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5/04/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Atheism Versus Theism

By Micah Cowan

My brother-in-law Tim had some interesting points to make about neurotheology, which he submitted in comments to my posted link to DagoodS’s article, Prove It!. I responded in-thread to most of what he had to say, but some comments he made presented an opportunity to discuss a topic that I believe is worth a separate post, and so here it is.

Tim says:

The fact that you can measure something like that [one’s spirituality, via externally observable properties in the brain] implies to me that atheists and theists should adopt a truce similar to the one Stephen Jay Gould offered between science and religion.


I’m very much in favor of this. I have no quarrel with theism, I just don’t personally hold to it. The atheist, if he is honest, cannot lay claim to a certainty of explanation in support of abiogenesis (the spontaneous transition of lifeless matter into living). There are some interesting hypotheses, to be sure, but I’m confident that we will never be able to determine how life really began.

Modern scientific inquiry may well bring us to understand how all the matter in the universe came to be: it appears that we may have done so, through the study of quantum mechanics, the veracity of which findings I cannot begin to pretend to be capable of ascertaining. If we have indeed done so, however, we are still left with the unenviable task of determining how the underlying fabric that spawned our matter was itself activated; and whether it was “started” somehow or forms some sort of perpetual motion machine.

At some point then, both atheist and theist encounter something which must be eternal in nature, existing forever before, and potentially forever after, the existence of everything of which we are currently aware. Theists presume that this something is intelligent on its own, and call it God. But we have no explanation for what started God, and, I believe, God is no more of an answer than leaving that answer blank, as it has not explained the mystery of something being eternal to any greater satisfaction than we had before we placed God in the answer space. The difference between atheism and theism (without addenda) seems very slight, then, to me, and doesn’t bother me much. I think it can be useful and interesting to debate, but I have no compulsion to convince theists that they are wrong.

But theism is not religion. The degree to which I may have a quarrel with religion is proportional to the degree to which that particular flavor of religion encourages the suspension of rational arguments based on what may be observed, in deference to faith; and the suspension of our innate moral sensitivities, in deference to what someone put down in a book. Since my abandonment of Evangelical Christianity, I have become increasingly disturbed by Bible literalism, and the actions, philosophies, sensibilities, and thinking processes of Bible literalists.

Basing one’s morality and decision-making upon the Bible is great when the book is saying, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and proclaiming that the essence of good is to “do justly, love mercy, and walk in humility.” There are many principles that I love and admire from the Bible, and still continue to seek to apply to my life.

But using the Bible as the basis for morality is less great when it approves the wholesale slaughter of infants for the mere fact of who their parents were [1 Sam 15:2-3, & various], or of women on the basis of a test for virginity that is not even remotely reliable (that is, the absence of the flow of blood, subsequent to her first act of copulation) [Deut 22:13-21], places women under the subjugation of men, insults and discredits women as being significantly more susceptible to deception than men and unfit for giving instruction to men [1 Tim 2:12-15], and condemns consenting adults for what they may choose to do in the privacy of their own home.

Does the cannon of atheism have an equivalent to Matthew 5:16? Should you convince the Jehovah’s Witness at your door to become the next Bertrand Russel, or just take his flyer and bid him cuique suum?


Is there such thing as a canon of atheism? :)

If there were, Richard Dawkins and Samuel Harris would probably feature prominently. I have not read Harris, and I have mixed feelings regarding Dawkins; in any case, neither of them seem to be the “be and let be” types. :)

Let me say this: I would not derive any satisfaction, as many atheists of my acquaintance appear to do in “debating” with religious people, from telling the Witness how very wrong he is, and how my views are vastly superior to his. The Watchtower is a destructive cult, however, and I would be glad for any individual to escape its influence, so I am motivated thereby to attempt to debate beliefs with the open-minded (not a particularly common creature in the Watchtower, given that they apparently forbid the reading or examination of other points of view).

I’m not saying you should let others run roughshod over your beliefs in the public sphere; I’m saying it may be more personally fulfilling to be a pluralist than a polemicist.


I doubt it: the idea of pluralism—which to me means the notion that all beliefs are approximately equal in acceptability—leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Which is why I’d have some trouble being a Unitarian Universalist, though I sometimes toy with the idea of attending Unitarian services, and suspect that there may well be some such churches in which I could even be comfortable. I find the Society of Friends to be a more palatable prospect, as it is a fairly mild form of theism, and in some versions of Quakerism I could feel free to substitute a simple humanistic innate inner voice for the concept of The Guiding Light.

I don’t hate religion, and I feel no need to convince people that all religion is bad (though I do feel that most religions have some negative aspects), or that Christianity in particular is bad (but see my previous parenthetical remark). I do despise ignorance, and am very motivated to write against that. As my chief encounters with ignorance by far are in connection to my experience with particular brands of my particular former religion, that is undoubtedly where my thoughts, and my writing, is likely to center.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

45 comments:

punchybird said...

Thank You for that. you hit the nail on the head with thoughts of religion. My thoughts on the subject have always been pretty much the same.

Joe said...

Interesting article that I found linked on Infidels.org. It discusses a more militant breed of atheism emerging in Europe as a counterpoint to radical religious groups.

http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2007/04/13/news/nation_and_world/doc461f5d01d7acb042697268.txt

I strongly believe that secularism is humanity's way forward. I won't deny people the right to be deluded, but I won't let their delusion lead to wars and abuses without raising my hand.

jfraysse said...

Micah: I enjoyed your post as usual – Thanks!

Joe: I’m with you, man! Religious Fascism is probably the most dangerous human force on the planet. But if we are tacitly allowing the delusion, we are also allowing the potential for extremism. What checks and balances are needed?

I don’t wish to be counted amongst the Bush Bashers, but when asked why he finally decided to go to War with Iraq when his own Dad and many of his senior advisors, did not, President Bush responded, that he “listened to his Heavenly Father more than is Earthly one”! So, here we go, “God is on our side” and worse yet, God directs the invasion and takeover of sovereign nations! Not new; God did this many times in the OT, but what a dangerous concept; the very root of all Religious Fascism and precisely the cause of 9/11. Oil and God’s Wars – We seem to be dependent on both! What a mess!

I think I’ll start a new political action group “Agnostics United for Energy Independence”. What do ya think?

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Jfrayssee,

Yep. Missions from God are a dangerous thing. Add Hitler to the list of leaders following God's will. Not that I believe most of God's political leaders are actually hearing the Almighty's voice when they pray in their closets. It's just an expedient way of getting heads to nod among a large group that doesn't analyze evidence carefully enough.

