Skip to comments.Atheism
Posted on 06/18/2009 8:27:56 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
1. Definition of Atheism
There is confusion and debate about the term atheism and its definition.
The term atheism finds its etymology in the Greek combination of a and theos. What atheos means is, as with any term, subject to context (and perhaps personal interpretation). Note that if an atheist states, I do not believe in God, this is technically not a statement about Gods existence or lack thereof. Does atheos mean no God, without God, lack God belief or God does not exist?
Early Christians were referred to as atheists because they did not believe in the Greek or Roman gods. Yet, while they positively affirmed the non-existence of those gods they likely believed that those gods were deceptive demons whom they did believe existed (1 Corinthians 8:46).
a bag of fertilizer: our ultimate fate according to atheism
In atheism, when we die we end up as mere fertilizer; plant food. Human life has no particular meaning or purpose and there is no real basis for ethics, love or even logical thought. Atheism provides no footing for a just, caring and secure society.
Let us consider other Greek-derived a words:
(Excerpt) Read more at creation.com ...
The physical body that we feel/see is totally different than our soul.
BTW, I HAVE been dead once. Was 2 weeks before my 8th birthday... Sometimes wish I was not brought back, but I believe we are all put here for a reason of some sort...
You definitely have a purpose in God’s plan -
otherwise, you’d not be here. Especially considering your “experience”.
Not to pry, but... any memories of that time?
Atheists have a god. It’s called “unbelief”.
What is the semantic difference between the terms “atheistic” and “secular”?
I know how you feel... Last Sunday at church my pastor said that as much as he wants to go to Heaven and see Jesus, he also wants to live his life to the fullest on earth and concentrate on what God has called him to do. I felt a little guilty about just wanting to get this life over with after that. We all have a purpose, we need to seek it knowing that at the end we will receive our rewards.
“Human life has no particular meaning or purpose and there is no real basis for ethics, love or even logical thought.”
Apparently being a theist doesn’t preclude one from writing strawman arguments (above).
Or hasty generalizations (the entirety of Section 3 Why Atheism is chosen),
Or the fallacy of equivocation: “We are born knowing nothing at all and must be taught, and later take it upon ourselves to learn, anything and everything that we will ever know to believe, including atheism.”
“Although, perhaps we could grant the claim: if atheists want to argue that atheism requires no more intellect than that which an infant can muster, why should we argue?”
Even after having previously drawn distinctions between strong and weak atheism [b]in the same article[/b]!
Then there are flat out ridiculous statements like this one:
“Atheists make epistemic statements about morality but do not provide an ontological premise for ethics.”
How about reality?
“That is to say that they can muse upon issues of morality and come to any conclusion that they please.”
So can theists. It doesn’t make all of the conclusions correct though.
“The first problem of evil, as far as atheist/theist debates are concerned is the fact that atheists define evil based on personal preferences.”
Another hasty generalization/strawman argument.
The most serious problem with this article is that it *constantly* claims both that atheists can reach many different conclusions about epistemology and ethics, and then cherry pics a few examples of a few atheists and then claims “atheists also believe X”.
That’s flat out a pair of mutually contradictory statements.
Thanks for the ping!
Perhaps it is to hear that in spite of kind and good things you might have done during your life, there is an element of rebellion against the One who made you lurking in that soul. And, further, the One who passed this judgment also provided a stand-in to pay the price of this rebellion, giving up His life on your behalf. No groups to join, no ceremonies to conduct, rather you will find, if He has decided that you are one He has rescued that your heart is inexplicably drawn to Him. If this sounds intriguing, you may very well be among those who He rescued, not for your sake, but His.
On second thought ... maybe not.
As far as I can tell, you have not provided a coherent argument for any of your positions.
Who would claim atheism? Agnosticicsm perhaps, but atheism?
Atheists don’t believe in God.
Their stand against religion might therefore be described as much ado about nothing.
Good point. Atheists take it a step further than the evidence permits. As such, it is a faith. That is probably one of the reasons why some atheists want their atheism to be treated as a religion (of course, tax-exempt status doesn’t hurt either!).
It’s call themselves. They set themselves up as their own god and decide what will happened once they die. Their knowledge is limited to what they see/hear - they are making crucial decisions while working off of limited knowledge.
