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Thread: Eldorian and Mistwell argue about religion.

  1. #46
    Girls Gone Spoony! Spoony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devoid View Post
    Although I can't answer for Ovi, perhaps this may help:
    Theist: I "know" that God exists.
    Atheist: I "know" that God does not exist.
    Agnostic: I "do not know" whether God exists or not.
    Close. The gnostic question is belief on whether God's existence in any sense has been or can be proven. Gnostic means "I know." Agnostic means "I don't know." The second half of the question lies in someone's theistic stance. Most self identified Agnostics are agnostic atheists. They admit that they don't know whether God exists, but they aren't willing to believe without evidence. Atheists who are absolutely certain in their belief that God doesn't exist are Gnostic Atheists, and their cited evidence is usually the lack of evidence. The fallacy here is lack of evidence is not a proof - this said the burden of proof in any scientific discourse does lie with the one making the claim, whatever that claim may be.

    For obvious reasons most theists are gnostic. I am not - that is I'm an Agnostic Theist. I don't know if God exists in the scientific understanding of the term "know", and I don't believe that it can be done. Indeed, my understanding of God is that he does not want us to be able to prove his existence conclusively, so that we might come to understand him of our own free will through faith.

    But in short the four general stances are:
    Gnostic Theist - God exists, I can prove it (I know it)
    Gnostic Atheist - God doesn't exist, I can prove it (I know it)
    Agnostic Theist - God exists, but I cannot prove it (I don't know - I go on faith).
    Agnostic Atheist - God doesn't exist, but I can't prove this (I don't know).

    The last group can be somewhat divided into those who would be willing to believe where proof presented to them that they can accept, and those apathetic to the question as a whole - sometimes known as 'apatheists', a portmanteau of Apathy and Theist.
    Last edited by Spoony; April 7th, 2014 at 12:20 AM.

 

  • #47
    Nobody "knows" whether god (or gods) exist, nor does anybody "know" they don't exist. From the standpoint of certainty, every single one of us is agnostic. There is no proof, or evidence, pro or con, that can abolish with certainty the non-existence of something seemingly forever just outside our discovery. But it is suggestive that it is so elusive.

  • #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by scutisorex shrewlord View Post
    Nobody "knows" whether god (or gods) exist, nor does anybody "know" they don't exist. From the standpoint of certainty, every single one of us is agnostic.
    Scut, you've lived in the south. Surely you've ran into an evangelical or two yes?

  • #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Spoony View Post
    Scut, you've lived in the south. Surely you've ran into an evangelical or two yes?
    I'm under no illusions that there are legions of people who "think they know" god exists. Or bigfoot. Or "grays". Or fairies. Or "astral projection". Or any of a host of other stuff. But until they can present evidence or proof, what they are expressing is not knowledge, but belief. And belief is fine, but expressing that you believe something is very different from expressing that you know something. Knowledge requires evidence and facts.

  • #50
    That's Wacist! Mistwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scutisorex shrewlord View Post
    I'm under no illusions that there are legions of people who "think they know" god exists. Or bigfoot. Or "grays". Or fairies. Or "astral projection". Or any of a host of other stuff. But until they can present evidence or proof, what they are expressing is not knowledge, but belief. And belief is fine, but expressing that you believe something is very different from expressing that you know something. Knowledge requires evidence and facts.
    I think you can know something, and also be unable to prove it. Unfortunately, it's a fairly common occurrence in law. A victim can know, with certainty, that a perp committed a crime, and be unable to prove they committed the crime. Similarly I think a person can have an experience with a higher power, and know that the experience happened, but be unable to prove to someone else that it happened. I am not saying that is the case by the way - I merely analyzing your position and saying "knowledge of X" =/ "evidence to prove to someone else your knowledge of X".

    Sometimes in life you have insufficient evidence of your real experiences beyond your own unsupported testimony. And that's what a fair chunk of religion is: evidence in the form of witness testimony, which is sufficient for some and insufficient for others. That doesn't mean the witness does not have that knowledge - it just means they cannot prove it to you. But you've conflated knowledge with evidence. They're not the same, and you can have one without the other.
    Last edited by Mistwell; April 15th, 2014 at 10:34 PM.
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  • #51
    Pony Up! Ovinomancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorian View Post
    You've picked the wrong words to back. Disbelieve means "to not believe". All that "refuse" or "reject" or "to hold not worthy of" belief is just a dictionary's way of elaborating.
    Seriously? "[D]ictionary's way of elaborating"?! Do you not know how dictionaries work? The point of a dictionary is to NOT elaborate additional meaning to a word. Disbelief is the rejection of belief, not just it's absence. Absence is a necessary but not sufficient condition for disbelief.

