Do Atheists Have Faith?

22jesus22
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Do Atheists Have Faith?

Sorry if this has already been discussed somewhere else, which I’m sure it has. But I was reading a novel and there is a part of a book where it says that atheists have to take a leap of faith, just like believers. This somewhat bugged me, and I know there are many arguments for and against the idea of atheists having faith. I would appreciate any arguments presented in here. This discussion will definitely be had between my friends and I.


Iruka Naminori
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I don't see how you can

I don't see how you can take a leap of faith to not believe in something.  The default position is always unbelief.  Dawkins pointed out that babies are born atheists...how can they take a "leap of faith" when they aren't even able to reason?

I'm not sure if this is what you are trying to get at. *shrug* 

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I think if there were people

I think if there were people that claimed something without evidence then they may not necessarily be atheist.  But not all atheists are rational either.  I wrote somewhere else on here about some supposed atheists I know that claim to feel a oneness with all living things.  An energy flow.  I told this girl that told me this that I have never heard of any evidence for this.  But she says she just knows it because she feels it.  She explained that if I die my life force leaves my body and gets consumed by surrounding life. (I envision mercury how when it is separated it will come together on it's own when layed close by).  I think she's just trying to sound poetic.  At any rate, I am an atheist, and I really don't accept anything on a leap of faith.  "Just believe."-That bugs the crap outta me.


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It is a puzzle to me why

It is a puzzle to me why nobody seems to understand the different uses of the word "faith." It's so very simple. 22jesus22, this is something that comes up a lot, but it's so crucially important to understanding the atheist argument that I don't mind rehashing it often.

There are two distinct definitions of the word "faith." Theists overlap the two, and this makes their arguments seem more plausible than they actually are. Here's how it works:

1) (Colloquial) Faith is the same as "reasonable expectation." I don't actually have faith that my chair will hold me up or that the sun will come up tomorrow. I have a reasonable expectation based on patterns, evidence, and extrapolation. In other words, I am making a rational prediction based on empirical evidence. This is the "leap of faith" that atheists make.

2) (Religious) Faith is believing something despite evidence to the contrary, or a complete lack of evidence. This is what you need to believe a religion. At some point, you have to take something on faith despite the fact that your rational faculties tell you that it shouldn't be so.

These two definitions should never cross paths, but they do all the time.

 

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

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Well, let me rationalize

Well, let me rationalize this connection with all living things. I wouldn't believe it to be a connection with all living things, but with all intelligence. However, since science has not been able to create a truly thinking entity on a computer, it could very well be said to be a connection with all living things.

I'm a computer science student, and I've recently taken up an interest in artificial intelligence. Let's say one wanted to create an AGI, the best place to start has always been to look at the simplest example and expand upon it. I decided to think about one experiment that I remembered about from my 10th grade biology class.

An amoeba is a very simple lifeform that is known to be able to detect light. Put an amoeba under a light and it will generally stop in its path until you turn off the light for a while. At first this reaction will grow longer for each interval you flash the light on the amoeba, but eventually the amoeba will move while the light is still on. Using different intensities will also modify the response time. The explanation for this reaction is called psychological homeostasis, a tendency to maintain a balanced state that is optimal for functioning.

There is a native state of input (no light), and a native state of output (moving). This is what is in the mind of an amoeba. All of a sudden we introduce a new element, light. It doesn't know what the light is, but it knows that something changed. In its mind are its previous state of input, and a new state of input. Because there is such limited reference in an amoeba, the state of input and the state of output are strongly linked while there are no new elements introduced. When the new element, light, was introduced, the amoeba's psychological homeostasis was interrupted, and therefore it stopped. The only way to explain the change in behavior is by reflex to an interruption of psychological homeostasis. Reflexes can also be used to explain human development. (http://www.lpch.org/diseasehealthinfo/healthlibrary/newborn/behrefx.html)

As the light is continually beamed on/off, the amoeba's thought process will attempt to connect the perception thought to a response thought. Because of this initial attempt to connect the thought, the amoeba uses more energy, explaining the initial increase in the amount of time it doesn't move. Such reactions can also be seen in a human's thought process. Let's look at Tetris as an example (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.05/tetris.html).

