faith, or the lack of.

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  • faith, or the lack of.
  • Premier Icon molgrips
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    It really make me laugh tho when some folk try to equate atheism with faith. Its the opposite. atheism is saying – without evidence I will NOT believe.

    No – not believing in anything is agnosticism. Atheism is positively believing that God does not exist (as I understand it although the definition varies).

    The thing is though, you can’t really properly prove one way or the other about the existence of God. It’s not provable, and I think it’s provably not provable*. Therefore, anyone who positively believes in the non-existence of God is acting on faith just as much as someone who positively does believe. I think most on here are agnostic atheists – as in, you don’t believe in God, but you know you cannot be sure.

    * due to the existence of randomness

    Question is then – why pin your flag to any of them at all?

    Internal motivation is often enhanced greatly by shared experience. I enjoy a pint of beer, but I enjoy it much more in the pub with mates than sat by myself at home. Humans are social creatures. It’s nice to sit quietly and listen to a well delivered sermon which might give you cause to reflect on your own actions or consider a viewpoint that you hadn’t previously considered. Nobody can provide all their own answer or indeed, their own questions.  It is also not, as many on here seem to think, strict adherence to the words of the Bible. It’s very much more…. “Here’s a story out of a book…what  meaning can we take from this that might  help us not to be dicks”

    Also, there is tea and biscuits.

    the centuries of misery caused by one clan’s beef over the other would be even more distasteful.

    It is distasteful.  Lots of history is.

    Is it any different than  continuing to hold a British passport despite your condemnation  of the horrors perpetrated by the British Empire in days gone past? As far as I am aware, the Church of Scotland has never declared a jihad or embarked on a crusade against the infidels. If they did, i’d probably quit and get my tea and biscuits somewhere else.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
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    I think some people are more predisposed to believe and have faith. From the very first time I was exposed to the concept of God I remember thinking this is a deeply odd concept. Despite the majesty of the buildings, the incredible charity in God’s word and all the lovely faithful people I never once thought any of it could conceivably be anything more than a cool old myth. I went to Sunday school and the whole thing seemed harmless but weird.

    As a 41yr old tired adult who would like my kids to listen to me, for everyone to be nice to each other, and quite frankly, a bit of reassurance that things will all be ok in the end, I get it. It’s completely understandable that our ancestors would have weaved stories to make sense of the world.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I’ve often heard the phrase ‘God is love’. I just thought it a bit of waffle. But if you take it literally it might give a bit of insight into faith*. If you are prepared to think about it. I’m sure some smartarse will pipe up about oxytocin in a minute though.

    * it might – I am not an expert, not being a person of faith.

    molgrips,
    You say provability as in “can’t prove it exists” and “can’t prove it doesn’t” like those are equal sides of a balanced argument.

    Like atheism is as much of a “faith” position as theism.

    How about no.

    If you claim X exists its up to you to prove it.
    If I claim that the lack of evidence seems to indicate that it is extremely likely that you are wrong (to an extreme that edges from agnosticism to atheism (or materialism)), its still up to you to prove it does.

    I’m sure someone could build a bullshit machine that would generate unlikely, unprovable propositions about the smell of blue and width of infinity and the infallibility of the pope at a rate of a million a day.

    Your belief and my lack of belief in the existence or reasonableness of those those things does not make them equally likely to be true and untrue.

    Unless you’ve talked yourself in circles so much that you’ve vanished up your own fundament. 🙂

    tjagain
    Member

    agnosticism is not being sure – unproven. Atheism is that there is no god – proven. Whilst I understand absence of evidence is not evidence of absence to me the total lack of any evidence and the lack of attempt to provide any ie faith, shows there is no god given the huge amount of evidence there is no god.

    Given that no prophecies in any religion have come true, given that despite a supposed loving god evil clearly exists and given the actions of many in the organised churches its clear and obvious to me that there is no god. thus I am an atheist. I do not believe in the existence of a god – any god

    That of course is another factor – all the different christian sects and different religions monotheistic, abrahamic and multitheastic – they cannot all be right.

