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Neither a theist nor an atheist.

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.

No I'm not agnostic either.

Sometimes the answer to the question is that it's the wrong question to be asking.

Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?
 

Rhea

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That works when the question has been so weird. ~nods~
 

Juma

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.

No I'm not agnostic either.

Sometimes the answer to the question is that it's the wrong question to be asking.

Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?

You have the right to be wrong.
 

GenesisNemesis

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I'll never understand the need to always look for a middle ground. Sometimes there just isn't one.
 

dystopian

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.

No I'm not agnostic either.

Sometimes the answer to the question is that it's the wrong question to be asking.

Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?

Hate to be the one to break it to you, but that still makes you an atheist. If you don't believe (including saying you don't know, or some variation thereof) in god then you're an atheist. It's a binary position; you either do, or do not. Saying "I don't know" is an added qualifier, but doesn't represent some third option: it's functionally the same as saying you don't believe. Saying that the question/notion doesn't make sense to you in the first place automatically is also an added qualifier, but similarly doesn't put you in some third, undefined, position: you still either believe or don't believe.
 

Underseer

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.

No I'm not agnostic either.

Sometimes the answer to the question is that it's the wrong question to be asking.

Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?

Then you don't understand the basic meaning of the words. This is elementary school-level etymology you're getting wrong. The a- prefix means "non" or "not" or "against," so a-theist means "not a theist." If you are not a theist then you are an atheist. Most atheists simply reject the claims of theists but do not make positive claims about the existence or non-existence of any god or gods.

After all, we cannot disprove with 100% certainty the existence of the Abrahamic god any more than we can disprove leprechauns or fairies, but as with leprechauns and faeries, there simply is no reason to take such claims seriously unless and until someone shows up with absolute proof.
 

braces_for_impact

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As others have mentioned, you're either one or the other, there really is no middle ground. If you don't wish to be labelled, that's fine and I can respect that, but although I concede that language has power, sometimes it's still just representations for things or concepts - words. I agree also that often we may think the wrong questions are being asked, and sometimes that's true. I think however, the question of whether or not a god exists is an important one, and one that needs discussion, if only because belief translates into action, sometimes very negative actions, so it's a moral duty of sorts to work this through.

P.S. Welcome to the forums!
 
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you are demanding a yes or no answer to a question that doesn't have a yes or no answer.

A rational person could answer the question "do black people exist" with a yes or no. A rational person would not be able to answer the question "Do ni--ers exist" with a yes or no. A bigot would expect a simple yes or no and would not be able to understand why rational people refused to answer with a yes or no.

the false dichotomy of atheism vs theism is like the false dichotomy of selfless vs selfish. Its all-or-nothing.

The middle path, on the other hand, is cooperation vs competition.
 
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Tom Sawyer

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you are demanding a yes or no answer to a question that doesn't have a yes or no answer.
the concept of God like the concept of ni--er is too poorly defined

if I asked you whether black people exist then the answer would be yes or no.

the false dichotomy of atheism vs theism is like the false dichotomy of selfless vs selfish. Its all-or-nothing.

The middle path, on the other hand, is cooperation vs competition.

Actually, the question of whether or not God exists is a yes or no question. He's either a real being or he's not. There's zero difference between that question and the questions of whether Darth Vader or Barak Obama exist. One is a real person and the other is a fictional character (I won't spoil the surprise by telling you which is which) and God fits into one of those two categories. One can argue that we don't know the answer to the question, but it is a question which has an answer.

You are correct that God is always really poorly defined and nobody ever really knows what someone is talking about when they use the word, but that's actually a really poor reason to assume a middle path in regards to the question. If someone asks you if Nidulasdfaasdsers are real, the fact that that's a made-up word without a definition isn't a reason to hedge one's bets about their existence. If a person can't define what they're talking about, they're talking about a nonexistent thing.
 

dystopian

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you are demanding a yes or no answer to a question that doesn't have a yes or no answer.

The concept of God like the concept of ni--er is such that its impossible to answer the question "does God exist" with a simple yes or no.

That's complete nonsense though; the question 'does x exist' can *always* be answered with a simple yes or no, assuming you have the necessary facts to make that determination. Similarly, the question 'Do you believe in X' can ALSO always be answered with either yes or no.

The middle path, on the other hand, is cooperation vs competition.

This doesn't make any sense in the context of the discussion. You are incorrectly assuming that to be a theist or an atheist automatically means you're in competition with the other; and from that flawed assumption then making another incorrect assumption that because the opposite of competition is cooperation that therefore there is somehow a middle path between atheism and theism: there isn't.

Just because you're on this supposed 'middle' path of cooperation, *does not* mean you've found some third alternative to either believing in god or not believing. You still either believe or do not believe, you've just decided to 'cooperate' with the people who do (or do not) believe.
 

PyramidHead

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The question isn't even "does x exist," which can reasonably be answered agnostically. It's "do you believe x exists." If you hold that belief, you're a theist. If you don't (whether through lack of knowledge, disbelief, apathy about the whole thing, or whatever), you are an atheist.
 

GenesisNemesis

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The question isn't even "does x exist," which can reasonably be answered agnostically. It's "do you believe x exists." If you hold that belief, you're a theist. If you don't (whether through lack of knowledge, disbelief, apathy about the whole thing, or whatever), you are an atheist.

I don't conform to labels, man! Fight the power!
 

Underseer

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you are demanding a yes or no answer to a question that doesn't have a yes or no answer.

A rational person could answer the question "do black people exist" with a yes or no. A rational person would not be able to answer the question "Do ni--ers exist" with a yes or no. A bigot would expect a simple yes or no and would not be able to understand why rational people refused to answer with a yes or no.

the false dichotomy of atheism vs theism is like the false dichotomy of selfless vs selfish. Its all-or-nothing.

The middle path, on the other hand, is cooperation vs competition.

No, we are not. You're missing the distinction.

You cannot disprove the existence of bigfoot with absolute certainty. If you try to look for bigfoot, I can always say he was in the shed while you were searching the garage. I can play an endless series of games that leave open the possibility that bigfoot exists despite the lack of evidence. This kind of existence claim is non-falsifiable and always will be, but that doesn't mean it is reasonable to assume that bigfoot, faeries, leprechauns, etc. exist.

You are an abigfootist. You are an abigfootist and an afaerieist, and an aleprechaunist. Why? Because you lack belief in their existence. This doesn't mean you are 100% certain they don't exist (you can't possibly be certain of that), but you lack belief that they are real and it is reasonable for you to ignore claims of their existence unless and until someone furnishes proof.

