidence, particularly those that are based on faith only. And so this is where my point comes in. You can't have an open mind to everything, only that which can be scientifically proven.
I can see how this is more to the point instead of arguing over definitions.

I will be interested in what direction watersoul goes here. I think it is something that could turn his spiritual direction from atheist back to theist. I need to be honest however my intentions are to expose truths about atheism and not help watersoul out. If he keeps his path closely guided by atheism I am fine with that. The world also needs good atheists.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
As an atheist you demand nothing less than scientific evidence for accepting the reality of anything.
Nope, never said that anywhere, it is your own invention. I'm open to any new source of evidence, you know, like those miracles mentioned in some holy books. I don't require scientific evidence for the explanation if we're talking actual full-on 'miracle' stuff like saving the starving millions of the world with a couple of fish and loaves or whatever. Trouble is I've never seen anything unusual or supernatural to believe in gods or even ghosts for that matter.
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That means therefore that you cannot be open to possibilities without scientific evidence,
I am open to any wild and unusual possibility in life of course, but I don't believe in things based solely on other peoples story of 'talking to gods' or whatever.
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particularly those that are based on faith only.
Of course, someones personal faith and testimony is not enough to convince me that gods exist. That, to me, is a reasonable, safe, and sensible position to hold as I negotiate my life.
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And so this is where my point comes in. You can't have an open mind to everything, only that which can be scientifically proven.
Nope, that is your invention, you have brought this scientific caveat into the debate, not me. I would be pretty close to convinced if some bearded guy repeatedly walked on water down my local beach one day, or even parted the sea so I could just walk over to France. Of course stuff like that has never crossed my path in life to date, aside from claims in old books, so I remain one who does not believe in gods but keep an open mind for any crazy possibility. I am unable to confirm that gods do not exist so I do not make such an assertion. It is a straightforward position, even if you cannot understand something so, well...simple.

___________________________________________

Bluedoll wrote:
I will be interested in what direction watersoul goes here.
I refer you to my comments above. You will easily note there is no change in direction by myself.
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I think it is something that could turn his spiritual direction from atheist back to theist.
I am open to any possibility but the simple testimony of others will not draw me towards believing in any gods. Right now that is all anyone can bring to the discussion so I remain unconvinced.
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I need to be honest however my intentions are to expose truths about atheism and not help watersoul out.
A statement that does not surprise me because you desperately attempt to define atheism as some anti-theist organisation, not just a lack of belief in gods. It continues to amuse me Wink
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If he keeps his path closely guided by atheism I am fine with that.
'Atheism' as an alleged doctrine does not guide me in any way. I consider and reach my own conclusions as explained previously in this topic.
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The world also needs good atheists.
I absolutely agree.

*Edit*
Do you pair dislike the fact I do not believe in gods, or that my lack of belief puts me under the descriptive term atheist?
Is it because I don't 'believe' that gods absolutely do not exist which gets you both so emotional in our discussion?
Do you wish for me to 'believe' in something either way because it will make you feel better about believing something which has no way to be verified as true?
Does my reasoned and honest position offend you because I do not blindly believe anything claimed to be invisible and do super stuff which no-one ever actually sees these days?

Even Nick in another thread could only bring up some 'limping stranger at church' who was healed and now plays guitar or whatever in their god-pop band. I don't just buy that so easily, although witnessing re-grown limbs or 'proper' miracles would be quite impressive to influence my thoughts on gods.
Never see that sort of stuff though do we?
Bluedoll
I do understand your personal position. I am not saying you are being unreasonable only that you are listening to the voice of atheism.

I walk on water all the time. Of course it is usually in January and only when I know it is safe.

Testimony is often all we do have and that goes for a lot of things really. Lets face it some have cast doubts that the moon launch never happened and Armstrong never really walked on the moon. I can also agree that testimony from 2,000 plus years ago is sketchy.

If you were alive in those days and your girlfriend told you that she was with child but that she was still a virgin would you belief it? Who would? It would require something beyond reasonable proof to trust, I agree.

Everyone did not see the miracle stuff so it would take something else to convince them too. I do understand and agree the answers to big stuff is not in the textbooks, documented and proven. I think Deanhills point is not everything can be factually handled, such as in science, but requires another approach and an open mind. He can elaborate.

I think, “Do you dislike that I do not...” is a personal question and an emotional one at that, so I’m not inclined to think I am the only emotional person on board but even if it were true... Is a person really a poor writer because they are emotional?

What I don’t like is the tone of many of the posts in frihost in general. Many I find rude, aggressive, insulting and nothing is funny in many of the subjects. I see myself at frihost been attacked, falsely accused of trolling and singled out only because I opposed someone elses views. I might be “emotional” charged about it.

Also, when I read garbage about religious topics such as God is a monster, I think in my mind that the writer has no idea what God is about. I will let God deal with that.

I think atheism is something real not just a lack of belief statement and I will most likely continue to write about that here or elsewhere.

watersoul wrote:
Do you wish for me to 'believe' in something either way because it will make you feel better about believing something which has no way to be verified as true?


I personally don’t need proof. In my life I was very lucky to get all the verification I personally needed so my beliefs are very strong. I do understand though that many of the “invisibles” are mysterious. As long as we can communicate without hostility or anger, (me too) I am good with just that.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
I do understand your personal position. I am not saying you are being unreasonable only that you are listening to the voice of atheism.
I am saying that I come to my own conclusions about life, and have based decisions on such (open to change) conclusions every day since I started living independently at the age of 16. If there was a 'voice of atheism' that you speak of then it would not be one which has ever influenced my thought processes.
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I personally don’t need proof. In my life I was very lucky to get all the verification I personally needed so my beliefs are very strong. I do understand though that many of the “invisibles” are mysterious. As long as we can communicate without hostility or anger, (me too) I am good with just that.
I am also happy with that, and I am happy for you to hold your beliefs while they are not asserted as facts. That would be as dishonest as if I were to assert that 'I know' there are no gods. It is why I do not...obvious lack of a verification framework to support such claims.

