Author Topic: why are you an atheist?  (Read 16008 times)

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #210 on: March 14, 2017, 04:38:26 AM »
You dont read so well, bud.  The bad things happen because there is no God.

No, bad events can't happen BECAUSE there is no god.  That would require the absence of a god for an event to occur and that makes no sense.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline Baruch

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #211 on: March 14, 2017, 07:06:15 AM »
Actually, the argument that a deity makes bad things happen is not a really good arguement.  A deity could do anything it wants for any reason.  Kind of like me stepping on worms on the driveway after it rains deliberately or not even noticing they are there.

My argument against one is mostly by lack of evidence for existence or need for one.

Thanks for quoting the best book in the Bible, the Book of Job.  G-d was having a boring day, so he let his Vizier (aka Satan aka Attorney General) go have fun on his biggest fan.  G-d is a dick.  You also just justified my view that people are demigods.
שלום

Offline SGOS

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #212 on: March 14, 2017, 08:13:46 AM »
Even as an atheist, I can't say there isn't some deity.
That would make you an agnostic as well as an atheist.

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #213 on: March 14, 2017, 08:21:38 AM »
That would make you an agnostic as well as an atheist.

In my most pedantic moments, I would say none of us can help but be agnostic in certain senses of the word.  A word meaning "I Don't Know" does mean almost nothing, after all.  But I am an atheist in the sense that I follow no theistic belief, see no evidence of a deity, and find the whole idea rather laughable. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline SGOS

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #214 on: March 14, 2017, 08:53:35 AM »
In my most pedantic moments, I would say none of us can help but be agnostic in certain senses of the word.  A word meaning "I Don't Know" does mean almost nothing, after all.  But I am an atheist in the sense that I follow no theistic belief, see no evidence of a deity, and find the whole idea rather laughable. 
Yeah, I understand that, and you are free to reject the label of agnostic, but that's not the same thing as accepting colloquial definition.  You know; "Colloquial?"  It's the definition used mostly by Christians and people who don't know what Huxley was describing.  But I doubt that you prefer being defined by religious nutcases, who don't understand concepts of simple things like... Knowledge.

And you are right.  Agnosticism is not a big deal.  Not knowing is not a big deal.  It's nothing really.  But the rub in using the colloquial definition is that it is a device used by theists to elevate unsupported quirks of imagination to the same level of knowing:  A theist does not have to admit he doesn't know.  Instead he claims knowledge of the unknowable, and elevates his premonitions and warm fuzzy feelings to the level of rational inquiry.

While agnosticism is not a big deal, the misperceptions caused by the colloquial use can be a big deal, but in a negative way.  It boasts of knowledge when faced with the unknowable.  It's is the same dynamic Hitler used to "know" that Jews needed to be exterminated.  He knew it because he knew it.

But tell a Christian they are agnostic, and they are likely to think it's a big deal in spite of the fact that "not knowing" is not a big deal.  It's important for them to know, and to suggest otherwise will illicit their contempt and self-righteousness.  Theists would sweep it away, because they won't be bothered to ever contemplate something that can't be known.  The very idea is abhorrent, so they change the meaning.  But it would be a good thing for them to contemplate their ignorance.

And if you accept their taxonomy, you allow them to label you.  In a way, you imply that you know something you don't, and possibly with the same conviction they do... and you become like them.

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #215 on: March 14, 2017, 09:15:48 AM »
Yeah, I understand that, and you are free to reject the label of agnostic, but that's not the same thing as accepting colloquial definition.  You know; "Colloquial?"  It's the definition used mostly by Christians and people who don't know what Huxley was describing.  But I doubt that you prefer being defined by religious nutcases, who don't understand concepts of simple things like... Knowledge.

And you are right.  Agnosticism is not a big deal.  Not knowing is not a big deal.  It's nothing really.  But the rub in using the colloquial definition is that it is a device used by theists to elevate unsupported quirks of imagination to the same level of knowing:  A theist does not have to admit he doesn't know.  Instead he claims knowledge of the unknowable, and elevates his premonitions and warm fuzzy feelings to the level of rational inquiry.

While agnosticism is not a big deal, the misperceptions caused by the colloquial use can be a big deal, but in a negative way.  It boasts of knowledge when faced with the unknowable.  It's is the same dynamic Hitler used to "know" that Jews needed to be exterminated.  He knew it because he knew it.

But tell a Christian they are agnostic, and they are likely to think it's a big deal in spite of the fact that "not knowing" is not a big deal.  It's important for them to know, and to suggest otherwise will illicit their contempt and self-righteousness.  Theists would sweep it away, because they won't be bothered to ever contemplate something that can't be known.  The very idea is abhorrent, so they change the meaning.  But it would be a good thing for them to contemplate their ignorance.

