Does believing in a Supreme Being make you a Theist?

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Does believing in a Supreme Being make you a Theist?

I do believe in the existence of a Supreme Being, though that does not necessarily make me a theist. When you think about it, everyone should be able to buy into the idea that there is something that is greater than everything else in each of our value systems. This is analogous to observing that there must be a location on this planet that is farthest from you. For every distinct earthling this location is slightly different, but there is one for each of us.

The Supreme Being is simply the top of the hierarchy by which you judge importance. Just because this entity is not the God of scriptures does not make it any less supreme in your world view (note that the actions of more than a few theists indicate that the God of their scriptures is somewhere below fame, wealth and/or power as their Supreme Being). If you truly believe that all beings are equal, then your Supreme Being is simply the totality of all beings.

Even atheists believe that something is supreme. Arguably for most atheists the Supreme Being is either the entire universe or some ultimate state to which all conscious beings aspire (ironically, there are atheists who reserve their ultimate veneration for the same fame, wealth and/or power that certain theists revere). In this context, regardless of whether you are atheist or theist, how spiritual you are reflects how much of your life you spend in prayer to, contemplation of or communion with your Supreme Being.

Simply acknowledging an entity as supreme, is to accord it the most basic form of worship. As such, it is generally not belief in and worship of a Supreme Being that distinguishes atheists and theists. The primary difference between them seems to be the theist’s tendency to engage in anthropopatheia (assigning human traits to God). This means that the fewer traits your Supreme Being shares with humans (e.g., will, desire, wrath, agape, etc.) the more of an atheist you are.

Your Thoughts?

 


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Well if you believe in a

Well if you believe in a supreme "being", which usually when a supreme being is brought up is referring to someone then you are a theist.  And I don't believe in a supreme being in the sense you are saying.  I believe that someday humanity will outgrow its need for invisible friends, and we will continue to evolve and create newer things and eventually spread into space (assuming we survive that long). 

Thats just my throughts on it. 


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Gizmo wrote:Well if you

Gizmo wrote:
Well if you believe in a supreme "being", which usually when a supreme being is brought up is referring to someone then you are a theist. 

I am using "being" to refer to something that exists, not necessarily someone. You're making my point here by implying that if your Supreme Being is a person you are a theist. But what if your Supreme Being is the economy, gravity or the entire universe? (none of which are people) If you acknowledge Its supremacy in your worldview but do not assign human traits to It, are you still a theist?


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I believe in a Taco Supreme.

I believe in a Taco Supreme.


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LosingStreak06 wrote:I

LosingStreak06 wrote:
I believe in a Taco Supreme.

Yes, but do you think it will get mad at you if you try a Big Mac or go vegan? Smiling


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RationalAnswers wrote: I

RationalAnswers wrote:

I do believe in the existence of a Supreme Being, though that does not necessarily make me a theist. When you think about it, everyone should be able to buy into the idea that there is something that is greater than everything else in each of our value systems. This is analogous to observing that there must be a location on this planet that is farthest from you. For every distinct earthling this location is slightly different, but there is one for each of us.

I think this is shaky ground for a comparison. Geographically antipodal points can be quantified absolutely, as they have a finite existence and definition in the natural world. Quantifying something that is "greater than everything" is inherently personal, and therefore subjective, and therefore relative.

Second, the term "supreme being" is loaded; it has connotations of a supernatural entity. I know you address this elsewhere, but use the word "entity" instead of being; it is more flexible and has less semantic baggage.

Quote:

The Supreme Being is simply the top of the hierarchy by which you judge importance. Just because this entity is not the God of scriptures does not make it any less supreme in your world view (note that the actions of more than a few theists indicate that the God of their scriptures is somewhere below fame, wealth and/or power as their Supreme Being). If you truly believe that all beings are equal, then your Supreme Being is simply the totality of all beings.

Here, the loadedness of your term shifts to "supreme", which has connotations of ordering by some comparative term. If we accept that all beings are equal, their sum is simply that; it does not take on a new quality by being considered in total. The sum total of all gumballs does not make for Supreme Gumballness.

Quote:

Even atheists believe that something is supreme. Arguably for most atheists the Supreme Being is either the entire universe or some ultimate state to which all conscious beings aspire (ironically, there are atheists who reserve their ultimate veneration for the same fame, wealth and/or power that certain theists revere). In this context, regardless of whether you are atheist or theist, how spiritual you are reflects how much of your life you spend in prayer to, contemplation of or communion with your Supreme Being.

This is tricky; in order to find out if your first sentence is correct, you have to define "supreme".

Quote:

Simply acknowledging an entity as supreme, is to accord it the most basic form of worship. As such, it is generally not belief in and worship of a Supreme Being that distinguishes atheists and theists. The primary difference between them seems to be the theist’s tendency to engage in anthropopatheia (assigning human traits to God). This means that the fewer traits your Supreme Being shares with humans (e.g., will, desire, wrath, agape, etc.) the more of an atheist you are.

Your Thoughts?

Deducing or inferring that some entity is supreme in some instance or respect does not amount to proto-worship; it is simply an acknowledgement (if you have evidence) or claim (if you do not) that this entity is better/higher/more positive in some respect than other like entities. Worship entails not just an elevation of the thing being worshipped, but also an abasement of the worshipper.

Perhaps that's the sticking point: worship requires both diminishing the worshipper and ascribing meaning to the difference in measure between the worshipper and the object of worship. Without ascribing value to that difference, you are simply enjoying or appreciating, not worshipping.

Yes, the universe contains physical reality. Yes, that means it is physically greater that human beings. No, that does NOT mean we should elevate the universe above ourselves in anything other than measurable dimension or content.

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Quote: Arguably for most

Quote:
Arguably for most atheists the Supreme Being is either the entire universe or some ultimate state to which all conscious beings aspire (ironically, there are atheists who reserve their ultimate veneration for the same fame, wealth and/or power that certain theists revere).
  (italics and bolding mine)

This positional statement of a "Supreme Being" smacks of pantheism, panentheism, polytheism and pandeism.    Atheists, by definition, do not hold such a view.

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RationalAnswers

RationalAnswers wrote:

Does believing in a Supreme Being make you a Theist?

Yes! 


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RationalAnswers wrote:

LosingStreak06 wrote:
I believe in a Taco Supreme.

Yes, but do you think it will get mad at you if you try a Big Mac or go vegan? Smiling

Heh. Being that I'm a poor musician/college student, I can't afford to go vegan at this point. I can't really afford Big Macs either. It's a double cheeseburger and a Sweet Tea off of the dollar menu for me. Or the Sunday special 79 cent hard-shell tacos from the Taco Bell drive-thru.


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BGH wrote: RationalAnswers

BGH wrote:
RationalAnswers wrote:

Does believing in a Supreme Being make you a Theist?

Yes!

 I agree and I think you check out some of the threads on AA/NA... 


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Does believing in a Supreme Being make you a Theist?

 

Yeah, you betcha there, Ace.