How about naming the PAC Agnostics Committed to Science (ACTS)... :)

jfraysse said...

Joe: ACTS! I love it! A decidedly clever name, methinks! We could write the book of ACTS and then recite chapter and verse! :)

Steve said...

Micah,

You should read Sam Harris. Then maybe you will have an idea about why we should be vocal and oppose religion.

It's not about my opinion being "superior" to someone else's. That is not the issue at all. And I won't waste my time trying to talk those people at the door with the Watchtower, anyway.

Listen, I was in a car accident about 4 years ago, and I came close to dying as one can. Should have been in Vegas that day because my luck was incredibly good, at least after about 10-15 incredibly unlucky seconds. I had Xtian friends afterward constantly telling me it was a miracle. Someone was watching over me. They prayed their hearts out for me. Wouldn't I now change my mind about God?

I had to be frank with them. I appreciated their concern, and even their prayers, more than they could ever know. They put positive vibrations into the air, and maybe that helped. But if there's some god or angel watching over me, why didn't it just wake me up after I fell asleep, so I could have avoided the whole crash and burn scene? And skin grafts over 30% of my body. And the brain injury, and deep vein thrombosis and fractured vetebrae, etc etc. Oh, God's great mystery.

I have attempted in a kind way to tell them that the experience hasn't changed my understanding of what science tells us about the nature of the universe. Nor has it changed my view that the Bible is not a worthy document for the basis of any sort of moral belief system. They shake their heads and walk away.

You see, there is no room for compromise. Either your mind exists in the real world or fantasyland. I can't be halfway into fantasyland, and they don't want half of my mind anyway. This is not a forced dichotomy, there just is no logical middle ground. You can tell yourself there is, and use all manner of mental gymnastics to prove it to yourself, but in the end you are just deceiving yourself.

Anyway, check out Sam Harris, "The End of Faith."

Steve

Anonymous said...

There are already some religious groups who are basically atheists in disguise. Some Episcopalians, for example, deny the Virgin Birth and the resurrection of Jesus, and they reject several of Jesus' teachings on women, gays, etc. Their ideology comes out clearly in the writings of John Shelby Spong. They are atheists, but they still retain the term "Christian" for whatever reason. This is dangerous because people basically create their own moral code from the vagueness of their religion that allows them to feel good regardless of consequences to others, since God "looks past" their behavior. This is the reason that theism can be bad, but we know atheism can have similar consequences because people can make up morals based on how they feel. A common moral code must be established so that humanity can thrive, rather than anarchy. This will not fully happen as long as theists exist, though we are trying to some extent by the use of government (which is horribly imperfect).

A. Ford

P.S. I'm a professor of physics, and I don't completely understand all the stuff about creation either, though I have read a little about it.

Joe said...

Minor correction A. Ford. I don't believe that we can call Bishop Spong an atheist in any sense. He's a deist at least, and a xian in that he holds to the idea that the tradition (albeit modified by time and culture) is still valid. In reaching back, he seems to be taking a cutting from the original root of xianity to propagate it again in a culturally adapted form.

What we end up with is another off-shoot of the same neo-platonic mystical magical religion, just better synched to our era.

Anonymous said...

The general a-theist rejects the general theist, whom both makes universal claims.

The particular a-theist rejects/opposes the particular theist's claims, with or without evidence.

In the realm of particular atheistic tendency, it is quite possible for two theists to denounce each other’s god(s), making both sides atheistic.

The Catholics use the word "heretic" to describe those who disagree with their divinely given authority. Thus Protestants are an atheist type to Catholics, and Catholics are an atheist type to Protestants; if either is willing to make the declaration. If either did, it could be founded on principle and logic.

Most times, the term atheism is used to define a group with a common ideology; in a universal context.

Regarding Christianity, and the paradox of being dualistically atheistic... The Christian doctrine forces the rejection of all other idols/gods, etc., thus, Christianity is "implicitly" atheistic, or as some would note; a soft form of atheism.

Ironic; that most Christians deny they are atheistic because they have been indoctrinated for so long, and have projected their belief towards society for so long, that the only form of ideology they can perceive "must" be in the form of "explicit" and universal expression.

Just as Deists implicitly reject Christianity via their belief tenets, so do Christians implicitly reject Deists.

Interesting fact; the Episcopalian belief is the most commonly held belief of all U.S. presidents.

Deeper implication of U.S. presidents who held religious beliefs... they were all implicitly atheistic towards other type theists based on the doctrine of their belief.

Regarding the radical form of atheism forming in Europe as a response to radical theism; logically speaking, both are fighting from absurd positions over that which is nonsensical. It would be interesting to note, the difference between the radical atheist who really, really, really rejects the radical theist, and the basic run of the mill explicit atheist. I’m not sure, I’m getting the picture; perhaps it’s based on the outspoken nature of the radical atheist group?

If so, I’m not sure I see a huge difference; other than as a means for theists/government(s) to draw attention to a specific type atheist within the explicit atheist category that are not shy about expressing their views, and surely not shy about seeking to influence the political environment.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a professor of physics, and I don't completely understand all the stuff about creation either, though I have read a little about it."

Is it the why or how that keeps you up at night? Why?

Anonymous said...

"I think it can be useful and interesting to debate, but I have no compulsion to convince theists that they are wrong."

To promote enlightenment, is to promote/convince others to think a certain way.

To enlighten from ignorance, may be seen as the act of convincing; and if ignorance makes the theist right, any counter claim of enlightenment would be to suggest the theist is wrong.

The only way to maintain the "no compulsion to convince" statement, is to not engage in any communication with someone who is an ignorantly founded theist.

As well, it’s absurd to suggest one can lay out a statement and not care if it convinces or influences others; the very act of laying out the statement promotes some level of care or compulsion.

Anonymous said...

Hyuk; big, long, boring posts from christians are so easily identifiable! My bullcrap filter allows me to recognize spiel like this instantly by visually scanning quickly for keywords and keyphrases that christians like to use so frequentlyso as to prevent me from further wasting time by actually reading the entire article. For example, a quick scan of the above post revealed the phrase "most noble Law in the universe - the TEN COMMANDMENTS". Instantly, my bullcrap filter dismissed the entire article. Whew! Thank non-god for my bullcrap filter! It's such a timesaver! Now I can spend this saved time on more important and productive things, like cleaning my car, or doing the laundry, or even wiping my butt for that matter!! Wes.

