Are you a theist or not?
I am a theist.
23.8% (58)
23.8% (58)
I am an atheist.
75.8% (185)
75.8% (185)
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Poll: Theist or Atheist?

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Do you believe a god or gods exist? Why or why not?

If you answer 'yes' to the first question, then you are a theist.
If you answer anything else to it (this includes things like: 'No' ; 'I'm not sure' ; 'I don't know'), that means you are not a theist, also known as an 'atheist' in its broadest sense.
That is also the definition I'm using here: an atheist is someone who is not a theist. 'A-theism' simply means 'without theism.'
It really is a dichotomous issue.

I do not believe in a god or gods (in any meaningful definition of the word 'god'), because theists have not met their burden of proof.
A meaningful definition of 'god' would include: a supernatural, conscious being that manifests in some way in reality.
Because if it wasn't supernatural, it wouldn't be a god. If it wasn't conscious, it would be no different from a rock. And if it doesn't manifest in reality, its existence would be indistinguishable from its non-existence.

I don't know if there is a God, but under your definition I am considered an atheist.

Of course I don't think it really matters. If there is a God, that's cool, but it is if there isn't too.

i'm an apatheist.

i don't care either way.

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

that said i will tick the second option just for the sake of not being a stand out pedant.

I would describe myself as an atheist. I don't believe in gods, certainly. But I have my doubts, who doesn't?

If there is such thing as gods, I don't think they are supernatural in their nature, but rather just as much a part of the cosmos as are we, plants, atoms and the laws of physics.

If that made sense to anybody contact me, because it never did much to me. But that is what I believe :)

Sleekit:
i'm an apatheist.

i don't care either way.

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

I think that that is a very mature and a very well thought out stance. Kudos!

ShipofFools:
I think that that is a very mature and a very well thought out stance. Kudos!

its not mine. its a quote from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius...and it's little less combative than quoting Epicurus...

w9496:
I don't know if there is a God, but under your definition I am considered an atheist.

Of course I don't think it really matters. If there is a God, that's cool, but it is if there isn't too.

I don't claim to know whether there is or isn't a god/gods either.
My question was concerning belief and not knowledge.

----------

Since I have seen something like this before I want to nip it right in the bud: agnosticism addresses knowledge, whereas atheism addresses belief. They are independent, compatible categories.
An agnostic theist, is someone who believes that a god/gods exist, but admits that its existence is ultimately unknowable.
An agnostic atheist does not believe that a god/gods exist, but also admits that its existence is ultimately unknowable.
Gnostic theists and atheists also do exist and both groups claim knowledge on their respective belief/non-belief.

Also, saying you do not believe something does not mean you're saying it's false or impossible. It simply means that you are unconvinced.

Sleekit:

ShipofFools:
I think that that is a very mature and a very well thought out stance. Kudos!

its not mine. its a quote from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius...and it's little less combative than quoting Epicurus...

Well, I think it is very brave to admit that you don't know, and act on that lack of knowledge.
That was one wise emperor. You know, I almost bought his book once but decided to buy some poetry instead.
Maybe that was a mistake :)

MeisterKleister:

It really is a dichotomous issue.

No it isn't.

Theism and Atheism refer to belief. Gnosticism and Agnosticism refer, basically, to justification.

Gnostic Theist: I know God is real. I believe it and I have adequate justification for the belief.

Agnostic Theist: I believe God is real, but I admit that I can't adequately justify that assertion. It could be otherwise.

Agnostic Atheist: I believe God is is not real, but I admit that I can't adequately justify that assertion. It could be otherwise.

Gnostic Atheist: I know God is not real. I believe it and I have adequate justification for the belief.

Danny Ocean:

MeisterKleister:

It really is a dichotomous issue.

No it isn't.

In this topic, I have explicitly defined 'atheism' as 'not theism' in my opening post.
So it is a dichotomy by definition.
If you disagree with my definition, feel free to simply replace the word 'atheist' with 'not a theist' in this thread.

Danny Ocean:
Theism and Atheism refer to belief. Gnosticism and Agnosticism refer, basically, to justification.

My question only concerns belief and non-belief.