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Thank you for your

Thank you for your insightful response. Allow me to address your points as best I can:

shikko wrote:
I think this is shaky ground for a comparison. Geographically antipodal points can be quantified absolutely, as they have a finite existence and definition in the natural world. Quantifying something that is "greater than everything" is inherently personal, and therefore subjective, and therefore relative.

The relative nature of each person's conception of the Supreme Being is my ultimate point here. You seem to be implying that this is a problem. It is highly unlikely that any two people are in complete agreement on the exact nature of "the most important thing in existence" (which is what I mean by "Supreme Being&quotEye-wink. Heck, a given individual's conception of it most likely changes over the course of his or her life. This is probably the most relative concept there is. One could argue (though I won't) that it is our perception of what is the most important thing in existence that defines us.

shikko wrote:
Second, the term "supreme being" is loaded; it has connotations of a supernatural entity. I know you address this elsewhere, but use the word "entity" instead of being; it is more flexible and has less semantic baggage.

Many atheists seem to have a word taboo with the term "supreme being". I suspect its because some of us have spent so much time saying how ignorant, superstitious and/or stupid theists are that we do not want to have anything in common with them, especially belief in a "supreme being".

Yes, btw I am technically an atheist. I am specifically a monist, but since the monistic phenomenon I believe in did not create the universe, does not have any of the human traits that distinguish a theist's supreme being from mine, I feel comfortable with the appellation 'atheist'. I am an atheist in the same way that many Buddhists are except that I have a more rational take on the Emptiness that they regard as the be all and end all.

 

shikko wrote:
Here, the loadedness of your term shifts to "supreme", which has connotations of ordering by some comparative term. If we accept that all beings are equal, their sum is simply that; it does not take on a new quality by being considered in total. The sum total of all gumballs does not make for Supreme Gumballness...This is tricky; in order to find out if your first sentence is correct, you have to define "supreme".

As I implied at the beginning of my original post, I mean supreme in the context of most important to the observer in the context of his or her personal system of values. In this context, if gumballs are important to you, the sum total of all gumballs arguably represents the Supreme Gumballness since without it there would be no gumballs (I am being somewhat facetious here since this is not critical to my thesis so please lets not go down the necessary and sufficient condition or set theory rabbit holes over this).

shikko wrote:
Deducing or inferring that some entity is supreme in some instance or respect does not amount to proto-worship; it is simply an acknowledgement (if you have evidence) or claim (if you do not) that this entity is better/higher/more positive in some respect than other like entities. Worship entails not just an elevation of the thing being worshipped, but also an abasement of the worshipper.

Perhaps that's the sticking point: worship requires both diminishing the worshipper and ascribing meaning to the difference in measure between the worshipper and the object of worship. Without ascribing value to that difference, you are simply enjoying or appreciating, not worshipping.

I would argue that acknowledging that something is the most important thing in existence does in fact constitute proto-worship. I say this because, unless you are morbidly egocentric enough to believe that you are the most important thing in existence, you are placing yourself below whatever you think this entity is and thus diminishing yourself.

 My ultimate point here is that everyone thinks something is the most important thing in existence. I admit that I chose to call this thing the "Supreme Being" because of the sometimes visceral reaction many atheists have to this term. I would apologize for chumming the waters with that volatile usage except that I suspect the reaction is based on an atheistic intolerance of all things that contain the stink of theism on them. Such an intolerance shows that religion is not the cause of intolerance, it is merely a convenient excuse.


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Thank you for your insightful response.

 

You betcha there, Champ.


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Crocoduck wrote:

Crocoduck wrote:
This positional statement of a "Supreme Being" smacks of pantheism, panentheism, polytheism and pandeism. Atheists, by definition, do not hold such a view.

Crocoduck, please allow me to clarify: Most atheists who are (or were) scientists (e.g., Einstein, Sagan, Weinberg, Dawkins, etc.) believe the "Most Important Thing in Existence" is the entire universe while more spiritually inclined atheists (e.g. Buddhists and many monists) believe it is some ultimate state to which all conscious beings aspire.

Atheistic particle physicists tend to have monistic leanings in that they seem to want to believe that everything in the universe is made up of some ultimate particle of matter/energy.

Though none of us believe in an anthropomorphic God, are you excluding us from the atheist community because we disbelieve differently from you? Smiling

My ultimate point is that unless you have a perfectly flat value hierarchy in which nothing is ever more important than anything else, then something is always more important to you than everything else. Based on this premise, my thesis is that the primary difference between a theist and an atheist is that the former insists that this entity always has certain distinctly human traits while the latter insists that it does not.


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Now let me get this

Now let me get this straight, I show up in this forum and ask if I am a theist, explain my thinking as to why I don't think so and the majority ot the responses are short answer "yes, you are!!!", and some moderator staples a "Theist" label under my name.

If I had been a true fence sitter, uncertain of my metaphysical status, all this would have done was add to the number of self-defined theists in the world. Yet the tagline of this site says: "fighting to free humanity from the mind disorder know as theism". Maybe its me but pushing such fence sitters into the theist column seems to fly in the face of this mission.


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LosingStreak06 wrote: I

LosingStreak06 wrote:
I believe in a Taco Supreme.

A Burrito supreme... and a chicken supreme... and a cutlass supreme

 


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Though none of us believe in an anthropomorphic God, are you excluding us from the atheist community because we disbelieve differently from you? Smiling

Hmm ... I don't know where you get the idea that I'm excluding you from anything.  Nor have I made any statement about any "disbelief" I have (which I have none).  I was responding to the question you posed:

Quote:
If you acknowledge Its supremacy in your worldview but do not assign human traits to It, are you still a theist?
 

My answer may have been somewhat shrouded in mystery so I will rephrase:  yes, yeppers, uh huh, affirmative, dat's right, yo yo yo, you go girl!

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You're a theist. You believe

You're a theist. You believe in a God. No matter how you try to word it, "Supreme being" is God.


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Crocoduck,

Crocoduck,

You realize that you just insisted that you are not excluding me from anything (i.e., "the atheist community" ) and then you state as unequivocaly as possible that I am not an atheist. Smiling


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CrimsonEdge wrote:

CrimsonEdge wrote:
You're a theist. You believe in a God. No matter how you try to word it, "Supreme being" is God.

CrimsonEdge, obviously I see things differently. I regard "Supreme Being" as a value judgment and "God" as a gerrymandered collection of human and superhuman traits. If a physicist says that "dark energy is the most important manifestation in existence because it is about 75% of the universe" is she saying that dark energy is God? Now contrast her with her daughter who insists that "Justin Timberlake is the most important manifestation in existence because his music is miraculous". In my world view, the physicist has made an atheistic statement while her daughter has made a theistic one. 


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RationalAnswers wrote:

CrimsonEdge wrote:
You're a theist. You believe in a God. No matter how you try to word it, "Supreme being" is God.

CrimsonEdge, obviously I see things differently. I regard "Supreme Being" as a value judgment and "God" as a gerrymandered collection of human and superhuman traits. If a physicist says that "dark energy is the most important manifestation in existence because it is about 75% of the universe" is she saying that dark energy is God? Now contrast her with her daughter who insists that "Justin Timberlake is the most important manifestation in existence because his music is miraculous". In my world view, the physicist has made an atheistic statement while her daughter has made a theistic one.

