How does Atheism work?

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Imagine your day to day life. Now Think about all the religious stuff you do. Get rid of that and thats how atheism works. We live completely ordinary lives, only difference with religious people is we don't do all the rituals attached to faith.

And an important distinction is that people whom are anti theist do not hate faith; they hate organised religion.

A = No.
Theism ("theos") = God.
Atheism = "No God"
Atheists believe in: no god.

As simple as a dictionary definition.

I don't know how common this definition is, but I always saw atheism as the conviction that no god exists. I'm agnostic, so this definition kind of developed off of my personal definition of (my own) agnosticism: the total absence of faith in the existence or nonexistence of any god. It kind of stems from my general religious apathy and the fact that I couldn't force myself to have faith in either side if my life depended on it.

I see good things about every belief system, and I see bad things in the extremes of each belief system. There are plenty of atheists that feel the same way as me, and there are plenty that do not. It's more of an individual reaction than a group reaction.

Claripit772:
I don't know how common this definition is, but I always saw atheism as the conviction that no god exists. I'm agnostic, so this definition kind of developed off of my personal definition of (my own) agnosticism: the total absence of faith in the existence or nonexistence of any god.

That makes it sound like the two would be mutually exclusive, which they're not. Since issues like these are always about categories forced on a fluid spectrum of opinions, we need to avoid absolutist statements like that (or at least create more nuanced categories to fill the gaps, like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism ).

Skeleon:

Claripit772:
I don't know how common this definition is, but I always saw atheism as the conviction that no god exists. I'm agnostic, so this definition kind of developed off of my personal definition of (my own) agnosticism: the total absence of faith in the existence or nonexistence of any god.

That makes it sound like the two would be mutually exclusive, which they're not. Since issues like these are always about categories forced on a fluid spectrum of opinions, we need to avoid absolutist statements like that (or at least create more nuanced categories to fill the gaps, like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism ).

I apologize if I made it seem that way. I'm fairly aware of the spectrum concerning religious beliefs, but I was just contrasting the most common categories. (However, the agnosticism definition I mentioned is more strictly applied to me personally rather than a definition meant to work for everyone.) I appreciate that you called me out on this, since I usually try to make sure to point out how nuanced views on certain topics can be, especially when aspects of identity are involved. When it comes to topics such as these, I will consider a person to subscribe to whatever religious belief they say they identify with, regardless of my own personal definitions.

Simply, it works because there is no work involved. Think about all of that free time you'd have if you weren't going to church every Sunday, how much different your conversations would be if you didn't point your friends to the same book to solve all their problems, or how much quality TV you could watch if not for religious programming. You could, I dunno, build a boat, resort to using common sense, and catch every episode of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, it is, it really really is.

Atheism is the lack of theistic religion (colloquially it covers any religion, really), that's it. There's no dogma and no values or outlooks on life directly attached to atheism whatsoever.

Atheism is also the default position, or the null hypothesis. It isn't something you prove, it's something you disprove. We start our lives as atheists, so I'm having a hard time figuring out why you don't see how it "works". It being the null hypothesis, any religious claim is an alternative hypothesis, one that needs to be tested and proven, and to any atheists the claims made by religious people do not carry out their burden of proof. The proof, where it exists at all, is not sufficient, hence people don't believe your sky god, or the sky god of anyone else.

A better question, aside from why anyone should believe in a god, is why do you (presumably) believe the particular god you do? Most people's answer to this is basically "my parents raised me this way", and that has so little ties to the truth of the claim it hurts my head.

I always found defining one's self or defining someone as atheist to be deeply incorrect. You can't group people through the term atheist, it doesn't dictate how people carry out their lives in the way some religions do, therefore drawing parallels between religions and atheism is fundamentally wrong. Its not comparing like with like, its like grouping people because they all like marmite (google it), the fact that they like marmite doesn't mean they will have any other common attributes. When one subscribes to a religion (i mean truly subscribes) there is a certain ethical manner by which the conduct themselves that is )in theory) the same as every other member of that religion. That just can't be applied to atheism. Also, I believe that the term means, in a general sense, opposing theism, theism of course being a general term referring to the belief that a single God exists. To this end, surely all polytheistic religions should also be classed as atheist?