Now, there is a connection between all living things. Living things exist because of reproduction. All living things on Earth share the same native state of perception and behavior. I lied about native states earlier. Every life form's native state of perception? NULL. Every life form's native state of behavior? Reproduction. The truth is that the amoeba doesn't have all its own thoughts, but it also has the thoughts of the amoeba before it, and the amoeba before that, and so on (an amoeba asexually reproduces). The amoeba may have seen light before in some form, but it was far from its current period of psychological homeostasis.

Before I go on, somebody tell me, how many dimensions in this universe do you believe you can perceive?

Oh also, for what you were stating above. There is a leap of faith for both atheists and God believers. Atheists believe there is no God despite a reasonable lack of evidence that he doesn't. Believers of God believe there is a God despite a reasonable lack of evidence that he does. The default position is lack of perception, just like the beginning of all living things. However, the evolution of perception gives God quite a reason to exist. First, according to Albert Einstein, everything is relative. This is very true, especially for perception. What do we perceive as large or small? it's all relative to every other thing, and we associate relative visual identifications (letters) and verbal identifications (spoken words) with certain things. We associate everything that is happening with nothing? or everything? What do we call everything? God. Or at least that's how many scientists look at it.


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Dude. What? What does any

Dude.

What?

What does any of that have to do with the two definitions of faith? 

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

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I said leap of faith, not

I said leap of faith, not faith.  Your religious definition for faith actually means leap of faith, by the way. And I was talking about how all living things are connected because of what someone else said.


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Actually, let me

Actually, let me rephrase...

What does most of that have to do with the two definitions of faith?

As to your statement:

theists believe there is no God despite a reasonable lack of evidence that he doesn't. Believers of God believe there is a God despite a reasonable lack of evidence that he does.

You're doing exactly what I said.

Atheists disbelieve in god for the same reasons we disbelieve in leprechauns.  The default state is to not believe in something until given a reason to believe.  This is not a leap of faith in the religious sense, because it is perfectly logical to come to the conclusion that a thing doesn't exist if there is no evidence for it.

As to the Einsteinian definition of god, that being essentially "the universe," it's disingenuous at best to suggest that Einstein's use of the word god and a theist's use are related in any way.

 

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

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thanks a lot HD, that really

thanks a lot HD, that really helped me.


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I said leap of faith, not

I said leap of faith, not faith.  Your religious definition for faith actually means leap of faith, by the way. And I was talking about how all living things are connected because of what someone else said.

Ok.  Whatever.  I don't care if you call it a pink pony in a tutu.  It's still what's necessary to believe in the supernatural.

No worries on the part about living things being connected.  I missed that post in skimming the thread.  I'm not even remotely interested in delving into that.

 

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

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Einstein was a theist.

Einstein was a theist.

If we didn't believe in something until we were given a reason to believe, we wouldn't have reason. All experiments begin with a hypothesis. The result isn't always the same. We have to take a leap of faith that a pattern is real and that the sun isn't going to miss its appearance for dawn the next day.

 Also, I believe the lack of effort to understand is called apathy. Stop giving a bad name to atheists.


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jake13jake wrote:

jake13jake wrote:

Einstein was a theist.

If we didn't believe in something until we were given a reason to believe, we wouldn't have reason. All experiments begin with a hypothesis. The result isn't always the same. We have to take a leap of faith that a pattern is real and that the sun isn't going to miss its appearance for dawn the next day.

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." --Albert Einstein

Einstein was a 'Pantheist,' which is an atheist who speaks of nature in a poetic sense using words like 'God.'

