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Old 2008-06-02, 17:01   Link #861
Onizuka-GTO
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Originally Posted by Mena View Post
Jedi Knight a religion?
It is in the united Kingdom.

Yay for British eccentricity

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Old 2008-06-02, 17:04   Link #862
Mena
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Originally Posted by Onizuka-GTO View Post
It is in the united Kingdom.

Yay for British eccentricity

So I guess they believe in "the force"
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Old 2008-06-02, 17:14   Link #863
Xrayz0r
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Originally Posted by Mena View Post
I'm an agnostic, this isn't really a "religion".
Agnostic is considered to be atheism, just a pussy version of it and I agree. You can't go through life saying "I don't know" since knowing is not what religion or belief is about. No one surely knows, but you either believe there's a god, or you don't.
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Old 2008-06-02, 17:15   Link #864
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I don't know if you guys are interested at all, but these are the statistical percentages of belief in god for many countries. I couldn't find too many stats from Latin America, and Asia unfortunately. Although I'd assume that in China its less than 5-10%. Besides the U.S. statistic, all the statistics are from the Eurobarometer poll of 2005.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xrayz0r View Post
Agnostic is considered to be atheism, just a pussy version of it and I agree. You can't go through life saying "I don't know" since knowing is not what religion or belief is about. No one surely knows, but you either believe there's a god, or you don't.
No, atheism is a firm belief in no god (It's almost like a religion itself), religion is a firm belief in god or gods or what ever you think. I as an agnostic do not know if there is a supreme being, I will not say there is, I will not say there isn't. Belief has no room for doubt.
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Old 2008-06-02, 17:48   Link #865
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
No, atheism is a firm belief in no god (It's almost like a religion itself), religion is a firm belief in god or gods or what ever you think. I as an agnostic do not know if there is a supreme being, I will not say there is, I will not say there isn't. Belief has no room for doubt.
No it isn't. Atheists don't believe in No God. No God doesn't exist, doesn't rule over them, didn't create them, and take them back in the afterlife. Atheists just plain don't believe period, and that's far, far from a religion. They don't worship No God and never will. By definition, atheists share nothing in common except they don't believe in the existence of the Divine, which includes No God I think.



One of my many pet peeves (I am an irritable, anti-social creature) is agnostics or religious people somehow insisting that Atheism is, or is almost like, a religion. It isn't. It's not a system of beliefs, just a lack of one -- or at least one with the involvement of the Epic One.
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Old 2008-06-02, 18:43   Link #866
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I'm christian and i'm lovin it, it's not like i have anything against people who believe something different. It doesn't what religion you are..
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Old 2008-06-02, 19:34   Link #867
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
No it isn't. Atheists don't believe in No God. No God doesn't exist, doesn't rule over them, didn't create them, and take them back in the afterlife. Atheists just plain don't believe period, and that's far, far from a religion. They don't worship No God and never will. By definition, atheists share nothing in common except they don't believe in the existence of the Divine, which includes No God I think.



One of my many pet peeves (I am an irritable, anti-social creature) is agnostics or religious people somehow insisting that Atheism is, or is almost like, a religion. It isn't. It's not a system of beliefs, just a lack of one -- or at least one with the involvement of the Epic One.
I'm really confused with your double negatives in your sentences .

Ok straight from Wikipedia:

"Viewed narrowly, it is an explicit position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods or rejects theism. When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities, alternatively called nontheism."

Under the broad definition you are correct, under the narrow definition which I was using when talking about atheism I still hold my statement. When people rule out that God cannot exist no matter what, they sound just as baseless as people who say God must exist.
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Old 2008-06-02, 19:45   Link #868
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
No it isn't. Atheists don't believe in No God. No God doesn't exist, doesn't rule over them, didn't create them, and take them back in the afterlife. Atheists just plain don't believe period, and that's far, far from a religion. They don't worship No God and never will. By definition, atheists share nothing in common except they don't believe in the existence of the Divine, which includes No God I think.



One of my many pet peeves (I am an irritable, anti-social creature) is agnostics or religious people somehow insisting that Atheism is, or is almost like, a religion. It isn't. It's not a system of beliefs, just a lack of one -- or at least one with the involvement of the Epic One.
We're re-hashing old ground. Again. Let me try to put it in a more palatable format...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac Asimov
I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.
(Ah, Asimov. The religionist's atheist!)

