Author Topic: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST  (Read 2052 times)

Siz

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2019, 12:26:50 PM »
Baby recipes.
Being able to rape, maim, and murder without feeling guilty.
Barbequed kittens.
Sick bastard. Kittens are not for consumption.
:snicker:
You guys are funny.
When I joined the forum I made a similar mistake, I thought a shot of Tequila and a baby was an excellent combination but someone with more experience in atheist matters corrected me.
What IS the correct pairing?

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Bad Penny II

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2019, 02:21:36 PM »
No god's talked to me and humans lie.
That's a bit harsh.
No god's talked to me and humans make up stuff.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 04:35:56 PM by Bad Penny II »
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vac_id

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2019, 07:35:14 PM »
What does it mean to be atheist?

What, in your opinion, is the single-most compelling reason to be an atheist, if there is one?
I can peel, dice and stew-up a disabled baby without being eternally damned. So liberating!
Or, I can choose not to for my own self-serving reasons unrelated to any judgemental overlord.

You're not here to judge are you, vac_id?

Welcome.


Ha, ha. No, I'm not judging. I can't say I don't ever judge, but I do try not to do so.

No one

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2019, 07:43:51 PM »
Tequila and baby go together, just make baby fajitas. Newborns make the best fajitas.

vac_id

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2019, 08:10:38 PM »
What does it mean to be atheist?

What, in your opinion, is the single-most compelling reason to be an atheist, if there is one?
Hello, vac_id,
Welcome to the forum.  :computerwave:

Are you an atheist?
~Just curious.

Here's the thing, I think I am, but I'm not sure. It's confusing to me because there does seem to be a distinction that people don't often make between the concepts of "believing something is true" and "having a concrete reason to think something as true". For instance, someone might claim to believe something, but their actions would indicate that they think otherwise - or, inversely - someone might claim not to believe something while their actions similarly betray them. Why is this? Because there's some dissonance between their beliefs and what they can reasonably regard to be true, given their understanding and experience. When someone doesn't act in accordance with professed beliefs, what is the reason for that? Some say that it is that they don't "really believe what they say the do", but it's more complex than that. Possibly they believe, but they also, more rationally, doubt their beliefs or their validity. People are both rational and irrational and some have a preference for acting upon rational thinking and for others they may have a preference for acting upon irrational, beliefs despite rational reasons for actually thinking such beliefs are true.

I don't buy the idea just yet that there are people who really do suspend belief in things they can't rationally believe to be true, but I'm still open to the possibility.

You see, I think I believe in God, but I also acknowledge that I have no concrete reason, no tangible reason, to believe that this is true. One person might attempt to correct me and say that I actually do not believe in God, because it doesn't make any sense for me to believe something I don't actually think of as being true. Another might say that I'm superstitious, that I do believe in God even if I know better that I have no reason to. Still others would look at what I do and infer what my true thoughts or beliefs must be, with the assumption that I might say I believe or think one thing, but do another, so I must not really believe or think that thing. But it's confusing because there's so much ambiguity in the concept of a belief. What exactly is a belief? If one were to Google the word, belief, this is what comes up:

1.
an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
"his belief in the value of hard work"
2.
trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
"a belief in democratic politics"

Neither of these is the same as <i>thinking</i> something is true. This leaves room for "accepting" or having "faith" that something is true, despite thought to the contrary.

I think self-professed agnostics are a subset of atheists, given such a definition of atheism being "not holding a belief in a creator", but then we're all agnostics if we conflate the idea of belief with thinking something is true. Christians and members of other faiths have "faith" that something is true. They haven't logically deduced that what they believe is true, so they don't actually <i>think</i> that what they believe is true. So are the religious also agnostic? But then they would be atheists as well.

So why do so many people argue over who's correct when we all essentially agree on the same points, but use different terms or apply different emphasis?

It's like, "I don't KNOW something is true, but I BELIEVE it to be!" What does that even mean? It's not necessarily that someone saying this is outright lying; although they might be, if not to who they're speaking to, then possibly themselves; but that there really is a nuance between literally thinking something is true and believing that something is true.

So who is a proper atheist? Someone who says "I don't believe in God" because they don't think there is a God? Someone who says "I believe in God" when they still can't reasonably think there is a God (at least by the same reason the other would use)?

And people can't simply choose to believe other than they do. An atheist can no more force themselves to believe in God if they don't than a theist can force themselves to disbelieve in a God if they do.

So, I'm just trying to work this out.