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owned  

owned

 

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

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Smiling


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If we didn't believe in

If we didn't believe in something until we were given a reason to believe, we wouldn't have reason. All experiments begin with a hypothesis. The result isn't always the same. We have to take a leap of faith that a pattern is real and that the sun isn't going to miss its appearance for dawn the next day.

I'm almost tired of this, but I'm going to give it one more shot.  Every single belief we aquire is based on something we experience.  Period.  Hypotheses come from ideas that formed as a result of some experience(s).  We have a reasonable expectation that a pattern is real based on empirical evidence.   No faith required.

If you're going to claim that there is a belief that has absolutely no tie to the physical universe, you're going to have to pony up and tell us what this belief is.

 

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

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Iruka Naminori

Iruka Naminori wrote:

 The default position is always unbelief. Dawkins pointed out that babies are born atheists...

 

Can you explain that to me? it just doesn't rationaly makes sense to me 

 babies wouldnt' have enough intelligence at that point to make a decision like that

 

Theist: one who believes in one God

Atheist: one who denies the existence of a God (correct?)

A baby doesn't believe in God, nor does it belive that there isn't a God; it can't come up with that kind of conclusion on its own 


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doc101 wrote:

doc101 wrote:

Can you explain that to me? it just doesn't rationaly makes sense to me

babies wouldnt' have enough intelligence at that point to make a decision like that

 

Theist: one who believes in one God

Atheist: one who denies the existence of a God (correct?)

A baby doesn't believe in God, nor does it belive that there isn't a God; it can't come up with that kind of conclusion on its own

An atheist does not believe in any god, so a baby who does not know of any gods would be considered an atheist by default. The label of atheism does not suggest a defiance or opposition to religion, only an absence of belief.

Dawkins said that religious groups label their children as their own religion, even though the child has yet to make that decision. A baby is not born believing in God, but later in life, when they can understand the concept, may believe, and likely will if their parents teach them to. It's what Dawkins calls "Childhood Indoctrination."

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It's simple. A religious

It's simple. A religious individual has no concept of a life without faith, since it's all they know. As a result, they assume that everyone has faith in something. They are wrong. That's all.

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No. The best way I ever

No. The best way I ever heard it explained was "it does not take a leap of faith to believe that the tides are not caused by giant undersea hamsters running on wheels while dressed in clown costumes. It would take a huge on to believe that was the case."

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Krehlic wrote: An atheist

Krehlic wrote:

An atheist does not believe in any god, so a baby who does not know of any gods would be considered an atheist by default. The label of atheism does not suggest a defiance or opposition to religion, only an absence of belief.

 I do understand this from a logical view but this is what i don't understand

 

believe is an action verb, something a baby cannot do, a voluntary action; if you really understand the first line, then i can't see how that makes sense to me 


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As I have always understood

As I have always understood it, an atheist is a person without theistic beliefs, not necessarily someone who denies the existence of a god. As far as I know, there is no better word to describe the religious convictions, or lack thereof, of a small child, as it would be clearly incorrect to call them by their parents' religion (i.e. Christian Child, Jewish Child).

When it comes to people like us, we are atheists because we do deny the existance of a god, simply bacause we know of the concept. So, on the same note, you wouldn't exactly call all children atheists. Though, in technical terms, thats what they are.

Theism - belief in a god or gods.

Athesm - (A, meaning without) without theistic beliefs.

Although, according to dictionary.com, an atheist is someone who denies the existance of a god, but I do not think this is taking small children into consideration, as everyone else understands the concept of a god.

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doc101 wrote: Atheist: one

doc101 wrote:

Atheist: one who denies the existence of a God (correct?)

No, not true.