There is one and only one difference between a theist and an atheist. Atheist, a non-belief in god. Theist, a belief in god. Unless the physicist believes that dark energy is magical, then no she's not a theist for believing it to be the most important thing in existence. Arguably, I could consider water the most important thing in existence. After all, no life on Earth could exist without it and I myself am dependent on it for my survival. Considering it the most important thing means absolutely nothing though. It has no effect on the thing and it doesn't necessitate worship. The same goes for her daughter. He daughter is not a theist because she thinks Justin Timberlake is the most important thing in existence, nor if she worships him (though it is arguable depending on what she intends to achieve by that worship) is she. Her reason for Justin Timberlake being the most important thing in existence suggests only that she believes his music has divine origin. It does not address the divinity of Justin Timberlake, though. Believing in the divine (god) does make her daughter a theist. Whether she believes Justin Timberlake to be god or not is not adressed. Assuming she does, that his music is magical and a product of his own magical properties and that if she worships him he may favour her, then yes, she'd be a theist of the cult of Justin Timberlake.

The whole point here is that you are an atheist if and only if you have a non-belief in god. You have a belief in god (no matter how you phrase it that is what you have written) and thus you are a theist.

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"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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RA Quote -I say this

RA Quote -I say this because, unless you are morbidly egocentric enough to believe that you are the most important thing in existence, you are placing yourself below whatever you think this entity is and thus diminishing yourself.

 

The truth lies in there what you say. I feel , Atheists would not like to admit something  as greater than them or greater than their sum total. So you have been classified as Theist. Whether it is a supreme being without human traits or not, you are a theist. However you do need to define supreme little bit more here.

 

How does the supremeness affect you ?  Do you get overwhelmed in any manner when you think of it ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for Atheists to increase my belief in God


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Thank you for your insightful response. Allow me to address your points as best I can:

shikko wrote:
I think this is shaky ground for a comparison. Geographically antipodal points can be quantified absolutely, as they have a finite existence and definition in the natural world. Quantifying something that is "greater than everything" is inherently personal, and therefore subjective, and therefore relative.

The relative nature of each person's conception of the Supreme Being is my ultimate point here. You seem to be implying that this is a problem. It is highly unlikely that any two people are in complete agreement on the exact nature of "the most important thing in existence" (which is what I mean by "Supreme Being&quotEye-wink. Heck, a given individual's conception of it most likely changes over the course of his or her life. This is probably the most relative concept there is. One could argue (though I won't) that it is our perception of what is the most important thing in existence that defines us.

Yes, I do believe it is a problem, due to the clash between the word "supreme" and the word "relative"; if it is supreme, it cannot be supreme in relation to only some things, unless you are purposefully limiting your scope to some very small subset of reality.

I agree with what you say below: to set up a personal supreme being is nothing more than an announcement of what is important to the announcer. I would add that by virtue of being personal, it has no wider validity, and therefore I think it's inaccurate to use the word "supreme".

Reading through your post again, it seems like what you're doing is saying "most people have something they like more than anything else." That's a very accurate statement, but it's not very interesting since it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. Are you trying to use this as a premise for a more involved argument?

Quote:
shikko wrote:
Second, the term "supreme being" is loaded; it has connotations of a supernatural entity. I know you address this elsewhere, but use the word "entity" instead of being; it is more flexible and has less semantic baggage.

Many atheists seem to have a word taboo with the term "supreme being". I suspect its because some of us have spent so much time saying how ignorant, superstitious and/or stupid theists are that we do not want to have anything in common with them, especially belief in a "supreme being".

Yes, btw I am technically an atheist. I am specifically a monist, but since the monistic phenomenon I believe in did not create the universe, does not have any of the human traits that distinguish a theist's supreme being from mine, I feel comfortable with the appellation 'atheist'. I am an atheist in the same way that many Buddhists are except that I have a more rational take on the Emptiness that they regard as the be all and end all.

I think the aversion to the term "supreme being" comes from the term's loadedness, as I mentioned. As you said, "supreme" requires a value judgement based solely on being. Maybe that's it: just because something exists in a different way doesn't make it "better".

Quote:
shikko wrote:
Here, the loadedness of your term shifts to "supreme", which has connotations of ordering by some comparative term. If we accept that all beings are equal, their sum is simply that; it does not take on a new quality by being considered in total. The sum total of all gumballs does not make for Supreme Gumballness...This is tricky; in order to find out if your first sentence is correct, you have to define "supreme".

As I implied at the beginning of my original post, I mean supreme in the context of most important to the observer in the context of his or her personal system of values. In this context, if gumballs are important to you, the sum total of all gumballs arguably represents the Supreme Gumballness since without it there would be no gumballs (I am being somewhat facetious here since this is not critical to my thesis so please lets not go down the necessary and sufficient condition or set theory rabbit holes over this).

Hmm. Is this thread in the set of all sets of threads that do not lead down rabbit holes? Russel, party of |1|; paging Russel, party of |1|...

I think I'm starting to grasp what you're saying; it's sort of like the Alcoholics Anonymous step of placing yourself below a "higher power". As an AA member explained it to me, it doesn't matter what that higher power is (a lamp post, a best friend); it's an acknowledgement that you need help from something/someone else.

That being said, I have to disagree: you can call the most important thing someone's "supreme being", but I won't because I don't see the utility in doing so. You say "supreme being", I say "tomato".

Quote:
shikko wrote:
Deducing or inferring that some entity is supreme in some instance or respect does not amount to proto-worship; it is simply an acknowledgement (if you have evidence) or claim (if you do not) that this entity is better/higher/more positive in some respect than other like entities. Worship entails not just an elevation of the thing being worshipped, but also an abasement of the worshipper.

Perhaps that's the sticking point: worship requires both diminishing the worshipper and ascribing meaning to the difference in measure between the worshipper and the object of worship. Without ascribing value to that difference, you are simply enjoying or appreciating, not worshipping.

I would argue that acknowledging that something is the most important thing in existence does in fact constitute proto-worship. I say this because, unless you are morbidly egocentric enough to believe that you are the most important thing in existence, you are placing yourself below whatever you think this entity is and thus diminishing yourself.

I don't think that explanation follows, per your argument. I can say gravity is the most important thing in the universe without devaluing myself. Acknowedging that gravity can have effects I cannot does not place me below it; I am just recognizing a difference. I can drink coffee (sweet, sweet nectar...), and gravity can't; does that difference therefore mean something other than that I cannot be gravity?

Quote:
My ultimate point here is that everyone thinks something is the most important thing in existence. I admit that I chose to call this thing the "Supreme Being" because of the sometimes visceral reaction many atheists have to this term. I would apologize for chumming the waters with that volatile usage except that I suspect the reaction is based on an atheistic intolerance of all things that contain the stink of theism on them. Such an intolerance shows that religion is not the cause of intolerance, it is merely a convenient excuse.

