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Community => Life As An Atheist => Topic started by: Tank on January 02, 2018, 06:46:21 PM

Title: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on January 02, 2018, 06:46:21 PM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explaination.

"Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist."

Thoughts?
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: No one on January 02, 2018, 06:55:55 PM
Atheism is the only true path to enlightenment. If you don't agree, I will have to kill you. (http://web.stardock.net/images/smiles/themes/digicons/Thumbs%20Up.png)
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Dave on January 02, 2018, 07:04:34 PM
"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of the supernatural."
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on January 02, 2018, 07:11:55 PM
Atheism is the only true path to enlightenment. If you don't agree, I will have to kill you. (http://web.stardock.net/images/smiles/themes/digicons/Thumbs%20Up.png)
This would be an Islamist atheist.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on January 02, 2018, 07:12:25 PM
"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of the supernatural."
That's a good one.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Dave on January 02, 2018, 08:25:38 PM
The "Internet Encyclopedia of Psychology" (http://www.iep.utm.edu/atheism/) has the following deginition:

Quote
The term “atheist” describes a person who does not believe that God or a divine being exists.

But I always feel that this is the "classical" definition, described fairly recently by those more familiar with Christianity. A more embracing definition, from the Wiki "History of Atheism" (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism) page offers:

Quote
"...without gods; godless; secular; denying or disdaining the gods, especially officially sanctioned gods".

That is closer, involving the Greek pantheon (and seems to imply a political motive) but, personally, I prefer something that includes theistic or supernatural beliefs of all brands. What happens within the human mind is still seen only through a fuzzy, and very subjective, filter but that which happens in the rest of the Universe obeys the rules of physics - including those laws that we have not yet determined.

That which happens within the human mind is still biological and a result of known electro-chemical processes. Though the results, as we experience them, may not seem rational the processes are.

: show
I have had a good glug or several of wine since my first post here! "In vino philosophicus" or summat.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Sandra Craft on January 02, 2018, 08:32:30 PM
I just go with a lack of belief in any gods.  If pushed, I could refine that to "any gods I have yet heard described".
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Dave on January 02, 2018, 08:48:12 PM
I just go with a lack of belief in any gods.  If pushed, I could refine that to "any gods I have yet heard described".

I see where you are comming from, Sandy. Unfortunately the "theos" bit of the derivation pins it to "god(s)" in the minds of most. However, sticking strictly to that implies that an atheist may believe in spiritualism, sone definitions of animism and maybe a couple or several other -isms where no gods need be involved, just the supernatural.

Perhaps calling ourselves "rationalists" would get us into all kinds of interesting discussions with many kinds of people! Probably why I hang onto the "humanist" label.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Sandra Craft on January 02, 2018, 11:20:42 PM
I just go with a lack of belief in any gods.  If pushed, I could refine that to "any gods I have yet heard described".

I see where you are comming from, Sandy. Unfortunately the "theos" bit of the derivation pins it to "god(s)" in the minds of most. However, sticking strictly to that implies that an atheist may believe in spiritualism, sone definitions of animism and maybe a couple or several other -isms where no gods need be involved, just the supernatural.

Perhaps calling ourselves "rationalists" would get us into all kinds of interesting discussions with many kinds of people! Probably why I hang onto the "humanist" label.

While anything supernatural is out for me (just too silly), I do know atheists who accept at least some supernatural things (ghosts and/or ESP, usually).  It's unusual, but not unknown. 

Humanist works for me, but still takes a bit of explaining to some theists.  And I wouldn't dare call myself a rationalist -- too many people with evidence to the contrary.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Icarus on January 02, 2018, 11:34:16 PM
To explain atheist point of view to a dedicated theist is almost always an exercise in futility.  There is a message in the bible that addresses that reality.  See Proverbs 18:2.....A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

I have tried on more than a few occasions to explain some of the details about the history of their good book, the bible or the history of their God :run!:. That is mostly where the conversation ends because they will hear none of it.   
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Magdalena on January 03, 2018, 01:20:33 AM
To explain atheist point of view to a dedicated theist is almost always an exercise in futility.  There is a message in the bible that addresses that reality.  See Proverbs 18:2.....A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

I have tried on more than a few occasions to explain some of the details about the history of their good book, the bible or the history of their God :run!:. That is mostly where the conversation ends because they will hear none of it.

(https://i.pinimg.com/736x/aa/9b/b6/aa9bb6df7fa65110be7f4ad05224da4b--atheist-meme-atheist-quotes.jpg)
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Bluenose on January 03, 2018, 10:54:17 AM
I would just run with:

    An atheist is a person who does not believe in any god or gods.