And if you accept their taxonomy, you allow them to label you.  In a way, you imply that you know something you don't, and possibly with the same conviction they do... and you become like them.

Well, that's one reason I don't like the term "agnostic".  I know original meaning; that theists could never actually understand the nature of God.  But that's not how the term is used today meaning "uncertain" about the existence of a deity. 

As an atheist, I find both meanings annoying.  The first because it assumes there is a god.  The second because it describes a position that all must have in a certain way. 

I don't much try to prove there isn't a deity of some sort somewhere anymore (negative proofs and all that nonsense).  But equally given no evidence, I choose to think the deity-concept both ridiculous and unnecessary for any purpose of the universe.

Atheism means having no thesistic belief, and I have none.  If some deity creted the universe in a finger flick and left, and then came back tomorrow saying "remember me?", I would not be logically shocked. 

I WOULD be highly annoyed and dismayed.  Shocked even.  But I consider the likelihood of that seriously minor-to-vanishing.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline SGOS

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #216 on: March 14, 2017, 09:42:34 AM »
Well, that's one reason I don't like the term "agnostic".  I know original meaning; that theists could never actually understand the nature of God. 
Without looking up Huxley's exact words, I don't think that's how he defined agnosticism.  I'm pretty sure he meant, "God's existence is unknowable."  But there is an example of the imprecision of perception.  Even knowing the original meaning, we both interpret it differently.

As an atheist, I find both meanings annoying.  The first because it assumes there is a god. 
See, I don't think that Huxley assumed any such thing.

The second because it describes a position that all must have in a certain way. 
Agreed, and this is my biggest rub with the colloquial definition.  Not only do we not have the same position in the same way as theists, but the bigger issue is that we arrive at conclusions and beliefs in an entirely different way, using entirely different processes.

Granted, some atheists don't use the rational process either, even ones who make no positive claim that a "God does not exist."  But a rational process is important, and Huxley's agnosticism is central to that process.  We need to understand what we cannot know, so we can stop wasting our time in rational inquiry about it, at least until such time as it becomes knowable.

I don't much try to prove there isn't a deity of some sort somewhere anymore (negative proofs and all that nonsense).  But equally given no evidence, I choose to think the deity-concept both ridiculous and unnecessary for any purpose of the universe.

Atheism means having no thesistic belief, and I have none.  If some deity creted the universe in a finger flick and left, and then came back tomorrow saying "remember me?", I would not be logically shocked. 

I WOULD be highly annoyed and dismayed.  Shocked even.  But I consider the likelihood of that seriously minor-to-vanishing.
See, we are very much of the same mind.  We are having a semantic quibble.  I usually avoid discussions of semantics, but this issue attracts my attention, and I'm not entirely sure why it's so important to me. 

Perhaps, because the realization that I could not know was one of the bigger insights in my journey to atheism.  It was life changing and marks an important milestone in my personal growth. 

Life long atheists might not see such an insight as anything so important, because they were never in a quagmire of irrational spirituality to begin with.  They never had to climb out of the hole, so to speak.

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #217 on: March 14, 2017, 09:55:23 AM »
Without looking up Huxley's exact words, I don't think that's how he defined agnosticism.  I'm pretty sure he meant, "God's existence is unknowable."  But there is an example of the imprecision of perception.  Even knowing the original meaning, we both interpret it differently.
See, I don't think that Huxley assumed any such thing.
Agreed, and this is my biggest rub with the colloquial definition.  Not only do we not have the same position in the same way as theists, but the bigger issue is that we arrive at conclusions and beliefs in an entirely different way, using entirely different processes.

Granted, some atheists don't use the rational process either, even ones who make no positive claim that a "God does not exist."  But a rational process is important, and Huxley's agnosticism is central to that process.  We need to understand what we cannot know, so we can stop wasting our time in rational inquiry about it, at least until such time as it becomes knowable.
See, we are very much of the same mind.  We are having a semantic quibble.  I usually avoid discussions of semantics, but this issue attracts my attention, and I'm not entirely sure why it's so important to me. 

Perhaps, because the realization that I could not know was one of the bigger insights in my journey to atheism.  It was life changing and marks an important milestone in my personal growth. 

Life long atheists might not see such an insight as anything so important, because they were never in a quagmire of irrational spirituality to begin with.  They never had to climb out of the hole, so to speak.

I have met all kinds of atheists in my life.  Some were convinced they had proof no deity could possibly exist, some were flaming communists, some were right wing nutcases, some were gay, most straight, most male, and too few female.  Some angry ex-theists, some (like me) who were never anything else but atheist, some who had to fight family and friends, and some who gradually became atheists without troubles.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #218 on: March 14, 2017, 10:52:43 AM »
Oh, ok.  Well, I find it fun and emboldening and fascinating to proclaim loud and clear to believers that I am an atheist and stand back and see WTF happens.  LOL, the fireworks are amazing!  You just can't believe what people come up with. If they are Jesus, you get the Jesus shpeel, Muslim you get the Mo' shpeel, and oh, I've gotten some incredibly ridiculous Hindu shpeels re winning lottery tickets and Ganeshi(Elephant God who has pet rats) and such.