    Scientific method shows no god.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Pudding, you’re misunderstanding.

    Firstly, I’m an atheist.

    Secondly, I’m using logic to pursue a philosophical argument, not trying to convince anyone of anything. My post was aimed at TJ’s post where he said that atheism is lack of faith (following on from other posts saying that atheism is a matter of faith). Atheism is belief in the non-existence of God.

    Now, like you, I believe it extremely unlikely that God exists. But I’m trying to show that it cannot be conclusively proven that God does not exist. And without that conclusive proof, atheism therefore is a matter of faith.

    If I claim that the lack of evidence seems to indicate that it is extremely likely that you are wrong (to an extreme that edges from agnosticism to atheism (or materialism)), its still up to you to prove it does.

    This would be true if I were trying to persuade you of the existence of God. But I’m not.

    Scientific method hypothesises no god but is prepared to change this hypothesis if a better peer reviewed theory is presented.

    FTFY

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    shows there is no god given the huge amount of evidence there is no god.

    Yep, evidence that the Christian God does not exist. However, speaking as an atheist scientist, there are gigantic holes in our understanding of the universe and reality that could easily accomodate a God or even a whole Pantheon.

    Premier Icon v8ninety
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    Edit;

    Exactly. If you’re believing something, that is the position. A lack of belief in something is not faith in not believing, or whatever you are trying to suggest. If you don’t believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, then that is not a belief that there are not fairies at the bottom of the garden, its just an absence of belief.

    tjagain
    Member

    No atheism is not a faith. I do not have to believe something without evidence which is what faith is. Its quite the opposite of faith. Its not believing something without evidence.

    Atheism is a rational position

    Hypothesis – ” God exists”
    Evidence – zero
    Thus the hypothesis is null. there is no god

    Premier Icon cheese@4p
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    Hypothetically, if the thing that believers call God made it abundantly clear that it really existed in a scientifically proven way then it would make faith redundant and end religion for ever. That thing would then be seen as an alien object, feared and probably hated by all of mankind. In other words if you can prove the existence of God it becomes science and ceases to be God.

    given that despite a supposed loving god evil clearly exists and given the actions of many in the organised churches its clear and obvious to me that there is no god.

    Ah but they (Christians) have an answer for that.

    Free will, living in a ‘broken’ world and (of course) suffering brings people closer to god.

    If there was a god and that was their ‘belief’ then, in human terms, they would be considered some sort of psychopath and/or a complete sadist.

    Premier Icon colournoise
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    Atheism is not a faith, but it IS a belief system.

    tjagain
    Member

    How is it? there is no codified system of atheism.

    Woppit must be spent by now. Surely?

    molgrips,
    I know you’re an atheist (with an apparent interest in the anthropology of believers 🙂 So I was using “you” in the sense of “someone who believes those things” not necessarily talking about you in particular.

    I do prefer “materialist” to “atheist” as a description of how I feel about this stuff, but I’m quit prepared to say that “I believe in no gods” (as a statement of atheism) requires no faith.

    Its a statement about my opinion based on the available evidence. And it would change if the evidence changed.

    Are you saying that an opinion based on the available evidence, and prepared to change if the evidence changes, is a “faith” position?

    Doesn’t sound like it to me 🙂

    colournoise
    “not stamp collecting” is not a hobby.

    nealglover
    Member

    “not stamp collecting” is not a hobby

    Awww well that’s crap.
    I’m bloody awesome at it too 🙁

    “not stamp collecting” is not a hobby

    I tried it. Couldn’t not get into it.

    Dunno what I’m gonna do with all these stamps.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Hypothesis – ” God exists”
    Evidence – zero
    Thus the hypothesis is null. there is no god

    Nonsense. Because evidence could appear. Something which has been neither proven nor disproven is ‘unproven’, meaning that you don’t know.