As I said earlier, your problem is that you are getting the definitions confused. You forgot what the a- prefix means, and so you think you cannot label yourself an afaerieist unless you are 100% certain that faeries do not exist, and that simply is not the case. If you are not convinced of the existence of faeries, then you are an afaerieist.
 
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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.
No I'm not agnostic either. I'm not undecided. I have decided and I choose neither.

Sometimes the answer to a question is that it's the wrong question to ask.
Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?

A rational person could answer the question "do black people exist" with a yes or no but a rational person would not be able to answer the question "Do n-----s exist" with a yes or no. A bigot would not be able to understand why not and would keep insisting that the answer must be either yes or no.

The difference between a black person and a n----- is that we see the latter as being all bad
The difference between poo and s--- is that we see the latter as being all bad. Good for nothing. Fit only for damnation.

In reality nothing is all good or all bad. Even God would have a shadow, though many people, consciously or unconsciously, think otherwise.
(the difference between a God with a shadow and a God without a shadow might seem trivial but a little leaven leavens the whole)

The concept of God, like the concept of n----, is such that its impossible to answer the question "does God exist" with a simple yes or no.

The false dichotomy of atheism vs theism is like the false dichotomy of selfless vs selfish. Its all-or-nothing.
The middle path, on the other hand, is not all-or-nothing. It is cooperation and competition.

all-or-nothing thinking is like an infectious disease or a computer virus
 
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none

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.
No I'm not agnostic either. I'm not undecided. I have decided and I choose neither.

Sometimes the answer to a question is that it's the wrong question to ask.
Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?

A rational person could answer the question "do black people exist" with a yes or no but a rational person would not be able to answer the question "Do n-----s exist" with a yes or no. A bigot would not be able to understand why not and would keep insisting that the answer must be either yes or no.

The difference between a black person and a n----- is that we see the latter as being all bad
The difference between poo and s--- is that we see the latter as being all bad. Good for nothing. Fit only for damnation.

In reality nothing is all good or all bad. Even God would have a shadow, though many people, consciously or unconsciously, think otherwise.
(the difference between a God with a shadow and a God without a shadow might seem trivial but a little leaven leavens the whole)

The concept of God, like the concept of n----, is such that its impossible to answer the question "does God exist" with a simple yes or no.

The false dichotomy of atheism vs theism is like the false dichotomy of selfless vs selfish. Its all-or-nothing.
The middle path, on the other hand, is not all-or-nothing. It is cooperation and competition.
I found the solution to labeling you, <edit>
 
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jonJ

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But it's quite reasonable to ask someone: "What is your definition of God?" and "Do you believe right now that a being matching that definition exists?" To which the only possible answers that make any sense are 'yes' and 'no'.
 

Underseer

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.
No I'm not agnostic either. I'm not undecided. I have decided and I choose neither.

[...]

Words mean things.

If you are not a theist, then you are an atheist. We've been over this. You can pretend you don't understand gradeschool English all you want, but that doesn't change things. Your problem is that you clearly don't understand what the word "atheist" actually means despite multiple people explaining it to you in a fair amount of detail.
 
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But it's quite reasonable to ask someone: "What is your definition of God?" and "Do you believe right now that a being matching that definition exists?" To which the only possible answers that make any sense are 'yes' and 'no'.

I believe that God is a glob of earwax.
I believe that globs of earwax exist therefore I am a theist.
 

none

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But it's quite reasonable to ask someone: "What is your definition of God?" and "Do you believe right now that a being matching that definition exists?" To which the only possible answers that make any sense are 'yes' and 'no'.

I believe that God is a glob of earwax.
I believe that globs of earwax exist therefore I am a theist.
well that rules out ignosticism.
still <edit> though.
 
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Learner

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Perhaps not so far off to no-one-particular I am not religious myself (by any faith) nor do I completely discount Creation as would an Atheist. Although fair to say ... I am an Agnostic of sorts.
:)
 

Kharakov

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Hate to be the one to break it to you, but that still makes you an atheist. If you don't believe (including saying you don't know, or some variation thereof) in god then you're an atheist. It's a binary position; you either do, or do not. Saying "I don't know" is an added qualifier, but doesn't represent some third option: it's functionally the same as saying you don't believe.
Someone can believe sometimes, and not believe at other times, and not define themselves as either "atheist" or "theist". I've had many experiences that point towards something, although at times I tend to think it may be a plot to make me into a willing slave (so I have to avoid working).
 

Keith&Co.

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.
Then perhaps you should define and describe this middle path, rather than offer a list of things you think you're not.
No I'm not agnostic either. I'm not undecided. I have decided and I choose neither.
When my kid was little, he decided that he was white.
Didn't change any of the facts of the matter, or the way the State of Florida chose to classify him, or what the state's definition of 'black' was.
Deciding or stating that you're neither doesn't change what either word means.
Sometimes the answer to a question is that it's the wrong question to ask.
Then what's the right question to ask?
Whats north of the North Pole?
Polaris.
A rational person could answer the question "do black people exist" with a yes or no but a rational person would not be able to answer the question "Do n-----s exist" with a yes or no.
A rational person would know what the word means and could identify rather easily whether or not therre are people in the room to which the word can be expected to apply.
Whether or not it's an appropriate word is a different question.
But if you come to my house and pretend you don't know what the word means, you're going to look like an idiot.
The difference between a black person and a n----- is that we see the latter as being all bad
Unless we're slapping palms and saying 'W'as'up, nigger.' Not everyone who disagrees with you is not rational.
The difference between poo and s--- is that we see the latter as being all bad. Good for nothing. Fit only for damnation.
Noooooo..... we used to spread shit on the fields, back on the farm.
Not everyone hews to your personal definitions.
In reality nothing is all good or all bad. Even God would have a shadow, though many people, consciously or unconsciously, think otherwise.
I honestly don't comprehend how this has anything at all to do with whether or not you believe that there are things in the universe to which the term nigger God might apply.
The concept of God, like the concept of n----, is such that its impossible to answer the question "does God exist" with a simple yes or no.
Um...no, it's not.
A thing might have good and bad elements, but the terms 'good' and 'bad' both have a meaning which can be defined, and used, because if it didn't we wouldn't have a language. The word 'god' is not entirely good or entirely bad, so those qualities don't have anything to do with whether or not gods exist.