If pushed I might expand it to:

    An atheist is a person who, because of the lack of any objective evidence for one's existence, does not believe in any god or gods.

Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Dragonia on January 05, 2018, 01:50:06 AM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explaination.

"Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist."

Thoughts?

Oh man, Tank, I had to laugh a little at your explanation.  (I'm laughing with you, not at you!) I don't know who you would be talking to, but if someone said that to me, I would be staring blankly at you, as though you just spoke Arabic to me.

I usually go with very simple, because I find that succinct is best to start with. Something very similar to what others have said: I can not believe in any gods because no information (or anything else) has ever convinced me.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Magdalena on January 05, 2018, 05:10:55 AM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explaination.

"Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist."

Thoughts?

Oh man, Tank, I had to laugh a little at your explanation.  (I'm laughing with you, not at you!) I don't know who you would be talking to, but if someone said that to me, I would be staring blankly at you, as though you just spoke Arabic to me.

I usually go with very simple, because I find that succinct is best to start with. Something very similar to what others have said: I can not believe in any gods because no information (or anything else) has ever convinced me.
:this:
I like it.
Speaks to me.  :grin:
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on January 05, 2018, 07:29:22 AM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explaination.

"Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist."

Thoughts?

Oh man, Tank, I had to laugh a little at your explanation.  (I'm laughing with you, not at you!) I don't know who you would be talking to, but if someone said that to me, I would be staring blankly at you, as though you just spoke Arabic to me.

I usually go with very simple, because I find that succinct is best to start with. Something very similar to what others have said: I can not believe in any gods because no information (or anything else) has ever convinced me.

I think me inner Sheldon got the better of me  ;D
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: xSilverPhinx on January 05, 2018, 11:12:31 AM
"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of the supernatural."

But there are atheists who believe in ghosts and such. :notsure:

I would tinker with Dave's definition a little and say it's

"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of deities.""
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Dave on January 05, 2018, 11:23:49 AM
"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of the supernatural."

But there are atheists who believe in ghosts and such. :notsure:

I would tinker with Dave's definition a little and say it's

"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of deities.""

Hoakay!
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Pasta Chick on January 05, 2018, 02:40:26 PM
"I don't believe in any god."

Anything beyond that is an attempt to assign ideology to the position.

If they're too fucking dense to understand something so sim9e, that's really not my problem.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Rift Zone on February 10, 2018, 04:10:00 AM
The structure of the universe discludes deity.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Caliasseia on February 12, 2019, 01:38:37 AM
I answer this question as follows.

Atheism, in its rigorous formulation, consists of suspicion of unsupported supernaturalist assertions. That is it. Which does not mean, as duplicitous pedlars of apologetics mendaciously assert in return, that atheism presents the contrary assertion, because it's perfectly possible to be suspicious of an assertion and its negation simultaneously.

The shorter version: atheism consists of "YOU assert that your magic man exists, YOU support that assertion". All we have to do is sit back and watch whether the supernaturalist fails or succeeds in this.

Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: No one on February 12, 2019, 07:50:15 AM
I would speak very slowly, and use very small words.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on February 12, 2019, 07:57:39 AM
I would speak very slowly, and use very small words.

That's why they like 'God'. It's a nice little word.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Asmodean on February 12, 2019, 08:20:11 AM
Atheism is the lack of positive belief in gods, sometimes the positive belief that there are no gods. "I don't believe in gods. Therefore, I'm an Atheist" "I believe that there are no gods. Therefore I'm an Atheist."


I think it covers the Dark side™ of the Dawkins' scale.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Icarus on February 13, 2019, 01:38:13 AM
I believe in one fewer Gods than you do.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Bluenose on February 13, 2019, 03:09:24 AM
I believe in one fewer Gods than you do.

The version I like is "when you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will understand why I don't believe in yours".
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Icarus on February 14, 2019, 12:03:59 AM
^ Well said Bluenose. That is the respectful way to reply.   

I confess that my hidden desire would be to assail the theist with rock solid logic and some disdain thrown in...........But I am a nice guy who does not deliberately participate in  fights unless unforgivably provoked.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Bluenose on February 15, 2019, 02:48:44 AM
^ Well said Bluenose. That is the respectful way to reply.   

I confess that my hidden desire would be to assail the theist with rock solid logic and some disdain thrown in...........But I am a nice guy who does not deliberately participate in  fights unless unforgivably provoked.