Micah Cowan said...

To promote enlightenment, is to promote/convince others to think a certain way.…

The only way to maintain the "no compulsion to convince" statement, is to not engage in any communication with someone who is an ignorantly founded theist.…

As well, it’s absurd to suggest one can lay out a statement and not care if it convinces or influences others; the very act of laying out the statement promotes some level of care or compulsion.

What, have you never heard of such things as mutual sharing of ideas? Philosophers do it all the time.

The reason I have no issue with theism, is that some forms of it are barely different at all, from atheism. Thomas Paine's variety of theism, for instance, is that God created the world, and then mainly stayed out of its way from that point on. He gave us the spark that created the universe and life, and then sat back and watched. To me, this is such a non-issue, why should I work to convince someone that they are wrong about it? It is the folks who claim that they have additional information about this supposed God, whom I will argue with (as Mr Paine did), as they invariably do not possess the information they've claimed.

boomSLANG said...

ROFLMAO! Good stuff! "SATAN!"....BOO!!!!!

Here's a dandy from Fundonymous' mile long rant: Atheism didn’t receive its origin by a true absence of proof of God’s existence, because there has always been and always will be overwhelming proof to the contrary.

Congratulations, Fundonymous, you are the new poster child for those who have zero clue what Atheism actually means, and why it "exists".

Yoo hoo?..y'there?

Um, Atheism received it's "orgin" because of people just like you---people who insist that "God" exists.

Speaking of---please submit your "overwhelming proof" for the existence of your god. Waiting.

eel_shepherd said...

long-winded Anonymous wrote:
"...The Holy Spirit who spoke through the pen of the Apostle Paul, drew a conclusion from what is presented in the previous verses..."

And which spirit spoke through the pen of the person who edited the apostle's epistle?

Honestly Anony... so much text, so little of it about eels, except in code. Fortunately I possess the key to all that verbiage, so I got all the secret gnostic eelocentric references. But it must have been tough sledding for many of the others. *extends cyber secret-handshake*

.:webmaster:. said...

First off, anonymous, you copied and pasted an entire website page, and you didn't bother to give any attribution. Here's the link: LINK.

Second, one of your websites indicates that you are a white supremest, a believer in UFO/Bigfoot, and a wacky troll.

Your post has been deleted.

Jim Arvo said...

Wow, webmaster, that link is a hoot. I hope people will take some time to check it out (for comic relief). I always wondered who the "author" of atheism was; wouldn't you know it was Satan all along! Sheesh. But this did get me thinking. I wonder who the author of disbelief in Sasquatch is. I mean, someone must have started the whole "I doubt Big Foot really exists" philosophy because... well... how else could such a pernicious belief system get going? Somebody (or something) must have been to first to plant the seeds of doubt, which have subsequently poisoned the minds of millions who would otherwise have been good and faithful Sasquatchians. Now, who could have authored such a diabolical belief system? Hmmm? There's really only one possibility, isn't there? The pieces are all falling into place now...

Okay, back to reality.

Micah Cowan said...

Wow, this page suddenly got much shorter again! ;)

Anonymous said...

Robert T. Lee: "It appears as if it is the mark of nobility, decorousness and civicness for a people, society or nation to make laws by which to govern themselves. But a proper assessment of such an undertaking reveals just the opposite: it is the mark of heathenism. Contrary to what is generally thought, no nation or people should be in the business of endeavoring to govern themselves."
http://www.tencommandments.org/index.html

In the cross-examination between atheism and theism, one could suggest atheism is a release from religious doctrine, while much of theism is led by doctrine, perhaps via in-doctrin-ation.

Anonymous said...

"What, have you never heard of such things as mutual sharing of ideas? Philosophers do it all the time."

:-) Fred Phelps just exchanges ideas at funerals; not really caring of the impact on society. Interesting, that he creates discontent and suffering in the families that are dealing with a loss.

Is there such a thing as a responsible form of not caring how one influences another person?

Micah Cowan said...

@ anonymous,

Are you deliberately ignoring most of what I write? How can you come even close to comparing the moral irresponsibility of Fred Phelps' obviously agenda'd rants, with the question of countering theism (and I've been very careful to consistently separate theism from religion)?

Is there such a thing as a responsible form of not caring how one influences another person?

Do you consider it irresponsible not to try to influence everybody you know that they should love peanut butter? Obviously, not every opinion is worth striving to win converts.

I've given what I believe to be fairly good reasons why atheism vs theism (alone, without addenda—as stated so many times before now, but restated once again in case you missed it) is a non-issue. Until you start giving reasons why I should bother, I don't see the point in continuing to discuss it with you.

Have you forgotten, or are you unaware, that one of the most powerful speakers against religion, and most particularly Christianity—Thomas Paine—was himself a completely convinced theist?

Anonymous said...

"Are you deliberately ignoring most of what I write?"

Yes, but that is because I agree with much of what you wrote :-) Obviously, I am puzzling over a piece that doesn't seem to fit the rest of the picture you painted.

"How can you come even close to comparing the moral irresponsibility of Fred Phelps' obviously agenda'd rants,"

Does his irresponsibility seduce you into slipping on a little convincing attire? :-)

"...with the question of countering theism (and I've been very careful to consistently separate theism from religion)?"

Theism is nothing but a word that represents a general concept. Perhaps, its not the concept, but the delivery that isn't palatable to many. Religion is the largest delivery system, working from the root concept of theism.

Deism is also rooted from theism, but from what I gather, you have a markedly different view of its merits, based on how deists employ or deliver their belief(s), laissez faire.

We 'act' convincingly when we promote information; we are part of the convincing process the moment we place our convincingly placed terms out in the open. To suggest one doesn't aspire to convince, is irrelevant; it happens whether or not the person is making the attempt or not. To suggest one is ambivalent as to the intent to convince doesn’t remove the person from the process.

The statement of not trying to convince someone of something, sounds too much like; "I don't get up in the morning to breathe oxygen", yet, we do. Getting up may be useful and interesting to talk about as well, but it doesn't remove the fact that we still breathe oxygen when we get up in the morning, even if we suggest that it is not our intent.

There of course is the subtlety of persistence however. I could conceive that some people show a level of desire to convince others, by the sheer persistence they apply to their statements or claims. So, although we drop a statement that may or may not be convincing, as part of the convincing process; one could suggest that they just drop it after making the initial comment and not persisting in the discourse. However, that seems much like 'telling' someone something, not discussing something, like a couple of philosophers.