MeisterKleister:

Danny Ocean:

MeisterKleister:

It really is a dichotomous issue.

No it isn't.

In this topic, I have explicitly defined 'atheism' as 'not theism'.
So it is a dichotomous by definition.

By your definition, surely it leaves 3 categories. It just lumps the two kinds of Atheist together.

Gnostic Theist
Agnostic Theist
Atheist

Edit

Belief and non-belief

There we go. I was confused because you said this:

"I do not believe in a god or gods (in any meaningful definition of the word 'god'), because theists have not met their burden of proof."

Apparently distinguishing between belief and justification.

Danny Ocean:

"I do not believe in a god or gods (in any meaningful definition of the word 'god'), because theists have not met their burden of proof."

Apparently distinguishing between belief and justification.

My OP starts with two questions "Do you believe a god or gods exist? Why or why not?"
And I answered whether or not I believed and then gave my reason(s).

I disagree with your definition of agnosticism/gnosticism being concerned with justification. Can you provide a dictionary definition on that?

MeisterKleister:

My OP starts with two questions "Do you believe a god or gods exist? Why or why not?"
And I answered whether or not I believed and then gave my reason(s).

You started your post with that question, and then attempted to define your terms.

If you answer 'yes' to the first question, then you are a theist.
If you answer anything else to it (this includes things like: 'No' ; 'I'm not sure' ; 'I don't know'), that means you are not a theist, also known as an 'atheist' in its broadest sense.

So, if you say yes, then you are a theist.

If you say anything else you are an atheist.

This ignores the category of people who believe that a god or gods exist, but do not claim to know it. It puts them in with the Atheists, rather than the Theists where they belong.

I disagree with your definition of agnosticism/gnosticism being concerned with justification. Can you provide a dictionary definition on that?

No, but I can give you an epistemological one.

At the time these words slipped into common use, the difference between knowledge and belief was justification.

That is, a person, a, is said to know x iff:

1. a believes x
2. x is true
3. a has justification for believing x

Theism/Atheism concerns premise 1.

A/gnosticism refers to premise 3, because one could not have knowledge without justification. So, saying that you believe but don't know either means that you believe something false, or that you believe something without adequate justification.

Which happens an awful lot. You shouldn't ignore that category for the sake of simplification.

Danny Ocean:

You started your post with that question, and then attempted to define your terms.

I didn't "attempt" to define "terms", I defined one term, and that was 'atheist'.

Danny Ocean:

So, if you say yes, then you are a theist.

If you say anything else you are an atheist.

This ignores the category of people who believe that a god or gods exist, but do not claim to know it. It puts them in with the Atheists, rather than the Theists where they belong.

Ah, now I see what you're getting at. Please let me clarify:
It is of course entirely possible for a theist to answer "yes, I believe, but I don't know." But I was trying to make the point that if you attempt to answer this question with only something like "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" instead of "yes" or "no", like I've seen many people do, then you would be missing the point: I was asking whether you believe, and that this is in fact a dichotomous issue; either you believe something or you don't.
I apologize for the misunderstanding.

Danny Ocean:

No, but I can give you an epistemological one.

At the time these words slipped into common use, the difference between knowledge and belief was justification.

That is, a person, a, is said to know x iff:

1. a believes x
2. x is true
3. a has justification for believing x

Theism/Atheism concerns premise 1.

A/gnosticism refers to premise 3, because one could not have knowledge without justification. So, saying that you believe but don't know either means that you believe something false, or that you believe something without adequate justification.

Which happens an awful lot. You shouldn't ignore that category for the sake of simplification.

I was asking for an independent source for your usage of the word agnosticism. Because if we use different definitions, we will end up just talking past each other.
The word 'knowledge' also has various definitions as far as I understand. In one of its most common usages, it is a subset of belief. And, as you said, 'knowledge' is a justified, true belief. However, some people claim to have had personal revelations, claiming they are justified in their belief and they know them to be true, but they can't show it to anyone else. This person has had a personal revelation, so he/she is justified in their belief and knowledge, but is it true? How do you determine that? Now do they 'know' or do they not? It depends on definitions.
I would say they don't really know, because they can't show it, however gnosticism is commonly defined as 'claiming to know', so this person would be gnostic. This is the definition I am using.

