True Atheism

  1. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Can anyone truely be atheist or are they merely agnostic?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. I can't say I'm a true atheist. I tend to disregard my religion in politics and science, but I can't completely disregard it when it comes to philosophical issues.

    If a person is brought up with no religion at all I guess he or she would require a substitute: science. Both science and religion tries to explain both nature and society. How can we distinguish religion and science?
     
  4. Most atheists are agnostic. But then, there will always be people who make atheism into a religion.
     
  5. If 'God' is defined as he who created the Universe, then I am truly an atheist. I have no doubt whatsoever the existence of the Universe is NOT the result of cause and effect. The phenomenon of 'Existence' is explained by a principle, not a process.
     
  6. I'm not sure what "true atheism" is, but if it is the notion that reason denies belief in God (a position commonly taken by people who proud themselves of being rational), then true atheism involves a contradiction.

    In order to deny the existence of God, you must first acknowledge that the concept of God is meaningful. You can't possibly deny the existence of a meaningless concept, for meaningless concepts cannot "not exist" for the same reason they cannot exist. By acknowledging the meaningfulness of the concept of God and at the same time declaring it irrational, atheists are making the same categorical error they accuse "true believers" of making.

    By the way, agnosticism suffers from the same kind of incoherence. To declare one cannot say anything about God is a self-contradictory statement. For one thing, it is a statement about God.

    The only rational position on the God issue is to ignore it altogether.Talking about God requires transcending the realm of reason. Which is why God is a subject for faith, religion, and art, not for science and reason.
     
  7. If I believe that there was never any creation, then what am I?
     
  8. Depends how one defines "God". I do not believe in most common definitions of "God".
     
  9. I don't think there is a neccesity for god in a religion. Certain sects of Budhism and other religions don't believe in a "god" per se but I would hardly call them atheists.
     
  10. huh? how do you figure?

    for one, you're not really talking about 'God', you're talking about your knowledge in regards to human concept of 'God'. they are not the same thing.

    but does any agnostic really declare that you can't say anything about God? at best, i think they would declare that you can't know anything about God. and it's certainly possible to claim that you can't know anything about God!

    it may not be possible to say that "God is something which cannot be known about", but that would be a characteristic of God. saying "you can't know anything about God" only makes a claim about a characteristic of humans, not God.
     
  11. By strict definition, if the Buddhists do not believe in a god or gods, then they are atheists. You know, just because someone is an atheist, it doesn't mean that that person isn't active spiritually.
     
  12. there are many atheist buddhists, and many jewish buddhists. even some christian buddhists, but i'm sure they're a minority.

    anyway, i consider buddhism more of a philosophy than a religion, at least the way i view it... there are many forms of buddhism.

    religion is pretty vague. a lot of people strictly take religion to mean theism, so buddhism wouldn't be a religion. of course, some people have extremely broad definitions of religion, and they can call almost anything a religion!
     
  13. There are a lot of people who are true atheists. There are many children who are brought up without any mention of god in their lives, by people who were brought up without any mention of this. If religion is mentioned it is mentioned as a social phenomenon that other people engage in. Viewed from the outside, it is absolutely a different phenomenon, than when viewed from the inside.

    I tend to think that people are atheists because there is no god, rather than because they don't believe in god, or they fell away from god, or they haven't been properly introduced. I think that church is where children first learn that adults tell lies. They have their choice of accepting this abuse of reason and playing along, or they step outside and find their own way of seeing the world.

    I don't have any problem stating that I think that the practice of religion is a delusional activity. The fact that the religions that stem from the old testament are still perpetuated, is an indication of the horrific nature of the abuses that existed in those societies early on, so grave were they, that the religions that ensued, constitute the longest running case of post traumatic stress reaction, or Stockholm Syndrome, ever.

    These statements are not fraught with hatred, or even much energy or interest, atheists just look at things differently. It is difficult to see the biosphere destroyed because religions ban birth control, or because fictional historical accounts give man "dominion" over this world. I just see that stuff as self-serving nonsense, drivel. There are a lot of people that feel exactly this way.

    Theists would like to condemn them, or bring them onto their playing field to do battle, but they aren't going to armageddon with the theists.

    Atheists don't believe in any of that stuff, and they don't have to. They just get to say, I want to talk about something else.

