Atheists don't believe in anything, and have a movement for it

Sapient
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Atheists don't believe in anything, and have a movement for it

Quote:
----- Original Message -----
From:
Subject: [General Question] hell

> Jason sent a message using the contact form at
> http://www.rationalresponders.com/contact.
>
> Its amazing how so many people who dont believe in anything, started a
> "movement" for people who dont believe in anything.

It's even more ironic that we're fighting for a world in which our
"movement" wouldn't need to exist. For the record atheists believe in many
things. And you are an atheist towards thousands of different gods... just
like us. I think it's even more ironic that people who are atheistic
towards every god in history except for their own have a hard time
understanding why we don't believe in theirs. If I asked if you believe in
Thor, Zeus, Ra, or Poseidon... you'd laugh. That might help you understand
what atheists think about your god... we just go one god further than you.

In Rationality,

Brian Sapient
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Hambydammit
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I'm puzzled as to why a

I'm puzzled as to why a movement is even a bad thing.

Women's suffrage.

Civil Rights

Anti-War movements

Environmental movements.

Bowel movements

Lots of movements are for good causes.  If the best argument against the so-called "new atheism" is that it's a movement, I will sleep soundly at night.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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suttsteve
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I am so sick of hearing

I am so sick of hearing this "atheists don't believe in anything" crap. We're people, just like everyone else. As individuals, we have our own beliefs, just like everyone else. The only thing that makes us atheists is that we don't happen to believe in any gods, but we believe in many other things, just like everyone else.

What is so bleeping hard to understand about that? 


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Hambydammit wrote: I'm

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm puzzled as to why a movement is even a bad thing.

Women's suffrage.

Civil Rights

Anti-War movements

Environmental movements.

Bowel movements

Lots of movements are for good causes. If the best argument against the so-called "new atheism" is that it's a movement, I will sleep soundly at night.

 

Movements arent always good either. Facist movements and theocratic movements. But asking theists not to call us facists simply for saying, "Hey, we exist too" is like expecting Elvis not to eat that double cheeseburgur topped with peanut buter and bannanas.

(Read with Elvis voice in mind)"Thank you, thank you very much. Elvis has left the building to go have a bowel movement. I gotta hunka hunka burning fallacies I have to dump in the jon. Cant forget my barbitchuates and deoderent pills." 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Atheism, as a philosophical

Atheism, as a philosophical or theological position, doesn't necessarily contain any rigid set of beliefs but that doesn't preclude atheists from having beliefs. The beliefs they have are formed independently of their atheism as their atheism had nothing to do with them.

Not one person on this planet is without beliefs--if they have no beliefs, they could hardly be considered persons because they'd be indistinguishable from rocks and plants. Everyone has many beliefs. Just because I, or others, don't hold the same beliefs as you doesn't mean I, or others, are without beliefs entirely. I believe many things. I believe, with Robert G. Ingersoll and many others, that two hands working are better far than a thousand lips that pray.

I also believe the people who comprise organized religions are actively deceiving others--whether by ignorance or mischievous motives I don't now consider--and this deception is detrimental to the educational and political systems of every country where the deception is being spread. For this purpose, I also believe church and state should remain separate entities.

I believe freethought--the philosophical position that holds that one should form one's beliefs based on logic, science, and the scientific method of inquiry uncompromised by authority, tradition, or dogma--is the key to bringing an end to the deception befalling humanity and will, for this reason, give rise to healthier educational and political systems.

I believe many other things as well, though I happen to believe it's time for dinner. Smiling

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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  Quote: Its amazing how

 

Quote:

Its amazing how so many people who dont believe in anything, started a "movement" for people who dont believe in anything

 

Yes! Killing the atheist movement little by little THROUGH EMAIL CORRESPONDANCE!!!

From your email, I'm going to assume you are a believer. 

Ironically, I would say that it's you who doesn't believe in anything.

You believe "X is true". I believe that "X is not true".

That doesn't mean I don't believe in anything; that only means that I disagree with you, however passionately I might do so. 

I believe in the positive effects that result from teaching a person to think for himself. I believe in improving the intellectual environment of our world. I believe that doing so improves the entire well-being of our country and our planet.