And just because I didn't ask about this, doesn't mean that I've ignored it. I have actually addressed the issue of gnosticism/agnosticism in my 2nd post.

Atheist, I've just never been convinced. I was raised without being taught that any particular religion was true and when I was older and learnt about various world religions - mostly in school, especially in higher grade religious education and philosophy/ethics classes - I just never found any of them to be convincing. In fact, the more I learnt, the less likely it seemed to me that any of them were true.

I'm not too happy with your poll, though. I'd prefer Nontheist over Atheist as the other answer if you're only going to allow two. Deists, Pantheists, Apatheists etc. all fall into the Atheist-category there and I find that misleading. Don't get me wrong, Atheist is vague enough as it is what with the many different reasons for people to be one, but this is even worse. I'd prefer having more nuanced and descriptive categories, because let's face it: The term "Atheist" carries some particular meanings and baggage, even if the all-too-literal meaning may simply be as the OP uses it.

I know that there is no god for the same reason that I know that there are no leprechauns, or any Pegasus, because there is no proof that they exist now, or ever have existed. The religions made a claim, that god does exist, yet they never presented any rational proof; their proof is a book written thousands of years ago by the same men who claimed that it was real. The gods presented in the various religions have never be seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted, except by people who were completely isolated and alone at the time of experiencing it - in other words, in an environment in which they could easily make anything up and have it be unable to be disproved. That's the problem with the religions, they make wild claims, but throw the burden of proof onto other to 'disprove' it. Reality-check: if you don't present any evidence, then there is nothing to disprove. And if we're going along those lines - I am God, and unless you can disprove it you have to address me as such, calling me your lord and saviour whenever speaking to me.

And don't try to slap on the term 'Agnostic' to me. The process of taking arbitrary claims and treating them seriously because you can't 'disprove' them doesn't need another word, it already has one - irrational.

MeisterKleister:

I was asking for an independent source for your usage of the word agnosticism. Because if we use different definitions, we will end up just talking past each other.

Of course. I'm just rather wary of dictionary definitions, because English-language dictionaries tend to be descriptive of how the word is used, rather than prescribing how it should be used.

And a lot of people use a lot of words incorrectly or vaguely.

So I thought I'd take it up to the level this thread deserves and get all philosophical. :)

The word 'knowledge' also has various definitions as far as I understand. In one of its most common usages, it is a subset of belief. And, as you said, 'knowledge' is a justified, true belief. However, some people claim to have had personal revelations, claiming they are justified in their belief and they know them to be true, but they can't show it to anyone else. This person has had a personal revelation, so he/she is justified in their belief and knowledge, but is it true? How do you determine that? Now do they 'know' or do they not? It depends on definitions.
I would say they don't really know, because they can't show it, however gnosticism is commonly defined as 'claiming to know', so this person would be gnostic. This is the definition I am using.

And just because I didn't ask about this, doesn't mean that I've ignored it. I have actually addressed the issue of gnosticism/agnosticism in my 2nd post.

Ah yes, so you did, my mistake. Perhaps you should edit the opening post to be clearer?

Eh. Maybe there might be something that might fit into some definition of being a deity, but I don't really care.

An all-powerful, all-knowing and benevolent deity behind everything, though, clearly doesn't exist.

I'm an atheist because I see no logical reason to believe God exists. Though, I do get the feeling the size of our group is artificially inflated with antitheists, which I believe to actually be a separate group rather than a subsection.

I'm an atheist because I see no logical reason to believe God exists and that's about all i got. Their is no evidence for a god so why should i even consider it to begin with?

Skeleon:
I'm not too happy with your poll, though. I'd prefer Nontheist over Atheist as the other answer if you're only going to allow two. Deists, Pantheists, Apatheists etc. all fall into the Atheist-category there and I find that misleading. Don't get me wrong, Atheist is vague enough as it is what with the many different reasons for people to be one, but this is even worse. I'd prefer having more nuanced and descriptive categories, because let's face it: The term "Atheist" carries some particular meanings and baggage, even if the all-too-literal meaning may simply be as the OP uses it.