GoodGodItsAnOxymoron:
I always found defining one's self or defining someone as atheist to be deeply incorrect. You can't group people through the term atheist, it doesn't dictate how people carry out their lives in the way some religions do, therefore drawing parallels between religions and atheism is fundamentally wrong. Its not comparing like with like, its like grouping people because they all like marmite (google it), the fact that they like marmite doesn't mean they will have any other common attributes. When one subscribes to a religion (i mean truly subscribes) there is a certain ethical manner by which the conduct themselves that is )in theory) the same as every other member of that religion. That just can't be applied to atheism. Also, I believe that the term means, in a general sense, opposing theism, theism of course being a general term referring to the belief that a single God exists. To this end, surely all polytheistic religions should also be classed as atheist?

It's a single, though non-defining, characteristic. There's nothing wrong with that. It's like grouping people by--gasp--skin color. Heck, I'd venture to say that no single characteristic ever dictates how people carry out their lives--not even sex.

Also, no. Atheist means you don't believe in any gods. Polytheists, being theists, cannot be atheists.

evilneko:
Also, no. Atheist means you don't believe in any gods. Polytheists, being theists, cannot be atheists.

Ironically, and it may have been mentioned already, Christians were originally called atheists by the surrounding pagans because they only believed in one god.

Atheism is believing that there is no God. Whether you hate religion or not is irrelevant to the question. No sensible atheist will say categorically there is no God, because God could be an undetectable, omnipotent schizophrenic. But atheists, seeing that there is no evidence for a God, dismiss the notion. Also, there are 2 main questions: Do you know there is a God, and do you believe there is a God. If you do not know if there is a God, you are agnostic. If you know there is a God, you are a theist/deist. Nobody can say they know there is no God, so there is no word for these. If you believe there is a God, you are a theist/deist. If you do not believe there is a God, you are an atheist. All atheists, to my knowledge, are also agnostic, and while all theists believe there is a God, not all theists know there is a God. People who define themselves as agnostic but not atheist are generally just dissociating themselves from the conduct of atheists, who are also agnostic. You can be a theist and an agnostic, an atheist and an agnostic, or a theist with supposed knowledge of God's existence. Hope that either cleared something up or confused you thoroughly.

MeChaNiZ3D:
SNIP

Not sure I agree with you there. I can categorically say "there are no manticores", why can't I do the same for God?

If probability is negligible, it's as close to categorical as makes no matter. I can say it as categorically as I can state anything.

I'm willing to be convinced otherwise on this; your definitions above interested me.

MeChaNiZ3D:
No sensible atheist will say categorically there is no God, because God could be an undetectable, omnipotent schizophrenic.

That's not true. The burden of evidence still rests at the point that no gods exist. Atheism is the default point of view. Untill the burden of evidence changes (someone proves the existance of gods), saying there is no god is the only true statement, because that's the only statement that's supported by the current 'god evidence', or better said, lack of it.

There's a fair few saying "Atheism is the belief in no god, or that no gods exist." No, it is not. I'll take the textbook example:

Johnny Novgorod:
A = No.
Theism ("theos") = God.
Atheism = "No God"
Atheists believe in: no god.

As simple as a dictionary definition.

This sounds remarkably like a comment made on youtube by Veritas48. He was corrected numerous times.

Theism does not mean god, it means belief in God. Theos is a root word, and words do not mean what their roots do. Otherwise a Theist would be a God.

The prefix A indicates a no. It's not "No God" it's "No Belief in God". Which is a crucial distinction. Because god, like leprechauns, Unicorns, Manticores, fairies, and the monster under my bed, has not met his burden of proof for his existance to be considered proven. Which would mean that the default position would be that he does not exist.

MeChaNiZ3D:
Nobody can say they know there is no God, so there is no word for these.

Actually, there is. Gnostic Atheists do not believe, and are certain. Strong Atheists also claim that there is no god.

If you believe there is a God, you are a theist/deist.

That's a terrible oversimplification, and a deistic god is much different to a theistic god. If you believe in a personal, interfering god, which is what most people think of when a god is referred to, then you are a theist.

If you do not believe there is a God, you are an atheist.

One of the few things you got right

All atheists, to my knowledge, are also agnostic,

That's a claim you can't support.

and while all theists believe there is a God, not all theists know there is a God.

Agnostic Theism vs. Gnostic Theism.

People who define themselves as agnostic but not atheist are generally just dissociating themselves from the conduct of atheists,

Often, not generally. That would be a crude generalisation.
[quote]
who are also agnostic.