Now, as an atheist, i don't believe the monotheistic tri-omni god my parents offered exists. But i also don't believe Corn Woman exists. And i don't believe Thor exists (shut up, Tom Sawyer). Nor Ananzi, or Jesus, or Ptah, or Odin, or Apollo, or Venus, or Gozer, or Amateratsu, Set, Apophis, Howard, or Inana. There's a wide range of gods that have been described to me that fail to seem, to me, to be real.
Although, if a guy with a proton-accelerator on his back wants to claim he is a god, i'll accept that.
 

none

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what if I forgot what I believed and still don't believe that I actually thought I believed the things that I must have believed?
 
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There is no republicans vs democrats. There is no communists vs capitalists. There is no atheists vs theists. There is only rich vs poor.
Atheism and theism is just another way the rich have of scamming the poor.
 

dystopian

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Perhaps not so far off to no-one-particular I am not religious myself (by any faith) nor do I completely discount Creation as would an Atheist. Although fair to say ... I am an Agnostic of sorts.
:)

And here we have another one who doesn't understand the meaning of the word atheism (or agnosticism for that matter).

Atheist do not discount the possibility of Creation with a capital t. We don't discount the possibility that there is some god; we just don't *believe* there is. A lack of belief in the existence of something is NOT the same as an active belief in its non-existence. So if you, like us, don't believe in a god, but keep open the possibility that some kind of god MAY exist, then congratulations... you're an atheist.

Agnostics are NOT the middle road between theism and atheism. An agnostic believes that it is absolutely *impossible* to know one way or the other whether god exists or not. However, an agnostic is still either an atheist or a theist; they still either believe or do not believe, they just tack on the added qualifier that they think it's impossible to *know with certainty*.

- - - Updated - - -

Someone can believe sometimes, and not believe at other times, and not define themselves as either "atheist" or "theist".

I could choose not to define myself as a human being, but that doesn't change the fact that I am.


I've had many experiences that point towards something, although at times I tend to think it may be a plot to make me into a willing slave (so I have to avoid working).

Like I said in my post above; that doesn't mean you're not either a theist or an atheist. It also doesn't matter if you only 'sometimes' believe or not believe. You're an atheist in those moments you don't believe, and a theist in the moments that you do. There's no ambiguity there.
 

dystopian

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Atheism and theism is just another way the rich have of scamming the poor.

What? Are you for real? How the fuck is atheism/theism 'just another way' for the rich to scam the poor? Just because you live in a country dominated by christian politics who may from time to time use religious language to rile up their base, doesn't mean the rest of us do; the atheism/theism divide is politically irrelevant in most of Europe, for instance; and has no class aspect whatsoever.

Atheism/Theism is not a class divide, it's a philosophical divide.
 

Kharakov

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Like I said in my post above; that doesn't mean you're not either a theist or an atheist. It also doesn't matter if you only 'sometimes' believe or not believe. You're an atheist in those moments you don't believe, and a theist in the moments that you do. There's no ambiguity there.
Nope. Those labels are too strong, and they don't really define who a person is as a whole. You say a person is being atheistic when they focus on thoughts of non-belief. This does not define the person as an atheist. You can describe a person as being theistic, when they focus on belief in God. This does not define the person as a theist.

And truthfully, someone who knows God is an atheist, because they don't have belief in God, they simply know God, like they know 1+1=2. So you have that dichotomy too. It's not like God is incapable of sneaking up on a theist or an atheist...
 

dystopian

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Nope. Those labels are too strong,

No, they're not. Just because in some underdeveloped areas, some idiots with a bible might get upset when they hear someone refer to themselves as an atheist, doesn't mean 'atheist' (or theist) is too strong a label. "Blistering fucktard with a capacity for self delusion" is a label that's too strong; "someone who believes in god" is a weak label.

and they don't really define who a person is as a whole.

So the hell what? I label myself as a human being, but that doesn't define me as a person. In fact, it is flat-out *impossible* to find a label that can define a person as a whole. Who cares? Just because a label doesn't define who you are as a whole doesn't mean that label doesn't apply to parts of you.


You say a person is being atheistic when they focus on thoughts of non-belief.

I say nothing of the sort. Where did I use the word focus? I don't give a shit if they focus on any thoughts whatsoever; whether they do or not is *irrelevant*. What I said, is that a person is an atheist when they LACK a belief in god. Nothing more, nothing less. You want to know why I said that? Because that's the fucking definition of the word 'atheist'.

This does not define the person as an atheist. You can describe a person as being theistic, when they focus on belief in God. This does not define the person as a theist.

Yes, in fact, it *does* define people as either theists or atheists. Again, because that's what the fucking words MEAN.

Theism; belief in the existence of a god or gods.

Atheism; disbelief in the existence of a god or gods.


And truthfully, someone who knows God is an atheist, because they don't have belief in God, they simply know God, like they know 1+1=2. So you have that dichotomy too.

No, we don't.

Don't think you're being clever by claiming that since atheism is the lack of *belief*; that therefore someone who 'knows' god must be an atheist. That's a fancy bit of wordplay that doesn't actually work the way you think it does. First of all, nobody "knows" god; they may *BELIEVE* that they know god, but unless they have his cellphone number I'm pretty sure we can say they're full of shit. Secondly, just because I know some things to be true, doesn't mean I then therefore lack a belief in them since I don't need to believe anymore. I *know* that there's a toilet in my apartment; are you seriously suggesting that I therefore don't believe there's a toilet in my apartment? Assuming one 'knows' god to exist, then knowing and believing become interchangeable words; meaning that one is still either a theist or an atheist.

It's not like God is incapable of sneaking up on a theist or an atheist...

Non-existent things are generally incapable of sneaking up on anyone.
 

Keith&Co.

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There is no republicans vs democrats.
As the two groups continue to polarize, it becomes harder and harder to credit this sort of idiocy.
There is no communists vs capitalists. There is no atheists vs theists. There is only rich vs poor.
Atheism and theism is just another way the rich have of scamming the poor.
No, dystopian, he's not for real.
he's certainly not attempting to engage any of the people in his thread.
I think he just wants attention.

Like a kid using swear words he doesn't comprehend, just to see the looks on the faces of the people in the pews.