I agree that the term 'atheist' does carry baggage, however I don't think this should be the case, and in this thread here I make it clear that I am using the term interchangeably with 'non-theist' which is in line with common dictionary definitions and usage.

Part of my intention of creating this topic was to raise awareness of the term 'atheist' and what it does and doesn't mean. It only means that one does not accept the claim that a god or gods exist, nothing more.

As far as I understand, pantheists do believe that a god exists, so they would fall under theism.
Deists only believe in a creator god, however depending on whether you believe that this creator still exists or not you can fall under either category, theist or atheist.
Apatheists means to act with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a god or gods. In other words this term is compatible with both theism and atheism.

LetalisK:
I'm an atheist because I see no logical reason to believe God exists. Though, I do get the feeling the size of our group is artificially inflated with antitheists, which I believe to actually be a separate group rather than a subsection.

Antitheists do positively believe that a god or gods do not exist, but they also lack the belief that a god or gods exist and therefore fall under the atheist category too.

Edit: added another video

I believe strongly that there is no such thing as a supernatural sentient entity or entities involved in the creation and/or maintenance of the Earth or cosmos.

How certain am I of this?

If 0 is no certainty at all and infinity is absolute certainty then I am infinity minus 1 certain. I could be convinced but I would require proof of the supernatural.

Ok everyone, I'm sorry everyone, but this part is just comical.

MeisterKleister:

That's truly thinking for yourself there.

Also, I'm a theist, but funny story...

MeisterKleister:

In this topic, I have explicitly defined 'atheism' as 'not theism' in my opening post.

The word "theism" was actually invented just to mean "not atheism." Etymology does not like your definition.

tstorm823:
Ok everyone, I'm sorry everyone, but this part is just comical.

MeisterKleister:

That's truly thinking for yourself there.

Oh the irony, tell me more about how you spontaneously became Catholic without any outside influence.

Nothing wrong with letting someone else succintly present how you feel about something.

Jux:

Nothing wrong with letting someone else succintly present how you feel about something.

Not that it was succinct, since it was an hour of video, but the comedy was not using other people to show his thoughts, it was the betrayel of expectations. When a spoiler is tagged as more about what he thinks, you expect to open it up and find he had written more about what he thought, and then instead it was a youtube video of something else. Drawing expectations and then shooting off in a different direction is somethign real comedy people write into things on purpose. It's like this-

tstorm823:

Jux:

Nothing wrong with letting someone else succintly present how you feel about something.

Not that it was succinct, since it was an hour of video, but the comedy was not using other people to show his thoughts, it was the betrayel of expectations. When a spoiler is tagged as more about what he thinks, you expect to open it up and find he had written more about what he thought, and then instead it was a youtube video of something else. Drawing expectations and then shooting off in a different direction is somethign real comedy people write into things on purpose. It's like this-

Are we looking at the same video? The video linked was 16 minutes and 47 seconds. I expected no such thing btw. Perhaps you should stop projecting expectations onto others. It's absolutely nothing like your illustration. He never said it was going to be some hand written monologue. In the case of spongebob, you're dealing with a double entendre, there was no such thing employed here.

edit: In short, you're being unnecessarily rude and mocking towards him.

MeisterKleister:

LetalisK:
I'm an atheist because I see no logical reason to believe God exists. Though, I do get the feeling the size of our group is artificially inflated with antitheists, which I believe to actually be a separate group rather than a subsection.

Antitheists do positively believe that a god or gods do not exist, but they also lack the belief that a god or gods exist and therefore fall under the atheist category too.

Edit: added another video

Sorry, but I personally don't see it that way. Antitheists go further than an atheist would, much in the same way "amoral" and "immoral" are not the same thing and part of the morality trifecta with "moral". I think the way those two are related are under the "Non-theists" label, rather than one being a subsidiary of the other.

Jux:

Are we looking at the same video? The video linked was 16 minutes and 47 seconds.

After the embedded video, tere's a link to a 40-some minute playlist.

I expected no such thing btw. Perhaps you should stop projecting expectations onto others. It's absolutely nothing like your illustration. He never said it was going to be some hand written monologue.

If you didn't expect that, then I'm not sure you've ever opened a spoiler promising more depth before. People do that pretty often here, and it almost invariably opens to a wall of text.

