Atheists: What Don't We Believe In?

Atheistextremist
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Atheists: What Don't We Believe In?

 

 

I'm in an argument with my young brother at present and in the course of this I've asked him to define god and then realised I have no template for what I don't believe in either. Is it sufficient to say we feel there's insufficient proof for the existence of a supernatural being that meets any of the alleged and unmeasurable criteria (omni-powers, holiness, eternal existence, etc) usually ascribed to god?

Or do we have to clearly define what it is we refuse to accept?

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


butterbattle
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Well, I think of it this

Well, I think of it this way. Do you believe in snarfwurgles? The answer is obviously no, because you don't even know what it is. Of course, I could say that snarfwargles = cats, so you can't completely reject the existence of my "snarfwargles," but if you don't believe in snarfwargles because I didn't explain that it meant cat, it doesn't make you irrational; it just means I didn't adequately define my claim. Until I explain what a snarfwargle is, the rational and default position is always non-belief.

In a discussion between a believer and a non-believer, it would just be stupidly inefficient for the non-believer to make a list of what he doesn't believe in. The believer, the person making the positive existence claim, needs to clearly define his entity, so that the two individuals can reach an understanding of what they disagree on. The non-believer must then take his definition from the believer because if the non-believer has a different definition, then they are talking past each other. So, the only definitions of god that we have are the ones that the believers have. In that case, we can't have a single precise definition of god because it doesn't exist. There are many different kinds of theists, each with their own unique, poorly defined supernatural entity(s) that they all call "god(s)," and that is their fault, if they cannot even form a coherent concept, not ours.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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I think the usage of "god"

I think the usage of "god" is far more fluid than we know. THe Old Testament god may be composed of two separate tribal gods, El and Yahweh. When one says theism one automatically thinks of the somewhat uniformed view of god through all the sects of Christianity, Judaism or Islam.  But to try and define what each sect believes about god  what take an encyclopedia. If we see a TULIP Calvinist his behavior and attitude toward people here will be much different than a baptist.  The trinitarian view of most CHristianity is blasphemy to Judaism and Islam.  You run from a god that created you for hell to a god that loves all his creatures.  It really takes several posts to see what type of theist you are corresponding with. Some have a god of free will. Some don't. Even an idea of god in philosophy varies.  There is a tendency to  posit god as omnipotent, omnipresent and all good personality that creates and sustains the universe. 

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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Atheistextremist
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Thanks lads.

 

It's fascinating to consider the vagaries of the thing we don't believe in and the multifarious subjective creatures his followers believe him to be.

When I was a theist god was sort of like my dad only angrier (like my mum) and he lived somewhere uptown and knew when I stole a biscuit. He was certainly a personage although the good news bible tended to show him as a sort of fluorescent creature with no distinguishable features dressed in a toga.

God's characteristics were completely human in my mind and it was only later when my teddy bears had stopped talking to me that god morphed into a sort of warm serotonin rush inside my brain. I assume at that point I had completely internalised god.

There's a study that shows brain scans as a person thinks of god and they are the same patterns that appear when a person thinks of one of their closest friends. Perhaps not a surprising neurology. Incidentally, the same areas light up when people think of a much loved pet...

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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It is not up to us to define

It is not up to us to define what we don't believe in. The best we can say is that we accept empirical evidence so that would mean we reject anything that doesn't have such.

If we want to define our position positively we can say simply "Show me the evidence".

Otherwise you leave it in their hands to shift the goal posts. Things that can be proven to be true are not based on "It is true by default until you prove it isn't true".

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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I agree. You can catelog all

I agree. You can catelog all the variations chronologically and topically and it makes for a good study of memes.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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robj101
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 I don't really disbelieve

 I don't really disbelieve in the context you might be thinking of. I simply don't believe the bible was written by anything having to do with anything other than men. Everything in the bible and quran says "man" to me and I can even imagine myself being an ass who had little knowledge of the real world and writing this stuff way back when it was done.

I'm open to any real evidence but there is none and I'm confident there wont ever be any. The whole concept of a god is man made. If there were any evidence outside of what man himself has made to fit in the god peg I would be more skeptical. But alas it is all just the ways we have managed to fit a god in rather than admitting "we don't know" ..and a great way to control other "men".

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

I'm in an argument with my young brother at present and in the course of this I've asked to define god and then realised I have no template for what I don't believe in either. Is it sufficient to say we feel there's insufficient proof for the existence of a supernatural being that meets any of the alleged and unmeasurable criteria (omni-powers, holiness, eternal, etc) usually ascribed to god?

Or do we have to clearly define what it is we refuse to accept?

 

 

You dont beleive because there is not a positive proper coherent ontology for God Eye-wink


Atheistextremist
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Hi Fred

 

 

Agreed - but brother uses the gap pre-bang and the mystery of abiogenesis to claim there is no proper ontology for a natural universe, either. Bloody annoying. I should stop trying to talk my brothers out of their pet notions. 

Both of them insist that we "must answer the big questions in this life" which is gospel-ese for saying we need to accept god before we die and get incinerated. 

It's very hard to argue with some one who insists there can be no legitimate position of general doubt about the nature of reality - that we must accept either god or death. 

I hate being the only atheist in fundy family... 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


ZeroSignal
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I hate to quote others..or

I hate to quote others..or even paraphrase..but it works, or at least it shuts some of them up.

"The burden of proof is upon the believers."

 

Usually I don't ask to be converted (converted from not buying the story haha), yet for some reason I will always get asked the "do you believe" question.  Doesn't matter if you are at a freakin urinal at a sporting event, some jack ass has to ruin it all by adding a god into the fray.

 

Oh and they are half correct, we all do have to accept death since that is the only constant in life.

____

The bible, good fiction? A 3 year old can write a better story.