Believe in God, on the other hand (namely the christian god), is a stinking pond where the only form of progress is to become stinkier, more stagnant, and more covered with slime.

And for future reference, it might be a good idea to try some actual arguments instead of entertaining yourself with lousy word games. Otherwise, people are just going to laugh at you, and you are going to deserve it, because you are an ass.

 

Or maybe you could just rethink your witty little stab.

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


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Get so sick of this shit.

Get so sick of this shit. "You don't believe anything exists" - reminds me of that asshat that was on here a while - he wouldn't answer any of the responses to his shit and would keep changing the subject - his avatar was a B & W picture of a little kid. Cant remember his name.

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Sapient wrote: I think it's

Sapient wrote:
I think it's even more ironic that people who are atheistic towards every god in history except for their own have a hard time understanding why we don't believe in theirs. If I asked if you believe in Thor, Zeus, Ra, or Poseidon... you'd laugh. That might help you understand what atheists think about your god... we just go one god further than you.

Theists may disagree about what is the true nature of God, or whether there are multiple gods. But you cannot rightly say we are an "atheist" towards one God, but not another. Atheist means one who rejects the existence of a God (or gods). It doesn't mean one who rejects some gods but not others. Theists can believe in Thor, Zeus, Ra or Poseidon. If I reject Thor, Zeus or Ra but think Poseidon exists then I'm not an "atheist" towards the others. That's just confusing what the word "atheist" means. I deny the proposition which claims they exist, but there's no atheism involved in that

Consider if we had a word for denying the exists of any humans. An ahumanist. Let's say I believe that my human friend Roy exists, but I reject the existence of his imaginary friend Barry. Am I right to say that I'm an "ahumanist" with reference to Barry, even though we defined the term ahumanist to mean one who believes there's no credible evidence of any human existence? When clearly I do believe some humans exist? Your claim is that you see no credible evidence for believing any deities exist. Disagreements about what is the nature of God, or whether more than one God exists, has nothing to do with atheism.

Why I'm bothering saying this - the reasons I reject Zeus are not the same as why you do. I believe that a creator God exists, for reasons besides what I find in the Bible. I look at ancient cultures and think "they were right to believe a creator God existed, whom they called Zeus or Ra. But they were wrong about many of the qualities and sayings they attribute to Him". It is entirely uncontroversial to say that most humans have an inclination to believe there is something spiritual. I look at other religions and can empathise with that urge. I don't reject their gods for the same reasons you do.

In other words, if I took it one step further and rejected God as Christians define Him, I *wouldn't* find myself in the same place as you. You don't just take it "one god further". You reject the idea that there is any God or gods to be described at all. Rejecting "one god further" would not necessarily entail an abandonment of theism.


Sapient
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Someone please explain to

Someone please explain to croath why his argument is inane.

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You don't just take it "one god further".

All I have time to say is... Yes I do simply take it one god further.  Start being honest with yourself. 

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I have to agree it's wrong

I have to agree it's wrong to use the word "atheist" for anyone who does believe in any god or gods, however, we do "just take it one god further." You believe in one god (the Christian one) and deny that any others exist. We deny he exists, too. This assumes you believe in and don't consider the devil, angels, etc gods (by many ancient definitions they would qualify.)

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Sapient wrote: Someone

Sapient wrote:

Someone please explain to croath why his argument is inane.

Quote:

Sapient: I think it's even more ironic that people who are atheistic towards every god in history except for their own have a hard time understanding why we don't believe in theirs. If I asked if you believe in Thor, Zeus, Ra, or Poseidon... you'd laugh. That might help you understand what atheists think about your god... we just go one god further than you.

Croath: You don't just take it "one god further".

All I have time to say is... Yes I do simply take it one god further. Start being honest with yourself.

 

IMHO, the problem here is with Sapient's statement of how Theist X is "atheistic" about Theist Y's religion. Theist X can't possibly be atheistic about anything since he does believe in <insert Imaginary Friend X here>.

Given that, I'm afraid Croath is logically correct on this one. Perhaps using the word "infidel" (infidelistic?) would be more accurate since it means "a person who does not accept a particular faith".

My two cents.

-HCG


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Quote: Croath

Quote:
Croath wrote:

Consider if we had a word for denying the exists of any humans. An ahumanist.