Anyone can play this.
There is not rich vs. poor. Poverty is not the absence of money. People on welfare can still buy trashy clothes and big screen TV's, they're just not contributing to Social Security. The false dichotomy of rich vs. poor is just a moral stance, people telling 'the poor' how they should be spending their money.
 

ideologyhunter

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You could be a piece of gravel in my driveway. The gravel is neither atheist or theist (although I'm sure that will be disputed here.) Other things you could be, in no particular order: butterscotch pudding...manual of Oklahoma drivers' laws...Demi Moore's gardening gloves...
 

abaddon

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.

No I'm not agnostic either.

Sometimes the answer to the question is that it's the wrong question to be asking.

Whats north of the North Pole? Whats 1/0? Have you stopped beating your wife?

For myself, I'm an igtheist. I can be atheist or theist depending on the definition of god. I'm atheist to most known definitions, and agnostic about all unknown definitions. It's untrue to believe a person must be either atheist or theist, unless you have just one particular (and defined) god in mind.

I'm not a christocentric person. The word 'god' does not automatically conjure Jehovah in my mind, and the word 'religion' does not automatically conjure literalist evangelicals or Catholics to my mind. Generally I think of "trying to find one extremely encompassing label for a complex of 'sacred' things" when I read the word "god", and I think of "trying to live in recognition of the sacred" when the word religion pops up. Except when I'm around either evangelicals or atheists… Then I must remind myself that they probably have Christianity stuck on their brains, and so I have to put some added effort into imagining their christocentric viewpoint in order to understand what they mean with how they use their words. Because words are context-sensitive. It's untrue to say "the word just means what it means". It has the meaning that its context gives to it.
 

dystopian

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For myself, I'm an igtheist. I can be atheist or theist depending on the definition of god. I'm atheist to most known definitions, and agnostic about all unknown definitions. It's untrue to believe a person must be either atheist or theist, unless you have just one particular (and defined) god in mind.

This is incorrect. You must still either be an atheist or a theist when it comes to the ill-defined gods you are also agnostic about. Being an agnostic about those gods simply means you think it impossible to *know* whether or not they actually exist; a position which does not exclude either atheism or theism: you still either believe that the god exists or you don't (I'm going to guess you don't), you've just added the caveat that you can't *know* whether your belief or lack of belief is correct or not, but since that is not a requirement of either theism or atheism, it doesn't matter.
 

Kharakov

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What I said, is that a person is an atheist when they LACK a belief in god. Nothing more, nothing less. You want to know why I said that? Because that's the fucking definition of the word 'atheist'.
Not if you look it up on the Merriam Webster website, as you well know (well, any atheist worth their salt should know the definitions that support the common modern usage of the word, rather than what atheists want the word to mean). It's a person who believes that there is no deity, or a person who believes that God does not exist.

Now, this is more along the lines of an antitheist than an atheist. But lacking belief being equated with belief against something... now that is totally biblical "those who are not for me, are against me." So you're basically fitting right in with the biblical definitions... you bibliophobic bible lover.... hahaha...
Again, because that's what the fucking words MEAN.

Theism; belief in the existence of a god or gods.

Atheism; disbelief in the existence of a god or gods.
For someone who cares about what words mean, you really don't seem to understand how they are used, and what they really mean. I have a disbelief in your understanding of what certain words mean, such as "disbelief".

disbelief: the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true


Not that I don't think about things from an atheistic perspective at some times, and a theistic perspective at others. It's just I don't say "I'm an atheist" when I'm looking at things from an atheistic perspective, unless I'm being very immature and childish, stomping my feet pretending God doesn't exist.
 

dystopian

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Not if you look it up on the Merriam Webster website, as you well know (well, any atheist worth their salt should know the definitions that support the common modern usage of the word, rather than what atheists want the word to mean). It's a person who believes that there is no deity, or a person who believes that God does not exist.

Nonsense. The common usage of a word is often irrelevant to the actual meaning of the word. It is a *doctor* that gets to define medical terms, not a layperson. Similarly, it is an atheist who gets to define atheism; not 'society'. Incidentally, the merriam webster website does in fact use my definition. Not yours.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

1
archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
2
a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity

Please note that disbelief in the existence of a deity is the PRIMARY definition. Note also that the secondary definition, namely the doctrine that there is no deity, is in fact consistent with what us atheists call *strong* atheism. Please note also that the existence of a secondary definition for a word does NOT add to or replace the other listed definition. Merriam Webster's two definitions of atheism are consistent with the strong/weak atheism divide.

Way to shoot your argument in the foot by appealing to the dictionary, dude.


Now, this is more along the lines of an antitheist than an atheist. But lacking belief being equated with belief against something... now that is totally biblical "those who are not for me, are against me." So you're basically fitting right in with the biblical definitions... you bibliophobic bible lover.... hahaha...

Yes, hilarious. :rolleyes:



disbelief: the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true

Which is all well and good, but the refusal to believe something is NOT the same thing as explicitly believing that thing to be false. These are two different things which you would know if you had actually mastered the english language. Incidentally, the definition for disbelief you've come up with is NOT what the merriam webster dictionary you so value gives as the definition of disbelief:

dis·be·lief
noun \ˌdis-bə-ˈlēf\

1: a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real

2: the act of disbelieving : mental rejection of something as untrue

It's just I don't say "I'm an atheist" when I'm looking at things from an atheistic perspective, unless I'm being very immature and childish, stomping my feet pretending God doesn't exist.

The fact that you equate the phrase "I'm an atheist" with being immature and childish speaks volumes about your maturity, me thinks.
 

jonJ

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There is no republicans vs democrats. There is no communists vs capitalists. There is no atheists vs theists. There is only rich vs poor.
Atheism and theism is just another way the rich have of scamming the poor.

I must have missed the memo on that one. Can you please send me out my scamming-the-poor kit (atheist version) as soon as possible? Thanks.
 

Kharakov

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Nonsense. The common usage of a word is often irrelevant to the actual meaning of the word. It is a *doctor* that gets to define medical terms, not a layperson. Similarly, it is an atheist who gets to define atheism; not 'society'. Incidentally, the merriam webster website does in fact use my definition. Not yours.
Yeah dumb dumb. Sure it does. Look up atheist, not atheism:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist

In addition, usage of words is defined by those who use the words. If the majority of society uses the term atheist to mean "someone who believes that God does not exist", that is, for all intents and purposes, the definition of the word.

Of course, if you want to use the slang definition that cool cat atheists use, go ahead. Just understand that I don't actually mean "cat" when I say "cool cat atheists". And cool could mean frigid or other terms, you know, because it's slang.

