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MrRINGOffline
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 21:17    Post subject: Is Atheism A Belief System... or Fact? Reply with quote

It just struck me - many people who are atheists seem to regard it as a fact, irrefutable. But isn't it a belief system, exactly the same as monotheism, polytheism, or agnosticism? Or is it scientific "fact"? I'm not sure how it's calssified, but it might be scientific fact to a believer in atheism, but just a belief to anybody else....
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 21:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

<Nods> Thats why Im an agnostic...
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giantrobot1Offline
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 22:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an argument that regularly appears in Atheist forums, such as in USENET. Some christians like to say atheism is a religion since it's a belief about God. I think amongst Christians who I've also seen say that atheists believe in God, but just hate him, it can be a symptom of not understanding that most atheists just don't believe in that kind of thing, full stop. I used to be a secular atheist, but am now a Buddhist, so I'm still an atheist of sorts, and I say no - it's not a religious belief per-se.

A baby, for instance, doesn't believe in God, so is that a belief? Same with someone who's never been introduced to the concept of God in the first place.
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Alexius4
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 22:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

While agnosticism is rationally justifiable (inavoidable, perhaps, in the absense of some experience of the numinous), atheism doesn't really hold up to criticism. It is not so much a philosophical stance as a conviction.

For example, one atheist line of argument runs that the 'god of the gaps' has been rendered unnecessary by the advances in the natural sciences over the past five hundred years. Hence, if we have no need of god as an explanation, god does not exist. On the face of it, this is quite eloquent; the appeal to known natural mechanisms relieves us of the burden of belief. However, the logic is deeply flawed.

The other arguments for atheism are as flawed as the arguments for the existence of god - they lack rational force, as the weak logic fails to compel acceptance. Agnosticism, on the otherhand, has a sound foundation: in the absense of a compelling argument one way or the other, we can infer too little to take a stance either side of the line.
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Raya_KaiserinOffline
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 22:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I've always seen atheism as a religion.

They have a creation story (the Big Bang), and end-of-the-universe scenario (Big Crunch), priests (scientists), places of worship (schools, labs, universities), books of truth (encyclopaedias) and perform miracles (anything the average layman sees as wonderous).

Back in the past if we asked why the sun shone a priest would tell us it was because of a god, and we'd believe it because it was a priest. Nowadays if we asked a scientist would tell us it was because of fission, and we'd believe it because it was a scientist.

*shrugs* But then again, each to their own beliefs!
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homo Aves wrote:
<Nods> Thats why Im an agnostic...
another belief system.
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Alexius4
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
another belief system.


But is it? Is it not where you stand when you have no grounds for standing elsewhere? Agnosticism surely is a willingness to watch and wait.

In that case, it is more an attitude than a body of belief.
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rynner
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raya wrote:
Back in the past if we asked why the sun shone a priest would tell us it was because of a god, and we'd believe it because it was a priest. Nowadays if we asked a scientist would tell us it was because of fission, and we'd believe it because it was a scientist.

[pedantic] No, no, fusion, not fission! [/pedantic]
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexius wrote:
Quote:
another belief system.


But is it? Is it not where you stand when you have no grounds for standing elsewhere? Agnosticism surely is a willingness to watch and wait.

In that case, it is more an attitude than a body of belief.
Or perhaps it's a belief that one should watch and wait and see what happens?

Okay, put it this way...

Three kids, each has a chocolate. One decides to eat it now, one decides to not eat theirs at all the other decides he'll wait and see. maybe there will be more chocolates, maybe it's not very nice, maybe its lovely, maybe it's not even chocolate, maybe he's mistakeen and it's not there at all...he'll wait and see how it turns out. But they all have chocolate or some relation to chocolate, which is asking them to eat it not it or remain impartial to it. So in that sense, of course its a belief system. It shares commonality (is that a word, I believe it's a word... maybe I'll be agnostic about it, wait and see what happens...) with contrary belief systems. One child believes in God, one doesn't believe in God and one will wait and see. Your notion that it's an attitude by that measure means that so is believing, and not believing... an adopted attitude...a belief. at the center of all these attitudes or beliefs or whatever word you want to give it is god, and it's these attitudes towards that that give these beliefs attitudes or whatever word you want, defining terms.

A belief is a view, is an opinion. A religion is also a view or an opinion but more structured (for uniformity in a lot of instances), and often built on founding beliefs, an extrapolation. Hence why so many parts of something relate to pre established views, people find things in religion that comply with their beliefs, thanks in most part to the fact that they often share common basic structures.


Last edited by Guest on 31-01-2005 23:42; edited 1 time in total
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Alexius4
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PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a difference, though. Agnosticism is not a world view, as it doesn't actually assert anything beyond there not being enough to erect a judgement from.

Agnosticism doesn't attempt an explanation of the world and our place in it: religions do. It is not really a system, as it is a solitary proposition. Pushed to classify it, it is an opinion on a specific issue or an attitude towards a particular problem. Not much more.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hook,
With due respect, an opinion can be changed. Belief is opinion attached to sentiment and identity, which is somewhere between hard and impossible to change. you can admit easily that an opinion was wrong. Belief has an element of faith that means you can't prove the belief wrong...

Alexius,

you can have flavours of agnosticism. I'm an Agnositc Athiest... I don't know there isn't a god, but I think it unlikely, in any form graspable by a human certainly, and in anyway at all possibly. Twisted Evil Is that a world view?
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexius wrote:
There is a difference, though. Agnosticism is not a world view, as it doesn't actually assert anything beyond there not being enough to erect a judgement from.

Agnosticism doesn't attempt an explanation of the world and our place in it: religions do. It is not really a system, as it is a solitary proposition. Pushed to classify it, it is an opinion on a specific issue or an attitude towards a particular problem. Not much more.
but that's the point. they're all different. and if belief is suddenly classed as something that meets the requirements contrary to Agnosticism, then your definition here is establishing what 'you' believe belief to be. Agnosticism may not attempt to explain the world in the same manner as say Christianity does or Athiesm does, but it's still by its very nature explaining the world relevant to its own world view. may be to a lesser degree, fair enough, I'd buy that, I mean if we look at Athiesm and Christianity as contrary views their porality is instantly evident, but it doesn't make it less of a belief. because in order to be Agnostic, you make a choice and you make that choice through understanding...even if you regard yourself as one who hasn't chosen yet, you've given yourself a label. you are agnostic. you believe yourself to be agnostic. it's a belief. and given the clarity you've addressed, it has a structure too.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hugo Cornwall wrote:
in any form graspable by a human certainly
I'm beginning to think that about the point I'm trying to make with regard to belief.
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Thirtysixth_Bee
PostPosted: 31-01-2005 23:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexius wrote:
atheism doesn't really hold up to criticism. It is not so much a philosophical stance as a conviction.


I guess what happened was some people tried to turn a conviction into a philosophical stance. But how can you prove a lack of something equally unproveable? Reason and conviction don't always mix well, but I think they're both important tools for understanding.

Athiesm: yeay. That's what I believe.
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Alexius4
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PostPosted: 01-02-2005 00:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a belief, granted - but given it is but a single sentence with a simple point, it can hardly be a belief system.

I take a belief system to be an attempt at orientation, a putting of the world in some kind of order. Agnosticism doesn't attempt anything along those lines; rather, it asserts there aren't sufficient grounds to attempt anything of the kind.
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