*Edit*
I did actually laugh out loud at this, good one, and taken in a similar lighthearted spirit: Smile
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I walk on water all the time. Of course it is usually in January and only when I know it is safe.
loremar
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I am saying, I do not agree with your definition on atheism and I can do that!

You can't.

If some hikers form a rock band and sing rock about hiking, that doesn't mean that:
1. Hiking is rock
2. A hiker is someone who rocks

EDIT:Seriously stop stereotyping. Many atheists don't come out in the open. You've probably only seen those who come out just to spite religions. But many atheists aren't like that.
watersoul
loremar wrote:
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I am saying, I do not agree with your definition on atheism and I can do that!

You can't.

If some hikers form a rock band and sing rock about hiking, that doesn't mean that:
1. Hiking is rock
2. A hiker is someone who rocks
I certainly understand your sentiments but Bluedoll (and anyone else) can state a 'belief' about anything in this 'Faith forum', no matter how much another person may (or may not) perceive such belief as being one they share.
It is when beliefs are presented as facts that it becomes questionable and appropriate to present a voice of reason.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
Nope, never said that anywhere, it is your own invention. I'm open to any new source of evidence, you know, like those miracles mentioned in some holy books. I don't require scientific evidence for the explanation if we're talking actual full-on 'miracle' stuff like saving the starving millions of the world with a couple of fish and loaves or whatever. Trouble is I've never seen anything unusual or supernatural to believe in gods or even ghosts for that matter.
OK fine, if you want to play with words. Let's take science out of evidence. You don't believe in gods and ghosts because you haven't seen any. You have to see something first before you believe it.

watersoul wrote:
Anyone who has been a regular member of Frihost will know that I don't believe in any of them due to not personally being aware of any evidence to support such claims.
That said, if you are able to ignore my lack of faith for the sake of discussion, I would love to know what believers of conflicting faiths think when they are in discussion with each other.

Source: http://www.frihost.com/forums/vp-1164093.html#1164093

The topic of this thread suggests that you want theists to have a better understanding of atheism. However do you really? As it sounds almost as though you are more into showing how poorly theists understand atheism, rather than helping them to understand atheism better. And it's almost as though theists need to become atheist first in order to understand atheism? Which is never going to happen of course. Last similar discussion I can remember that went round and round in circles was your topic on a soul. So maybe the other way round may also be valid. For you to have a better understanding of where theists come from, you need to become a believer first. Now since that is probably not going to happen, maybe we need to agree that our minds will never be in sync on this topic.
Ankhanu
It's been explained before, but: Evidence ≠ Science.
Again, science is a specific method of investigation and associated body of knowledge, and there are several other evidence-based or empirical methods of analysis that do not involve science; history is a classic example of one such school.

deanhills wrote:
And it's almost as though theists need to become atheist first in order to understand atheism? Which is never going to happen of course. Last similar discussion I can remember that went round and round in circles was your topic on a soul. So maybe the other way round may also be valid. For you to have a better understanding of where theists come from, you need to become a believer first.

I really don't think this is suggested at all. A theist can understand what an atheist is without becoming one... as it's an exceptionally simple concept... and is easily conveyed via analogy. Of course, not all theists are open to attempting to understand, so may be closed to the ideas and analogies. Also, suggesting that theists will never become atheists is just utterly ridiculous, and clearly shown to be false; a great many atheists come from theist backgrounds (Watersoul himself is an example). This also invalidates the last point that atheists need to become theists to understand them... it outright ignores the theist backgrounds and cultures that many, if not most, atheists come from.

It's a little like suggesting that an adult can't understand what it's like to be a child because they're not children... it ignores the fact that the adult was once a child and can indeed relate to the experience.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
And it's almost as though theists need to become atheist first in order to understand atheism? Which is never going to happen of course. Last similar discussion I can remember that went round and round in circles was your topic on a soul. So maybe the other way round may also be valid. For you to have a better understanding of where theists come from, you need to become a believer first.

I really don't think this is suggested at all. A theist can understand what an atheist is without becoming one... as it's an exceptionally simple concept... and is easily conveyed via analogy. Of course, not all theists are open to attempting to understand, so may be closed to the ideas and analogies. Also, suggesting that theists will never become atheists is just utterly ridiculous, and clearly shown to be false; a great many atheists come from theist backgrounds (Watersoul himself is an example). This also invalidates the last point that atheists need to become theists to understand them... it outright ignores the theist backgrounds and cultures that many, if not most, atheists come from.

It's a little like suggesting that an adult can't understand what it's like to be a child because they're not children... it ignores the fact that the adult was once a child and can indeed relate to the experience.
Perhaps my terminology was wrong. Of course a theist can change into an atheist and the other way round, that's happened for years and years. My point was that one can never fully comprehend how an atheist thinks until one is an atheist oneself. One would have to change into an atheist in order to really comprehend how an atheist thinks and do. The basic concepts I can get right of course, but the actual process itself is not who I am. Because I am a theist. And the other way round. There is a certain wiring in the mind that goes with being a theist. That is fundamentally different to the wiring of someone who is an atheist. The basics of course we can get. But one can never fully achieve an understanding of the other position. If that were true, none of these discussions would have been as much at loggerheads as they have been here in the Phil&Rel and Faith Forums. We would have had a complete understanding where we come from without the need to be questioned about our understanding.
Bluedoll
@Deanhills I would disagree with you if you meant someone that believed in God couldn’t be persuaded that God might not exist by listening to atheist reasoning and visa versa. It is certainly possible and gives way to fact that every discussion in the world is influential and therefore has a teaching component to it.

On the other hand your last post explains this well and that is not what you meant but you are showing how our viewpoint/belief systems are never the same. Another example might be man and woman. Even subjects like history are controversial, as it is not an exact science.

I do understand what you mean by considering all possibilities as I understand too well when someone says they have facts but not all “facts” are based only on atheist reasoning when it comes to religious understanding nor should they be.
watersoul
Well folks, this thread appears to be a first for me, in all the time I've been at Frihost, we've all expressed our wildly opposing/different opinions and yet we are all, for once, playing nice together.
I like that.