Often agnostic. Do you know that 100% of Atheists are agnostic?

Blablahb:

MeChaNiZ3D:
No sensible atheist will say categorically there is no God, because God could be an undetectable, omnipotent schizophrenic.

That's not true. The burden of evidence still rests at the point that no gods exist. Atheism is the default point of view. Untill the burden of evidence changes (someone proves the existance of gods), saying there is no god is the only true statement, because that's the only statement that's supported by the current 'god evidence', or better said, lack of it.

I agree that the burden of proof lies in the theists' court. But I am not talking in terms of hypotheses and scientific analysis. If I tell you that a single hair on your head has disappeared, at this very moment, leaving no empty pore or obvious sign, that's a more easily detectable thing than God and you still can't tell me I'm wrong. You can point out that the moment I am referring to changes depending on when you read this, you can say that I have no way of knowing if it did happen, you can point out the improbability of it happening and even moreso of the pore covering its tracks. But you can't say, with 100% certainty, that it's not true (unless you're bald or have so few hairs that you can count them easily). There are an infinite amount of stupid, unfounded statements like this I can say, and that you can't disprove, but science and logically-minded people will take the lack of evidence and the improbability into account and decide that I'm probably, with 99.99999% certainty, making shit up. You can't say it isn't true, but you can say it's extremely unlikely that it is true. I think Dawkins used an example of a teapot orbiting around the Sun. You don't know if it's there, but you really doubt that it is, so you assume it isn't there and go on with your life.

Silvanus:

MeChaNiZ3D:
SNIP

Not sure I agree with you there. I can categorically say "there are no manticores", why can't I do the same for God?

If probability is negligible, it's as close to categorical as makes no matter. I can say it as categorically as I can state anything.

I'm willing to be convinced otherwise on this; your definitions above interested me.

I put it to you that you can't. You don't know there are no manticores. I don't know there are no manticores. Nobody on Earth knows, with 100% certainty, that there are no manticores anywhere. You can point out how incredibly unlikely it is that there are manticores, moreso given the fact that they're made up, and are an amalgamation of existing animals, and that none have been found to date despite being known from ancient times, but unless you are omnipotent, the best you can do is "I really, really doubt there are any manticores". It's even harder to say "There were no manticores", and in fact, even if you did a worldwide survey right now, you can't prove that a couple of seconds ago, a manticore didn't blink in and out of existence. But you're right, the probability is as close to nothing that it hardly matters at all. As far as I, and I assume you, are concerned, manticores and God have about the same probability of existing. But you can't be absolutely sure they don't. With religion, the best we can do is point out all the contradictions, the lack of evidence, the illogicalities and inaccuracies, but we don't know. And we'll never know, because God is magic and could just be screwing with all of us. Something I heard Dawkins say to do with his scale of 1-7 in atheism was that he was at best a 6.99999, because of this very small region of doubt.

MeChaNiZ3D:
SNIP

That's fair; I remember the same quote from somewhereorother.

Would you describe yourself as agnostic towards manticores, though? I'd describe myself as categorically A-Manticore-ist, and would consider the last 0.000001 likelihood not worth defining myself otherwise for.

Silvanus:

MeChaNiZ3D:
SNIP

That's fair; I remember the same quote from somewhereorother.

Would you describe yourself as agnostic towards manticores, though? I'd describe myself as categorically A-Manticore-ist, and would consider the last 0.000001 likelihood not worth defining myself otherwise for.

A large difference is that a manticore is fairly well defined. We have a really good idea of what features a creature would need for it to be deemed a manticore, and haven't found any despite having explored much of the world.

Theologians still don't have a decent description of what a God is. They invariably use lots of fluffy nebulous concepts like 'immediate yet transcendental at the same time'. I am agnostic mostly for the reason that I can't say I don't believe in something if I don't actually know what it is I'm saying doesn't exist. In a similar line, though, I am atheist towards Thor, Zeus, angels and any literal interpretation of the Biblical God, etc. which are well defined.

ClockworkPenguin:

A large difference is that a manticore is fairly well defined. We have a really good idea of what features a creature would need for it to be deemed a manticore, and haven't found any despite having explored much of the world.