Exactly why I object to the word "atheism". Why does it even need to exist? (Answer: To provide theists with a mechanism to spread the illusion of a theistic "moral high-ground" and an "us vs. them" mentality).

*reaches in pocket for two more cents*


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I agree with the gist of

I agree with the gist of Croath's argument -- that it's not "just" or "merely" one god further -- but not necessarily the specifics of it. The ahumanist analogy wasn't quite accurate and seemed biased toward self-validation. That was my only note-worthy dispute with his argument until the last three sentences. Croath mischaracterizes atheism--using only the narrow definition of the term so only positive atheism actually counts as atheism--then argues that Brian fits that narrow definition. As far as I'm aware, Brian is an agnostic atheist and doesn't fit that narrow (mis)definition of atheism. Properly understood, atheism means "not theism" so if you discard that one remaining god then you are no longer a theist -- you're non-theist -- you're atheist.

I think the "one god further" argument is superficially plausible but actually quite false. The reason it seems superficially plausible is because the argument is taken from it's context and consequently downplays the situation. It's easy to use the "just" or "merely" going one god further argument but in reality there's nothing "just" or "merely" about it. When that massive set of propositions that comprise your worldview are interconnected and dependent on the god proposition, to change the truth-value of the god proposition to "unknown" or "false" or deleting the entire proposition in the case of noncognitivism ("meaningless propositions" is a contradiction in terms) then it will have a tidal-wave effect on that entire complex of propositions you call your worldview. Notions of origins, fate, purpose, values, ethics, and the extent of reality must be reconsidered if they are connected with the god proposition. Starting from one worldview and then proceeding to cast doubt upon it and making it necessary to reconsider most of that worldview isn't "just" or "merely" anything -- it would be an immense shift in thought and a massive undertaking.

If you throw that argument toward someone whose worldview is deeply interconnected with the god proposition, you've hurt the perceived credibility of all your other arguments. Afterall, the theist will almost certainly recognize the two possibilities that either you don't know what you're talking about or you are purposely twisting your language in a deceptive way. If those two possibilities are bouncing around the theist's mind when they read your other arguments then what will happen to their perceived credibility?

The one god further argument is, in my opinion, one of the worst atheistic arguments one could make. As such, I think the atheist community would do well to abandon it.

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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Visual_Paradox wrote: Not

Visual_Paradox wrote:


Not one person on this planet is without beliefs--if they have no beliefs, they could hardly be considered persons because they'd be indistinguishable from rocks and plants. Everyone has many beliefs. Just because I, or others, don't hold the same beliefs as you doesn't mean I, or others, are without beliefs entirely. I believe many things. I believe, with Robert G. Ingersoll and many others, that two hands working are better far than a thousand lips that pray.

Typically, when I think of the word 'belief', I usually refer to just half* its definition (* not half of the strings you'd find in a dictionary, but half of the instances that definition includes). Beliefs are accepted whether or not their is evidence in they're favor (consistent with the usual defintion), but I usually am only thinking of only those that are accepted without evidence, and I call those 'facts' beliefs. 

I suppose a better word for me should then be 'delusion', but many religious people throw the word 'belief' around in the same way that I end up using it. So when someone asks me if I believe in evolution, in keeping with the dictionary definition I suppose I could just say 'yes', but actually I end up not doing it that way, or make the attempt thereof, and rather I say 'I accept that evolution is real'.

See, I use the word 'accept' for 'facts that are accepted on evidence', and 'belief' for those that aren't. In that regard, I can't say 'I believe the earth is round', for instance. OK, so am I wrong to use the word 'belief' exclusively like this? If there is a better word, I would like to know it...

Maybe the word 'delusional' isn't always correct either; because then, would it be correct to speak of children being 'delusional about the earth being round', since they believe it to be the case, but without evidence? Again, I would like to know of a word that is a 'belief' 'accepted without evidence' (dictionaries typically don't give you a lexicon of definitions, but of only words...)

In keeping with my use of the word 'belief', I suppose it's safe to say most skeptics are without beliefs. There is evidence to support that two working hands does more evidence that a thousand lips praying, for example. Yet again, if there is a better word... thanks in advance! 