The idea of believing something is so complex to me, because someone could deny believing something by virtue of the fact that they acknowledge that they have no reason to think something is true. But does that mean that they don't believe? That they don't act as if something is true despite not having sufficient evidence to conclude that something is true?

vac_id

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2019, 08:36:36 PM »
What does it mean to be atheist?

What, in your opinion, is the single-most compelling reason to be an atheist, if there is one?

Hello, vac_id.

Though it's good to get to know each other a bit before diving into possibly contentious topics, you've jumped straight in. OK

Your questions are straight-forward and I will give answers in the same vein.

"What does it mean to be atheist?"

An atheist is somebody who doesn't believe in deities.

"What, in your opinion, is the single-most compelling reason to be an atheist?"

The absence of any compelling evidence in favor of the existence of deities. I could give other reasons, but you asked for a single reason, so that's what I've supplied.

Now for a question from me: Why do you ask?


Sorry, I'm impatient. Thank you for your response. The second question may not be as well-formed as it could be, but it is still interesting to see what people think about it. There may not be a single reason, but if there was one you would single as as being sufficient, it would be "the absence of evidence".

I ask because I think I'm an atheist, but I'm not sure. However, I question that beliefs are formed on the basis of evidence, and indeed this is a flaw most often attributed to theists. Someone may very well believe something despite a lack of evidence or disbelieve something in the face of evidence for its existence. I don't think it's the belief that really matters as such a thing is motivated by subconscious drives that may be outside of our direct influence to alter. What does seem to be more relevant in whether someone considers themselves to be a believer or not is their temperament in choosing to categorize themselves based upon their believes as opposed to what they can rationally believe to be true. I think this is a conflict that exists in most people, religious or irreligious.

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2019, 08:54:46 PM »
Baby recipes.
Being able to rape, maim, and murder without feeling guilty.
Barbequed kittens.
Sick bastard. Kittens are not for consumption.
:snicker:
You guys are funny.
When I joined the forum I made a similar mistake, I thought a shot of Tequila and a baby was an excellent combination but someone with more experience in atheist matters corrected me.
What IS the correct pairing?
They didn't suggest anything, they just told me the baby/Tequila combination wasn't appropriate.  :notsure:

“I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe.” ~Recusant

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2019, 08:59:45 PM »
What does it mean to be atheist?

What, in your opinion, is the single-most compelling reason to be an atheist, if there is one?
Hello, vac_id,
Welcome to the forum.  :computerwave:

Are you an atheist?
~Just curious.

Here's the thing, I think I am, but I'm not sure. It's confusing to me because there does seem to be a distinction that people don't often make between the concepts of "believing something is true" and "having a concrete reason to think something as true". For instance, someone might claim to believe something, but their actions would indicate that they think otherwise - or, inversely - someone might claim not to believe something while their actions similarly betray them. Why is this? Because there's some dissonance between their beliefs and what they can reasonably regard to be true, given their understanding and experience. When someone doesn't act in accordance with professed beliefs, what is the reason for that? Some say that it is that they don't "really believe what they say the do", but it's more complex than that. Possibly they believe, but they also, more rationally, doubt their beliefs or their validity. People are both rational and irrational and some have a preference for acting upon rational thinking and for others they may have a preference for acting upon irrational, beliefs despite rational reasons for actually thinking such beliefs are true.

I don't buy the idea just yet that there are people who really do suspend belief in things they can't rationally believe to be true, but I'm still open to the possibility.

You see, I think I believe in God, but I also acknowledge that I have no concrete reason, no tangible reason, to believe that this is true. One person might attempt to correct me and say that I actually do not believe in God, because it doesn't make any sense for me to believe something I don't actually think of as being true. Another might say that I'm superstitious, that I do believe in God even if I know better that I have no reason to. Still others would look at what I do and infer what my true thoughts or beliefs must be, with the assumption that I might say I believe or think one thing, but do another, so I must not really believe or think that thing. But it's confusing because there's so much ambiguity in the concept of a belief. What exactly is a belief? If one were to Google the word, belief, this is what comes up:

1.
an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
"his belief in the value of hard work"
2.
trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
"a belief in democratic politics"

Neither of these is the same as <i>thinking</i> something is true. This leaves room for "accepting" or having "faith" that something is true, despite thought to the contrary.

