How to become an atheist?

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  • #76
Your definition of 'gnostic' is rather broad. In general the religious believe that they have 'knowledge' of god through faith / faith in the knowledge that god exists. 'Gnostic' is supposed to mean 'direct knowledge', the Gnostics believed that you could directly experience god / the existence of god.
 
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  • #78
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I absolutely disagree with this. An atheist plain and simple just does not believe in a diety, they do NOT care about religion. If you want to debate religion, then you have an interest in religion, that has NOTHING to do with believing in supernatural dieties. Please do not confuse the two.
From the broader perspective, what about some denominations of Buddhism who don't believe in any gods? They're by definition, and deductive logic, classified as atheist. However, they're still religious. At the same time, there are quite a few who believe in a God/gods, but aren't religious and don't believe in an afterlife. Although there are general tendencies of beliefs for both theism and atheism, they're actually as diverse in beliefs as the many flavors of ice cream (okay now I'm using metaphors, topic from that other thread :smile:).

Consider, although there are patterns in beliefs, a belief or lack of belief in a god is the "only" requirement to be labeled theist or atheist. Otherwise, it's the True Scotsman logical fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
 
  • #79
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Your definition of 'gnostic' is rather broad. In general the religious believe that they have 'knowledge' of god through faith / faith in the knowledge that god exists. 'Gnostic' is supposed to mean 'direct knowledge', the Gnostics believed that you could directly experience god / the existence of god.
Something I found, gnostic in noun form is one of those Christians. However in adjective form it means that someone has knowledge. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gnostic

Agnostic means without knowledge.

There is agnostic theism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_theist
And agnostic atheism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

So you could be an agnostic Catholic, agnostic Jehovah's Witness, agnostic Sunni Muslim, agnostic weak atheist, etc, etc.

Although off topic, I found it interesting that there are Christian Atheists http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism They follow teachings of Christianity, minus the God belief.
 
  • #80
Something I found, gnostic in noun form is one of those Christians. However in adjective form it means that someone has knowledge. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gnostic

Agnostic means without knowledge.

There is agnostic theism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_theist
And agnostic atheism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

So you could be an agnostic Catholic, agnostic Jehovah's Witness, agnostic Sunni Muslim, agnostic weak atheist, etc, etc.

Although off topic, I found it interesting that there are Christian Atheists http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism They follow teachings of Christianity, minus the God belief.
I am sure that there are people who label themselves as such though I would question the logic outside of those who are atheist or agnostic that are simply following a "religio-cultural" tradition. For example most of the Jews I have met I am fairly certain have been either agnostic or atheist but still identify themselves as Jews and follow the customs (or some of them).
 
  • #81
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I am sure that there are people who label themselves as such though I would question the logic outside of those who are atheist or agnostic that are simply following a "religio-cultural" tradition. For example most of the Jews I have met I am fairly certain have been either agnostic or atheist but still identify themselves as Jews and follow the customs (or some of them).
Another thing along those lines I found interesting, there's also Jewish atheists, who in belief systems do not belief in a God, but culturally and through their mother's line are Jewish. Since through the mother's line gives one the status of Jew, it doesn't create a contradiction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Atheist

So what I'm trying to figure out, what do we call those who don't believe in a God, but who actively are involved in the culture and/or practice teachings (minus the God part) of a religion? Would we label someone who doesn't believe in a God a theist?
 
  • #82
DaveC426913
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they're actually as diverse in beliefs as the many flavors of ice cream (okay now I'm using metaphors, topic from that other thread :smile:).
Technically, that is a simile, not a metaphor. :tongue2:
 
  • #83
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Nice clarification, makes sense. One small mistake,

"Others believe that there is no god, and they can prove it (atheist agnostic)."

By your definition this should be "athiest gnostic."
Of course, my bad!
 
  • #84
lisab
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People must at least learn about religion in history class. You got an education that has left you unable to understand one of the most basic drivers of how the world works!
I agree, and not only for the historic perspective...you'll never be good at crossword puzzles with no knowledge of the bible :wink:.
 
  • #85
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Most people simply don't mention their religious beliefs here, so I don't think we have any real basis to make such an estimation.
The basis I used was that this is the Physics Forums.
 
  • #86
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The basis I used was that this is the Physics Forums.
I don't think most people that frequent these forums are scientist.

I've always wondered though the academic qualifications of many of the people here. I'm sure its pretty impressive for a lot of them.
 
  • #87
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Would you say that there is some sort of a religious propaganda going on over there? Just wondering.
Propaganda means willful deceit. How would we know if a religious proselytizer, or just a churchgoer, or even just somebody who's only relationship with spirituality or theistic religion is just to say yes if asked if he believes in god, actually believes in what they say they believe in?

All governments do this (propagandizing of a general sort), more or less, of course. Ours (the USA) is no different -- and it's not always a bad thing.

If you're asking does the US government promote or foster a religious orientation (namely Christianity), then I would say that it does so indirectly. Politicians recognize (or have come to believe) that aligning themselves with the Christian religion seems to do less harm than not doing so -- and it often actually helps (George W. Bush comes to mind).

Is there a vast, organized effort by the government to promote the Christian religion? I don't think so. There doesn't need to be. It's been a major part of the culture here since long before the formal establishment of the US. Of course some politicians use this to rally and manipulate the populace more than others. Again, George W. Bush comes to mind. :smile:

Anyway, if religious belief is perceived as a problem, then I would say that the solution is indoctrinating increasing numbers of the population in the methods of science. An affinity for things scientific, critical thinking, skepticism and the sort of cynicism that seeks to view the world as it is rather than as we might like it to be seems opposed to spirituality, theism, and the trappings of organized religion -- unless you're a US politician trying to get elected to or hold on to some public office, in which case spiritual, theistic religion and physical science are perfectly compatible. :smile:
 
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  • #88
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I agree, and not only for the historic perspective...you'll never be good at crossword puzzles with no knowledge of the bible :wink:.
So that's why...
 