First, bad poster for trying to rile the natives! No cookie.

Second, I'm not sure about this paragraph. I don't think I fit into it, beucase I have no idea WHAT the most important thing is to me. Some days it's my family; some mornings, it's getting another cup of coffee; some days it's alleviating human suffering however I can, wherever it is. "Most important" also needs to be defined, because important is an inherently relative term, but "most" is not.

As for your last sentence, I disagree: religion as practiced by humans does breed intolerance, in every case I can think of. What changes is what is not tolerated, along with the punishment for transgression. If you think I am wrong, do you have a counterexample?

What is the connection, then, between intolerance and religion?

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Thomathy, I truly

Thomathy, I truly appreciate your reply. Allow me to retort: 

Thomathy wrote:
There is one and only one difference between a theist and an atheist. Atheist, a non-belief in god. Theist, a belief in god.

I'm completely with you here, Thomathy. My point is the the thing I called the "Supreme Being" is not a "god".

Thomathy wrote:
Unless the physicist believes that dark energy is magical, then no she's not a theist for believing it to be the most important thing in existence.

Sorry, I seem to have missed something, what does "magic" have to do with it? Nonetheless you are making my point in that you are saying there are particular traits that the most important thing in existence has to have to qualify as "god" and it thus make its believer a theist.

Thomathy wrote:
Arguably, I could consider water the most important thing in existence. After all, no life on Earth could exist without it and I myself am dependent on it for my survival. Considering it the most important thing means absolutely nothing though. It has no effect on the thing...

I completely agree that considering something the most important thing in existence does not necessarily affect it (unless it has a mind, becomes aware of your perception of it and "lets it go to its head&quotEye-wink

Thomathy wrote:
...and it doesn't necessitate worship.

How is it that considering something the most important thing in existence does not constitute worship? I admit that I could be over-simplfying it here but to my mind worship is essentially the acknowledgment of the "greatness" of something (e.g., hero worship, idol worship etc.).

Thomathy wrote:
The same goes for her daughter. He daughter is not a theist because she thinks Justin Timberlake is the most important thing in existence, nor if she worships him (though it is arguable depending on what she intends to achieve by that worship) is she.

But isn't this exactly the stance of the typical polytheist who believes that Odin, Zeus or Jesus is a person who happens to be the most important thing in existence? My thesis is that it is associating personhood of the most important thing in existence that makes it a god.

Thomathy wrote:
Her reason for Justin Timberlake being the most important thing in existence suggests only that she believes his music has divine origin. It does not address the divinity of Justin Timberlake, though. Believing in the divine (god) does make her daughter a theist.

You seem to be using divinity here in the same manner that you used "magic" earlier, a trait that once possessed by the most important thing in existence makes it a god. Though in this case you seem closer to begging the question by asserting that divinity is being god-like (being god-like makes you a god). My point is that a person can regard something as the most important thing in existence and not perceive it to be god and thus not be a theist.

 

Thomathy wrote:
You have a belief in god (no matter how you phrase it that is what you have written) and thus you are a theist.

Again I have to disagree. What I said is that I believe something is the most important thing in existence. I insist that since I do not assign personhood to it, it is not a god and thus I am not a theist. 


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Crocoduck,

You realize that you just insisted that you are not excluding me from anything (i.e., "the atheist community" ) and then you state as unequivocaly as possible that I am not an atheist. Smiling

I am drawing a more hard-line definition of the term and do not accept believing in non-anthropomorphic characteristics of a 'supreme being' as being an atheist.  So, yes, based on that, I would be excluding you from the atheist community.  (though I do it with love.  Smile )

 

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Venkatrajan wrote: So you

Venkatrajan wrote:
So you have been classified as Theist.

Actually Venkatrajan, I am merely amused by the designation. I don't hate all theists enough to be insulted by it. "Heck, some of my best friends are theists".

Venkatrajan wrote:
Whether it is a supreme being without human traits or not, you are a theist. However you do need to define supreme little bit more here.

I am defining "supreme being" as the most important thing in existence". Why does the belief that such athing exist make me a theist?

Venkatrajan wrote:
How does the supremeness affect you ?  Do you get overwhelmed in any manner when you think of it ?

 This is most likely something that varies with the individual. For me the knowledge is up from trivia but hardly overwhelming. Its like saying Tiger Woods is the Supreme Golfer of his generation. Potentially interesting but my whelm isn't moved by it in the least Smiling.

 


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shikko wrote: First, bad

shikko wrote:

First, bad poster for trying to rile the natives! No cookie.

Second, I'm not sure about this paragraph. I don't think I fit into it, beucase I have no idea WHAT the most important thing is to me. Some days it's my family; some mornings, it's getting another cup of coffee; some days it's alleviating human suffering however I can, wherever it is. "Most important" also needs to be defined, because important is an inherently relative term, but "most" is not.

As for your last sentence, I disagree: religion as practiced by humans does breed intolerance, in every case I can think of. What changes is what is not tolerated, along with the punishment for transgression. If you think I am wrong, do you have a counterexample?

What is the connection, then, between intolerance and religion?

I'm going out of order here because I want to get the apology out of the way up front. Shikko, I am abjectly sorry for that last paragraph. I wrote it before my first cuppa (not excuse, just an explanation) and tried to edit it out but couldn't. It was rude, uncalled for, please accept my apology. 

 

shikko wrote:
Yes, I do believe it is a problem, due to the clash between the word "supreme" and the word "relative"; if it is supreme, it cannot be supreme in relation to only some things, unless you are purposefully limiting your scope to some very small subset of reality.

I agree with what you say below: to set up a personal supreme being is nothing more than an announcement of what is important to the announcer. I would add that by virtue of being personal, it has no wider validity, and therefore I think it's inaccurate to use the word "supreme".

If I say that V.J. Singh is the supreme golfer of his generation, it could be a valid belief in my world view but the Tiger Woods contingent is likely to disagree. If I the observable universe is the supreme material manifestation, it could be a valid belief in my world view, but cosmologist who know that only a fraction of the matter that emerged from the Big Bang is observable to us is likely to disagree. I am talking about supreme in the world view of the individual (a very very small subset of reality). But if we're trying to get a universal concensus on the supremacy of anything, it would be simply to strike the word "supreme" from the dictionary.

shikko wrote:
Reading through your post again, it seems like what you're doing is saying "most people have something they like more than anything else." That's a very accurate statement, but it's not very interesting since it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. Are you trying to use this as a premise for a more involved argument?

I am honestly happy that you do not see this premise as controversial. Its surprising how many people resist it. I am actually trying to avoid an involved argument. Given that premise, all I am saying is that people called theists assign certain traits to that "something" and call it god. Atheists are allowed to believe that this something exists as well; they just don't call it god. What could be simpler?

shikko wrote:
I think the aversion to the term "supreme being" comes from the term's loadedness, as I mentioned. As you said, "supreme" requires a value judgement based solely on being. Maybe that's it: just because something exists in a different way doesn't make it "better".

