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View Diary: Being an atheist in America (242 comments)

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  •  that is not true (0+ / 0-)

    Believing that there is not Gods is a belief.  Just as I don't believe there are fairies is a belief.

    The problem with the definition that you want to attribute to atheists is that not all people who have an absence of belief are atheists.  In fact, most aren't.  What sets aside atheists is that they believe in the absence of God or Gods.  If you don't believe in that absence you are not an atheist.

    Basically, the distinction you are trying to draw is a false distinction.

    •  Are You a Fundamentalist? (0+ / 0-)

      Believing that there is not Gods is a belief.

      You're right, that is a belief. However:

      • It is not a belief system
      • It is not a belief shared by all atheists.

      The problem with the definition that you want to attribute to atheists is that not all people who have an absence of belief are atheists.

      It's not generally an "absence of belief" which marks one as an atheist (not that such a state sounds possible), it's an absence of belief in gods which marks one as an atheist. If it is your assertion that there are people who lack a belief in gods and who aren't atheists, please explain how and cite examples.

      Before you go much further, though, you might want to consider the fact that most dictionaries and other specialized references define atheism in the broad manner that I an other atheists do.

      What sets aside atheists is that they believe in the absence of God or Gods.

      Why do you think you understand atheism better than atheists? You act like you are "infallible" with regards to the definition of atheism — a problem you assert is characteristic of fundamentalists.

      Are you a fundamentalist?

      "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

      by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 10:24:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  probably (0+ / 0-)

        the most ridiculous part of this whole discussion is that your "definition" link references atheism as a belief system.  oops.

        •  Definitely (0+ / 0-)

          the most ridiculous part of this whole discussion is that your "definition" link references atheism as a belief system.  oops.

          No, it doesn't.

          I'm not honestly sure what the most ridiculous part of this discussion is. Could it be your apparent presumption that you understand atheism better than atheists? Or maybe it's your insistence on continually repeating the same assertions without every even trying to support them — and despite significant evidence to the contrary of what you claim?

          Perhaps it's just the fact that you have adopted an ad hoc definition of fundamentalism for the purpose of attacking fundamentalists and, in the end, it turns out that it applies to you as much as anyone.

          "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

          by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 02:59:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  btw (0+ / 0-)

        i don't pretend to understand atheism better.  I pretend to understand definitions are not subjective terms that you change at will to fit your need not to be categorized.  None of us likes to be categorized and I've been in many debates where I have resisted categorization just like you are.

        •  sheesh (0+ / 0-)

          i don't pretend to understand atheism better. I pretend to understand definitions are not subjective terms that you change at will to fit your need not to be categorized.

          First, it's incorrect that I have a need not to be categorized. I've already written a post to you refuting that bit of arrogant arm-chair psychologizing.

          Second, I didn't provide a subjective definition that I change at will. I provided a definition which is supported by most comprehensive dictionaries. Even that aside, it's the definition you'll consistently find atheists using to describe themselves — and so long as you insist that atheists are wrong in how they define atheism, you are effectively pretending that you understand atheism better than atheistgs.

          None of us likes to be categorized and I've been in many debates where I have resisted categorization just like you are.

          So, it appears that your presumption that I don't like to be categorized is, once again, merely an example of you seeing yourself rather than seeing me. That's why I told you it's wrong to do this: you end up making one mistake after another. Stop trying to have conversations with yourself and instead approach others as their own, independent selves.

          "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

          by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 03:03:21 PM PDT

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          •  go and read your 'definition' that you cited (0+ / 0-)

            it comes down to a disbelief in Gods (with lots of attempts to project and define theists subjectively).

            The categorization comment comes from reading the definition you cite.  It spends paragraphs and paragraphs trying to explain why there should be a broader definition, only to allow what the dictionaries already state - that what makes atheists atheists is that they do not believe in God or Gods (note that the writer acknowledges that absence of belief is not what defines an atheist).

            It also comes from observations of social groups and education.  This includes observation of myself - it is not based solely on my experience.  I'm using myself as an example to make it clear that we all do this ( I still do it) and it is not unusual or something to be defensive about.

            •  Uhh.... I wrote it (0+ / 0-)

              go and read your 'definition' that you cited it comes down to a disbelief in Gods

              Yes, atheism is disbelief in gods. Go read the cited dictionary definitions on the meaning of disbelief. And "gods" should be lowercase, by the way.

              with lots of attempts to project and define theists subjectively.

              No, theism is defined objectively as belief in the existence of some god or gods.

              The categorization comment comes from reading the definition you cite. It spends paragraphs and paragraphs trying to explain why there should be a broader definition, only to allow what the dictionaries already state - that what makes atheists atheists is that they do not believe in God or Gods (note that the writer acknowledges that absence of belief is not what defines an atheist).

              As the writer in question, I can categorically state that you are wrong that the writer does not acknowledge that the absence of belief is not what defines an atheism. Yes, dictionaries state that "what makes atheists atheists is that they do not believe in God or Gods," but "do not believe in gods" is not the same as "deny that gods exist."

              The failure to accept the truth of a proposition is not the same as the denial of that proposition. Thus, the failure of a person to accept the truth of the proposition "god exists" makes them an atheist, but it does not mean that they deny the proposition "god exists" — which would entail asserting the truth of the proposition "god does not exist."

              To put it in more formal logic terms,  ~(believe P) =! believe (~P)

              I'm using myself as an example to make it clear that we all do this ( I still do it) and it is not unusual or something to be defensive about.

              I don't care whether you do it or not. I already posted on the fact that there are a great many categories which I accept without hesitation as being true about myself. For some reason, you appear to suffer from an inability to believe what others tell you about themselves when what they say isn't true about yourself. I don't understand that.

              "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

              by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 03:22:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Whatever man, (0+ / 0-)

      I drive a porche. So there.

    •  fairies (0+ / 0-)

      I don't believe there are fairies is a belief.

      this does not follow. you're equating belief as an action with that as an externally imposed category. take a hypothetical society who does not speculate on the supernatural. then imagine that some people in that society choose one day to believe in fairies. By your reasoning, all others are automatically then adherents of the "i-don't-believe-in-fairies" belief. If that is the case, you are a member of infinite 'beliefs' defined by other's choices. What does the term 'belief' mean at that point?

      •  no (0+ / 0-)

        My not believing in fairies is MY non-belief.  I have heard of fairies.  I've read books about fairies.

        In your hypothetical situation, those folks would neither be believers or non-believers but folks absent belief.  That does not make them a sort of atheist but simply folks who haven't discerned yet what to believe.

        •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

          In your hypothetical situation, those folks would neither be believers or non-believers but folks absent belief.

          I'm guessing that this is news to you, but the prefix a means "without, absence of, not." Atheism is thus "without theism" or "absence of theism" or "not theism."

          That does not make them a sort of atheist but simply folks who haven't discerned yet what to believe.

          Perhaps they haven't discerned yet what to believe, but it's a fact that they lack belief in fairies. If they aren't fariy-ists, then what are they if not a-fairy-ists?

          "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

          by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 03:05:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  fairies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lightiris

         I don't believe there are fairies is a belief.

      this does not follow. you're equating belief as an action with that as an externally imposed category. Take a hypothetical society who does not speculate on the supernatural. then imagine that some people in that society choose one day to believe in fairies. By your reasoning, all others are automatically then adherents of the "i-don't-believe-in-fairies" belief. If that is the case, you are a member of infinite 'beliefs' defined by other's choices. What does the term 'belief' mean at that point?

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