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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.
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
Quote from: 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.
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
Quote from: Dave on January 02, 2018, 07:04:34 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:

QuoteThe 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.

[spoiler]I have had a good glug or several of wine since my first post here! "In vino philosophicus" or summat.[/spoiler]
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
Quote from: BooksCatsEtc 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".

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
Quote from: Dave on January 02, 2018, 08:48:12 PM
Quote from: BooksCatsEtc 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".

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
Quote from: 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: 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
Quote from: 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?

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
Quote from: Dragonia on January 05, 2018, 01:50:06 AM
Quote from: 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?

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
Quote from: Dragonia on January 05, 2018, 01:50:06 AM
Quote from: 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?

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
Quote from: Dave on January 02, 2018, 07:04:34 PM
"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
Quote from: xSilverPhinx on January 05, 2018, 11:12:31 AM
Quote from: Dave on January 02, 2018, 07:04:34 PM
"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
Quote from: No one on February 12, 2019, 07:50:15 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
Quote from: Icarus on February 13, 2019, 01:38:13 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
Quote from: 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.

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
Quote from: Tank on January 02, 2018, 06:46:21 PMI 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:
Quote from: Asmodean on February 12, 2019, 08:20:11 AMAtheism 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."
Quote from: Dave on January 02, 2018, 07:04:34 PM"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
Quote from: SidewalkCynic on February 19, 2019, 08:52:40 PM
Quote from: Tank on January 02, 2018, 06:46:21 PMI 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
Quote from: Asmodean on February 12, 2019, 08:20:11 AMAtheism 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."
Quote from: Dave on January 02, 2018, 07:04:34 PM"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?

QuoteThe 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
Quote from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 01:21:09 AM(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.

Quote from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 01:21:09 AMYou 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.
Quote from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 01:21:09 AM
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 from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 01:21:09 AM
QuoteThe 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
QuoteThe 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

QuoteThe 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]
QuoteThe 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
Quote from: Sandra Craft on February 20, 2019, 07:23:16 PMThis 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.

Quote from: Sandra Craft on February 20, 2019, 07:23:16 PMReligion 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
Quote from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 10:09:32 PMSidewalkCynic 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.

Quote from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 10:09:32 PMWhen 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?

Quote from: Bluenose on February 20, 2019, 10:09:32 PMI 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
Quote from: 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?

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.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Randy on May 13, 2020, 07:32:26 PM
I'm bumping an old thread.

I get asked this on Quora a lot and I try to dumb it down as much as possible. So I simply reply, "An atheist does not believe in any gods or goddesses." I try to get the female of the non-existent species credit too.

Note that I hate the word "believe" and avoid it if I can. This can sometimes fodder the religious point that I believe in something. I'd rather substitute "confident". It's stronger. I'd rewrite the phrase, "An atheist is confident that there are no gods or goddesses." Silver might be a goddess but then I would be confident she didn't exist and it just messes up my day. :lol:
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on May 13, 2020, 07:35:22 PM
My common response too 'You believe in evolution!' is 'Only an idiot believes in evolution; I understand it, which is very different.'
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Old Seer on May 13, 2020, 08:24:12 PM
Quote from: 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?
Thoughts: God = force. Any thing or anyone that forces, pushes, causes, applies power to/over, motivates, etc. In physics God is the laws of physics. God = what all things are subject to. Physics, what material is subject to. Psychology, (the elements of "person", Mental - what a person is subject to. Powers of the "self".

To stay with the OP. From my perspective. Atheist. A person that doesn't hold that the universe is ruled by a superhuman entity, and that no such personage exists. 
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Old Seer on May 13, 2020, 08:27:07 PM
Quote from: 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.
Agree, but no need for the killing :-)
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Randy on May 14, 2020, 12:55:13 AM
Quote from: Old Seer on May 13, 2020, 08:27:07 PM
Quote from: 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.
Agree, but no need for the killing :-)

Aw, come on! I live in Georgia where everyone has 2.5 guns. I wanted to try the .5 guns out on someone. Darn, I guess I'll have to go into the backyard and shoot at a target. ;D

P.S. I don't own a gun and there are none in the house. If you want to talk about guns, talk to my brother who has more than a military squad and maybe a grenade or two but I've never seen them.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Dark Lightning on May 14, 2020, 02:34:05 AM
Quote from: Randy on May 14, 2020, 12:55:13 AM
Quote from: Old Seer on May 13, 2020, 08:27:07 PM
Quote from: 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.
Agree, but no need for the killing :-)

Aw, come on! I live in Georgia where everyone has 2.5 guns. I wanted to try the .5 guns out on someone. Darn, I guess I'll have to go into the backyard and shoot at a target. ;D

P.S. I don't own a gun and there are none in the house. If you want to talk about guns, talk to my brother who has more than a military squad and maybe a grenade or two but I've never seen them.

I had a pistol and a rifle up until I inherited my FiL's stuff. Gained a couple of fire arms which spend all their time languishing in a locked safe with the rest. All I have ever "killed" and ever expect to kill with them is paper. I have other means of protection in my home which don't involve fire arms and won't be discussed on an open forum.

