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Definition of Atheism

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  • Definition of Atheism

    Due to a disruption of another thread and the lack of a thread on the topic, I decided to create a thread to prevent future derailment and also provide legitimacy for moderation of using the definition of atheism to derail a thread solely onto that topic.

    My stance

    Atheism is best understood in the context of theism, which is a proposition, meaning atheism is best understood as a negation of a proposition. If people want to use "atheism" less stringently, that's their business. I do believe that defining it in the terms of "lack of a belief" within a discussion format is highly likely an attempt to avoid burden taking a propositional stance and thus avoid burden of proof. This can be resolved by answering the question "Do you lack the belief that God does not exist". If the answer is "no", then you're being dishonest.

    Is there IRL utility in using an umbrella definition, yes, obviously, but definition games are just that, games.

    P.S: The reason it's in the Philosophy subforum is that it's not purely an atheist/agnostic vs theist or apologetic issue, but here it gives theist a chance for input.
    Last edited by Diogenes; 08-25-2020, 11:18 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
    Due to a disruption of another thread and the lack of a thread on the topic, I decided to create a thread to prevent future derailment and also provide legitimacy for moderation of using the definition of atheism to derail a thread solely onto that topic.

    My stance

    Atheism is best understood in the context of theism, which is a proposition, meaning atheism is best understood as a negation of a proposition. If people want to use "atheism" less stringently, that's their business. I do believe that defining it in the terms of "lack of a belief" within a discussion format is highly likely an attempt to avoid burden taking a propositional stance and thus avoid burden of proof. This can be resolved by answering the question "Do you lack the belief that God does not exist". If the answer is "no", then you're being dishonest.

    Is there IRL utility in using an umbrella definition, yes, obviously, but definition games are just that, games.

    P.S: The reason it's in the Philosophy subforum is that it's not purely an atheist/agnostic vs theist or apologetic issue, but here it gives theist a chance for input.
    Nobody can say they know in either case, so it's all about belief or lack of belief. An athiest is just a person who doesn't believe as opposed to a thiest who is one who does believe.

    Comment


    • #3
      It is a philosophical position. It is a belief because there is no way to know with certainty that there is no God. Therefore atheism is a belief that there is no God.

      The adherents to this position even group themselves as "atheists" and give themselves a name. They flock to religious forums and argue with Christians and other religions that they are nuts and that there is no God. Some even go to college and get degrees in Theology and Biblical Studies. Others write books about Atheism and how Christians are wrong. They even have groupies (Richard Dawkins). It is more than a "lack of belief in God"


      I don't believe in unicorns but I don't consider myself an "a-unicornist" and go around arguing against unicorns on internet boards with people who do believe in them. I didn't go to college to study unicornology and get a degree in unicorn studies so I could write papers and books about how there are no unicorns.

      The reason atheists want to claim that it is just a "lack of belief in God" is so they don't have to defend their position. It is just cowardice. If you are here on theologyweb and you want to argue that God isn't real then you are taking a positive position and need to defend your position. Or be a and run away.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        It is a philosophical position. It is a belief because there is no way to know with certainty that there is no God. Therefore atheism is a belief that there is no God.

        The adherents to this position even group themselves as "atheists" and give themselves a name. They flock to religious forums and argue with Christians and other religions that they are nuts and that there is no God. Some even go to college and get degrees in Theology and Biblical Studies. Others write books about Atheism and how Christians are wrong. They even have groupies (Richard Dawkins). It is more than a "lack of belief in God"


        I don't believe in unicorns but I don't consider myself an "a-unicornist" and go around arguing against unicorns on internet boards with people who do believe in them. I didn't go to college to study unicornology and get a degree in unicorn studies so I could write papers and books about how there are no unicorns.

        The reason atheists want to claim that it is just a "lack of belief in God" is so they don't have to defend their position. It is just cowardice. If you are here on theologyweb and you want to argue that God isn't real then you are taking a positive position and need to defend your position. Or be a and run away.
        You contradicted yourself. "therefore atheism is a belief that there is no god."----- "The reason atheists want to claim that it is just a lack of belief in god." It's simply about belief or lack of belief.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JimL View Post
          You contradicted yourself. "therefore atheism is a belief that there is no god."----- "The reason atheists want to claim that it is just a lack of belief in god." It's simply about belief or lack of belief.
          Do you have that hard of a time reading? The second quote was what atheists want to claim. The first was what I say atheism really is.

          Atheists want to claim it is a LACK of belief, but it is actually a belief of it's own. A belief there is no God.

          Comment


          • #6
            My understanding

            Atheist A: Doesn't believe in God/gods
            Atheist B: Believes there is no God/gods

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              Do you have that hard of a time reading? The second quote was what atheists want to claim. The first was what I say atheism really is.