Of course the god botherers are expert at unforgivable provocation...
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: SidewalkCynic on February 19, 2019, 08:52:40 PM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explanation: Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist. Thoughts?
And you accuse me of composing word salads? :-\  "World view," is a substitute term for ontology - the ordering of things that exist. It was generated to be a substitute for atheists to use instead of the word, "religion," because of their Onomatophobia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view

To get it all straight, you have to go over the three terms that are being compared. You will have to explain to them what theism and humanism are and why atheism is not in the same category:
Atheism is the lack of positive belief in gods, sometimes the positive belief that there are no gods. "I don't believe in gods. Therefore, I'm an Atheist" "I believe that there are no gods. Therefore I'm an Atheist."
"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of the supernatural."
You are borrowing a definition that was generated under less sophisticated circumstances. Generations ago the people would not be sophisticated to understand the error of ontology that you are trying to justify with your word salads. So, it would be much better if you came to terms with the correction.

The monotheist god is probably always a personification of order - ontology.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 01:21:09 AM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explanation: Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist. Thoughts?
And you accuse me of composing word salads? :-\  "World view," is a substitute term for ontology - the ordering of things that exist. It was generated to be a substitute for atheists to use instead of the word, "religion," because of their Onomatophobia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view

To get it all straight, you have to go over the three terms that are being compared. You will have to explain to them what theism and humanism are and why atheism is not in the same category:
  • Theism is the ontological doctrine that suggests that a supernatural deity orders/defines reality.
  • Humanism is the ontological doctrine that suggests that humans order/define reality.
  • Atheism is a political doctrine that opposes theist doctrine as the basis for public policy, because it is absurd to designate an ontology as the antithesis of a designated ontology; which is what you are doing when you suggest that atheism has something to do with determining what exists - world view.

Like the Red Queen, you choose to define words in your own idiosyncratic manner: "words mean what I choose them to mean."  However, language does not work that way.

You start off with a tautological definition of theism, then proceed to a completely bogus definition of humanism and further progress to a ridiculous definition of atheism.

Humanism is not an ontological (a branch of metaphysics concerned with identifying, in the most general terms, the kinds of things that actually exist) doctrine about anything, it is (to quote Wikipedia), "a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition."

Atheism is not a political stance about anything.  It is the rejection of the idea of supernatural agency, first, last and always.  That some atheists may have certain political views is entirely beside the point.

You are simply constructing an elaborate straw-man and I'm not buying it

Quote
Atheism is the lack of positive belief in gods, sometimes the positive belief that there are no gods. "I don't believe in gods. Therefore, I'm an Atheist" "I believe that there are no gods. Therefore I'm an Atheist."
"Atheism contends that there is no rational evidence for the existence of the supernatural."
You are borrowing a definition that was generated under less sophisticated circumstances. Generations ago the people would not be sophisticated to understand the error of ontology that you are trying to justify with your word salads. So, it would be much better if you came to terms with the correction.

Project much?

Quote
The monotheist god is probably always a personification of order - ontology.

The monotheist god, like all gods, is entirely without the slightest empirical support. “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: SidewalkCynic on February 20, 2019, 03:13:02 PM
(to quote Wikipedia), "a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition."
". . . A philosophical and ethical stance . . ," is a word salad for ontology; you are just not keen enough to recognize it, because you are afraid.

You are simply constructing an elaborate straw-man and I'm not buying it
I am not constructing a straw-man. You are protecting dogma. Previous generations were not sophisticated enough to handle the proper definitions, nor was it necessary - there were not enough humanists to worry about.
Like the Red Queen, you choose to define words in your own idiosyncratic manner: "words mean what I choose them to mean."  However, language does not work that way.
I am correcting the falsehoods that atheists have failed to detect in the definitions of words that were incorrectly defined by theist dictionary editors and adopted by humanists as doctrine.

Quote
The monotheist god is probably always a personification of order - ontology.
The monotheist god, like all gods, is entirely without the slightest empirical support. “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens.

You are not even trying to comprehend the argument I am making, because it has you so enraged that anyone would challenge the dogma. I am not denying that gods do not exist - I am explaining what the story line does for theists.

Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: SidewalkCynic on February 20, 2019, 04:40:18 PM
! ! ! HOLY SHIT ! ! !

