Separation Church & State in Office

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Only allow athiests to hold office?

  • Yes, enough with catering to the religious.

    Votes: 5 19.2%
  • No, it would be unconstitutional.

    Votes: 21 80.8%

  • Total voters
    26
  • #26
Hurkyl
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An atheist chooses to not believe stories that haven't be carefully tested for their veracity.
Who tested the "God doesn't exist" story for its veracity?
 
  • #27
Gokul43201
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Who tested the "God doesn't exist" story for its veracity?
What "god doesn't exist" story?
 
  • #28
Hurkyl
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So "not collecting stamps" is a hobby after all! :rolleyes:
It is if you make a hobby out of it. (Of course, most people who go with the "not collecting stamps" course of action do not pursue it as a hobby; they just do it as a matter of course)

And... I'm not sure how this is relevant. It's cutesy sure, but I don't see it actually having relevance to my assertion that atheism both fits the dictionary definition of "religion", and does so in a way relevant to the subject of this thread.
 
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  • #29
Doc Al
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Who tested the "God doesn't exist" story for its veracity?
Yet another irrelevant point.
 
  • #30
Hurkyl
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I don't understand why some people can't accept that some people simply do not believe in deities.
Er... I didn't realize anyone here couldn't accept that some people don't believe in deities.

Do you believes in elves?
No. And In addition, I disbeleieve in their existence. However, I really shouldn't -- I should simply fail to believe either way.
 
  • #31
Gokul43201
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Yikes! You don't go about practicing atheism as an active undertaking. You essentially "practice" it by not accepting stories that haven't been carefully verified. You also don't have to write or buy any books titled "god doesn't exist".
 
  • #32
Hurkyl
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Yikes! You don't go about practicing atheism as an active undertaking. You essentially "practice" it by not accepting stories that haven't been carefully verified. You also don't have to write or buy any books titled "god doesn't exist".
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why it's a bad idea to try and co-opt the word "atheism" -- a word meaning a disbelief in the existence of deity, or meaning the doctrine that there is no deity (m-w) -- to describe the position that lacks belief in both hypothesis: that deities do not exist, and that deities exist. It leads to stupid mix-ups like this.

I know I am using the word as defined in m-w, and I think it's pretty clear that wildman is too in the post that spawned this thread of reasoning.
 
  • #33
tchitt


The Constitution said:
Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As much as a lot of people (everyone these days?) would like to break the rules for their own personal gain while defending the foundation our country is built on militantly when anyone else tries to do the same... freedom still isn't free.
 
  • #34
Gokul43201
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A disbelief in the existence of a deity is not the same as a belief in the non-existence of a deity. I believe you (Hurkyl) are attributing more to an atheist than is the sufficient set of conditions needed to define one.
 
  • #35
Hurkyl
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A disbelief in the existence of a deity is not the same as a belief in the non-existence of a deity. I believe you (Hurkyl) are attributing more to an atheist than is the sufficient set of conditions needed to define one.
:confused: Did you see my previous post?
 
  • #36
Gokul43201
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:confused: Did you see my previous post?
Yes. I'm not sure what exactly MW means when they say atheism is A "or" B, when A and B are not synonymous with each other. In this case, I believe their definition A covers all atheists, while definition B covers a large subset of that group. (Going by A) MW says that an atheist disbelieves in the existence of a deity, while (it seems to me like) you say that an atheist must believe in the non-existence of a deity.
 
  • #37
Evo
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Er... I didn't realize anyone here couldn't accept that some people don't believe in deities.
That wasn't addressed to you. Yes, there are some people here that can't accept it, or can't understand it.
 
  • #38
Hurkyl
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(Going by A) MW says that an atheist disbelieves in the existence of a deity, while (it seems to me like) you say that an atheist must believe in the non-existence of a deity.
Those are the same. Disbelief does not mean "lack of belief" -- it means
mental rejection of something as untrue (m-w)​
which is how I've been using it. (Although m-w's definition for "disbelieving" looks more like what you're thinking. In any case, I used 'disbelief' as I said above)
 
  • #39
OmCheeto
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After arguing with anti-theists on the the internet, and arguing with theists on my front porch, I decided I could not tell them apart.