“Who would claim atheism? Agnosticicsm perhaps, but atheism?”
Burden of proof lies with the person making the claim. I’m an atheist and have examined theist arguments and have found the evidence presented to be unconvincing.
“Its call themselves. They set themselves up as their own god and decide what will happened once they die.”
Lets see: 1. I don’t worship myself. 2. I don’t claim to be omnipotent.
“Their knowledge is limited to what they see/hear”
That’s what knowledge is. It’s knowledge based on reality and is belief-neutral. Atheists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. who repeat the same experiment will get the same results.
Would you call lumping the behavior of Osama Bin Laden or any other islamofascist with your average American of faith as representative of “all theists” a fair categorization?
I wouldn’t. It’s a hasty generalization error. If you want to know more about logical fallacies search the web—there’s lots of information out there.
As I pointed out, the author of the “Atheism” article himself/herself, distinguished between strong and weak atheism, and then turned around and lumped them back together. THAT is incoherent.
It does not really matter what a word used to mean. It’s, what does it mean now. In the old days if you said some one was “nice” that was a bad thing and the word “hussy” used now in a bad way used to mean simply a house wife. Words change over the years.
Sounds like you’re agnostic, unless the evidence presented has convinced you of the non-existence of God. If the later, what evidence has convinced of God’s non-existence?
(Note: no ax grinding or selling of a particular world view on the topic here, just interested in your thought process on the topic).
“Secular” means worldly or temporal, as in “not pertaining to religion”. It makes no claim about there being a God.
“Atheistic” means having no belief in God, or more commonly positively maintaining that there is no God.
We are born knowing nothing at all and must be taught, and later take it upon ourselves to learn, anything and everything that we will ever know to believe, including atheism.
Blank slate theory alive and well? What a crock.
Well, keep fighting the odds then.
“Who would claim atheism? Agnosticicsm perhaps, but atheism?”
Funny how unbelievers have to bend over backwards. Of course none of them can prove that God doesn’t exist. Just like you can’t prove Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist. No one jumps on your throat when you say you don’t believe in Santa. They don’t demand you qualify yourself by saying, “I don’t know if Santa exists or not, and that’s the most I can say.”
“They set themselves up as their own god and decide what will happened once they die. Their knowledge is limited to what they see/hear - they are making crucial decisions while working off of limited knowledge.”
That pretty much describes everyone, theist or atheist.
Well I disagree with the concept of knowledge gained from something other than sensory experience. A baby is born tabla rasa.
(So the author’s statement about: “theism requires no more intellect than that which an infant can muster, why should we argue” is really just a rhetorical smear.)
If people want to use faith to make decisions I don’t agree with that but it’s their business.
As for how I evaluate claims—well the nature of the claim itself is important. If it’s an extraordinary claim that has been made over the period of many centuries, and yet has only been presented with poor arguments and no direct evidence then things like credibility come into play.
That’s the author’s own admission.
How dare you attempt to use logic and rational thinking in a Philosophy thread.
Don't you know that philosophy is off limits in the Philosophy threads, and has been so for several years?
I'm surprised you even got noticed and got some responses.
I am a believer, but I also believe that God is a rational being and appreciates rational discussions ... rather than the slipshod pontificating and sloppily disguised preaching that is the bread and butter of Philosophy threads of late.
If bridges in this country were built with the same engineering quality as the philosophical quality of most of the posts to this section, then the ferry business would be doing quite well.
Thanks for posting rationally, but you really have to cut it out. You're just annoying everyone else.
Funny how unbelievers have to bend over backwards. Of course none of them can prove that God doesnt exist. Just like you cant prove Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny doesnt exist. No one jumps on your throat when you say you dont believe in Santa. They dont demand you qualify yourself by saying, I dont know if Santa exists or not, and thats the most I can say.
Nevadan: I think you may have missed the point of the quote you replied to. I may be wrong, but I believe the poster was arguing against the “presumption” of atheism.
I believe he was referring to the fact that many times the atheist assumes that if one has no evidence “for Gods existence”, then one is obligated to believe that God does not exist whether or not one has evidence “against Gods existence”.
