Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is Strong Atheism Logical?

  1. Mar 17, 2005 #1
    I'm currently Agnostic Atheist, or, more technically, Agnostic and Weak Atheist. In summary, I don't believe in God, but I don’t deny the possibility of God's existence; however, I put the probability of God existing at about 1%, an extremely unlikely occurrence. I have tolerance for Pantheism, but I believe it's a cope out form of Agnosticism and/or Atheism. Overall, I'm searching for the most logical faith, from the biased perspectives of secular humanists, or, in my opinion, the “thinking men” Hemingway spoke of.

    Is the accepting of human ignorance and fallibility a justification for Agnosticism? – Perhaps. However, what about the existence of Santa Claus - most people deny his existence. Does Agnosticism give unjustified, interpretable laudation towards religious institutions? Should I keep Agnosticism to maintain a philosophical argument, to support the acceptance of uncertainties, or should I switch to Strong Atheism as an antireligious individual; furthermore, should one deny a possibility unless a logical explanation for the possibility is given, for I have found none for the existence of God.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    You have put your finger on a central issue. If one calls oneself an agnostic, what is one's attitude toward existing religions? Does any tradition seeem less false or more attractive than another? Can you think of yourself as, possibly, between engagements? Or do they all seem like amusing stories where they aren't rank superstition? Agnostic is kind of an unstable balance between "unchurched searcher" and weak atheist.
  4. Mar 17, 2005 #3
    I am myself a strong atheist. At first, I really didn't know what my reasons were for denial of existence of Gods. However, after a few years of it, I do now know, and I consider it very logical.

    My favorite logical construction is Ockham's Razor. "Do not posit pluralities beyond necessity." In science, I'm sure all of us are well aware that the issue of God is not touched. You can interpret the evidence the way you like, but then you leave the realm of strictly science and enter philosophy.

    Because science does not touch God, I choose to leave the idea out of the equation. I see God as nothing more than a plurality, and so I choose to get rid of him with Ockham's Razor.

    So, to answer your question about denial of God: I would say yes. Unless you wish to rely on faith. Religious groups always stress "faith". I am skeptical of something until it is objectively proven, either indirectly or directly. I don't posit something that is by nature unprovable.
  5. Mar 17, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I am a strong atheist with regard to personal deities who are eager to reliably communicate their thoughts to humans. I am agnostic with regard to all other deities.
  6. Mar 17, 2005 #5
    Lucretious, perhaps you would appreciate this one from the great P.S. Laplace:

    "Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse"

    "I have no need for that hypothesis"

    (A reply to Napoleon , who had asked why he hadn't mentioned God in his Méchanique céleste)

    It's a strange universe, and it is so big. There are all manner of fantastic secrets that we could never imagine (Advanced Intelligent life? What makes you think life is as good as it gets?)

    Humans sit here and talk about an omnipotent being, how uncreatively pathetic.
  7. Mar 18, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    Perhaps 'God' does not yet exist, but does that preclude a future God? And if 'God' has/does/will exist... would her/him/it be required to submit to our interpretation of causality? If science has taught us anything, it is best to avoid smug certainty.
  8. Mar 18, 2005 #7
    If God is omnipotent, then God is subject to some intrinsic paradox of omnipotence. Therefore it is not logical that God is omnipotent.

    If God is not omnipotent, then it makes him nothing more than some guy with superpowers (possibly in tights), not so different from Superman or Spiderman.

    If God is not omnipotent and has no superpowers, then that makes him nothing more than some... dude. In which case I doubt we should be spending so much time debating on whether he exists.
  9. Mar 18, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I find it less illogical to believe in deities like Frey and Odin than to believe in the omnipotent Judeo-Christian variety.
    Of existing religions, I dislike Buddhism the least, since it is basically without a god entity.
  10. Mar 18, 2005 #9
    It is illogical to claim that one knows for 100%, so I suppose it is illogical to think that possibility of any diety is 0% such as what traditional Atheism suggests. It is wise to go with what one believes to be most likely while staying open to the other possibilities, and accept simply not knowing for sure.

    On a more personal side, I am an Atheist who was Agnostic and Theist in the past (respectively). I do not think that its likely that any diety or "supernatural" being exists, but I am always open to the possibility of being wrong. The key is to not become too devout in anything, and always keep learning and rethinking.

    I recently started to explore a new way to think about "God". It seems pretty clear to me that there is no living being outside of the universe, which the Judeo-Christian-Islaamic tradition assumes. There can, however, be an energy or a consciousness that goes throughout the universe...maybe....
  11. Mar 18, 2005 #10
    I also have the greatest respect for Buddhism out of all major world religions. Its much more reality and humanity based. Plus, the philosophy of life behind it is pure goodness. ie One doesnt hear about wars, genocides, take overs, and terracts over Buddhism for a reason.