"Do you consider it irresponsible not to try to influence everybody you know that they should love peanut butter? Obviously, not every opinion is worth striving to win converts."

Not at all, but it's still misleading to suggest one is posing with a peanut butter jar, and smiling with their hands rubbing their bellies, and not engaged in a convincing stance.

You hit the nail on the head with Fred Phelps, as an irresponsible leech. However, one can only make that statement by holding up their own brand of peanut butter, and suggesting it is better.

Sure, neither of us may meet Fred Phelps, and drop a one liner on him leaving him to either be convinced or not of our true peanut butter, but there are times, when we don't get the choice of who we are exposed to. So, per my experience, a good offense has effectively been a great defense. I don’t convince myself that I will not have to be exposed to other people in society; I have come to terms with not being able to escape.

Fred Phelps may suggest his opinions are not meant to win converts, yet he has them. Suppose someone liked his peanut butter, and was convinced of his one liner’s enough to follow him.

"I've given what I believe to be fairly good reasons why atheism vs theism (alone, without addenda—as stated so many times before now, but restated once again in case you missed it) is a non-issue. Until you start giving reasons why I should bother, I don't see the point in continuing to discuss it with you."

The comparison between two general concepts or ideal frameworks; Atheism & theism were not the focus of my curiosity. Comparing two ideals or concepts, by suggesting they are basically lacking the details that are required to give them a starker contrast is restating the fact, that they are both nothing short of basic general concepts, neither holding more detail than the other to sway or convince one to either side.

The contrast comes when the details are added to the conceptual framework, and a delivery system is employed. Really, I think I have a handle on the difference between a general concept and the details that are poured within that framework. Deism seems to have fewer details and is more liberal and easy going than other theistic beliefs/religions. Perhaps, my words have not convinced you that I am actually aware of your most astute observations regarding general concepts? :-) If I said, my intent wasn't to convince you, would it really matter; surely you would either be convinced or not, with or without my intent.

"Have you forgotten, or are you unaware, that one of the most powerful speakers against religion, and most particularly Christianity—Thomas Paine—was himself a completely convinced theist?"

I was unaware that I'd forgotten Thomas Paine. He has always stood out as a very influential and convincing speaker, especially against the particular details of Christianity and the method it employs to deliver its spores.

Thomas Paine held to the concept of theism; but as well, was just as provocative as the religious by adding particular belief claims to his form of theism; deism.

He not only held up the peanut butter jar; he threw it at those he felt needed a little mental revival. Fred Phelps would have taken a jar upside the head. Obviously, not all opinions win converts, and even Thomas Paine himself may have never cared to win converts, but - here we are on a thread hundreds of years later, convinced of the truth of his words, whether that was his intent or not.

Regarding your thread - atheism vs. theism; I did enjoy the read. Take care.

Jamie said...

You know, "atheist" is a word with a definition. You can't call a protestant an "atheist" in regards to Catholicism because they don't believe the same thing. It isn't a word that means "disbelieving whatever some other schmoe believes" It has a specific meaning, that is, not believing in a supreme divine being (or God). This anonymous guy seems to have simply defined the word as he sees fit without paying attention to the actual meaning of the word. I guess if we can just make up our own definitions, we can pretty much convince ourselves of anything.

Anonymous said...

"You know, "atheist" is a word with a definition."

Atheism, noun 1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism

Roman Catholic view of God:
"The First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD established a nearly universal Trinitarian dogma and expressly rejected any heresies. "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity

Roman Catholicism recognizes only "one" god, their god based on their specific trinitarian description, etc. All other gods are not true, and thus, they deny belief in such gods.

"Explicit atheism is defined as "the absence of theistic belief due to a conscious rejection of it", which, according to Smith, is sometimes characterized as antitheism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicit_and_explicit_atheism

Roman Catholics by doctrine disbelieve and thereby reject all other god(s), and theistic belief in god(s). This includes all Protestants that do not accept the Roman Catholic rendition of their specifically defined God.

"You can't call a protestant an "atheist" in regards to Catholicism because they don't believe the same thing."

It's not a difference of opinion, or they believe different things. It's the outright Catholic rejection of all other gods that do not conform to their particular and certain set of rules and specifications.

And any Protestant that rejects the Catholic God is in the same boat.

"It isn't a word that means "disbelieving whatever some other schmoe believes" It has a specific meaning, that is, not believing in a supreme divine being (or God)."

Disbelieve: "(used with object) 1. to have no belief in; refuse or reject belief in: to disbelieve reports of UFO sightings."

Atheism, noun 1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism

"This anonymous guy seems to have simply defined the word as he sees fit without paying attention to the actual meaning of the word. I guess if we can just make up our own definitions, we can pretty much convince ourselves of anything."

1-You have no idea I'm a he.
2-You lack understanding of my intent, by suggesting I deliberately misrepresented a word. As, I represented it exactly as the dictionary defines it.

The fact of the matter Jamie is that a theist can have one foot planted in the roots of theism, and one foot planted in the roots of atheism.

I guess if they can just make up their own doctrine, they can pretty much convince themselves of anything.

Micah Cowan said...

Anonymous, ...

"Atheism, noun 1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. The doctrine that there is no God or gods."

...of the existence of any god. An atheist believes in no god whatsoever. The second sentence makes that 100% clear. Atheism is "the doctrine that there is no God or gods." That's just what you quoted. If you believe in any god whatsoever, regardless of whether you disbelieve in all the others, you are not an atheist.

Jamie said...

That was an awful lot of posts, with an awful lot of quotes backing up the real definition of an atheist, that still somehow (magically?) came around to the conclusion that an atheist can believe in a god or some gods, as long as it's not the same ones as someone else. The quoted definitions don't back that up, though.

When people post as "anonymous" it's easier to say "he" when no other clue is given. I don't mean any disrespect by that. It's just that writing "(s)he" is cumbersome and annoying to read. Simply writing "she" would be the same as writing "he" when gender is unknown, and most people would think it disrespectful if I referred to Anonymous as "it". Furthermore, in any post, there are several different people posting with the name "Anonymous". Presumeably some are male and some are female. Putting a name might help puzzle it out, if a name is gender-specific. It would save people the apparent offense of being referred to as the wrong gender.

Pat said...

A house is white, with black shutters and a black door. Is the house white or black?

If I said the door was black, and someone continued saying the house was white though, does that make the door and shutters magically appear white.