What some atheists fail to see is that atheism is just as much a claim to know something (”God does not exist”) as theism (”God exists”). Therefore, the atheists denial of Gods existence needs just as much substantiation as does the theists claim; the atheist must give plausible reasons for rejecting Gods existence.
Further, in the absence of evidence for Gods existence, agnosticism, not atheism, is the logical presumption. Even if arguments for Gods existence do not persuade one to belief in God, atheism should not be “presumed” because atheism is not neutral; pure agnosticism is. Atheism is justified only if there is sufficient evidence against Gods existence.
Next, to place belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and belief in God on the same level is mistaken. The issue is not that we have no good evidence for Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, fairies, etc.; rather, the truth is we have strong evidence that they do not exist.
Absence of evidence is not at all the same as “evidence of absence”, which some atheists fail to see.
On the contrary, theists can produce credible evidence for God's existence. It may not be “convincing” evidence to the atheist, but that doesn't mean valid evidence for God does not exist. It is also true the atheists have arguments and evidence that God doesn't exist. What remains is for each side to present the best evidence they can and compare which side presents the most convincing argument for or against God's existence.
Human life has no particular meaning or purpose and there is no real basis for ethics, love or even logical thought. Atheism provides no footing for a just, caring and secure society.
...with yet another baseless claim. A belief in God is not necessary to have purpose in life, a system of ethics, love, or logical thought.....and a belief IN God does not necessarily lead to a "just, caring, and secure society". Pure nonsense dressed up as "logical thought" to appeal to those with Faith so they can justify calling atheists unethical, loveless, purposeless, unjust, uncaring, insecure, etc etc etc....."atheism is a religion" is equally nonsensical. Me going about my life without a belief in God is in no way a "religion."
Believe in the wrong god and see what happens.
-ism "belief in"
= without a belief in God.
...it ain't rocket science.....and for every dilhole out there running around positively exclaiming "there is no God", there are 100,000 out there saying "I don't have a belief in God"......2 very different statements.
Particularly love the "atheism is chosen" part.....yet another claim to denigrate atheists for. Never have I had a motivating factor for my non-belief. Matter of fact, I have envied the Faithful my whole life for having something I do not.
Also don't have anything against Christians or any other religion for that matter. HAve at it...
Oh boy....atheists cannot have ethics and morals? What a bunch of nonsense. Don't suppose I can figure out "right" from "wrong" either.
Oh boy.....atheists will die sooner....
Oh boy....atheists are less happy.
Oh boy...atheists are superstitious (if I don't believe in God, why would I have a belief in superstitions?)
Uh oh....atheists are full of STDs and drugs......and in jail.....and are unmarried...or divorced...and are communists....Nazis....Klansmen.....Hitler!!!
A logical assumption for believers, since we are rational beings and are made in His image.
The Father knew that His wonderful earth would just be one big atheist and pagan mill if He did not provide some proofs of His existence. He couldn't just talk to one guy and expect all of us skeptics to believe what that guy says forever.
He's got a plan for His creation. It involves free choice, not robotic worship. And He has revealed His plan in 'diverse' ways to numerous folks. He has numerous times foretold and fulfilled detailed parts of it as proof. He has used miracles witnessed by millions and documented by many as proof. He gets the proof thing. He knows we are naturally hard-headed skeptics. He had to continually remind even the direct eye-witness generations of His miraculous efforts to free them (Israel) from slavery in Egypt, for example.
Christ turned water into wine, healed the sick, freed the possessed, walked on water, read minds, foretold the future, fed thousands from a handful of food, walked through walls, calmed storms and raised the dead. STILL, some of His own disciples could not believe that what He'd been predicting - His death and resurrection - could really happen. Thomas, of course, is famous for his doubt. The risen Christ miraculously appeared to the other disciples, showed off His pierced hands and feet and even the hole in His side where the soldier thrust in the spear to confirm His death.
Yet Thomas still did not believe Christ had risen. Till He showed up again:
"Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."
The continued existence of atheists was, of course, expected and predicted by God. It's nature. As He's pointed out in His requests that we attempt to control our natural tendencies in favor of greater spiritual motivations.