    I don't think that there is an express human need to have a belief in a "guy god" that atheists are going to sublimate, with the study of science. I don't think there is a religious explanation for which science will be a subsitute. The chicken came first and layed the egg, and before that, a bird that was a great deal like a chicken layed the egg. We weren't around for the beginning of the process. Scientists continue to do a very good job of picking through our past, better than historians, by far.

    I hope we all do a better job in the future.
     
  14. hypnagogue

    hypnagogue 2,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Of course people can be 'true' atheists. An atheist is just one who does not believe in the existence of a god or gods. There is nothing to really constrain what people can believe or not believe. Justification of belief is another issue, but really, what is to stop anyone from merely believing (or disbelieving) anything? If I were suitably deceived (or suitably insane), I could believe that a talking banana follows me wherever I go, or that I don't have hands, or pretty much anything else.

    I think you may have intended to ask a more substantial question, but it didn't quite come through. If that's the case, you might want to rephrase your question more precisely.
     
  15. The basic dictionary definition of a theist is one who believes in a god or gods but I don't think it neccisarily needs to stop there. Most Buddhists belive in some sort of higher order as far as I understand it, they just don't label it "god". As far as my own personal beliefs go I woundn't label what I believe in "god" but nor would I consider myself an atheist. The particular word "god" has certain conotations to it that do not translate into many religious views. Simply because a religion does not project their higher power/order into a male or female personafied form does that make them atheists? It seems to me that the "god" problem is far more complex and diffuse than most people give it credit for. If it isn't boiled down to an arguement against christianity it's still usually one pointed toward monotheists in particular.
     
  16. ShawnD

    ShawnD 986
    Science Advisor

    <----- Agnostic but continues to blame god for putting the whole universe against me

    Agnostic = God's existence is doubtful (scientist perhaps?)
    Atheist = OMG YOU GUYS ARE ST00PID, THERE IS NO GOD!!!!!1 (angry used-to-be christian?)


    Sure, athiests exist. They're just as annoying as Christians.
     
  17. hypnagogue

    hypnagogue 2,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's not quite what agnosticism is. Agnosticism is the position that we can never know whether or not a god or gods exist. Basically, agnosticism is an epistemological position (we cannot know if god/gods exist), whereas atheism is an ontological one (disbelief in the existence of god/gods). Being an agnostic is compatible both with being a theist and with being an atheist.
     
  18. I'm going to try to explain it as I see it...hope this comes out ok. :D

    Theists think god exists without proof.
    Agnostics think we cannot know whether god exists.
    Atheists think god does not exist without proof.

    I am an atheist. That doesn't mean I 'know' any more than a theist 'knows.' No one seems to say theists can't exist since they can't know. So is it just 'faith' that there is no god? To me, it's more like science than faith. I 'believe' in quantum mechanics, too, but if a reliable experiment came along to prove it wrong (or incomplete) I'd have to accept it. There is a difference between evidence and proof. I believe there is lots of evidence the universe could become what it is without a god. I do not have 'proof.'

    Ultimately, this is an argument that produces a lot of heat but no light. Saying there are no atheists is really splitting hairs. If I can't be an atheist without proof god doesn't exist, I'm sunk, since you can't prove a negative. I still refer to myself as an atheist and I think it describes my personal belief much more accurately than agnostic. People know what I mean. If you want to split hairs, go for it, but I don't have to pay attention to you. (You here being the rhetorical 'you', BTW, not anyone in particular.)

    And really, it's up to the believers to prove god does exist. No one has ever shown evidence that a process can, for example, violate the conservation of angular momentum, so I believe no such process exists. If someone does create a reliable and repeatable experiment that shows a process that does violate CAM then I must accept it and seek a more accurate theory. It would certainly be a refinement and not a whole new theory. Meanwhile, God is a concept I have no need for. So I'm comfortable with my atheism.

    The idea that atheists are 'angry ex-Christians' is just a stereotype that stifles discussion, IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2005
  19. I consider my self a complete atheist.

    That is the same is if I say:

    THEIST: OMG YOU GUYS ARE ST00PID, THERE IS A GOD!!!!!1
     
  20. Just to remind ourselfs that God can not be proven using science => it then goes it cannot be disproven => belief necessary either for existance of nonexistence.
    Agnostics may oscilate but they oscilate between faith so it makes no difference.

    I do not see it any more diffilcult than this.
     
  21. Agnostic means believing that one cannot know the nature of god. ("a+gnosis"=without knowledge). An atheist does not have a theology ("a+theist"). Antitheists are a subset of atheists who believe that there is no god. I am an antitheist...."truly"
     
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