'A' Prefix

phooney
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'A' Prefix

On a Catholic forum I have been debating on, they just won't quit with the idea that Atheism means a positive claim that there are no gods.  What do  you think of their argument:


Phooney:They are related in their common usage, it is true. However, even your dictionary hints at their meanings in wider applications.

As _A_ has already pointed out, Atheist merely means without belief in a god, due to the "A" in front of "theist", which negates the "theist" part of the word.

You'll notice that Agnostic also has an "A" in front of it, this time negating "Gnostic", which is derived from some old word(s) regarding knowledge.

Here's what this means for all of us today:

Agnostic Atheist: "I have no knowledge of a God, and I don't believe in a God"
Gnostic Atheist: "I know there is no God"
Agnostic Theist: "I have no knowledge of a God, but I believe in a God anyway"
Gnostic Theist: "I know there is a God"

So, just recapping "atheism" and "theism" are 2 different ranges on a scale of belief, "agnosticism" and "gnosticism" are two different ranges on a scale of knowledge.


 

Hastrman:Wrong.

The A- prefix in Greek means None or Not, in a sense contingent on the Greek understanding of binary logic. Acosmicism means "no universe," not "lack of a belief about the universe"; Agnosticism means "denying knowledge," not "lacking an opinion about knowledge". Atheism, then, is "No-God-ism", the position that there is no God, not, "not being a God-ist-ism". Sanskrit, which is closer to Greek than Latin is and has the same prefix, has words like "Advaita", which means "not dualist," not "lack of a belief about dualism", and "Anatman" which means "no soul," not "lack of a belief about souls".

What many self-described atheists think is irrelevant; they're using the word wrong.

Of course it's not surprising to me that people whose philosophy is a bad retread of the Lucretian Atomists ("Nothing exists but particles and space," in modern terms), and the Epicureans, don't know any Greek. If they did they might have noticed Socrates and Aristotle refuted their cosmology 2400 years ago.

"Nontheist" means what you think Atheist means.

 

phooney: Despite how much more you might like to argue against those who positively affirm that there are no gods, all atheism implies is a lack of belief in gods, because all theism implies is a belief in at least one god. The "A" prefix in itself has nothing to do with belief.

A few examples of my own, if you please. Apathy (which I think you originally used, but I see have edited, perhaps because you saw this coming) lack of emotions, not the belief that there are no emotions. Asymmetry, a lack of symmetry, not the belief that there is no such thing as symmetry. Bald, a lack of hair, not a hair colour. Not collecting stamps, a lack of a hobby, etc.

Agnosticism, not "lacking an opinion about knowledge" and by no far stretch of your imagination "denying knowledge" simply the assertion that they, at least, and others perhaps, lack knowledge, with some, admittedly, denying the existence of knowledge by saying it is unknowable. The one thing that all agnostics have in common from those that just don't know, to those that say it is impossible to know, is the lack of knowledge.

Likewise with Atheism, some say there is no god, the rest of us simply lack a belief in any gods. The one catch-all that all have is a lack of belief in gods. Those that make a positive claim are called "strong atheists"

Socrates and Aristotle, while I give them plenty of credit for their brilliance with the available information, are hardly cutting-edge cosmologists. You might be surprised to learn that there have been advancements in the last 2400 years.

As far as I know, I'd say non-theist sounds pretty much synonymous.

 

Hastrman:Okay. But none of your examples is an ism, is it? See, we have that ism ending for a reason. It means, a system of thought. And yes, I did change it to make them all isms, not "because I saw it coming"--but because I wanted to make my explanation clear.

The way Isms have to be formed is, root-word plus Ism.

The root word of Atheism is Theos: God, not Theism, belief in God. A-theos means no-God. The ism formed off that, is "No-God-ism," the system based on the statement "there is no God."

On the other hand, a non-Theist is a person who is, pure and simple, not a Theist, not in the system of God-ism. No ambiguity--no tying yourself up with jerks like Richard Dawkins. Nobody has much dislike for non-Theists, other than a vague dislike that always goes with staying neutral, but what you call "strong" Atheists...almost nobody doesn't dislike them.

And no, we've regressed hugely from Aristotle in terms of metaphysics, albeit not in cosmology if narrowly understood as a field in physics.

 

 

 

 

Comments much appreciated!


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At one time, 'conservative'

At one time, 'conservative' in politics meant in support of the monarchy, while 'liberals' advocated the desires of the people over that of the monarchy.

Modern conservatives will probably never identify themselves as monarchists.

Thus it is with atheists/atheism. English is a living language. Word meanings change through usage, new words come in all the time (example: "D'oh" is now in the Oxford Unabridged English Dictionary). So I propose you say something along these lines to the folks on that other forum:

"If you choose to mean 'people who assert an active disbelief in gods' when you discuss atheism, that's fine, but as long as you fail to understand that modern, self-identifying 'athiests' usually mean 'having no active assertion of a god-belief', then you're going to run into trouble, misunderstanding, and needless complications." 