    Is there a marble under this cup? Well, you cannot see any evidence of it, can you? But that doesn’t prove it’s not there, clearly. Until the cup is lifted, the hypothesis is unproven.

    Are you saying that an opinion based on the available evidence, and prepared to change if the evidence changes, is a “faith” position?

    No, quite the opposite. That position you describe is agnosticism. Atheism is being absolutely sure there’s no God. And since it’s unproven and even unprovable (in my view) then you can only have faith in that position.

    It’s only a semantic argument, I admit. But I find it interesting to unpick the things people think. Mainly because I don’t like the way that so many atheists feel so superior. And yes, if this forum were full of superior-sounding Christians being dicks, I definitely would be arguing on the atheist side.

    if this forum were full of superior-sounding Christians being dicks,

    Rule Number two of  “Jesus says don’t be a dick” club……

    Premier Icon v8ninety
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    Atheism is being absolutely sure there’s no God.

    You keep asserting this position. It’s incorrect. Given the effort that you put into trying to understand the position of theists, you’d think you could spend a bit more time trying to understand atheism.

    There is no common ‘belief system’ amongst atheists. Atheism is NOT a belief system. It is simply a label for ‘everyone else’. I’m an atheist; I’m not ‘absolutely sure’ that there is no God. I’m just sure I’ve seen no evidence for any supernatural deities, and I’ve not been convinced by any theists argument. It’s just an irrelevant but sometimes interesting subject.

    The ‘sureness’ that you speak of is not to to with the existence or otherwise of a deity. I couldn’t care less, in the nicest possible way. It’s to do with the special privileges granted the religious on the grounds of their beliefs, and how theism impacts upon those who don’t want it to. I’m SURE that that is unjust, and I will always position myself against it, whether it be State sponsored homophobia, repression of women’s rights in the name of Christianity in Northern Ireland, or indoctrination in State schools, etc etc.

    That shit is not okay, I’m sure of that.

    nealglover,
    don’t listen to me , keep being awesome!
    perchy,
    you’re doing it wrong

    molgrips
    Your definition of “atheist” us a bit strong
    You say “Atheism is being absolutely sure there’s no God.”
    google says “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.”
    Thats me (the second one) I lack belief. I am a belief lacker. I dis-belief 🙂
    And if the evidence changed so would I.

    Definition wise I also like the description from diskworld of (paraphrasing);
    “A man who would stand on the top of a mountain, in wet copper armour, in a thunderstorm, shouting “All gods are bastards!””

    tjagain
    Member

    Molgrips – I am certain there is no god given the lack of evidence – thats atheism. I know there is no god any type, I have looked all over for him

    In your playing with semantics you have lost the meaning of the words.

    By your interpretation science is faith!

    I know there is no god any type, I have looked all over for him

    Perhaps he saw you looking for him and was hiding until you went away?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    By your interpretation science is faith!

    No because science is never certain, science is built on doubt.

    Atheism is NOT a belief system.

    No, but it is a belief. You cannot prove there is no God, therefore, you can only believe there is no God. Therefore atheism is a belief. QED.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
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    🤩

    Great thread.

    molgrips,
    I don’t “believe there are no gods”,
    I “lack belief that there are any”. I live my life as if they don’t exist (except on internet forums and when they push their random improbabilities and into politics or society.

    To put it another way if someone had been raised in a place that had no concept of religion, they would be an atheist, or “one who lacks belief”. You seem to think that atheism requires a positive effort of will, or a series of philosophical assumptions, but it doesn’t, its the default.

    Your definition of atheist is wrong.

    tjagain
    Member

    Molgrips – if nothing in science is certain then its faith based! YOu cannot have it both ways. My belief in science and my belief in the lack of gods are based on the same things – the evidence or lack of.

    tjagain
    Member

    In your own words

    You cannot prove that evolution is true, therefore, you can only believe that evolution is trues. Therefore evolution is a belief. QED

    Or – you cannot prove many accepted things in science. However you can weigh the evidence.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    To answer Ton’s question, with a quote from Wiki..

