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Senate Atheism 5.0 - Is Atheism a belief?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by SuperWatto, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    It's back: the undying, table-scratching, ban-invoking atheism thread.
    Run for your lives! Women and children first.

    Let's start afresh with a new thread and a new topic. One of the most often heard accusations hurled at atheists is that atheism is a belief, just like any old religion. They believe in a God, atheists believe in no god. Both are a matter of faith.

    But is this really true?

    I like to think that atheism is more an educated guess than a belief. It's the absence of belief in a god, based on the absence of evidence. Is there any more to it, or is it really that easy to dispel this argument?
     
  2. EHT

    EHT New Films Manager star 7 Staff Member Manager

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    Sep 13, 2007
    It's just what the name literally means: NOT believing in a god. That's not quite the same as believing that god does not exist.
     
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  3. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 23, 1999
    Atheism is a religious belief. It's a particular conclusion and assertion on a religious topic. It is a belief in the non-existence of God.

    Classical Agnosticism is a belief that the existence of God is not knowable.

    When most people say they're "agnostic" nowadays, I find that it means that they are not sure what to believe about the existence of God.

    Is it a "religion", like, a set of practices associated with the worship of higher beings or deities? No, it's not that. I wouldn't call it a religion, but I'd call it a religious belief simply because it is a belief about a religious topic.
     
  4. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
    Pretty much what Obi-Zahn said.
     
  5. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 19, 2000
    Zane the Reaper, Senate posts require more content than "what he said". For instance, tell us how much is pretty much.
     
  6. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
    I agree that Athiesm is a belief. Seems to me that to be certain that there is no god requires as much faith as the belief in god. I'm what Obi-Zahn describes as the modern agnostic - I don't feel there's enough data to make a real conclusion.

    But I suppose that is a belief in itself 8-}
     
  7. rumsmuggler

    rumsmuggler Jedi Grand Master star 7

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    Aug 31, 2000
    Saying that is not knowable the isn't the same as not believing in my pov. I don't think on topic often, so I don't know much on current athiesm. I doubt it has changed much.
     
  8. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
    It's not - that's agnosticism.
     
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  9. Piltdown

    Piltdown Jedi Master star 5

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    May 3, 2002
    Is this a semantic discussion? If so, OZK is wrong. Atheism is a state of being, not a belief. Simply living life without consideration for some form of deity is not a form of belief. You could, by definition, be an atheist simply because you've never been introduced to the concept of deities.

    If this is an actual discussion based on the common perception both of and from atheists, then OZK is correct. And he was quite concise too.
     
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  10. rumsmuggler

    rumsmuggler Jedi Grand Master star 7

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    Aug 31, 2000
    I know. I just neglected to say I know the difference between the two.
     
  11. EHT

    EHT New Films Manager star 7 Staff Member Manager

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    Sep 13, 2007
    That's a good point. So then another question could be: are animals atheistic? From the semantic viewpoint I put forth above, they are. But if it requires thoughtful analysis about the likelihood of a god existing, they aren't.
     
  12. Dark Lady Mara

    Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Jun 19, 1999
    I'd say no because they lack the cognitive ability to be otherwise. A human who is atheistic because they're never been introduced to any concept of deity still has the option to dream up some beliefs for themselves. The fact that they haven't is what makes them atheists.

    That said, many animals display some forms of superstitious behavior, which can be a predecessor of religious ritual.
     
  13. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 19, 1999
    I'm gnostic about supernatural occurrences. I believe that it is completely known and knowable that no supernatural event has ever occurred on the face of the earth or anywhere in its vicinity. A judeo-christian or islamic deity is just another subset of all the possible supernatural entities for whose presence or visitation or intervention on earth there has never been the slightest bit of useful evidence.

    On the other hand, I'm agnostic about the possibility of intelligent universe creators existing outside the boundaries of space and time. For now, everything knowable is limited to the observable universe, in which nothing supernatural has ever been observed in the history of observation.
     
  14. PRENNTACULAR

    PRENNTACULAR VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Dec 21, 2005
    Yeah, I'd argue that agnosticism is the closest thing to a "default" belief that humans can have, and of the three would be the closest to not being a belief. But once you cross the line from "I don't know" to "I know, and I believe _____", you're expressing a belief. So while maybe agnosticism isn't a particular belief, atheism would be, because you're taking a concrete stand one way or the other.
     
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  15. Rogue_Ten

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

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    Aug 18, 2002
    i would agree that atheism is, strictly defined, a non-belief, rather than a belief. however, atheism often assumes a religious-belief-like character. this is i think a natural consequence of atheism, as a concept, having principle engagement with religious belief. in a perfectly atheist world, where religious belief did not exist, atheism would be no more a belief than "unicorns dont exist". for better or for worse, however, the social context surrounding atheist belief is fundamentally a religious one and that imbues atheist rhetoric, thought, and i daresay atheist practice, such as it is, with a religion-like character
     
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  16. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 19, 2000
    I think that, if most self-proclaimed atheists understood the difference between atheism and agnosticism as well as Prenn and Jabba, they might not call themselves atheist as readily.
    Like, for instance, 'apatheist' Bill Maher.

     
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  17. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 19, 1999
    I definitely have a positive belief that none of the miraculous events described in the Original or Belated testaments ever happened.
    I definitely don't know what might exist outside our universe bubble. If our universe bubble has an "outside."
     
  18. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
  19. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
  20. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 19, 2000
  21. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
    Ok, sorry. Just trying to throw some humor into a heavy subject. Didn't realize things had to be serious. No offense intended.
     
  22. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
    Also didn't even realize what a "senate thread" was exactly but I will pay attention in the future. Thanks for being polite when pointing this out (seriously).
     
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  23. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 19, 2000
    I would define 'belief' not so much as 'religion', but more as 'something you believe in' (as opposed to 'something verifiable'). In that sense, I don't think that 'not believing in any of the existing gods' is necessarily a belief. It just means one has never been swayed by unverifiable tales.
     
  24. FatBurt

    FatBurt Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jul 21, 2003
    Everyone is in one way or another atheist.

    Some are just more atheist than others

    Once you understand why you don't believe in Thor, you will understand why many people don't believe in your deity of choice.


    Personally I'm atheist leaning agnostic. If evidence is provided that a god of some nature exists then I will accept that one exists (worshipping one is a whole different ballgame), until that time I work on the basis that as magic doesn't exist, I consider it highly likley that a magical being doesn't exist either.
     
  25. Zane the Reaper

    Zane the Reaper Jedi Knight star 1

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    Nov 5, 2012
    I'm interested in what you mean by this.