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Does it Really Matter........

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.......whether or not atheism is a belief?
Anyone can argue the semantics of the meaning behind the word "belief" or whether or not the word is used to mean religious belief.
Surely it makes no difference at all to the over-riding debate; why do theists constantly find diversions to the real issue...."Why do theists have belief in God?"



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  • BarnardotBarnardot 63 Pts   -  
    It only matters to theists about atheists having a belief because that’s how theists think. They believe something so if someone doesn’t believe that then they believe something else.@Swolliw
  • SonofasonSonofason 389 Pts   -  
    Barnardot said:
    It only matters to theists about atheists having a belief because that’s how theists think. They believe something so if someone doesn’t believe that then they believe something else.@Swolliw
    It matters to theists because we don't like the pot calling the kettle black.  We have a strong distaste for hypocrisy.
    Vaulk
  • BarnardotBarnardot 63 Pts   -  
    It matters to theists because we don't like the pot calling the kettle black.  We have a strong distaste for hypocrisy.@Sonofason

    Well if you don’t like doing things like gaslighting and being hypocrites then if it’s to hot in the kitchen you should get out especially when you think dufus things like pots talking and god things being all over the room like there’s a gas leak. 

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4244 Pts   -  
    I think that it matters from the epistemological perspective why one is atheist. Atheism may be a belief in the sense that the person lacks a rational argument in support of atheism and assumes it based on intuition, or opposition to the way religious people typically behave, or personal past traumas, and so on. It also can be a natural product of the process of rational and impartial thinking, in which case it is not a belief, but a logical conclusion.

    In my view, it is much more important how one comes to their conclusions, than what those conclusions are. One who has a decent epistemological approach can temporarily come to deeply wrong conclusions, but has a potential to eventually rethink them. One who does not, on the other hand, pretty much plays a game of somewhat weighted dice, where things that they believe may or may not be true, and they have no rational way to tell one from the other.

    In countries like China or North Korea atheism is manually forced onto people: those who resist and choose to keep openly following some religion are harshly persecuted. A lot of people in such countries become atheist not as a result of genuine intellectual search, but just out of fear. This kind of acquisition of positions is rational in its own way, but is epistemologically flawed and is similar to the belief-based thinking.
    Vaulk
  • MayCaesar said:
    I think that it matters from the epistemological perspective why one is atheist.
    @MayCaesar. Interesting how you think an absence of knowledge is somehow based on some kind of epistemology.






  • Swolliw said:
    .......whether or not atheism is a belief?
    Anyone can argue the semantics of the meaning behind the word "belief" or whether or not the word is used to mean religious belief.
    Surely it makes no difference at all to the over-riding debate; why do theists constantly find diversions to the real issue...."Why do theists have belief in God?"

    @Swolliw it's very simple what you do here when theists use this tactic. Don't tell them you identify as an atheist or portray yourself as an atheist as well as portraying the atheist stance as being some belief-based system. It is indeed useless arguing about semantics; no one ever wins! If a Theist thinks you as an Athesist is of a belief system then just go with them and say even fake things if you have to like "hmm, perhaps you're right about. Basically what I am saying is I don't have a belief." On another note, if you are going around making knowledge claims such as God doesn't exist then you are not doing yourself any favors as that is a belief.



  • SwolliwSwolliw 1328 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42
    God doesn't exist then you are not doing yourself any favors as that is a belief.

    No it isn't. It is a statement of fact and I think that you are getting caught up in semantics apart from it being a different argument to "You have a belief".

    There are two distinct terminologies we are dealing with here. "I am a Christian and I have a belief in God" is often shortened to "I am a Christian and I have a belief"

    My argument is that theists take artistic license with the abbreviated version and hot potato it back to atheists by saying "You have a belief" . Having climbed onto that step, it is another small step then to insinuate that atheism is some form of belief system and then, "So, we all have our beliefs, I have mine and you have yours".

    As was so aptly stated in these pages....it is like calling someone who is not a philatelist "a collector of no stamps"...what does evryone else (apart from philatelists) do? Have a stamp album with no stamps in it? Totally ludicrous.


  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4244 Pts   -   edited January 8
    @Swolliw

    What you are talking about is an epistemological relativism. Some people genuinely think that two people can come to two mutually contradictory conclusions about some aspect of reality, and yet both of those conclusions may be valid. "I have my belief, and you have yours, and it is fine" is like saying "I think that 2+2=5, and you think that 2+2=4; it is fine, we just think differently".