I'm inclined to agree with you regarding the aversion. "Better" is the value judgment as is "supreme". By contrast, "god" is a designation generally requires assigning unverifiable traits to what an individual would describe as the most important thing in existence.

 

shikko wrote:
Hmm. Is this thread in the set of all sets of threads that do not lead down rabbit holes? Russel, party of |1|; paging Russel, party of |1|...
lmao

shikko wrote:
That being said, I have to disagree: you can call the most important thing someone's "supreme being", but I won't because I don't see the utility in doing so. You say "supreme being", I say "tomato".

I am not calling the someone else's most important thing their supreme being; I am calling my most important thing my supreme being. If you choose to call my "supreme being" "tomato", there will be no ensuing crusade or jihad Smiling. I'm just saying that my calling what I perceive to be most important thing in existence "the supreme being" does not in itself make me a theist.

shikko wrote:
I don't think that explanation follows, per your argument. I can say gravity is the most important thing in the universe without devaluing myself. Acknowedging that gravity can have effects I cannot does not place me below it; I am just recognizing a difference. I can drink coffee (sweet, sweet nectar...), and gravity can't; does that difference therefore mean something other than that I cannot be gravity?

Whereas I would say that my believing that something else is the most important thing in the universe also says that it is more important than I am (since I reside in the universe). As a husband and a parent, it is easy for me to see there are things in my world that are more important than I am. But I continue to insist that the most important thing in my world view is not a person.

 


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Crocoduck wrote: I am

Crocoduck wrote:
I am drawing a more hard-line definition of the term and do not accept believing in non-anthropomorphic characteristics of a 'supreme being' as being an atheist.  So, yes, based on that, I would be excluding you from the atheist community.

Crocoduck, if my "supreme being" is not a god, how am I a theist?

Crocoduck wrote:
(though I do it with love.  Smile )

Always appreciated Smiling 


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We're getting put off by

We're getting put off by words here. Taking synonyms for "supreme being" and changing it to "perfect creature," does it still seem applicable? I don't see it.


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magilum wrote: We're

magilum wrote:
We're getting put off by words here. Taking synonyms for "supreme being" and changing it to "perfect creature," does it still seem applicable? I don't see it.

 Magilum, you are absolutely correct in observing that the phrasings are proving to be problematic. Unfortunately, what I regard as the most important thing in existence is not a creature (it wasn't created since I don't believe in a transcendent creator). My problem with perfection is that there can be many perfect things in existence (a perfect circle, a perfect number, etc.) only one thing in existence is supreme from the perspective of a given individual. It was the singular nature of supremacy that I find compelling.


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magilum wrote:
We're getting put off by words here. Taking synonyms for "supreme being" and changing it to "perfect creature," does it still seem applicable? I don't see it.

 Magilum, you are absolutely correct in observing that the phrasings are proving to be problematic. Unfortunately, what I regard as the most important thing in existence is not a creature (it wasn't created since I don't believe in a transcendent creator). My problem with perfection is that there can be many perfect things in existence (a perfect circle, a perfect number, etc.) only one thing in existence is supreme from the perspective of a given individual. It was the singular nature of supremacy that I find compelling.


I've honestly tried to comprehend this thread, but it's hard to tell whether I got it, but disagree, or am just missing the point entirely. I don't think "being" can be applied without it suggesting an entity. I find perfection problematic as well, am I'm not sure its use here poses a coherent question. It seems like, if I'm approaching the correct terms, some sort of type or category mismatch. Maybe it's looking for a reality to suit an abstraction, like the taste of the number seven, or the meaning of math.


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RationalAnswers wrote:

 

Crocoduck, if my "supreme being" is not a god, how am I a theist?

I didn't say that.  I said,

Crocoduck wrote:
[...] and do not accept believing in non-anthropomorphic characteristics of a 'supreme being' as being an atheist. 

If you believe in a supreme being, you're a theist.

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{quote-Crocoduck]If you

Crocoduck wrote:
If you believe in a supreme being, you're a theist.

So, in your world view it is impossible to separate "Supreme Being" from "God"? But polytheists believe in multiple distinct gods, they can't all be supreme, can they? If its possible to be a god and not the supreme being, the two are not token identical.


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Crocoduck wrote:
If you believe in a supreme being, you're a theist.

So, in your world view it is impossible to separate "Supreme Being" from "God"? But polytheists believe in multiple distinct gods, they can't all be supreme, can they? If its possible to be a god and not the supreme being, the two are not token identical.

Would you please find a dictionary and look up the term 'supreme being'. It means god. It is synonymous with god. I will tell you again that is is unhelpful to attempt to redefine the term to mean what you want. Find an original term and re-express your initial idea. It has been pointed out that it is difficult to comprehend exactly what you are trying to describe. If you believe in this (for now) 'supreme being' answer these few questions. What is it? What are its attributes? Does it perform magic? Does it control the universe? Is it conscious? Can it communicate with anyone?

As for polytheism, look that up too. If you are thinking about the Greek, Roman, Viking, Pagan or Hindu pantheons then yes, there are a lot of gods. They are also all supreme beings (or at least one of them is 'supreme' in the monotheistic sense). The case of Hindu is a little more convoluted, you may wish to look that up too (it's not necessarily a polytheism in the strictest sense). 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Crocoduck wrote:
If you believe in a supreme being, you're a theist.

So, in your world view it is impossible to separate "Supreme Being" from "God"? But polytheists believe in multiple distinct gods, they can't all be supreme, can they? If its possible to be a god and not the supreme being, the two are not token identical.

Thus, you have successfully argued and reaffirmed my original post:

Quote:

This positional statement of a "Supreme Being" smacks of pantheism, panentheism, polytheism and pandeism.    Atheists, by definition, do not hold such a view.

Therefore, you are a theist.

Methinks I'm being sucked into the a black hole of circular reasoning.  Before I disappear beyond the event horizon forever, I shall consult my supreme being of hunger and worship the nutrition that comes from satisfying my supreme being.   That Taco Supreme is sounding pretty good right now...  LOL

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RationalAnswers wrote: I'm

RationalAnswers wrote:

I'm going out of order here because I want to get the apology out of the way up front. Shikko, I am abjectly sorry for that last paragraph. I wrote it before my first cuppa (not excuse, just an explanation) and tried to edit it out but couldn't. It was rude, uncalled for, please accept my apology.

No apology necessary here. It wasn't at all offensive. My "no cookie!" comment was in response to your admittance of "chumming the waters", nothing more. If I came of tetchy about something, it wasn't my intent. As for the rest, I was trying to illustrate my disagreement with counterexamples, not trying to pull a "omg ur stance on seatbelt laws leads DIRECTLY TO HITLER!!!1!!"

In short: we're good. Smiling

Quote:

shikko wrote:
Yes, I do believe it is a problem, due to the clash between the word "supreme" and the word "relative"; if it is supreme, it cannot be supreme in relation to only some things, unless you are purposefully limiting your scope to some very small subset of reality.

