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What's an atheist ?
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splashscuba
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: What's an atheist ?  Reply with quote

I see all sorts of definitions for the word atheist.

What's yours ?
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me an atheist is somebody who doesn't believe there is such a thing as a 'supernatural' creator god.

However, as you say, there are a number of different ideas as to what an atheist is.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leonard James wrote:
For me an atheist is somebody who doesn't believe there is such a thing as a 'supernatural' creator god.

However, as you say, there are a number of different ideas as to what an atheist is.


I agree with Leonard.
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Andy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atheism is the belief that there is no God based upon a pre-set criteria for assessment, which leads to a single outcome as long as one remains within that criteria for assessment.

Some would say it is an inevitable outcome of the process started with The Reformation.

I like to think of atheism as being a stage of belief. Of course it has no more merit than theism with respect to being able to substantiate the position, with agnosticism the only valid and reasonable conclusion from a logical point of view.

I am fascinated by Buddhism though, which one might claim is an atheist religion being as there is no god. It is highly spiritual though, which may frustrate some occidental atheists.
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Pukon_the_Treen
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the word for someone who doesn't believe there's a God. Is that different from believing that there is no God?
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Andy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think so, I think the first description permits there to be a god, just that there isn't one. The second hints that a god couldn't possibly exist.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy wrote:
I think so, I think the first description permits there to be a god, just that there isn't one. The second hints that a god couldn't possibly exist.


Hmmm, ponder ponder ponder ... I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure I've ever heard anybody seriously say that there are absolutely no gods, never have been and never, ever could be, finito Benito. (I'm leaving aside, for the nonce, the question of a coherent definition of a god in the first place. Let me know when the nonce gets in    ). For example, I don't believe there are/I believe there are no living organisms on the planet Venus - but I'd be the first one to accept the existence of such if furnished with compelling credible evidence to the contrary. What you've described there is dogmatic atheism, which seems to operate as some sort of target practice/bogeyman/straw man for a certain type of theist but I've never met such a mythical beast.
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Pukon_the_Treen
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What you've described there is dogmatic atheism, which seems to operate as some sort of target practice/bogeyman/straw man for a certain type of theist but I've never met such a mythical beast.


Me neither. I've heard some say (with fairly good argument to support it) that the Christian God as described by the bible cannot exist, but I don't think I've heard anyone go so far as to claim that no god of any description can possibly exist. For a start, I'm not entirely sure what a god is, so how can I be sure one doesn't exist?
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Andy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that atheism is dogmatic by definition. So is theism for that matter.

Agnosticism isn't, and I think there may be a sliding scale of dogmatism to theism and atheism. But it is there nevertheless.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy wrote:
I think that atheism is dogmatic by definition. So is theism for that matter.

Really? Isn't the latter an expression of a belief (with a greater or lesser degree of certainty, but still a belief) and the former its absence?


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