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Old 12-15-2004, 02:48 PM   #61
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I'm agnostic, but most online "what religion are you?" peg me as "neo-pagan," so I think I'm just weird.
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Old 12-15-2004, 03:21 PM   #62
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


No I agree athiest is a form of religion. It's a set of beliefs. You deny the existence of God. Therefore you deny this, you deny that, and you deny the other thing.

Agnostic you're saying well maybe, maybe not.

To deny is to hold a belief.

Before you read:
1. When I say 'objective', I mean, to the greatest of our ability. Nothing is 100% objective.

2. When i say that 'not all beliefs have the same argumentative value', I DON'T mean they don't all have the same real value to each individual.

3. The definitions of words like 'best', 'logic', 'faith', 'religion', 'rational' are mine and mine only. You may have equal and different ones.

4. 'Religion' to me, is the belief in supernatural forces, such as God or magic etc. It requires belief or faith (belief without evidence).


All thoughts can be reduced to a form of belief, but not all beliefs have the same argumentative value. As an example, if person 1 believes that snow is the consequence of natural processes and person 2 believes that snow is God's creation, the belief of person 1 has greater argumentative value because he/she can point to numerous objective studies on the subject. While still requiring a belief in the validity of arguments and science, these are called 'postions'. The belief that God created snow is an 'opinion' that rests on completely individual, subjective criteria. There is no objective validation of this.

I am an atheist because it is illogical to believe in something that cannot be cogently argued or has not been shown to be true. First, if atheism is "not believing", then it's not a religion. If anything, it's a argues for the position that the argument is the best form of rational communication and knowledge production. To say not believing is a belief is contradictory, especially when the decision to not believe is conscious and the deliberate result of critical thought. In this case, to not believe is a 'position', not an opinion or a belief. Opinions and beliefs don't require rational justification - however you define that - whereas positions do.

The debate about atheism and belief requires a dichotomy of atheist types. First, there are those who COME TO (not pre-conceived) their atheism through rational, critical thought. This means that they started out with agnostic nihilism and, only through critical thought, comes to their conclusions. They often argue that there is little/no value, and a considerable risk, in buiding upon that which cannot be rationally argued or demonstrated through consequence. Why? Because these considerations would be conceived on untested premises and the results of such thought cannot be reliable (tested for accuracy). It's a position that overlaps with agnosticism in that atheists who have a strong argumentative base will be necessarily forced to change their position upon the introduction of new arguments or evidence (even if it means rejecting atheism). Therefore, it remains anything but a concrete set of beliefs. It takes a stronger position on the value of the argument, but is open-minded because it requires that you do your best to begin each argument with a neutral position (blank slate) and add only knowledge which is demonstrably reliable and valid. It is simply more critical than agnosticism.

The second type of atheist is the type that rejects belief/religion/God in the same manner that believers would believe. They choose to or are told to, but don't consider the arguments and cannot justify their opinions. This is when atheism loses it's value as objective and critical and becomes nothing more than 'a set of beliefs.'

In conclusion, of course there is a lot of in-between here. poeple will be here there and everywhere. I'm just highlighting two of the places i believe are occupied by atheists. it will all be contigent on each individual. I did want to demonstrate that atheism in NOT just a set beliefs. If you've read this and still believe it is, that's ok. But remember, if you believe atheism is, then you must recognize that agnosticism is not free from the same criticism. Agnosticism is simply a belief that you can't know. In fact, I would argue that this concrete assertion makes agnosticism closer to a belief than atheism. Ok...feel free to respond.

Hope I don't offend anybody...

Jon
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:44 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klink


Hope I don't offend anybody...

Jon
No Jon, didn't offend me......just completely confused me. Maybe I'm just a simpleton, or maybe I just need to re-read what you wrote a few more times.

Can I just ask a question of those of you who are athiests.

In most of my conversations with athiests, it seems there has been a negative experience with christians/church etc. I am not saying that there has never been an intellegent well thought out and explored path that they have been on, just that it seems to me- often Atheism is a very emotive reactionary adopted position.

Please don't shoot me down in flames, I am not meaning to be disrespectful. Just want to ask if this is your experience too? Could it be that what you are rejecting is not so much God, as somebody's misrepresentative idea of God?

As I have read through the posts it seems that many of you have mentioned negative experiences with 'religion' in childhood. I have had my own too, but have been careful to sought out what was negative baggage and what the essential core of the various spiritual approahces to life.

To me, the universe is meaningless without a God
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:50 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klink


I am an atheist because it is illogical to believe in something that cannot be cogently argued or has not been shown to be true.
Who says belief in God cannot be cogently argued or has not been shown to be true? Isn't that in itself a 'belief'? I certainly have seen it cogently argued and in my humble opinion, shown to be true.

(As you can see, I've been re-reading your post )
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:54 PM   #65
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I thought Jon made a brilliant post and I hoped that would solve a lot of the misinformation in this thread. Obviously not. lol. No offense to you NotAnEasyThing.

Some atheists are exChristians. And some of those are very bitter and negative towards organised religion.

Some, like me, were raised atheists. I didnt know Christianity was still a living religion until I was 11 years old and moved to the city. Shocked was I, to put it mildly.

And Buddhists are often raised Buddhists as well. But they can also be people who come to it for various reasons.

Does that help? If not please ask again and I will try to explain another way.



*edited cause I spelt atheist wrong, again. LOL*
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:56 PM   #66
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Basically bitter ex-Catholics don't make representative samples of how atheists think or feel.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:09 PM   #67
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Originally posted by beli
I thought Jon made a brilliant post and I hoped that would solve a lot of the misinformation in this thread. Obviously not. lol. No offense to you NotAnEasyThing.