We've gone back and forth about the specific definition of atheism, and where the line between agnosticism and atheism lies, but to believe absolutely in the total lack of anything beyond the world we are presently capable of observing is an irrational belief. One you're free to make, of course, but any time one has an irrational belief, whether about the supernatural or not, one should be prepared for it to be called a religion.
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Old 2008-06-02, 20:13   Link #869
Ledgem
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
No it isn't. Atheists don't believe in No God. No God doesn't exist, doesn't rule over them, didn't create them, and take them back in the afterlife. Atheists just plain don't believe period, and that's far, far from a religion. They don't worship No God and never will. By definition, atheists share nothing in common except they don't believe in the existence of the Divine, which includes No God I think.



One of my many pet peeves (I am an irritable, anti-social creature) is agnostics or religious people somehow insisting that Atheism is, or is almost like, a religion. It isn't. It's not a system of beliefs, just a lack of one -- or at least one with the involvement of the Epic One.
Yes, it's as kyuusai says - we had pages upon pages of this before. Things are slow for me these days, though - I'd happily do it all over again!

You're equating religion with the stereotypical forms of organized religion: belief in God; feeling the need to worship; feeling that they were created by a greater entity, and so forth. I boil all of that away to be something very simple: people who are religious follow religion, obviously, and religion itself is a belief in something that is based on faith (can't be proven). An Athiest has a firm belief that God doesn't exist. This belief may be just as strong as a religious person's belief that God does exist, yet it's backed by no more evidence than the religious person has.

Simple summary: a Thiest (religious person) has faith in God's existence; an Athiest has faith that God doesn't exist. The beliefs are polar opposites, but both are united in that they both have firm beliefs that are faith-based (not backed by evidence).
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Old 2008-06-02, 20:59   Link #870
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner
Under the broad definition you are correct, under the narrow definition which I was using when talking about atheism I still hold my statement. When people rule out that God cannot exist no matter what, they sound just as baseless as people who say God must exist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuusai
We've gone back and forth about the specific definition of atheism, and where the line between agnosticism and atheism lies, but to believe absolutely in the total lack of anything beyond the world we are presently capable of observing is an irrational belief. One you're free to make, of course, but any time one has an irrational belief, whether about the supernatural or not, one should be prepared for it to be called a religion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
You're equating religion with the stereotypical forms of organized religion: belief in God; feeling the need to worship; feeling that they were created by a greater entity, and so forth. I boil all of that away to be something very simple: people who are religious follow religion, obviously, and religion itself is a belief in something that is based on faith (can't be proven). An Athiest has a firm belief that God doesn't exist. This belief may be just as strong as a religious person's belief that God does exist, yet it's backed by no more evidence than the religious person has.

Simple summary: a Thiest (religious person) has faith in God's existence; an Athiest has faith that God doesn't exist. The beliefs are polar opposites, but both are united in that they both have firm beliefs that are faith-based (not backed by evidence).
Since all of your arguments follow a similar line, I hope you won't be offended if I respond to them as one. Also, don't take it all too seriously; as much as I'm an anti-social soul, I'm also one with a (wickedly boring) sense of humor.

Indeed at first glance my post seems to be threading old ground. However, let me make clear that I am far from not knowing about the Atheist's dilemma, as kyuusai kindly quoted from the words of the late Asimov. Is a conviction that something doesn't exist as much a leap of faith as a conviction that this something is? On pure logical grounds, of course! Though when one takes into account more complex levels of arguments -- evidence, discussion of the nature of perception and belief, etc. -- one would get increasingly complex answer. I'm not here to deny that. I'm here to deny that atheism is, or is similar to, a religion.

Let me point out the problem I find with your arguments:

1) The conflicting uses of "faith."

It's true that the concept of God, the Divine, or whatever you want to call it is a powerful concept to the human psyche; that is hardly deniable. The application of "faith" in this context points directly to the idea of a faith in this Divinity. On the other hand, another definition of faith being used here is simply a requirement to suspend pure logic: to accept things even though logical arguments can be made to the contrary. For an extreme example, existentialism. The very idea of our senses being unable to perceive what is true has been popularized by the Matrix, but it's a far deeper and more complex dilemma than that; do I exist? Do you exist? What is truth? Our perceptions, or something different? Questions with no single logical answer, or maybe no logical answer at all; questions that require faith to answer, that is. And these questions have nothing to do with the Divine.

By mixing the two you are giving connotations far beyond what you may have intended. Connotations I refuse to accept.

If we use the second meaning of faith, it is true that atheism shares something with religion: both require leaps of logic. But is one, just one, similarity enough to assert that atheism is somehow the same as a religion? Of course not! "Atheism is a religion" in this case is like saying "Belief in Leprechauns is a religion," "The Big Bang is a religion," or even "Trusting our senses to tell us the truth is a religion." Absurd.