Look what I found
Quote
The French Revolution can be described as the first period where atheism became implemented politically.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

End of second paragraph - no citation, but an article,"Dechristianization of France," provides some amount of justification for the claim.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dechristianization_of_France_during_the_French_Revolution

Quote
The dechristianization of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of the results of a number of separate policies conducted by various governments of France between the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Concordat of 1801, forming the basis of the later and less radical laïcité policies. The goal of the campaign between 1793 and 1794 ranged from the public reclamation of the massive amounts of land, power, and money held by the Catholic Church in France to the termination of Catholic religious practice and of the religion itself.[1][2][3] There has been much scholarly debate over whether the movement was popularly motivated.[1]

The French Revolution initially began with attacks on church corruption and the wealth of the higher clergy, an action with which even many Christians could identify, since the Roman Catholic church held a dominant role in pre-revolutionary France. During a two-year period known as the Reign of Terror, the episodes of anti-clericalism grew more violent than any in modern European history. The new revolutionary authorities suppressed the church; abolished the Catholic monarchy; nationalized church property; exiled 30,000 priests and killed hundreds more.[4] In October 1793 the Christian calendar was replaced with one reckoning from the date of the Revolution, and Festivals of Liberty, Reason and the Supreme Being were scheduled. New forms of moral religion emerged, including the deistic Cult of the Supreme Being and the atheistic Cult of Reason,[5] with the revolutionary government briefly mandating observance of the former in April 1794.[6][7][8][9][10]
Quote
The Cult of Reason (French: Culte de la Raison)[note 1] was France's first established state-sponsored atheistic religion, intended as a replacement for Roman Catholicism during the French Revolution. It also rivaled Robespierre's Cult of the Supreme Being.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_Reason[1][2][3][4]
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Sandra Craft on February 20, 2019, 07:23:16 PM
This is common knowledge, and I don't see where it helps your point.  Religion has been repeatedly politicized thru out history but that doesn't make religion inherently political either.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: SidewalkCynic on February 20, 2019, 08:10:44 PM
This is common knowledge, and I don't see where it helps your point.
I don't think it is that common. I have never read of atheists referring to the French Revolution and the Cult of Reason as a starting point of modern atheism. It helps my point in that it demonstrates that atheism is a doctrine that opposes theist based doctrine for public policy - the French Revolutionaries under the revelation of there being no god did what they thought was proper to eliminate the theists hold of the government powers.

Religion has been repeatedly politicized thru out history but that doesn't make religion inherently political either.

What is the difference between religion and political partisanship?

The leaders from either category seem to be claiming to have the moral high ground for organizing community. If you were to accept religions as political parties then it would be easier to defeat the "magic," with reason in the course of legislation litigation. As it is, you unwittingly provide them shelter under the guise of church and state separation.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 10:09:32 PM
There have been atheists throughout history from ancient times, what a group of alleged atheists did during the French Revolution over 200  years ago is entirely beside the point. It has no bearing on atheism today.

SidewalkCynic you are seeking to redefine words to suit your specious argument. When called out, you double down. I am going to revert to my normal action when faced with such trollish behaviour. I don't feed the trolls. Bye, I'm disengaging.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: SidewalkCynic on February 22, 2019, 03:04:33 PM
SidewalkCynic you are seeking to redefine words to suit your specious argument.
My argument is valid and sound. Your counter-argument is based on dogma - inadequately reasoned definitions from bygone eras of sophistication dominated by appeasing the Christian world.

When called out, you double down.
Yes, because I am right and I want to make sure everyone knows that I figured it out; and that, except for me, contemporary atheists are guilty of harboring dogma, because they have failed to critically analyse the semantics. And when faced with the sound reasoning they revert to guard their dogma in much the same way that the Church guards its dogma.

Eventually, I publish in the mainstream, and one of the contemporary atheist respected leaders recognizes the sound reasoning and issues a complimentary opinion that sways the larger audience. Who will that person be?

I am going to revert to my normal action when faced with such trollish behaviour. I don't feed the trolls. Bye, I'm disengaging.
The mere fact that this discussion was commenced is sufficient evidence that there are some problems atheists have when defining atheism. Not to mention the silly relative degrees of atheism that have been defined: strong atheism, weak atheism, militant atheism, etc.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Unsapien on March 12, 2019, 08:15:20 PM
I regularly get theists telling me what atheism is. This is my most recent attempt at an explaination.

"Atheism is the rational deduction that the lack of evidence to support the conjecture that gods exist is sufficient to support a world view that gods do not exist."

Thoughts?

I'd start with the old "I have a jar of jelly beans, with either an even number or odd number of jelly beans in it... without opening the jar and counting them do you think the jar contains an even or odd amount?"

Unless someone can leap that hurdle, there's not much point going farther.

If they answer something like "I'd have no way of deciding."

I'd say "I have no way of deciding if any of the gods are real".

Although the antitheist in me might add that since I know jelly beans are real things and are known to exist, I know that the question could actually be answered, even if I personally never find out what the answer is. But until a being with "omni-abilities" can be shown to be possible or capable of existing there's not much point in even asking if there are any.