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Thread: For Atheists - define what you don't believe in

  1. Top | #11
    Elder Contributor Underseer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    Now, when atheist proselytisers ask me to define God my first thought is...
    Shouldn't atheists be the ones defining what it is they disbelieve?
    Well, last time i attempted to answer this sort of question, I believe i said:

    I don't believe the universe needs a creator, so i don't believe in the creator gods like Atum, Omai, God the Father, Odin, Tzacol, etc.
    I don't believe human thought is insufficient to explain morality, so i don't believe in any of the lawgivers, like Tyr, Lugh, Ganesha, God the Father, Odin, etc.
    I don't find human imagination insufficient to explain inventions, so i don't believe in any of the gods (or titans) who brought fire/Knowledge to humans, like TheSerpent, Prometheus, Raven, etc.
    I don't particularly believe in an afterlife, so screw the various candidates for judges.
    I think the seasons are well explained by orbital mechanics, so any gods of weather, seasons, bringing back the sun are surplus to needs.
    I think the sun is not a chariot, wheels of a chariot, rolled by a beetle, thrown by a giant, or any 'just so' story of primitive cosmology so i can teach sailors how to implement a leap second adjustment on 31Dec or 30Jun without an appeal to the sky beetle or the great big ball rolling across the solid sky overhead...

    TL;DR: Pretty much any category of divine being that was invented as an explanation for some aspect of human life, nature, is not something i find compelling, neither as an explanation nor any of the explanations FOR the deity. Find a list of the gods mankind does or has worshiped at any point in history, draw a big red circle around it with a line bisecting the circle, and that's the god i don't believe in.
    Any of them.
    It's like, what atheist MEANS.

    So, no, asking what God I do not believe in is a silly question.
    Nice response, but if I can be pedantic, we don't even need human thought to explain morality.

    Animals on Earth can be divided into two categories: solitary and social. Each survival strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages. We can't say one approach is necessarily better than the other. The details of how the socialization survival strategy works varies greatly from species to species because the circumstances of their existence varies. For example female bees and ants let males die as soon as conception occurs and spend most of their time without males of any kind around. Human females do not leave human males to die after fertilization because fertile human females do not have a small army of infertile females to do all the child-rearing for them.

    The details may vary greatly from social species to social species, but the overall outline is very simple to explain.

    I do things for others in my social group that benefit their survival and/or well-being, but which do not benefit my survival and/or well-being at all. If enough individuals in my social group do the same thing, then the entire group experiences a very large increase in survival chances and well-being, even if the contributions of each individual might be small.

    In order for all of this to work, each social species needs standards of behavior. Since humans are the only ones capable of communicating ideology, all the other species must be able to develop standards of behavior without the benefit of language. It's probably mostly instinct, but for some social mammals it learned behaviors are part of the standard of behavior.

    Scientific studies even show that dogs and deer have a sense of right and wrong and keep track of which members in their group contribute more than they take, or which take more than they give. In other words, dogs and deer have a sense of fairness.

    That's all it is.

    The man in the pulpit tries to make morality sound needlessly complicated so that you will keep coming back to him for advice, but in the broad strokes, morality is quite simple. Human beings are social mammals, and like most social species our primary survival strategy is each other.

  2. Top | #12
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    I disbelieve in one more god than the Christians do.

  3. Top | #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Which came first, the atheist or the atheist? Atheist is what theists call those who do not accept their claims.

    Lion makes a series of claims about what god is. None of it is in the Torah. It is all in Lion's head, filling in the blanks with imagination. In all seriousness for a theist to consciously accept that would be devastating, crushing. A life long belief disappears and the crutches are gone.

    Naked and afraid. It is why otherwise rational skeptical theists fight tooth and nail to maintain the illusion.

    Lion is not very good at apologetics.
    Say whatever you will about Matt Dillahunty, but I respect his apologetics skills. He asks a lot of specific questions about what theists believe while talking to them, and he often points out to other atheists "There are as many different conceptions of gods as there are Christians."

    Yes, it's weird that they can't even agree on what they mean by "god."

    Yes, the fact that they all mean something slightly different when they say "god" is evidence that there is no reality behind what they are talking about, or at least that whatever they are talking about is divorced from reality.

    But that's how it is. They all mean something slightly different, and so we have to take those differences into account when talking to them. If their conception of God makes little sense, then that can make things easier or harder depending on how confused that particular theist is.

    Sometimes, I think the igtheists have the right of it.

  4. Top | #14
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    Way back my professor for philosophy of relgion was a seminary student and opted for philosophy. He told a story. Paul was in a town preaching on a stree in front of a temple. He asked who the temple was for. A passerby replied it is for the unknown god, just in case we missed one.

  5. Top | #15
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Sounds like a Mike Wernke story....

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    For myself, I'd have to say that I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate. I don't believe in forever or love as a mystical state. I don't believe in the stars or the planets or angels watching from above.

    I do, however, believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love - and make it last.

  7. Top | #17
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    I do, however, believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love - and make it last.
    Typical Tom Sawyer appeal to woo...

  8. Top | #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    I do, however, believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love - and make it last.
    Typical Tom Sawyer appeal to woo...
    Hey, my mind is not for rent to any god or government.

  9. Top | #19
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    I do, however, believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love - and make it last.
    Typical Tom Sawyer appeal to woo...
    Hey, my mind is not for rent to any god or government.
    But your heart is available for girlfriends, as if such things were out there just walking around...

  10. Top | #20
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by braces_for_impact View Post
    Can we stop with the shifting of the burden of proof? I expect better from theists that hang out here, this isn't Rapture Ready for fuck's sake.
    The persuasive burden rests on whoever wants to do the persuading.
    If atheists want to remain unpersuasive that's perfectly OK with me.

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