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Atheist Self Identification

William Rea

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This thread is really only aimed at people that self identify as 'atheist'.

It appears that self identifying as 'atheist' has become synonymous with making a positive assertion regarding the existence of deities. I don't want to put words into other peoples mouths so I will say no more other than to state what I actually mean when I say that I am an 'atheist'. If you also self identify as atheist then I am interested in your own statements regarding what 'atheism' means to you. Here is mine...

I am an atheist. I do not accept the positive assertion that deities exist because I have seen no evidence that supports that assertion; I reject the hypothesis of gods; I lack belief in their existence.
 

TheGoverness

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If you also self identify as atheist then I am interested in your own statements regarding what 'atheism' means to you.

What atheism means to me is a lack of belief in supernatural beings or god(s) due to a lack of credible evidence that supports their existence.
 

William Rea

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What atheism means to me is a lack of belief in supernatural beings or god(s) due to a lack of credible evidence that supports their existence.

Thank you for your positive contribution.
 

Skeptic Bob

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I am an atheist. I actively disbelieve in the gods portrayed by the world's major religions. I believe that not only do such gods lack evidence for their existence, I believe the way many of them are described, such as the Abrahamic god, are self-refuting and impossible.

If you are referring to a more deistic god, or a god that isn't necessarily all good or all powerful but that created the universe and then doesn't interfere, well, I don't believe in such a god but admit such a god could be possible. Though, some wouldn't call it a god.
 

brothern

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I am an atheist. I do not accept the positive assertion that deities exist because I have seen no evidence that supports that assertion; I reject the hypothesis of gods; I lack belief in their existence.
As an atheist I'd lump you in with "agnostics" in our modern parlance and not acknowledge you as an atheist. I say that for two reasons.

First off. Today whenever a person who gets on a TV show or writes a book and then identifies as an atheist -- that person is almost guaranteed to be in the camp of making the positive assertion that deities do not exist. There's hardly anyone these days who publicly declares them self to be an atheist and also happens to be strong agnostic atheist.


Secondly. Having been an atheist for quite some time now, I've begun to find that agnostic atheists to me are nothing other than pedants.
And in case we need a refresher on that :mrgreen:
pedant
a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
synonyms: dogmatist, purist, literalist, formalist, doctrinaire, perfectionist;

Editorial bolding is my own. ;)
 

Frank Apisa

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I am not an atheist...but the atheists I know seem to come in all stripes.

Some simply reject the belief in any gods.

Some actively "believe" there are no gods.

Some actively assert that there are no gods.

Some actually assert it is impossible for gods to exist.

Me...I have no idea if gods exist or not; I do not "believe" any gods exist; I also do not "believe" there are no gods. I simply do not have a "belief" in either direction on the question...I do not guess in either direction.
 

William Rea

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I am an atheist. I actively disbelieve in the gods portrayed by the world's major religions. I believe that not only do such gods lack evidence for their existence, I believe the way many of them are described, such as the Abrahamic god, are self-refuting and impossible.

If you are referring to a more deistic god, or a god that isn't necessarily all good or all powerful but that created the universe and then doesn't interfere, well, I don't believe in such a god but admit such a god could be possible. Though, some wouldn't call it a god.

Thanks for your positive contribution.
 

Ikari

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I don't necessarily see the point of this, except that it might be made to combat certain circular arguments that have been made in other threads ad nauseum.

I think atheists can come in various flavors. For me, I don't know if gods exist or not, but I hold no belief in them. If measurements come forward that demonstrate the existence of gods, I'll change my tune.

But there are certainly atheists who do assert, essentially, that they know gods don't exist. Each to their own.
 

William Rea

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I don't necessarily see the point of this, except that it might be made to combat certain circular arguments that have been made in other threads ad nauseum.

I think atheists can come in various flavors. For me, I don't know if gods exist or not, but I hold no belief in them. If measurements come forward that demonstrate the existence of gods, I'll change my tune.

But there are certainly atheists who do assert, essentially, that they know gods don't exist. Each to their own.

Thank you for your positive contribution.
 

Skeptic Bob

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As an atheist I'd lump you in with "agnostics" in our modern parlance and not acknowledge you as an atheist. I say that for two reasons.