As long as an atheist is willing to argue the point, atheism is a religion.


o:) :devil:

Where, by the way, is the yin yang smiley face for us Daoists? This forum smacks of subliminal theism....... :rolleyes: :wink: :blushing: :biggrin:
 
  • #40
Gokul43201
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Those are the same. Disbelief does not mean "lack of belief" -- it means
mental rejection of something as untrue (m-w)​
which is how I've been using it. (Although m-w's definition for "disbelieving" looks more like what you're thinking. In any case, I used 'disbelief' as I said above)
I used disbelief in the sense of a rejection of belief rather than just a lack of belief. But again, (and it seems MW too is either being redundant or is over-reaching) rejecting the truth of a story is not the same as holding that it is untrue.

If you come to me with a story that you claim is true, I will ask you how you know it is true (by default). If you don't say that the story has been through some kind of careful examination, I will choose to reject the veracity of your claim (that the story is a true story). I will do this with every person that comes to me with the story. If and when someone finally provides me with an account of a careful verification of the story, I will no longer reject it. In this process I never contradict myself.

Gosh, I'm really derailing this thread now, aren't I?
 
  • #41
Hurkyl
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Gosh, I'm really derailing this thread now, aren't I?
Somewhat! :eek: Pushing back to the original topic, it's clear (to me) that both wildman and OrbitalPower (posts #3 and #4) were talking about atheism as the 'doctrine that deities don't exist', otherwise their worries don't make sense. I don't see a clear indicator about how drankin intended his poll. Obviously, the two questions
1. Should we allow only those who believe deities don't exist to hold office?
2. Should we allow only those who believe neither that deities exist nor that deities don't exist hold office?​
have a much different character to them.
 
  • #42


There is this certain word. It's "agnostic". As in "a-", without/lacking, "gnosis", knowledge. So if you claim no knowledge regarding the existence of god you are "agnostic". Not athiest. An athiest chooses a belief.
 
  • #43
LURCH
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But I think most of this is irrelevant. It would be equally unconstitutional to exclude theists from public office in favor of atheists or agnostics, wouldn't it?

Once we decide to say that only people with this "belief, or set of beliefs pertaining to the supernatural" are permitted to hold public office, it becomes irrelevent which belief or set of beliefs.
 
  • #44


As has come up in a number of similar threads on PF in the past, I think that talking about whether atheism technically satisfies some definition of being a religion is kind of side-stepping the point that someone who says something of the form "atheism is like a religion" is trying to make.

What they mean is that there is a large group of people who self-identify as atheists who have many ideological positions and who congregate on atheist web sites and in atheist clubs and hence form a culture with sufficiently similar beliefs that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher can market products to them as a group such as The God Delusion and God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and Religulous.

To allow members of this particular self-identifying atheist culture into political office, but exclude anyone who professes religion on the premise that their beliefs bias them too much to make the public interest sufficiently high-priority, is just an absurd notion. And I say that as an atheist myself.
 
  • #45


From Merriam-Webster, definition 4:
a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith​

Atheism is not a cause, principle or system of beliefs. It is not held to by faith either.
 
  • #46
Hurkyl
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But I think most of this is irrelevant. It would be equally unconstitutional to exclude theists from public office in favor of atheists or agnostics, wouldn't it?
I certainly agree. But I can imagine other positions for which the difference would be relevant.

Atheism is not a cause, principle or system of beliefs. It is not held to by faith either.
Please read the past two pages of the thread. :grumpy:
 
  • #47


If people stop debasing the word "atheism" you'll realize unless there's someone that believes in all of the conceived gods that everyone is an atheist, but to varying degrees. The only difference between me and a Christian is that I don't believe in his god. He is an atheist to every other god except when it comes to Jesus.

If you're going to make a case for atheism being a religion, you're going to have to point out a centralized dogma that all atheists follow, and also point to a holy atheist text. Until then your argument is just bad dude.
 
  • #48
Hurkyl
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point out a centralized dogma that all atheists follow
"Deities don't exist." :rolleyes:
 
  • #49


"Deities don't exist." :rolleyes:

That's not a centralized dogma. That's like calling "I don't believe any race is superior over another" a centralized dogma.
 
  • #50


Better yet, that's like calling the statement "Santa Claus doesn't exist" a centralized dogma.
 

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