Theologians still don't have a decent description of what a God is. They invariably use lots of fluffy nebulous concepts like 'immediate yet transcendental at the same time'. I am agnostic mostly for the reason that I can't say I don't believe in something if I don't actually know what it is I'm saying doesn't exist. In a similar line, though, I am atheist towards Thor, Zeus, angels and any literal interpretation of the Biblical God, etc. which are well defined.

I agree. The definition of god changes everything. In some definitions i definitely believe in god. I believe the big bang was caused by a monumental force that adhered to the laws of physics and began time. If you wanted to call the strongest force ever recorded "God" then id believe in god in your view and i guess that would be fine. Thats all it is to me though. Just a force. Nothing else.

However if you call god a creature that cannot exist without a "Yellow Thursday" i can immediately say it cannot exist because a "yellow Thursday" is an impossibility.

A better metaphor is that if i am presented with a box i cannot tell you what it does contain. There are some things i cannot say it cannot contain. But there is a HUGE list of things it definitely cannot contain because they are totally impossible and non nonsensical and as such cannot hold all of their given attributes at once. A loving being of pure hate. A being that never existed. You get the idea. These things i can reject immediately and KNOW they cannot exist.

I do the same with logically impossible Gods. I am an agnostic toward gods that are basically JUST forces or lack personality of ANY sort and do not intervene with the world at all. Or powerless gods.

Blablahb:

MeChaNiZ3D:
No sensible atheist will say categorically there is no God, because God could be an undetectable, omnipotent schizophrenic.

That's not true. The burden of evidence still rests at the point that no gods exist. Atheism is the default point of view. Untill the burden of evidence changes (someone proves the existance of gods), saying there is no god is the only true statement, because that's the only statement that's supported by the current 'god evidence', or better said, lack of it.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Before modern physics, nobody had any evidence of quantum tunneling. Does this mean that quantum tunneling did not exist before the 20th century? No it doesn't. It just means that it was there working away while we were unaware of it.

Even someone like richard dawkins, when pushed, says that there is a small probability that god/gods exists, we just haven't detected them yet. There is no reason to live your life like there is a god, but you cannot say with certainty that there is no god.

EDIT: And no, the only true statement is not "there is no god", but rather "there is insufficient evidence to suggest that a god exists". Subtle, but key, difference there.

CAMDAWG:

Blablahb:

MeChaNiZ3D:
No sensible atheist will say categorically there is no God, because God could be an undetectable, omnipotent schizophrenic.

That's not true. The burden of evidence still rests at the point that no gods exist. Atheism is the default point of view. Untill the burden of evidence changes (someone proves the existance of gods), saying there is no god is the only true statement, because that's the only statement that's supported by the current 'god evidence', or better said, lack of it.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Before modern physics, nobody had any evidence of quantum tunneling. Does this mean that quantum tunneling did not exist before the 20th century? No it doesn't. It just means that it was there working away while we were unaware of it.

Even someone like richard dawkins, when pushed, says that there is a small probability that god/gods exists, we just haven't detected them yet. There is no reason to live your life like there is a god, but you cannot say with certainty that there is no god.

EDIT: And no, the only true statement is not "there is no god", but rather "there is insufficient evidence to suggest that a god exists". Subtle, but key, difference there.

I think he was referring to practical discourse. There is no evidence that there is an invisible pink bunny rabbit on your head. But if someone asks you if there is one there, I suppose you could hem and haw about how you can't really be sure, that the possibility, however small, exists; how absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence and so on if your objective was to drive as many people away from you as possible.

The rational, practical answer is "no". No, there is not an invisible pink bunny rabbit on your head, or on any of our heads. It cuts to the quick. Is there a god? No. If you disagree, prove it. That's the quick and easy way to get to the meat of the conversation and move on with our lives.

ClockworkPenguin:

Silvanus:

MeChaNiZ3D:
SNIP

That's fair; I remember the same quote from somewhereorother.

Would you describe yourself as agnostic towards manticores, though? I'd describe myself as categorically A-Manticore-ist, and would consider the last 0.000001 likelihood not worth defining myself otherwise for.

A large difference is that a manticore is fairly well defined. We have a really good idea of what features a creature would need for it to be deemed a manticore, and haven't found any despite having explored much of the world.

Theologians still don't have a decent description of what a God is. They invariably use lots of fluffy nebulous concepts like 'immediate yet transcendental at the same time'. I am agnostic mostly for the reason that I can't say I don't believe in something if I don't actually know what it is I'm saying doesn't exist. In a similar line, though, I am atheist towards Thor, Zeus, angels and any literal interpretation of the Biblical God, etc. which are well defined.

