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Mon Mar 10, 2014, 11:29 PM

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it."

"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." -Isaac Asimov

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 11:43 PM

1. I don't really agree with his interpretation of the word.

 

Atheism simply means that one doesn't believe in deities.

And if you insist, it can mean that one actively believes there are no deities.

But it does not mean, and never has meant, that one claims to have proof positive that deities cannot exist. That would require a negative proof, which is just as nonsensical as positively claiming there are deities without any evidence.

I reject the idea of any deity because there is no evidence of that. If three were evidence I would revisit my beliefs.

In my book, Asimov is not just "emotionally" an atheist. He is "actually" an atheist.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 11:45 PM

2. Actually I think he's saying he's both, intellectually and emotionally

At least that is my interpretation.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:09 AM

8. Yeah it's a function of the western/Christian culture, I think.

Atheism was demonized and stigmatized for so long, it's still ingrained in our culture. "Godless" means evil. And when even non-believers continue to push the meme that an atheist must make positive claims that no gods exist, well, you can see why little changes.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:51 AM

9. Well, there is that group of "hard" atheists...

also known as positive atheists, among other things, that says they are convinced there is no God. Some even say that there can be no God. This is as dishonest as claiming to know the one true God.

It's trivial to compare beliefs about God to beliefs about unicorns, but that doesn't really stand up. Granted no one has seen a unicorn, and we are pretty sure none are out there unseen-- a lot like God.

But, a large part of the confusion is the problem of defining God. None of us has ever seen a god, but we all have our own different ideas about what one would be if we ran into one. Most of them have some sort of almost human form, but the whole point of being a god is to be something not human. Much more than human.

God could be as simple as a mathematical function, or as complex as a higher dimensional being. Or anything else we are not capable of seeing or understanding. That God would not be impossible. No unicorn comparisons there.

I suppose I am an atheist in terms of the Koran or the Bible, but not in the belief systems of Quakers or Unitarians. A lot of us are that way.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:09 AM

11. This part about the difficulty of defining god is really interesting.

If one embraces that position, then it is possible to understand that every individual that calls themselves a believer may believe in some small aspect of "god" and that allows for tremendous variation in what people do and don't believe.

It's appealing, as it leads to inclusiveness and greater tolerance of all kinds of beliefs.

The unicorn/skydaddy/easter bunny, etc comparisons are lame, stale and not even worth responding to. They are merely attempts to mock and minimize.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:54 AM

15. "The unicorn/skydaddy/easter bunny, etc comparisons "

 

You know full well that the vast majority of Christians, for example, believe in a "skydaddy" god, and that once again you are attempting to minimize as insignificant that which is in fact normal. Given that fundamental to almost all Christian belief systems is the belief in the god status of the person Jesus, dismissing "skydaddy" beliefs is incredibly dishonest.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:05 AM

12. You are mixing two different things

 

I believe that no deities exist. There has never been any verifiable, reliable evidence supporting any supernatural beings, witchcraft, spirits, or whatever. Everything around us is consistent with a systems of physical laws that says this could all come into play without the hand of a nanny god. There is plenty of reliable evidence for that. Therefore, I believe without any doubts that there are no deities. unless you go back to the origin of the universe itself -- if there even is an origin point. If one wants to call the origin itself a "god", well that is nothing like the nanny god that practically all religions describe. It is so much different, I wouldn't call it a god at all, and nothing needing worship.

But that is completely different from saying that deities could not exist. There is no way to prove such a claim, so I don't claim that.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:21 AM

13. If I define "god" as "water"...

well it's just about impossible for anyone to be an atheist then, isn't it?

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 11:55 PM

3. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” - Oscar Wilde

 

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Response to rug (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 12:00 AM

4. “The real world is simply too terrible to admit..."

“The real world is simply too terrible to admit.
it tells man that he is a small trembling animal who will someday decay and die.
Culture changes all of this,makes man seem important,vital to the universe.
immortal in some ways”
― Ernest Becker

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 12:03 AM

5. “Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful.

 

To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death's house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is.” - The Canterville Ghost, chapter 5

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 12:08 AM

6. And it tells woman

that she is the bearer and nurturer of life, and that she is intmately connected to the cosmos through her moon cycles.

Maybe man should listen harder.

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Response to okasha (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 12:13 AM

7. To know that your child will eventually die is the real heartache of becoming a parent

You just hope that you do not live to see it.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:57 AM

10. That's cool.

I think more and more people are comfortable publicly taking that position.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:31 AM

14. I hope one day you feel comfortable joining us, cbayer.

Continuing to reinforce the stigma around the word "atheist" only divides us.

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