    The ceremony was marred in 2002 when a disagreement between the Armenian and Greek bishops over who should emerge first with the Holy Fire led to a struggle between the factions. In the course of the scuffle the Armenian’s candle was blown out, forcing him to reignite his “Holy Fire” using a cigarette lighter, while the Greek Patriarch was despoiled of one of his shoes. In the end the Israeli Police entered the premises to restore order

    So, yes. A cigarette lighter was used to re-light the flame.

    The quote doesn’t however go on to explain whether there has always been a method of ignition, or subsequent quote to prove whether a cigarette lighter is always carried into the “tomb”

    However, due to the importance of the “event” and the fact that billions of believers wait with baited breath on this particular incident/event that who ever entered the tomb would be foolish to not take in … and maybe use … a method of re-ignition should it be required.

    Which makes me now wonder what would happen if this flame were not to ignite, ever. And the subsequent consequences thereafter …

    Woppit is getting his second wind now…..

    tjagain
    Member

    perchypanther

    I know there is no god any type, I have looked all over for him

    Perhaps he saw you looking for him and was hiding until you went away?

    A revelation! Thats the answer! I believe!

    fossy
    Member

    Brought up RC Catholic, but not been to church for many years. It’s about being a decent person, that’s all, and it’s what any religion is about, but not taking it to extremes. It’s about respecting yourself and respecting other folk. Simple.

    roper
    Member

    “No, but it is a belief. You cannot prove there is no God, therefore, you can only believe there is no God. Therefore atheism is a belief. QED.“
    As an atheist, I do not believe there is sufficient evidence which proves the existence of a god or gods. This is not a belief in something. I do not believe there is sufficient evidence which proves the existence of the Loch Ness monster either. This is not a belief. The starting point is not believing in everything and then slowly disprove things. The starting point is , there is not god or gods, as there is not any evidence, if a believer thinks there is, then it’s up to them to prove.

    Premier Icon v8ninety
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    It’s about being a decent person, that’s all, and it’s what any religion is about, but not taking it to extremes. It’s about respecting yourself and respecting other folk.

    That’s a lovely sentiment, but you can do all of that without religion or a belief in an all powerful deity; Wheaton’s law has it pretty much covered. Some religious types (not the lovely ones on STW, obviously) seem to assume that morality originates from religion, when actually morality probably predates religion, and CERTAINLY predates the Abrahamic big three.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    v8ninety

    Subscriber

    There is no common ‘belief system’ amongst atheists. Atheism is NOT a belief system.

    Yup. Atheism is not a belief, it’s the absence of belief. There’s not a religion-shaped hole in the head that has to be filled with faith in something- the absence of belief is just nothing at all.

    It’s like insisting that everyone is a cyclist, and it’s just that some people have an unbike.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    Brought up RC Catholic

    Sweet! Is the R for remote or radio?

    I don’t believe in god or gods of any kind. I also don’t consider myself to be an atheist or agnostic. Putting specific terms on just not getting involved in something is just silly. Why does religion seem to differ in this respect?

    I don’t like football, is there a term for that? Soap operas? Deep sea diving? I’m just somebody that thinks religion or deity worship is a bit silly. Pretty much how I view football and love island too. Does that make me an atheist? I don’t have faith that a god of any kind doesn’t exist, I just assume it doesn’t. Might be wrong, but I don’t really care either way.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Molgrips – if nothing in science is certain then its faith based!

    But science is a completely different concept. The scientific method has theories and evidence. That’s it. You can’t ‘believe’ in it because it is a demonstrably real thing. You can ‘believe’ that it will solve humanity’s problems, because that’s in the future and it’s not yet known. Having faith in science means that you think one day it will solve problems.

    Faith is about things that are un-knowable. And as I’ve shown, the existence of some kind of God is actually un-knowable, which is why it’s a matter of faith either way. Wether or not you call that atheism is up to you. I’m just trying to point out your conceit.

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