  • #89
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I don't think most people that frequent these forums are scientist.
It's not that most people here are professional scientists, but that the Physics Forums is, mostly, scientifically oriented; and that the scientific approach to explaining things is pretty much opposed to the spiritual, theistic approach to explaining things; and that this sort of forum(s) tends to attract people who are predisposed to the scientific approach rather than the spiritual, theistic approach.

Hence, the basis for assuming that a majority of the people who visit the Physics Forums are (at least insofar as they're seeking scientific explanations) mostly nonspiritual, nontheistic, or atheistic inquirers, is that this is the Physics Forums.
 
  • #90
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The basis I used was that this is the Physics Forums.
Statistically speaking, physicists are fairly likely to be atheists, so I guess that strictly spekaing you're right. But the secular bias in academia is far less pronounced than many are led to believe (and this is coming from a religious person!). Yes, there are a lot of atheists in science. But physics and chemistry departments aren't out to make anyone stop believing in God. And while I'm sure that there is an Evil Atheist Conspiracy (tm) out there, it doesn't really have any foothold in university physics departments. Indeed I've found that you don't tend to see a lot of militant, "angry atheists" in physics. Most people simply take the position of apathy.

I don't think most people that frequent these forums are scientist.

I've always wondered though the academic qualifications of many of the people here. I'm sure its pretty impressive for a lot of them.
We've got several physics and math professors here, as well as several of us physics grad students. I know a lot of members are grad students in other related fields. And sure, we've got a lot of non-scientists with interest in science too.
 
  • #91
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arunma said:
Statistically speaking, physicists are fairly likely to be atheists, so I guess that strictly spekaing you're right.

I can't make a statement for the majority of physicists, but the most famous names in physics are mostly deists/the idea about an impersonal god/
 
  • #92
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@OP: Take up Cristo's advice if you have not all ready, tell your friends and family why you don't believe in it (or certain parts).
I know it might be hard and scary at first but it is the best thing to do.
This sounds like a cliché but if your friends do not accept you they are not your friends for the right reasons.

(P.S. arunma has 666 posts, coincidence?)
 
  • #93
ideasrule
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Now that is a backstory I would never have thought possible. You must be rare indeed.

What country?
Mainland China. Schools there used to strongly denounce religion, but nowadays they just don't mention it.

It seems that you're right: not many people here have had the same experience. Do I get the title "Most Peculiar Atheist on PF"?
 
  • #94
ideasrule
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(P.S. arunma has 666 posts, coincidence?)
6 is a lucky number for many Asian cultures, you know.
 
  • #95
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I can't make a statement for the majority of physicists, but the most famous names in physics are mostly deists/the idea about an impersonal god/
True. I'm using the word "atheist" in a loose sense. Basically I'm referring to anyone who doesn't have a belief in God that would affect his/her life in any significant way. I suppose most physicists do believe in what Richard Dawkins would call the "god of the physicists," which is perhaps just an elegant term for the order that appears in nature.
 
  • #96
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ideasrule said:
Mainland China. Schools there used to strongly denounce religion, but nowadays they just don't mention it.

It seems that you're right: not many people here have had the same experience. Do I get the title "Most Peculiar Atheist on PF"?

No. You are not the most peculiar, since the same situation unfolded here in Bulgaria, in Russia and the former communist block. The communists were afraid that the religious utopia would overtake their own Red utopia, so they stamped it out.

Religious beliefs in God are frowned upon here, you can get derogatory comments if you spoke of Jesus or the talking snake. It seems religion has been eliminated from the lives of people for good. Most of the friends i talk to, find it hard to believe religion is so strong over there.
 
  • #97
ideasrule
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Religious beliefs in God are frowned upon here, you can get derogatory comments if you spoke of Jesus or the talking snake. It seems religion has been eliminated from the lives of people for good. Most of the friends i talk to, find it hard to believe religion is so strong over there.
It's depressing that dictator worshippers confronted talking-snake believers while the sane people couldn't exert any influence. Oh well, just be glad that creationism isn't a problem in Bulgaria anymore. It's long been a powerful curse here in North America.
 
  • #98
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(P.S. arunma has 666 posts, coincidence?)
Haha! I didn't even notice that. It's too bad I ruined it a post ago.
 
  • #99
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But physics and chemistry departments aren't out to make anyone stop believing in God.
No, of course not. But I'd conjecture that as one's exposure to and training in the methods of science increases, then one's reliance on spiritual and theistic views tends to decrease.

And while I'm sure that there is an Evil Atheist Conspiracy (tm) out there, it doesn't really have any foothold in university physics departments.
:smile: What has a foothold is doing physical science, which tends to preclude doing spiritual and theistic religious stuff -- unless one is a hardcore religious fanatic (I'm using this term loosely) and really really smart. In which case one might invent ingenious rationalizations for one's spiritual beliefs, rather than admitting to an emotional need for some sort of elaborate invisible friend(s) structure.

Adherence to spiritual-theistic religious beliefs is very much an emotional, and something of a social, thing I think. That's why some, otherwise quite rationally oriented, scientists want to cling to beliefs that most other scientists have dismissed as unwarranted (and unnecessary).
 
  • #100
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ideasrule said:
It's depressing that dictator worshippers confronted talking-snake believers while the sane people couldn't exert any influence.

Haha... I wish Flat-earthers would confront young earth creationists. Kind of reminds me of the "Alien vs Predator" movie(if you have seen it).
 

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