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I'd also like to add... is

I'd also like to add... is there a problem with having a movement on healthy skepticism? Gee, if you're dogmatic about your beliefs, I guess so!


ctressle
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I have a typo: There is

I have a typo:

There is evidence to support that two working hands does more work than a thousand lips praying, for example.

Not 'evidence that'.


Visual_Paradox
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My use of the word belief

My use of the word belief should be understood as meaning "cognitive content held as true."

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


Hambydammit
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Jake commands through his

Jake commands through his servant Sapient, and his humble servants obey:

Quote:
Atheist means one who rejects the existence of a God (or gods). It doesn't mean one who rejects some gods but not others.

Thank you, Mister Webster. You're correct. You're not atheist. You do, however, reject thousands of gods, and believe only in one. In essence, you are different from us only in that you believe one fairy tale out of thousands, and we reject them all. I commend you on your powers of logic. You've completely derailed a thread by trivializing the main point and arguing over an inconsequential colloquial usage of a word.

Quote:
Disagreements about what is the nature of God, or whether more than one God exists, has nothing to do with atheism.

This is correct, insofar as it would be silly for you and I to spend the afternoon arguing over what the horns of unicorns are made of. As an aunicornist, it's pretty pointless for us to discuss, isn't it?

Another paragraph, and another deflection from the point. Let me make it abundantly clear. People who believe in a god (or many, if they happen to be polytheistic) don't see the irony in their own position. Without so much as a "How do you do" they flippantly dismiss literally thousands of deities, and then they call us arrogant when we dismiss theirs.

Quote:
Why I'm bothering saying this - the reasons I reject Zeus are not the same as why you do.

While this might be true, I don't recall you mentioning criteria for why one rejects a deity. I didn't realize that I'm not a true atheist if I reject god-belief for the wrong reason.

Quote:
I believe that a creator God exists, for reasons besides what I find in the Bible. I look at ancient cultures and think "they were right to believe a creator God existed, whom they called Zeus or Ra. But they were wrong about many of the qualities and sayings they attribute to Him".

Well, that's really awesome for you. My crazy aunt believes that her quartz crystals channel chi through her chakras and it makes her rheumatism go away, and not just because she saw it on an infomercial.

Quote:
It is entirely uncontroversial to say that most humans have an inclination to believe there is something spiritual. I look at other religions and can empathise with that urge. I don't reject their gods for the same reasons you do.

Yes, it is controversial. We have never encountered a culture where religion was not passed on to children by their parents when they were too young to make a rational decision about it, so we don't have a control against which to judge our current culture.

Quote:
In other words, if I took it one step further and rejected God as Christians define Him, I *wouldn't* find myself in the same place as you. You don't just take it "one god further". You reject the idea that there is any God or gods to be described at all.

Your ability to nitpick an inconsequential point is truly staggering. Let me try one more time to make the salient point. Your god story looks exactly the same as every other god story -- supernatural, miracles, laws, reward, punishment, etc. It was undeniably not the first god story, nor has it been the last. Yet, you believe it. What makes us different from you is that we believe in exactly one less god than you do. What makes you similar to us is that you reject thousands of gods -- even ones you've never heard anything about!

Could you step back from the dictionary for a minute and see if you can grasp the content of the point?

Quote:
Rejecting "one god further" would not necessarily entail an abandonment of theism.

Yeah. I know. We know. We all know that you believe in the god concept and we don't. We're talking about the fact that you believe a particular god story, even though it's exactly like all the others.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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ctressle
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Visual_Paradox wrote: My

Visual_Paradox wrote:

My use of the word belief should be understood as meaning "cognitive content held as true."

That's a rather nice, tidy definition. And, it fits your post way above; you believe that two working hands are more useful than a thousand lips praying (god how I apparently love that expression). I fully agree with that definition, yes; I never said I didn't (it's consistent with what I gave above AFAIU), I was just saying I don't fully use it that way. I sounds awkward to say, "I believe in evolution", for instance. It may be true, but it misses the point, I think. Or, at least, saying it to the wrong people conveys the wrong message.

Again, is there a better word for: "cognitive content held as true while not based on evidence"? Besides the word 'delusion' (which I don't think fits anyway), I suppose; I would like to know!