Incidentally, the definition for disbelief you've come up with is NOT what the merriam webster dictionary you so value gives as the definition of disbelief:
You're right. It isn't from the Merriam Webster dictionary.
 

untermensche

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Really the question is not about some imaginary being.

The question is about what we all can experience.

The question is: How did the universe get here?

And for some the answer is; Some sentient being or beings created it. This makes you a theist.

And for some the answer is: No sentient beings were involved. This makes you an atheist.

And for some the answer is; I don't know. This makes you an agnostic.
 

Keith&Co.

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Really the question is not about some imaginary being.

The question is about what we all can experience.

The question is: How did the universe get here?

And for some the answer is; Some sentient being or beings created it. This makes you a theist.

And for some the answer is: No sentient beings were involved. This makes you an atheist.

And for some the answer is; I don't know. This makes you an agnostic.
But not all of the gods are creator gods.
To me, the question of what happens when we die is far more important than where the universe came from. This would be true whether it was created by god(s), or merely found as god(s) was passing by. Are we judged? Is there anything we can do to improve the judge(s)' reaction? Is there a dependable rubric available to us, and can we identify it among all the man-made dross?
 

untermensche

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But not all of the gods are creator gods.
To me, the question of what happens when we die is far more important than where the universe came from. This would be true whether it was created by god(s), or merely found as god(s) was passing by. Are we judged? Is there anything we can do to improve the judge(s)' reaction? Is there a dependable rubric available to us, and can we identify it among all the man-made dross?
The creator god is the last refuge of the gods. We have better reasons to explain the winds and the weather than on some invisible gods.

We have science, and the myths of creator gods both agreeing that the universe has a start.

So the question is forced upon us.

How did the universe begin?

Answer 1: Some invisible sentient being.

Answer 2: No beings involved. The Big Bang isn't even a beginning.

Answer 3: Who knows?
 

abaddon

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For myself, I'm an igtheist. I can be atheist or theist depending on the definition of god. I'm atheist to most known definitions, and agnostic about all unknown definitions. It's untrue to believe a person must be either atheist or theist, unless you have just one particular (and defined) god in mind.

This is incorrect. You must still either be an atheist or a theist when it comes to the ill-defined gods you are also agnostic about.
No it's not incorrect. Even accepting the "lack of belief" definition of atheism (and there's no compelling reason to accept it) it doesn't mean I should have phrased anything different to be "correct". My intended meanings conform with dictionary definitions of the terms.

I was using agnostic in the "weak agnostic" sense. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism#Types_of_agnosticism for a clarification of the distinction). You seem to want only "strong agnosticism" as the single correct way to understand agnosticism. Is it important to you to limit the choices? If so, then why?


Similarly, it is an atheist who gets to define atheism
That's a pretty nutty idea. This isn't a discussion about specialized technical uses of words, as among physicians or other experts in a specialized field. "Atheists" are experts in absolutely nothing.

For the most part, all the speakers of a language determine what the words of that language mean. Writers of dictionaries sort those meanings and come up with the most succinct summaries that they can.
 
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dystopian

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No it's not incorrect. Even accepting the "lack of belief" definition of atheism (and there's no compelling reason to accept it) it doesn't mean I should have phrased anything different to be "correct". My intended meanings conform with dictionary definitions of the terms.

I assure you it *is* correct. And there *is* compelling reason to accept the 'lack of belief' definition of atheism. For one, contrary to what you seem to believe; it IS part of the dictionary definition. Two, when the overwhelming majority of atheists themselves hold that that is in fact the definition of the word that defines them, you may think that's meaningless; but to think that to be meaningless is in fact absurd. Would you accept the logic that if surgeons define heart surgery as a surgical procedure done on or relating to the organ of the heart; that their definition is meaningless so long as everyone without a medical degree defines it as filling balloons with helium and floating about town with them? Don't be stupid.

I was using agnostic in the "weak agnostic" sense. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism#Types_of_agnosticism for a clarification of the distinction).

Yes, I am aware of the distinction. It doesn't particularly matter, however, since a person who withholds judgement on the basis that it MIGHT one day be possible to know; must still neccessarily either be an atheist or a theist. Both strong and weak agnosticism must either fall into agnostic theism or agnostic atheism; you haven't established otherwise.

Incidentally, I find it highly ironic that you reject the definition of atheism as being one that includes simply the lack of belief (what we refer to as weak, or negative atheism); but then point to a wikipedia page on the types of agnosticism. What, does wikipedia only serve as a source to define words in ways you agree with but not otherwise? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism#Definitions_and_distinctions

You seem to want only "strong agnosticism" as the single correct way to understand agnosticism. Is it important to you to limit the choices? If so, then why?

No, it doesn't matter if one is a weak or strong agnostic. The only reason I stated that agnosticism means the belief that we can never know whether god exists or not is that it is the base form of the core concept of agnosticism. The core concept being the notion that we can't know whether god exists. Adding that we *might* one day be able to know is all well and good, but it represents a modification of the base notion. And in any case, it does not conflict with my statement that one must still either also be an atheist or a theist. Just because you refuse to make a definitive judgement on whether god exists or not (or whether we can *know* for the rest of the time) doesn't mean you've somehow transcended the requirement that you must still either believe or not believe. One can believe or disbelieve a thing without simultaneously rendering a judgement on its ultimate validity. There are many things I believe and disbelief in without judging them to be absolutely true or absolutely false.


That's a pretty nutty idea. This isn't a discussion about specialized technical uses of words, as among physicians or other experts in a specialized field. "Atheists" are experts in absolutely nothing.

Nonsense; it is in fact a specialized word. It is a term denoting a philosophical stance; one needs to have a certain level of understanding of the underlying philosophical concepts in order to be able to define the word.

For the most part, all the speakers of a language determine what the words of that language mean. Writers of dictionaries sort those meanings and come up with the most succinct summaries that they can.

Good thing the dictionary supports my definition, then.
 

dystopian

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Yeah dumb dumb. Sure it does. Look up atheist, not atheism:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist

Congratulations, you've found one of the reasons why the dictionary is not an absolute source of knowledge. When the definition for atheist CONFLICTS with the definition of atheism (which is what an atheist ascribes to); then that means the dictionary is FLAWED. Merriam-webster could easily rectify this by replacing the singular (and incomplete) definition for atheist, with the dual definitions found under atheism. This would both keep the current definition intact and add a new one that then fully defines the two possible forms of being an atheist.