 

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-definitions.html

atheism Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

disbelieve 1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to: a. a statement or (alleged) fact: To reject the truth or reality of.

deny

  1. To contradict or gainsay (anything stated or alleged); to declare to be untrue or untenable, or not what it is stated to be.
  2. Logic. The opposite of affirm; to assert the contradictory of (a proposition).
  3. To refuse to admit the truth of (a doctrine or tenet); to reject as untrue or unfounded; the opposite of assert or maintain.
  4. To refuse to recognize or acknowledge (a person or thing) as having a certain character or certain claims; to disown, disavow, repudiate, renounce.

Note that the OED definition covers the whole spectrum of atheist belief, from weak atheism (those who do not believe in or credit the existence of one or more gods) to strong atheism (those who assert the contrary position, that a god does not exist).

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doc101 wrote: Krehlic

doc101 wrote:
Krehlic wrote:

An atheist does not believe in any god, so a baby who does not know of any gods would be considered an atheist by default. The label of atheism does not suggest a defiance or opposition to religion, only an absence of belief.

I do understand this from a logical view but this is what i don't understand

 

believe is an action verb, something a baby cannot do, a voluntary action; if you really understand the first line, then i can't see how that makes sense to me

"I believe that a invisable purple snarfwidget makes kegs of beer for me under my bed"

IS NOT THE SAME AS

"Based on prior data we have collected we can resonably conclude the following"

Faith as religion sells it can sell anything. Just as it did when for over 3,000 years "faithfull" people believed in Egypt that Ra was real. The same "faith" causes people to believe in absurd things such as tarrot cards and Loc Ness"

Just as you reject the "faith" people have in reincarnation. 

Now, I suspect you are avoiding your personal claims. I'd like to know what spicific being by label and name you think did it?

 

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doc101 wrote: believe is

doc101 wrote:

believe is an action verb, something a baby cannot do, a voluntary action; if you really understand the first line, then i can't see how that makes sense to me

In this you are correct. This is only one form of atheism however. There are atheists that actively believe there is no god. However atheism is a very wide sweeping category that encompasses disbelievers of god into the same group as believers there is no god. Every person you see in the header logo of this site is an agnostic atheist merely lacking belief in a god but not actively denying that some form of god is impossible. We abstain from making a positive claim that a god exists, and since we do so, we are by default non-believers. This doesn't mean we believe there is no god, it means we don't have a belief in one. Disbelief can never be a belief, they are opposites, and in this sense we are disbelievers which is how the OED defines atheism. (disbelief OR denial)

 

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jake13jake wrote:

jake13jake wrote:

Atheists believe there is no God despite a reasonable lack of evidence that he doesn't. Believers of God believe there is a God despite a reasonable lack of evidence that he does.

 

That's not necessarily true, but it is a logical fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_proof

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Doc, you are an atheist

Doc, you are an atheist with regard to the god "Haagendasbooten" the little known German god of Swedish Ice Cream, and have been from birth.  This takes no action on your part, and is the default position since you have never heard of the god before this moment.

Until someone told you about Jesus, you were an atheist with regard to Christianity, as well.  Once you heard about it, you either believed or not, which was an action.

Do you see the difference in "lack of belief" and "disbelief?"

 

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Krehlic wrote: Einstein was

Krehlic wrote:
Einstein was a 'Pantheist,' which is an atheist who speaks of nature in a poetic sense using words like 'God.'

 

Regardless of the side of the fence upon which one falls, I always find the the co-opting of Einstein's belief to be quite entertaining.  Theists try to rope him into their camp...atheist try to bring him into theirs.  We have a multitude of telling quotes that create a subtle picture of his belief for those objectively seeking it.  Unfortunately, so many people just want to be right or win an argument that they pull quotes out of context or add along their own commentary as support for their belief.  Based on THE WHOLE of Einstein's attributed quotes, the best definition of his position would be that of a deist.

To say that he was a pantheist requires that he be atheistic.  This is terribly far from the case.

To some, you may have "owned," but in reality, you simply made an erroneous claim that is not based on the evidence we have at our disposal.  That doesn't seem very characteristic of a rational Silver Member.


