Can an atheist be an atheist

  • #1
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An atheist beleives in no absolute truth, so they cannot state they are an atheist, because that would take absolute truth to do, or is there something i missed.
 

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  • #2
Evo
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That's not correct, being an atheist means you don't believe in a god. To an atheist, no god is truth. A true atheist doesn't believe in a god, doesn't care about religion and doesn't ever think about it unless someone shoves it in their face.

Someone that says they are an atheist, but says they think about religion or a god isn't really an atheist, they are just unsure of what they believe. You are not an atheist if you spend time thinking about the posibility of a god.

What religious people can't deal with is that some people just do not need religion. They cannot understand that. They cannot deal with it.

Where ever you read this malarkey that atheists believe in no absolute truth, you can rest assured they are wrong. That can't be farther from the truth.
 
  • #3
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i saw someone on another forum tell another person that secularism is their god. i thought that was kind of funny
 
  • #4
Tom Mattson
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lawtonfogle said:
or is there something i missed.
A lesson in Greek roots perhaps?

a- (not) + theo (god) = atheist (no god)

What you are talking about is probably closer to agnosticism, which breaks down as:

a (not} + gnosis (knowledge) = agnostic (no knowledge)

Agnosticism is more closely associated with the position that things cannot be known certainly. But that is just a naive, one-sentence interpretation. The paradox you mention is a standard exercise in Philosophy 101 and is well-known.
 
  • #5
Evo
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I think a lot of people really don't know what they believe. :wink:

My opinion, for what little that's worth, is that people should follow their hearts. Don't worry about what others think as long as you don't try to push your beliefs on other people and don't try to hurt other people. I personally believe in following the golden rule.

Do not look down on others that do not believe in what you believe. Know that you cannot know if you are right or wrong. Respect other's beliefs as you would have them respect yours.
 
  • #6
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I am not sure if I totally agree with Evo's description of an Atheist. My english 102 teacher was an atheist and he talked about religion and the bible all the time, maybe he was not a real atheist according to Evo, and maybe others. Personally, I think an atheist is simply a person who does not believe in, or acknowledge, a god(s), whether or not they think about religion does not matter.

However, I know my dad believes in what the op said. He says that an atheist does not believe in anything as well, not even in him\herself, or the room he\she is in.
 
  • #7
Danger
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mattmns said:
I am not sure if I totally agree with Evo's description of an Atheist. I know my dad believes in what the op said. He says that an atheist does not believe in anything as well, not even in him\herself, or the room he\she is in.
That's more of a solipsist; they believe that everything is simply an illusion created by their own imagination. Must make for some screwy marriages.
 
  • #8
Evo
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mattmns said:
I am not sure if I totally agree with Evo's description of an Atheist. My english 102 teacher was an atheist and he talked about religion and the bible all the time, maybe he was not a real atheist according to Evo, and maybe others. Personally, I think an atheist is simply a person who does not believe in, or acknowledge, a god(s), whether or not they think about religion does not matter.
Possible, but that would more likely label them as agnostic.

However, I know my dad believes in what the op said. He says that an atheist does not believe in anything as well, not even in him\herself, or the room he\she is in.
Well, no, but let me answer that with the dictionary definition of atheist and see what you think.

Merriam-Webster
Main Entry: athe·ist
Pronunciation: 'A-thE-ist
Function: noun
: one who believes that there is no deity
 
  • #9
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mattmns said:
However, I know my dad believes in what the op said. He says that an atheist does not believe in anything as well, not even in him\herself, or the room he\she is in.
i thought that's what a nihilist is
 
  • #10
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lawtonfogle said:
An atheist beleives in no absolute truth, so they cannot state they are an atheist, because that would take absolute truth to do, or is there something i missed.

Huh?

An atheist believes there is no god. Nothing about absolute truth. I think you have your definitions mixed up.
 
  • #11
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fourier jr said:
i thought that's what a nihilist is
No, a nihilist is someone who rejects the traditional ideals.

Nietzsche is often identified as being a nihilist for his blatant rejection of the dichotomy of good/evil, and indeed all similar dichotomies.
 
  • #12
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Evo said:
Merriam-Webster
Main Entry: athe·ist
Pronunciation: 'A-thE-ist
Function: noun
: one who believes that there is no deity
Which does not mean they do not think about religion.

I think about religion all the time, only in terms of its psychological and sociological importance (very high generally) as well as in anthropological terms. Does that make me not an atheist? I acknowledge the existence of religion, but I don't believe any of it.
 
  • #13
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well, i know an atheist does not beleive in God, but all atheist i have talked to say there is no absolute truth. Saying there is no God is saying there is no absolute truth.

Or do any atheist out there have a different oppinion upon that.

Also, do all of you think the world would be a better/worse place if there was no religion.
 
  • #14
"Saying there is no God is saying there is no absolute truth." - Ahem, no. When you say God with a capital G, you're referring to a specific entity, though one that may supericially differ twixt religions. You may say that the absolute truth of an athiest is a god of sorts, but this has little or no resemblance to God Himself.

"Also, do all of you think the world would be a better/worse place if there was no religion." - Now, that's interesting! Does a unique personal belief system count? I would say the world would be a worse place if no human ever sought to explain phenomena to themselves with assumptions that seem to make sense, however correct or incorrect they ultimately are. However, most organised religions are control systems that essentially give power to the few and remove it from the many, including the power to think. The up and down sides of such a system are present elsewhere, suggesting that had no organised religion been founded, history may not have been THAT different in form and scale. However, the removal of accountability in religion, for actions are taken in the name of something illusive (God Ltd), do perhaps suggest that some of mankind's darkest hours may not have been permitted without organised religion. Or I like to hope so.
 