It doesn't really matter that a manticore is fairly well defined, they could exist on Mars or something.

Atheism might be a better definition of what we do with the available information than the amount information we hold or how we obtain it. The possibility of God or gods appears so very, very remote that it becomes irrelevant to my life, whether in practice or in truth. As far as I know, it appears that God either isn't there or doesn't intervene in our personal lives, meaning that even if he is there, it doesn't matter much. Extraordinary claims to the contrary require extraordinary evidence, and so far the evidence presented has failed to pass basic scrutiny.

I don't know enough about the formal definition of agnosticism to have a really strong opinion about it, but my gut reaction is that it's either the milquetoast option for those who don't have the confidence to say they don't or do believe in God, or that it's internally inconsistent. I think there's plenty of information available from both sides to make a decision solid decision for or against, you're making that decision by choosing to or not to act in accordance with a given religion anyway, and the notion that God and gods are unknowable trips itself up by making definitive statements about something on which it seeks not to comment. In other words, if God is unknowable how do you know God can't make himself known to you? How do you know he's unknowable? If he's unknown, how do you know he's there at all? It's a ridiculous.

I don't personally have anything against religion or the religious. I have friends who are religious, I enjoyed going to church when I was a kid even though I didn't believe then, and I wouldn't hesitate to acknowledge the Creator of He showed up on my doorstep with a 40 and a bucket of chicken. This is why I distance myself from anti-theists, the bad 'atheists' that most people probably imagine when they think of atheism. I distance myself from them as readily as I distance myself from religion and agnosticism, and they do not speak for me. These are the people who say they don't believe in God because there's evil in the world--I mean, have you read the bible? There's wars, and plagues, and this one guy Moses drowned like a billion gyppos in the red sea. So what? Historically, the gods have been cruel. It's what they do. You might not like or what their believers do, but that has absolutely nothing to do with their existence.

CAMDAWG:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Before modern physics, nobody had any evidence of quantum tunneling. Does this mean that quantum tunneling did not exist before the 20th century? No it doesn't. It just means that it was there working away while we were unaware of it.

Much like itsthesheppy sharply observed, it's not relevant though.

My point is the normal way myths are treated, is that they don't exist untill they do. Everybody operates like that, including religious people, with the sole exception of their god.

Myths are also fundamentally different from factual things in that when dealing with stuff like physics, we speculate. Speculation does not meaning making up some wild story and adopting it as truth in spite of contradicting evidence.

TheLion:

Casper Thostrup:
My question is if Atheism is that you hate religion, or that it is just a non believing group.

Most hardcore, "hateful" atheists are resent non-believes. Personally, I have no issue with religions unless:

A. Religion is used to slander science, especially biology and medicine.

B. Religion is used as a vehicle for racist, sexist, and homophobic ideas.

To be fair, science has been too. When it comes to racism probably just as much.

CAMDAWG:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

That depends entirely on the situation in question. Sometimes absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence.

Before modern physics, nobody had any evidence of quantum tunneling. Does this mean that quantum tunneling did not exist before the 20th century?

No, but it does mean that prior to the 20th century it would have been perfectly acceptable to say "there is no such thing as quantum tunneling" because that is what the evidence showed at the time.

EDIT: And no, the only true statement is not "there is no god", but rather "there is insufficient evidence to suggest that a god exists". Subtle, but key, difference there.

If you're going to be this pedantic you should be consistent about it. So you shouldn't say "[quantum tunneling] was there working away while we were unaware of it," but "based on the available evidence quantum tunneling was there working away while we were unaware of it." After all you can't be certain that quantum tunneling was working before we became aware of it--you can't even be sure anything exists.

Danny Ocean:
To be fair, science has been too. When it comes to racism probably just as much.

I would dispute that since science, as a wide-spread practice, is very recent.
Some religions had entrenched racism that rolled on for centuries.

Casper Thostrup:
My question is if Atheism is that you hate religion, or that it is just a non believing group.

This seems like youa re asking if being a Christian is the same as being a member of the FLDS. You can be one and not the other. As previoulsy said, Atheism is really just having no beliefe in a god. They may believe in other things karma, dogma etc but hate really isn't a principle of Atheism.

To put it simply, Atheims is a non-prophet organization /snare drum

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