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starfan21 wrote: Krehlic

starfan21 wrote:

Krehlic wrote:
Einstein was a 'Pantheist,' which is an atheist who speaks of nature in a poetic sense using words like 'God.'

Regardless of the side of the fence upon which one falls, I always find the the co-opting of Einstein's belief to be quite entertaining.  Theists try to rope him into their camp...atheist try to bring him into theirs.  We have a multitude of telling quotes that create a subtle picture of his belief for those objectively seeking it.  Unfortunately, so many people just want to be right or win an argument that they pull quotes out of context or add along their own commentary as support for their belief.  Based on THE WHOLE of Einstein's attributed quotes, the best definition of his position would be that of a deist.

Are you going to present a case for this belief of your's or is your assertion supposed to be enough? To come into a conversation and state that Einstein was a deist without backing the claim with a single quote while people from the atheist and theist camps are at least providing quotes to support their assertions seems silly.

Quote:
To say that he was a pantheist requires that he be atheistic.  This is terribly far from the case.

So kind of you to enlighten everyone with such a convincing argument.

Quote:
To some, you may have "owned," but in reality, you simply made an erroneous claim that is not based on the evidence we have at our disposal.  That doesn't seem very characteristic of a rational Silver Member.

Someone who has donated enough to be a silver member has certain characteristics?

Being as that your claim that Einstein ws a deist has to this point been backed by no evidence whatsoever, what exactly did you hope to accomplish in this thread. Here I come to make unsupported assertions and have people fall to their knees in awe of my knowledge.

I'm not disagreeing with you that Einstein was a deist simply pinting out that coming into a discussion and making unsupported assertions is poi9ntless. Present your case. No one is going to simplky accept what you say because you say it no matter how right you think you are.

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starfan21 wrote: Krehlic

starfan21 wrote:

Krehlic wrote:
Einstein was a 'Pantheist,' which is an atheist who speaks of nature in a poetic sense using words like 'God.'

 

Regardless of the side of the fence upon which one falls, I always find the the co-opting of Einstein's belief to be quite entertaining. Theists try to rope him into their camp...atheist try to bring him into theirs. We have a multitude of telling quotes that create a subtle picture of his belief for those objectively seeking it. Unfortunately, so many people just want to be right or win an argument that they pull quotes out of context or add along their own commentary as support for their belief. Based on THE WHOLE of Einstein's attributed quotes, the best definition of his position would be that of a deist.

To say that he was a pantheist requires that he be atheistic. This is terribly far from the case.

To some, you may have "owned," but in reality, you simply made an erroneous claim that is not based on the evidence we have at our disposal. That doesn't seem very characteristic of a rational Silver Member.

 

Sorry, Einstein was an atheist. He had no belief in a personal god, nor saw the need for one to design and create the universe we live in.

You waltz into the thread, talk about how pathetic you find it when people label Einstein, and then proceed to promptly do so yourself. Hypocrite.

 

Besides, who gives a shit what Einstein believed?

Smart people can believe stupid things, and stupid people can hold intelligent ideas. 


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starfan21 wrote:

starfan21 wrote:

Krehlic wrote:
Einstein was a 'Pantheist,' which is an atheist who speaks of nature in a poetic sense using words like 'God.'

 

Regardless of the side of the fence upon which one falls, I always find the the co-opting of Einstein's belief to be quite entertaining. Theists try to rope him into their camp...atheist try to bring him into theirs. We have a multitude of telling quotes that create a subtle picture of his belief for those objectively seeking it. Unfortunately, so many people just want to be right or win an argument that they pull quotes out of context or add along their own commentary as support for their belief. Based on THE WHOLE of Einstein's attributed quotes, the best definition of his position would be that of a deist.

To say that he was a pantheist requires that he be atheistic. This is terribly far from the case.

To some, you may have "owned," but in reality, you simply made an erroneous claim that is not based on the evidence we have at our disposal. That doesn't seem very characteristic of a rational Silver Member.