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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an-archy

while we're being overly pedantic about these things I'll throw in another term: anarchy. Anarchy is comprised of two parts similar to atheism. An and archy. Archy meaning ruler or superior, an meaning without. So an-archy = without-rulers. So is there a subtle difference between 'a' and 'an'? Or is the n in anarchy there simply because it is prefixed to a word starting with a vowel?

 

 


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cam wrote: while we're

cam wrote:

while we're being overly pedantic about these things I'll throw in another term: anarchy. Anarchy is comprised of two parts similar to atheism. An and archy. Archy meaning ruler or superior, an meaning without. So an-archy = without-rulers. So is there a subtle difference between 'a' and 'an'? Or is the n in anarchy there simply because it is prefixed to a word starting with a vowel?

 

 

Bingo.   


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phooney wrote: You'll

phooney wrote:
You'll notice that Agnostic also has an "A" in front of it, this time negating "Gnostic", which is derived from some old word(s) regarding knowledge.


I am not a etymologist, gnostic, or greek historian, but from my years of personal research on this subject, here is how i see it (if you are one of the above, correct me where i am wrong).

"Gnostic" is not a direct synonym of the word "knowledge" as you have portrayed it. The original greek word "gnostikos" may have been the word knowledge, but "Gnostic" is a morphed version of the word. Gnostic is a word of religious meaning, and knowledge has never been any form of religion (we could only dream). Gnostic means the "enlightenment of god", translated from "knowledge of god", translated from "knowledge" or gnostikos. This "enlightenment of god" version of the word Gnostic corresponds to the belief that god is found through the mind and not the soul.

In contrast, "agnostic" would be a person that does not have the enlightenment of god, or one that has not found god in his mind. Basically, anyone that is not aware of gnosticism is agnostic, along with the people that simply do not believe in it.

This may be a better way to explain atheism. If someone is unaware of theism, they would be atheist.

phooney wrote:
A few examples of my own, if you please. Apathy (which I think you originally used, but I see have edited, perhaps because you saw this coming) lack of emotions, not the belief that there are no emotions. Asymmetry, a lack of symmetry, not the belief that there is no such thing as symmetry. Bald, a lack of hair, not a hair colour. Not collecting stamps, a lack of a hobby, etc.


Or even more simple, the prefix "a-" is not the same as the prefix "anti-". The prefix "a-" means without, the prefix "anti-" means against. We are not called "anti-theists". (even though some of us are that also)

Hastrman wrote:
The way Isms have to be formed is, root-word plus Ism.

The root word of Atheism is Theos: God, not Theism, belief in God. A-theos means no-God. The ism formed off that, is "No-God-ism," the system based on the statement "there is no God."


I understand what Hastrman is trying to say here, I just disagree with his premise that "The way Isms have to be formed is, root-word plus Ism." I could make the same premise that "The way a- have to be formed is a- + root word". Can anyone confirm or deny this either way? Even if he was right, it would not necessarily translate to the belief that "there is no god", it would mean "not aware of god". I would accept that as an interpretation of atheism, since it is true that I am not aware of god.


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Just tell him you're pretty

Just tell him you're pretty sure that Catholic really means "addicted to cats" because Alcoholic means "addicted to alcohol."  He's just playing ridiculous word games, so he won't mind it back.

Theism: Belief in God,  Atheism:  Without Belief in God.

How many times do we need to go over this?

Also fun to know when Christians try to pull the "how do you KNOW?" shit, you can start with the stats that evaluate their god.

Evidence of answered prayer vs. random chance: None

Evidence of miracles: None

Diseases cured directly from biblical knowledge: None

Evidence of the Bible's Origin story: Just the Bible (aka None)

Claim after claim we don't see anything to back it, we can be reasonably close to KNOWING their god doesn't exist.   If we're at a 99.999999999% probability.  Round up!  

 


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adams_antics wrote: Or

adams_antics wrote:


Or even more simple, the prefix "a-" is not the same as the prefix "anti-". The prefix "a-" means without, the prefix "anti-" means against. We are not called "anti-theists". (even though some of us are that also)

Of course!  Thanks for that.  I really should have thought of this myself, it seems the simplest way of going forward.  Smiling

I'm not a etymologist, greek historian or gnostic either, I was basing my understanding largely on Todangst's essay "Am I Agnostic or Atheist?" as well as countless threads here!


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Christian grasping at

Christian grasping at straws wrote:

Atheism, then, is "No-God-ism", the position that there is no God

Those two don't work together.  Having "no-god" which is an accurate description of atheists doesn't translate to the "position that there is no God."   By the way, if he wants to seperate "ism" tell him that atheism is....

a: none

the: used, esp. before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an): the book you gave me; Come into the house.

ism: belief or position

EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN DISHONESTY, RETARDATION, AND DELUSIONAL SELF REINFORCING ARGUMENT....

Atheism defined through dishonest Jesus goggles: none before a noun with a specifying or particularizing effect that you believe in.