It depends on how a question is formed about the house, as the house holds blackness as well as whiteness qualia. Focus the context on the door and its black; focus on one wall its white all of a sudden.

Obviously, it’s a matter of putting statements into context, it was stated that Catholics, and all orthodox in general, are atheistic towards those who hold other gods in veneration by their implied doctrine.

If someone wants to hold an all or none belief in the definition, all houses are white or black, because that is the only context they ever want to use the term atheism with, then that is their right.

However, that doesn't remove the validity of the context in which I presented the case. So, it appears at this point; regarding atheism and how people can hold atheistic qualities, just as a white male can hold Latino qualities and a million other examples, it would be prudent to suggest that we agree to disagree on the flexibility of the term.

I see it multi-dimensional as a versatile quality, others may not agree, and see an all or none approach in one dimension. To each our own, perhaps all is black and white, and there are no grays.

.:webmaster:. said...

Early Christians were charged with atheism by the prevailing religion for refusing to offer the expected sacrifices.

boomSLANG said...

Pat: A house is white, with black shutters and a black door. Is the house white or black? [bold added]

It's white. Why?..because you just said the "house" is "white". If someone states that a house is "white", it is implicit that it may not be entirely white.

Moreover, distinguishing something by it's color, is descriptive. Descriptions and definitions aren't always mutually inclusive. "Atheist", by definition, is the lack of belief in supernatural deities..i.e.."god(s)". It doesn't equivocate; it doesn't make allowances for one's own "God".

Pat: So, it appears at this point; regarding atheism and how people can hold atheistic qualities, just as a white male can hold Latino qualities and a million other examples, it would be prudent to suggest that we agree to disagree on the flexibility of the term.

The term "Atheist", is not flexible, though, in terms of belief in supernatual deities. That's the point. And what are "Atheistic qualities"? If you say anything about an "Atheist" other than they lack belief in supernatural beings, you may be venturing into subjective territory.

Anony: ...a theist can have one foot planted in the roots of theism, and one foot planted in the roots of atheism.

Yes, just like an asexual person can have one foot planted in chastity, and one foot planted in the porn industry. But seriously, the word "Atheist" is "rooted" in non-belief. Period. The word is only necessary because of people who insist that gods exist.

To say that the term Atheist can mean, "I don't believe in gods.... well, except for blah, blah, blah", would be just like saying that the term "unmarried" means, "I'm not married....well, except for my spouse".

Jamie said...

Pat, I don't know if that is your real name, but adding that after my little speech about gender, so that I STILL can't say "he" or "she" without a 50% chance of being wrong is just plain funny. For that, you have my utmost respect. Seriously.

I will agree to disagree on the flexibility of the term...we could argue about it all day if we wanted, but it's likely that neither of us really want to.

Jim Arvo said...

Pat, select a person at random and ask them this question: "Do you currently believe in the existence of one or more gods?"

If they answer "yes", then they are a theist.

If they answer "no", then they are an atheist.

If they answer with "what do you mean by the word 'god'?", then they are a philosopher, and you have your work cut out for you. However, the previous two answers remain clear.

If you make the question any more complicated than that, such as by adding qualifications about certainty or absolute proof, then you have artificially changed a straightforward question into a convoluted debate, and you will get convoluted answers. If you want a simple answer, ask a simple question.

Micah Cowan said...

Pat, I understand the point you're trying to make with regard to "aspects" or "multidimensional" (though I agree with Jamie that your analogy is poor), but the term "atheism" only applies that way when you specifically qualify it to.

I have no problem, for example, when you say something like "atheistic with respect to" a particular god or gods. That makes it clear that you don't mean
"atheistic"; you mean "atheistic with respect to", which changes it from an absolute to a relative term.

But when you make unqualified statements such as:

[T]hus, Christianity is "implicitly" atheistic, or as some would note; a soft form of atheism.

Ironic; that most Christians deny they are atheistic because they have been indoctrinated for so long

et cetera… or when you appeal to the definition of the word "atheism" (which in no way supports your usage of it), then you no longer have the protection of the qualified phrase. In particular, it is silly to imply that Christians are atheistic, without specifically qualifying it; and I doubt most Christians would deny it with the qualification.

You can't even make your claim that they have "atheistic qualities"; that still means that they have "qualities" of believing that there are no gods. You could argue that (why do Christians cry at funerals, for example?), but it's not at all related to the fact that they don't believe in someone else's particular god.

Dan Barker, in a debate that was posted to this site, and other atheists in debate, I believe, have made the "atheist with respect to other gods" argument before… but they have always qualified it, otherwise the claim makes no sense. I've never particularly liked the argument, to begin with, but at least they made it correctly.

Pat(rick/ricia) :-) said...

Micah, "But when you make unqualified statements such as:

anony, "[T]hus, Christianity is "implicitly" atheistic, or as some would note; a soft form of atheism. Ironic; that most Christians deny they are atheistic because they have been indoctrinated for so long et cetera…"

The above statement was qualified, by using "atheist type", prior. As in;

anony, "The Catholics use the word "heretic" to describe those who disagree with their divinely given authority. Thus Protestants are an atheist type to Catholics, and Catholics are an atheist type to Protestants; if either is willing to make the declaration. If either did, it could be founded on principle and logic."

Thus, the unqualified was qualified prior to, the statement you presented as fallacious. An atheistic type, is a particular disbelief in a particular type god, specifically the god that a Catholic or Protestant would disbelieve in.

Micah, "or when you appeal to the definition of the word "atheism" (which in no way supports your usage of it), then you no longer have the protection of the qualified phrase."

:-) Can you please provide the term of atheism which is in 'no' way supported by the qualified phrase, "atheistic type", which means atheistic in regard to a particular type god, thanks.

Micah, "In particular, it is silly to imply that Christians are atheistic, without specifically qualifying it; and I doubt most Christians would deny it with the qualification."

Again, qualified Christians/Protestants as belonging to an "atheist type" set, or, as you put it, 'in regard to' a particular god type.

Micah, "I have no problem, for example, when you say something like "atheistic with respect to" a particular god or gods. That makes it clear that you don't mean
"atheistic"; you mean "atheistic with respect to", which changes it from an absolute to a relative term."

Seems to be the exact statement said, in a number of ways; but, here is my statement once again.

anony, "Thus Protestants are an atheist type to Catholics, and Catholics are an atheist type to Protestants;"

Thus Protestants are an "atheistic type" towards Catholics, hopefully is understood as Protestants are "atheistic with respect to" (or towards) a particular god or gods, specifically the god of the Catholics. I'll use your words next time, as atheistic type, as being a specific projection of atheism towards a particular god, seems to be complex.