And do note that each example makes a point of its own.

2) The definition of a religion.

Ledgem asserts here that I am using a far too traditional meaning of the word "religion." Maybe I am, or maybe I have assumed that other words exist to describe such feelings: spirituality would be one. But let's assume that the word religion is now a far more encompassing word than it once was, a system of beliefs based on the existence of the supernatural. Yet even then Ledgem's own expanded definition point to the flaws of calling atheism a religion (or something virtually the same as religion) that I raised earlier.

"Belief in God; feeling the need to worship; feeling that they were created by a greater entity, and so forth," shows that this "faith" is a lot more than just a leap away from logic. In other words, this "faith" is a religion. My original post made fun of this, calling to the existence of "No God," God of Atheists. What was my point? To atheists, there isn't a No God; no feelings of worship, no sense of bonding with the greater entity, no moral codes to follow*. The leap of logic is there, the second definition of faith, but if that's all something needs to become a religion, then almost -- if not *every* -- thing would become a religion of its own. It needs the first definition of faith, the spirituality that you yourself pointed out.

And do realize, I'm not even calling religion "baseless" here (though I said it was unconvincing much earlier, separate from this argument). You guys in fact are.

*And just before any ultra-religious person comes in (none of you are, thank the gods ), not following moral codes based on the Divine doesn't mean having no moral codes at all. So no such snipes, please.

That's why the statement "atheism is a religion" or similar to it annoys me so much. It's an irresponsible statement with misleading connotations, and abused far too much in far too many internet arguments to count.
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Old 2008-06-02, 22:19   Link #871
Ledgem
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Bah, looks like I won't get to go on for pages and pages unless someone brings something spicy to the table after what I'm about to say. I wouldn't go so far as to call Athiesm a religion in the sense of the word, but I took issue with you saying that Athiesm is "far, far from a religion." Of course it's not the same thing, but the way that the two function in terms of conviction is no different. Athiests tend to feel that because they don't believe in something that has no proof that they are being more logical and scientific than people who do believe in that something with no proof. I like to pick fights over it because I think it's a bit of a silly thing to think I can respect either belief, but let's no belittle the other for doing something that you're doing, too.
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Old 2008-06-02, 22:31   Link #872
Reckoner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
I'm here to deny that atheism is, or is similar to, a religion.
Ok

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Let me point out the problem I find with your arguments:

1) The conflicting uses of "faith."

The application of "faith" in this context points directly to the idea of a faith in this Divinity. On the other hand, another definition of faith being used here is simply a requirement to suspend pure logic: to accept things even though logical arguments can be made to the contrary. For an extreme example, existentialism. <snip> And these questions have nothing to do with the Divine.

By mixing the two you are giving connotations far beyond what you may have intended. Connotations I refuse to accept.

If we use the second meaning of faith, it is true that atheism shares something with religion: both require leaps of logic. But is one, just one, similarity enough to assert that atheism is somehow the same as a religion? Of course not! "Atheism is a religion" in this case is like saying "Belief in Leprechauns is a religion," "The Big Bang is a religion," or even "Trusting our senses to tell us the truth is a religion." Absurd.
Let me just say I use the second definition of faith you wrote there. Theoretically under this you can believe in leprechauns or the big bang or the truthfulness of the senses.

However, please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't religion's definition:

a set of beliefs and practices often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law.

But even if it wasn't I'll make a different point. Yes, religion can be based on the most absurd ideas. Who are you to say that God does not exist? What if we were just inside a monster's crystal jar in some far off world and I worshiped this monster so he doesn't destroy our crystal jar that contains our universe? This works in the reverse as well.

When I say atheism is becoming like a religion though, I am trying to exemplify the behaviors of such people. Many of them refuse to acknowledge that they could be wrong, just like many religions. They supposedly base their thought process on "reasoning" like science, but fail when they make their very affirmations of No God without proof. Now if it is just the absence of belief, I really wouldn't consider that person an atheist, but someone who is not affiliated with religion.

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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
2) The definition of a religion.

The leap of logic is there, the second definition of faith, but if that's all something needs to become a religion, then almost -- if not *every* -- thing would become a religion of its own. It needs the first definition of faith, the spirituality that you yourself pointed out.<snip>

That's why the statement "atheism is a religion" or similar to it annoys me so much. It's an irresponsible statement with misleading connotations, and abused far too much in far too many internet arguments to count.
And does spirituality mean the same thing to you that it does to everyone? Indians consider cows holy, I don't personally affiliate them with any such idea. I can have faith in almost anything, like you say under the second definition. But again religion is, unless I am wrong, not just a set of beliefs but a set of practices with it focused on the ... you know.