Well, that was, after all, the second post I ever made on these forums. But I stand by it for the most part.

Whether Einstein was a deist or not is certainly debatable. But it seems to me to be far more likely, however, that he was agnostic, which I would be inclined to call essentially atheist. He openly denies the existence of a personal (theistic) god, but is careful not to deny, or endorse, the existence of a god altogether. Though, it is, still, a great possibility that he avoided such denial in order to avoid such harsh criticism as would seem due from his deeply religious contemporaries. He did, after all, receive a great deal of it for his denouncement of religious beliefs alone.

 EDIT:
By the way, I still think the quotes we have suggest Einstein's outlook to be pantheistic. Also, don't you think that if Einstein just came out and said, "I'm an atheist," would kind of ruin his style? His poetic way of referring to nature wouldn't seem quite as poetic anymore.

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MarthaSplatterhead wrote: I

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:
I think if there were people that claimed something without evidence then they may not necessarily be atheist. But not all atheists are rational either. I wrote somewhere else on here about some supposed atheists I know that claim to feel a oneness with all living things. An energy flow. I told this girl that told me this that I have never heard of any evidence for this. But she says she just knows it because she feels it. She explained that if I die my life force leaves my body and gets consumed by surrounding life. (I envision mercury how when it is separated it will come together on it's own when layed close by). I think she's just trying to sound poetic. At any rate, I am an atheist, and I really don't accept anything on a leap of faith. "Just believe."-That bugs the crap outta me.

 

I don't know, your friend's idea makes sense to me, from a scientific standpoint.  First law of thermodynamics, and all.  Also quantum physics seems to bear out a literal connection between all things.

 

However, "I just feel it" isn't a very logical standpoint. 


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Interesting topic of

Interesting topic of debate.  I will say this, we as humans make plans to do things ASSUMING we will be alive to do them.  We go to bed at night with the notion that we will wake up.  To me that is faith as at any moment anyone of us could die.

 

Faith after all is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.  So, I'm going out on a limb here but since I have no proof that I will wake up in the morning even though I know I gotta go to work and I do not see anything thats gonna stop that, I guess I have faith.

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote: It is a

Hambydammit wrote:

It is a puzzle to me why nobody seems to understand the different uses of the word "faith." It's so very simple. 22jesus22, this is something that comes up a lot, but it's so crucially important to understanding the atheist argument that I don't mind rehashing it often.

There are two distinct definitions of the word "faith." Theists overlap the two, and this makes their arguments seem more plausible than they actually are. Here's how it works:

1) (Colloquial) Faith is the same as "reasonable expectation." I don't actually have faith that my chair will hold me up or that the sun will come up tomorrow. I have a reasonable expectation based on patterns, evidence, and extrapolation. In other words, I am making a rational prediction based on empirical evidence. This is the "leap of faith" that atheists make.

2) (Religious) Faith is believing something despite evidence to the contrary, or a complete lack of evidence. This is what you need to believe a religion. At some point, you have to take something on faith despite the fact that your rational faculties tell you that it shouldn't be so.

These two definitions should never cross paths, but they do all the time.

 

Yes. It is a fallacy of equivocation to conflate theistic, non contingent faith, with colloquial usages of the word 'faith' that are in fact references to contingent faith.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/doesnt_everyone_take_things_on_faith

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Self Bias Resistor

Self Bias Resistor wrote:

 Faith after all is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. So, I'm going out on a limb here but since I have no proof that I will wake up in the morning even though I know I gotta go to work and I do not see anything thats gonna stop that, I guess I have faith.

 

Please read my essay:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/doesnt_everyone_take_things_on_faith

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Faith is belief without

Faith is belief without evidence, not proof.

I don't know that I will wake up in the morning. I have no proof of it. But I go to sleep with the assumption that I will wake up, evidenced by the many, many days that I have woken up prior, the fact that I don't have any life threating sicknesses that I know of, no enemies hellbent on my destruction that I know of, no dangerous hazards in my bedroom that I know of, etc.