Any further contributions or thoughts about 'Atheist to theist to atheist' are of course more than welcome, but if this thread withers and dies at this most agreeable point, I shall not be dissappointed Smile
redhakaw
watersoul wrote:
I was born atheist, as everyone is.



This is not accurate.

when you were born, the existence of God (or otherwise) has no meaning to you.

the better term is non-cognitivist
watersoul
redhakaw wrote:
watersoul wrote:
I was born atheist, as everyone is.



This is not accurate.

when you were born, the existence of God (or otherwise) has no meaning to you.

the better term is non-cognitivist

Hmm, interesting. I understand 'one who has no faith that gods exist' to be atheist, as explained previously in this topic.
By my reasoning, a child who has no knowledge of gods can have no faith in them, and would then fall under the atheist category. Having any 'meaning' regarding gods does not alter the fact that the child would not have any faith. Remember, atheism is not 'having faith that there are no gods' just no faith that there are any.

I also hold a different understanding for the term non-cognitivist so if you insist that you're describing the correct specific and solely applicable term in relation to a child who has not yet been taught to believe in gods I would be very grateful for a link to perhaps a ".ac.uk" or ".edu" type website which supports your position?
My own (long time since looked at) understanding of the term could be incorrect of course, but your 3 line reply has not inspired any particular urge inside to refresh my current understanding of 'non-cognitivist' because it does not take away the fact that a child can only become theist after education/instruction/teaching by others Wink
redhakaw
watersoul wrote:
redhakaw wrote:
watersoul wrote:
I was born atheist, as everyone is.



This is not accurate.

when you were born, the existence of God (or otherwise) has no meaning to you.

the better term is non-cognitivist

Hmm, interesting. I understand 'one who has no faith that gods exist' to be atheist, as explained previously in this topic.
By my reasoning, a child who has no knowledge of gods can have no faith in them, and would then fall under the atheist category. Having any 'meaning' regarding gods does not alter the fact that the child would not have any faith. Remember, atheism is not 'having faith that there are no gods' just no faith that there are any.

I also hold a different understanding for the term non-cognitivist so if you insist that you're describing the correct specific and solely applicable term in relation to a child who has not yet been taught to believe in gods I would be very grateful for a link to perhaps a ".ac.uk" or ".edu" type website which supports your position?
My own (long time since looked at) understanding of the term could be incorrect of course, but your 3 line reply has not inspired any particular urge inside to refresh my current understanding of 'non-cognitivist' because it does not take away the fact that a child can only become theist after education/instruction/teaching by others Wink


the 3 liners were intended to catch attention, just like a movie title, I knew you're gonna want more hehe.

anyways, this is one of the many ignored mistakes within the atheist community which have become some kind of a meme: The idea that all new born babies are atheists, and thereby allowing the subtle allusion that a person's original and primal affiliation is atheism. Suggesting that one should "go back" to where they came from.

to summarize:
there are 2 categories, one of which is a cognitivist, and the other non-cognitivist
atheists and theists are under cognitivists.

I could not find the article I used to keep, but how about one from infidels? I'm sure you'll consider one from it.
Ankhanu
redhakaw wrote:
...The idea that all new born babies are atheists, and thereby allowing the subtle allusion that a person's original and primal affiliation is atheism. Suggesting that one should "go back" to where they came from.

I don't think this is really on the level... I mean, one could reach that conclusion if they wanted to, but, I'd say that it simply informs that theistic belief is a learned trait, that it is cultural. Any value judgement that comes out of that is additional.
deanhills
I'd say discovering one's status of atheism is also learned. One would have had to follow a certain path to get there, i.e. a number of years of education. Attaching the innocence of a child to atheism is dishonest, particularly contrasting it against theism. That is obviously adult guile for scoring points for atheism against theism. Quite a far fetch from the innocence of a child.
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
I'd say discovering one's status of atheism is also learned. One would have had to follow a certain path to get there, i.e. a number of years of education. Attaching the innocence of a child to atheism is dishonest, particularly contrasting it against theism. That is obviously adult guile for scoring points for atheism against theism. Quite a far fetch from the innocence of a child.

I would agree that adopting the label of atheist is learned... but not the state of being one.
The label is not the thing... the map is not the land... the symbol is not what it represents.


I also think the concept of "innocence of a child" is a little bit of a misnomer as well... I've been around too many children to believe it Wink
watersoul
redhakaw wrote:
the 3 liners were intended to catch attention, just like a movie title, I knew you're gonna want more hehe.
Haha, yep you're right there Razz

deanhills wrote:
Attaching the innocence of a child to atheism is dishonest, particularly contrasting it against theism.
Which bit do you think is dishonest?
My interpretation of the word atheist to be a person who has no faith in gods?
Perhaps my reasoning that anyone who has not been taught about any gods will therefore have no faith in them and fall under the innocent category of atheist, as I understand the word?

There is no word to specifically describe someone who doesn't believe in ghosts, but for the sake of discussion, let's pretend there is. Ghost believers are now known as Credospooky and people who don't are known as Noncredospooky. (Credo - Latin - "I believe")
For the record, I would have to be labelled noncredospooky Wink

You can only be labelled a credospooky if you 'believe in ghosts' so only after indoctrination about such things, or perhaps personal experience of some clearly spooky thing as per the type of stuff seen in a horror film. No-one is born believing in ghosts.

All children are of course born without any belief in ghosts, it is a learned concept. Therefore until such time as a person is convinced in spooky stuff then they automatically fall under my new umbrella term 'noncredospooky'.

If someone is influenced by the invented and perceived undertones of the word atheist because of wild claims by some theists, that is unfortunate, but if you understand the term to mean 'one who has no faith in gods' then every child is atheist (and noncredospooky) until indoctrination by others. You can attach levels of understanding or more specific labels etc, but no-one is born believing in any particular gods so an atheist description in that most basic sense is I think quite an honest observation by myself.

It is why the topic title is 'Atheist to theist to atheist' - I did not believe in any gods until I was taught to, as a child. I find it curious that anyone would find any issue with this, my personal and honest record of the chain of events in my life, with a reasoned explanation of how I consider it applicable to other new-born humans as well.
...please feel free to explain your concerns in more detail if you wish though, I have an open mind, no matter how much certain others in various Frihost topics would appear to attempt making wild claims that I do not Wink
SpaceInvader75
Quote:
My interpretation of the word atheist to be a person who has no faith in gods?
Perhaps my reasoning that anyone who has not been taught about any gods will therefore have no faith in them and fall under the innocent category of atheist, as I understand the word?