Let him have the first half of his sentence atheists are "no-god-ists"  take the second part of his sentence, shove it up his ass real far, and hopefully if you get it in there far enough it'll knock his brain around a little until it starts working again.  You know, like kicking a computer to make it work?  It works... sometimes.

 

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I don't know why Christian

I don't know why Christian theists love to play word games with the term "atheist". What's the point ? Who cares ?

Perhaps it gives Christians some sort of psychological pay off, like constantly asserting that atheism is a religion.

 

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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stuntgibbon wrote: Just

stuntgibbon wrote:

Just tell him you're pretty sure that Catholic really means "addicted to cats" because Alcoholic means "addicted to alcohol."  He's just playing ridiculous word games, so he won't mind it back.

Abundantly more LULZ than my version.

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Sapient wrote: stuntgibbon

Sapient wrote:
stuntgibbon wrote:

Just tell him you're pretty sure that Catholic really means "addicted to cats" because Alcoholic means "addicted to alcohol."  He's just playing ridiculous word games, so he won't mind it back.

Abundantly more LULZ than my version.

 

Agreed, that was gold Smiling


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Thinking about that

Thinking about that comment....

 

According to him, did I just say

"The belief that there is no greed, that was gold"


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The word atheism could be

The word atheism could be analyzed several different ways. Like many other atheists, I like to analyze the word such that it means "the lack of the belief in a deity":

a-theism

Where the a- (the form before consonants, but an- is used before vowels and sometimes h) is a privative prefix that may mean "lacking" here, and theism here means "the belief in a deity."

So, a- (the lack of) + theism (belief in a deity) = atheism (the lack of the belief in a deity).

Notice that the privative force of the a- prefix is affecting the entire word element theism, not just the the-. In this case, a-theism is not an -ism, but rather a lack of one. Morever, a-theism is a word derived from an English word (theism), not one that derives directly from the Greek word.

But the word could be analyzed like this:

athe-ism

In this case, the a- is just affecting the the-, and then this completed athe- is attached to -ism. Exactly what just athe- would mean is a bit hard to pin down. It might represent the Greek word atheos, which has several meanings. Perhaps the athe-ism could mean something like "the -ism of atheos," which might be what Hastrman had in mind -- the "Greek understanding of binary logic" that he or she said.

Another way to analyze the word is this:

a-the-ism

This might be interpreted to mean "No-God-ism," but not necessarily. But, as Sapient said, it could mean "none before a noun with a specifying or particularizing effect that you believe in."

Hastrman wrote:
The root word of Atheism is Theos: God, not Theism, belief in God.

Theos and theism are both "root words" of atheism.

Hastrman wrote:
A-theos means no-God. The ism formed off that, is "No-God-ism," the system based on the statement "there is no God."

Atheism has several meanings in Greek, including "without God, denying the gods."

"No-God" in Greek would be udenotheos, where udeno- specifically means "no." So, udenotheism would be "the system based on the statement "there is no God.""

Hastrman wrote:
"Nontheist" means what you think Atheist means.

Well, non, like the prefix a- has several meanings, including "not" or "no." If you just want to use either "not" or "no" (as you do with a-), then nontheist is just as "wrong" (as you say) as atheist.

I am Antie at the Infidelguy.com forums. Avatar made from this image.


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Of course, after that, it

Of course, after that, it is time to bring in Pascal's wager:

 


For the Atheist on this site in the area of your soul I will pray for you.

For you have knowledge of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
and have rejected Him and if continuing on this route will only lead you to darkness.

It is for God to Judge but by rejecting Jesus you reject His mercy.

I for one if judged would lose that court case as I am a sinner and am not perfect.

If I am wrong that God exists then I have lost nothing.

On the other hand if you are wrong that God does not exist then you have lost everything.

Atheism as a whole is a bad bet.
  

Today, 5:11 am 
phooney 


hahaha


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Eh, that's an easy enough

Eh, that's an easy enough one:

"If I am wrong and there is a god, then I'll thank whoever it turns out to be for the joy and wonder of life, and be contented with that. And that one answer works no matter who's right, if I am wrong.

If you are wrong, and there is a god, just not yours then what? What if YHVH comes out to say "Dude, I haven't sent the messiah yet", or Allah greets you when you die and says "There is no Me but Me, and Mohammed was My prophet, beeyotch. You have not lived in submission to Me as laid out in the Quran. Time to burn!"? What if you die, and get just a moment of a fat guy under a tree before you come back as a beetle? Or an old one-eyed dude who looks pretty pissed off before condeming you to Hel for not dying valiantly in battle? Or any of a numbering beyond count of gods?

If I'm wrong, I've lived as best I can, and not followed any false god. If you're wrong, you have followed a false god.

The odds are in my favor, and I'm ok with being wrong. Are you?" 

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Hehe, I've already answered

Hehe, I've already answered Pascal's wager a million times over there.

 This time, I'm sticking with the response "hahaha" I think it about covers everything.