First off. Today whenever a person who gets on a TV show or writes a book and then identifies as an atheist -- that person is almost guaranteed to be in the camp of making the positive assertion that deities do not exist. There's hardly anyone these days who publicly declares them self to be an atheist and also happens to be strong agnostic atheist.


Secondly. Having been an atheist for quite some time now, I've begun to find that agnostic atheists to me are nothing other than pedants.
And in case we need a refresher on that :mrgreen:
pedant
a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
synonyms: dogmatist, purist, literalist, formalist, doctrinaire, perfectionist;

Editorial bolding is my own. ;)

The accusation of pedantry may hold if the distinction is made while BSing over a beer with a friend. In that case common parlance is the norm. But when you are actually engaged in philosophical debate the defintions are more nuanced and for a good reason. And this question WAS asked in the Philosophical Discussions forum.

It is no different than when creationists accuse evolution of being just a theory. What theory means in the common vernacular and what it means in scientific discussion is quite different.

I view it as the difference between a dictionary definition and an encyclopedia explanation. The one you use depends on the depth of the conversation.
 

OrphanSlug

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This thread is really only aimed at people that self identify as 'atheist'.

It appears that self identifying as 'atheist' has become synonymous with making a positive assertion regarding the existence of deities. I don't want to put words into other peoples mouths so I will say no more other than to state what I actually mean when I say that I am an 'atheist'. If you also self identify as atheist then I am interested in your own statements regarding what 'atheism' means to you. Here is mine...

I am an atheist. I do not accept the positive assertion that deities exist because I have seen no evidence that supports that assertion; I reject the hypothesis of gods; I lack belief in their existence.

What you are likely to run into is what this conversation usually becomes. Which is to say the difference between one atheist rejecting the positive assertion of theists, another atheist making an alternate positive assertion, and the realization for agnostics that we are in a condition where both end up beliefs.

The textbook definition pretty much reads as you assert, the lack of belief in God or Gods.

The problem is *some* atheists make an alternate but similar positive assertion... that there are no God or Gods. A determination that is no more provable in the systems of process (science) context than theism's assertions.

IMHO, it is why agnostics end up the most practical in that conversation. The position that we cannot assert within the framework of our knowledge base either way that God or Gods exist or not.

I wish you well in these efforts to talk about takes on atheism (and by extension theism and agnosticism.) But, that may be problematic given there are different takes within atheism itself. Textbook definitions as they collide with practical conclusion being one of those problems.
 

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As an atheist I don't have any beliefs that deities exist. I am non-theisitic.

=============
Philosophically, on the other hand, I think everything else is up for grabs, but is not necessarily tied to the broad definition of atheism. Any more than saying "I'm religious" could mean an infinite variety of traditions, gods, etc. that they actually subscribe to. The philosophy revolving around these claims of X exists or X does not exist, I find fascinating and fundamental.
 

Nilly

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Atheism is a very broad label that addresses my general belief towards gods. That positive claims about their existence are unsubstantiated.

However, my specific 'flavor' of atheism (strong, weak, defacto etc) depends on the nature of god in question. I have different beliefs about different claims of god.

The following is a great video that honestly influenced a lot of my own conclusions on the topic.

 
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chromium

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i don't believe in a conscious force that created the universe, or exerted influence over it at any point. I'm not conflicted in that position, as an agnostic might be, even when confronted with facets of existence that are unresolved (such as the multi-verse theory)
 

chromium

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IMHO, it is why agnostics end up the most practical in that conversation. The position that we cannot assert within the framework of our knowledge base either way that God or Gods exist or not.

meh, an all-powerful force that leaves no trace of its existence is pointless. I don't see any intention in the design either - a vast universe that is mostly empty of life, that takes billions of years to unfold. Where is the evidence of phenomena, anywhere, that defies physics? Clinging to remote possibilities as if they're as likely as not can as much compromise any claim to 'practical' as actively believing in those possibilities
 

Removable Mind

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I subscribe to - out of nothing came something without the assistance of anything other than more nothingness. We don't know exactly what nothing is or isn't because of our limited abilities to obtain data located elsewhere in a space-time continuum - or possibly unknown dimensions that we aren't capable of knowing about...and all of which began from "nothing". Maybe when nothing collides with nothing long enough it causes a spark of something, which we call energy. And matter is nothing more than energy waste or energy ****.

So let's just say that I believe in "the physics of nothing is capable of becoming something".
 