  • #15
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i thought an atheist must have reason as to not believe in a god...that is why his/her thoughts can read on religion and how to disprove existance to those that do. Agnostics are also the same...they may not believe in the use of believing in something but some do like to argue.

EVO: if it is defined that an atheist must not (EVO) "think about religion or a god" then what do you call a person who doesn't believe in god but needs the thought process to argue with someone who does?
 
  • #16
Evo
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neurocomp2003 said:
EVO: if it is defined that an atheist must not (EVO) "think about religion or a god" then what do you call a person who doesn't believe in god but needs the thought process to argue with someone who does?
I said that an atheist doesn't care about religion.

An atheist needs no reason to not believe in something. It's your belief, not theirs. Do you need a reason for why you do not currently believe that there is an invisible green hat floating over your head?
 
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  • #17
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To expand on Evo's defintion; An Atheist believes that no higher deity exists. They do not wonder if it is possible unless 'someone shoves it in their face', this is different from thinking about "religion" which is an umbrealla term for more than just the existance of god.

And arguing with someone about it would fall into the 'unless someone shoves it in their face' category.
 
  • #18
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Gah, I hate it when people think that words can just mean whatever they 'believe' it means. They don't. Word's have definitions, and they don't change just because you want them to... (unless your a solipsist)

To clarify a few terms:
Atheism: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
Agnosticism: The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist.
Solipsism: The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.
Nihilism is an umbrealla term than can mean lots of things depending on the context, among these are:
1. A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.
2. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.

and just for the sake of it

Religion: A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

Always remember: Wiki is your friend
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism
 
  • #19
Moonbear
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lawtonfogle said:
well, i know an atheist does not beleive in God, but all atheist i have talked to say there is no absolute truth. Saying there is no God is saying there is no absolute truth.
Then that's because you're using a religious definition of "absolute truth" to be synonymous with God. So if someone goes around preaching that God is the absolute truth, then an atheist would reject that idea. That doesn't mean they don't believe in truth, just not what the religious call "truth." (Dang, and the more I write the word "truth" the weirder it looks. :tongue2:)
 
  • #20
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lawtonfogle said:
well, i know an atheist does not beleive in God, but all atheist i have talked to say there is no absolute truth. Saying there is no God is saying there is no absolute truth.
Evo said:
What religious people can't deal with is that some people just do not need religion. They cannot understand that. They cannot deal with it.
...........................
 
  • #21
Monique
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Evo said:
Someone that says they are an atheist, but says they think about religion or a god isn't really an atheist, they are just unsure of what they believe. You are not an atheist if you spend time thinking about the posibility of a god.
That would make atheists ignorant. Someone can think about the possibility of a god, read the bible and be an atheist: it's researching. An atheist is one who disbelieves or denies the existence of a god. An agnost believes there is a possibility for the existence of a god, but is skeptical.
 
  • #22
Evo
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Monique said:
That would make atheists ignorant. Someone can think about the possibility of a god, read the bible and be an atheist: it's researching. An atheist is one who disbelieves or denies the existence of a god.
I need to clarify (at least I know what I'm thinking :wink: ) The way I meant it is that a true atheist does not question if there is a god or not, or if religion (god) is correct, if they did, they would not be atheist, they would be agnostic. That doesn't mean that an atheist cannot know anything about god(s) or religion or is unable to discuss it. I hope that makes it clearer.

Monique said:
An agnost believes there is a possibility for the existence of a god, but is skeptical
Smurf's definition of agnostic is also my understanding - Agnosticism: The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist
 
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  • #23
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neurocomp2003 said:
then what do you call a person who doesn't believe in god but needs the thought process to argue with someone who does?
That would be me: a semi-militant atheist. Whatever someone chooses to believe is fine with me, and I'm perfectly willing to discuss it in a rational manner. The instant he tries to 'convert' me, I'll fall on him like a ball of neutronium.

As for whether or not we'd be better off with no religion, El Hombre covered just about anything that I had to say. For there to be no religion, humans would have to be fundamentally (even radically) different than we are. There's no telling if society of any kind would even have arisen in the first place.

I do believe in superior beings, in the sense that the odds favour more developed civilizations elsewhere. The presumption of a supreme being just makes no sense at all. As for absolute truth, that has nothing to do with whether or not there are any gods running around, but I think that Heisenberg pretty much kiboshed that one.
 
  • #24
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What you describe sounds like a skeptic to me and not an atheist:
Skepticism:
# Philosophy.
1. The ancient school of Pyrrho of Elis that stressed the uncertainty of our beliefs in order to oppose dogmatism.
2. The doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general.
3. A methodology based on an assumption of doubt with the aim of acquiring approximate or relative certainty.

Nietzsche is often identified as being a nihilist for his blatant rejection of the dichotomy of good/evil, and indeed all similar dichotomies.
No, he really wasn't, at least, he didn't want to be.

"Nihilism is not the cause, it is only the logic of decadence."
-F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power

He thought that a nihilist is what a philosopher becomes when he becomes sick.
 
  • #25
NateTG
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There is a wide variety of interpretation for the terms atheist, and agnostic. In general, they seem to fall into these categories:

Atheist, in general, appears to mean someone who does not believe in god. Since there is no law of the excluded middle in discussions like this, that means that atheist can be used to refer to people that do not believe that there is no god. I believe, that strong atheism is referred to as the belief that there is no god.

Agnostic, in general, refers to people who refuse to assert a position. In the context of this discussion, it means people who do not take a position on whether god exists or not. For example, someone who believes that there is a god, and simultaneously believes that there is no god, would be considered an angostic. (Yes, I am aware that this represents a system of inconsistent beliefs.) Agnositicism would also include people who believe that the notion of 'god' is ill-defined.
 

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