You reminded me an interesting story, which I found here:

http://freethinker.co.uk/2008/11/08/how-an-amazonian-tribe-turned-a-missionary-into-an-atheist/

Quote:
A RIVETING and hugely satisfying report on BBC Radio 4 today tells the story of a missionary who was charged by an American missionary group with taking the Gospel to the little understood Piraḥs tribe in the Amazon Рonly to realise how ridiculous his faith in Christianity was.

Daniel Everett, 57, a linguist in the Departmental Chair of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Illinois State University, told presenter John McCarthy on the Excess Baggage programme, that he had travelled to the Amazon in the 70s to bring the tribe “the joy of faith” only to discover that they were a deeply contented people. In fact they seemed far better contented than he was.

Tribe members asked the missionary whether he had seen or experienced any of the things he was telling them about. He had to admit that he hadn’t; that he was simply passing things onto them that were told to him by people who hadn’t seen or experienced them either.

The Pirahãs, he said, “believed that the world was as it had always been, and that there was no supreme deity”. Furthermore they had no creation myths in their culture. In short, here was a people who were more than happy to live their lives “without God, religion or any political authority”.


I think this tribe would fit into the category of "natural" or "innocent" atheists. Notice that when the missionary came along they didn't say "Oh we've been looking for god all this time; I'm glad you finally told us." They didn't have a reason to stop being atheist, because their tribe was working fine the way it was. I shared this story for those that are claiming atheism is a faith. It certainly doesn't appear that way in this example.
Bluedoll
I am going to write that anyone, I don’t care who they are writes something negative about children then there must be something wrong with them? Anyone that writes the idea that "children are not innocence” must be elevating himself or herself to a very lofty position. Are children are to be put down in this forum too? Children are being compared to what? Themselves?

A baby is concerned with sleep, milk and very little else. Everything after birth is learned. If an atheist intentionally wants to discredit children perhaps they should look to the adults first.

The whole atheist idea that atheism is “one who has no faith in gods” is misleading and simply not true. Faith is best described as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Though it may be true that an atheist has little trust in God, it does not mean there is automatically little faith in anything else. The “gods for atheists” are just replaced with the human god-like counterparts that preach their atheist propaganda (beliefs) - “one that has faith in god-like men”

Good for the Amazon tribe, in my opinion, I think God would also be happy if there is some tribe in the Amazon that is content, happy without any problems if that remains true for them. God does not care what religion men practice. He cares if men have love for one another rather than to seek to dominate each other with injury.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
A baby is concerned with sleep, milk and very little else. Everything after birth is learned.
Yes, it appears we agree, all faiths are learned, no-one is born believing anything, it is taught by others. Atheism is not a faith though Bluedoll, you know that. I've explained well how I do not believe in gods but that equally I do not have faith that there are none.
Please feel free to explain how you think my atheist position is in any way faith based though.
Quote:
The whole atheist idea that atheism is “one who has no faith in gods” is misleading and simply not true.
Why, because you say so? Again, I have no faith in gods and the descriptive label for one such as myself is atheist. Because this thread is essentially about my atheist to theist to atheist chain of events, please explain why you think my position is not accurately described as atheist. From birth to indoctrination, then from reasoned consideration as an adult.
Quote:
Faith is best described as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Though it may be true that an atheist has little trust in God, it does not mean there is automatically little faith in anything else.
All faith is taught as you agreed in your first quote above. To hold a position that there is not enough evidence for one to believe in gods is reasoned, rational, and requires no faith, just a lack of it to stop being a theist. Which bit of that do you disagree with and why?
Please refer your answer to my own atheist position which has been clearly explained in this thread.
Quote:
The “gods for atheists” are just replaced with the human god-like counterparts that preach their atheist propaganda (beliefs) - “one that has faith in god-like men”
Again, try as you desperately do to present a wildly generalised message that atheists automatically have faith in something, or 'faith' that there are no gods, is incorrect certainly regarding my own personal atheist position. Basically, you are wrong to assert that I as an atheist have faith in anything, I do not.
You are wrong to assert 'all atheists' about anything except that they don't have faith in gods.

Quote:
Good for the Amazon tribe, in my opinion, I think God would also be happy if there is some tribe in the Amazon that is content, happy without any problems if that remains true for them. God does not care what religion men practice.
The Amazon tribe practiced NO religion, remember, they were atheists, you know, those people you get so flustered about because they don't believe in a deity.