I think self-professed agnostics are a subset of atheists, given such a definition of atheism being "not holding a belief in a creator", but then we're all agnostics if we conflate the idea of belief with thinking something is true. Christians and members of other faiths have "faith" that something is true. They haven't logically deduced that what they believe is true, so they don't actually <i>think</i> that what they believe is true. So are the religious also agnostic? But then they would be atheists as well.

So why do so many people argue over who's correct when we all essentially agree on the same points, but use different terms or apply different emphasis?

It's like, "I don't KNOW something is true, but I BELIEVE it to be!" What does that even mean? It's not necessarily that someone saying this is outright lying; although they might be, if not to who they're speaking to, then possibly themselves; but that there really is a nuance between literally thinking something is true and believing that something is true.

So who is a proper atheist? Someone who says "I don't believe in God" because they don't think there is a God? Someone who says "I believe in God" when they still can't reasonably think there is a God (at least by the same reason the other would use)?

And people can't simply choose to believe other than they do. An atheist can no more force themselves to believe in God if they don't than a theist can force themselves to disbelieve in a God if they do.

So, I'm just trying to work this out.

The idea of believing something is so complex to me, because someone could deny believing something by virtue of the fact that they acknowledge that they have no reason to think something is true. But does that mean that they don't believe? That they don't act as if something is true despite not having sufficient evidence to conclude that something is true?
Well, I think you're on your way to finding an answer to your questions:
What does it mean to be atheist?

What, in your opinion, is the single-most compelling reason to be an atheist, if there is one?

“I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe.” ~Recusant

billy rubin

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2019, 11:22:25 PM »

It's like, "I don't KNOW something is true, but I BELIEVE it to be!" What does that even mean? It's not necessarily that someone saying this is outright lying; although they might be, if not to who they're speaking to, then possibly themselves; but that there really is a nuance between literally thinking something is true and believing that something is true.


hi vac

^^^thjis is how i approach belief/knowledge every day. i dpon't have any problem with the solipsism.

i BELIEVE that the earth is round. but i don't KNOW that.

to me, knowledge consists only of things that i can detect experientially, through my senses. on a case by case basis, i might be convinced that things exist that i derive through reason, but thgen again, i miight not.

so people can tell me all day that the earthj  is round, and i can happily go through my life with a provisional acceptance of that information. but i would draw the line at knowing it, until i could somehow experience it for myself in some conclusive manner.

for the same reasons, i don't call myself an atheist. i use the term agnostic, in the old looser sense of an idea that cannot be known to be true or false, for all practical purposes. i see no evidence of gods, but that does not allow me to assert their absence. fairies too.

why are you interested in this question? has something jogged your curiosity, or are you at a crossroads in your view of the universe?




The principle can be established that for a man who does not cheat, what he believes to be true must determine his action.

Bad Penny II

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2019, 01:30:32 AM »
In less enlightened times we had our gods and those guys over there had theirs.
Ours were better, theirs were rubbish, they might have had power in their own country but not here.
Now of course there is one god.
But
Shut about the three business.  >:(
It all seem a bit ridiculous to me.



Being an atheist is a negative, it's not being something, we could argue again if it's an ism but why bother?
Why would I believe in a god, even if I could and which one?  Sorry, sorry of course there is only one, which iteration of the one though?  I don't want to survive bushfire only to find myself on some goodly godly religious pyre.


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Recusant

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2019, 03:11:18 AM »
Sorry, I'm impatient. Thank you for your response. The second question may not be as well-formed as it could be, but it is still interesting to see what people think about it. There may not be a single reason, but if there was one you would single as as being sufficient, it would be "the absence of evidence".

I ask because I think I'm an atheist, but I'm not sure. However, I question that beliefs are formed on the basis of evidence, and indeed this is a flaw most often attributed to theists. Someone may very well believe something despite a lack of evidence or disbelieve something in the face of evidence for its existence. I don't think it's the belief that really matters as such a thing is motivated by subconscious drives that may be outside of our direct influence to alter. What does seem to be more relevant in whether someone considers themselves to be a believer or not is their temperament in choosing to categorize themselves based upon their believes as opposed to what they can rationally believe to be true. I think this is a conflict that exists in most people, religious or irreligious.

Thank you in return. You make an excellent point when you question whether beliefs are formed on the basis of evidence. Indeed, many of them are not. On the other hand, one may lose or discard a belief when evidence to support it is insufficient, or completely absent. Inquiring into the basis of a belief can be a drastic step. Making such an inquiry could be breaking with the category of "believer" that you describe.