Again, Atheism isn't a religion, it's almost like one. All that it is missing, in comparison, is a set dogma for people to follow. They don't have atheistic practices, but the same train of thought is used to assert that God doesn't exist and God does exist.
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Old 2008-06-02, 22:59   Link #873
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Athiests tend to feel that because they don't believe in something that has no proof that they are being more logical and scientific than people who do believe in that something with no proof.
Then may I assert that your problem is with the behavior of some atheists and not atheism as a general position?

There are headstrong "fundamentalists" everywhere you go, you know. It's hardly fair if atheists are going to be the only ones generalized because of their less-than-tolerant factions.

And just for your information, I like beating down on overconfident atheists, the "I'm more logical than you" type, just as much as others probably do. I'm just not arguing against them right now but rather you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner
<snip> But even if it wasn't I'll make a different point. Yes, religion can be based on the most absurd ideas. Who are you to say that God does not exist? What if we were just inside a monster's crystal jar in some far off world and I worshiped this monster so he doesn't destroy our crystal jar that contains our universe? This works in the reverse as well. <snip>
My "absurd" is pointed not at the positions taken (I'm hardly qualified to speak of "Truth" with a big T) but at the comparisons made.

To spell it out:

Few would acknowledge belief in leprechauns as a religion. What is my point here? Believing in leprechauns require a leap of faith, just like atheism, and religions. However, believing that leprechauns exist doesn't necessarily convince one to worship leprechauns, act in a certain way, or subscribe to certain tenets, just like atheism, unlike religions*. Hence, "absurd."

*though I said "just like atheism," it isn't to be taken literally. I mean in the sense that both concepts lack something that make them religions, or close enough to be lumped with them; not in the sense that they are somehow the same.

If one starts to shape his or her behavior, moral ideals, and such to the Book of Leprechaunism or whatever, then it becomes a religion.

The Big Bang is a scientific theory. It has some evidences to support it. However, it still require a leap of faith to subscribe to it all the same. We didn't witness it, the evidences are interpreted to support the theory (nothing wrong with that though), and there are holes in the theory which has yet to be filled. Yet it isn't a religion...the same points above on leprechauns remain.

A similar idea applies to the trust in our senses. How can we be absolutely certain that what we experience is real? Of course we don't know, yet we make a leap of faith to assume so -- it's absolutely necessary to function in life, in fact. All these examples share with atheism and religion in that they require faith (my 2nd def.), but at the same time all these examples, including atheism, lack the things that make them religion, the things which I included in my "first" definition of faith, one in the religious sense.

Your new definition on religion (there are many definitions aren't there) actually further supports my point that there is a difference between them, a difference large enough to make the direct comparison dubious.

Oh, and your position against certain atheists are similar to Ledgem, so my response to him is the same to you. Indeed, if that's all the problem you get with atheism, then I actually doubt we have much of an argument here.

P.S. "Spirituality" was just an alternative word I used to point out that I may have interpreted "religion" in a narrower sense than him, and that his definition of the concept includes things that I may have other names in its place. Don't read too deeply into it.
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Old 2008-06-02, 23:10   Link #874
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Then may I assert that your problem is with the behavior of some atheists and not atheism as a general position?

There are headstrong "fundamentalists" everywhere you go, you know. It's hardly fair if atheists are going to be the only ones generalized because of their less-than-tolerant factions.

And just for your information, I like beating down on overconfident atheists, the "I'm more logical than you" type, just as much as others probably do. I'm just not arguing against them right now but rather you.
I'm a bit disappointed to admit this because it means that we're actually in agreement after all and have nothing to debate over, but yes: I have nothing wrong with the idea of Athiesm, and I'm also fine with people believing almost anything they want (almost). I get stirred up when people make what I perceive to be irrational or illogical remarks about this subject, and you don't have to be an Athiest or a religious zealot to be able to do that
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Old 2008-06-02, 23:15   Link #875
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Oh, and your position against certain atheists are similar to Ledgem, so my response to him is the same to you. Indeed, if that's all the problem you get with atheism, then I actually doubt we have much of an argument here.
Dang, I don't get to tell someone they're wrong today...



But yea... Hard headed atheists are not the only ones, they are not even considered mild when compared to some of these fundamentalists nuts.
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Old 2008-06-02, 23:22   Link #876
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
I get stirred up when people make what I perceive to be irrational or illogical remarks about this subject, and you don't have to be an Athiest or a religious zealot to be able to do that
And I like to stir them when I read those kinds of remarks; but then I guess you're a better person than I and actually took the time to respond with excellent arguments, as opposed to my lazy snarky Kyon-wannabe reactions.
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Dang, I don't get to tell someone they're wrong today...