In short, you're being unnecessarily rude and mocking towards him.

And I began my comment with an apology. It's a rudeness necesarry to appreciate the humor of the situation.

tstorm823:
[...]
That's truly thinking for yourself there.

Also, I'm a theist, but funny story...

I don't see anything wrong with linking to someone else's video. I've watched the videos, considered the points made in them and pretty much agreed with all of them. Those people have very eloquently summed up a big portion of my positions, and I don't see the point in re-typing it.

How about actually addressing some of the points made?

tstorm823:

The word "theism" was actually invented just to mean "not atheism." Etymology does not like your definition.

Interesting, though I can't really find a source confirming this, other than Wiktionary.
In any case, it's the same thing in practice - one is the opposite of the other. So it's irrelevant to the discussion which label came first.

LetalisK:

Sorry, but I personally don't see it that way. Antitheists go further than an atheist would, much in the same way "amoral" and "immoral" are not the same thing and part of the morality trifecta with "moral". I think the way those two are related are under the "Non-theists" label, rather than one being a subsidiary of the other.

You are right. Anti-theists do go further and they are a subset of non-theists.
But as I've already said, in this thread I am using the term "atheism" interchangeably with "non-theism".

Analogy
Guilty; not guilty; innocent
Theism; not theism (atheism); anti-theism (aka 'strong atheism')

MeisterKleister:

You are right. Anti-theists do go further and they are a subset of non-theists.
But as I've already said, in this thread I am using the term "atheism" interchangeably with "non-theism".

Analogy
Guilty; not guilty; innocent
Theism; not theism (atheism); anti-theism (aka 'strong atheism')

Oh, I understand why you and most people(even including myself) tend to group them together considering the world we live in(theism probably being the overwhelming majority and thus the difference between atheism and antitheism being less important than the difference between theism and non-theism, perhaps) and I don't find it offensive or anything like that and it's just easier and simpler that way. I was just commenting on a technical level, in which I would be just as perturbed by being grouped with anti-theists as I would be with theists as I see both groups as just as distinct from atheism. Not to say I'm upset or anything, probably wrong choice of words...ah fuck it, I think you know what I mean. I'm just navel gazing here.

Agnostic atheist anti-theist, as in I don't have absolute certainty, then again, I consider absolute certainty in any field to be unachieveable, lack of evidence for god(s) and plenty of evidence for a Universe occuring naturally makes me unconviced of existence of any higher power, and I consider religion to do more harm than good.

I picked Atheist as I believe in evidence above all else however I would have liked an agnostic option, as the existence of a "god", not from a religious sense but in the sense of an intelligence that created humanity or the universe, is becoming more plausible.

If I understand Lawrence Krauss' work on a Universe from Nothing correctly in that before the big bang there was nothing, not even the laws that govern the universe then it's entirely possible that an omnipotent/omniscient/omnipresent being was created from nothing.

Also the Idea that if you could simulate a universe within a computer then the probability of this universe being a simulation is greater than it being real is fascinating, and if true, means that we[the universe] were most likely created by an intelligent being or "god"

tstorm823:
After the embedded video, tere's a link to a 40-some minute playlist.

And? The video linked was 16 minutes. He obviously felt that was the most important one, or he would have linked a different one. You're still wrong.

tstorm823:
If you didn't expect that, then I'm not sure you've ever opened a spoiler promising more depth before. People do that pretty often here, and it almost invariably opens to a wall of text.

Opened plenty. Point still stands.

tstorm823:
And I began my comment with an apology. It's a rudeness necesarry to appreciate the humor of the situation.

First, your apology was not directed towards him. Second, prefacing being a dick with an apology doesn't excuse you from whatever dickish thing you say next. It's pretty much the same as "I mean no disrespect, but..." then you follow it up with something really disrespectful. The humor was lacking, so perhaps you should reevaluate the situation.

tstorm823:
You've discuounted every miracle

Miracles, mister Tstorm? Honest-to-Loki miracles? Ones that haven't been surrounded by reasonable doubt, and have unequivocally pointed the finger towards your particular deity? These I'd like to see.

I don't believe in a god because I don't see a reason to, plain and simple.

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