I agree with what you say below: to set up a personal supreme being is nothing more than an announcement of what is important to the announcer. I would add that by virtue of being personal, it has no wider validity, and therefore I think it's inaccurate to use the word "supreme".

If I say that V.J. Singh is the supreme golfer of his generation, it could be a valid belief in my world view but the Tiger Woods contingent is likely to disagree. If I the observable universe is the supreme material manifestation, it could be a valid belief in my world view, but cosmologist who know that only a fraction of the matter that emerged from the Big Bang is observable to us is likely to disagree. I am talking about supreme in the world view of the individual (a very very small subset of reality). But if we're trying to get a universal concensus on the supremacy of anything, it would be simply to strike the word "supreme" from the dictionary.

So at issue for me here is the use of the word "supreme". People use it as short hand for "I think X is the best" when they should just say "I think X is the best" instead of "X is the supreme Y". When "supreme" is used as an adjective with a definitive thing (golfer, observable universe), I have no quarrel. When used with a generalized noun or concept (justice, being), I get antsy, because these concepts that people bandy about are inherently subjective. When ranking subjective things, implicit in "X is the supreme Y" is "and if you disagree, you're wrong." At least with golfers and universes, we have something approaching a subjective measure.

Quote:

shikko wrote:
Reading through your post again, it seems like what you're doing is saying "most people have something they like more than anything else." That's a very accurate statement, but it's not very interesting since it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. Are you trying to use this as a premise for a more involved argument?

I am honestly happy that you do not see this premise as controversial. Its surprising how many people resist it. I am actually trying to avoid an involved argument. Given that premise, all I am saying is that people called theists assign certain traits to that "something" and call it god. Atheists are allowed to believe that this something exists as well; they just don't call it god. What could be simpler?

Ah. Well, people that resist it should be (to horribly paraphrase Avicenna) beaten and burned until they agree that they don't most care to be not beaten and burned.

So would it be safe to say that your position is that theists ascribe this most-importantness to a supernatural being and atheists (if they do it) do it to a natural thing?

As I was doing a pre-post rereading of this, something occurred to me: what if there is a matter of ordering? Theists say "this thing I call god is the most important, and everything else will be ordered underneath it", where as atheists would say "I will order everything important to me, and whatever's at the top of the heap is (by definition) the most important"?

Quote:

shikko wrote:
That being said, I have to disagree: you can call the most important thing someone's "supreme being", but I won't because I don't see the utility in doing so. You say "supreme being", I say "tomato".

I am not calling the someone else's most important thing their supreme being; I am calling my most important thing my supreme being. If you choose to call my "supreme being" "tomato", there will be no ensuing crusade or jihad Smiling. I'm just saying that my calling what I perceive to be most important thing in existence "the supreme being" does not in itself make me a theist.

We'll just see if you're so accommodating when I serve your supreme being with some mayo, bacon and lettuce. Eye-wink

Using the word "being" connotes a thing that can act on the natural world. An "entity" may or may not, and a thing can't. So can/does/has your supreme <noun> affect(ed) the world?

We may be getting stuck in the word choice doldrums here.

Quote:

Whereas I would say that my believing that something else is the most important thing in the universe also says that it is more important than I am (since I reside in the universe). As a husband and a parent, it is easy for me to see there are things in my world that are more important than I am. But I continue to insist that the most important thing in my world view is not a person.

Okay, so it's not a person. Can you tell me what positive traits or abilities your most important thing has?

I think if it does not (or cannot) have any direct impact on the natural world, it sounds almost like your supreme being is one of Plato's Forms. If it can impact nature, I would say you're edging into supernatural territory.

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Thomathy wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
Would you please find a dictionary and look up the term 'supreme being'. It means god.

Okay Thomathy, what does supreme mean: greatest. What does being mean: something that exists. Ironically, only a theist would combine those two words and conclude that the resultant term refers to God (and who most likely wrote that dictionary you're citing? Eye-wink )

Thomathy wrote:
It is synonymous with god. I will tell you again that is is unhelpful to attempt to redefine the term to mean what you want. Find an original term and re-express your initial idea.

I have tried to use the expression "the most important thing in existence". What is your problem with that?

Thomathy wrote:
If you believe in this (for now) 'supreme being' answer these few questions. What is it?

It is existence "the state or fact of existing".

Thomathy wrote:
What are its attributes?

It exists and represents the capacity of other beings to possess properties.

Thomathy wrote:
Does it perform magic?

No

Thomathy wrote:
Does it control the universe?

No

Thomathy wrote:
Is it conscious?

No

Thomathy wrote:
Can it communicate with anyone?

No

Thomathy wrote:
As for polytheism, look that up too. If you are thinking about the Greek, Roman, Viking, Pagan or Hindu pantheons then yes, there are a lot of gods. They are also all supreme beings (or at least one of them is 'supreme' in the monotheistic sense).

How can they all be greatest (i.e., supreme)? I have only encountered multiple gods being equally supreme in the Christian Trinity. Pretty much everywhere else, there is a god above all gods (Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, Wakan Tanka, Bondye, Brahman, etc.)


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Crocoduck wrote:

Crocoduck wrote:
Thus, you have successfully argued and reaffirmed my original post

Wow Crocoduck, I must be 'Low Blood Sugar Man' myself right now. I am honestly not seeing how arguing that not all supreme beings are god reaffirms your original post. If you find a few minutes after your meal, I'd appreciate it if you could break it down for me. Bon Appetite!


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
Would you please find a dictionary and look up the term 'supreme being'. It means god.

Okay Thomathy, what does supreme mean: greatest. What does being mean: something that exists. Ironically, only a theist would combine those two words and conclude that the resultant term refers to God (and who most likely wrote that dictionary you're citing? Eye-wink )

Thomathy wrote:
It is synonymous with god. I will tell you again that is is unhelpful to attempt to redefine the term to mean what you want. Find an original term and re-express your initial idea.

I have tried to use the expression "the most important thing in existence". What is your problem with that?

Thomathy wrote:
If you believe in this (for now) 'supreme being' answer these few questions. What is it?

It is existence "the state of fact of existing".

Thomathy wrote:
What are its attributes?

It exists and represents the capacity of other beings to possess properties.

Thomathy wrote:
Does it perform magic?

No

Thomathy wrote:
Does it control the universe?

No

Thomathy wrote:
Is it conscious?

No

Thomathy wrote:
Can it communicate with anyone?

No

Thomathy wrote:
As for polytheism, look that up too. If you are thinking about the Greek, Roman, Viking, Pagan or Hindu pantheons then yes, there are a lot of gods. They are also all supreme beings (or at least one of them is 'supreme' in the monotheistic sense).

How can they all be greatest (i.e., supreme)? I have only encountered multiple gods being equally supreme in the Christian Trinity. Pretty much everywhere else, there is a god above all gods (Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, Wakan Tanka, Bondye, Brahman, etc.)

 

Wait... so what is the actual problem here?

 

One person wants to take the dictionary definitions of "supreme" and "being" and then put them together while another person wants to use the commonly accepted understanding of "supreme being".

This seems to be nothing but semantic.