BoT, I guess my best response to a theist would be to ask if they believe in the Greek or Norse or Hindu, etc., gods. Of course, they will say no. Then I will tell them that I believe in one less god than they do.

ETA- one of my uncles was career military. He visited us one time and brought a practice grenade, which had the weight of a real grenade but no explosives in it. He pulled the pin and set the thing on the dining room table. Everybody just sat there looking at it, and I just couldn't help myself. Nobody was looking at me, so I turned around and slapped the back door out of the house with the flat of my hand. Everybody jumped, big time! :lol: Did I ever say that I was quite the little shit, in my youth? Well, I was.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Recusant on May 14, 2020, 02:57:40 AM
Quote from: Randy on May 13, 2020, 07:32:26 PM
I'm bumping an old thread.

I get asked this on Quora a lot and I try to dumb it down as much as possible. So I simply reply, "An atheist does not believe in any gods or goddesses." I try to get the female of the non-existent species credit too.

Note that I hate the word "believe" and avoid it if I can. This can sometimes fodder the religious point that I believe in something. I'd rather substitute "confident". It's stronger. I'd rewrite the phrase, "An atheist is confident that there are no gods or goddesses." Silver might be a goddess but then I would be confident she didn't exist and it just messes up my day. :lol:

I think your first formulation is fine, but then I don't hate the word believe.  :)  If it didn't exist we'd have to invent it, describing as it does a fundamental aspect of human existence.

Perhaps I agree with your first because it's nearly identical to my own. Years before gender became as prominent as it is currently, I disposed of the question by using deities rather than gods and goddesses. There are non-gendered deities in some cultures after all, as well as those whose gender is not fixed, like Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Randy on May 14, 2020, 03:32:55 AM
Quote from: Recusant on May 14, 2020, 02:57:40 AM
Quote from: Randy on May 13, 2020, 07:32:26 PM
I'm bumping an old thread.

I get asked this on Quora a lot and I try to dumb it down as much as possible. So I simply reply, "An atheist does not believe in any gods or goddesses." I try to get the female of the non-existent species credit too.

Note that I hate the word "believe" and avoid it if I can. This can sometimes fodder the religious point that I believe in something. I'd rather substitute "confident". It's stronger. I'd rewrite the phrase, "An atheist is confident that there are no gods or goddesses." Silver might be a goddess but then I would be confident she didn't exist and it just messes up my day. :lol:

I think your first formulation is fine, but then I don't hate the word believe.  :)  If it didn't exist we'd have to invent it, describing as it does a fundamental aspect of human existence.

Perhaps I agree with your first because it's nearly identical to my own. Years before gender became as prominent as it is currently, I disposed of the question by using deities rather than gods and goddesses. There are non-gendered deities in some cultures after all, as well as those whose gender is not fixed, like Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes.

That shows you how well I know my mythology. I should have guessed that there would be some gender less deities. In the back of my mind I thought that deities are based on humans. I've never known a sexless human so it didn't occur to me.

I've learned something new. Thanks!
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Recusant on May 14, 2020, 04:36:24 AM
There are Christians who will tell you that their god is neither male nor female, transcending such mere human classifications. I was thinking more of amorphous mystical beings like Chaos in Greek mythology, who brought forth the first primordial supernatural beings. They were more personified than their parent (being considered male and female) but as far as I know, Chaos has no gender in the mythology.

If you care to spend time on it, for more personified gods who are of non-binary gender, a short article:

"Deities of Non-Binary Gender" | Patheos (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/naturessacredjourney/2020/03/deities-of-non-binary-gender/)

Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Asmodean on May 14, 2020, 01:11:13 PM
Quote from: Tank on May 13, 2020, 07:35:22 PM
My common response too 'You believe in evolution!' is 'Only an idiot believes in evolution; I understand it, which is very different.'
Yes, but. (Before any religiously-inclined person attempts to use my "but" towards their ends, do please note that it does not in any way invalidate Tank's point - it simply adds another dimension to it)

Evolution is also a model we use to describe a facet of reality. I, for one, believe that model to be a good approximation of its respective piece of the puzzle. I can certainly justify my belief through understanding, but I'll also change my mind if my understanding of the model or the model itself is proven wrong or incomplete.

There is an difference between people who are perfectly fine with dynamic models of reality and those who crave something more static, however, so when someone like me says "belief," it does not mean the same thing as "faith."
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Davin on May 14, 2020, 04:36:59 PM
Belief is only accepting something as true. That doesn't explain how one got there. I believe in evolution because of how well it explains the facts. This is not the same as believing in a god because there is no rational path to a belief in a god.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Randy on May 14, 2020, 07:33:46 PM
Quote from: Davin on May 14, 2020, 04:36:59 PM
Belief is only accepting something as true. That doesn't explain how one got there. I believe in evolution because of how well it explains the facts. This is not the same as believing in a god because there is no rational path to a belief in a god.

Yes, unfortunately the believer will only hear "I believe in evolution," and then it goes into a debate which I avoid but when brought into one, I'll debate away.