Micah, "I've never particularly liked the argument, to begin with, but at least they made it correctly."

As did I, differences of expression obviously require one to 'infer' somewhat, again, I'll use your words from here on out, so that there is crystal clear understanding :-)

I really liked Jim's inputs!

Jim, "Pat, select a person at random and ask them this question: "Do you currently believe in the existence of one or more gods? If they answer "yes", then they are a theist. If they answer "no", then they are an atheist."

Pat, "Mr/Mrs X, you are a Catholic, do you believe in Zeus?"

Catholic response, "no", thus, they are an atheist to that particular type of god, or as Micah would suggest, the Catholic is atheistic in regard to the particular god Zeus.

Jim, "If they answer with "what do you mean by the word 'god'?", then they are a philosopher, and you have your work cut out for you. However, the previous two answers remain clear."

I agree, and asking someone else the question about their belief or disbelief allows the person to define themselves. I need not be descriptive, nor do I have to qualify what a god is or isn't. Simply, I am asking them to define themselves, and paint themselves for me, and then, poke my nose in a dictionary to see if they fall under a dictionary term ;-)

Philosophers, what's one to do :-)

Jim, "If you make the question any more complicated than that, such as by adding qualifications about certainty or absolute proof, then you have artificially changed a straightforward question into a convoluted debate, and you will get convoluted answers. If you want a simple answer, ask a simple question."

Couching answers with certainty and uncertainty would seem to make answers less tangible, and the discussion would likely fly off into a finer more compartmentalized area of philosophy; epistemology. Thanks for the inputs.

Jamie, "Pat, I don't know if that is your real name, but adding that after my little speech about gender, so that I STILL can't say "he" or "she" without a 50% chance of being wrong is just plain funny. For that, you have my utmost respect. Seriously."

And my utmost respect for you as well :-)

Jamie, "I will agree to disagree on the flexibility of the term...we could argue about it all day if we wanted, but it's likely that neither of us really want to."

True enough, but it does make for an interesting conversation :-)

boomSLANG, "It's white. Why?..because you just said the "house" is "white". If someone states that a house is "white", it is implicit that it may not be entirely white."

I suppose it depends on how one asks the question, if one asks the house or person, what color their house is and they reply white, then of course, we must assume that their house is white. However, if we ask them a more clear and simple question; is your house entirely white, and then we may get them painting themselves with black trim and white walls.

If white were the color, representing the number of gods they believed in, and black represented the number of gods they didn't believe in; we'd get a mental picture of a house with one white door, and the rest of the house entirely black, including the black brick fireplace :-)

boomSLANG, "Moreover, distinguishing something by its color, is descriptive. Descriptions and definitions aren't always mutually inclusive. "Atheist", by definition, is the lack of belief in supernatural deities..i.e.."god(s)". It doesn't equivocate; it doesn't make allowances for one's own "God"."

It depends on which definition one purports to hold to. I get into a little more detail further on.

The use of delimiting factors such as 'supernatural', can in fact, reduce the flexibility of the atheism definition, however, that is qualifier assigned to the general term atheism.

Further on, I present disbelief sets; [infinity], [1...infinity], and these two sets are represented via the dictionary. However, adding the qualifier, 'supernatural' in the disbelief statement, creates another disbelief set outside of the dictionary; [1...x], where x represents the last supernatural god type. Still, beyond x there are natural god types out there.

So, [infinity] represents the disbelief in all gods, [1...infinity] represents the disbelief in one or more gods without terminating boundary, and [1...x] represents the disbelief in or more supernatural gods depending on the number of supernatural gods that exist or can be presented.

Some suggest "all" gods are disposed of, when atheism is claimed; and that would equate to the disbelief set [infinity]. However, placing the delimiter of supernatural and truncating off all natural type gods leaves one with [1...x]. So, one gets to choose to disbelieve all gods, or just supernatural gods, but all gods of course, would incorporate the supernatural as well.

boomSLANG, "But seriously, the word "Atheist" is "rooted" in non-belief. Period. The word is only necessary because of people who insist that gods exist."

I agree that the word atheist is surely a logical response to a theistic proposition that is non-falsifiable.

To further expound upon atheism as suggested earlier;

Atheism, noun 1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

Speaking multi-dimensionally, there is an "or" statement in this definition. It allows for the disbelief range to be between one god and an infinite number of gods.

And, although it would be fun to pull out some calculus on this, I am not sure it's necessary. As explained, my statement was towards the "type" atheist, which only need be "one" god that is disbelieved by a Catholic. As well, if "any" Christian wants to declare their non-belief in just one god, they have stepped on the scale of atheism.

As expressed; in number theory, one may only want to see the definition in relation to an infinite set of disbelief. I tend to see the definition as literally written; disbelief set [1...infinity].

Focusing on an all or none approach, without shades of gray to me, is more like suggesting a disbelief set like, [0] or [infinity]. A disbelief in [0] gods doesn't make one an atheist or a theist. A disbelief in an [infinite] number of gods makes one an atheist.

Of course, this representation would be more akin to a rewording of the following definition;

Atheism, noun 1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of all gods.

boomSLANG, "To say that the term Atheist can mean, "I don't believe in gods.... well, except for blah, blah, blah", would be just like saying that the term "unmarried" means, "I'm not married....well, except for my spouse"."

I'd reword how a Catholic would respond by doctrine; "I don't believe in your gods... well, except for mine, which is the only true God." In short, they to me would be shunning or in disbelief of at least one god in a set of [1...infinity], and would fit the particular definition posed.

To terms dis, non, and un all hold a common definition term; "not". So, in the context; "'I'm not married....well, except for my spouse".', what we see is I'm [0], well except for [1...infinity], which is contradictory.

However, one could suggest "I have non-belief in a god(s) [0]...well, except for my disbelief in god(s) [1...infinity], which is equally contradictory.

To solve the unmarried and atheistic example that has contradiction is simply to select the set that most accurately reflects the situation. If the claim is unmarried, then [0], if one claims disbelief in a god(s), then, [1...infinity].

I was not attempting to promote any one definition over another; it's why I opened the friendship door of agreeing to disagree. If some don't like me using the singular atheist "type" in 'regard to a particular god', as I did, because they desire the disbelief set [infinity] only, instead of [1...infinity], then, it seems that has become a personal choice.