Of course, merriam-webster is hardly the end-all-be-all of dictionaries, nor do its compilers have the ability to correctly define the entirety of its contents. One might also point out the fact that the online version of its dictionary is NOT identical to its offline version. And other english language dictionaries provide slightly different (and sometimes more correct) definitions of words. Random House Webster's for instance, defines atheist as:


a·the·ist
[ey-thee-ist] Show IPA
noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Origin:
1565–75; < Greek áthe ( os ) godless + -ist

See? They manage to incorporate both definitions that merriam webster only lists under atheism.

Finally, it may have occurred to you that English is not my native language and that as such, I do not exactly consider an *english* dictionary to be some sort of final authority on the meaning of words that also exist in my language.

In addition, usage of words is defined by those who use the words. If the majority of society uses the term atheist to mean "someone who believes that God does not exist", that is, for all intents and purposes, the definition of the word.

Which simply isn't true. Majority definition usage of words does NOT replace original definitions, it simply ADDS a new definition to the list of definitions of a word.

Of course, if you want to use the slang definition that cool cat atheists use, go ahead.

Arguing that it is the 'slang definition' when it is in fact the *original* definition of the word is laughably absurd.
 

jonJ

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Really the question is not about some imaginary being.

The question is about what we all can experience.

The question is: How did the universe get here?

And for some the answer is; Some sentient being or beings created it. This makes you a theist.

And for some the answer is: No sentient beings were involved. This makes you an atheist.

And for some the answer is; I don't know. This makes you an agnostic.

The question is: How did the Sydney Harbour Bridge get here?

And for some the answer is a detailed description, extending over many pages, of the political preparations, the planning, the ordering and provision of materials, the assembly in careful stages of the components, the construction of supports, the connection of the pieces, the clean-up process, painting, and opening to traffic.

And for some the answer consists of seven words: 'People made it by doing people stuff!'

Which group's claim to knowledge would you take seriously?
 

Kharakov

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Nonsense. The common usage of a word is often irrelevant to the actual meaning of the word. It is a *doctor* that gets to define medical terms, not a layperson. Similarly, it is an atheist who gets to define atheism; not 'society'. Incidentally, the merriam webster website does in fact use my definition. Not yours.
Yeah dumb dumb. Sure it does. Look up atheist, not atheism:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist
Congratulations, you've found one of the reasons why the dictionary is not an absolute source of knowledge.
So you cited the wrong definition at Merriam Webster to prove that I was wrong about the definition, and then you change positions on Merriam Webster's validity as a dictionary when you find that it does not support your specific view of the word atheist:

When the definition for atheist CONFLICTS with the definition of atheism (which is what an atheist ascribes to); then that means the dictionary is FLAWED.

And other english language dictionaries provide slightly different (and sometimes more correct) definitions of words. Random House Webster's for instance, defines atheist as:

a·the·ist
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

See? They manage to incorporate both definitions that merriam webster only lists under atheism.
Yup. Although you really should read the clarification of the word atheist that they provide in the synonyms section.

"An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings."
...
"Infidel means an unbeliever, especially a nonbeliever in Islam or Christianity."
Finally, it may have occurred to you that English is not my native language and that as such, I do not exactly consider an *english* dictionary to be some sort of final authority on the meaning of words that also exist in my language.
You probably should use the definition that English natives use on an English speaking discussion board.

At the very least say

" When a native English speaker uses a term, I will talk to them in a condescending manner about their incorrect usage of the term, citing English dictionaries to show that they used the word incorrectly.

When the English dictionaries are shown to disagree with what I said the term means, I will say the dictionaries are faulty and cite other dictionaries.

When the other dictionary has a clarification of the term that confirms what the native English speakers are saying, I will not notice it until it is pointed out to me.

I will also mention that English is not my native tongue after failed attempts to use English dictionaries to confirm what I claim a word means. I will say that I do not consider English dictionaries to be authorities on what words mean when I am speaking the English language.

"

Does that sum up your thoughts nicely?

Which simply isn't true. Majority definition usage of words does NOT replace original definitions, it simply ADDS a new definition to the list of definitions of a word.
You don't know that the word "atheist" didn't mean "lamb's wool" in some older dialect. The point being, it's usage to mean something else could predate all modern usage of the word.

Does this mean, that discovering some  homophone in an older language, we should use it to mean what the homophone means?

I'm pretty sure we will still use atheist the same as our peers do, and if we decide to speak a common language so that we can communicate ideas with one another, we sort of need to have some definitions in place.
Of course, if you want to use the slang definition that cool cat atheists use, go ahead.
Arguing that it is the 'slang definition' when it is in fact the *original* definition of the word is laughably absurd.
Not really, the usage of the term "slang" is correct.

The 4th definition of slang at dictionary.reference.com is: the jargon of a particular class, profession, etc.
 

abaddon

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…there *is* compelling reason to accept the 'lack of belief' definition of atheism. For one, contrary to what you seem to believe; it IS part of the dictionary definition.
Dictionaries are rough guidelines lacking context. They often attempt to make up for that by giving example phrases. Citing them isn't all that compelling. I want to know the context whenever a word's being argued about.

Two, when the overwhelming majority of atheists themselves hold that that is in fact the definition of the word that defines them, you may think that's meaningless; but to think that to be meaningless is in fact absurd.
Why is your assertion about a "majority of atheists" supposed to be so compelling that questioning it would be absurd? It's likely that most, if not all, atheists adopted the term "atheist" for themselves because there's a god they disbelieve in. Reworking the term is something some (don't know how many, maybe just a few) started in on after their acknowledgment of their disbelief in a deity or all deities.

What's most interesting to me is you care about people defining themselves. You make it an issue of identity, but surely identity is more a matter for individuals and not a group. Unless the "majority of atheists" are a hive-mind? You want to make up everyone's mind with a generality, holding to some system that some atheists contrived.

Would you accept the logic that if surgeons define heart surgery as a surgical procedure done on or relating to the organ of the heart; that their definition is meaningless
Right there it's already a mere tautology.

so long as everyone without a medical degree defines it as filling balloons with helium and floating about town with them? Don't be stupid.
People without medical degrees defined both heart and surgery. The two words combined are widely understood, and it's surgeons using terms that were already defined by the real people.

Analogizing atheists with specialists isn't compelling. Specialists often use very obscure terms that most people would say "Huh?" at. Otherwise they may use common terms in specialized ways among themselves. The latter specialized usage does not obviate the common usage of those words. So even if atheists had their own special usage for the word "atheist" then everyone would still also have the common usage for it too.