Actually I think you do. I was the one who first (re-)started it by misinterpreting that you were attacking atheism in general (as in "atheism is a religion," not "some headstrong atheists behave like headstrong religious persons (and they don't even admit it)" which is your true meaning); so my apologies there.
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Old 2008-06-03, 02:28   Link #877
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
I don't know if you guys are interested at all, but these are the statistical percentages of belief in god for many countries. I couldn't find too many stats from Latin America, and Asia unfortunately. Although I'd assume that in China its less than 5-10%. Besides the U.S. statistic, all the statistics are from the Eurobarometer poll of 2005.

Spoiler for For Space:

Well, at least my country is not one of the most, and next step, 0% of believers
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Old 2008-06-03, 03:27   Link #878
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
No, atheism is a firm belief in no god (It's almost like a religion itself), religion is a firm belief in god or gods or what ever you think. I as an agnostic do not know if there is a supreme being, I will not say there is, I will not say there isn't. Belief has no room for doubt.
Agnosticism is nothing. We're all agnostics, even the most hardcore atheist is an agnostic. It's no substitute for anything, people like you who think that way are just trying to avoid any burden of proof. If you don't care, call yourself an agnostic apatheist. Only agnosticism won't work, because you still have to make a choice. Either you live your life assuming there's a god, or you do not. You've made that choice for yourself whether or not your conscious mind agrees or you'e willing to admit it to me.
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Old 2008-06-03, 03:34   Link #879
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I don't see why you have to assume anything about God. And this comes from someone who does assume something about it. And who therefore isn't an Agnostic.

Seriously, "is it raining?" is a question you have to answer if you're a weatherman or a peasant. Or if you're going out and wonder whether you should take an umbrella. But in what circumstance is there a pressing need to give a definite answer to "Does god exist?"?


You're right in that none of us truly know whether God exists. But that doesn't make us all Agnostics.
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Old 2008-06-03, 04:21   Link #880
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I boil all of that away to be something very simple: people who are religious follow religion, obviously, and religion itself is a belief in something that is based on faith (can't be proven). An Athiest has a firm belief that God doesn't exist. This belief may be just as strong as a religious person's belief that God does exist, yet it's backed by no more evidence than the religious person has.
See, i have always had a problem with this line of reasoning. The way i see it (which might be skewed as well) it operates on two rather shaky grounds. First is the matter of evidence. I believe that once you make a claim the burden of proof is on you. This is what i believe to hold true for any subject in any field of discussion. If you bring up a claim it is for you to back it up with "proof" first, not for the other party to disapprove you [if the first condition isn't met].

"yes but they are making a claim god/whatever doesn't exist, where is the proof of that ?"

No, i don't believe those to be the same circumstances at all. This brings us to my second point and my gripe with the "argument" of "you can't disapprove it either".

If we consider it a valid one, then i can use it to justify just about anything i can conjure up, and everyone must accept it as valid simply because of lack of solid counter-proof.

I will make a claim that a Flying Spaghetti monsters exists. You can not disapprove it does, therefore the belief they do must hold just as much water as the opposite one.

You can't disapprove the existence of evil, invisible shoe gnomes from the fifth dimension, therefore the assumption they do exist is just as credible than the opposite.

Now try to actually present any of the above (or similar) as a realistic possibility based on the argument "you can't prove the opposite". How many people wouldn't be giving you strange looks ? But if we apply the same reasoning to the "God" argument, i am certain it would look much more reasonable to many. If so, why should i conform to a line of reasoning that condones double standards ?

The way i see it, if one has to resort to "well yeah, but you can't prove it doesn't" (which is a non-argument in my point of view) then the subject already lacks tangible backing, And if the above argument is allowed as a valid one when facing lack of proof, then i can only point out at the amount of other things i can claim to be there, and all of them would have to stand on equal grounds, so hello Spaghetti Monster.

The way i see it, this specific "argument" is little besides a convenient lifeline to fall back to when you want to shut down an actual discussion and assume a status quo.


Me ? I am a firm believer in the fact that anyone can believe in what they want to believe (as long as it doesn't bring harm or inconvenience to those around you), and one isn't requested to write up an essay to justify it. Everyone is free to believe in what they want, and no justification is needed. But i often find myself having problems with the arguments that try to justify one specific position, rather than the position itself.


Well those are just my thoughts on the issue, feel free to ignore them
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