    Unfortunately for you, agnostic already has meaning, and it's nothing to do with belief in gods. It is a position about knowledge, whether any god's existence is known or even knowable. This is what the word was coined for, it's what the word means (without knowledge). I don't debase the term, I use it exactly for what it means, what Huxley meant, and what those who have followed him have meant.
    Yes, but when we turn to the dictionary again, we find the word has shifted since the Gnostics existed. Today it also means the position between theist and atheist.

    You only reject the term atheist because theists are much more accepting of "agnostic" and you don't want to be associated with the "New Atheists" movement.
    The latter is very true. New Atheists are dicks that are as bad as evangelicals. As for the former point, nope, not really a concern of mine. I'm not trying to make theists happy with me, because the ones around here treat agnostics and atheists the same.

    The only "neutrals" in the "contest of religious belief" are those who are aware of religious belief but undecided on what they believe, which I don't have a word for. You're looking for a position of neutrality in the contest of religious conflict, in which the New Atheist movement is opposed to any religious ideas having power. That's the position you're shying away from. What you really want to say is that, while you don't believe in any gods (and it helps here if you stop using the capital G, or one of these days you'll be called a Wiccan or some shit), you're not an antitheist.
    The capital is the most common usage around these parts. Going small g is part of the NA's shtick to be as insulting as possible to theists of the most common stripe. Especially since I am anti-theist about most of the religions that use a small g, if that helps you put in into persepctive.

    Quote Originally Posted by scutisorex shrewlord View Post
    I'm under no illusions that there are legions of people who "think they know" god exists. Or bigfoot. Or "grays". Or fairies. Or "astral projection". Or any of a host of other stuff. But until they can present evidence or proof, what they are expressing is not knowledge, but belief. And belief is fine, but expressing that you believe something is very different from expressing that you know something. Knowledge requires evidence and facts.
    Not true, scut. All knowledge is based on fundamental truths that cannot be independantly proven. So there are basic, core things that cannot be shown to be true with other facts and evidence, but that must be true for other things to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turjan View Post
    But it's the historical definition of atheism that Eldorian and I use. And I tried to make clear why this makes sense. When I define myself as atheist and say that I don't see the actions of any god on this planet, which means that I don't think that "He" exists, then this is just the conclusion for my life that I draw from this. If you want to know the details, then I will tell you that, of course, nobody can prove a negative, so I obviously cannot tell whether some god exists, especially given that "modern" gods are described as being transcendent. For example, there is no way I could rule out a deist setup. For all practical intents and purposes, this distinction is irrelevant though, as, if there aren't any effects that can be ascribed to a god, it doesn't matter whether he exists or not. It's not a useful distinction in any way or form. And this is basically the reason why most forms of agnosticism can be safely lumped into atheism, which means, lack of belief in a god. It's even in the word, a-theism. Not theism.
    Again, I disagree in that atheism is generally defined as a rejection of belief, not a lack of belief.

    Now you really have to tell me what is silly about this. Either you believe in a god or you do not. It's really that simple. If you don't know whether there is one, you obviously lack any belief in a god. You are not a theist.
    There is a middle position, where you are uncertain in belief. I, for instance, do not believe that a god exists. Neither, however, do I believe that a god does not exist. Atheism is the latter state, theism the former. There's a middle ground. Claiming that all not theist are atheists is, again, NA propaganda to expand the acceptance of anti-theism. "You're all like me and not like THEM!"

    If you read my initial post closely, you may have noticed that I acknowledged that the words "atheist" and "agnostic" have different meanings, as they describe two different concepts. The two groups have about a 80-90% overlap. Outside of this overlapping region, there are fringe atheists that are crazy in their absolute beliefs, and there are fringe agnostics that don't know whether to believe in the Christian God, a mighty tree, of maybe Odin, but are clearly theists, even if maybe only pan-theists. Which means agnostics overlap with theists and atheists.
    Yes, in specific contexts I can agree with you. But agnostic's definition has shifted in modern times to have the most common use of being between atheist and theist. Language is lazy.

    On your point regarding that agnostics are included into atheists in order to win power in the battle, I have to disappoint you, as I don't really see much of an atheist movement. It's a handful of activists. Where I live, it's between a third to half atheists in the population. Their main characteristic is that nearly all of them are not interested in religion and don't talk about it. Which makes sense. I really only started to get into religious debates when I was sitting between two outspoken Mormons, and there were loud preachers in front of the door of my workplace every day, who talked of the hellfire that all of their listeners would meet in their future for sure. Or Pentecoastals who insisted on telling me their literal interpretation of specific Bible verses.
    It's interesting that you don't see an evangelical branch of atheism being the loudest talkers for atheists. Yes, they're disorganized, and yes, they don't collude much, but neither do evangelicals really. The core definition metric is militant, evangelical atheism, and that's widespread enough that I've been attacked by it in person in the deep South (much like Evangelicals asking me to go to their church, although this is far more common). And it's rampant across the internets.