Please feel free to continue posting your wild unsubstantiated and generalised claims about atheists though. The more you do then the more times I have the opportunity to provide a reasoned reply which will allow others to make their own judgement call on the rationallity (or not) of your emotionally based assertions.
deanhills
@Watersoul. On the one hand I get the definition of atheism, but on the other hand it also refers to a group of people who hold the same opinion about something, i.e. lack of belief, some of whom are claiming the Amazon tribe for their statistics for example. I get it that the Amazon tribe is atheist by the pure definition of atheism, whereas the act of trying to sell the tribe as atheist, i.e. putting a label on it in order to "explain" atheism, makes it non-atheist. The Amazon tribe is not focused on their lack of belief, you are focused on it to the point of claiming the Amazon tribe for "atheism". Which makes the "atheism" into a belief in nothing, whereas before it was just simply nothing. The moment you step into the arena of promoting, selling or defending a position of atheism lacking in belief, it turns into a belief. Think that is where the confusion comes in. If it is really nothing, it has to remain nothing. For the Amazon tribe it is nothing and will remain nothing, until they are taught differently. But for you it is obviously something. If you make the nothing into something to the extent of identifying yourself with it, it is no longer nothing. You have faith in the "nothingness" of atheism. So atheism has become faith-based.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
@Watersoul. On the one hand I get the definition of atheism, but on the other hand it also refers to a group of people who hold the same opinion about something, i.e. lack of belief, some of whom are claiming the Amazon tribe for their statistics for example. I get it that the Amazon tribe is atheist by the pure definition of atheism
That is all I think we need to 'get' with it, any further contrived value is not needed.
Quote:
whereas the act of trying to sell the tribe as atheist, i.e. putting a label on it in order to "explain" atheism, makes it non-atheist. The Amazon tribe is not focused on their lack of belief, you are focused on it to the point of claiming the Amazon tribe for "atheism".
Nope, just more invention by yourself. I'm just agreeing that the tribe example by SpaceInvader demonstrates people who have reached adulthood and societal maturity while no-one in the wider social group believes in any deities - People generally described as atheist.
Quote:
Which makes the "atheism" into a belief in nothing, whereas before it was just simply nothing. The moment you step into the arena of promoting, selling or defending a position of atheism lacking in belief, it turns into a belief.
Who is selling and defending as you describe?
I seem to be in a circular, almost childlike, discussion about the definition of the word atheist (one who does not believe in gods) while you and Bluedoll (yet again) appear desperate to present the term as describing some opposite 'faith' while the fact is that no faith or belief is required in my own personal, atheist, position.
Quote:
Think that is where the confusion comes in. If it is really nothing, it has to remain nothing. For the Amazon tribe it is nothing and will remain nothing, until they are taught differently. But for you it is obviously something. If you make the nothing into something to the extent of identifying yourself with it, it is no longer nothing. You have faith in the "nothingness" of atheism. So atheism has become faith-based.
I can only see you and Bluedoll ever confused about the generally accepted definition of the word atheism. It is not a campaigning faith fuelled belief system, it is the simple and most basic thing which stops one being described as a theist...a lack of belief in deities.

...but you know this already Dean, I wonder why you seem so intent on inventing some way to find me guilty of holding some faith while I do not. Does my lack of faith somehow threaten yours due to my reasoned faithless viewpoint?
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
deanhills wrote:
@Watersoul. On the one hand I get the definition of atheism, but on the other hand it also refers to a group of people who hold the same opinion about something, i.e. lack of belief, some of whom are claiming the Amazon tribe for their statistics for example. I get it that the Amazon tribe is atheist by the pure definition of atheism
That is all I think we need to 'get' with it, any further added value is not needed.
My point exactly if you check my previous post.
There is a point where atheism is no longer atheism in the above meaning of the word and does have the same overtone as that of religion. That point is when it crosses over the "any further added value is not needed" line. When you take a position against religion as being fictitious, you're obviously in the process of adding value to your position of "atheism", which makes it into something different to what atheism is supposed to mean. I don't see anything different to a theist standing on a box on the corner of the street saying a lot of strange things in order to "assert" and "promote" his religious beliefs, and an atheist standing on a box on the other street corner saying that that theist is misleading every one, is lying, doesn't know what he is talking about, is a danger to society, etc. etc. etc. I can then see a certain amount of logic when the theist accuses the atheist of being religious for taking that position.

OK, so maybe we could compromise a little and make atheism as neutral as possible, but then we'd probably have to do that with theism too? Jim is an atheist who holds strong anti-theist beliefs? Jim is a theist who holds strong anti-atheist beliefs. Or Jim is an atheist and a truth crusader? Jim has strong faith in truth? Jim is a theist and a truth crusader. Jim has strong faith in the truth?
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
OK, so maybe we could compromise a little and make atheism as neutral as possible
That is, and has always been, the intention of this topic, an atheist is just simply not a theist.
Any attempts to attribute the word to mean 'faith that there are no deities' or 'one who fights theists' are misguided at best and dishonest at worst in my opinion.
Bluedoll
I don’t get this? It does sound good when anyone says that something is misguided and dishonest. I think, I’ll use that line too.

What I don’t understand is how something that means to have a trust or confidence in something (faith) is dishonest when applied to an atheist understanding. Are atheists that special that the English language does not apply to them? Given all things are learned, would it not be logical to say atheists think God does not exist or do you not have confidence that the idea of atheism is correct? Unless of course you say, I am not sure then that is totally different. You would lack confidence in both. You must have arrived at the conclusion that atheism is correct at some point or you would not be supporting that viewpoint with means you have confidence in that viewpoint. Since confidence is having faith in something and that something is atheism then logically it is fair to say this entire paragraph is not dishonest at all. If you think it still is then how?

Fighting - I know where you are coming from when you say not all people are the same for that is certainly true. Nevertheless, atheism is at war with the belief in God simply because of its existence because it serves to oppose and degrade the belief...
loremar
Bluedoll wrote:
Fighting - I know where you are coming from when you say not all people are the same for that is certainly true. Nevertheless, atheism is at war with the belief in God simply because of its existence because it serves to oppose and degrade the belief...

Not necessarily, I could hide somewhere else when somebody declares war with me. Hence, I am not at war with them.

deanhills wrote:
My point exactly if you check my previous post.
There is a point where atheism is no longer atheism in the above meaning of the word and does have the same overtone as that of religion. That point is when it crosses over the "any further added value is not needed" line. When you take a position against religion as being fictitious, you're obviously in the process of adding value to your position of "atheism", which makes it into something different to what atheism is supposed to mean.

That only mean that that something overlaps with atheism. That doesn't mean that atheism is that or ALSO that. okay?
Quote:
but on the other hand it also refers to a group of people who hold the same opinion about something

It's not. Atheism is NOT also about people who think abortion should be legal or same sex marriage should be legal. An Asian is NOT also a person who eats with chopsticks or someone who knows kung fu. That is not a definition. That is what you call a stereotype. Words are conventionally defined. Keyword:"conventionally". You can't just insist your own definition. I don't see why anyone would disagree that atheists don't believe in God so this should be the conventional definition. Beyond that don't expect that everyone would accept what you're insisting. Sometimes a word would mean two different things BUT that's because they are "conventionally" defined to mean both. They call it homonyms? What you're saying is not a case of that. Basically you're just stereotyping. And you know what would happen when people like you do something like that. If an atheist comes out in the open and says "Hey, I'm atheist", "Oh so you think...." when all he's basically saying is "I don't believe in god".

deanhills wrote:
I don't see anything different to a theist standing on a box on the corner of the street saying a lot of strange things in order to "assert" and "promote" his religious beliefs, and an atheist standing on a box on the other street corner saying that that theist is misleading every one, is lying, doesn't know what he is talking about, is a danger to society, etc. etc. etc. I can then see a certain amount of logic when the theist accuses the atheist of being religious for taking that position.