              Atheists want to claim it is a LACK of belief, but it is actually a belief of it's own. A belief there is no God.
              Yep, that's what I said you said. Just like theism, t's not about knowing, it's all about whether one happens to believe or disbelieve.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JimL View Post
                Yep, that's what I said you said. Just like theism, t's not about knowing, it's all about whether one happens to believe or disbelieve.
                Are you on drugs or something?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't troll Hindu Forums and make fun of their beliefs. I don't troll atheist forums. Actually, I don't go out of my way to troll people I disagree with in general. So, why do some people come to a Christian forum to troll?
                  If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is a tree an atheist? It lacks a belief in God.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      Atheism is saying you know there is no God. That is a positive statement of belief.
                      Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
                      Nah, just means not being a theist.
                      Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
                      To be fair, it could mean anything.
                      Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
                      Then it could mean a belief that my grandkid didn't hit a home run yesterday.
                      Technically speaking yes, as there's no linguistically objective meaning. That's just how language works.

                      Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
                      If you accept the credibility of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (P), then you would accept atheism as the proposition that God does not exist (Q).


                      If P, then Q.
                      ~Q.
                      ~P
                      If P, then ...

                      The advantage of any propositional logic is in the unleashing of propositional tools for proof and disproof. The disadvantage is that most statements we use to inform our view of the world are excluded.
                      Are you saying that most statements are not propositions?


                      Propositions need to be true or false, and most statements just ain't.
                      Ain't what? Propositions? True? False?


                      Do you believe my grandkid hit a home run yesterday?
                      Assuming no non-normal meanings to the words and given the general lack of sporting events, no.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
                        Due to a disruption of another thread and the lack of a thread on the topic, I decided to create a thread to prevent future derailment and also provide legitimacy for moderation of using the definition of atheism to derail a thread solely onto that topic.

                        My stance

                        Atheism is best understood in the context of theism, which is a proposition, meaning atheism is best understood as a negation of a proposition. If people want to use "atheism" less stringently, that's their business. I do believe that defining it in the terms of "lack of a belief" within a discussion format is highly likely an attempt to avoid burden taking a propositional stance and thus avoid burden of proof. This can be resolved by answering the question "Do you lack the belief that God does not exist". If the answer is "no", then you're being dishonest.

                        Is there IRL utility in using an umbrella definition, yes, obviously, but definition games are just that, games.

                        P.S: The reason it's in the Philosophy subforum is that it's not purely an atheist/agnostic vs theist or apologetic issue, but here it gives theist a chance for input.
                        I'm an atheist, and I have no burden to prove there is no God, or that there are no gods, because I am not trying to convince anyone that there is no God, or that there are no gods. This is true whether I believe a particular god does not exist, or simply lack belief that it does. (As an aside, whether or not I believe that a god does not exist depends of the qualities attributed to that particular god.)

                        As for atheism, I prefer the "lack of belief" definition. I see no good reason to distinguish between people who have concluded that there are no gods, and those who simply think the arguments/evidence put forth by theists aren't good enough to justify belief. The two groups are going to behave pretty much the same from day to day.

                        If you want to separate out the people who are against religion, and actively try to dissuade others from believing, a better term would be "anti-theist". Such people can reasonably be said to have a burden of proof.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                          Is a tree an atheist? It lacks a belief in God.
                          That's easily dealt with:

                          Atheist: One who has seriously considered the question, and does not believe that there is a God.

                          So rocks and trees and babies are out.

                          Along the same lines, my dog and cat are definitely not atheists. My dog thinks that I am God, and my cat believes that she is God.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            It is a philosophical position. It is a belief because there is no way to know with certainty that there is no God. Therefore atheism is a belief that there is no God.
                            You've already been shown that you are wrong on this. Any dictionary shows you wrong as well as simple logic. It is not a belief; it is a lack of one particular belief.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            The adherents to this position even group themselves as "atheists" and give themselves a name.
                            Wrong. 'Atheist' is simply the word we use to describe those who lack one particular belief - that of the existence of any gods.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            They flock to religious forums and argue with Christians and other religions that they are nuts and that there is no God. Some even go to college and get degrees in Theology and Biblical Studies. Others write books about Atheism and how Christians are wrong. They even have groupies (Richard Dawkins).
                            None of which shows that atheism is anything other than the lack of belief in the existence of gods.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            It is more than a "lack of belief in God"
                            It can be among some; they are the ones who, in addition to lacking a belief in the existence of gods, also hold a positive belief that no gods exist.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            I don't believe in unicorns but I don't consider myself an "a-unicornist" and go around arguing against unicorns on internet boards with people who do believe in them. I didn't go to college to study unicornology and get a degree in unicorn studies so I could write papers and books about how there are no unicorns.
                            Which is completely irrelevant.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            The reason atheists want to claim that it is just a "lack of belief in God" is so they don't have to defend their position.
                            Unsupported and false.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            It is just cowardice.
                            Unsupported, false and insulting.


                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            If you are here on theologyweb and you want to argue that God isn't real then you are taking a positive position and need to defend your position. Or be a and run away.
                            Quite correct. Which, again, has nothing to do with the fact that atheism is the lack of belief in gods.


                            For some reason you seem to think that the behaviour of a tiny portion of atheists manages to re-write the entire definition. Sorry, but that's not the case - as any dictionary will tell you, despite your wanting to ignore them.
                            America - too good to let the conservatives drag it back to 1950.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                              Is a tree an atheist? It lacks a belief in God.
                              To precisely the same extent that it is apolitical.

                              If you want to apply labels designed for humans to trees, you'll get junk results.
                              America - too good to let the conservatives drag it back to 1950.

                              Comment

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