But I think you're saying "People who best know their own beliefs should be the ones who get to say what they mean by the word". To which I say: 1) ok; and 2) I am an atheist and am participating in that discussion, because there's no authority that ever finalized the topic; and 3) I wonder, again, do you imagine the "overwhelming majority of atheists" finalizing, once and for all, how everyone must define themselves? (And managing, in a self-serving way, to do it so that no one may say "I'm an agnostic" anymore without some fussy person correcting them and telling them they're such-n-such a kind of atheist and that's the last word on it.)

Both strong and weak agnosticism must either fall into agnostic theism or agnostic atheism; you haven't established otherwise.
That's only true if "lack of belief" automatically makes one into an atheist. You assumed the point of contention in your conclusive "Thou must" assertion. I'm not contesting an established truth, as you like to pretend. I can withhold believing one way or the other regarding Gods that I haven't even heard about yet. I am not a disbeliever in them. "Lacking belief" does not commit me to a stance remotely similar to disbelief, and it's too general to be meaningful.

What, does wikipedia only serve as a source to define words in ways you agree with but not otherwise?
So the usefulness of wikipedia is a binary choice too? If some phrases on a page worked to help convey an idea, it doesn't mean I find the whole website authoritative, on anything at all.

Adding that we *might* one day be able to know is all well and good, but it represents a modification of the base notion.
I didn't add that. I said I'm agnostic about gods I've not heard about. I like taking particular cases to takes stances on, and want to avoid generalizations as much as possible. Hence my interest in the viewpoint of igtheism. It's the stance most amenable to those of us who prefer specific cases to applying a general principle across the board.

… doesn't mean you've somehow transcended the requirement that you must still either believe or not believe.
There's no such requirement. I am not an atheist about gods I don't know about. I might very well believe them after learning of them, it depends on whether they fit how I understand the world or not. Until I know if they're a fit or not, then I do indeed fully withhold both belief and disbelief. "Lack of belief" would make babies and rocks into atheists, which makes it over-general and thus a useless addition, so I discount it and thus discount the notion I must be either atheist or theist in regard to any god. And, again, it must be a god that's been specified for this either/or to apply anyway. If a Christian is a theist regarding Jehovah but atheist regarding Zeus then people can be both theists and atheists simultaneously. And maybe even agnostics as well! You have to say which god you mean to know which applies to the person.

Nonsense; it is in fact a specialized word. It is a term denoting a philosophical stance; one needs to have a certain level of understanding of the underlying philosophical concepts in order to be able to define the word.
Do persons need to know this philosophical stance and agree with it for the term to apply to them?

Are you trying to obviate anyone disagreeing with this particular little schema you've attached to with this "can't argue with the experts" shit?
 
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dystopian

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So you cited the wrong definition at Merriam Webster to prove that I was wrong about the definition, and then you change positions on Merriam Webster's validity as a dictionary when you find that it does not support your specific view of the word atheist:

...what? Are you seriously suggesting that the definition for *atheism* is wrong because the definition used for *atheist* isn't as comprehensive as the one used for atheism? Wtf? :rolleyes:


Yup. Although you really should read the clarification of the word atheist that they provide in the synonyms section.

So what? That little blurb incomplete; which is understandable given that they don't actually have the room to properly address the difference between positive and negative atheism.

You probably should use the definition that English natives use on an English speaking discussion board.

I will use the definition used by english-speaking atheists.

Does this mean, that discovering some  homophone in an older language, we should use it to mean what the homophone means?

It means that words can have *multiple* meanings; and that one should utilize the one that makes the most sense given the context. Since atheism's definition includes several different ways in which it can be expressed, one should *not*, like you're doing, lock oneself into using only one of them.


Dictionaries are rough guidelines lacking context. They often attempt to make up for that by giving example phrases. Citing them isn't all that compelling. I want to know the context whenever a word's being argued about.

Yes, why are you pointing this out to me? I should think that my discussion with kharakov should establish that I agree with you on this. I didn't cite the dictionary definition as an authoritive source; I cited it as just one bit of evidence.


Why is your assertion about a "majority of atheists" supposed to be so compelling that questioning it would be absurd?

For the same reason that it'd be absurd to question that 'doctors' are people who perform medicine, even though most of them say that's what they do instead of making balloon animals like we might want to believe. When we're discussing the activities and beliefs of a distinct group of people, then it is THAT group of people who get to define those activities and beliefs, not the people who are NOT a part of that group. Why? Because that's how we get definitions like "atheist = satan worshipper"; or "Gay person = sheepfucker". Outsiders do not commonly have the proper understanding of a group's beliefs and thus their definitions of that group's beliefs can't be expected to be as accurate as a proper definition that's established by the members of the group itself.

It's likely that most, if not all, atheists adopted the term "atheist" for themselves because there's a god they disbelieve in. Reworking the term is something some (don't know how many, maybe just a few) started in on after their acknowledgment of their disbelief in a deity or all deities.

I can count on one hand the number of self-defined atheists I've met throughout my life that define atheism purely as the belief that god does exist, and none of them had thought through the consequences of such a strict singular definition.


What's most interesting to me is you care about people defining themselves. You make it an issue of identity, but surely identity is more a matter for individuals and not a group. Unless the "majority of atheists" are a hive-mind? You want to make up everyone's mind with a generality, holding to some system that some atheists contrived.

If the majority of *individuals* within a group define their beliefs a certain way, then that weighs more heavily when it comes to defining the beliefs of the group as a whole. than if a handful of individuals within the group define themselves in a slightly different way; especially when that slightly different way is still acknowledged as fitting within the majority spectrum of belief. If you don't accept the use of labels and words to describe certain groupings of people, then you might as well throw the entirety of language away because clearly, it should be up to me how I define a glarbooglooble and you can just pfinktploppity plop your own klooplah.

People without medical degrees defined both heart and surgery. The two words combined are widely understood,

No, I don't think so. Those two words have from the get go been defined by the surgeons themselves; if I invent a word for something, and then for the definition I say what basically amounts to: "this word is defined as what that person does"; then I'm not really the one who defined the word, I'm just the person who came up with a word to go with the existing definition.

and it's surgeons using terms that were already defined by the real people.

Are you suggesting surgeons aren't real people?



