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Old 01-13-2010, 04:11 AM   #61
uBeR
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Sure you can. Atheism is as much faithbased as any other ideology, just not in the traditional sense.
That's pretty semantical. Saying "I don't believe in God" is not quite the same as saying "I have faith God does not exist." In the first instance, you say so because you lack the evidence to support the argument that God exists. Does that make you faithful? For example, I lack any evidence that there's a unicorn sitting in my room reading Frege out loud to me. Does that make me faithful? It would be pretty semantical, in my opinion, to say yes. Now, if I say, "I know for sure God does not exist," (i.e. strong atheism that YomMamasHouse mentions), we should judge the merits of that argument based on the evidence. One who lacks evidence for such a statement, I agree, should be considered faithful. If that person, on the other hand, provides some evidence to support his argument, we should judge carefully the merits of what he brings forth, rather simply resort to calling him faithful. That's my opinion anyway.

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What was the deciding moment that resulted in this?
I would not say there was a "deciding moment." If any, it would be when I met some atheists who run a Secular Student Alliance chapter on my campus, which I am now a part of. I suppose that's when I committed myself to atheism and openly declared myself an atheist. It wasn't spontaneous though. Before college and even during the early parts of being in university, I never questioned my faith or religion to any great extent. However, being exposed to academia and arguments that challenged my faith, I began to question it more. That is, I came to rely on reasoning. It was a complex and long process, but I gradually became less convinced of the religious orthodoxy I adhered to as I continued to independently examine that which I put my faith in. I weighed the arguments and the evidence made by both sides and I concluded, through reason, that I should withhold any belief in God, at the very least. I shouldn't believe in things for which I have no evidence. There are also arguments that it should be rejected and opposed completely, a la Richard Dawkings and other strong atheists, which probably have some merit to them too, in my opinion. To be clear, I'm not trying to suggest there are liberal academics ramming atheism down the throats of their students. Very rarely was religion discussed in any of my courses, but when it was, it was in a manner that allowed for free expression of opinion and thought. On the other hand, academia also teaches to be critical, to examine arguments, to reason carefully, and so on. This is one reason why I think philosophy is so important--because these notions are at its foundation. So just the ability to reach a higher level of critical reasoning, which I attribute to university, allowed me to independently conclude through my own research and experiences that I should be an atheist.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:39 AM   #62
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I think any amount of atheism, ie. stating for certain that God does not exist, is doing exactly what many atheists find irritating about religious people. They are outright saying NO with no room really to change. That's why I think agnosticism is the only realy way to go. I'm 99.99999999% sure there's no God, but the leap to 100 makes me as ignorant and unquestioning as those on the other side.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:17 PM   #63
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I think any amount of atheism, ie. stating for certain that God does not exist, is doing exactly what many atheists find irritating about religious people. They are outright saying NO with no room really to change. That's why I think agnosticism is the only realy way to go. I'm 99.99999999% sure there's no God, but the leap to 100 makes me as ignorant and unquestioning as those on the other side.
You're an atheist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheist
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:20 PM   #64
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Atheism is the absence of theism, that is, a belief in God or gods. How many things do you not believe in? Do you believe there's a magical flying teapot orbiting Neptune? Do you believe there's a talking unicorn in your room? Do you believe you're some magical cat who has the ability to appear and act like a human? Does not believing these things make you faithful? Does not believing these things make you "ignorant and unquestioning"?

Certainly these things are logically possible. You cannot deny with 100% certainty that anything logically possible is false, just as the epistemic skeptic tell us. But there's no good reason to believe in anything, merely because it's logically possible. If you don't have any evidence for the above things I listed, then you are perfectly rational to withhold belief, and I'm sure most skeptics would say so too. In fact, if you have evidence against them, e.g. you don't see or hear a unicorn in your room, then your absence of belief is even more reasonable. According to the skeptic, there is absolutely nothing you can be 100% certain of in the empirical world. You can't be certain you're sitting in front of a computer monitor reading this forum. Does the fact that you believe you are making you "ignorant and unquestioning"? That's a pretty big leap.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:41 PM   #65
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Then I suppose I am an Agnostic Atheist. I prefer Athostic.

And uBeR, you're totally right. But my stance of Athosticism is more that the discussion ends up being moot and unnecessary. Whether or not there is a God shouldn't impact anything that's important in my life.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:02 PM   #66
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Atheism is the absence of theism, that is, a belief in God or gods. How many things do you not believe in? Do you believe there's a magical flying teapot orbiting Neptune? Do you believe there's a talking unicorn in your room? Do you believe you're some magical cat who has the ability to appear and act like a human? Does not believing these things make you faithful? Does not believing these things make you "ignorant and unquestioning"?

Certainly these things are logically possible. You cannot deny with 100% certainty that anything logically possible is false, just as the epistemic skeptic tell us. But there's no good reason to believe in anything, merely because it's logically possible. If you don't have any evidence for the above things I listed, then you are perfectly rational to withhold belief, and I'm sure most skeptics would say so too. In fact, if you have evidence against them, e.g. you don't see or hear a unicorn in your room, then your absence of belief is even more reasonable. According to the skeptic, there is absolutely nothing you can be 100% certain of in the empirical world. You can't be certain you're sitting in front of a computer monitor reading this forum. Does the fact that you believe you are making you "ignorant and unquestioning"? That's a pretty big leap.
Obviously your examples are outlandish, whereas with a God/creator, we truly can't know because what if he did create everything, how would we disprove that? You could say the Grand Canyon was clearly made from erosion, but then you could counter and say that that was God's intent. The only thing we can really counter religion/god/creationism with is deductive reasoning and our own intuition, but even science says that's not enough to form a solid conclusion. We have the hypothesis, but we don't have a workable and reworkable method to prove it.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:22 PM   #67
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Really? My examples are outlandish, but yours are not? That's a very subjective claim. I mean, is it not outlandish, the idea that there was a guy walking around healing blind people, turning blood into wine, walking on water, resurrecting from death, etc. 2000 years ago? That's not outlandish to you?

OK, let's ignore all that and stick to just the idea that God created everything and everything is his intent. It's an equally outlandish idea, but let's ignore that. You ask, "how would we disprove that?" Well, you can disprove it through reasoning if you take time to closely define what you're talking about. If you're going to define "God" as "an all-powerful, all-good, all-seeing, etc. being," for example, then we can begin to evaluate that definition vis-a-vis logic and experience. What if we define "God" as something that cannot be known? Well, then it's completely useless to even discuss. I can, for example, claim there's an invisible and undetectable unicorn sitting in the corner of my room. The claim means absolutely nothing. It could logically be true, just as it could logically be true there's an undetectable and unknowable God, but there's no reason to suppose it's actually true. Do you suppose there's an invisible and undetectable unicorn sitting in your room? Why or why not? "Oh, that's just outlandish nonsense." But your invisible and undetectable God is not?

So the logical possibility exists that there's an invisible and undetectable unicorn sitting in your room, but you lack any evidence or reason to believe there is. The rational thing to do then is to withhold belief. You don't believe there's a unicorn in your room because that's the rational thing to do. It's possible, but why even bother believing it? If you believe the unicorn's sitting there, then I think you're irrational.
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