 

But I am going to take the side of the people who say that "supreme being" points to god, and here's why:

That is the common understanding of those two words being placed side by side, just like the common understanding of "dutch oven" does not imply Dutchness or the presence of a literal oven. It's just a definition that was attributed to those two words paired together. Why? Because people made it that way.

Language is arbitrary. The word "pencil sharpener" has nothing inherent in it that suggests the thing it means. Otherwise, a speaker of German could not call it a "Bleistiftspitzer".

You've discovered linguistics! A very interesting field of study.

If you don't mean a supreme being in the sense that everyone else means it, then don't use the term to describe your beliefs. It's as easy as that.

You can't ask the world to quit applying a specific definition to a pair of words simply because you want to use them in a way that's different. That's not how languages work.

Find some new words or stop complaining.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Archeopteryx wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:
Find some new words or stop complaining.

Archeopteryx, I'm not complaining though I am trying desperately to get past using "Supreme Being" since so many people seem to have such deeply embedded issues with the term. I've been trying to use the expression "the most important thing in existence". These have been my new words for some time now except when I am asked questions by people still referring to the "supreme being". The basic point I'm trying to make it that the fact that I believe there is a "most important thing in existence" does not, in and of itself make me a theist. 


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shikko wrote: As I was

shikko wrote:
As I was doing a pre-post rereading of this, something occurred to me: what if there is a matter of ordering? Theists say "this thing I call god is the most important, and everything else will be ordered underneath it", where as atheists would say "I will order everything important to me, and whatever's at the top of the heap is (by definition) the most important"?

Its scary how much I agree with this.

shikko wrote:

Okay, so it's not a person. Can you tell me what positive traits or abilities your most important thing has?

I think if it does not (or cannot) have any direct impact on the natural world, it sounds almost like your supreme being is one of Plato's Forms. If it can impact nature, I would say you're edging into supernatural territory.

Since I am running out of steam here, I am going to have to ask you to refer to my most recent response to Thomathy for my answers to these questions. I'll be back once I recharge. Thanks again for the stimulating and insightful discourse. 

 


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RationalAnswers wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
Would you please find a dictionary and look up the term 'supreme being'. It means god.

Okay Thomathy, what does supreme mean: greatest. What does being mean: something that exists. Ironically, only a theist would combine those two words and conclude that the resultant term refers to God (and who most likely wrote that dictionary you're citing? Eye-wink )


How can they all be greatest (i.e., supreme)? I have only encountered multiple gods being equally supreme in the Christian Trinity. Pretty much everywhere else, there is a god above all gods (Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, Wakan Tanka, Bondye, Brahman, etc.)

Are you serious? This is insanity. 'Supreme being' is a lexeme. It is a singular lexical item. Yes, 'supreme' and 'being' are also lexical items. Together they do not equal 'supreme being'. This isn't a problem with semantics as has been suggested. It is necessary for language to function that we operate within the realm of what is and what is not a lexeme. You can verify this. Supreme being is not the addition of 'supreme' to 'being' it is it's own lexical item with it's own specific meaning. That meaning is god.  That is my problem.  You are attempting to make the term fit your own definition.  It is unhelpful or worse.

As for the rest, I admited that at least one god in a pantheon would be considered a supreme being by the monotheistic definition. Why are you pointing it out as though I had missed something? here is what I wrote originally:

Thomathy wrote:

As for polytheism, look that up too. If you are thinking about the Greek, Roman, Viking, Pagan or Hindu pantheons then yes, there are a lot of gods. They are also all supreme beings (or at least one of them is 'supreme' in the monotheistic sense).

You fully agree.

Once again, find an original way of putting it and re-explain your idea.  The most important x is nonesense.  Yes, it would be different for everyone.  No that doesn't make it an object of worship.  'The state or fact of existing' is just that and nothing else.  If it so happes to be most important that you exist or that existence is the case, big deal.  It doesn't actually mean anything.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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I echo the question: If it's

I echo the question: If it's not god or god-like, why use a term commonly used to mean the same? If it's a measure of subjective importance, why not call it that? Why not name a thing, and say it's important -- why does it have to be addressed in a new terminology?


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Thomathy wrote: Are you

Thomathy wrote:

Are you serious? This is insanity. 'Supreme being' is a lexeme. It is a singular lexical item. Yes, 'supreme' and 'being' are also lexical items. Together they do not equal 'supreme being'. This isn't a problem with semantics as has been suggested. It is necessary for language to function that we operate within the realm of what is and what is not a lexeme. You can verify this. Supreme being is not the addition of 'supreme' to 'being' it is it's own lexical item with it's own specific meaning. That meaning is god. That is my problem. You are attempting to make the term fit your own definition. It is unhelpful or worse.

It's also in the common understanding of the words.  Most people will associate "supreme being" with "supreme" as an adjective describing a "sentient being".

Thomathy is absolutely correct.

 

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Thomathy wrote: Are you

Thomathy wrote:

Are you serious? This is insanity. 'Supreme being' is a lexeme. It is a singular lexical item. Yes, 'supreme' and 'being' are also lexical items. Together they do not equal 'supreme being'. This isn't a problem with semantics as has been suggested. It is necessary for language to function that we operate within the realm of what is and what is not a lexeme. You can verify this. Supreme being is not the addition of 'supreme' to 'being' it is it's own lexical item with it's own specific meaning. That meaning is god. 

I had a supreme.  No, wait ... I had a taco.  Hmm.  Or did I have a Supreme Taco?  I think it was a Taco Supreme.  Supreme = greatest.  (Supreme(s) were back up singers for Diana Ross and I can honestly say I've never had an inkling for any of her back up singers.)  hehehe Taco = taco.  I can't say it was the greatest taco I've had.  But it was pretty yummy. 

You've asked me to break down the argument of how you've gone full circle and supported my original point.  Thomathy, Susan, et. al. have done a GREAT job with the defenses they've offered.  (Thomathy, you've actually used a couple of points I was going to make but beat me to posting them).  And I am not going to beat a proverbial dead dog. 

I now orbit a safe distance from the event horizon and there I shall stay. 

Position sustained.  Smiling

Crocoduck - A missing transitional link that theists have been hoping does not exist...


Thomathy
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Crocoduck wrote: Thomathy

Crocoduck wrote:
Thomathy wrote:

Are you serious? This is insanity. 'Supreme being' is a lexeme. It is a singular lexical item. Yes, 'supreme' and 'being' are also lexical items. Together they do not equal 'supreme being'. This isn't a problem with semantics as has been suggested. It is necessary for language to function that we operate within the realm of what is and what is not a lexeme. You can verify this. Supreme being is not the addition of 'supreme' to 'being' it is it's own lexical item with it's own specific meaning. That meaning is god.

I had a supreme. No, wait ... I had a taco. Hmm. Or did I have a Supreme Taco? I think it was a Taco Supreme. Supreme = greatest. (Supreme(s) were back up singers for Diana Ross and I can honestly say I've never had an inkling for any of her back up singers.) hehehe Taco = taco. I can't say it was the greatest taco I've had. But it was pretty yummy.