But if I, say, believed that when I woke up I would find a million dollars in cash, neatly packed in a slick leather briefcase, at the foot of my bed, with no signs of forced entry into my house, without any evidence or reason to anticipate this happening, it would indeed by a matter of faith. No one that I know of has a million dollars that they want to give me. No one else that I know of has a key to my house. And I haven't won anything lately. 

See the difference? 

Flying Spaghetti Monster -- Great Almighty God? Or GREATEST Almighty God?


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Very nice. Proofs are

Very nice. Proofs are deductive. Evidence is inductive.

 


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I always thought atheists

I always thought atheists couldn't have faith because we constantly change our opinion on the evidence or lack thereof. The 'faith' that Christians speak of is nothing more then an atheist taking an 'educated guess', and if conclusive evidence is brought foreward which disproves the original conclusion, then you go back to the drawing board, and change the opinion.

The Scienetific Lab Model.


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Krehlic wrote: starfan21

Krehlic wrote:
starfan21 wrote:

Krehlic wrote:
Einstein was a 'Pantheist,' which is an atheist who speaks of nature in a poetic sense using words like 'God.'

 

Regardless of the side of the fence upon which one falls, I always find the the co-opting of Einstein's belief to be quite entertaining. Theists try to rope him into their camp...atheist try to bring him into theirs. We have a multitude of telling quotes that create a subtle picture of his belief for those objectively seeking it. Unfortunately, so many people just want to be right or win an argument that they pull quotes out of context or add along their own commentary as support for their belief. Based on THE WHOLE of Einstein's attributed quotes, the best definition of his position would be that of a deist.

To say that he was a pantheist requires that he be atheistic. This is terribly far from the case.

To some, you may have "owned," but in reality, you simply made an erroneous claim that is not based on the evidence we have at our disposal. That doesn't seem very characteristic of a rational Silver Member.

Well, that was, after all, the second post I ever made on these forums. But I stand by it for the most part.

Whether Einstein was a deist or not is certainly debatable. But it seems to me to be far more likely, however, that he was agnostic, which I would be inclined to call essentially atheist. He openly denies the existence of a personal (theistic) god, but is careful not to deny, or endorse, the existence of a god altogether. Though, it is, still, a great possibility that he avoided such denial in order to avoid such harsh criticism as would seem due from his deeply religious contemporaries. He did, after all, receive a great deal of it for his denouncement of religious beliefs alone.

EDIT:
By the way, I still think the quotes we have suggest Einstein's outlook to be pantheistic. Also, don't you think that if Einstein just came out and said, "I'm an atheist," would kind of ruin his style? His poetic way of referring to nature wouldn't seem quite as poetic anymore.

 

I was thinking about this again today, and it occurred to me that Einstein actually believed in a static universe. He was incorrect, but such a belief does exclude the need for a god, personal or not. So, I would just like to correct myself and rule out the possibility that he was a deist, and severely downgrade his chances of being agnostic (fence sitter).

Sorry for the mistake. This minor detail slipped my mind when I wrote that post.

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Atheism does not require

Atheism does not require faith. Unless, of course, one requires faith NOT to believe in invisible garden banshees.

The road to truth is paved with evidence.


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To believe in anything is

To believe in anything is to have faith, no matter what it is.  If you  are participating in a game, for example, and you believe you can win, then that is faith right there.  It doesn't matter if you are athiest or not.  Faith is any kind of belief the individual has in something or somethings.  It has little to do with religion or spirituality, as real world society may lead one to think.  Real world society is a bunch of shit anyway, so I think it would be best for everyone to not have faith in such an archaic, asinine, and malignant system.  
 
Love,
Koibito San Jie
 

I need real friends. Imaginary friends are for kids-- Ely Toka, Goddess of Butterflies