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@MyFellowAtheists: How Big an Atheist Are You?

 
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 06:43 am
@ehBeth,
Beth wrote

Quote:
“By definition, atheism is not a belief system or ideology.”


That is not entirely accurate

Just as I would dispute someone who suggested that atheism is the "belief" that there are no gods…I dispute that atheism is not a "belief system" or ideology.

SOMETIMES…and for some people…atheism is not a "belief system" or ideology…and SOMETIMES…for others…it most assuredly is.

There are atheists here in A2K who assert with absolute certainty that there are no gods…just as there are theists here who assert with absolute certainty there is a GOD. For those atheists, their atheism IS A "BELIEF."


Beth also wrote:

Quote:
"As a former theist, I can see it is difficult for some to understand the difference, but there is a real difference between believing (having a belief system) and not believing."


Frankly, there is no difficulty understanding that at all. But sometimes it simply is not the case.

There certainly is a difference between acknowledging a “belief” there is no GOD…and actually “believing” there there are no gods. And I think that is where most A2K atheists are.

My guess is most of the so-called non-“believing” atheist here in A2K…do “believe” there are no gods.


Beth also wrote:

Quote:
"It is an absence of belief. It is not a replacement of one set of beliefs with another set of beliefs."


That may be the case for her, but actually, for many it is exactly that…replacing “beliefs” there is a GOD…with a “belief” there are none.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 07:09 am
@FBM,
Exactly. This is not rocket science. We all know that atheist ideologues can exist.... Think Lenin, Mao, etc.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 07:12 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Ascribing a state of mind to a listing of facts?


Well, Thomas' last sentence was aggressive and uncalled for, and his whole argument contradictory. He starts with telling us that dictionaries get to define Atheism (and then that they don't...), and follows with a definition that actually vindicates me and proves you wrong: the denial of the existence of God or gods refers to a belief that there is no god(s). That is often called 'hard Atheism', as opposed to 'soft Atheism' which is what you mean, the disbelief or absence of belief in gods. So when I wrote:
Quote:
I could not disagree more with the idea than atheism is 'nothing' or only the absence of something.

... I was actually in the right. Atheism is not ONLY an absence of belief. It can ALSO mean a positive belief in the absence of gods.

I don't really see how all this casuistry matters anyway, since we were talking about the possible practical consequences or influences in real life of certain forms of atheism. Not of what IS Atheism in some sort of essentialist way.

Even if, for the sake of the argument, all forms of atheism were about the absence of belief (which there are not), there can be consequences to things like the prolonged absence of food or water in your diet... Ever thought of that? It works for beliefs too: the absence of a belief in, say, ascribing a particularly high value to human life can lead one to dire consequences as compared to what tends to happen to people having a belief in the high importance of human lives.

Absence can have consequences... Duh.

Atheism can have consequences too. Everything does, and however you want to define it.

Atheism provides no privilege, no immunity, no hiding place from accountability. Nor should it. Religion does that, if you're interested.

bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 07:23 am
@Kolyo,
6'3" and 250#.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:28 am
@FBM,
Your quotes certainly establish that atheists can be an interest group. In a country where the government is prone to displaying the ten commandments in courthouses, administering "spiritual fitness tests" to soldiers that hinder the promotion of atheists, and so forth, there will be a common interest for atheists to push back.

What I don't see, though, is how your quotes establish that atheism is an ideology. (Thanks for the dictionary definition, by the way.) Where is the visionary theorizing? Where is a systematic body of concepts? Apart from the one thought that gods don't exist, where is a characteristic manner of thinking that atheists have but agnostics and theists don't? Where do you see integrated assertions and theories that constitute a sociopolitical program? I'm coming up empty on all counts.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:38 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
In a country where the government is prone to displaying the ten commandments in courthouses, administering "spiritual fitness tests" to soldiers that hinder the promotion of atheists, and so forth, there will be a common interest for atheists to push back.


Our government is prone to displaying stamps, and checking for stamps on business correspondence. There are even government run offices to distribute stamps. Yet you don't see non-stamp-collectors pushing back. Non-stamp-collectors really don't seem to care.

That is why I don't think you can call non-stamp-collecting an ideology (actually I do but it is to no use since no one even notices). Atheism is another matter.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:41 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Is this hate speech? (In my opinion it is.)

In my opinion it's not. Given the Catholic Church's history around boy-molesting priests; given its intimidation of whistleblowers; and given it's fearmongering around concepts like eternal torture in hell, I think your quote is a valid criticism, somewhat overstated.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:46 am
@Thomas,
A few points:

First, I only intended to say that SOME people can make it an ideology, or make and ideology of it. Not that it is inherently one.

Visionary theorizing? I've heard/read lots of atheists claiming that religions will eventually disappear and that the world will be the better for it. It also seems to be a common theme among Marxists, Lenninists, socialists, communists, etc.

Systematic body of concepts? I've also run across a lot of atheists who use the body of scientific concepts and knowledge, as well as philosophical concepts of falsifiability, justified true belief, Occam's razor, etc, to demonstrate the flaws of the theistic hypothesis. We could probably include versions of history that highlight the atrocities committed in the name of this or that religion.

