I dont know how many people know this but Atheism was initially used to describe early Christians during the Roman Empire. I like to know what exactly was its original definition and how did it come to have its modern meaning.
if anyone can answer that, i would be very grateful.
I also like to discuss if you think Atheism is an absolute belief in no deity whatsoever or do you just think it is default position going neither way.
I often tell certain ppl of certain beliefs that I am an atheist in regards to their specific religion and god.
I dont consider myself an agnostic I just try not to speak on a religious subject I dont know about. I try to explain that me not having an opinion on their obscure religion or their definition of their god does not make me agnostic in the same way I am not anti certain animals that i am not aware of that may exist.
If a religion says their religious leader who is flesh and blood is a god than he is your god not mine and I dont think I am going to argue semantics b/c of what your religion constitutes a god.
On the other hand if your religion states what your god must be and he, she or it fails to meet its own criteria than I will say that is not a god even by your standard let alone me worshiping it if did exist.
okay, i think i ranted long enough.. i like to hear your opinion and views.
Not much clue on the historical stuff. You'd probably have a better time on wikipedia or google.
Especially because there isn't a coherent doctrine or official group, there's not one definition of atheism. I'd contend that there's no one anything because belief is individual, but that's a philosophical argument, not a societal one.
There's varying degrees. In some rough order of severity we have:
1 - "I don't know"
2 - "I don't know, but I do not have a belief in any god"
3 - "I don't know, but I believe there is no God"
4 - "There is no God"
5 - "I know there is no God"
Most atheists would be 2-4. #1 is pretty clear agnosticism, not atheism, and #5 is pretty irrational extremism. My own definition would probably be #3, and is also what I happen to be, but there's contention on which is the most standard depending on who you're talking to.
Well, we could split hairs...I'd probably make you -1 (sticking to the same number scale), with 0 being "I believe in a creative force, higher intelligence, etc." before we get into omniscient or at least monotheistic gods. But yeah, same idea.
I believe that's sometimes called agnostic theism.
It's not a position I would include in definitions of atheism. To put it in the broadest possible terms atheism is the position that "it is more reasonable to say that god does not exists than to say god does exist". Any scale is ultimately going to leave people out. Where do you put someone like Pojman who's position is, crudely, that we should believe in god even if we know god doesn't exist?
Graffiti outside Latin class.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
A juvenal prank.
Indeed and it is what I labeled myself in the other atheism thread in my discussion with Digi.
Well, "0" hardly counts as being on a numbered system (when making a bulleted or numbered list, you don't start with "0"...at least I don't think you do). That was intended to be mildly amusing for Digi.
Pojman? He'd clearly be a "third" kind. He'd be the Fascist of the Politcal Specturm.
Gender: Male Location: Balls deep in your cerebral cortex
I would be 3 on that scale.
I consider myself Agnostic but when people ask i just say Atheist as to not have to explain myself or get into a never ending debate with theists. I believe, based on facts, that there is no God, but i can't be completely sure and remain open to the idea and would have no problem praying to a deity if evidence that one existed is presented to me.
Technically there may not be one. Just seemed like there was another level of extremism beyond "There is no God" in terms of how people approach it. I'd happily concede that only 4 rough levels exist instead of 5.
Well, for me athiesm has to be "I know there isn't a god, upper deity, or someone that's generally running the whole show." Because there are other words that apply to other things on that 1-5 scale. Like agnosticism, spiritualist [not religious, but spiritual], pagan [believing Nature as god or goddess], etc.
And also, I think there is something to address in the way of Athiests who proselytize their atheism, just like there are fanatics of every religion. Bible thumpers, Muslim terrorists, incredibly strict Hasidim, etc. Except of course, that atheism is like apolitical - you don't participate in any religion because you know none of them are true...
Sorry, I broadened out with that second paragraph, didn't mean to assign it to your list.
Re-looking it over, I guess just number one is the one I'm not sure about. Just "I don't know," without any mention of religion itself [I don't know if there's a Christian-Judeo god," "I don't know if anything is looking after me..."
I wonder if that would be more just doubt than a total Atheistic statement?
Presumably, if someone said "I don't know" with no qualifiers, we'd have to assume it applies to all gods, not just the Christian one. If someone believes in a god, but not necessarily the Christian one, their stance is no longer "I don't know," even if it's only to say something as vague as "I don't know for sure, but I believe in something." Your spiritualist/pagan/etc. would be 0, -1, etc. on my scale if I chose to continue it into theistic beliefs. Because even those are theistic, however vague the deity or force may be that they believe in.
As opposed to atheism, agnosticism is rather purely a noncommittal position (i.e. I/we don't/can't know). Where the confusion comes is that in everyday usage, it's often used to mean "I believe in a God or a higher power" even though that represents a type of theism. Most "nonreligious" people remain theists in a loose sense; belief is deeply ingrained into us, both biologically and societally.
Perhaps, then, instead of 'atheist', something like 'materialist' or 'reductive materialist' would be more inclusive / less ambiguous: a (reductive) materialist simply does not believe in any sort of transcendent (ie, spiritual, nonphysical) reality. There is nothing beyond matter: no deity, no independent consciousness, nothing.
This is generally what I have meant: either there's something there or there isn't.
Shinier than a speeding bullet.
Last edited by Mindship on Jan 21st, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I'd be a 1 on your scale, but it's often eaiser to claim atheism in conversation for that reason. Some people can't understand or can't accept "I don't know."
Person 1: So like.....you believe in a higher power but not specifically Allah or something right?
Me: No, I-
Person 2: He believes the universe is god you 'tard.
Me: What? No-
Person 3: You don't worship trees do you?
Me: Trees are great but no, I-
Person 1: Then what?
Me:...I'm saying I don't know.
Person 3: But how can you just....not know.
It's meant to be humorous, but I've had conversations not far from this.
In truth, there is no better place to be.
Last edited by StyleTime on Jan 21st, 2012 at 11:18 PM
If I need to, I tend to just try to be proactive in such conversations and take the lead. If they're interested enough to ask, I'm giving them the full answer. My early "debates" as an atheist were largely reactive messes where I felt like I was being stereotyped or put on trial. Just taking charge of the situation when asked is a big step.
The short answer to that particular scenario, though, is that any statement of belief begins with "I don't know for sure, but..." but it's just often omitted. So "I believe in God" has that silent modifier as well. Unless they're willing to say "I know God exists," and few are, then they'll see your point.
But if you see no good evidence or reason for a God but also don't think we can reliably rule it out, ambivalence is the proper approach. We "don't know" and are content with that about an infinite number of things...it's just none of those things are as crucial to modern life as the concept of God, so we don't make a big deal out of them.
At that point you start getting far too academic with terms for regular use, so it stops having usefulness. It might be less ambiguous to a select few, but would undoubtedly require more explanation for most...and those same people would likely try to ascribe a common label at that point anyway.
I think my distinctions are fairly unambiguous. Once you explain the one or two differences available to an atheist, it's pretty easy to understand.