But I think you're saying "People who best know their own beliefs should be the ones who get to say what they mean by the word". To which I say: 1) ok; and 2) I am an atheist and am participating in that discussion, because there's no authority that ever finalized the topic; and 3) I wonder, again, do you imagine the "overwhelming majority of atheists" finalizing, once and for all, how everyone must define themselves?

No, I've never said that the majority represents some sort of absolute authority. But it doesn't really matter, does it? If you were to say that atheism is the specific belief that god does not exist; I say, okay... that's *A* form of atheism I already accept as part of the wider and more elaborate definition. I think you're confused here; *I* am the one who'se arguing that atheism can't be reduced to a singular definition (as that would leave many atheists out); and furthermore. None of which, incidentally, is relevant to my original argument in this thread, which is namely that regardless of how you define either theism or atheism, you still either believe or don't believe in god no matter how many qualifications like 'I believe this god does not exist' or 'I don't believe but I can't really know for sure' you tack onto that.

(And managing, in a self-serving way, to do it so that no one may say "I'm an agnostic" anymore without some fussy person correcting them and telling them they're such-n-such a kind of atheist and that's the last word on it.)

It's hardly being fussy; anybody who'se been an atheist for any length of time (and has spent time discussing it on the internet or elsewhere); will have more than once experienced the reason WHY I do so; namely, people using the term 'agnostic' as some sort of false 'neutral' ground that lets them off the hook (compared to us filthy 'angry' atheists); at the same time not realizing (or wanting to acknowledge because that takes away their precious ability to not be subjected to the same biases from theists as the rest of us nonbelievers are exposed to) that just because they're an agnostic doesn't mean they're therefore not both either a theist or an atheist as well. Agnostic isn't a third option between atheism and theism; it's a descriptive term that can slightly *modify* one's atheism or agnosticism. All it does is change your positition from "I do/do not believe this" to "I do/do not believe this, but I don't *know*".

That's only true if "lack of belief" automatically makes one into an atheist.

Which it does. The only way that it can't (and even then not really) is if you NARROW the definition of atheism to only meaning "someone who believes god does not exist"; in which case your earlier objection to your perception that I wasn't allowing for individuality to matter when it comes to these definitions. But even then, lack of belief is already included in the definition of 'believing god does not exist'. I suppose you COULD decide to define atheism as something that doesn't even address the belief in god at all; or reverse its definition to mean the opposite of nonbelief, but what would the fucking point of *that* be?

I can withhold believing one way or the other regarding Gods that I haven't even heard about yet. I am not a disbeliever in them.

And here is the problem, you are mistaking 'disbelief' for 'believe in non-existence.' That's not what it means. That's not what a lack of belief means either. Here we come into the territory of strong/weak atheism, which is at the crux of this sort of argument and which is very much a *necessary* distinction to make.

If I say "I believe god does not exist"; a theist might (and they usually do) go through the following exercise: They start by demanding how I can know that; at which point I the atheist and the theist might go through a lengthy argument about how the various attributes of god are incompatible with reality and therefore god can't exist and therefore that's what I believe. The theist might counter by arguing (correctly), that my argument falls apart as soon as we're dealing with a less well defined god; that I have no definitive reason to believe ALL possible deities don't or can't exist.

This train of argument is precisely why so many theists INSIST on only allowing atheism be defined as the denial of god; because it lets them create an easy strawman argument that shows the 'arrogance' of atheists.

Here's where strong versus weak atheism comes into play. Strong atheism refers to the type of atheism the theist argues against; the belief that (or a specific) god does not exist. Weak atheism refers simply to the lack of belief in god's existence. This is a subtle but important difference. I am a strong atheist when it comes to the judeochristian god; it is well defined enough for me to ascertain the impossibility of its existence. Like you, however, I can not believe in the non-existence of gods I haven't even imagined much less properly defined. So yes, it IS possible that there is some kind of god out there; I can't discount this possibility. But the fact that I accept the possibility does not mean I don't therefore lack a belief in this god. Do I believe in glargoobleglar the destroyer? No, even though I can't discount the possibility that he exists, I do *not* believe that he does. Therefore, I lack belief; I am a weak atheist when it comes to glargoobleglar. Just like you are. You're not an agnostic about glargoobleglar, because that would require you to make a claim about whether or not we *can* know whether he exists. You don't believe in him; that's not the same as being agnostic about him.
 

untermensche

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Really the question is not about some imaginary being.

The question is about what we all can experience.

The question is: How did the universe get here?

And for some the answer is; Some sentient being or beings created it. This makes you a theist.

And for some the answer is: No sentient beings were involved. This makes you an atheist.

And for some the answer is; I don't know. This makes you an agnostic.

The question is: How did the Sydney Harbour Bridge get here?

And for some the answer is a detailed description, extending over many pages, of the political preparations, the planning, the ordering and provision of materials, the assembly in careful stages of the components, the construction of supports, the connection of the pieces, the clean-up process, painting, and opening to traffic.

And for some the answer consists of seven words: 'People made it by doing people stuff!'

Which group's claim to knowledge would you take seriously?
You would take both seriously since they both convey the truth.

But in the case of a bridge, we know how bridges arise. We don't have a clue how universes arise and there is no accepted scientific explanation for how they do. There is no "better" explanation to accept. There are only opinions. That is why saying "I don't know" is just as good.
 

Wiploc

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As a follower of the middle path I consider myself to be neither a theist nor an atheist.
No I'm not agnostic either. I'm not undecided. I have decided and I choose neither.

[...]
... Your problem is that you clearly don't understand what the word "atheist" actually means despite multiple people explaining it to you in a fair amount of detail.

That could be the problem. Or it could be that NOP doesn't like dichotomies, and therefore believes in being neither-pregnant-nor-not-pregnant, or neither-dead-nor-not-dead, or neither-a-member-of-a-political-party-or-not-a-member-of-a-political-party.

Either way, there's not much to discuss, but the thread stays alive because NOP won't be nailed down as to the nature of the disagreement.
 

jonJ

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You would take both seriously since they both convey the truth.

But in the case of a bridge, we know how bridges arise. We don't have a clue how universes arise and there is no accepted scientific explanation for how they do. There is no "better" explanation to accept. There are only opinions. That is why saying "I don't know" is just as good.

No, the difference is between working on the basis that an explanation is possible, and dismissing the question with a wave of the hand. To say that something might have been done by a magic man we know nothing about using magic methods which are incomprehensible to us is effectively just the same as saying 'I don't know, and I don't want to". Theism and agnosticism are merely different ways of asserting the same thing: 'Materialism is wrong, because God".
 
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