In this dispensation of grace, He's made it perfectly clear that faith is the basis for His acceptance of individual believers. You can't good-work your way into His family. Faith is required. And He's made clear what's required to demonstrate the saving faith. You need to understand His plan, recognize the proofs of it and acknowledge Christ's role in it.
There will always be those who doubt the proofs because the final physical proofs ended way back shortly after the dispensation of grace started two thousand years ago. The doubt, again, is natural. That is why, as Christ reminds Thomas, that faith is so valued and rewarded by God:
"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Faith certainly is a precious gift. And "faith comes by hearing". There is a great deal of documentation to study regarding His plan. His word includes His plan in detail and in summarized form. In symbolic reference and in allegory. In parables and in agriculture analogies. In types and in examples. He wants everyone to understand and believe which is why He presents it in various ways.
But not everyone will. That is the cost of freedom.
The vast majority of Indians, for example, have been Hindu for centuries. If you are born in India of Hindu parents, you are overwhelmingly likely to be a Hindu. If you are born to Christian parents in the US, chances are you will be a Christian.
Is it an act of a loving Being to burn forever those who were raised in the nonchristian faith and remained true to it, in your personal opinion?
ElectricStrawberry wrote: A belief in God is not necessary to have purpose in life, a system of ethics, love, or logical thought.....and a belief IN God does not necessarily lead to a “just, caring, and secure society”. Pure nonsense dressed up as “logical thought” to appeal to those with Faith so they can justify calling atheists unethical, loveless, purposeless, unjust, uncaring, insecure, etc etc etc.....”atheism is a religion” is equally nonsensical. Me going about my life without a belief in God is in no way a “religion.”
Nevadan: You are absolutely correct in saying that belief in God is not necessary to have a personal morality, a personal view on the purpose of life, experiencing and giving love, bravery, courage, and on and on.
The problem for atheists, in my opinion, is that while it is true that belief in God is unnecessary for “a” morality, “a” purpose, etc. - it is equally true that the atheist has no foundation upon which to judge right from wrong. Why? Because the atheist has reduced such questions to mere “preferences”. Questions such as whether or not to steal, lie, cheat, murder, etc. are placed on the same level as preferences for which flavor of ice cream one prefers. This is because the atheist has no transcendant moral foundation (other than their own personal beliefs) upon which to judge right from wrong.
In fact, if atheism is true, and there is no God, then questions of right from wrong would be nonsenical. Such questions should have no meaning. If one doesn’t know what the color “blue” is, how can one identify it when he sees it? He can’t. Atheism provides no transcendant, moral foundation upon which to identify “right” from “wrong”. The atheist can come up with their own personal “view” of what right and wrong is - but, this would not necessarily have any meaning or moral compunction upon anyone else - unless they just happen to agree.
In other words, it is nice when atheists want to be “moral” and mirror the moral convictions of their society - even live “superior” moral lives as compared to others, but they have no particular philosophical compunction to do so. They can create their own “personal philosophy” that they live by, but again, it is only “their” belief.
Atheism can “allow” for personal morality, a personal view of the “purpose of life”, and, it can also allow for “no morality” and no purpose in life. It can allow for a completely amoral, narcissitic view of life and morality without any violation of atheism. This is because atheism, by logical extention of the denial of God (and therefore the denial of transcendant moral absolutes) has no transcendant moral standard upon which to declare the acts of others as either right or wrong - only personal conviction and preferences. Atheism, taken to its logical end, removes the possibility of moral absolutes that all must/should adhere to.
The fact that most people, even atheists, live as though they do know what murder is, what stealing is, what lying is, what “unfair” is, demonstrates (for me at least) one of the compelling evidences for the existence of God.
This does not “prove” the existence of God, but I do believe it is one of the compelling evidences for God.
Not that old canard, again.
His plan does not involve punishing folks for breaking rules they did not know about. Never did. Never will.
That's only your opinion. I've been told on FR several times that it's no big deal that Hindus go to hell.
Theists and atheists both disagree with the agnostic that God is unknowable, they just have different conclusions on the answer.
What old canard? I thought the central message was that mankind is fallen, and everyone is damned for all eternity UNLESS they accept Salvation before dying. Not true?