Having said that, I no longer have the energy and I have a trach which makes talking difficult let alone debating orally. But the fatigue that I experience from the cancer and the chemo and all the medicines I take, keep me wanting to take it easy and not tire myself out. So my debating days are over.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: LifeisSweet on February 19, 2021, 07:06:42 PM
Bump

One of the more common definitions of atheism is "The lack of belief in a god", but I find this definition too broad because it includes people who do not have the mental capacity to understand the concept of a god, such as infants, young children, and those with severe mental incapacities.  Infants do not believe in god, but we don't usually classify them as atheists.  This definition also includes many agnostics who don't believe in god, but also don't not believe in god.  And it includes some spiritualists who do not believe in the common conception of a god but do believe in an afterlife and some energy or force that their spirit joins in a conscious state after death.

I prefer to define atheism as a positive belief rather than a lack of belief, that is, "The belief that there are no deities".  This applies only to those who have the ability to believe and have consciously rejected the belief in a god.  It could be widened if desired to also reject belief in an afterlife or the supernatural, such as "The belief that there are no deities, no conscious state of existence after death, and no rational support for the supernatural".  This best describes me, although it may need a different word since atheism generally only refers to belief in a god.

In any case, it's just a label.  What is important is that you live your belief, not justify or defend it.  If a theist truly wants to debate me I could certainly have some fun, but it is kind of like debating the existence of Santa Claus with a child or pulling the crutches away from a disabled person - easy but not very satisfying and could possibly cause pain to the other person.  I am happy to just smile a lot with the firm but silent belief that I understand and accept reality without the need for comforting fairy tales.  In other words, a "Happy Atheist".
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Randy on February 20, 2021, 01:34:12 AM
Quote from: LifeisSweet on February 19, 2021, 07:06:42 PM
Bump

One of the more common definitions of atheism is "The lack of belief in a god", but I find this definition too broad because it includes people who do not have the mental capacity to understand the concept of a god, such as infants, young children, and those with severe mental incapacities.  Infants do not believe in god, but we don't usually classify them as atheists.  This definition also includes many agnostics who don't believe in god, but also don't not believe in god.  And it includes some spiritualists who do not believe in the common conception of a god but do believe in an afterlife and some energy or force that their spirit joins in a conscious state after death.

I prefer to define atheism as a positive belief rather than a lack of belief, that is, "The belief that there are no deities".  This applies only to those who have the ability to believe and have consciously rejected the belief in a god.  It could be widened if desired to also reject belief in an afterlife or the supernatural, such as "The belief that there are no deities, no conscious state of existence after death, and no rational support for the supernatural".  This best describes me, although it may need a different word since atheism generally only refers to belief in a god.

In any case, it's just a label.  What is important is that you live your belief, not justify or defend it.  If a theist truly wants to debate me I could certainly have some fun, but it is kind of like debating the existence of Santa Claus with a child or pulling the crutches away from a disabled person - easy but not very satisfying and could possibly cause pain to the other person.  I am happy to just smile a lot with the firm but silent belief that I understand and accept reality without the need for comforting fairy tales.  In other words, a "Happy Atheist".
I have a hard time with the word "belief" and it's derivatives. To me believing that a door is closed despite all the evidence to the contrary is what gets me. Now, I see the door is open and so do others but they believe it is closed anyway. I'm confident that I can walk through that doorway unimpeded.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tom62 on February 20, 2021, 06:20:43 AM
I agree with Randy. Atheism isn't a believe but an absence of believe. Theist are unable to provide evidence for their claims, which makes their claims unbelievable.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Tank on February 20, 2021, 09:06:33 AM
Quote from: Tom62 on February 20, 2021, 06:20:43 AM
I agree with Randy. Atheism isn't a believe but an absence of believe. Theist are unable to provide evidence for their claims, which makes their claims unbelievable.

:this:
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Icarus on June 08, 2021, 12:49:14 AM
Quote from: 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.

My newspaper has a reader write in feature. All sorts of ideas or thoughts are put forward by the writers of those letters.

My newspaper has a frequent writer who is a religious Nut.  She is from a prominent family and the paper gives her letters some priorities..........or so it seems.  Most  recently she has taken issue with my city council. The council meetings allow different persons to give the opening invocation.....(read prayer)  In the interest of fairness the council  has allowed an atheist to give the invocation.

Ms Lam, her actual name, shit her britches over the fact that a non believer could actually deliver an opening invocation.  In her recent letter she claims that Atheists hate God, Atheists hate Christianity, that atheists are placing us on a Marxist path to destruction of our democracy.

Her letter really jacks my Jaws. Usually that sort of stupidity does not affect me.  For some reason this one set me alight.  Whew! I am pleased that I have read one  of my own jewels of advice as above.  I can relax now.
Title: Re: How would you define atheism to a theist?
Post by: Old Seer on November 01, 2021, 11:06:06 PM
Quote from: 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.
Agree, except I don't think there's a need to kill anyone over it if they disagree. But, I understand. :-)