    Although I was born into Orthodox Christianity and appreciate the culture/tradition of it, if I HAD to choose an existing world religion to actually believe in - I would be Buddhist.
  12. Mar 18, 2005 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Whether or not it's illogical to be a theist, atheist, or agnostic depends on the rational justification one uses. The best arguments put forth by each of the three camps are generally logically impeccable. The validity of the arguments is rarely in question. (Given that they are usually put forth by professional philosophers or theologians, you would hope they could construct a valid argument). The further question of whether the arguments are sound, however, rests upon the truth of the premises that they argue from. These are generally a matter for empirical investigation, although there do exist purely rational arguments put forth to support the premises from first principles in some of the God proofs.

    It should be obvious that my answer to the question the author of the thread asks is yes, it is logical to be a strong atheist. It is also logical to be a weak atheist (agnostic), and it is even logical to be a theist. Whether or not any of these positions is correct is another matter (okay, obviously one of them must be correct). Neither the arguments of atheists or theists seem to be of any value in determining the truth of their claims - at least that's the conclusion I've come to after studying them. Furthermore, the question of whether or not God exists does not seem to matter to me all that much. Admittedly, I am biased against metaphysical questions in general, as I prefer to ask questions that can be definitively answered. Furthermore, however, it seems very highly unlikely to me that if a perfect being with the power to create a universe did exist, that he would care whether or not I believed he did, especially given that he has left no persuasive evidence. I live an ethical life, and I would hope that if there does exist some universal arbitrator of justice that decides my fate upon my death, he would consider that fact and not be concerned with whether or not I was a man of faith. To be honest, if God values faith over ethical behavior, I disagree with him and consider him to be rather petty and not the kind of person I would want to spend eternity with anyway.
  13. Mar 18, 2005 #12
    We are talking about complete devout belief = closed mind. I never claimed that Atheism itself is an illogical position (I obviously dont find it to be such...)
  14. Mar 23, 2005 #13
    did anyone ever wonder why there is no concreate/tangiable proof of the existnace of God?

    i think it is partly becuase we need to not know in Him, but to have faith in him. maybe we are not ment to know for sure, and we are called to believe with a "leap of faith", in which would prove our devotion. all i'm saying is maybe there is a reason why we don't know for sure and that is where we are a people are seperated. it is not sinful to question God, on the contrary, true faith comes from believing when we do have questions. as was stated in the bible, "we walk by faith, not by sight."
  15. Mar 23, 2005 #14
    Personally, I think it is much better to be an atheist than to believe in a traditional definition of god.

    Perhaps a working definition of god would make for better discussion.

    All, options (theist, atheist, agnostic, etc) are valid and have value based on what you choose to believe and what you want to experience. Your beliefs will lead you to you religion and that religion will influence your decisions that ultimately make your experience.

    ergo, change your beliefs and you will change your experience.

    olde drunk
  16. Mar 23, 2005 #15
    I like to define God solely as "the reason the universe exists". No fancy bible-stories, nothing of that sort. But there must be some reason for this universe to have existed/been created. Or maybe not a reason, but an action for it to exist. It would seem the best and simplest universe would be none at all.
  17. Mar 23, 2005 #16
    Hey, the eastern philosophies say that we are just 'here'; so enjoy it.

    What's wrong with that? Does there have to be a reason? Why do we need a reason?

    Boy, our need for a reason sure gives the people that want to organize a religion and make money all the power. Better to believe in self than any profit (lol) or philosopher.

    olde drunk

    "heaven was invented so that your clergy could charge for admission"
  18. Mar 23, 2005 #17
    Strong atheism is a logical stance, if one is negotiating for the freedom of one's children, to be educated in a secular fashion. Though I think that any absolute stance is not logical, given the universe we live in. We may be absolute in word, but even behind the word, we are fluid, organic chemical reactions, and neurochemically we are even less stable than muscle or bone, or the diaphragm and larynx that made the sounds. The hardware, the sound system, has an appearance of rigidity, the software drivers for perception and interface are highly unstable programs, whose driving logic is based on insubstantiable data, that shifts with perceptual shifts. We are the house built on sand.
  19. Mar 24, 2005 #18
    To say, "God does not exist" is as unprovable as "God DOES exist." Both forms of fundamentalism require a degree of faith, in other words.


    The Rev
  20. Mar 24, 2005 #19
    Depends on how we define "God". All signs point to the non-existence of a Christian God.
  21. Mar 27, 2005 #20
    >>To say, "God does not exist" is as unprovable as "God DOES exist." Both forms of fundamentalism require a degree of faith, in other words.

    The Rev<<<

    I agree. Theism and Atheism are faith based and belief systems. The agnostic is not using faith or belief ( and I use the word belief as it's root meaning"wishing to be so or true") The agnostic knows that he does not know. It is, in my opinion, the most logical of stances.

    Photongod :bugeye:
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Is Strong Atheism Logical?
  1. Atheism (Replies: 59)

  2. Atheism and Agnosticism (Replies: 46)

  3. True Atheism (Replies: 47)