Sociopolitical program? FFRF and other organizations like them (there are quite a few) are motivated by their atheism (and/or agnosticism) do work to change society and affect political reforms. That's clearly stated as their agenda, viz, to work towards a religionless world.

And just to reiterate, I'm not saying atheism IS an ideology, just that it CAN be one, if one is so inclined. On another forum, I elevated bacon to a (joking) ideology in opposition to those who "worshipped" cheese. It created a (joking) rift in the community. Joking or not, if you're hot enough about a topic, you can elevate it to an ideology, seems.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:48 am
@Thomas,
If you can justify bigotry against Catholics, then you can justify bigotry against anyone. I choose not to, but if you pick any group that has been around for than a few decades, and I could scrounge up reasons to justify hate speech against them. There is a pretty nasty legacy of anti-catholicism in the US.

Bigotry is bigotry. If the only solution to hate speech is more hate speech, then we doomed.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:51 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Our government is prone to displaying stamps, and checking for stamps on business correspondence. There are even government run offices to distribute stamps. Yet you don't see non-stamp-collectors pushing back. Non-stamp-collectors really don't seem to care.

Displaying the ten commandments in courts signals to non-Christians that Christian norms are privileged over non-Christian norms in court rooms, putting non-Christians at a disadvantage. Administering "spiritual fitness tests" and failing to promote atheist based on their outcome puts atheistic soldiers at a disadvantage. Displaying stamps and insisting that you put them on your letters does nothing of the kind to non-stamp-collectors. Unlike atheists, non-stamp-collectors have nothing to push back against.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 10:15 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
If you can justify bigotry against Catholics, then you can justify bigotry against anyone.

1) It's not bigotry if it's substantially true.

2) Negative statements directed at an organization are not necessarily directed at their individual members. "Love the Catholics, hate their church" is a perfectly consistent position.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 10:18 am
@Thomas,
I don't believe in god, and I haven't found that this has put me in any disadvantage. In this day and age I can be an atheist (by the dictionary definition) without attacking any religion. Not believing in god doesn't require me to "push back" against people who do. People believing in god doesn't bother me in the least. This is where I part ways with many atheists.

I would much rather talk about important issues, like LGBT rights. Turning important issues into attacks against a religion or religions doesn't make things any better. It makes things worse. Bigotry is not an answer for bigotry.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 10:22 am
@Thomas,
1. All bigotry is true to the people who believe it. Pick a bigotry and do a quick google search for the rationale behind it.... and then tell me how it is different than the rational behind anti-catholicism.

2. I suspect you did this on purpose, I am not quite sure. I did find it funny. "Love the Sinner, hate the sin" is a common rational for homophobic rhetoric. I don't find either version very consistent or compelling.
Thomas
 
  5  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 10:24 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
I don't believe in god, and I haven't found that this has put me in any disadvantage. In this day and age I can be an atheist (by the dictionary definition) without attacking any religion.

I'm not attacking religion. I'm just saying it's nonsense --- which it is.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 10:52 am
@maxdancona,
The CC did good and bad things, just like any other institution in the history of mankind. People who have foam coming out of their mouth about it should just chill out, and consider the crimes of, say, the Hindus. How come soddin' Mother Theresa had to go feed the poor in Calcutta, instead of some local Hindu or Buddhist equivalent?
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 11:25 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
"Love the Catholics, hate their church"

You cannot hate the church and not hate the people who compose it. A church is made of people... Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 11:41 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Your quotes certainly establish that atheists can be an interest group. In a country where the government is prone to displaying the ten commandments in courthouses, administering "spiritual fitness tests" to soldiers that hinder the promotion of atheists, and so forth, there will be a common interest for atheists to push back.

What I don't see, though, is how your quotes establish that atheism is an ideology. (Thanks for the dictionary definition, by the way.) Where is the visionary theorizing? Where is a systematic body of concepts? Apart from the one thought that gods don't exist, where is a characteristic manner of thinking that atheists have but agnostics and theists don't? Where do you see integrated assertions and theories that constitute a sociopolitical program? I'm coming up empty on all counts.


You are coming up empty alright, Thomas...and I suspect it is a self-serving blank you are getting because you want it.

Many atheists say point blank "there are no gods." They are asserting a guess about the REALITY of existence...namely that there are no gods involved.

That is an ideology.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 11:44 am
My main beef with the "Atheism is nothing" argument is that it de facto implies that there is something wrong with speaking of Atheism: that would amount to speaking of nothing... And yet many people, including many atheists, have talked of Atheism in ways that I have personally found useful... This trope that "atheism is nothing" is self-defeating for atheists. It condemns us to remain invisible.

So I would appreciate if the clique of soft atheist inquisitors we seem to be facing here would give some thoughts to these matters before they start to zealously lecture the rest of us on what Atheism can and cannot be.

Thank you for your attention...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 11:47 am
@Frank Apisa,
So full of ****.
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 11:52 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

So full of ****.


Probably the most intelligent argument you've offered in a while...which, if you are wondering, is not meant as a compliment.
0 Replies
 
 

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