Being religious <- I hope you really know what that means Dean. This is just not any belief or can be used to mean protesting to religious beliefs. I might agree with you when this people protest and then suggest their own religious belief. There's a lot of factors that comes into play to say that a particular belief is religious like if it has to do with origins of life, meaning, consequences, etc. But if this people suggests scientific explanations and you would insist that they are being religious, you might as well say that science is religion. Because you know some of this people are just following what science is saying. Same with philosophy.

Or maybe you are referring to religious as in also means being diligent?
Bluedoll
loremar wrote:
Not necessarily, I could hide somewhere else when somebody declares war with me. Hence, I am not at war with them.
I agree with you. Bluedoll’s definition of war = It takes at least two to fight!

I agree with you on stereotyping because everyone is really an individual but Asian’s do have something in common. They live, relate to or were born in Asia. The same can be said of atheists. They do all have some things in common. Not believing in God about atheists is exactly what I am presented. Some atheists want to argue that this not true that to be an atheist means to have a non-belief which I say is just a smoothing over of words. The logical fact is atheists do not believe in God but everyone believes in something hence atheists believe in atheism. What could be more logical or sound in thinking than that?

I understand what you are saying about science and perhaps politics. I listen to people’s views on abortion for example and really do not care if they are atheists or not. When it comes to purely religious topics however I will never accept that people that actually teach religious ideas are not religiously minded.

If you don’t believe this is true just take a look in the p/r section. Perhaps Bikerman is the best example of a bible thumping atheist intend to explaining and convincing others that he is right about the bible. He even brags about his religion bible study from an atheist point of view. If want to tell me that is not accurate I will only say you are not being LOGICAL!
Mad
Ankhanu
Bluedoll wrote:
When it comes to purely religious topics however I will never accept that people that actually teach religious ideas are not religiously minded.

Then your mind is closed, and you have absolutely no intention of honestly discussing the topic. I don't know why you bother.
loremar
Bluedoll wrote:
The logical fact is atheists do not believe in God but everyone believes in something hence atheists believe in atheism. What could be more logical or sound in thinking than that?

First premise, true. The rest, meh. I can suspend my belief when it comes to guilt or innocence, or if someone is lying or honest, or if someone is etc. etc.... Non sequitur? And then there's people who are uberskeptic even on their sanity. On trivial matters, maybe having faith isn't a bad thing but this is isn't trivial matter.

Quote:
When it comes to purely religious topics however I will never accept that people that actually teach religious ideas are not religiously minded.

Except you have a twisted definition of "religious idea".

Quote:
If you don’t believe this is true just take a look in the p/r section. Perhaps Bikerman is the best example of a bible thumping atheist intend to explaining and convincing others that he is right about the bible. He even brags about his religion bible study from an atheist point of view. If want to tell me that is not accurate I will only say you are not being LOGICAL!
Mad

One, not all atheists are Bikerman.
Two, Bikerman isn't telling you to believe the bible. So technically, he's not really teaching it. Criticizing, I think is the word.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
I don’t get this? It does sound good when anyone says that something is misguided and dishonest. I think, I’ll use that line too.
Which bit don't you 'get', I stated:
watersoul wrote:
Any attempts to attribute the word atheist to mean 'faith that there are no deities' or 'one who fights theists' are misguided at best and dishonest at worst in my opinion
...and I continue to stand by that statement.

Quote:
What I don’t understand is how something that means to have a trust or confidence in something (faith) is dishonest when applied to an atheist understanding. Are atheists that special that the English language does not apply to them? Given all things are learned, would it not be logical to say atheists think God does not exist or do you not have confidence that the idea of atheism is correct?
There is no organised campaigning group 'idea' of atheism, or teachings of atheism, or atheism being a campaigning force against gods, aside from the inventions in your own mind. You know this already, and I've repeatedly asked you to explain how you think my well stated lack of faith in gods is me having faith in anything? I have seen nothing in my life to draw me towards believing in gods but I do not assert/believe/have faith that there are none because I am unable to confirm this.
You really are desperately trying to attach some 'faith' to my life outlook, but you are simply, well, wrong.
Quote:
Unless of course you say, I am not sure then that is totally different. You would lack confidence in both.
There is no evidence to draw me towards belief in any gods so I do not, and that means I am not a theist. The fact that I do not have any faith in gods means I fall under the descriptive term atheist. My reasoned position is that I am unable to verify that there are no gods so an agnostic atheist label is more descriptive, but atheist nonetheless because I do not believe in gods.
I do not have faith that there are none though, you just continue to invent that in a similar fashion as Dean has in this topic, it's almost like you two are tag-teaming each other here or something.
Quote:
You must have arrived at the conclusion that atheism is correct at some point
What, my conclusion that atheism is a descriptive term for 'one who has no faith in deities' and my lack of faith puts me under the label atheist? Yes, of course. It is just you attaching invented values to the word.
Quote:
or you would not be supporting that viewpoint with means you have confidence in that viewpoint. Since confidence is having faith in something and that something is atheism then logically it is fair to say this entire paragraph is not dishonest at all. If you think it still is then how?
I'm supporting the viewpoint that atheism is a lack of faith in gods and not a campaigning anti-faith organisation governed by satan. I think you are either misguided or dishonest trying to assert that anyone identifying as atheist is by default one who has faith that there are no deities and/or part of an anti religion terror organisation. I've explained many times in this topic so if you don't get it I'm not wasting any more effort with you. I imagine everyone else reading this topic will see how ridiculous your reasoning is so I am happy to leave you to your solely faith based argument.