Also, it's good to "be something" too(sniffle)...
I do use the word 'atheist' but I don't really think of it as a label that I actually am.  I am not fond of labels, but if I must really use one in this area, it is 'nonbeliever'.  I am not really anti-theist--I've actually met some I enjoy being around.  But I am anti-theism.  I regard any organized religion as deadly to the human mind.  So, I don't believe in any god(s).  I just don't believe--I like to use reasoning as opposed to beliefs, so nonbeliever suits me just fine.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline SGOS

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #219 on: March 14, 2017, 11:08:41 AM »
I do use the word 'atheist' but I don't really think of it as a label that I actually am.  I am not fond of labels, but if I must really use one in this area, it is 'nonbeliever'.  I am not really anti-theist--I've actually met some I enjoy being around.  But I am anti-theism.  I regard any organized religion as deadly to the human mind.  So, I don't believe in any god(s).  I just don't believe--I like to use reasoning as opposed to beliefs, so nonbeliever suits me just fine.
Again we agree.  While I tend to make a big deal lobbying for the correct definition of agnostic, if I'm actually asked (which is seldom), I usually say, "I'm an atheist."  If I'm feeling fearful about it at the moment, might just say, "I don't have a belief in a god." 

I seldom say I'm an agnostic, because people almost never ask why I'm an atheist.  This has happened to me only once.  It's as if they don't want the reason, which would make sense because reason wasn't important to the process they used to formulate their own belief, and they would have no reason to think reason entered into my own quest.

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #220 on: March 14, 2017, 11:11:31 AM »
I do use the word 'atheist' but I don't really think of it as a label that I actually am.  I am not fond of labels, but if I must really use one in this area, it is 'nonbeliever'.  I am not really anti-theist--I've actually met some I enjoy being around.  But I am anti-theism.  I regard any organized religion as deadly to the human mind.  So, I don't believe in any god(s).  I just don't believe--I like to use reasoning as opposed to beliefs, so nonbeliever suits me just fine.

Worth remembering that "atheist" is not "anti-theist", just "non-theist".
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #221 on: March 14, 2017, 11:14:01 AM »
Again we agree.  While I tend to make a big deal lobbying for the correct definition of agnostic, if I'm actually asked (which is seldom), I usually say, "I'm an atheist."  If I'm feeling fearful about it at the moment, might just say, "I don't have a belief in a god." 

I seldom say I'm an agnostic, because people almost never ask why I'm an atheist.  This has happened to me only once.  It's as if they don't want the reason, which would make sense because reason wasn't important to the process they used to formulate their own belief, and they would have no reason to think reason entered into my own quest.

I'm impressed.  Most people hedge toward the agnostic side or beyond when pressed.  :)
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #222 on: March 14, 2017, 11:18:05 AM »
Worth remembering that "atheist" is not "anti-theist", just "non-theist".
Yeah, I guess that is true.  But most regard 'atheist' as being anti their particular god.  And I have a hard time being anti god(s), since they are all fictions.  That's like being anti Bugs Bunny; makes no sense.  (But we are dealing with theists, so where does 'sense' come in.....) I just like nonbeliever for a label. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline Cavebear

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #223 on: March 14, 2017, 11:25:44 AM »
Yeah, I guess that is true.  But most regard 'atheist' as being anti their particular god.  And I have a hard time being anti god(s), since they are all fictions.  That's like being anti Bugs Bunny; makes no sense.  (But we are dealing with theists, so where does 'sense' come in.....) I just like nonbeliever for a label.

Yeah, so many people I know just have to think I believe in "something".  They keep prying at it.  I had a friend who was in the car when I expressed a hope the light would stay green.  He interpreted that as a prayer to a deity because he couldn't imagine not aiming hopes to one. 

The best I could ever explain it to him was that I was hoping "the random events in the universe operated in my favor".  He probably still thinks I'm some vague deist, because he can't imagine less belief than that.

We have since parted ways, BTW, LOL!
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline SGOS

Re: why are you an atheist?
« Reply #224 on: March 14, 2017, 11:36:22 AM »
I'm impressed.  Most people hedge toward the agnostic side or beyond when pressed.  :)
When I pressed for an answer, I tend to say atheist, because I want to make it clear that I don't believe in a god.  It's important for me to be understood on that issue.  If I say, "Agnostic," I have no way of knowing what kind of conclusions they might come too.  "Atheist" can create some misunderstanding, but is much less open to misunderstanding than "agnostic."