Matt.25  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Rev.21  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
I just wouldn’t want to go up against islam with a nation of atheists and secularists. We’d loose.
I don't think bravery is reliant on your theistic stance. Otherwise, Obama and Carter would be heroes.
Not everybody has had a chance to hear God's word or know of His Savior before their physical death. They are not condemned to the lake of fire for that ignorance.
Your two quotes do not describe people who've never heard of Christ receiving final judgment for not accepting Him while in the flesh.
The Revelation quote is talking about the actual 'second death' which comes at the end of the millennium. At that point Christ will have been here a thousand years and will be quite well known by all. Those condemned at the end of that period will not be innocent by ignorance.
The Matthew quote is the end of a parable the Lord was relaying regarding the millennium period. Christ is telling the parable about the separation of the sheep from the goats. At this point in Matthew He had just got done teaching His followers about how to recognize when the end times are near and how believers are to prepare for it. After detailing some of those signs and stating how the unbelievers will not even notice what's going on (thus His reference to the days of Noah when corrupt folks went on corrupting themselves until the shock of reality drowned them) He then taught a series of parables about what SHOULD happen while He is away (now) and what WILL happen when He returns.
First He mentions the lazy, drunken guy left in charge who thinks to himself "ah, the Master won't be back soon" and goes about his sinful ways. And He compares that bum to the faithful and wise fellow who tends to his master house and provides "meat in due season" to those entrusted to him. Of course, the wise fellow was richly rewarded and the lazy bum who did not watch and did not provide the "meat" ends up doing the proverbial "weeping and gnashing of teeth" when the Master returns to "cut him asunder".
Next is the parable of the ten virgins which is also about preparation, watching and waiting. The five wise virgins fully prepared and then waited. The foolish five did not prepare. When the bridegroom showed up suddenly He (Christ) gives the foolish five the old "I know you not" routine and locks them out of the wedding celebration.
Then He teaches the parable of the servants (today's Christians) which the Master (Christ) leaves in charge while He's away and gives each a certain amount of "talents". The literal meaning of talents in the parable is bars of gold while the spiritual meaning is gifts He gives to Christians including knowledge of His word, ability to teach, etc. Thus our modern use of talents to mean abilities not acquired by ones own doing as opposed to simple skills achieved via practice. Some of the servants make good use of their various amounts of talents and are profitable to the Master. But the "wicked and slothful" servant just hid his talent while the Master was away to nobody's profit. That guy's punishment was that the Lord takes away his one measly talent and gives it to the guy who already has the most talents - kinda like Obamanomics in reverse. And, of course, the unprofitable guy is cast into "outer darkness" where there is more "weeping and gnashing of teeth".
All these teachings and parables were concerning believers.
Then, finally He gets to the parable of the sheep and the goats from which you pulled your quote. This parable concerns what will happen to the unsaved non-believers when He gets back. They (if you're reading the KJV it will say "nations", but the greek is masculine rather than neuter which means it should be interpreted as meaning individual people from the nations) will be gathered together before Christ (on His throne) and then separated good from bad. The bad are called "goats" and are put on the left while the good are called "sheep" and put on the right since, in the bible, right is always better than left - hey, just like American politics! Sheep are used for the good because their instinct is to be mild-mannered and to follow, goats are used for the bad because their instinct is to be stubborn, independent and often troublesome (plus, they stink which I know because some are outside my window as I type).
Here's the important part:
The basis on which He decides who goes with the sheep on the right and who goes with the goats on the left is the way that each had treated "My brethen" (Christians) while He was away.
True enough. I recognize that there are multiple religions that claim to be honoring the God of Abraham. And, just we Christians alone sport uncounted denominations within our "religion" which have conflicting views on such matters.
For what it's worth to you, I'm not a member of any denomination myself. I was born and raised Catholic, but have been studying and believing independently for the past few decades so I'm not subject to any of the "traditions of men" which pass as doctrine today.
By my reading, there is no "hell" as hollywood might depict it. There will be a lake of fire which is used to destroy the devil, his fallen angels and those of us who've not accepted Christ by then - either now or during the millennium period at which point it will not be possible to be ignorant of Christ's message.