An online dictionary reveals the following definitions for atheism;

1. The doctrine or belief that there is no God.
**Disbelief set [infinity]
2. Disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
**Disbelief set [1...infinity]

1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
**Disbelief set [1...infinity]
2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
**Disbelief set [1...infinity]

1. The doctrine or belief that there is no God [ant: theism]
**Disbelief set [infinity]
2. A lack of belief in the existence of God or gods
**Disbelief set [1...infinity]

1. Denial that there is a God.
**Disbelief set [infinity]
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism

Three of the definitions offer the disbelief set, [infinity], and four offer the disbelief set [1...infinity], none offer [1...x]. However, there is likely the possibility that another definition may propose the supernatural qualifier.

Webmaster, "Early Christians were charged with atheism by the prevailing religion for refusing to offer the expected sacrifices."

Brilliant statement. Even though we can allow people to project their beliefs about themselves, and we try our best to interpret the best words to align with their beliefs, there always seems to be someone who just wants to make claims about another person, whether accurate or not. Malice from ignorance doesn't make me feel any more comfortable than malice with intent.

I try my best to allow people to paint their houses as they wish (to include how 'they' qualify their god concept), and then align their colors or statements to dictionary terms or words that are representative, even if there are multiple definitions for a single word. It removes the ability of the person to suggest that I am projecting bias; I take them at their word, and make observation.

Well, I must say, this has been an interesting turn of discussion; we seemed to have moved from how one who promotes a statement is presenting what can either be accepted as convincing or unconvincing, or perhaps, somewhat convincing. In any event; I'm sure all will make up their mind and be convinced of said statements to some degree, it's only natural.

Take Care All.

Micah Cowan said...

Pat,

You can claim that you used a "qualified" atheist throughout our discussion, but the fact is that you did not. You used "atheist type…" in exactly one spot. And "particular atheist" as opposed to "general atheist". But you never stated that from that point on, you're only talking about "particular atheism".

And it is extremely clear from your early posts, that there were several places you did not mean it to be; most especially when you tried to use the dictionary definition to show that "atheist" can mean "doesn't believe in some particular god", all by itself, without qualification (and not, as you seem to now be claiming, that it allows the qualification, which certainly would have gone without saying). In fact, you yourself admit that you were not talking about a qualified atheism, as you claimed: "I represented it exactly as the dictionary defines it."

And, if you truly meant that most Christians deny that they are atheist "with respect to other Gods" or an atheist "type" to other religions (which is not how you said it), you're just plain silly. On the other hand, if you meant it exactly the way you said it ("Ironic; that most Christians deny they are atheistic"), they are certainly correct to do so.

I'm not particularly fond of someone trying to retroactively change what he/she has said, in the hopes that people won't notice. I don't know why I'm wasting my breath now, as it's clear you'll skew your own words to come out right, but anyway, take care.

.:webmaster:. said...

I frankly don't completely understand the point of this discussion, but Wikipedia has what I consider a well-rounded and comprehensive explanation of the word "atheist," from where it first shows up in literature, and how the meaning and use of the word has evolved over time.

WIKIPEDIA: ATHEISM

Pat said...

Micah, "You can claim that you used a "qualified" atheist throughout our discussion, but the fact is that you did not."

Once again, my friend, Jamie posted regarding the particular post and reference I made between the Catholic and Protestants, and their type atheism towards each other, based on dictionary reference. And, that is specifically what I addressed in my previous post.

Neither she nor anyone else has focused on anything more than the white house analogy with black shutters from that point on. If there is a particular part of a post you would like to focus on, by all means, post the statement and everyone can read back to see the context in which I made use of the term.

Micah, "You used "atheist type…" in exactly one spot. And "particular atheist" as opposed to "general atheist"."

A particular atheist which is not general, is an atheist in regard to a specific type of god. All can read back and see the context and use of atheism I provided in different posts.

The WM was gracious enough to provide the link to atheism.

"In contexts where theism is defined as the belief in a singular personal God, for example, people who believe in a variety of other deities may be classified as atheists, including deists and even polytheists. In the 20th century, this view has fallen into disfavor as theism has come to be understood as encompassing belief in all divinities.[26]

With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a god, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Hinduism and Buddhism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

Obviously, some feel atheism can be used in particular cases, where specific god types are presented, and then, there are others who may want to use the word in a general sense. Again, if you find a use of atheism in a specific post not used in proper context, put it out there.

Micah, "And it is extremely clear from your early posts, that there were several places you did not mean it to be; most especially when you tried to use the dictionary definition to show that "atheist" can mean "doesn't believe in some particular god", all by itself, without qualification (and not, as you seem to now be claiming, that it allows the qualification, which certainly would have gone without saying)."

Particular god type atheism is qualified in the literal dictionary term. I have posted my argument on the matter, and presented many examples of how the definition is flexible enough to allow a particular type atheist towards a singular god, to the general use of the term atheism to encompass disbelief in potentially all gods.

Micah, "In fact, you yourself admit that you were not talking about a qualified atheism, as you claimed: "I represented it exactly as the dictionary defines it."

An online dictionary reveals the following definitions for atheism;

Atheism;
1. The doctrine or belief that there is no God.
**Disbelief set [infinity]
2. Disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
**Disbelief set [1...infinity]
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism

I did represent it exactly as the dictionary defines it, and thus, per the dictionary it is qualified.

Please define what a 'qualified' atheism is, and what an 'unqualified' atheism is, specifically regarding the sentence you provided of me; "I represented it exactly as the dictionary defines it."

Micah, "And, if you truly meant that most Christians deny that they are atheist "with respect to other Gods" or an atheist "type" to other religions (which is not how you said it), you're just plain silly."

Actually, Micah, most all Christians’ answer they are not atheist, and follow their very statement up with disbelief in all other gods than their own, according to my experience.

I don't agree that it's plain silly, that a person can't take the words of someone making a claim and using the dictionary to find words that match their belief or specific stance.

It may seem silly to the Christian that one can describe them as a particular type atheist, or atheist in regard to particular gods, when they only accept the general use of the term atheism, a word that encompasses disbelief in all gods, to include their own.

Yet, they qualify themselves as atheists per the dictionary definition, which is flexible enough to allow for one to disbelieve in one god alone, or to an infinite number of gods.

Again, it’s why I don't mind agreeing to disagree on which way to use the term. A Christian can claim that I am plain silly for looking in the dictionary and finding that they fall within the dictionary term of atheism in regards to a disbelief in a single god, because they believe that atheism is too general and includes a disbelief in their own god.