You've asked me to break down the argument of how you've gone full circle and supported my original point. Thomathy, Susan, et. al. have done a GREAT job with the defenses they've offered. (Thomathy, you've actually used a couple of points I was going to make but beat me to posting them). And I am not going to beat a proverbial dead dog.

I now orbit a safe distance from the event horizon and there I shall stay.

Position sustained. Smiling

I'm glad your safe, but let's not try to quantify the necessary energy required for you to maintain such a safe distance (assuming your still relatively close), it may require you to 'fall' in.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


RationalAnswers
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And So It Ends

OK, this topic is starting to circle the drain. I’ve gotten what I came for and I can only hope some of you found it beneficial as well. I will now explain my ulterior motives and summarize my actual view of things:

I run with a group of philosophers for whom the theist/atheist question has phenomenally little significance. Another member of my circle put forward the thesis that “Atheism is the new Goth”. That a lot of the so-called neo-atheists are simply contrarians flying in the face of the biggest convention they know. She put forth that a significant percentage of them are simply “farting at the formal dinner party to make the old women clutch their pearls”. That when pushed, ever so slightly to question their beliefs, rather than offer rational defenses based on philosophical arguments, they will dogmatically engage in semantics for reasons that we as a group have already discussed ad nauseum in the context of religious believers. She insists that “most neo-atheists are a single life crisis away from shoving God penis right back up their butts and rejoining the theist herd” (the lady has a way with words).

I took the counterargument that, atheists do have a valid point that a great deal of the evil in the world is the result of a fact so eloquently stated by Voltaire : "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities". People who appreciate this can't be that bad.

So it fell to me to develop this scenario. I was actually trying to lay the groundwork for a more profound challenge to the atheist belief system, but I couldn’t get any traction past “Supreme Being = God”. While I tossed this in as an intentional red herring (which shikko picked up on immediately but was easily able to get past it), I had no idea that it would ultimately derail the entire endeavor.

When we got together last night to discuss the results I was placed in the interesting position of having to defend BGH, shelleymtjoy, Nero, CrimsonEdge, Crocoduck, Thomathy, magilum, Archeopteryx and Susan. I was truly rooting for all of you to rise to the occasion but the group consensus was that I was wrong. Nonetheless, I want to take this opportunity to thank shikko for keeping it from being a rout and Crocoduck for making me laugh.

I realize in retrospect that it was a sucker bet. In the same way that believing in God does necessarily not elevate the spirituality of a theist, not believing in God does not necessarily elevate the rationality of an atheist. Atheism does not attract smart people, it generally attracts those who are simply less spiritually inclined. In the final analysis, people are just people and it is a rare individual who is fundamentally changed by his or her beliefs.

And now, for the last part of the price I have to pay for losing:

“INFO_SISTER, I AM YOUR BEYOTCH!!!”

I apologize to anyone who thinks this endeavor was presumptuous and thus feels offended by it. But bear in mind that your's is a public forum and I can assure you, this is not the first time this has happened and it will probably not be the last.

Thank you all for playing and I truly wish you all the best.


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Unfortunately,

Unfortunately, RationalAnswers, your experiment was hardly rational.  You assume that the atheists who frequent this site are generally approached by rational theists and that no one else has ever tried an experiment here. 

I would invite you to examine the threads of a fellow called Tim1234.  He came in asking broad, poorly defined questions, just as you did.  In the end, we learned he was a jihadist, who was looking for a place to vent dangerous commentaries.  So, you will pardon the laconic responses most of us gave, as we have seen that question many times over.

If you are going to run a similar experiment in the future, I would advise you to prove yourself worthy of something more than a monosyllabic reply.  As far as I was concerned, you were just another theist trying to define a way out of theism.  I have said on many occassions that I am not interested in arguments of semantics.

So, while I appreciate the insult regarding a lack of intelligence, understand that we reasoned that you were a partially autodidactic rube, who wandered in out of the wilds of Arkansas.  Your OP is the hallmark of such an individual.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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I don't know how any of us

I don't know how any of us are to feel solace in the fact that we are likely to be used in this way again or that we have already.  I don't find that fact excuses you from your actions, which were entirely dishonest.  I am interested to find out what conclusion you and your group came to in full detail.  It doesn't seem that your friend's initial presumption that 'most neo-atheists are a single life crisis away from shoving God penis right back up their butts and rejoining the theist herd.' could have been seen to have been verified.  Specifically, I cannot figure out in what way any of us is a 'neo-atheist'.  It would seem to suggest that she believes us here to be atheists of the '... new Goth'.  I take exception to that.  I am not atheist because it is a popular fad of the time.  My beliefs have been extant since childhood.  I believe you will find that a great many of the people subscribing to this site are not 'neo-atheists'.  Very few of us are atheist in this manner either, 'farting at the formal dinner party to make the old women clutch their pearls'.  I can't see how this thread could have proved any of those presumptions either way, however.  It is not as though this site is filled with fifteen year old kids who I would suppose could fit into the category of atheist to which your friend refers.  Perhaps you should attempt another experiment in order to verify those claims.

As to this being a sucker bet, I can't figure out in what way this thread has given you enough information whereby you might form the conclusion that 'Atheism does not attract smart people, it generally attracts those who are simply less spiritually inclined.'  I am sure that the conclusion is partly true, that atheists are simply less spiritually inclined.  I am not spiritually inclined at all.  (I, personally, find no place in my life for spirituality.)  I fail to see how you could have surmised that atheism should attract anyone, though.  I don't think that you really believe that this site has attracted those of us who post here to the atheist position.  It should be obvious that this site brings us together and that a great many of us were atheist before this website was even thought of.  I am also finding 'smart' here problematic.  I can't see how any of us are not 'smart'.  Also, I should state again that many of us here were not attracted to atheism, but have been atheist for most of our lives.  Since we were not attracted to atheism, you cannot say definitively by this thread that atheism does not attract smart people.  Also, by what measure do you mean smart?  I cannot see how any of our responses were not smart or how any of us presented ourselves as not smart.

Finding your use of terms problematic was only part of the problem and did not extend to such a point as to close down discussion.  Even I addressed your main point eventually, looking fully past your use of the term 'supreme being'.  I should mention that the character you presented was perhaps not a theist after all (though it seemed very much like a pantheist belief), but a poorly articulated atheist.

What would offend me would be to find out that you and your group have come to a definitive conclusion of what you set out to prove by engaging in this thread.  Based on what I know of what you were trying to prove and the conlcusion you have come to, I can say that it would be very dishonest of you to purport that what was initially proposed has happened at all.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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If you wanted the answers to

If you wanted the answers to certain questions, you could have asked them. No, you chose dishonesty. As it stands, I have no idea how your vague original question lead to the glib conclusions you, or your comical cadre of clucking dilettantes, were so eager to arrive at. The discussion never started because of your abortion of a question.


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It's also interesting that

It's also interesting that your group of "philosophers" would, rather than actually posting here, have you defend positions you disagree with, by people that can't respond in person, on a question that no one even thinks is valid.