    What this approach misses is the fact that reality does not care about what one believes to be true. When one has a wrong belief, then, once they encounter a situation the outcome of which depends on this belief being true or false, they will fail to act properly and get a completely unexpected outcome. And even when one's belief is right, it is still a belief: they are lucky with getting this particular belief right, but if belief is an essential part of their epistemological approach, what are the odds that the next 100 beliefs they will all get right?

    There is certainly some room for subjective opinions, but not when it comes to hard factual statements about the reality. When someone claims that god exists, or that god does not exist, they make a factual claim about reality. This claim is either true or false or inconsequential - in the latter case it is effectively false, as something that does not affect reality does not exist by definition.

    Epistemological relativism is not only common among theists, although theists certainly like to make good use of it when their own beliefs are confronted with rational arguments. Instead of rationally analyzing their beliefs and finding out their fundamental irrationality, they will often shoot back: "Oh, but your position is also just a belief, so who are you to talk?" It is much like those people who look at the state of women's rights in Saudi Arabia and say, "That is just their culture; yours is flawed too". Sure, it is - and it is a horrible one, much more flawed than the latter.
    ZeusAres42
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1328 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar
    And even when one's belief is right, it is still a belief:

    Good post. I think that Epistemological relativism can be used as a convenient scapegoat to keep a belief alive  but then we can also look at the validity of evidence. For example, I don't believe in God because I am aware of substantial evidence that contradicts any reason to believe there is a God. Paradoxically, one of the pieces of evidence used to bolster my belief is the glaring lack of evidence in favour of there being a God.

  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 2144 Pts   -   edited January 10
    Swolliw said:
    @ZeusAres42
    God doesn't exist then you are not doing yourself any favors as that is a belief.

    No it isn't. It is a statement of fact and I think that you are getting caught up in semantics apart from it being a different argument to "You have a belief".

    And the claim is that you made here is a knowledge claim. Getting caught in semantics involves getting bogged down in the exact meaning of what specific terms mean. That is not what is going here. You made a knowledge claim that it's a fact that God does not exist drawn from something you know that potentially proves that God doesn't exist; this also means that the burden of proof is on you as your claim is also an affirmative claim.

    This also seems somewhat contradictory to your original assertion about how Atheism is a lack or absence of a belief in God. It's as if you are describing yourself as someone as an Atheist and yet at the same time portray yourself as someone knowing with full conviction that God doesn't exist.

    And just because you know wholeheartedly that God doesn't exist does not mean you are right; it just means that you believe this is the truth. Now, with the risk of sounding patronizing whether you are right or not here is irrelevant to your reasons for coming to this conclusion which is rooted in a weak epistemological stance; the reason for this is that you are making affirmative claims about things that are unfalsifiable.



  • SwolliwSwolliw 1328 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42
    this also means that the burden of proof is on you as your claim is also an affirmative claim.

    Here we go again.

    My "claim" is a rebuttal of the positive assertion that God exists....."God exists", positive assertion......"God does not exist", negative assertion in rebuttal. 

    Now, let's talk reason.....whether or not you are trying to make out that "There is no God" is a positive assertion (and it isn't), why should I have to present evidence of the absence of something so nutty and dreamt up that I wouldn't even know what you are talking about? And, how absurd is it to ask anyone to prove the absence of something, or nothing? 

    Perhaps I should make the usual theist non-sensical argument (We are here so God must exist)...."God is not here so he must not exist." But I won't stoop so low since my intellect stretches substantially further than reciting well-worn cliches taught by a superior.

    Similarly, another tactic I could use is the "hot potato" and throw the same situation back to you. Ahem......

    Moi: Green elephants with purple wings and yellow testicles exist.

    You: There is no such thing as a green elephant with purple wings and yellow testicles.

    Moi: The burden of proof is on you as your claim is also an affirmative claim.

    Now, how would you like that? You wouldn't, would you?

    The fact is that for centuries, people have been making wacky claims about supernatural phenomena, which is understandable in ages past when most people were profoundly superstitious and uneducated.

    We now live in the twenty-second century where everyone has unlimited access to quality information so there is no valid reason for people past, say the age of ten years, to believe in such absurdities. The fact is also, if anyone (over say ten years of age) firmly believes in God or any other supernatural phenomenon, that person is clearly suffering from delusions.

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