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What's an atheist ?
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IvyOwl
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:24 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

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You've not told me why you have to bring this notional god into anything ... especially as you are acknowledging that it is totally unknowable. What is the importance/necessity/point?


I think it is a basic of humanity. It is an aspect of humanity to categorise a god thing. Even if only to dismiss it. A human psychological element of the anthropological march.


Well we humans have certainly come up with rather a lot of gods and goddesses.  They come have their day and then go. So I can't argue against it being an aspect of humanity but as the existence of atheists confirms it's not compulsory or a necessity for everyone.

So if I understand your answer correctly what you are saying is you believe in one albeit an unknowable one, because  .... well just because you do cos lots of humans have? Fair enough.

IO
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Andy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ivy

Quote:
So I can't argue against it being an aspect of humanity but as the existence of atheists confirms it's not compulsory or a necessity for everyone.

So if I understand your answer correctly what you are saying is you believe in one albeit an unknowable one, because  .... well just because you do cos lots of humans have? Fair enough.


The existence of atheists does not confirm the necessity or compulsion at all. It simply means that some people substitute that aspect and desire of humanity for a god with other things. Sometimes even a refutation of god. We have just come up with different ways of scratching the same itch.

So no, I am not saying that I believe in a god because lots of humans have. Certainly nothing as glib as that. I am saying that this desire for a belief is articulated by many as god, by both atheists and theists alike. That we have different ways of expressing this desire in our society than previous or other societies. But that same human requirement remains. Which is why I previously mentioned that the baggage of the term 'god' can be misleading. We all have this as a aspect of humanity. Some articulate this as god, some do not. Some articulate this through fantasy, through media, through art or through relationships. Some articulate this through what the hold as dear in there lives, for some it is material prosperity, for others it is horses. For others still it is god. God is a label as much as anything. Most of the associated paraphernalia is simply the man-made structure to that acknowledgement, we call that religion. But god, or indeed God, is the experience rather than the defined knowledge.

And indeed is limitless, so is bespoke to each of us.
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

God is simply the answer to a question we don't at present have an answer for, and is probably a necessity for some people who can't achieve peace of mind without an answer.

For the rest of us, 'don't know yet' is perfectly satisfactory.
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IvyOwl
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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For the rest of us, 'don't know yet' is perfectly satisfactory.


Yep and save ourselves a lot of mental gymnastics at the same time!

Andy I can see what you mean but it comes across as the reasoning of someone who started off with a god belief that they couldn't quite let go.

Letting go and thinking 'oh what an awsome universe we live in' suffices for some of us. We just don't need the G word!

IO
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splashscuba
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy wrote:

The existence of atheists does not confirm the necessity or compulsion at all. It simply means that some people substitute that aspect and desire of humanity for a god with other things. Sometimes even a refutation of god. We have just come up with different ways of scratching the same itch.

Substitute what ? Are you saying there's stuff that I do because I don't believe in gods ?

What about all the stuff I do because I don't believe in fairies ?

And all the stuff I do because ....... etc
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Andy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Substitute what ? Are you saying there's stuff that I do because I don't believe in gods ?


No

I am saying there are elements to your life which are determined by the human condition, and that you satisfy those elements accordingly.

Other people have, and still do, satisfy that same aspect of humanity through a belief in a god. Some people satisfy that aspect of humanity through a belief that there is no god.

To use an oblique example, we see in many religions certain charaters who express a frustration with the human, physical condition. We have angels and demons who can fly. Man is frustrated with being unable to fly, indeed it has been a frustration which went on to drive innovation and invention. But to articulate that frustration we have fantastic characters why defy the limitations of man, and are able to fly. We see the same with myth and legend, we see the same through virtually all religions of antiquity. We currently see the same with Hollywood blockbuster films, through books, comics, TV shows and cartoons. That same awareness of our human limitations is expressed through articulating it in the form of projected characters. So whilst an American teenager may be submerging himself in a superhero film with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of coca-cola, the same aspect of humanity is being addressed as when a devotional monk in seventh century Constantipole paints an icon of the heavenly host. It is the same anthropological itch being scratched.

This illustration is a fraction of the capacity that man has in contriving answers to certain elements of the human condition. My point is that we all do it, just that some of us call it God.
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splashscuba
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I wonder which bit of what I do would be replaced if I became a believer ?  
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samuel_11
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leonard James wrote:
Let me try again.

I suppose it is possible that the universe came into being due to a supernatural force, rather than a natural one. If such is the case, the nature of that force is quite beyond our comprehension, since our brains have only evolved to deal with the natural world we live in.  

I don't believe any of the god stories we have so far been presented with ... I consider them sincere but futile attempts to answer the question.

If such a force existed and wanted us to know about it, then we would know.

EDIT. I've just realised I used the word 'force', but since 'force' is part of the natural world, best substitute it with the word 'entity'.


Once again Leonard you describe a position I more or less hold myself but have hitherto been unable to express with such eloquence. Cheers buddy .

I personally find that belief in god is often a very good 'anaesthetic' to a good number of believers I know, in that it gives them their answers for the universe, life, why we are here, what happens when we die and all sorts of other such philosophical questions.

Of course while they are free to believe this and take comfort for the safety they perceive it to give them. The fact is however that these answers religion gives are no more likely to be true than any other attempt to understand, given the lack of evidence regarding the subject, its abstract nature and of course the limitations of our comprehension. From my perspective the feeling of safety that is gleaned from belief in god and the perception of safety is in fact an illusion; they think they have it worked out and believe in their religion for the security it gives them, but the cold hard truth is we simply don't know.

Some people, such as Leonard and myself, are prepared to accept the rather unpalatable fact that we just don't know the answer to many of these questions regarding life and the universe right now; there is no objective evidence regarding why we are here. Some go further and say we never will know and attempts to gain understanding of such things is pointless. Others are dissatisfied with this, either through fear of the unknown, a hunch, a feeling or whatever reason, and so try to form explanations, of which gods and theologies are just one more example.

That's my piece anyway  
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Samuel,

I am probably the oldest poster on the forum, and I think you may well be the youngest! I don't know why, but the fact that we agree about these things makes me feel good!
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mrjohnno
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: What's an atheist ? Reply with quote

splashscuba wrote:
I see all sorts of definitions for the word atheist.

What's yours ?


An atheist is someone who rejects the claim made by theists that there is a supreme being, this is not the same as saying that there is no supreme being.

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