Quote:
Fighting - I know where you are coming from when you say not all people are the same for that is certainly true. Nevertheless, atheism is at war with the belief in God simply because of its existence because it serves to oppose and degrade the belief...
Atheism has no 'existence' as a thing threatening religion, it describes the state of human beings who have no faith in deities. Theism describes those who do have faith in a deity, but with all the many different gods one could choose theism does not describe all theists as anything more than 'one who has faith in a deity'.
That said though, I'm not in any particular fight with religion if it stays away from my life or stops evangelising at my doorstep or in online discussions, or ends discrimination against me (details in another topic if you wanna argue about that as well), but if everyone stopped believing in invisible entities overnight I would not grieve at the loss.
It would indicate that many more people had suddenly started using evidence and reasoning in life, and that would be a good thing in my opinion.
Bluedoll
@Ankhanu
Good point and well taken but I think you might not be understanding me completely. Please allow me to explain. I am open minded enough to read what an atheist might say and seek to understand the meaning which should be obvious by the fact that I post here. However what I mean is not closed minded in that someone wants me to believe that talking about religion is not about religion! If you talk the talk, why call it something else? Yes it is a topic – a religious one.

This logic applies only in places where religion is being discussed. I suppose if you wanted to argue that having confidence in an understanding or belief could be closed minded. If that were the case then I would be inclined to agree with you. When it comes to God. The door is closed.

I notice Ankhanu that you post a lot of sarcastic comments and take great pride in your reasoning ability. All that I wrote above is coherent and logically written. By all means disagree with it but please do not call me a name or use your sarcastic attitude in reply to demean me. I am not joking around here but very sincere in my posts on this subject.

@loremar
I understand your point here but thing is I see this from the opposite side. The twisting is the idea that someone (anyone) can have a discussion (assuming it is a serious one) and try to convince another person that they are right.

Yes, I can understand how you can see that as not teaching. I think most religious leaders and religiously minded share their ideas with others by simply having discussions either public or private. Many books in the bible are simply letters to people.

Why is it when heavy debates take place in politics for example the ideas are to convince the listener one party is right and the other wrong. Teaching in my mind is not a service only established by educational institutions or should atheists be allowed to say they have the power to convince but are not teachers of ideas.

@watersoul
Where did you get your atheist ideas? Out of thin air? Did you invent atheism? Did you start it? Did you compose all your ideas all by yourself? Do you live on an island? I am going to assume you read, listen and understand atheism from other sources other than your own. That is what I mean here. Atheism is not just a personal slant on things. It is well documented on google. There is a ton of information on atheism and atheists giving their point of view. I have and continue to write why I thing “your my well stated lack of faith is a faith”.

I am using the definition that faith is a firm belief in something and you man firmly believe in something or you wouldn’t be debating about that something – your logical proof.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
@watersoul
Where did you get your atheist ideas?

Which imagined atheist ideas are you claiming? Do you mean not being convinced by the assertions of others that gods exist?
I hold no 'atheist ideas', I'm just a guy who isn't convinced that gods exist, remember I do not assert/believe/have faith that they do not because I'm unable to verify that at this present time.
Atheist is a word to describe someone who does not believe in deities. I was born that way until theists, including my mother, taught me to believe what they believe.
When I reached adulthood, I realised that the alleged evidence of gods was not strong enough for me to have any faith in the particular deity, so my belief/faith then ceased. I was no longer able to be called a theist anymore and my position fell into the 'one who does not believe in deities' category - commonly referred to as atheist.

Misguided, dishonest, or somehing else... Hmm, I wonder how most people reading this topic will consider such questions from the various contributions here Wink
Ankhanu
There was absolutely no sarcasm in my last post.
SpaceInvader75
Quote:
I would agree that adopting the label of atheist is learned... but not the state of being one.
The label is not the thing... the map is not the land... the symbol is not what it represents.


That is how I feel, which is why I disagree with claims of atheism being a "belief system". I've been clear in stating I am not an atheist; at least I don't think I am. And I should know better than anyone else. That does not mean that I necessarily believe in God.

According to Watersouls comments

Quote:
There is no evidence to draw me towards belief in any gods so I do not, and that means I am not a theist. The fact that I do not have any faith in gods means I fall under the descriptive term atheist.


In my opinion, that would be called an agnostic. Maybe there is something I am missing here. Technically, I am an agnostic, because I don't really agree there is any evidence of man's writings of God that I know anything about; I am not certain that there is not a God.

In my definition, that just means that I don't agree with, or understand any of man's concepts of God that have been explained to me. I have suggested before that the Buddhist concept of God may make more sense to me, but Buddhists do not exactly believe in God (I suppose that is open to definition). This does not mean that I have faith God does not exist. I think my point is that I need to be more open-minded about my definition of God. Religious people keep telling me I can't understand Him. How come they seem to have all the answers about God then? Ironic, to me.

Possibly I have a lack of faith in anything. Is this a belief system? I don't think so. Possibly I require more than "faith" to believe something. I don't really have "faith" in science, although it seems to have more historical credibility than religion. At least Science admits when it is proved wrong. But when really applying "faith" to things I realize that I don't really comprehend why one should have "faith". And it seems like a very weak argument. A lack of belief is not a belief system.

Now, atheists may indeed preach, and possibly I can understand some of the reasons why. I mean one doesn't have to look any further than these forums to see atheists being accused of being influenced by Satan... The fact that I don't believe in Satan doesn't make it any less of a serious accusation, because it implies that lack of belief of God is evil.
Ankhanu
SpaceInvader75 wrote:
According to Watersouls comments

Quote:
There is no evidence to draw me towards belief in any gods so I do not, and that means I am not a theist. The fact that I do not have any faith in gods means I fall under the descriptive term atheist.


In my opinion, that would be called an agnostic. Maybe there is something I am missing here. Technically, I am an agnostic, because I don't really agree there is any evidence of man's writings of God that I know anything about; I am not certain that there is not a God.

(A)Theist and (a)gnostic are answers to different, related, questions. The former is concerned with belief, the second is concerned with certainty; e.g. Do you believe, and are you sure?
I, for example, am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe any of the claims of gods that I've encountered so far, but I do not state that there are no gods possible, and I'm open to being shown that they do exist. I do not assert that gods do not exist. (Though I do assert that the likelihood of certain specific gods existing is minute to the point of functionally being 0)

Basically, if you do not actually believe in the existence of a god or gods, then you are atheist. How sure you are is kind of irrelevant.
Same thing, if you believe in a god or gods, whether you're certain of them or really have no idea if your belief is right, you're theist.

