Splitting atheist hairs

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by manifold, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Which is a more accurate statement?

    1. An atheist is a person that does not believe in God.

    2. An atheist is a person that believes in the non-existence of God.
     
  2. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    According to the atheists I know, atheism is a LACK of belief.
     
  3. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    So what does that make a guy like Shogun? It's pretty clear that he adamantly believes that God does not exist.
     
  4. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    I have no issues with people who are non-believers. My understanding fails, though, when non-believers hate belief. Most atheists I know couldn't care less what others believe and only concern themselves with their own hearts.

    Ah well...
     
  5. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Is it possible to believe in a negative?
     
  6. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Why not?
     
  7. Abelian Sea
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    Abelian Sea o_O

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    At one time I thought that "agnostics" were in doubt about both God's existence and non-existence, and that "atheists" believed that there is definitely no God. I have been corrected in both directions before and eventually lost interest in the labels.

    Yes, in that it is possible to believe in the non-existence of something.

    I have known people, for example, who feel quite positive that there is no such thing as ghosts.

    And my father was an atheist of the second variety described in the original post. He never expressed any doubt as to whether or not God exists; he was quite adamant that He doesn't. As a child, I was as quietly perplexed by his faith as I was by the faith of my Christian best friend. I suppose I am an atheist of the first variety described above.
     
  8. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    I just asked a question - is it possible to believe in a negative? Is it?
     
  9. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    I know what you mean about the labels - it always ends up in semantics.

    I like your example about ghosts. So the formulation might be, "I don't believe in the existence of ghosts". Is that more or less correct or am I misinterpreting or just plain wrong? (I can handle it if I'm wrong by the way :D)

    On edit: I need to clarify (without getting in the semantics basement). I was thinking of different ways of looking at your example.

    "I don't believe in the existence of ghosts". Or expressed another way, "I don't believe in A, A being the existence of ghosts". So isn't it a non-belief in a positive rather than a belief in a negative, when it's expressed that way?

    "Ghosts don't exist", a positive statement or a negative statement?
     
  10. Shogun
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    Shogun Free: Mudholes Stomped

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    It's not merely the belief I hate, Jill. It's the baggage that comes with it. I've defended the rights of christians many times, today in a thread even. But living and let live is not the nature of most dogma junkies on this board and off, is it Jill? You'll find more christians out purposefully thwarting non-believers than you'll ever find on my itinerary list anyday. For those who can't handle theologic debate on sociological and cultural issues? Well, so much for that armor of god, eh? I'd have thought that real believers could handle themselves in this thing we call the real world.. you know, where a uniform spirituality is not a prerequisite for concepts and Ideas? But, I guess having the knowledge to back up the fashionable faith is not on the menu these days.


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    and to answer the question, nomenclature is probably not as significant as the individual belief. Do christians all believe in the trinity? baptism by submersion? If not, then similarly, defining atheism is probably as useless as saving time in a bottle.
     

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