Mach

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The following is a great video that honestly influenced a lot of my own conclusions on the topic.
Interesting video. Should have given us some highlights!
1. Agnosticism concerns knowledge, and can be consistent with theism or believing there is no god OR having no belief...
2. there are millions (billions?) of definitions of gods, so the dictionary definition of atheism as "believes God does not exist" appears to be absurd due to the capital G at the very least
3. Given certain definitions of god, the narrator claims that it may be correct to claim "God does not exist".
4. Given a different definition one may be correct to claim "existence cannot be determined using that definition.
5. Given a general, unspecified definition, the best fit for the definition of an atheist is lack of belief in any gods.

#3 and #4 I find most interesting. Having just argued something similar, people have trouble with it for some reason (atheists in particular) All depends on how its defined...
#5 seems to be what *most* atheists have agreed with here.
 
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Nilly

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Interesting video. Should have given us some highlights! 1. Agnosticism concerns knowledge, and can be consistent with theism or believing there is no god OR having no belief... 2. there are millions (billions?) of definitions of gods, so the dictionary definition of atheism as "believes God does not exist" appears to be absurd due to the capital G at the very least 3. Given certain definitions of god, the narrator claims that it may be correct to claim "God does not exist". 4. Given a different definition one may be correct to claim "existence cannot be determined using that definition. #3 and #4 I find most interesting. Having just argued something similar, people have trouble with it for some reason (atheists in particular) All depends on how its defined...

Hmm good point maybe I should have! He does a great series on similar philosophical topics.

#3 and #4 intrigue me the most aswell, and led me to take up the label of 'ignosticism' (which is a word/position I learnt from someone here).

Ignosticism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless, because the term "god" has no unambiguous definition. Ignosticism requires a good, non-controversial definition of god before arguing on its existence.

When it comes to my belief about a god, define what that god is in a clear and unambiguous way, and we'll talk. The plausibility behind Yahweh and a deistic entity are completely different and I have differing attitudes to each.
 

Frank Apisa

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i don't believe in a conscious force that created the universe, or exerted influence over it at any point. I'm not conflicted in that position, as an agnostic might be, even when confronted with facets of existence that are unresolved (such as the multi-verse theory)

I am an agnostic...and I do not "believe" in a creator of the universe either.

BUT I also do not "believe" there is not a creator.

I do not know...and there is no unambiguous evidence upon which to base a meaningful guess or belief in either direction.

What about you?

You have mentioned that YOU do not "believe" in a creator of the universe. But what about my sentences two and three above? Where do you stand on that?
 

Frank Apisa

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meh, an all-powerful force that leaves no trace of its existence is pointless. I don't see any intention in the design either - a vast universe that is mostly empty of life, that takes billions of years to unfold. Where is the evidence of phenomena, anywhere, that defies physics? Clinging to remote possibilities as if they're as likely as not can as much compromise any claim to 'practical' as actively believing in those possibilities

So...you are identifying the possibility of a creator...as "remote."

As compared with your blind guess that there is no creator...which is not remote.

Why is that?
 

spud_meister

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I refuse to believe in gods. I'm mostly agnostic about the question of their existence, but I don't believe having a belief in any gods serves a purpose for me.
 

TheGoverness

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So...you are identifying the possibility of a creator...as "remote."

As compared with your blind guess that there is no creator...which is not remote.

Why is that?
There is no evidence that a creator exists, it's not just a 'blind guess'.
 

Frank Apisa

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There is no evidence that a creator exists, it's not just a 'blind guess'.

There is no evidence that a creator does not exist.

If you are saying this thing we humans call "the universe" was not created...or that it is more likely that it was not created than that it was...

...you are blindly guessing that.
 

TheGoverness

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There is no evidence that a creator does not exist.

If you are saying this thing we humans call "the universe" was not created...or that it is more likely that it was not created than that it was...

...you are blindly guessing that.

I am not the one making an assertion here, you claim that there is a God, I do not believe that. Therefore it is up to YOU to provide the evidence for God's existence. You are making the positive claim that a God exists, so therefore the burden of proof is on you.

And I am not 'blindly' guessing that the Universe was created without the need of a God. Science has already provided a model for the creation of the universe, with credible evidence to back it up. Ever heard of a self-replicating universe before?

And if the Universe needs God to be created, then who created God?
 
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