Technically, that is a little incomplete, as there is an agnostic position on the theist/atheist "do you believe" spectrum, but it is exceptionally rare: the position that we cannot know and somehow that translates into some neutral position. Honestly I don't understand how to reconcile that particular brand of agnosticism, but people say it's possible Wink

SpaceInvader75 wrote:
In my definition, that just means that I don't agree with, or understand any of man's concepts of God that have been explained to me. I have suggested before that the Buddhist concept of God may make more sense to me, but Buddhists do not exactly believe in God (I suppose that is open to definition).

Yeah, there are Buddhist sects that treat Buddhas and such as gods, actual personal entities that can respond to prayers; they're kind of offshoots from the classical non-theistic Buddhism. In general, though, Buddhism is a mystical, but non-theistic (atheistic) religion. There is belief in the supernatural, just not deity.

SpaceInvader75 wrote:
This does not mean that I have faith God does not exist. I think my point is that I need to be more open-minded about my definition of God. Religious people keep telling me I can't understand Him. How come they seem to have all the answers about God then? Ironic, to me.

Ah divine, personal revelation... convincing, isn't it?

SpaceInvader75 wrote:
Possibly I have a lack of faith in anything. Is this a belief system? I don't think so. Possibly I require more than "faith" to believe something. ... But when really applying "faith" to things I realize that I don't really comprehend why one should have "faith". And it seems like a very weak argument.

Welcome to the basis of rationalism and skepticism Wink

SpaceInvader75 wrote:
Now, atheists may indeed preach, and possibly I can understand some of the reasons why. I mean one doesn't have to look any further than these forums to see atheists being accused of being influenced by Satan... The fact that I don't believe in Satan doesn't make it any less of a serious accusation, because it implies that lack of belief of God is evil.

It is a little hurtful, and I think that is the intention.
I mean, yeah, I don't believe in the entities we're being tied to, but the intention of the accusation is not a pleasant one. At the same time, however, if it's "evil" to lack belief, doesn't that somewhat down-play the severity of evil to something almost meaningless?
Bluedoll
I don’t think it is evil to lack any kind of belief. From a spiritual perspective evil in this case is simply about authority. Does mankind want authority over God is the question? Is that hurtful? Is atheism also a non-existent entity and therefore doesn’t exist?
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
I don’t think it is evil to lack any kind of belief. From a spiritual perspective evil in this case is simply about authority. Does mankind want authority over God is the question? Is that hurtful? Is atheism also a non-existent entity and therefore doesn’t exist?
You are just trolling now in my opinion. If you want a discussion about 'does mankind want authority over God' questions please start your own topic and see if anyone is interested. If you wish to continue bleating about the word atheist and present invented definitions to cover all atheists, then again, please start your own thread. I'm tired of your posts polluting reasoned discussion here, especially after I read this from your now deleted topic last night, I took the liberty of taking a screenshot for you... http://watersoul.frihost.net/images/bluedoll.png

If any mod's are around, could you consider locking this topic after Ankhanu's last post and delete everything below including this? ...or include it so others can see why it was locked? I'm easy either way.

I think the OP message has been explained well enough now, and anyone reading this will be able to end an interesting topic with Ankhanu's reasoned and informative post describing atheist/agnostic/theist positions.
SpaceInvader75
Quote:
I, for example, am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe any of the claims of gods that I've encountered so far, but I do not state that there are no gods possible, and I'm open to being shown that they do exist. I do not assert that gods do not exist. (Though I do assert that the likelihood of certain specific gods existing is minute to the point of functionally being 0)


OK, that makes sense. I come to the same conclusion about the likelihood of specific gods existing being minute not just because I am demanding scientific evidence, but I think even the source itself is very questionable. But I do suppose if you are going to claim miracles happen then you should present some sort of scientific evidence.

Quote:
Yeah, there are Buddhist sects that treat Buddhas and such as gods, actual personal entities that can respond to prayers; they're kind of offshoots from the classical non-theistic Buddhism. In general, though, Buddhism is a mystical, but non-theistic (atheistic) religion. There is belief in the supernatural, just not deity.


Is a non-theist religious person also an atheist?

Quote:
Welcome to the basis of rationalism and skepticism


I am skeptical, and I ask questions. It is my opinion, if you are not skeptical and do not question things, you are just being ignorant. My personal opinion is that ignorance is a choice, and maybe some people prefer to be comfortable rather than question things. To me, it was kind of like in the Matrix, when you had to choose which pill you would take. I think would rather know the truth, or attempt to know it, than just avoiding questioning, because it may lead me to uncomfortable truths, such as "Maybe there is no God watching over me, or no Heaven to go to after I die."

Quote:
At the same time, however, if it's "evil" to lack belief, doesn't that somewhat down-play the severity of evil to something almost meaningless?


Well, I suppose it would be almost meaningless, which is why I think there's something wrong with the logic here, even though I can understand belief in Satan.

Quote:
I don’t think it is evil to lack any kind of belief. From a spiritual perspective evil in this case is simply about authority. Does mankind want authority over God is the question?


It's possible that our perspectives are too different for us to have a productive conversation. How can an atheist want authority over God if he doesn't believe in God? I'm not saying I want to be God. I don't understand how you come to the conclusion that because people do not believe in God, it must be because they do not accept God's authority. If you really believed in God, what good would it do just to say that there is no God? Doesn't God know everything? So He would know you were lying.
Ankhanu
Thread locked at Watersoul's request.

I'm going to toss a quick reply in, however, to address one of SpaceInvader's questions.
SpaceInvader75 wrote:
Is a non-theist religious person also an atheist?
If there's no belief in a god or gods, yeah, they're atheist. Atheism speaks nothing about thoughts on ritual, other aspects of the supernatural, or, really, anything else. Someone could be very religious, but if there's no god-belief, they're atheist as well as religious.
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