  • #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farside View Post
    I read this great bit recently in a British science magazine "letters to the editor" section, and I'm paraphrasing, "...to say that atheism is a belief system is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby."
    Odd non-sequitur, but okay. To go down this path, though, would hating stamps, finding stamp collectors and telling them they're wasting their time, and further are delusional for collecting stamps be a hobby of sorts?

    Being atheist isn't a belief system. It's the rejection of one. Some atheists, though, believe God (or god, or gods, or whatever) don't exist and people are stupid for thinking otherwise and are glad to share and expand this belief set. Most are also followers of scientism, which is a belief system, but that's another topic.

  • #53
    Personally, I do not partake in the belief in god. I do not, however, wish to be defined by the thing I reject, or subject myself to labels of adherents of religions. I do not share the beliefs of the religious people in my midst. That does not make me anti-religious. It also does not mean I have a separate and opposite belief. I do not share that belief - period. I also do not collect stamps.

  • #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farside View Post
    Personally, I do not partake in the belief in god. I do not, however, wish to be defined by the thing I reject, or subject myself to labels of adherents of religions. I do not share the beliefs of the religious people in my midst. That does not make me anti-religious. It also does not mean I have a separate and opposite belief. I do not share that belief - period. I also do not collect stamps.
    Sweet. I'm mostly the same, except I harbor a few more doubts toward the deist side than most. My issue is that I don't collect stamps, but I might one day, and don't really want to be associated with the anti-stamp brigade. I believe, to bring this full circle, that NDT is in the same boat.

  • #55
    Cockface! Turjan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Again, I disagree in that atheism is generally defined as a rejection of belief, not a lack of belief.
    I understood your position. I think it's wrong. However, that's not anything worth arguing ad nauseam over.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Claiming that all not theist are atheists is, again, NA propaganda to expand the acceptance of anti-theism. "You're all like me and not like THEM!"
    It's called "atheism", not "anti-theism". And your statement about "NA propganda" is just ideological bullshit. While your definitions may well be spreading due to the creationism debate, Eldorian and I use valid definitions that have a long history. To call this propaganda is deeply disingenuous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Yes, in specific contexts I can agree with you. But agnostic's definition has shifted in modern times to have the most common use of being between atheist and theist. Language is lazy.
    Language can also be an political weapon, as you yourself claim here. Just that the origin in this case is not there where you claim it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    It's interesting that you don't see an evangelical branch of atheism being the loudest talkers for atheists. Yes, they're disorganized, and yes, they don't collude much, but neither do evangelicals really.
    Evangelicals are always the loudest. Of course they are the loudest talkers for atheists, as most atheists don't give a shit about religious debates. In my personal experience, obnoxious evangelical Christians outnumber obnoxious evangelical atheists at least 100:1, if not more.

  • #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turjan View Post
    Evangelicals are always the loudest. Of course they are the loudest talkers for atheists, as most atheists don't give a shit about religious debates. In my personal experience, obnoxious evangelical Christians outnumber obnoxious evangelical atheists at least 100:1, if not more.
    Certainly more. I can only name two evangelical atheists off the top of my head, while Evangelical Christians all but control the Republican Party, particularly in the South. And while they might not thump Bibles on street corners, some of the laws they try to get on the books...

  • #57
    That's Wacist! Mistwell's Avatar
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    Is Eldorian still around?

    https://youtu.be/465Wt-eX2RY?t=1h12m22s
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  • #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    Is Eldorian still around?

    https://youtu.be/465Wt-eX2RY?t=1h12m22s
    Dear god, you posted something political that isn't instantly dismissable.

    Who are you, and what have you done with Mistwell?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    Fine, I'll say it because it's obvious -- VK is 100% right

  • #59
    Redwick, re-imagined RedWick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vermicious Knid View Post
    Dear god, you posted something political that isn't instantly dismissable.

    Who are you, and what have you done with Mistwell?
    I think becoming a parent has softened him.
    Life... is like a grapefruit. It's orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast. - Douglas Adams

  • #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedWick View Post
    I think becoming a parent has softened him.
    That generally doesn't happen that way.
    Quote Originally Posted by PWD View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    I think ovi's right.

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