It's why when I approach a Christian, I do in fact, suggest they are atheistic towards a particular type god, or that they project atheism in regard to a particular type god or gods.

Micah, "On the other hand, if you meant it exactly the way you said it ("Ironic; that most Christians deny they are atheistic"), they are certainly correct to do so."

Agreed. However, then I get to take their very words and promote them in the particular context they express themselves. Still, a Christian could express that they disbelieve in all types of gods, yet, still reject the notion of being considered atheistic towards those same god(s). They want a house that is all black, except the one white door, and suggest their house is white.

I'd suggest that many of the Christians I talk to also consider the word 'atheism' to be rude, vulgar, deplorable, and outright the epitome of evil. Now, perhaps that has something to do with why a Christian may not want to be presented with that particular word.

It is less controversial to suggest one just has 'disbelief' in other gods, than suggesting one is a particular type atheist, or an atheist to all other gods other than theirs. Actually, even though it's technically cogent to do so, a person may just find it much easier to suggest they are theistic, and imply they at least believe in one particular type god.

Micah, "I'm not particularly fond of someone trying to retroactively change what he/she has said, in the hopes that people won't notice. I don't know why I'm wasting my breath now, as it's clear you'll skew your own words to come out right, but anyway,"

I'm not fond of someone misrepresenting words that they have stated in a particular context, and then trying to retroactively go back and remove the previous context in order to cover a devious plot of obvious global proportions :-)

However, there is nothing wrong with clarifying the context of a post either, surely if we are asked to more clearly state what we meant in a post, it would only be polite to allow the other person to clarify themselves.

Reading between the WM's lines, this is precisely what should happen. However, I have clearly stated the context, explained in much finer detail, and made more lucid what I meant in regard to the particular posts presented by others.

If there needs to be a cordial understanding among civil people, then one need only ask, 'in what context did you mean this, or that?'. However, when the discussion moves towards accusatory statements, such as, 'you said this, and I know exactly what you meant, etc.," then the conversation is no longer a sincere discussion where two people are trying to exchange ideas, in order to understand one another.

So, if there is something I need to clarify in order to ensure you understand the context and content of what I presented, then by all means present the question. Have a great one.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Webmaster said: I frankly don't completely understand the point of this discussion...

Ditto. And frankly, I've never seen someone go through such great lengths and research just to be able to say "I'm right".

Okay fine, I surrender---there shouldn't even be a word for the absolute non-belief in "god(s)". Why?...well, because of the infinite "qualifiers" that one can dream up.

How 'bout this: My Atheist neighbor named his dog "Zeus", thus, in reality, this makes him a "Theist" IN RESPECT TO K9s that are named after the Greek "gods".

Now, that doesn't sound utterly absurd, does it? Naw. lol

Pat said...

boomSLANG, "How 'bout this: My Atheist neighbor named his dog "Zeus", thus, in reality, this makes him a "Theist" IN RESPECT TO K9s that are named after the Greek "gods"."

You're right! That is absolutely absurd; to be a Theist one has to have belief, ol' Zeus, likely has not the capacity, even as the neighbor bestows such a claim on the poor pooch.

boomSLANG, "Now, that doesn't sound utterly absurd, does it? Naw. lol"

Yep, I have a friend named Michael Jordan, and he has a veritable likeness in regard to the basketball player Michael Jordan - in name only, to suggest anything more, would be equally as absurd :-)

Take care

boomSLANG said...

boomSLANG asked: How 'bout this: My Atheist neighbor named his dog "Zeus", thus, in reality, this makes him a "Theist" IN RESPECT TO K9s that are named after the Greek "gods".

boomSLANG(revised): "How 'bout this: My Atheist neighbor named his dog 'Zeus', thus, in reality, this makes my NEIGHBOR a 'Theist' IN RESPECT TO K9s that are named after the Greek 'gods'."

On behalf of at least two, if not more, of us NON-theists(where "non" actually means what it says..i.e.."not", "zip", "nadda", "to lack", "not a part of", "no tango"....."f%ck Jesus").....buh-bye, now.....muaaaah! = )

Pat said...

boomSLANG(revised): "How 'bout this: My Atheist neighbor named his dog 'Zeus', thus, in reality, this makes my NEIGHBOR a 'Theist' IN RESPECT TO K9s that are named after the Greek 'gods'."

The term Atheist (without adding particular context) is general and inclusive of disbelief in 'all' gods, thus, if your neighbor claimed to be an Atheist and he/she also claimed to be a particular type theist, in regard/respect to K9s that are named after the Greek 'gods', then there is a conflict, and therefore irrational. However, that's a lot of if statements, and assumptions being made here, I don't know your neighbor - invite me over :-)

If your neighbor said, they desired to be conflicted, between a general disavowal of all gods, but to believe or accept a self-made belief in a dog type god, then, to each their own. I try not to get involved with people who are irrational, whatever their claim to fame.

boomSLANG, "On behalf of at least two, if not more, of us NON-theists(where "non" actually means what it says..i.e.."not", "zip", "nadda", "to lack", "not a part of", "no tango"....."f%ck Jesus").....buh-bye, now.....muaaaah! = )"

Currently, I have no theism in my life; so, add another to the list, of at least two, if not more NON-theists, buy-bye, muaaaah! :-)

boomSLANG said...

....Ah, lah, lah, lah, laaaah...

Currently,

["currently", as it is relative to your post, is already past and gone. Hell, you could be a bible-believing "mild Atheist Christian" by now]

I have no theism in my life;

[you are debating "theology", therefore, if you'd like to get technical(and I think we know the answer to that), there is a degree of "theism" that is "IN" your life]

so, add another to the list,

[what "list"? Who said anything about a "list"?]

of at least two, if not more NON-theists, buy-bye, muaaaah! :-)

I forgot "troll"...buh-buy troll

Pat said...

boomSLANG, other than the off topic outburst, you posed the word troll.

"Trolls;
...Occasionally members can also get into a trolling action, acting similar to a troll, but their motivation is not to just stir up emotions, but rather they just are just responding with anger or irritation against an opposing poster. This type of exchange doesn't really count as trolling per se, but is just an outburst by an upset member."

Of course, outbursts don't make anything more correct or more valid.

Micah, again, great topic and well written thread. I personally enjoyed the discourse. It appears all the questions have answers, at least the ones directed towards me and my posts. Take Care

.:webmaster:. said...

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