People are good at convincing themselves that they have evidence to support their beliefs. In some cases the evidence may be equivocal at best. Regardless of that, in their view they have evidence and consider their belief to be completely rational, or almost entirely so.

I don't know about subconscious drives. Mostly belief in deities appears to result from social conditioning. If my parents, family, friends, and the dominant forces in my society are theist, it's likely that I will be as well. It can provide comfort to be a part of a faith community. In times of grief, faith can be a great solace. Plenty of people who've lost their faith regret it to some extent.

Personally I don't think it's immensely important whether one believes in deities or not. In my opinion it's much more important to try to live a good life and minimise the harm one brings to the world.

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


vac_id

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2019, 06:19:10 AM »

It's like, "I don't KNOW something is true, but I BELIEVE it to be!" What does that even mean? It's not necessarily that someone saying this is outright lying; although they might be, if not to who they're speaking to, then possibly themselves; but that there really is a nuance between literally thinking something is true and believing that something is true.


hi vac

^^^thjis is how i approach belief/knowledge every day. i dpon't have any problem with the solipsism.

i BELIEVE that the earth is round. but i don't KNOW that.

to me, knowledge consists only of things that i can detect experientially, through my senses. on a case by case basis, i might be convinced that things exist that i derive through reason, but thgen again, i miight not.

so people can tell me all day that the earthj  is round, and i can happily go through my life with a provisional acceptance of that information. but i would draw the line at knowing it, until i could somehow experience it for myself in some conclusive manner.

for the same reasons, i don't call myself an atheist. i use the term agnostic, in the old looser sense of an idea that cannot be known to be true or false, for all practical purposes. i see no evidence of gods, but that does not allow me to assert their absence. fairies too.

why are you interested in this question? has something jogged your curiosity, or are you at a crossroads in your view of the universe?



That is a fair point. Maybe I need to organize my beliefs based on what I can accept as true due to accepting the assertion of an authority and what I cannot, when such beliefs are not things I can verify by my own experience. I WOULD say that I am at a crossroads. That is a good way of putting it. However, the concept of God is an elusive one and one in which I don't believe can be adequately compared to cryptids or elementals. There is difficulty enough in dispensing in a false belief when evidence can be furnished to the contrary. Even more so when contrary evidence would essentially have to prove a negative, which cannot be expected. And still, even more so when one would have to prove a negative about an entity that by definition could never be tangibly observed. A fairy may be something that could be observed, while never seeing it doesn't prove that it's not still out there somewhere. But at least a fairy is assumed to be accessible in some way through our senses if one does exist. God is not. God is something that transcends our limitations to perceive it, by definition. It can almost trivially be asserted that God does indeed exist by virtue of a definition as such that considers it to be whatever is transcendent. It seems exceedingly likely that there are things that transcend our understanding and ability to ever observe them, but perhaps this is not the spirit of what is meant by God. So it's almost like one could believe in God and not believe in God at the same time, all while acknowledging the apparent inaccessibility of such information to beings like ourselves.

billy rubin

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2019, 09:54:50 AM »
yet there are theists who have direct mystical experiencez of god, vac. i know some who tell me about them.


true or not, not all theism requires gods to be distant and untouchable.



The principle can be established that for a man who does not cheat, what he believes to be true must determine his action.

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2019, 08:19:15 PM »
yet there are theists who have direct mystical experiencez of god, vac. i know some who tell me about them.


true or not, not all theism requires gods to be distant and untouchable.

I understand deism to mean that god is distant and untouchable, whereas theism is more about a personal god. :notsure:
Give no mercy to your fear.



billy rubin

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Re: MOST COMPELLING REASON TO BE ATHEIST
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2019, 10:11:15 PM »
yet there are theists who have direct mystical experiencez of god, vac. i know some who tell me about them.


true or not, not all theism requires gods to be distant and untouchable.

I understand deism to mean that god is distant and untouchable, whereas theism is more about a personal god. :notsure:

i just divide the question into theism and non-theism. but maybe that's just a quaker thing. quaker non-theism doesn't rule out transcendant beings, it just means that the question might not be interpretable in the traditional terms. so a non-theist might be a pantheist, or a panentheist, an agnostic, or an atheist. people muddle over the definitions, but i would rather just ask people what they mean.

and the quakers who have direct experiences seem to me to mostly not have them, but want to have had them, and to believe that they have had them. with one significant exception that i don't understand.



The principle can be established that for a man who does not cheat, what he believes to be true must determine his action.