Some athiests are exChristians. And some of those are very bitter and negative towards organised religion.

Some, like me, were raised atheists. I didnt know Christianity was still a living religion until I was 11 years old and moved to the city. Shocked was I, to put it mildly.

Does that help? If not please ask again and I will try to explain another way.
Lol! No offense taken Beli! I think I get Jon's post now, just takes a minute or two to digest

That's really interesting what you said about your own experience. Wouldn't your position then, be similar to someone who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian family and just accepted what they were told to believe, and that's why they're a christian? Like, what critical exploration have you made of the the various primary texts of religions? - Sorry if this sounds somewhat like the spanish inquistion- or if I have missed many previous posts where you have pointed this kinda stuff out. Just is interesting to me.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:09 PM   #68
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Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing



In most of my conversations with athiests, it seems there has been a negative experience with christians/church etc. I am not saying that there has never been an intellegent well thought out and explored path that they have been on, just that it seems to me- often Atheism is a very emotive reactionary adopted position.

Please don't shoot me down in flames, I am not meaning to be disrespectful. Just want to ask if this is your experience too? Could it be that what you are rejecting is not so much God, as somebody's misrepresentative idea of God?

This has been my experience too, especially with younger people. It was a reaction to Christians, or a church, or people and their ways. It has always bugged me that some people would hold it against God when it was just the fault of a bunch of zealots getting on their nerves. I'm not saying this is you guys, only that I have seen a lot of it and this has been my experience with non believers.

To me I cannot live with the idea that we don't go on after we die, even our pets, there has to be something else. I cannot believe it was all for nothing.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:13 PM   #69
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What do you call someone who has a generic belief in God in some form but not following any particular religion's dogma or rules? I know a lot of people like that.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:17 PM   #70
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Adolescence! LOL. I dont know that that counts. Thats hormonal thinking. As an adolscent my little sister attended a church, a Catholic church no less, solely to piss my atheist parents off.

But, I agree with you Kitten. If people are pissed off with organised religion then that should be the focus of their anger. Religion and gods are not necessarily tied together. I know a number of people who believe in the Christian God but wouldnt set foot in a church. (for whatever reason)
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:32 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing
That's really interesting what you said about your own experience. Wouldn't your position then, be similar to someone who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian family and just accepted what they were told to believe, and that's why they're a christian? Like, what critical exploration have you made of the the various primary texts of religions?
Valid question. Actually its two questions. One about gods and one about religion

I have thought about gods. In my darkest hour I have even wished I could believe in a god - it would make life so much easier. But I find it difficult to believe that theres an all poweful being. Why would there be? Just me, I cant fathom that one.

I also cant believe that this sucky planet we call Earth is designed this way. Why would anyone design AIDs, famine, etc?

As for religion I was sent to a Church of England high school (long story). I asked many many questions and wasnt happy with the answers I was given. Thens theres the whole wars, violence and persecution committed by religious peoples. I cant understand why people cant live and let live.

But thats just me.

I have questioned it. I have worked with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Seiks. I currently sit next to a Witch and a Mason. I have previously shared an office with a Coptic priest. And my husbands uncle is a Catholic priest. All of these people have copped questions from me.

Im not sure that that answers your questions though. Does it?
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:34 PM   #72
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Originally posted by U2Kitten
What do you call someone who has a generic belief in God in some form but not following any particular religion's dogma or rules? I know a lot of people like that.
I know more people like that then I do actual Christians. A lot of the ones I know call themselves Spiritualists.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:42 PM   #73
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Originally posted by U2Kitten


This has been my experience too, especially with younger people. It was a reaction to Christians, or a church, or people and their ways. It has always bugged me that some people would hold it against God when it was just the fault of a bunch of zealots getting on their nerves. I'm not saying this is you guys, only that I have seen a lot of it and this has been my experience with non believers.

To me I cannot live with the idea that we don't go on after we die, even our pets, there has to be something else. I cannot believe it was all for nothing.

This is all sincere. Do you think there is a certain amount of concern over this, from some of the larger churches? From my outsider perspective, I find it very troubling. Religion has so many enemies as we all see every day when we read news reports about clashes and resultant violence and the like, yet when it then also becomes it's own enemy, it looks so grim.
Perhaps I'm too idealistic, but I know that if a defined religion was so important to me as it is to so many, it would absolutely burn me up to know that people were being turned away.

Isn't it time to focus on why they are disassociating themselves?
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Old 12-15-2004, 06:07 PM   #74
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my parents attempted to raise me in the baptist faith. they weren't hardcore church goers or anything, but they do believe. i was sceptical from the beginning, somehow it just didn't make sense to me. i had a lot of questions, but i learned really quickly that my inquiring mind was not particularly welcomed by most of the adults i knew.

university was where i first had the chance to truly explore questions about the meaning of life. as a student of history, i found that the vast majority of the world's wars have been based on a clash of religions. maybe my beef is less with religion itself and more with people who use it as a weapon, as a tool of judgment, as a reason to discriminate and humiliate.

i can't wrap my mind around how each religion claims to be the only true and correct one--they can't all be right, and i don't believe just one could be either. what happens to all the people who faithfully follow the *wrong* paths? do they rot in hell despite their best intentions? should they be punished simply because they were misinformed? so many questions, so few satisfying answers.

one of my good friends in high school wrote this quote in the yearbook: 'atheism would demand more blind faith than i could ever muster.' this thought has stuck with me all these years, and i realized that i simply don't have any blind faith, therefore i am atheist.
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Old 12-15-2004, 06:09 PM   #75
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excellent post.

I really must learn how to express my thoughts in ways that people who are unfamilar with me will understand. Im really crap at that.
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